Loehle and Scafetta on Climate Change Attribution

by Craig Loehle

How do we detect the influence of humans on the climate system?  Current methods based on climate models are unfortunately circular: their estimate of human effects is only valid if the models are correct, but the models make certain assumptions and also are fitted to the historical temperature record.  A model-independent estimate of climate response is needed and is provided by this study.

Loehle, C. and N. Scafetta. 2011. Climate Change Attribution Using Empirical Decomposition of Historical Time Series.  Open Atmospheric Science Journal 5:74-86.

The study is available free at http://benthamscience.com/open/toascj/articles/V005/74TOASCJ.htm

The climate change attribution problem was addressed using empirical decomposition.  Previously observed cycles in solar motion and activity of 60 and 20 years were used to develop an empirical model of Earth temperature variations.  The model was fit to the Hadley global temperature data up to 1950 (the time period before anthropogenic (GHG+Aerosol) emissions became a significant forcing mechanism), and then extrapolated from 1951 to 2010 (Fig. 1A).  The residuals (Fig.1B) showed an approximate linear upward trend after 1942.  It is assumed that this residual upward warming has been mostly induced by anthropogenic emissions, urbanization and land use change.  The warming observed before 1942 is relatively small and is assumed to have been mostly naturally induced because anthropogenic (warming + cooling) forcing would approximately compensate each other before 1950.

Figure 1.

The resulting full natural plus anthropogenic model (below, Fig. 2) fits the entire 160 year record very well.  Residual analysis does not provide any evidence for a substantial cooling effect due to sulfate aerosols from 1940 to 1970.  In fact, the cooling observed during that period is well predicted by a natural 60-year cycle, which from 1940 to 1970 was in its cooling phase and contributed about 0.3 oC cooling, plus an estimated +0.66 oC/century anthropogenic warming, which is visible in the global temperature since 1850 and has been observed also in numerous multisecular climatic records.  New solar activity proxy models developed in the paper suggest a mechanism for both the 60-year climate cycle and a portion of the long-term warming trend.  About 60% of the warming observed from 1970 to 2000 was very likely caused by this natural 60-year climatic cycle during its warming phase.  Figure 2B shows the components of the signal in our model.

Figure 2.

A 21st Century forecast (below, Fig. 3) suggests that climate may remain approximately steady until 2030-2040, and may at most warm 0.5-1.0°C by 2100 at the estimated 0.66°C/century anthropogenic warming rate, which is about 3.5 times smaller than the average 2.3°C/century anthropogenic warming rate projected by the IPCC during the first decades of the 21st century.

Figure 3.


1) The estimated AGW component matches theory, since the log of an exponential rise in carbon dioxide should give an approximatelinear trend (as in fact the climate models do).  The timing of AGW effects (beginning in 1942) also matches expectations.

2) The fitted components match solar model forcings within their uncertainty.

3) The estimated sensitivity matches a no-amplification (neutral) climate sensitivity, or even a slight negative feedback case.

4) Warming due to anthropogenic GHG+Aerosol of 0.66  oC/Century is not alarming, in comparison to the IPCC protected 2.3 oC/Century  This 0.66 value is an upper bound in our estimation (due to possible poorly corrected UHI and LULC effects that may explain part of the observed warming trend since 1950).

5) Cooling/flat temperatures till 2030 are likely (as also predicted by others).

6) Our result matches the historical record better than any other attribution study and better than GCM outputs.

446 responses to “Loehle and Scafetta on Climate Change Attribution

  1. 20 / 60 year cycles? No physical explanations then, since 11 years are the sun-cycles, and they don’t realy translate to 20/60 years.

    So this is merely an exercise of numerology. I can come up with multiple of these, and probably be even better at them. But I still fail to see the point of this model. At all.

    • Luis Dias, you could not possibly have read the paper in the few minutes this has been online. The Scafetta work we cite shows these cycles to be characteristic of solar orbit wobbles due to planet perturbations. The 60 yr cycle is long known in relation to the PDO etc. Not numerology.

      • I’ll give you something, mr Craig. At least you put a very precise prediction on the future, and so we will see who is right about this.

        Personally speaking, I’d be very hopeful something like this was the case. However, the model seems far too simplistic and linear, and is merely a sum of sinusoidal waves (we know it is always possible to define any graph by a summation of sinusoidal waves…), that have some physical evidence / meaning.

        Wait and see, as the brits say.

      • Oliver K. Manuel

        Craig is right. The entire AGW story is the product of skillful mind control by world leaders after a meeting on 21-28 February 1972 to avoid the threat of annihilation in a full-scale nuclear war.

        The reasons for this seemingly inescapable conclusion to events from 1945 to 2011 are detailed in this concise, 8-page document.



        Now we need to find out how much manipulation of information has occurred in areas not directly related to the unsteady nature of Earth’s heat source – the Sun.

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for AQpollo

      • PS – Another conclusion to the events of 1945-2011 would be welcomed. – OKM

      • Luis, your attempt at belittlement and condensation as well as a lack of manners is transparent and speaks more to your character than anything else. Perhaps you could have started your post by addressing him as Dr Loehle instead of mr Craig. Perhaps you could have just forgone the titles at all and just called him Craig. Either way your attempt is pathetic.

      • PDO has decadal oscillations are far off 60 years period , they are not regular cycles anyway,

    • I don’t see the point of any model unless it has been fully validated. Not one GCM has been validated.

    • He wrote a blog post – not a book. When you don’t see the point, there are two possibilities. I don’t think you’ve considered the second.

    • And the “point of the model” is: If there is a repeating pattern due to solar orbit wobbles affecting sun’s activity, then we can both subtract this to obtain the human influence and use this pattern to project into the future. ie: to characterize the natural components of climate fluctuations.

      • Solar ORBIT affecting sun’s ACTIVITY ???
        Surely this is only a case of a poor choice of words.

      • There is a ~180 year planetary cycle too. And ~45 year wobbles following that cycle. And 207 and 2250 year year cycle which shows up clearly as a sharp spikes in the spectral analysis of the 10Be and 14C proxies.

        But you drew the line at 60 years?

      • Longer cycles would appear over a short period like a line. We do mention that the linear uptrend before 1950 could be part of a longer cycle (regular or irregular).

      • Thanks Craig,
        I’ll regard this paper as a bridgehead. Well done. ;)

      • Craig and Nicola,
        take a look at the R^2=0.99 reconstruction of the Lean TSI proxy we achieved here:

      • Lean et al 2000 again and again. Her reconstruction exaggerates the TSI change in amplitude. That reconstruction plus Hoyt and Wang older reconstructions are poor starting points for serious evaluations. The team still uses them to “prove” it was the sun until circa 1950 and L&S use it to “prove” it’s the sun mainly.

        There are as many pseudo-cycles in the records as there are theories with a small t. Like Lief Svalgard said, “Cyclomania at it’s worst.” Without some convincing physics it is all noise.

      • Strongly disagree. Yes, convincing and detailed physical mechanisms would be nice, BUT if we are still ignorant of the physics in detail, it’s very useful to study the correlations. It can lead to the physics.

        And even if it’s “cyclomania”, if it can predict better than the consensus “theory”, it’s better than the consensus. Way better.

        Since consensus is predicting warming (next few decades) and considering that much “cyclo-manic” evidence indicates cooling, we will see whose scince is better.

      • Edim,

        The cycles/pseudo-cycles do appear to be a hint, but using outdated reconstructions to make a better fit ruins the analysis. Comparing the 20 and 60 year cycles to just the temperature record and trying to surmise the cause of the correlation and cause of the divergence is a good start, but the TSI reconstructions used conveniently agree with the hypothesis where newer reconstructions show there is much more to the story. The residuals as mentioned also indicate more questions should have been asked.

        A few years ago, I had hoped that Tsonis would slip TSI in with his network analysis. They expanded to include more oscillations which seems to show the complexity of the longer 50 to 70 year cycle/pseudo-cycle, but never tried to tie in the solar cycles. Whatever the mechanism(s) are that amplify solar are still a mystery. Comparing solar to the variety of oscillations makes more sense than comparing to a global temperature average of questionable utility.

        Despite what M. E. Mann thinks, regional climate change has a major impact on climate change globally. Solar could impact the PDO and/or Enso (Cosmic ray or magnetic changes effecting clouds) which has impact on other oscillations, but I doubt that a correlation of a weak solar variation to GTA has a chance in hell of standing up to scrutiny.

        Just my two cents.

      • If the cycles periods match known periodic signals in paleo data, orbital mechanics etc, then it is not numerology or cyclomania, but an iinvestigation of plausible cause. Now that Wolff and Patrone have shown how orbital motion of the big planets can affect solar activity levels, and I have shown how the alignment of planets along the Parker Spiral fits the individual solar cycle timings once solar windspeed is included in the calculation, the way is open for a new field in Solar System Dynamics to investigate the links between the interplanetary environment and surface clmate variation.

        Wake up and step into the C21st.


      • Tallbloke,

        The problem I have is the most up to date TSI reconstructions do not indicate enough variation to have that significant climate impact. I also have not seen another mechanism that can amplify the solar variation. Svenmark’s cosmic ray cloud link may be the ticket. That amplification, if it proves significant, tends to explain the impact of the longer minima, but that doesn’t match the cycles very well.

        Don’t get me wrong, I do feel the sun has a stronger, not well understood role, I just haven’t seen a good explanation of what it may be. The rest of this solar cycle and the start of the next should show some of what is going on.
        I do suspect that cloud cover changes significantly (a few percent) with solar cycle combinations, but the climate impact won’t be obvious because of natural ocean/atmospheric oscillations. The PDO especially since high latitude impact is inconsistent.

        It would be nice if there was something obvious with a reasonable explanation, but the chaotic nature of things makes it hard to be very confident in most theories. Until then, sensitivity appears to be lower than advertised and theories are a dime a dozen.

      • When it comes to a measurement of solar velocity over 400 years it is reasonable to smooth to a quasi 60 year figure. But when looking at grand minima there is no true cycle that can be labeled. The solar system is a messy place and refuses to follow such order.

        There is no true 178.8, 172, 203, 207, 2250 etc cycle that is repeatable. The answer lies in the 4 outer planets which do not follow a fixed pattern but change every rotation. There is an underlying trend but it will barely show in FFT type analysis.

    • There is the 22 year Hale cycle of solar magnetic reversal. ‘On longer time scales of 10,000 years or more, a rather complete record of solar activity is contained within carbon-14 and beryllium-10 isotope deposits on the Earth (tree rings and ice cores). After the terrestrial effects are removed from these records, a clear correlation is observed with the 11-year sunspot cycle. On longer time scales, there are characteristic periods of about 80, 150, 200 and 500 years (and longer). If these isotope records truly reflect past solar magnetic activity, and their magnitudes can be interrelated over the period of overlapping measurements, then a substantial record of past solar irradiance change could, in principle, be constructed.


      There is this thing called google? It is the second most complex thing in the universe next to most human brains. I’m told they are planning a Hitchhikers Guide – with DON’T PANIC in big pink letters on the front cover – which will contain every fact in the known universe. Most of it invented in a back room in Seattle.

      I quite often use it to avoid making an idiot of myself – sadly it is not idiot proof. You should avoid sites like ‘mind control satellites for fun and profit’ and – I am advised by a naive friend – googling (adverbial form) ‘two fat ladies’ to look for cooking tips.

    • Luis: 20 / 60 year cycles? No physical explanations then, since 11 years are the sun-cycles, and they don’t realy translate to 20/60 years.

      Argument by insult, where I have seen that before?

      The presence of a circa 60-year cycle is pretty well established, and generally the 22 year solar cycle (NOT 11 years which is mean period of the sun spot cycle ) is unimportant as a driver of climate. See, e.g., this.

      Criag is right about it being related to the PDO.

  2. So now this blog is just a vehicle for reposting nonsense from WUWT?

    This paper is a mix of numerology and pseudo-science. 60 year ‘cycles’ taken from the oscillation of the sun’s velocity around the barycenter – something with no physical impact on anything, a contortion worthy of a pretzel to get a ‘solar’ TSI series with multi-decadal variability (needless to say one completely unhinged from physical process), plus an ad-hoc linear trend that actually isn’t much different from models over the last 50 years – and this is supposed to be an advance in attribution? Please try to be a little serious.

    • My dear Neil, this is a published paper. Did you read it? It is not an amateur effort. And why pray tell is it so strange that if you take a giant plasma ball and jiggle it to guess that this might affect its output and magnetic field? And the solar forcing model Scafetta develops is NOT based on the orbit at all but on indices such as TSI, magnetic field strength, etc.

      • Your conclusion #3 is a large chunk of broken glass in the craw of the AGW modelers and Believers. To be explicit: CO2 has NO warming effect.

        Making this assertion has stuck me with the label of “extreme Denialist” for some time.

        You have holed warmism and luke-warmism far below the waterline. Soon may they sink!

      • Your conclusion #3 is a large chunk of broken glass in the craw of the AGW modelers and Believers. To be explicit: CO2 has NO warming effect.

        Any comment on this interpretation of your work Messrs Loehle and Scafetta?

      • We obviously believe we have detected some effect, equivalent to a no-feedback sensitivity (more or less) consistent with Spencer and Lindzen.

      • Sorry, but I don’t see an analysis of the forcings, nor the ocean heat uptake nor their uncertainties that would allow you to say anything about the sensitivity. Are you arguing that the linear trend alone determines sensitivity?

      • The linear trend can only give us an indication. We do not attempt to get precise. But we believe this gives a low-end sensitivity.

      • “We obviously believe we have detected some effect, equivalent to a no-feedback sensitivity (more or less) consistent with Spencer and Lindzen.”

        i.e. you’ve detected results consistent with the greenhouse properties of C02 but not the positive feedbacks resulting from this. Consequently people claiming this study supports the idea that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist or that C02 has no warming effect are entirely incorrect.

        Is this not the case?

      • Since I know you both believe in radiative physics as your paper indicates, your estimate of sensitivity, puts you at the lower end of luke warmer. your bumper stickers are in the mail. prepare to be savaged by both sides.

      • I prefer reality, whatever bumper sticker that leads to. And I’m pretty used to savage attacks by now.

      • I think it’s probably the bumper sticker that reads;
        “SH!T HAPPENS”

        Pretty much sums up the climate history of the Earth actually.

      • Craig, anytime someone tries to simply make a lame ‘plausibility’ argument by assertion rather than physics, I am instantly suspicious. Scafetta’s SCMSS curve (from which the 60 years cycle is ‘drawn’) is the speed of the sun around the barycenter of the solar system. But the sun is in free fall (as are the other bodies in the solar system) and it is well known that a body in free fall feels no forces associated with its trajectory. This is a very old result and one that fatally undermines any purported physical mechanism.

        One could perhaps argue that tidal forces (which are felt) matter but these can be calculated very precisely and are a) very small, and b) associated with Mercury and Venus, not Jupiter and Saturn. And they are not related to the speed of the sun in any case (and note that the distance from the barycenter (CMSS) doesn’t have any power in the 60 year band in any case).

        indeed, reading Scafetta’s early work on this, it is clear that the ’60 year’ cycle was first seen by him in the temperature record and it was only subsequently that he found some astronomical reason to use it in a decomposition. It is worth pointing out that no aspect of the astronomical series other than the period is being used here.

        As for your solar curve, it is made up of a hodge podge of uncalibrated and unrelated indices. A 1-2 smooth of the SCL? Pray tell what theory or empirical calibration supports its use as a TSI proxy? And then adding an 11 year cycle to it???? What does that even mean? Then you average it with Wang Lean and Sheely *and* Hoyt and Schatten (which by the way includes SCL as one of it’s inputs). This is completely ad hoc.

        And then you just extend out a linear trend for the projection. Why? If you think the trend to date is related to various forcings, isn’t it more likely that the trend in the future will follow those forcings? And why do you compare the trend from 1940 to today with projections of IPCC models for the 21st Century? This is completely incommensurate.

        This might be a published paper, but that does not mean it was worth publishing.

      • You are free to have your own opinion.

      • Your argument about the significance of the motion of sun around the barycenter is certainly valid. For a two-body system the distance from the barycenter grows with the distance of the bodies, i.e. when the influence of the other body decreases. The sun is indeed affected only by the tidal forces as has been discussed earlier also on this site and their periods are totally different.

      • Our study is simple. A 60 year cycle has been detected in numerous climate data and solar data covering records as long as millennia. Just read our paper and thereferences there.
        Moreover, it is a clear astronomical cycle known since ancient times.

        There is nothing simpler than interpreting a time series that contain detectable cycles. If you have valid arguments, please argue them.

      • “it is well known that a body in free fall feels no forces associated with its trajectory. This is a very old result and one that fatally undermines any purported physical mechanism. ”

        So old it’s out of date.

      • simon abingdon

        The sun accounts for the great majority of the mass of the solar system, while the planets carry most of its angular momentum. Why should this be? .

      • The paper has not received much interest. The only reference to it that Google Scholar knows is in the paper of Loehle and Scafetta that is the subject of this thread. Google has links to Tallbloke’s blog and some other blogs where at least Leif Svalgaard argues against the significance of the paper. On first reading his arguments appear strong, but I’m not sure, whether he presents the most relevant critique.

        For me the general principles provide very strong evidence that is contradictory to the significance of the paper. That would mean that the paper must be either wrong or irrelevant (i.e. technically correct, but not in a way that would allow the discussed effect to be significant). In that sense my thoughts seem to be similar to those that I found from Svalgaard, but similar doesn’t necessarily mean identical. I’m not sure, whether I will find it worthwhile to study the paper in more detail. The other alternative is that I just consider it to be too certainly irrelevant trusting that it’s significance will be explained better and more convincingly by somebody else in the future, if such significance exists.

      • Neil,
        But the sun is in free fall (as are the other bodies in the solar system) and it is well known that a body in free fall feels no forces associated with its trajectory.
        This statement is true only for relatively small and solid bodies. Not all parts of the sun are subjected to the same external forces at the same time. Those external gravitational forces are great enough to displace the center of the sun by over half its diameter at times. Suggesting that those forces are precisely the same on all particles of the solar mass is a bit of a stretch.

  3. I would point out to any readers that we only fit our model up to 1950 data in terms of the cyclic components. The downturn in 2000 that is evident in the data is a PREDICTION which has already come true.

    • We may say there are two types of predictions. In the first one, the theorist fits his model to a part of his database, and then predicts what will happen to the rest of his database. He then fills himself with joy and bliss when he finds out that the two match pretty well.

      The second, no one has yet acquired the data for subsequent match between prediction and observation, but when such observations line up, the model is either validated or refuted.

      Of course, the problem with the first is that the researcher could be merely fooling himself by believing that the second part of his database was a good match to the model, and therefore a good prediction was made. Instead, the whole model may have been built with this late data at least qualitatively in mind, and when the results kick in, they unsurprisingly fit well with the data. This is why the first kind of predictions is not really impressive, and this all takes consideration to the total honesty of the researcher. I don’t think you’d be so forgiving to certain scientists operating in this thematic if they came up with this kind of rethoric, Craig.

      • Luis: if you would like to try repeating what we did you will get the same answer. We did not fit the first part with an eye on the second part. The length of cycles were fixed by solar patterns and we fit to 1950 from 1850. Are you implying that we lied? Wow. Get a grip. All the coefficients are in the paper.

      • Try rereading what I said. The problem is that you may be fooling yourself by thinking that your prediction is sound, since your model only used data until 1950. What you fail to realise is that if you didn’t suspect already that the cyclical data would fit from 1950 onwards, you would probably not use it in the first place – all this talk about PDO, etc., was given a boost with the recent temperature stagnations, if it weren’t for those you wouldn’t probably have considered it in the first place, for example. IOW, the “polluting data” was already inside your own mind when you produced the hypothesis that these cyclical fluctuations occurred with these rythms.

        All my reasoning does not require any misdeed or dishonesty on your part.

      • Is there a central clearing house where trolls are assigned a specific blog posting to disrupt? Or are you on salary like Joshua?

      • Uh Bruce, this is what makes the sceptic blogs a bit more interesting then the consensus blogs, IMO. That there can and a lot of times is, real discussions, with you know, science thrown in. Pekka, Fred, Luis, Neil, etc, are working and or retired scientists who have spent their lives being sceptical of others work. Oh, that sounds a bit like what we always claim, the consensous scientists should be more like.

        Lighten up, I believe that Craig and Nicolla are big enough to fend for themselves.

      • Craig Loehle: Are you implying that we lied?

        No. Implied that you might be biased, perhaps unconsciously. Also, of all the analysis that you did, you might have reported only those that got results that you liked — it’s been known to happen, and to happen without intentional dishonesty.

        It’s an obvious first point that any critic would pick up on. The criticism has been directed toward Mann and co-authors.

        The nice thing is that your model makes true predictions for the future, and those will not suffer from the same criticism: If your model predictions are accurate, you will acquire additional credibility.

      • My first try was to let the regression determine the periods, and I got close to 60 yrs. Then I tried figure 1 (free fit or with 60 yr periods it looks the same) but residuals showed something was wrong. Then I connectedthe idea that human activity (according to the IPCC) was mostly in the 2nd half of the century, and that was final. Sneaky enough for you? Hidden agenda?

      • Don’t be so touchy — it’s a standard critique, not a claim of dishonesty. Every publication is necessarily so terse that some of the chronological narration of the model fitting process is lost. On another blog someone mentions the idea of “snooping” — again, its a common idea. Now is too late for us to make any models without knowing what happened from 1950 – 2010, so the possibility of bias is omnipresent.

        In another post on this thread I note that what you did was a straightforward test of a reasonably framed hypothesis. Unfortunately, the hypothesis was framed after the data from 1950 – 2010 were known, so a true prediction was not made. So, what is called “use novelty” in the testing of hypotheses can not be assumed. For that, we await the unfolding of the near future.

      • Nicely said, and now we breathlessly await such post priori confirmation from ever evolving GCMs

      • Not “breathlessly” — the same problem with the GCMs has been widely pointed out. With natural variability as it is, temporal and spatial, it will take another couple decades to decide, based on predictions over the last 10 years, which models are more accurate.

      • Thanks, I thought I was the only one able to see the obvious.

    • Craig thanks for pointing that out. I withdraw the objection I made on WUWT. I was wrong about that.

  4. It was an interesting statistical excercise but real world data is okay to fit in retrospect but for the future it seldom follows. This is the problem with the IPCC predictions also. Whatever caused the increase may or may not be continuous in the future

    • but if it turn out accurate for a few more years then that would be quite interesting. Thanks for the post here

  5. I would like to thank Judith for the post.

    About the critical comments we received yet from people who were able to read a 13 pages paper in just a few seconds (I really would like to be able to do the same)

    In brief one major issue addressed in our paper is to determine whether the “science is settled” argument advanced by the AGW climate modellers is accurate. The comment from the two critical reader clearly suggest that they are having some problem in locating the physical cause of the ~20-year and ~60-year oscillation in their climate models they are familiar with.

    These people are very right that those models do not reproduce those oscillations.

    However, as proven in our paper and in the numerous references of our paper, ~20-year and ~60-year oscillations are very clear and present in the climate system. Consequently, it appears that the “science is settled” argument is false.

    The big problem is that because the current IPCC AGW models do not reproduce these cycles, a large part of the observed warming since 1970 is not due to AGW forcings, but to natural cycles. This in turn implies that the climate sensitivity to AGW emission has been largely overestimated, we believe by a factor of about 3.5.

    Thus, for example, the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling might be around 1 C, not about 3.3 C, which is the average estimate of the IPCC. However, the IPCC acknowledge an ancertenty between 1 and 10 C.

    So, I woud invite the readers to objectively read our paper and our numerous references. If there are clear error, we are wrong. But if the climate does present the cycles we say that it presents, then I believe that the AGW supportes need to acknowledge that afterall their argument that “the science is settled” is false. So, everything should be studied with responsibility.

    I may also suggest the reader to give a look at the presentations at the 6ICCC conference. There is also a talk of mine about these cycles at

    • It was posted earlier in WUWT where I first picked it up. Just for your consideration.

      • Luis,
        about your comments above

        Sorry but you need to control yourself. Starting calling people dishonest without any evidence of such a behavior proves nothing about us, but tells a lot about you.

        Our study is simple. A 60 year cycle has been detected in numerous climate data and solar data covering records as long as millennia. Moreover, it is a clear astronomical cycle known since ancient times.

        There is nothing simpler than interpreting a time series that contain detectable cycles. If you have valid arguments, please argue them.

      • How about the argument that sun is not affected by the 60 year cycle being in free fall?

      • A 60 year cycle has been detected in numerous solar related records as long as millennia. Please look at

        Ogurtsov MG, Nagovitsyn YA, Kocharov GE, Jungner H. Longperiod
        cycles of the sun’s activity recorded in direct solar data and
        proxies. Solar Phys 2002; 211: 371-94.

        A 60 -year cycle is present in the tidal cycles on the Sun. Moreover, a 60-year cycle in the solar wobbling is clearly visible. The argument of the free fall is not valid because the sun is wobbling within a cosmic ray flux coming from outside, where the wobbling is detected as a real effect.

      • We are obviously not reading the same paper. I see no evidence of a sine-like 60 year cycle in any of the time series analysed in Ogurtsov et al. In none of the solar proxies is anything close to this period at all significant. A 68 year cycle appears in the Mann et al temperature reconstruction – though that is irrelevant here.

      • How about keeping up with the latest literature on the subject of the spurious ‘In freefall the Sun feels no forces’ argument?
        See what these two NASA scientists have discovered:

      • Pekka: How about the argument that sun is not affected by the 60 year cycle being in free fall?

        The evidence for a circa 60-year cycle is separate from any proposed mechanism explaining it. That should be bloody obvious to anybody who wants to approach this rationally.

      • This point has been discussed elsewhere in this thread by myself and others (arguing naturally both ways).

      • How did the ancients know of a 60 year cycle in the speed of the sun around the solar system barycenter? A cycle it should be said that explains a tiny fraction of the variance in this quantity. If this is the source of your 60 years it makes absolutely no sense that the Mayans or ancient Chinese would know about it, and if this isn’t the source, what is?

      • they knew quite well about a 60-year astronomical cycle related to Jupiter and Saturn. Just do some google search.

      • The first result is from an astrology site:

        But this appears to be numerology: 3 times the repeat period? Why is that more important than the repeat period itself? or twice or half or 4 times?

        And if this is the source of your cycle, what time series does this actually refer to? What does it have to do with speed of the sun around the barycenter?

        I think it’s far more likely that you are just casting around for a cycle that matches something you have decided is in the temperature data. Thus a ‘match’ is not at all coincidental.

      • please, continue searching in internet, find pictures

      • So now it’s up to your readers to hunt around on the internet for evidence that would back up your claim? Isn’t that a little backward?

      • Heh. :)
        Neil, clue. Every third Saturn Jupiter meeting is in the same place in the heavens. Nearly. The cycle is 974 years. About the length of time from the Medieval warm period to the modern maximum.

      • But why is that more important than anything else? I can find harmonics and beats and cycles of almost any period if I include enough planetary bodies. Starting off with a period and then finding some cycle to fit is child’s play – it has however, zero predictive power.

      • Neil,
        Jupiter and Saturn are the biggest two bodies in the solar system apart from the Sun and are responsible for most of the barycentric motion of up to just over two solar radii.

        Not just any two planets.

      • Neil –
        The Arabs, the Chinese, the Aztecs, the Maya, the Anasazi, the Australian Abo – ALL knew. Their agriculture – and therefore, their lives – depended on that knowledge.

      • Jupiter and Saturn maybe the two biggest bodies, but there is no way the Sun can move out move than 2 radii without the help of the remaining two biggest bodies.

      • This was the second time people have accused me of offering insults. I have done nothing of the sort, which is amusing viz a viz your amazement at how could someone comment a blog post without reading it properly.

        All I said is that (1) these kinds of numerical analysis are not impressive, since they may just be statistical flukes, (2) the assertion of Craig Loehle that we should mind ourselves there is a PREDICTION (capital letters included) in the paper is not without logical flaw, and that (3) such a prediction is qualitatively different from a prediction to yet unobserved data. I even explained why.

        Any instance where I uttered the sentence “dishonest” was to explain that (1) my argument does not need to consider it and (2) you would not accept such an argument from, say, the “Team”. Which is, I think, a good reminder. IOW, this argument requires the audience to trust the researcher’s not only good aspirations and honesty (which I am not really doubting here, but I should not be asked to do so), but an actual ability to relieve their own brains of remembering the last 60 years of temperature data while hypothezicing this theory.

        Of course, such a task is preposterous. We are human. And we do fool ourselves, please review Feynman remarks about this mental capacity. This means that the “prediction” Craig mentioned is interesting, but not impressive. Really unknown yet-to-be-observed data is the real test of predictability of your thesis.

        I am really at a loss on how you’d find these remarks insulting.

      • In some conversations pointing out human follibles requires a subtle approach. I learned from expiereince I am not good at it, so When someone points it out I simply agree.

        You stated that “the first kind of predictions is not really impressive, and this all takes consideration to the total honesty of the researcher.” It is an awkward sentence and expression for English. Better would be “the first kind of predictions is not really impressive, confirmation bias needs to be guarded against and thoroughly checked.

      • Luis: This was the second time people have accused me of offering insults. I have done nothing of the sort, which is amusing viz a viz your amazement at how could someone comment a blog post without reading it properly.

        Actually you have been highly condescending in your various comments, which is a form of passive aggressive, as well as insulting, behavior. I suggest you own your own words.

      • Fair enough, it wasn’t my intention.

  6. The beleiver community is a bit touchy today, spouting off the usual tripe about ‘dishonesty’ even more quickly than normal.
    Since this is a published paper and its authors are being kind enough to post here, I think spending some time to at least fully read and digest the paper is a reasonable aproach.

    • This is getting hilarious, since I’m obviously the target of this shenanigan, and the last thing anyone could ever accuse me of being was for being a “beleiver[sic]”. Stop it.

      • I believe there is some mixing up in our minds of your posts with Neil’s comments, but you are also making insinuations about our work. Whatever.

      • Not you only.
        “target of this shenanigan?”
        You guys call people liars at the drop of a hat and you whine about being the target of what? People pointing out what you do?

      • Please refer where I mentioned that anyone was lying.

        Thought so.

      • What is really ironic around here is that the moment I dare speak of unintended bias and all sorts of ways one could fool himself, immediate reactions not unsimilar to the ones we saw throughout the last decade from more “prominent” climate scientists spur up.

        If you dared to put your feelings aside, you’d probably get something more to this discussion than the tic tac. Alas, you have chosen otherwise.

      • K Scott Denison

        Luis, because you seem genuinely to not see why others are responding to you in the manner they are,let me suggest a reason by means of a quote of one of your comments:

        “He then fills himself with joy and bliss when he finds out that the two match pretty well.”

        This type of snark colors the way others read (at least initially) of the rest of your comments. I suspect if they go back and reread your comments agia, their opinions might change. But add this to the fact that it appears your first (critical) response came before being able to have completely read the paper and jumps to conclusions on your intent are bound to happen.

        The conclusion I reached (rightly or wrongly) is that you dismissed the paper and the authors without fair consideration.

      • I assure you it is not snark. I recognize that feeling all too well and indeed think it is a blessful sentiment. However, we must distrust it, and this paper does transpire the same feeling one gets when reading conspiracy theorist mathematics and numerologies, with “coincidences” and “if we put these equations it all works out!”, etc.. I may be too harsh in this, and it may even prove to be not a terribad hypothesis, but I don’t like the method. If you torture numbers enough, you can make any theory you want about any phenomenon. Curiously this was the main criticism against Mann et al.

        Lastly, I have read this paper ever since it was referenced in WUWT which was a full two hours earlier than Climate Etc., but I agree that jumping into commentary did create a bad impression that I didn’t read the paper.

      • simon abingdon

        “If you torture numbers enough, you can make any theory you want about any phenomenon”.
        Balmer sparked the understanding of the atom by doing so.

      • Amazing how truly sceptical and valid comments are portrayed as condescension, insinuation and snark. Some people just can’t take criticism.

    • ‘dishonesty’

      Yes, Warmers are never dishonest, no matter what they do. They sincerely believe they hope you think they are incapable of doing anything wrong. lol


  7. What is with the denial of the Sun orbitting the solar system’s center of mass (barycenter)?

    The math for just the Sun-Jupiter barycenter is trivial: the Sun-Earth distance varies +/- 1%, resulting in a 2% change in radiation at Earth.

  8. Please take a look at the signal components we detected. The amplitude for the 60 yr cycle is 3x larger than the 20 in the solar wobble data, and also in the fitted model to temperature. Quite a coincidence. The linear anthropogenic signal starts in 1942, which makes sense, is linear which matches GCM output (look at IPCC graphs, they are linear) and matches theory since log saturation of an exponentially rising CO2 level will be linear. The slope matches what we expect for sensitivity in the absence of feedbacks. The model predicted the downturn at 2000 based on fitting only up to 1950. So there sure are a lot of coincidences in the results if it is just garbage.

    • “The amplitude for the 60 yr cycle is 3x larger than the 20 in the solar wobble data”

      Where does this come from? The ‘solar wobble’ data (presumably SCMSS from Scafetta (2010), fig 5B) shows a much larger (5x?) ~20 yr cycle than 60 yr cycle.

  9. Judith Curry

    Thanks for calling our attention to this new study.

    Finally we have a study that goes beyond the rather myopic limits of the IPCC model simulations.

    It covers the entire 160-year Hadley global temperature record (instead of fixating on the period starting in 1976) and includes both a solar mechanism for the observed 60-year climate oscillations (which IPCC essentially ignores) as well as the underlying warming trend of 0.66°C per century (which it attributes to human factors).

    The conclusions of this study would place the model-based projections of IPCC AR4 WG1 into serious doubt.

    There will undoubtedly be attempts to refute this study and falsify its conclusions, but there is no doubt that it sheds new light on the scientific uncertainties and controversy surrounding AGW tody.

    Congratulations to Craig Loehle and Nicola Scafetta!


  10. IPCC

    For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.


    Is any one prepared to bet with me contrary to the IPCC, not only the actual global warming rate in the next decade (2000-2010) according to hadcrut3vgl.txt will be less than 0.2 deg C per decade, but it will also be less than 0.1 deg C per decade?

    That is the global mean temperature anomaly will not exceed the extension of the upper boundary cyan line shown below.


    I am prepared to put $5000 USD on the bet.

    Any takers please?

  11. SORRY please delete my above post as it has a mistake


    For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.


    Is any one prepared to bet with me contrary to the IPCC, not only the actual global warming rate in the next decade (2010-2020) according to hadcrut3vgl.txt will be less than 0.2 deg C per decade, but it will also be less than 0.1 deg C per decade?

    That is the global mean temperature anomaly will not exceed the extension of the upper boundary cyan line shown below.


    I am prepared to put $5000 USD on the bet.

    Any takers please?

  12. Craig

    thanks for an interesting paper.
    How accurate do you believe the basic Hadley Global data to be on a scale of betwen 0.1 to 2.0 degreesC?.

    Why do you believe it to be accurate to whatever estimate you make?


    • tonyb: I am unable to assess accuracy of the Hadley data except to note that the result of Hadley is very similar to other analyses, such as those that Mosher did where he only used rural sites (or something, no time to look for that at the moment).

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Hi Craig,
        Which analyses is the Hadley data very similar to in the period 1850-1880?

    • It’s accurate enough for these purposes.
      One interesting question would be to look at SST where it was just corrected.

  13. This post duplicates material presented at WUWT and is based on a paper published online in The Open Atmospheric Science Journal. The use of empirical mode decomposition (recently described in this blog in a previous post) is an intriguing method for discerning trends. The authors have constructed a model using this method in an attempt to distinguish the role of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing from certain natural cycles during recent decades of warming.

    A critical test of their model revolves around attribution to non-anthropogenic factors in simulating the temperature trend since the mid-twentieth century. It is commonly concluded that during the earlier parts of this interval, cooling aerosols (primarily anthropogenic) substantially masked GHG warming effects, leading to the flat temperature profile between 1950 and about 1976. However, the modeled trends reported in this paper do not accomodate such an effect. The authors state: “A major factor often considered crucial for proper climate modeling is the influence of tropospheric aerosols that result from industrial activity, which are often assumed to have been a major cooling influence in the 1950s through the 1970s… However… the residuals from the pre-1950 model (Fig. 2B) over the decades of the 1950s through 1970s show not a decline but a constant linear rise for the anthropogenic component, which is inconsistent with a strong cooling effect over this period. Our full model… shows a cooling in the 1950s through 1970s without any forcing from tropospheric aerosols”.

    Given the absence of substantial aerosol cooling from the reported model, it is instructive to ask what the observational data show. The topic has been extensively evaluated by Martin Wild and colleagues, among others, and summarized in his 2009 JGR review on Global Dimming and Brightening. During the relevant interval, a strong cooling trend was measured both globally and multi-regionally in form of a reduction in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface from the top of the atmosphere under both all-sky and clear sky conditions, the latter indicating that a significant fraction of the reduced surface insolation could not be attributed to cloud changes and was therefore attributable to aerosol effects. The trends typically averaged about 2 W/m^2 cooling per decade.

    The observational evidence for a strong cooling aerosol effect is therefore in conflict with the model output. Interestingly, Wild mentions that most GCMs also underestimated the aerosol cooling, although the disparity is less than with this paper. Surprisingly, Loehle and Scafetta appear not to have addressed this disparity in the paper nor referenced the papers by Wild and others on the surface solar reduction.

    At this point, it appears that the distribution of attributions in the paper regarding drivers of climate change since 1950 cannot be reconciled with observed data. In my view, this precludes any quantitative estimation of the relative role of the various factors, anthropogenic or natural. Also, in the absence of accurate quantitative data on forcings, I don’t believe an estimate of climate sensitivity from the results can be justified. What elements of the model must be improved to better simulate observed post-1950 warming remains a question of interest.

    • We believe that our model of solar influence in consistent with Svensmark’s cosmic ray hypothesis (which also explains the polar see-saw effect). The cosmic ray mechanism is quite capable of producing haze (not just well-defined “clouds”) and our model would in fact predict from the 1950s through the late 70s a reduction in sunlight reaching the ground. It is not possible in a single paper to trace out all implications or cite all literature.

      • Craig – Alternatively, it might have been the tooth fairy. It is quite a stretch to postulate that three decades of reduced surface insolation were due to hypothesized cosmic ray “haze” that somehow not only escaped attention but did not correlate with TSI trends. Is it possible? Well, anything is possible, but it is far more likely that your results failed a decisive test and are therefore uninformative.

        In any case, it was a serious omission not to discuss the observational evidence described by Wild or to reference his work. That strikes me as very superficial scholarship and makes it even harder to take the paper seriously than is apparent from its inherent failings.

      • Fred,
        your argument would be valid if a 60-year cycle would be missing in the climate system. In our paper we reference a lot of studies that have shown a 60-year cycle for centuries and millennia. We have included in our figure 4 two of these long secular cycles.

        Do you think that such an oscillating pattern was due to anthropogenic GHG (during the warming phase) and to anthropogenic aerosol (during the cooling phase) also centuries and thousand years ago?

      • I believe you miss the point, Nicola. If your modeling can’t get the attribution right quantitatively, then it can’t be used for quantitative conclusions, whether or not a 60-year cycle is operating at some level. (I would add parenthetically, that the data I’ve seen about “60-year” cycles tend only to average out at about 60 years and can deviate significantly from that figure, raising questions about whether each “oscillation” represents the same mechanism. That’s a subject for a different post, however.)

      • I do not believe that the purpose of our model is to determine the attribution of each anthropogenic component taken apart. We do not determine the contribution of the GHG, the contribution of the aerosol, the contribution of the UHI and of LULC taken separately. We estimate their overall contribution by extracting the 60-year cycle from the data. This is quite simple, indeed.

        As Craig said, and I believe, there is an oscillation in the cloud system induced by solar/astronomical cycles which is causing the pattern and this mechanism is not included in the models.

        Moreover, there exists a huge uncertainty about the aerosol and GHG forcing, and such a theory fails to reproduce other warming/cooling periods in the past.

      • “Alternatively, it might have been the tooth fairy.” real clever Fred. Sorry I don’t meet your high scholarship standards. Dimming observed in the Wild paper is consistent in timing with our model. We do not pretend to have all the mechanisms worked out. We were not able to find our magic wand to resolve all puzzles in one paper. Sorry.

      • Fred it is funny you should mention the tooth fairy in regards to their paper and then bring up aerosols. I was thinking something very similar when reading how increased coal burning was the cause of the recent lack of warming. The only conclussion I could come to was it was very special Chinese coal that produced pixie dust. In case you aren’t aware pixie dust can reflect sunlight yet not be detected by satellites. Tinkerbell and her army of fairies then collected the pixie dust and spread it randomly across the globe explaining why there is no evidence of regional cooling at the source of the aerosols. Pretty good explanation for the shortcomings in blaming the lack of warming on increased aerosols don’t you think?

      • Steven – The increase in aerosol cooling has been attributed in part to Chinese coal burning (without scrubbers) but a recent report attributes it instead to increased tropical volcanic activity, which would also be consistent with MODIS measurements in the tropics,

        Wild discusses the interhemispheric and other distributional transports of aerosols based on models and reinforced by observational data.

        If the question is whether coal burning with large scale sulfur emissions could have a net cooling effect despite the emitted CO2, the answer is that it could do so temporarily, but that the CO2 effect would prevail over many decades. This would be true if the atmospheric aerosol concentrations increased during a particular interval at a much higher percentage rate than the CO2.

      • Fred:

        I thought Dr. Hansen found that the increase in aerosol cooling was a delayed rebound Mount Pinatubo effect!

    • Fred Moolten

      The reaction to L+S 2011 has already started! Circle the wagons!

      Your first line was sort of a veiled put-down:

      This post duplicates material presented at WUWT and is based on a paper published online in The Open Atmospheric Science Journal.

      The rest was eloquent gibberish.

      As regards “aerosol cooling”, this is a red herring, Fred. IPCC has estimated that all anthropogenic forcing factors other than CO2 (i.e. aerosols, other GHGs, etc.) have essentially cancelled one another out, so that the total net anthropogenic forcing (1.6 W/m^2) was essentially the same as that for CO2 (1.66 W/m^2).

      C’mon, Fred. You can do better than that.


      • Readers uncertain whether the disparity between the reported results and observational data on aerosols is unimportant are urged to read the Wild review article and compare it with the paper.

        I’m also a bit troubled by the duplication between this blog and WUWT. It is not common practice for authors to be invited to write a guest post presenting the same material on two climate blogs on the same day. It would be acceptable to me if it is acceptable to Dr. Curry, because this is her blog, not mine, but I’m curious as to whether she was informed by the authors that this would be a duplication. There is clearly a role for the Internet to be a conduit to published papers, but perhaps today’s duplicate postings would be excessive even if the paper were much better than I perceive it to be.

      • If duplicate coverage bothers Judith then I apologize in advance.

      • Here is what Wild says in his Figure 9 caption: “There is indication for a suppression of greenhouse-induced warming through ‘global dimming’ between the 1950s and 1980s, and an enhancement through ‘brightening’ between the 1920s and 1940s as well as from the 1980s onward.” This seems to fit perfectly with the 60 year cycle we show in our graphs. To assume that this must be due to sulfate aersols is just that, an assumption on Fred’s part. Also, “brightening” is documented in Wild for the 1920s-1940s before there was much sulfates in the atmosphere–or are you assuming Fred that before 1920 the “dimming” (before the “brightening” of the 1920s-1940s) was human caused?

      • Readers should read the Wild paper themselves to decide whether the statements in Loehle and Scafetta are consistent with the evidence showing reduced transmission of sunlight from the top of the atmosphere to the surface at a cooling rate of about 2 W/m^2 per decade over two or three decades. I conclude that the Loehle and Scafetta attributions regarding aerosols fail the test of empiricism, unless some very strange and undemonstrated mechanism other than the aerosols cited by Wild can explain what he and others attribute to aerosols. In light of the precept that 100% certainty is not a valid scientific principle, I will refrain from absolute judgment, but I don’t find it difficult to conclude that the paper is quite unconvincing.

      • Regarding 1920-1940 brightening and brightening starting around the 1980s, they both may have involved sulfates without both being anthropogenic. The later brightening is hard to explain on the basis of reduced volcanism, but this may account for at least part of the earlier brightening.

      • You have periods of brightening and dimming matching a 60 year cycle and matching the solar period, but you want to insist it is sulfate aerosols. That is really a stretch for the earlier period and does not even match the aerosol inputs used by the climate models. Furthermore, industrial sulfate aerosols have a hard time influencing the southern hemisphere and volcanoes would have to have really good timing to fill in just where needed for several decades straight to match a 60 yr cycle. Yes, Fred, let the readers look at Wild and make up their own minds.

      • Wild discusses the hemispheric distribution of aerosol dimming and brightening.

      • Fred, I’ve alerted Craig to Hoyt’s pyrheliometry results. The sulfate aerosol game is over.

      • Fred –
        I don’t find it difficult to conclude that the paper is quite unconvincing.

        Face facts – you don’t find anything convincing that doesn’t support CO2 as the main driver.

      • The Ebro paper is quite good at showing the cycle as well.

        ““There is an overall increasing trend in the number of
        bright sunshine hours, amounting to about 100 h in
        the last 100 years (0.96 h/year), which represents an
        increase in bright sunshine hours of about 4% in a

        “It is noticeable, however, that over
        the 1960–1984 period there is a general decrease in
        bright sunshine hours (a surface dimming), followed
        by a recovery from the mid-1980s till the present.”


      • Duplicate coverage?

        How many media outlets ballyhooed the IPCC AR4 WG1 SPM report (long before the “backup” report even came out)?

        Fuggidaboudit, Fred.

      • Adam Gallon

        Possibly there are contributors here, who wouldn’t “lower” themselves to add to the discussion over at WUWT.
        Also some there, who may feel that this blog’s too “high brow” for them?
        I’ve no doubt that there will be discussion of this paper over at RC & Open Mind, where it’ll be quickly announced as having been “debunked”, amongst much cheering & high-fiving from the regulars.

  14. Dang me, girma, that’s a good bet.

    After this recent paper, the Vegas bookies would probably put you at 8 to 5 odds on this wager (in your favor), so 50:50 would be an excellent deal if you can get it.

    See if tempterrain would like to take you on (he’s a betting man who believes AGW has been the major cause of past warming and will cause major future warming).


  15. Here is the approximately 60-years cycle in the Global Mean Temperature data:


    [1880, 1910, 1940, 1970, & 2000]

  16. The Wang Hoyt and Lean TSI studies appear to be the older TSI reconstructions which have been revised a good bit. My understanding is that some mechanism to amplify solar variation is needed produce the amount of natural variation noted. Cosmic Ray/cloud change is one possibility, but the variation in the older reconstructions is generally agreed to be greater than could be caused by actual change in solar irradiance. Just my opinion, but I think that will be the major criticism of the paper.

  17. Alexander Harvey

    Is it fair to conclude that this paper implies that more than half of the warming during the second half of the 20th century was due to anthropgenic influences?


      • Alexander Harvey


        I thought you had 0.66C/century put down to AGW and that covers that 50 year period 1950-2000 as well (starting from 1942).

        Were that 0.33C to be 40% it would be from a total of 0.85C for the 50 years Is that what you claim?


      • damn I said 50% and the coolies went apeshit.

        you know back in the day Willis once said 30%

        these all or nothing types get on my nerves

      • It’s not all or nothing. Only if you wear CO2GW (even lukewarming)glasses, it looks like all or nothing. Otherwise even 5% from CO2 is too much.

      • That’s an overestimation in my opinion. Did you take into account any thermal inertia?

      • There is no way to say for certain if AGW is 30% or 40% due to humans.

        Imagine for a moment, that instead of a climate model, the earth itself was your model. And you could take the earth back to 1942, and reset initial conditions of the universe to what they were in 1942 to say 100 significant digits – well beyond human ability to measure.

        Now play the earth forward in time from 1942. Even at 100 significant digits, at the quantum level the “model” earth would quickly diverge from the history of “current” earth. Over just a short period of time this would lead to a very different future for the model earth as compared to the current earth.

        Each time we repeated this, taking the earth back to 1942, we would get a different future and with this different future a different climate. Some would undoubtedly be more likely than others, but there is no reason that the current earth we are living on would take the most likely path. The earth might simply by chance take a very unlikely future and thus end up with a very unlikely climate.

        Thus, the idea that we can model the future to predict what will happen to the earth is impossible with our current knowledge of physics. We could with very good models perhaps say what is more likely as compared to what is less likely. However, there is nothing that prevents the earth from taking what we might consider an unlikely path to the future and thus ending up with what we might consider an unlikely climate.

        Now apply this logic to the past. What you end up with is probabilities as well. You cannot say that AGW is 40% or 30% human caused without also including a probability as to how likely this is true. However our current level of understanding of physics is not sufficient to say how likely the path was that the earth took to get to the present.

        We like to believe that computer models tell us this probability, but the rapid divergence between models and observation post 1998 tends to indicate that even the best climate models are in reality curve fitting, not predicting.

      • Ferd, you are making an assumption that nature is chaotic. Loehle and Scafetta are making an assumption that goodness of fit means there is not chaos, but an order imposed by planetary motion. That’s not to say local weather patterns would be identical if we reset the Earth at 1942 because there is still noise int he residual of L&S’ graphs, but it would be ‘chaos within limits’.

        Going forward, their hypothesis can be tested against reality.
        How are we going to test your hypothesis against reality?

      • simon abingdon

        “Ferd, you are making an assumption that nature is chaotic”.
        tallbloke, we need words to distinguish between deterministically chaotic and chaotic in the random, quantum physics sense. One could suggest “complex” or “unpredictable”, respectively. Nature is not chaotic, just devastatingly complex.

    • You are right. The final results are not that different from IPCC conclusions up to present. There’s, however, more difference in the future expectations.

      There is apparent 60 year periodicity in the temperature history, but as stated by many, that provides little evidence for true periodicity that would continue. On the other hand the connection to solar periods appears purely illusory based an, what we have read above. The paper of Ogurtsov et al., which was supposed to support the claim, didn’t do that. Nothing else has fared the scrutiny any better. The tooth fairy remains an equally strong explanation based on the evidence that I have seen presented by the authors.

      • Alexander Harvey


        The IPCC WGI choice of since 1950 (they may say mid or middle of the century) , whether that means 1950-2000 or 1950 – report date more or less saves them from the worry of a 60 year cycle. Given that it is the only big harmonic show in town it renders their judgement more or less immune from such studies.

        I noted this here for the other paper (Wu & Huang?) which used Empirical Mode Decomposition, so we have had two papers highlighting that they can explain much variation on the closing 20-30 year period but not bridge the 50 year period where Judith takes the WGI judgement to task.

        Craig above has given a figure of 40% for AGW which I have queried and perhaps when I finish here he will have cleared matters up. The paper states that figure for 1970-2000 which is a different matter.

        I am not much fussed by the projection which is I think an extrapolation as I can see neither a model nor a scenario at play here.


      • Alex,
        Writing my comment here, was a totally due to the observation that the share over the second half of the century is indeed more than 50% according to the diagrams of the paper. That was the only connection to you.

        When I then picked up the comparison with tooth fairy that was directed to the original paper and the comments made by it’s authors in this thread. That comparison does not indicate knowing that there could not be a 60 year cycle related to planets and sun that might influence the climate. I do not claim to know that much. What I do claim is that the mechanisms proposed by the authors are so full of holes – i.e. unexplained steps and details – that they are not of any significant value as evidence. As far as this evidence goes we are not really any closer to an explanation than we were without this paper.

        If they have hit something correct, they have not been able to justify that conjecture. When the first explanations are questioned, new ideas are brought up, but everything is totally vague and too imprecise to pass any test of significance.

  18. The AGW train is moving just due to its momentum with out any fuel and it will stop soon. We just need one more global warming rate less than the IPCC projection of 0.2 deg C per decade. That will be the end of AGW.

  19. @Fred Molten.

    I fully agree !

    Between 1800 and 1900, the “astronomical” model shows cooling.

    However, in this period, a strong negative forcing was present because of the volcanoes !


  20. Might the following be a more accurate statement:

    Craig Loehle: “A 21st Century forecast… suggests that climate may remain approximately steady [OR COOL] until 2030-2040, and may at most warm 0.5-1.0°C by 2100 at the estimated 0.66°C/century” or, the globe could be in the throes of the next another ice age, tra-la.

    And, instead, ‘steady until 2030-2040’ might it also be conjectured–based on all of the available evidence, that–e.g., the “long-term global cooling starting around 2002 is expected to continue for next five to seven decades…” (Lu, Q.)

    “The CO2-paradigm does not recognize the regulatory function of weather events on surface temperature and even predicts the possibility of a ‘run-away effect’: i.e. continued temperature rise with CO2 increase in the atmosphere. The weather paradigm, in contrast, is far less alarming and predicts an equilibrium state that is near to the current state. Observations increasingly point to the alternative, weather paradigm as correct.” ~Arthur Rörsch

    “[A] significant portion of climate change is natural and linked to changes of solar activity… [and] might be partially driven by an additional natural forcing different from the radiative one…” ~Nicola Scafetta

    So what might that additional ‘natural forcing’ be? Scafetta and Wilson believe that an increase in the TSI (total solar irradiance) from 1980 to 2000 probably contributed to three decades of global warming.

    A decrease in TSI together and an anomalously quiet sun probably also has contributed to the global cooling trend that we have observed over the last decade. Decreased TSI also is the reason why some predict the possibility of a global cooling trend is imminent.

    Scarfetta and West noted that, “since 2002 the temperature data present a global cooling, not a warming! This cooling seems to have been induced by decreased solar activity from the 2001 maximum to the 2007 minimum as depicted in two distinct TSI reconstructions.”

    “The partial forecast indicates that climate may stabilize or cool until 2030–2040. Possible physical mechanisms are qualitatively discussed with an emphasis on the phenomenon of collective synchronization of coupled oscillators.” ~Nikola Scafetta

    • “A decrease in TSI together and an anomalously quiet sun probably also has contributed to the global cooling trend that we have observed over the last decade.”

      There is no global cooling trend over the last decade. But you are right that the quiet sun would have contributed cooling. Which means…

      • Mr. Natural’s warming since the so-called LIA kicked the napping sun’s butt?

      • “The ocean data that the alarmists are relying on to establish their warming trends is all pre-Argo, from XBTs. Now that we are measuring ocean temperatures properly, the warming trend has disappeared. And by coincidence, it disappeared just when we started measuring it properly!

        “Notice how the Minister’s graph above shows rising ocean heat content for 2004 through 2006, but the Argo data shows a cooling trend? There is a problem here.

        “The Argo data is extraordinarily difficult to find on the Internet. There is no official or unofficial website showing the latest ocean temperature. Basically the only way to get the data is to ask Josh Willis (above). The graph above come from Craig Loehle, who got the data from Willis, analysed it, and put the results in a peer reviewed paper available on the Internet. Given the importance of the ocean temperatures, don’t you think this is extraordinary?

        “If the Argo data showed a warming trend, don’t you suppose it would be publicized endlessly?

        “So what’s going on? Our best data, from satellites and Argo, says that both the air and oceans have not warmed for at least five years now. In the short term, some cooling force is overpowering the warming due to human emissions.” ~Dr. David Evans

      • andrew adams

        You have to put 2011 as the end date otherwise you only get data up to the beginning of 2010. If you do that then you still get a very slight cooling trend with HadCrut but you get a warming trend with GISS and UAH and a flat trend with RSS.

      • simon abingdon

        “There is no global cooling trend over the last decade”. Do you not accept that the curve has flattened, lolwot? Of course, that could be due to many influences. But, lolwot, what if you can’t see the flattening?

  21. Girma;
    I haven’t checked, but suspect there’s probably something very like that on Intrade.

  22. “The fitted components match solar model forcings within their uncertainty.”

    I strongly disagree, but the drop in global temperature over the next 10 years if my solar-climate hypothesis is correct will provide the disproof, so I won’t fall out with you about it. :)

  23. Although I agree with Fred and others that a 60 year cycle is likely to end up as a psuedo cycle and eventually the prediction and model disagree. I have seen others use the data not included in the training period and call the results a validation of its predictive power. Some have used not the end but the middle, you may know of this paper(s), and may note that there was an effort to hide the decline after the predictions were made. Hopefully Fred will castigate these scientists with equal fervor that he is sending Loehle, C. and N. Scafetta. 2011.

    On the assumptions part, it is quite common to make assumptions. Perhaps Fred and others failed to note that the IPCC assumed mostly natural pre 1940, and mostly anthropogenic post 1970. As noted a circular type of assumption matrix that was reflected in the results. However, the IPCC supported the assumption(s). However, I don’t think they meet the Moolten test criteria. ONe leg was the leg above, the other leg is below.

    As Fred fails L&S 2011, since it fails the test of empiricism, perhaps Fred would also like to fail most models and modellers for not including Browning, G.L. and H.O. Kreiss works on failure of typically ill posed systems of GCM’s and other systems. Perhaps Fred will also discuss the empirical failing of using hyperviscosity in a single test without proper experimental data (our history of climate to this point) with the multi-test approach with proper experimental data that the hyperviscosity use was developed. Perhaps Fred at the same time would address not only Browning and Kreiss, but also Tebaldi and Knutti’s works on what it means to empirically test GCM’s that is not done and thus fail the Moolten Test.

    Truthfully, the world is waiting for validation of model(s). I suspect time will invalidate L&S 2011. But in that has not hapened yet, I would keep speculation, no matter how much I believe it, as speculation. And when authors are on the cutting edge, we note it is the bleeding edge.

    • “Although I agree with Fred and others that a 60 year cycle is likely to end up as a psuedo cycle”

      I agree that the 60 year ‘cycle’ is likely to fade in and out.
      There are strong planetary-solar-climate connections at 45 and 90 years.
      It’s worth noting that 60 is 2/3 of 90 and also 3/2 of 45.

  24. Even assuming the rest of the paper to be correct, there seems to be a problem with the model-fitting.

    In Fig. 2b of the paper (reproduced above as Fig. 1b), C&S argue that the residuals prior to 1942 are random, so that the 60+20 model is justified for the early period. For the later period (1942-2010), they add an additional linear trend to create a separate model. However, they do not show a graph of the residuals, which likewise must be random for the later model to be valid.

    Inspection of the afore-mentioned figure (1b above) shows that the residuals are mostly positive during 1950-1975, are mostly negative during 1975-2002, and are mostly positive since 2002. This is precisely the same residual pattern (positive, then negative, then positive over the period of validity of the model) that causes C&S to reject their original ‘entire period’ model shown in Fig. 1 of their paper.

    So, their model for the period 1950-2010 appears to fail their own test for validity, and should not be used to infer attribution of climate change since 1950 nor to create future projections of climate change. The failure of the model post 1950 also raises the question of whether the good behavior prior to 1950 was a matter of chance.

    • Uh, make that L&S. :(

    • I believe your eyeballing of residuals does not look the same as mine.

      • Okay, let’s try a smoothed plot of the residuals:

        Do you see what I mean now? The residuals undergo a secular change from positive to negative and back to positive again. The linear model appears to be inappropriate and in particular underestimates the trend during the last 20-40 years.

      • The fit we get is better than any GCM or any other model. I believe part of what you object to will be fixed with the new Hadley data, but I have not had time to look at it yet.

  25. When Roy Spencer got his refutation of Dessler published he wrote “But I did want to give them plenty of time to work on ignoring our published research as they write the next IPCC report”

    Now we have another report which the IPCC needs to ignore for the AR5. Does anyone know the “rules of engagement” for the IPCC and the AR5? Can the IPCC, by it’s own rules, ignore either or both of these publications?

    • Of course they can ignore anything they want. And they will.

      • I predict it will receive exactly the amount of attention it deserves.

      • Of course they can ignore anything they want. And they will.

        And they have (several incidents in AR4 WG1).

      • The IPCC’s version of ‘literature review’ is essentially a deliberately incomplete, highly selective ‘cherry-picking’ of the material available including only those papers which support the AGW hypothesis while excluding any evidence to the contrary. A proper literature review requires that the literature search be comprehensive, objective, unbiased, robust and repeatable with clearly defined criteria for selecting/excluding papers for further analysis. This has been routinely required in regulatory agences over the past 15 years or so but….of course ‘climate science’ (as per IPCC) has its own ‘rules’.

  26. AGW advocates, please put your money where your mouth is!


  27. Let me summarize so far. Two average scientists happen to stumble onto something really cool with no funding. Not geniuses but it seems like an important result. Some are complaining that we didn’t cite every possible paper. Too bad. Some don’t like cycles. Some complain without reading it. Multiple objections about things that show poor reading comprehension (like which period we used for fitting the solar cycle part of the model). Lots of accusations of bias and dishonesty. Lots of insulting statements about it being “lousy” and stuff. Many people expect a new study to cover all possible ifs-ands-or-buts, but in the real world it is one step at a time.

    • Craig

      Why don’t you give them the detrended GMT data to clearly see the 60-year cycle shown below?


      • that is done in my figure 10b in

        N. Scafetta, “Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications”. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 72, 951–970 (2010),

    • By their squawks shall ye know them.

      I think you’ve established a clear set of “baselines” that will have to be taken into account in any proper analysis henceforth.

      And the forthright prediction trumps the IPCC spaghetti-scenarios. As does provision of your calculations and data sets, etc. Well done.

    • Craig –
      So far, nothing but the normal/ expected reaction to anything that doesn’t support the “consensus”. Hang tough.

      And – Thank you.

      • I don’t think that’s good advice, Jim. The authors should review the criticisms aired here as objectively as possible to decide which are valid and how that affects their conclusions. “Hanging tough” is not a good way to reconcile one’s views with reality when there may be a disconnect. Michael Mann has been hanging tough on his hockey stick proxies for quite a while, and I’m not sure Craig Loehle wants to follow his example.

      • Fred –
        Your view of “hanging tough” differs from mine –
        just as your view of the value of their paper differs from mine.

      • This isn’t really a reply to Jim, but rather an alert to anyone who starts reading my long comment below on 60-year cycles. Carelessly, I managed to refer to 60-days rather than 60-years at different points in the comment, but I meant the refer to years in every case.

  28. The notion of 60 year cycles raises an interesting probability issue. From memory, I have the impression we are talking about cycles of length 55-65 days or thereabouts rather than an exact 60 days, although I may not have remembered this accurately.

    Assuming 55-65 day “cycles”, the question is this. If over an interval of 600 years, we find 10 cycles of length 55-65 days, what is the probability that they reflect a common mechanism as opposed to the coincidence of fluctuations with different mechanisms that happen all to fall within the 55-65 day interval? This could lend itself to a Bayesian analysis, which I suspect would tell us that coincidence would be a highly probable explanation – perhaps the most probable one.

    The critical determinant would be whether we examined the 600 years looking specifically for 60-day cycles or whether we were simply asking whether cycles of any length would emerge. In the former case, a common mechanism would be highly likely, but much less likely if we didn’t specify in advance what cycle length we sought but simply looked for cycles.

    Note that post-hoc explanations would not change this reasoning, because once a cycle is identified, it is always possible to invoke some mechanism. On the other hand, a common mechanism would be strongly reinforced if putative 60 year cycles that had been identified led to a correct prediction that 60 years from now we would witness another repetition. (Predictions of 11-year solar cycles have been confirmed repeatedly).

    The concept reminds me of a recently cited quotation from Feynman – “You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight. I was coming here, on the way to the lecture, and I came in through the parking lot. And you won’t believe what happened. I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!”

    What are the chances of seeing a 60-year cycle? There would be fewer than “millions” to choose from, but the number would not be trivial, and if we extend the possibilities to 60 +/- 5 years, they become even more numerous.

    • 60-day cycles? 10 in 600 years? Good thinkin’, Frodo.

      As for 60-year cycles, it’s hardly simply an ad hoc figure out of the blue. As you know very well.

      Natter, natter.

    • Yes, I meant 60 year cycles, but the same reasoning would apply to 60 day cycles.

    • Nicola and I would strongly encourage people to look into this question and the data. There has been too much effort in defence of climate models to deny that any such cycles could exist (among our reviewers as well). It is an empirical question and not an easy one. Data extending back hundreds of years often have gaps, dating error, and of course measurement error. All these will make it harder to discern cycles even if they do in fact exist.

      • despite what Craig says, there are already several studies showing these cycles for hundred and thousand years

        one last paper:
        Knudsen et al (“Tracking the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation through the last 8,000 years”, Nature Communications, 2011, [http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v2/n2/full/ncomms1186.html]): “

        Figure 5 in Knudsen et al shows the spectrogram highlighting the 58-61 year periodicity in the Lake Chichancanab data in the Yucatan for thousand years.

      • Nicola – I’m not sure you responded to my point. It was not that the past fluctuations (a “quasi-persistent” 55-70 years for the AMO in the article you cite) weren’t real, but that they need not have reflected a consistent mechanism that could be applied to future predictions – in other words, they were not necessarily true oscillations in the mechanistic sense of the word. This is in fact the subject of a recent article suggesting that the AMO is very possibly a Statistical Artifact of the trend identification process. I take no position on this except to warn that the existence of past cycles is not sufficient to demonstrate that every iteration has the same cause, which can then be applied to current and future trends.

      • It is easy to dismiss all attempts to identify patterns as being artifacts. It is of course a possibility, but if you read our paper I think we can reject this null.

      • Fred, your is just an opinion.

        Our paper is not supposed to be “the end” of the climate science. There are a lot of open issues that need to be properly investigated.

        I do not believe that the climatic patterns that are observed in the data are just a “startistical arifact”. I believe that there are quasi-periodic cycles in the climate because in the solar system everything is modulated by cycles and at the end all dynamical systems tend to syncronize with those cycles.

      • maksimovich

        Nicola the argument for the Vincze, M.; & Janosi, I.M. paper is indeed an open problem and it is based on the arguments for the so called weather singularities eg Godfrey ( 2001)the so called January thaw.

        It concludes

        is a recognized characteristic of human psychology that people will find patterns in the world around them, whether or not those patterns
        result from coherent underlying causes. “The tendency to impute order to ambiguous stimuli is simply built into the cognitive machinery
        we use to apprehend the world. It may have been bred into us through evolution because of its general adaptiveness . . .” (Gilovich 1993,
        Ch. 2). While this powerful human capacity to find order in nature has served and continues to serve us extremely well, it also sometimes leads us to falsely impute meaning to chance events.Gilovich nicely illustrates this problem using the statistics of consecutive hit or missed shots in basketball (the “hot hand”), where statistical independence
        can reasonably be assumed. When dealing with the non-independent statistics of the atmosphere, the problem of “detecting” spurious
        patterns is amplified by the statistical relatedness of data that are nearby in time or space or both (see Livezey and Chen (1983), for a good example), and here our instinctive tendency to read too much into apparent patterns must be guarded against especially strongly. In the case of the January thaw, what superficially appear to be coherent
        singularities in the observed data can be adequately explained as products of time dependence, spatial dependence, and chance weather occurrences. …

        …If a dynamical basis for their phase-locking to late January
        were to be found, then the statistical analysis presented
        here would be of no interest. However,in the absence of such a physical rationale, our results leave one with little reason to look beyond simple statistical sampling variations as the cause of the January thaw. This is the same conclusion reached long ago by Marvin (1919), who wrote that “each striking feature on a long record is, therefore, no evidence of the persistent recurrence of peculiar irregularities, but is simply the residual scar or imprint of some unusual event, or a few which have been fortuitously combined at about the time in question.”

        The last paragraph is indeed problamatic eg Ruelle 2002,2002

        What I suggest is that in a persistent way, a system may exhibit historical behaviour, instead of recurrence.

        The arguments both for and against natural variations are also problematic for the iceages and interglacials and indeed we may be just having a run of bad luck eg Ghil 2001

        As northern hemisphere temperatures were falling in the 1960s and early 1970s, the aerosol effect was the one that caused the greatest concern. As shown in Sect. 2.2, this concern was bolstered by the possibility of a huge, highly nonlinear temperature drop if the climate system reached the upper-left bifurcation point of Fig. 1.
        The global temperature increase through the 1990s is certainly rather unusual in terms of the instrumental record of the last 150 years or so. It does not correspond, however, to a rapidly accelerating increase in greenhouse-gas emissions or a substantial drop in aerosol emissions. How statistically significant is, therefore, this temperature rise, if the null hypothesis is not a random coincidence of small, stochastic excursions of global temperatures with all, or nearly all, the same sign?

        The presence of internally arising regularities in the climate system with periods of years and decades suggests the need for a different null hypothesis. Essentially, one needs to show that the behaviour of the climatic signal is distinct from that generated by natural climate variability in the past, when human effects were negligible, at least on the global scale. As discussed in Sects. 2.1 and 3.3, this natural variability includes interannual and interdecadal cycles, as well as the broadband component. These cycles are far from being
        purely periodic. Still, they include much more persistent excursions of one sign, whether positive or negative in global or hemispheric temperatures, say, than does red noise.

        Of course if there are viable arguments for statistical agreement with the solar irridiance data by EMD then we may indeed be facing interesting times eg A. Ruzmaikin & J. Feynman 2009

        In both cases all modes are highly statistically significant (Fig. 8). We also recover a trend, which can be interpreted as a declining
        phase of the 88-year (Gleissberg) cycle or a transition to the next Global Solar Minimum.

        Intererence is a well known problem ie the overlap of adjacent cycles say the modulation of the Gleissberg cycle by the 208-year Suess cycle produces interesting tones ~150 and ~61 yrs eg PERISTYKH AND DAMON 2003

      • Paul Vaughan

        Thanks for the link to:

        Vincze, M.; & Janosi, I.M. (2011). Is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) a statistical phantom? Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics 18, 469-475. doi:10.5194/npg-18-469-2011.

        I see that it was edited by William Hsieh.

      • nicola it’s not surprising that you would find these cycles.

        Add up all the data ever looked at by man. Are you amazed that some fraction of those found these cycles? I’m not.
        What many of us are looking for is a physical mechanism. And not merely words about clouds and and possible mechanisms. Actual equations with parameters.

        That you havent found the mechanism isnt necessarily a flaw. But its not a great epistemic base to build from. One would expect more circumspec claims. Without an identified physical ( and I mean laws of physics and known measurable entities) mechanism, many of us are just going to say there is nothing but an odd coincidence here.

        You basically are defending on three fronts.

        1. the data you selected ( always a huge nasty fight )

        2. The methods you used or didnt use ( good clean fights usually)

        3. The absence of physical theory.. which isnt a problem UNLESS the topic is contenscious

        and you’ve taken a position in the middle; man cause some, “nature” cause some.

        I predict a huge number of comments. Problem: you need some credible ‘seconds’ otherwise you’ll be lost in this sea of comments.

      • Steven Mosher

        The lack of a well-defined theoretical mechanism when there is a good statistical correlation in the physical observations is a weakness, as you point out.

        But the lack of a good statistical correlation in the physical observations when there is a well-defined theoretical mechanism is an even greater one.

      • Max,

        What does qualify as good statistical correlation?

        That’s a serious problem in many studies of main stream science, but seldom as significantly as this paper.

        Good correlation with data of this type and quantity is significant only, when we have real reasons for selecting a specific model. It’s essentially of no value, when the model is chosen just to allow for a good fit. It’s fully acknowledged that the 60 year cycle is first found from the temperature data and then a search is done to find somewhere else a similar cycle. That’s not a way of reaching significance unless the connection can be explained well through likely causal mechanisms. In absence of such a likely (plausible is not enough) mechanism, it’s almost certain that the correlation is just a coincidence.

      • True, but it’s better than inventing sulfate aerosol data to make your model fit the temperature history.

      • I agree.

        Cyclomynia is better than epicyclomania.

      • Willis Eschenbach seems to have calculated a 90% confidence interval for Scafetta and Loehle’s trend change at 1945 here:

      • higgs boson and bobs your uncle.
        you have your own little inventions.
        we a;ways invent things because observation NEVER matches theory.
        the issue is inventing things and then never checking that they are real or not

      • I agree.

        Cyclo-mania is MUCH better than Epicyclo-mania!

      • Paul Vaughan

        steven mosher | July 26, 2011 at 2:33 am | “What many of us are looking for is a physical mechanism. […] Actual equations with parameters.”

        You’re elevating models above observation and endorsing them as a form of proof. Shame.

        I also note your demands above for code. You really need someone else’s code to fit 2 sine waves & a straight line??

      • simon abingdon

        Steve “contenscious”. Wonderful coinage. Just has to mean “knowingly argumentative”.

      • The 60 year cycle seems to be more identifiable in the tropical regions of Earth. high northern latitudes display a 45 year cycle in beach ridges on uplifting shores, modulated by 360 year and 180 year harmonics. (Fairbridge, Oliver, Shirley)
        There is also a 75 year period in north Atlantic SST’s, linked to lunar nodal cycles. (Yndestad)

        Full citations at those links.

        Well done Nicola and Craig. :)

    • Paul Vaughan

      It’s comical (tragically so) observing how people fall for the Bayesian sales pitch, as if that methodology is somehow always straightforwardly & simply “better”. Untenable assumptions are untenable assumptions whether they are underpinning classical inference or Bayesian inference. I suggest focusing on the important part: UNTENABLE ASSUMPTIONS. Best Regards.

  29. Since there is interest in betting…

    In 2005 solar physicists Galina Mashnich and Vladimir Bashkirtsev bet modeler James Annan $10,000 that global temperatures would be cooler during 2012 through 2017 compared to 1998-2003.

  30. Nebuchadnezzar

    I wonder what this paper would have looked like if the authors had trained the model on the second half of the data and projected it backwards for comparison with the first half. In which case there would be an unmistakable anthro signal, and the undershoot of temperatures in the early record would be due (lets think) to erroneous IPCC corrections to the SST data. By selectively quoting the literature it’s possible to prove anything. That doesn’t mean that the conclusion is incorrect, but the method seems unconvincing to me even if there are no errors in it. The same applies to most all of the papers that ‘attribute’ climate change by regression onto the global average temperature series.

    In this case though we have for example:

    The “STATISTICAL TEST OF THE DETERMINATION OF A ~60-YEAR CYCLE IN A SHORT RECORD” for example assumes white noise errors, which are just about the weakest test that could be made. Are the residuals really white noise?

    The trend in the early period is projected forwards without any justification. Why should it continue at the same rate?

    Splitting the series into two is somewhat ad hoc. I could see the rationale for doing that if it was a split into training and verification sets, but it’s not. The model projected forwards doesn’t seem to bear any relation to the data and the differences between the model and the data are then fitted separately.

    There’s no real basis for the 20-year cycle, beyond the fact that a previous paper identified a 20-year cycle by spectral analysis.

    The argument in favour of a 60 years cycle relies a lot on quasi-60 year cycles or ~60 year cycles or approximately 60 year cycles. What are the values, how approximate is approximate? It’s a small thing, but it jangles the alarm bells.

    The model ignores the relatively larger uncertainties in the early data. In fact, it ignores uncertainties in the data completely until the section about UHI effects when suddenly they become important.

    In many respects it’s a step back from the IPCC detection and attribution studies. No allowance is made for natural variability other than 20 and 60 years cycles described by the very simple model (one can criticize the models for underplaying internal variability but they do factor it into their analyses even testing sensitivity to internal variability that has been scaled up). The effect size is not predicted by the model, but backed out by regression something at least one of the authors was critical of in proxy studies. No information regarding the spatial patterns of warming are used. Uncertainties in the observation relating to limited observational coverage are ignored.

    and so on…

    Still, congratulations for getting it published.

    My favourite sentence is this one “The residual warming observed
    since 1950 is mostly induced by an increasing anthropogenic warming signal due to global industrial development, land usage change and urban heat island (UHI) effects since 1950.” Attribution by assertion. Why bother doing the analysis at all?

    Now I’ll stop.

    • thank you for having stopped!

      Now study the references very carefully, and you will discover that a lot of people have talked about the 20 and 60 year oscillation in the climate.

      • That is non responsive. Yes many people have talked about the cycles.
        those who have read the papers you cite understand that.
        His raised issues you avoided addressing
        1. “but the method seems unconvincing to me even if there are no errors in it. ” His criticism of regressions
        2. His criticism of the noise structure you selected
        3. Slim support for 20 year cycles
        4. the 60 year cycles you cites are rather wide ranging around 60
        5. uncertainties in early data ( 1850-1900 is VERY sketchy, just ask me how few stations there are.
        6. failure to address spatial issues
        7. final conclusions unsupported by any evidence ( it must be anthro, uhi etc )

      • Mosh

        I think the data as regards SSTs is very sketchy up to the 1950’s, not just the 1900’s. The stuff from 1850-1950 in general surely isn’t good enough on which to base a scientifc paper

    • “The trend in the early period is projected forwards without any justification. Why should it continue at the same rate?” If the linear trend is either warming up following the LIA or a short segment (which only look linear) of a longer term cycle, then there is every reason why it could be extrapolated another 100 yrs–but not indefinately. If the 60 and 20 yr cycles which we are hypothsizing are important turn out to be sufficient to explain the data, why should we get more complicated? Occam’s razor here.
      Many of your complaints are about details which can be evaluated over time as more work is done. Some are about preferences–such as whether you like any regression analysis attribution study (though it escapes me how you propose to do an attribution study without statistics…)
      Again, why all the insults? You don’t know me at all, we’ve never met. For example your last paragraph–this is our conclusion based on our study and review of the literature. “why bother doing the analysis at all?” really rude.

      • Until you realize that valid criticisms are not insults, I am afraid you won’t really take from this back-and-forth experience anything useful.

        The worst part of this is the way it is so similar to the Team’s reaction. Why would you react in this way? I assume you did all this in very good faith, but you should also realise that this per-se does not make good science. There is a very distinctive difference between personal honesty and logical rigor in any climatic analysis, and I really urge you to understand this difference, unless you want to fall down into an echo chamber of compliments and pats on the back (while ignoring the rest as “insults”).

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        My apologies. My post was somewhat grumpier than I thought at the time.

        If I was reviewing your paper, I would have said “This assertion concerning attribution to GHG forcing needs a reference and a discussion of why the GHG attribution result can be assumed to hold whereas attribution of solar, volcanic and aerosol forcings can be ignored.”

        You say “Many of your complaints are about details which can be evaluated over time as more work is done.” whereas I would say, these kinds of analyses are all about those details. Getting the right model for your residuals is critical to any claim of significance. Accurately citing the literature is a fundamental pre-requisite for any paper. Using the earliest data requires a careful consideration of the uncertainties – the first 30 years were deemed too sparsely observed to be included in either the GISS or NCDC analyses which start in 1880. And so on…

        These are not details. These are fundamental to your analysis.

        you say “(though it escapes me how you propose to do an attribution study without statistics…)” That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that so many people have tried fitting so many different things to the 161-or so annual global average temperature values and all of them found “significant” relationships. Why should I – or anyone – believe this analysis and not the others?

        If a 60-year cycle is evident in so much proxy data, use that to develop the model. Are the proxies consistent in the size and phase of the response? Are there any proxies that contradict your hypothesis? What are the uncertainties? Are you justified in using a cycle that repeats exactly every 60 years? What would we expect to see in the observed record based on that information. Is there a coherent pattern in other variables than temperature. Then having done that use the observed data to falsify, or corroborate that hypothesis.

        If I was reviewing the paper, I would have sent it back with all these criticisms and more.

  31. Fred, there was no question in my comment. My comment wasn’t about volcanoes. My comment wasn’t questioning the possibility that aerosols can cause cooling. My comment was strickly about coal burning in China and the fact that some latched on to this excuse for the lack of recent warming despite the lack of evidence, and in fact pretty strong contradictory evidence, that this was the case. It was nothing more then this and nothing less. I probably wouldn’t have even brought it up except the tooth fairy reference reminded me of how silly it seemed for people to try and support this explanation despite its obvious shortcomings and reminded me of a comment I considered writing.

    • steven;
      notwithstanding that I agree with your comment, I’m going to have to strick you down. Or strike, even. The word is “strictly”. No K, OK?

  32. Fred and Nebuchandnezzar

    Now you are telling us not to believe our own eyes:

    1) 60-year cycle in the GMT data:

    2) The GMT has an upper boundary line that has not been exceeded in 130 year of data. As a result, it is unlikely it will be exceeded in the next decades:

    Regarding to the near 60-year cycle, here is a paper co-authored by MANN that confirm its existence:

    Analyses of global climate from measurements dating back to the nineteenth century show an ‘Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation’ (AMO) as a leading large-scale pattern of multidecadal variability in surface temperature.

    Yet it is not possible to determine whether these fluctuations are genuinely oscillatory from the relatively short observational record alone. Using a 1400 year climatemodel calculation, we are able to simulate the observed
    pattern and amplitude of the AMO. The results imply the AMO is a genuine quasi-periodic cycle of internal climate variability persisting for many centuries, and is related to variability in the oceanic thermohaline circulation (THC).

    Knight, J. R.,R. J. Allan, C. K. Folland, M. Vellinga, and M. E. Mann
    (2005), A signature of persistent natural thermohaline
    circulation cycles in observed climate, Geophys. Res. Lett.,
    32, L20708, doi:10.1029/2005GL024233.

  33. We developed an hypothesis. The outcome of our analysis was not only a remarkable fit to the data, but a fulfilled prediction for flat temps after 1998, and a detected AGW signal that matches theory in terms of timing, shape etc. As well, the relative magnitudes of the 2 cycles were the same for the solar motion and temperature cases. This would be an extraordinary coincidence. But many people here seemed angry before they even read it. Why might that be?

    • “the relative magnitudes of the 2 cycles were the same for the solar motion and temperature cases”

      This is not true. Fig 5B of Scafetta (2010) shows clearly that the 20 yr cycle is hugely dominant in the SCMSS ‘solar motion’ data which is the opposite in your fit of the temperature data. Why might you claim otherwise?

      • I will check on that in the morning.

      • In my 2010 paper I argue about a “similitude of frequencies”, not of amplitudes. The amplitude depends on the way the system responds to the external forcings, and usually fast cycles are smoothed out more than slow cycles. Thus, the relative amplitude does not really matter.
        In the input forcing one amplitude relative to a given frequency might be larger than another, and in the output signal you can have the opposite.

        In synchronization or in resonance phenomena the “frequency” counts much more than the relative amplitude which would be conserved only in “linear” systems.

        In the case of the speed of the sun relative to the barycenter the 20-year cycle dominates on the 60-year cycle in amplitude. However, other observables built with the same orbits of the planets have a dominant 60-year cycle above the 20-year one such as the tides. But in my 2010 paper it was not my intention to study which physical observable was the most “physical” in a “linear” term.

        What mattered was to test whether there was a similitude of frequencies between astronomical cycles and temperature cycles. So, the relative amplitude of the cycles did not really mattered.

        Essentially the speed of the sun relative to the barycenter should not be undesrtood as a naive and elementary “linear” proxy of the temperature or of the solar activity. This things are clearly written in the paper where I compare the frequencies, not the amplitude.

      • But in the absence of any actual mechanism that has a difference in response between the 20 yr and 60 yr cycles of at least a factor of 10, your ‘similitude of frequencies’ argument is just a post hoc explanation.

        However, Craig insisted here and at WUWT that the relative amplitudes are similar as support for your fit. This is not the case.

        Neither are any modulations of quasi- 20 year or 60 year variability matched. Nor the relative phasing. Indeed, what would be the difference in your model if you had just picked 20 and 60 based on the spectra of the residuals to a quadratic fit as in Scafetta (2010)? What actual connection is there to astronomical time series at all?

      • Neil, you are not understanding the issue at all.

        Please read my paper with an open mind. Physics deals with “geometries”, not “mechanisms”. When Newton proposed his law of gravitation which “mechanism” did he propose?

      • tallblokeIsaac Newton

        I frame no hypotheses.

      • Physics (and other sciences) deal with falsifiable hypotheses. Statistical fits based on vague hand-waving ‘similtudes’ of frequencies on short time series without any statistical test of coherence, or physical mechanism are not falsifiable.

        You could take any random time series with properties like that of the HadCRUT data and do a spectra, find astronomical frequencies that are ‘similar’, do a fit based on the periods, and then deal with any residuals by a piecewise linear fit. All of the same arguments you make, could be made in exactly the same way, and would be exactly as convincing (i.e. not at all).

        You could even find a couple of paleo-climate timeseries that show the same periods (there really is a very rich source of data there).

        But you know this because you’ve done it before. A few years ago it periods of 22 and 11 years based on wavelets, last year it was five cosines based on astronomical spectra and a quadratic trend – including a ‘vital’ 9.1 yr cycle, now it 60 years and 20 years and a piecewise linear trend – and 11 yr solar cycles and 9 yr lunar cycles are nowhere to be found.

        So what do you say to people who where convinced by your previous fits? What do you say to yourself?

        PS. Milankovitch forcing is based on a very clear physical mechanism (changes in solar insolation as a function of season and latitude), ocean tides are based on a very clear physical mechanism (the gradient of gravitational attraction across the radius of the Earth). But the physical mechanism associated with every third conjunction of Juptier and Saturn? Imaginary.

      • It’s time you stopped ignoring the information being provided to you.
        The 60 year cycle fits within a ~180 year cycle which involves the other two gas giant planets. Their disposition at the time of J+S conjunction affects solar energy release rates too.

        Peer reviewed papers by NASA scientists confirm the planets affect the Sun’s activity.
        Wolff and Patrone
        Ching Cheh Hung

        Wake up and walk into the C21st. Co2 driven global warming is so last millenium. Literally ;)

      • Oh please. Why are all these so called influences on activity just beyond the ability of actual data to see? Why are the much larger planetary oscillations (i.e. 18.6 or 20 years) not seen in the activity data? Why is the real quasi-11 yr cycle incoherent with the Jupiter orbital period? (Answer: because none of these things have any impact on solar activity at all).

        It is you that needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Appeals to 19th Century numerology are not science.

      • If you study the solar cycle lengths youll find that they very rarely coincide with the long term average of 11.07 years. They cluster around 10.4 and 12 years. These periods relate directly and closely to the conjunction cycles of Jupiter, Earth and Venus.

        I cant expect you to immediately pick up all the research which has been going on in this area recently. Partly because a lot of it isn’t in the peer reviewed literature for reasons your attitude makes clear.

        By the same token, you shouldn’t be so dismissive of things you know very little about.

        There are however many hidden gems in the peer reviewed literature documenting periodicities which relate to solar system dynamics and cycles. I’ve provided links here to some of them, but although you can lead a horse to water…

      • There is no 180 year cycle which involves the outer gas planets. If I can offer some advise it is to get off the cycle bandwagon.

      • Yes, I misunderstood. Sorry.

  34. Guys – take it as a compliment if Fred’s only complaint is that you published it elsewhere as well.

  35. The heat in this debate is certainly of anthropogenic origin. Some cool showers needed.

  36. Climate Curve fits can and do match measured data. With a lot of tweaking of the inputs and parameters. That they match does not make them a Climate Model and does not prove they are correct. Separating the man made warming from the natural warming with math models has no meaning when neither the natural warming or the man made warming are understood well enough to know what they are. Earth temperature is stable and Climate Model output is not stable. Enough Said!

  37. Rather than representing the effect of CO2 as an upward curve (as it would be theoretically), they choose two linear segments with the second starting in about 1942. What is to say a third segment with a much steeper gradient won’t start soon. This looks arbitrary.
    CO2 increased by 100 ppm in the first 160 years, and will increase several times that in the next hundred. Why keep it as a that second linear trend? This is where the whole extrapolation fails. And, no, the log saturation idea doesn’t start to linearize the upward trend until CO2 reaches many times the natural level of 280 ppm.

  38. So you use you model to develop a satisfactory climate base line swag and then back out the observed to get, for lack of imagination, what you call the human component. Did I get that right?

    If so they you also know all the forcings of clouds, where Trenberth’s Travesty can be found, and have proved that the climate is not chaotic but actually and easily calculable. I guess Dr. Spencer can stop fiddling with all those oceanic measurements that are so confounding and Dr. Pielke Sr. can put off writing yet another paper. This can also silence Lord Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley.

    That’s a good day’s work. You should now model your chances of convincing anyone.

    • You obviously are not comfortable with prospects of runaway global climate stability and what alarmist would? That is the only thing that has become very predictable.

    • Based on this blog it does not look like anyone is convinced, so you need not worry.

  39. This paper will require some of us (like me) to analyze it several times to be sure of all elements within it.
    However, after a first, cursory exam I do feel it is an important contribution.
    One, because there is less circular thinking, less giant assumptions about things like relative humidity as in IPCC models. (Has anyone ever presented a viable reason why there is no warm spot as predicted and why it is simply ignored?)
    Two, perhaps because it fits my belief, which is; there is a minor and relatively insignificant anthropogenic influence on climate..
    Small enough so that the best thing we can do regarding it is nothing.

  40. Wagathon | July 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Reply

    You obviously are not comfortable with prospects of runaway global climate stability and what alarmist would? That is the only thing that has become very predictable.

    Actually I’m perfectly comfortable with the concept of runaway warming and, given the scale of CO2 rise in the last 100 years am looking forward to seeing evidence of it. Meanwhile, it is July 25 and we’ve had yet another cold rainy day, and our two days of summer we’ve experienced are but a fading memory. Not that weather equates to climate, but I was really hoping for some sunny days around here thanks to catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Any chance the model predicts more?

  41. “The observational evidence for a strong cooling aerosol effect is therefore in conflict with the model output.”

    Dear Fred;
    The southern hemisphere, as shown by the link below, showed cooling during the period 1938 – 1970. During this period industrial emissions of aerosols ware almost totally restricted to the Nth hemisphere (Europe, US). How do you explain this?
    Consider: There is little exchange of air between the nth & Sth hemispheres & climate science shows sulphates will rain out before they can cross the thermal equator. Ben Santer & James Hansen both claim relative cooling of the Nth hemisphere from sulphates compared to the sth.
    RE http://thegwpf.org/science-news/3452-why-hasnt-the-earth-warmed-in-nearly-15-years.html

  42. left out of post from steve. s 12:50am

    Fred, this is the graph I meant to include in my previous post.


    • The graph can’t be interpreted to show a linear declining trend as claimed from a linear regression calculation because of the artifactual starting point used to draw the trend line.. Also, see the Wild reference for discussion of global distribution of aerosols.

      In general, over the long term, the NH has tended to warm more than the SH (partly because of greater NH land mass as well as circulation patterns in high southern latitudes) and so if both hemispheres are subjected to a cooling influence, the NH/SH differences are likely to show up there as well. Would they show up equally? Well, if you look at the Long Term Trends, it appears that during the 1950-1980 interval when aerosol cooling was significant, the SH exhibited a slightly positive (warming) slope, while the NH was flat. The two hemispheres differed in the extent of the ~1945 dip, but that was unlikely to be related to aerosols.

  43. wayne arnold

    “The model was fit to the Hadley global temperature data up to 1950 (the time period before anthropogenic (GHG+Aerosol) emissions became a significant forcing mechanism), “….” It is assumed that this residual upward warming has been mostly induced by anthropogenic emissions, urbanization and land use change. The warming observed before 1942 is relatively small and is assumed to have been mostly naturally induced because anthropogenic (warming + cooling) forcing would approximately compensate each other before 1950.”

    Sorry for the silly question.
    Why can’t the pre 1942 trend be from urbanisation and land use change?

    I always get frustrated when climate change from ALL anthrpogenic influences is interchange with climate change from CO2 only

  44. If the global warming trend for the previous warming period from 1910 to 1940 were assumed to continue (like the IPCC does now), the projected temperatures for the 2000s would have been wrong.


    The same would apply for the projection based on the recent warming from 1970 to 2000.

  45. Here is summary of my observations:
    It appears to be mostly speculation without credible underlining mechanism.
    Current temperatures are only 0.6 degree C higher now then they were 300 years ago.
    It is a bit surprising that scientists attempt to write a supposedly ‘serious’ paper estimating degree of the climate’s natural against the anthropogenic change with this state of knowledge:
    The nature and origin of the AMO is uncertain, and it remains unknown whether it represents a persistent periodic driver in the climate system, or merely a transient feature.The PDO goes through warm and cool phases, it is closely related to the (inverted) SOI / ENSO. The causes of the oscillation are currently unknown.
    I think that neither the AMO, PDO or ENSO are much to do, on decadal scale, with the solar output, not at least as one is currently measured and known to science, be it TSI, UV or the solar wind.
    Consider this: The CET summer were cooler in 1990’s then in 1700’s. http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETsw.htm
    CO2 apparently works only in the winter. Hmmm! Not so, only in last 10 years, and only by 0.3 degree C above the natural pressure differential.
    How do we know that the pressure differential is natural? Simple:
    Now you might say the CET is not typical of global trends. Well, nowhere is typical of the global trends, and I would go as far as to say that if anyone else’s hypothesis is in conflict with the longest ,most analysed and most accurate world temperature record, it is time to go back to the drawing board.
    When Dr.s Loehle & Scafetta have a hypothesis to fit the CET records, then we have to take it seriously, till then I have strong reservations.
    There is a very good and strong physical reason while so called oscillations in the North Atlantic are much longer then those of North Pacific, but by the time you reach the Equatorial Pacific, there is bit of a mix-up.
    However, there are places for the well define cycles:
    but sorry to say, climate does not appear to be the most receptive.
    The above links may give a new perspective to the natural causes for climate change.

  46. Craig and Nicola concluded their post with, “6) Our result matches the historical record better than any other attribution study and better than GCM outputs.”

    Actually, two and a half years ago I replicated the Global Surface Temperature record from about 1900 to present using only NINO3.4 SST anomalies, volcanic aerosol and sunspot data. My results also include the year-to-year wiggles. Do yours?

    The graph is from the following post:

    • Bob, sorry I missed that–did you ever get it published? Also, we are able to project our (though many here doubt that). and the indices you use are actually temperture indices, not forcings, so their relationship to global temp is not surprising.

      • Craig: The only place my work gets published is at my blog. Recall I do this for entertainment (retired people get bored, you know). And yes, the forcing in the title should be replaced with variables, but you find nothing interesting about a simple intgral of NINO3.4 SST anomalies reproducing the basic global surface temperature anomaly curve?

      • Bob: yes I find it interesting, but I am of the view that the ocean cycles are the result of solar forcing, not just running on their own, though I of course recognize the potentially chaotic nature of a moving fluid.

      • Craig: There are very obvious solar components to ENSO. The warm water available for El Nino events is a function of the Downward Shortwave Radiation over the tropical Pacific, which is coupled with cloud amount, which is coupled with trade wind strength, which is coupled with sea surface temperature gradient, etc. Or are you suggesting the solar cycle forces ENSO events? If so, please provide documentation.

  47. son of mulder

    I like the methodology as it sticks to an empirical treatment of a complex physical system. What has been done to assess the predictive skillfulness of the methodology built on the shortish timeframe other than predicting forward from 1951?

    eg. How does the model perform running it back say to 1000AD? Does it show evidence of Medaeval Warm Period & Little Ice Age? What about 2000 years back to Roman times, is there agreement to other records that far back. If it divergerges from the historical record, where does that divergence start?

    • We do not include the longer cycles that would enable us to hindcast like that.

      • son of mulder

        So what gives you confidence that going forward from now for 50 years such longer cycles are not significant?

      • Let’s call it a first approximation.

      • son of mulder

        Do you plan to incorporate (know of) any longer period cycles that may give a skillful long-term hindcast/forecast whilst avoiding force fitting (calibrating/fudging or whatever is the best word to describe that process) like in the GCM’s? Or do you confident that this is enough work to have tied down anthropogenic climate sensitivity to a low value of significantly small range? ie for all intents and purposes is this first approximation adequate to dispel concerns of a much higher sensitivity?

  48. Here is another near perfect wiggle match (with accelerated response since 1995)
    to coincide with sudden departure from natural event in 1995
    but what does it mean?

  49. Arfur Bryant

    Whereas I welcome any paper that uses data as opposed to model estimates, there are a couple of issues with the conclusions as they appear to be based on an assumption that the radiative forcing theory has a significant effect.

    1. [“The residuals showed an approximate linear upward trend of about 0.66°C/century from 1942 to 2010. Herein we assume that this residual upward warming has been mostly induced by anthropogenic emissions, urbanization and land use change. The warming observed before 1942 is relatively small and is assumed to have been mostly naturally induced.”]


    2. [“…1950 (the time period before anthropogenic (GHG+Aerosol) emissions became a significant forcing mechanism)”]

    Firstly, the HADCruT dataset shows an overall trend of 0.6C/century from all forcings since 1850, not just anthropogenic forcings since 1942. It is this overall trend that is the evidence, and it is not necessarily evidence of any significant anthropogenic factor. In fact, the greatest trend is actually from the 1850 start (of reliable data) to 1878 (1.7C/century)! After that, the overall trend decreases (jerkily) to the current level of 0.6 C/century.

    Secondly, the IPCC have stated that anthropogenic factors commenced in the mid-eighteenth century. If it is being argued that the anthropogenic ‘signal’ started in 1942/1950 then one would have to explain why the previous warmings (see below) were of similar size but caused by a different factor. There is just no solid evidence that any warming after 1942 (ie the warming of 1975-1998) has a greater anthropogenic signal than, say the warming of 1910-1944. The warming of 1910-1944 is appx 0.7 deg C whereas the warming 1975-1998 is appx 0.8 deg C. What specific evidence is there that the later warming is ‘more anthropogenic’?

    The assumption that the radiative forcing theory has validity in any significant sense is a massive one. It is completely unfounded and is based on the ‘consensus’ belief that Arrhenius was correct in a quantitative sense. Yes, each CO2 molecule has the capacity to absorb and re-emit radiation, but to attribute a ‘significant’ effect on global temperature from a tiny percentage of radiative GHGs is to deny both basic science and observed data.
    If you doubt my words – ask yourself this question, and then follow the logical path:
    What contribution does CO2 make to the Greenhouse Effect (expressed in deg C)? Then ask yourself what contribution did CO2 make before 1850. Then ask yourself why the substantial increase in CO2 since 1850 has only been correlated with an unknown portion of a relatively small increase in gt. You can either conclude any anthropogenic effect is countered by negative feedbacks – and maintain a belief that Arrhenius was correct – or you can conclude that the assumed anthropogenic effect is non-existent in any significant sense, and thus the radiative forcing effect is negligible.

    Assumption is the mother of all f….!

  50. I must say I am amused by the lengthy debate here about something that according to Anthony Watts et al is based on absolutely useless data (see Surfacestations.org and weep).
    As I see it, There are 3 major flaws in the temperatures everybody is so heatedly debate on:
    1. The data is utterly and completely corrupted (see above). All data here is based on “normalized” measurements tempered and tortured without recognition by generations of scientists trying to promote an agenda.
    2. The measurements are made in very specific areas, i.e. in populated places (anybody said UHI?). This covers maybe 5% of the earth and large areas are completely and utterly uncovered. (Shara, South Pole, North Pole, Central Africa, Central South America, large portions of Asia ,all the oceans etc.).
    3. The term “Global temperature” is useless, non-scientific and cannot be measured at that. Especially when taking into account point #2 – the measurements are so poor and such a large area is not covered it is useless and pointless to define one.
    I believe the climate science must start over by first establishing the real temperatures, its real trends and biases and by acknowledging that a “global” temperature is meaningless.

  51. Joe Lalonde

    All this data in a lab means something to scientists.
    All this data put on the planet is garbage to the actual action and shape of the planet.

  52. You say in your conclusions:

    “Moreover, because the 60-year natural cycle will be in its cooling phase
    for the next 20 years, global temperatures will probably not increase for the next few decades in spite of the important role of human emissions…”

    OK then. I’m prepared to wager each of the authors $10,000 that global temperatures will increase in the next 20 years.

    Given the certainty of your claim, no doubt you would be prepared to give me odds? Four to one in my favour would seem fair don’t you think?

    (Time to put your money where your mouth is)

    • We said “probably” will not increase, and we cited a number of other studies making the same prediction. Unlike Hansen, I don’t believe I have God-like powers of prognostication, though in 2000 my unpublished analyses led me to forecast flat temperatures and I have been right for 11 years.

      • C’mon Craig, I believe you are better than that.

        You have predicted an outcome in your paper – clear and simple. Using the word ‘probably’ in context means you think it will happen. Don’t try to evade the issue.

        A gentleman’s wager. You wrote the words, how about you own them? If 4 to 1 is too steep, I’m happy to consider lower odds but really, if you believe the work you have presented, you would take my bet at these odds.

        Time to put your money where you mouth is.

      • I’ll take your silence as evidence that your so-called science is nothing more than wiggle fitting.

      • So do you regularly challenge the bloggers at RealClimate similarly.

  53. Five reasons while Dr.s Loehle and Scafette are wrong
    During last year or so I collected data relating to the Pacific Ocean (mainly to the currents credited for heat transport in the area of the northern and equatorial regions) as shown here:
    As it can be seen there is some quasi periodic action there, but so called cycles are of different periodicity, phase shift etc. If the underlining cause was a planetary one, then the events would show more uniformity of the response.

    • In your graph, what do the different colours mean?

      • As we are told often enough that even good correlation is not necessarily the causation, I am collecting lot of data which may enable me to formulate a credible hypothesis. The graphs shown above relate to what I consider to be critical (as far as climate is concerned) areas of the Pacific Ocean.

    • But in every other aspect of life–everything except the weather and by extension climate–you undoubtedly are very willing to accept the holistic nature of everythning. Right? Why is that. Why is it that when it comes to the climate you feel the need to invest CO2 with magical powers not observed in nature so as to reinforce your grim view of the world?

      As California is going Greek the Leftists’ pogrom against capitalism is corrupting not just the economy it also is corruping the culture and the futrue of the society. Dities across America are being driven to the brink of bankruptcy–much like GM was driven into debt–by the implementation of secular, socialist ideology.

      More and more resources are being diverted from the productive to fuel a bigger and bigger liberal fascist Big Government and Liberal Education Industrial Machine that has become nothing more than a doomsday-dropout factory.

      Academia has done more than any other institution to foster the climate porn industry and the reason why is simple: the Left demands power over the futures of the productive. AGW fearmongering is simply a tactic that the Left is using to achieve the mythic Marxist Utopia.

      • You got it all wrong. If anything my research
        (see also number of links in this thread) should expose fallacy of the CO2 hypothesis protagonists, including the above paper’s authors. Lurching to another unrealistic direction of a planetary oscillation (presumably via solar barycentre) is in my view not only totally misguided, but does a great disservice to the sceptic cause. Worst of all is an attempt to marry the barycentre to CO2 in some kind of ‘un-holy matrimony’. It will be a field day at Tamino’s, Gavin Schmidt’s and co. Dr.s L & S will be ridiculed to the high (planetary) heavens.

      • ‘Marxist Utopia’

        Wagathon, it doesn’t even need to be that. It could just as easily be simply people who feel entitled, by virtue of their big egos. The ideology is “I think I’m smarter than you.” There’s no grandiose vision of the kingdom, other than the idea of their own selves, inflated to fit whatever position on the royal court they imagine they deserve.


    • vukcevic: I do find your work interesting though more text to go with your graphs would be helpful. I don’t mind you saying we are wrong. Maybe. But we had fun doing the analyses.

      • Dr. Loehle
        In my view you attained highly respectable reputation with your temperature reconstruction work, your past comments on this blog and elsewhere were well thought out. I can’t understand (and if you forgive me, I am a bit disappointed) that you would risk well deserved respect, by your latest collaboration. If I and many of a similar ilk should stray into ‘cyclomania’ it is forgivable, and I had my share of the infection
        but with a bit more research I grew out of it.

        Text will eventually follow the graphs, but for the moment I’ll let data speak. As you well know a correlation however good is not automatically the causation, so currently I am assembling interlinked datasets which, with a modest understanding of underlying physics, may lead to a reasonable and credible hypothesis.

  54. I’ve read a couple of commentors here criticise the paper for the lack of a mechanism, Steven Mosher stands out for one but there have been others, that seems fair criticism. The authors defense seems to be this is just the start of the story, which also seems fair.
    I got a question about to the critics about how you identify a mechanism, are the observations there to be able to do this or does this come from a long hard think about the forces controlling the solar system?

    • The contribution of Kepler was to properly characterize the orbits of the planets. He could not explain it. Even Newton’s law of gravity is just a name for something that we still don’t understand. If Einstein is right then gravity is not a “force” but a distortion of space-time, for reasons that again few of us understand. So much for “mechanism”.

    • HR – A mechanism may be elusive at the time a phenomenon is demonstrated, only to be unearthed much later. I’m actually more concerned about the reverse possibility – finding a “mechanism” to explain what is actually a series of coincidences. I say that because once the observations are known, it is almost always possible to postulate a mechanism, and so a hypothesized mechanism after the fact doesn’t necessarily strengthen the evidence for a non-coincidental explanation for the observations. The real test would come from predictions made on the basis of the mechanism. For a 60-year cycle, we presumably will have to wait at least another 60 years and probably much longer to determine whether there is an underlying 60-year mechanism involved as opposed to coincidence.

      Some of this is addressed above in a long series of comments starting at Comment 90326.

      • once the observations are known, it is almost always possible to postulate a mechanism,

        Or multiple mechanisms, which then poses the problem as to which one is correct. Untill the time of Kepler and Galileo, for practical purposes, the Earth-centric universe was as justifiable and usable as any other. It was wrong, of course, but not obviously so at the time.

        and so a hypothesized mechanism after the fact doesn’t necessarily strengthen the evidence for a non-coincidental explanation for the observations.

        But it doesn’t necessarily weaken the evidence either.

        The real test would come from predictions made on the basis of the mechanism.

        Yes. As in the case of Relativity and other past hypotheses.

      • Fred Moolton
        Re “have to wait at least another 60 years and probably much longer”
        See Lucia at the Blackboard where she begins evaluating the subsequent global temperature data against the IPCC predictions immediately from the date the predictions are published. She then provides uncertainty bounds on the data to show where the data begin to exceed one or two standard deviations from the mean projected trend.e.g. See May T Anomalies: Cooler than April.

        With HadCRUT:
        If we pick Jan 2000 as the start date for comparing models: The multi-model mean trend is in consistent with HadCrut; the 137 month mean anomaly is also inconsistent with the observed temperature. The absolute values of both d* values are 2.81 and 2.31 computed assuming residuals are ‘red’ or ‘arima’ respectively; both larger than 2. So, even starting comparison in Jan 2000, these observed trends are inconsistent with the multi-model mean..
        if we pick Jan 2000 as the start date: The 137 month multi-model mean anomaly is inconsistent with the observed 137 month mean using either ‘red’ noise or the wider uncertainty intervals computed using ‘arima’. The d* values are -3.06 and -2.53 respectively.

        Thus, in this example, it is possible to see “inconsistent” deviation from the IPCC’s projected means within 137 months (11.4 years) compared to 720 years (60 years). The other data sets are likely to also show inconsistent deviations within the near future. She shows similar comparisons for longer periods.

        Lucia’s method can be directly applied to Loehle and Scafetta’s models and to then compare the deviations of IPCC mean vs L&S mean against the data. Then statistical tests can be applied to compare the two projections. The L&S projections make more sense to me as they incorporate historical evidence of the 20 and 60 year oscillations which the.IPCC does not.

      • David – This is a repetition of the misconception that projections can be tested within an interval less than multiple decades. The topic has been addressed many times previously so that there is little left to say. Given intervening factors that affect climate on short timescales, the test of the projections comes only after a considerably longer interval. “Inconsistency” on the timescales you cite tells us little about the underlying process except that it is punctuated by superimposed fluctuations.

        Regarding the “oscillations” in the paper, their “fit” to a historical trend can’t legitimately be compared with projections. Only their future ability would represent a legitimate comparison, and given the variability of past “60-year cycles” between 55 and 70 years or more, it would probably require centuries for a good test, because neither a good match nor a moderate mismatch 60 years from now would be conclusive.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Hi Fred,

        I think that there is a better case for a well damped resonance driven by noise. That would not need any of the amplitude, frequency, or phase to be constant which could be a good match for the paleo-data and the temperature record.

        The existence of a resonance would be a significant consideration when making attribution decisions, mostly in extending the error bars a little.

        Do you know what allowances IPCC WGI made in their attribution uncertainty limits?

        They are much weaker than what the models alone would dictate, in my judgement.

        Certainly the allowed enough for both this and the previous empirical paper reviewed here not to contradict their decision.


      • Hi Alex – If I understand your point, you suggest that the resonance you refer to combined with an anthropogenic warming signal could be cited as a partial explanation for the post-1950 temperature data, or at least that the authors could offer this as a reasonable hypothesis. I can’t dismiss the possibility that this is part of the signal. However, for the cycle amplitude during the twentieth century (or its latter half) to have the magnitude concluded by the authors based on the fit of their model to the data, the anthropogenic component must actually be much larger than they compute, because we have good observational data demonstrating substantial aerosol cooling (2 W/m^2 per decade) during the 1950-1980 interval, which they ignored in drawing their conclusions. If we add the cooling downturn in their putative cycle to the aerosol cooling, the upward warming trend actually observed would suggest a remarkably strong GHG effect – probably greater than most current estimates. In the absence of positive evidence for the cycle amplitude, it seems more reasonable to me to conclude that it is having only a small effect, and that the fit to earlier data is not strong evidence that the effect is large, given the multiple factors affecting temperature anomalies during the past 150 years.

      • Alexander Harvey

        Hi Fred,

        The issue in the 1950s may not be worth discussing until the SST corrections are sorted out. I do suggest that the adjustment upwards post WWII is well supported and perhaps we need to wait until AR5 to see how it plays out.

        I am content with the lull in the 1960s but the post WWII kink is plausibly an artifact as mention above.

        That leaves the hump in the 1930s as in the following:


        Again this is problematic as it is primarily oceanic, a rare occurrence of the ocean responding more strongly than the land. Either an artifact or very interesting.

        Lastly there is the post millenial lull, again interesting as it seems to be a rare occasion of a divergence. Land still pulling like a train but the ocean marking time.

        Going through the data post 1950 is a bit like a crash scene. You cannot tell what is normal climate and what is AGWreckage.

        If there is a real climate fluctuation then hopefully it has left its dabs somewhere.

        Perhaps there is a clue in the relative performance of the land and ocean or hemispherically.

        It is my view from my somewhat lonely furrow that the “lull” shrieks of AGW pulling strongly against another effect. A mere stagnation in SST should not have stopped OHC continuing to rise for some decades. To my view something is causing the ocean to be taking up less heat than it should and something is holding the SSTs up. That might sound bonkers but to stagnate the OHC should have required the SST to drop. The alternative is that they have never been far from equilibrium which seems unlikely, actually improbable no matter what the cause of the warming.

        The indicators are far from certain but if they are correct then the “lull” may not be our friend. If this is a natural cooling cycle, it is being frustrated in my view.

        I am trying to keep a mind that is open to the possibility that the “lull” is not to be tidied away before it is judged innocent. If for whatever reason the world is in a natural downturn then we may be witnessing serious warming, This lull may be crucial evidence that one might like to be able to rely on later.

        If their analysis were more or less spot on then we should be cooling but we are not. So I ask myself what would CAGW look like during a natural downturn. Well if the downturn acted primarily on the ocean say from a solar effect as may have been the case during the opposite 1930s warming when the land temperatures moved more slowly but always in the same direction then it might look a bit like what we have now.

        Should the ocean temperatures hold or even decline and the land temperatures continue to rise that would not be the best of all possible worlds.

        I think that understanding these wobbles or at least trying to undress them before putting them to bed might be prudent. I see little of that coming from some quarters.

        If those wobbles are real there is a dickens of a lot of implied forcing involved. If I had to guess I might plump for at least 0.5 watts (probably more) of current cooling down from the double peak when both cycles maxing out around 2000.

        People can do these studies but there are no free lunches. They do not paint a rosy picture.

        Sometimes it seems to me that people are so caught up with playing the game that they may only see what they want to see. I seem to specialise in seeing the flip sides, hopefully when thay are not really there.

        I am afraid that I have strayed and not answered your points which were interesting. I will try to get back to them.

        Mostly I am in a battle to keep the pall in play. If all these cycles and wobbles and the indicators that don’t make sense, all add up to a clue. I wish it neither be missed nor dismissed. According to most theories and much common sense the indicators are either wrong or frightening.

        What is the real risk? Is it a climate that is too hot sometime long after I’m gone, or a climate that is disfunctional?

        I will get back to the resonances another time.


      • Or perhaps the data are just unreliable.


      • Alexander Harvey


        I return to resonance and these pesky quasi periodic variations. I am afraid that I may not be answering directly but more explaining a viewpoint that looks at the issue olbiquely and then asks how the existence of a resonance would effect how we look at some of your points.

        If I manage to explain myself adequately it should be clear that in my view these wobbles are not antithetic to the standard theory, they could even be essential, and that we should not go looking for short term data to explain wobbles that have their origins in the prior couple of decades. A resonance is a sort of temporal teleconnection. A ghost of the past that haunts us.

        Back to the wobbles and there causes.

        The following seem possible:

        1) They are the result of periodic forcings
        2) They coincidentally result from other forcings
        3) They are an apparence due to resonance and noise
        4) They are purely happenstantial.

        The implications differ.

        Happenstance is a limiting case. The wobbles being just random fluctuations inform us as to the relative strength of the response at the frequency of interest. Their is a tacet implication that longer periods should have at least as strong a response hence a large fluctuation that happened to be seen with a 60 years period would support high sensitivites beyond 60 years.

        The presence of a resonance would indicate that we should not take the strength of the response at the centre of the band as being indicative of the response at either longer or shorter periods. In the case of a resonance with a 60 year period it would suggest that the uncertainty in a ~30 year trend (in band) would be larger than otherwise expected but those for 60 years (out of band) would be much as expected. The band width being dependent on the sharpness of the resonance. So we may have the situation whereby we should express extra caution with trends over certain periods e.g. ~30 year and perhaps ~10 year (half of 20). The practical implications of which is that the IPCC WGI were wise to use a 50 year period and would be foolish to use a 30 year period.

        A resonance around the 60 year period driven by noise would show up in the records as a spectral peak in standard of wavelet analysis but would lack constancy in amplitude, frequency and phase. In particular phase would not be predictive much beyond a cycle, or less or more depending on the sharpness of the resonance. Cycles would appear and fizzle out only to appear again. This lack of predictive power beyond the near term means that any prediction should be quickly blended into just a greater uncertainty. I think that ENSO, PDO, AMO etc are only predictive out to a minor fraction of their period. A whole period hence one might be uncertain not just to the amplitutde but the sign.

        The existence of perceptable periodic forcings could be of enormous practical benefit. I think that a regular beat in paleo-data would cheer a lot of people up as it could help solve time calibration issues.

        A precise periodic rocking by around 0.2ºC pk-pk should have some implications not just for the temperature. The AMO is associated with changes in the weather patterns and particularly precipitation. I believe that a period of 64 years in millenial and semi-millenial Nile data records has been detected and judged significant but I have no idea if it is periodic. If it was, it is too far from 60 years to be the same signal. Weere there a truly periodic signal in that data, which benefits from good record taking in that we know which years are being refered to, I can only think that it would have been spotted as this data is highly researched.

        The existence of periods of around 60, 20, and 10 years is highly suggestive but you do not have to move those figures from their round values by much before the evocation is lost. The certainty in the 60 year figure from the temperature record is not good, perhaps +/- 10 years (50yr,70yr), this is a direct consequence of the uncertainty in frequency for the 160 year record (being 1/160 per annum). As I read it the paleo-AMO analysis only supports a peak in the 60 year region. I have seen nothing yet to satisfy me that we have a periodic forcing.

        The suspected forcings e.g. GISS forcings covering both natural and other forcings do have a spectral peak in the 60 year band. This peak is in the right frequency band and the phase is plausibly correct relative to the temperature response.

        I think it is this point were the fuss happens. These are fluctuations that are held to to be forced by some people but not by others.

        However the predicted amplitude may be inadequate to explain the historic variance. This could be because there is also a period forcing which just happens to be in phase right now. Or it is just happenstance, or there really is a resonance.

        If there is a resonance it implies that any quasi 60 year signal in the forcing would be disproportionately magnified in the temperature response. For instance the 1930s would have been a little warmer than otherwise, the 1960s a little cooler, and things would have perhaps been a little inflated in the 1990s. This is suggestive but far from definite.

        A resonance would imply that the current “lull” could be “forced” that is that it is overwhelmingly due to the forcings, and that we should expect a “set back” at the end of any 30 year period of significantly divergent but mostly monotonic warming. To put it another way, that 30 year trends get exaggerated but 60 year trends do not.

        It also keeps open the possibility that the relationship between forcing and response is linear. I do not mean a scaling but that additivity holds.

        In summary:

        The existence of a quasi 60 year damped resonance might explain some of the variance noted in the historic and paleo data as being just the amplification of happenstantial variations in forcings in the 60 year band.

        It would imply that we need slightly different statistical arguments when we consider trends in and out of the resonance band.

        It would imply that we should expect “corrections” to occur about 30 years out from current actions.

        It might imply that the divergence between the models and the historic record is due to a failure to capture this resonance, or that it capures it but from different initial conditions, that we could try to correct for analytically.

        That the “lull” was both predictable and the result of warming.

        That there is an implication that we should perhaps be a little cautious in believing that any particular 30 year slope had well characterised error bars as an additional amplification needs to be applied to these error bars.

        That there are two ways of looking at issues like this. On one hand we can rubbish the whole concept or we can winnow wheat from chaff.


  55. I believe there is a 60-yr cycle of flying flamingos that are causing global warming, which is just as justified by what is in the article as the “conclusions” they came up with. Even they managed to write an abstract with some logical fallacies. Why are you hosting this Judith? It is completely devoid of any physics.

    Perhaps submitting it to the same journal that Kramm got his “non-existence of the greenhouse effect” stuff, or where there seems to be no evidence for consistent peer-review, is the only way to get it published.

    (I realize people may not like this reply, but it doesn’t deserve anymore, and Loehle and Scafetta should be ashamed of themselves).

    • Such a thoughtful critique. Thanks for sharing.l

      • //Such a thoughtful critique. Thanks for sharing.//

        This isn´t grade school where the effort courts and Mrs. Betsy gives you a free A. I´m not going to give you the ¨this is interesting!!!!!¨ line.

        Your statistics have been criticized (John N-G and others); you have not been responsive except to arm-have and hope the new Hadley product not released yet makes the issues better. You have been criticized because your conclusions do not at all follow from what you provided in the paper. Your paper has a rather biased literature review built into it (citing largely your own work, and other contested papers), and even if a 60 yr ¨cycle¨ exists (which people do not seem to think is robust) you have been criticized for not making a physical model that explains anything, to which you simply say ¨but gravity doesn´t have a mechanism, we don´t need one!!¨ Yet that does not stop you from making quantitative estimates and predictions, and sweeping statements about climate sensitivity, solar modulation, cosmic ray hypotheses, etc.

        It does not discuss spatio-temporal patterns that are at the heart of attribution studies (not simulating the amplitude of climate change). There may also be ¨warming in the pipeline¨ as the climate is not in equilibrium, data issues, etc.

        t´s junk. Sorry.

      • Don’t know why I bother replying but here goes. “nonresponsive”? We have tried to answer questions. Some questions simply do not accept our methods at all (like you) and there is no answer to those. Your beloved GCMs have kludges in them (“parameterizations”) that are simply fits to data or simplified relations–but that is ok? Spatial? We are working with global data only here. We are making an empirical decomposition, not a mechanistic model. Thousands of scientific discoveries (cause of cholera, risk factors for disease, altitudinal gradients of species) have been empirical before a mechanism was discovered. I was not responding to some comments because I was sleeping and have not had time to respond to John N-G since I am so busy typing. I know that in your own mind you are qualified to dismiss my work, but I have not seen such expertise demonstrated by your past comments that I give you the right of censorship.

      • Chris –
        you have been criticized for not making a physical model that explains anything,

        Newton and Einstein did no more than L&S have done here – they advanced hypotheses from which predictions could be inferred and either confirmed or disconfirmed. And they had NO physical model to explain their hypotheses. That came later – and, in fact is still not a complete vindication of their hypotheses. Can you explain gravity? What IS the physical mechansim? Is there a physical model, as you demand here? I don’t think so –

        Your criticism is simply hand waving – an easy way to dismiss something you don’t like without actually justifying your dismissal. And your demand for a complete top-to-bottom theory is nonsense. Particularly since the hypothesis you believe in is still incomplete, unsatisfactory and lacks its own validated physical model after at least 30 years of massive, intensive and VERY expensive effort.

        Are they right? Maybe, and maybe not. But your criticism – and that of some others, is a thin cover for your bias. If you want to “debunk” it, then do so on the substance of what they say, not on peripherals – or opinion.

        Your agita is understandable, but irrelevant.

        BTW – “warming in the pipeline” is also junk.

      • Jim,

        If you think my demands are high, it’s only because the papers claims are worthy of it. In a single paper, they have made several extraordinary claims and “conclusions.” This includes claiming that there is some sort of 60-year “cycle” in the climate system that is important for modeling studies to include, that aerosols probably did not have as big of an effect as many people think in mid-century, that climate sensitivity is low, that attribution so far (as outlined in IPCC 2007) is off-target, and that future projections will be lower than most people accept. There is also speculation that cosmic rays and other solar effects are behind some of this.

        You can make dozens of papers out of all of these topics, and there is already a very large literature on them, that extends several decades– although reading the background material of this paper would give one the impression that Loehle and Scafetta are responsible for most of that work. In essence, they are putting a would-be EXTREMELY high impact paper in a very odd journal, and not really responding to serious questions about its robustness or the underlying physical theory, but are somehow comparing it to how the theory of gravity evolved; in fact, they come not even close to matching the predictive and explanatory power gravity offers. Am I supposed to accept that science should now be done based on curve fitting and correlations, and we should no longer bother to see if our ideas are even physically consistent? The cosmic ray stuff has had a lot of criticism (which the authors don’t bother to cite), and so has Scafetta’s solar work, which demands absurdly high amplifications factors to be responsible for modern global warming.

        They discuss the possibility of a millenium natural climate cycle that may be on the downturn based on the sea level work of Houston and Dean, ignoring the criticisms leveled against that work and other studies, as well as other studies on UHI effects, etc. As others have pointed out, there statistical procedure has issues, and there are methodological issues in how they think “attribution” is done.

        I guess people are right in that deciding whether they want to be personally convinced by this analysis is a personal choice, but I can assure you no one in the actual scientific community is going to be making a big deal about it. Check the citations it receives a few years from now. I will also let other people make up their own minds about the intentions or competency of the authors, but I already have my mind made up.

      • Chris –
        If you think my demands are high, it’s only because the papers claims are worthy of it. In a single paper, they have made several extraordinary claims and “conclusions.” This includes claiming that there is some sort of 60-year “cycle” in the climate system that is important for modeling studies to include, that aerosols probably did not have as big of an effect as many people think in mid-century, that climate sensitivity is low, that attribution so far (as outlined in IPCC 2007) is off-target, and that future projections will be lower than most people accept. There is also speculation that cosmic rays and other solar effects are behind some of this.


        Now – are they wrong? About all of that? Keep in mind that some of those ideas are presently under investigation. And the rest should be.

        You can make dozens of papers out of all of these topics, and there is already a very large literature on them, that extends several decades

        Two points – first that dozens – or hundreds – of past papers that have only nibbled t the edges of the problem can be proved wrong by one paper that gets it right. Is this the one? Probably not, but can you make a good case that it’s not?

        Second – that the literature that extends back severl decades is almost entirely based on one and only one prime directive – that warming is anthropogenic and the main driver is CO2. How many papers have NOT started with that as a basic assumption? If you start with that assumption there is NO hope that you will find anything different. I’ve seen that defined as “preconceptual science”. Try starting with a different base assumption – you might learn something new.

        As others have pointed out, there statistical procedure has issues, and there are methodological issues in how they think “attribution” is done.

        Then prove/demonstrate that the statistical procedures are wrong. I suspect you haven’t done that in the last 24 hours. Nor has anyone else. Debunking by inspection is just “opinion”.

        And definitively show how and why their methodology doesn’t work. Whether it coincides with your favorite methodoogy is irrelevant. The question is – does theirs WORK. Does it give the right (or at least, reasonable) answers? Truth be told, I haven’t noticed that past methodologies have managed to meet that basic requirement. If they had, we might not be here discussing this.

        I already have my mind made up.

        That is your prerogative andI won’t comment on it. But I haven’t, and likely won’t without further discussion, analysis and evidence.

      • Jim Own: a big gold star for clear logic. Thanks. I wish Crhis would try to explain the full mechanistic model of gravity as presented by Newton–I guess Newton would fail Chris’ criteria.

      • Jim,

        I do not see why I need to debunk anything that provides no evidence for its claims to begin with. Nothing about formal attribution can be made here…absolutely nothing. And yes, I do request that authors of papers be more thorough with their literature review and knowledge of current methodologies for attribution (or anything else); the paper was little more than an exercise to advertise their own work, and other skeptics like Pat Michaels.

        You have asked me to comment on the substance of the paper. Unfortunately, I do not know where to start, because it´s mostly an exercise in curve fitting and using selective bits of information to make a point.

        For example, they take two proxies and make a nice 60-yr sine wave through them (if they extended the top figure back prior to 1650, as the authors of the original paper did, the impressiveness would break down…in fact the original authors found no significant power in the 60 yr band; the actual paper discussing the PDO proxy, also discusses intervals over the last millennia where the 60 yr cycle breaks down).

        Even if there is a 60 yr cycle in the climate system, that doesn´t justify half of what they say throughout the abstract and conclusion. This is not my opinion. Nothing here even attempts to challenge the IPCC 2007 and related work. There is misuse of linear extrapolation without real justification, logical fallacies in that misuse, issues related to the non-equilibrium state of the climate (which you opine has no warming in the pipeline, which is a great opinion, but physically bunk) and uncertainties in aerosol forcings. They think all of aerosol cooling effects though are not aerosols, it´s their 60 yr cooling cycle at work…magic

        They review literature finding 60-yr ¨periods¨ in various variables, with no obvious relation to global mean surface temperature or if the physical origin should continue in the future. They ignore previous work on cycles related to PDO, solar cycles, etc that they discuss (or cite other work) that reaches different conclusions. The authors leave the reader guessing, and when asked to elaborate, choose to say that Newton did not elaborate. They are absolutely sure though that it is about 60% of the post-1970 warming, know it´s worth about 0.3 C and will offset warming in the future, because sensitivity to CO2 is very low (yet to solar, very high). More magic. The reader is left to wonder why they used ACRIM rather than PMOD for their solar work, or what differences the latter might make (it might be small, but it only reflects Scafetta´s own bias on the matter) and ignores issues raised in e.g., Gray et al (2010, RoG), what other data/proxy choices make and their uncertanties, etc. They mostly back up their ideas with very selective references.

        It is painful to actually try to discuss this as though it were intelligent, and I do indeed eagerly wait Judith´s own interest in the paper. Try actually reading the paper and thinking for yourself rather than requesting that I debunk all of it, and give me no right to refer you to previous work.

        [P.S. Nice to see you Fred…obviously I disagree with you in its worth, sorry I´m being so grumpy about it]

      • CC has been spouting this same sort of comment for years. Lots of veribiage, that dissolves when he is pressed for either validation or his qualifications. Characteristics of a troll.

      • BrianH,

        Perhaps you have not bothered to look at anything I write, where I have mentioned many times who I am. Hint: try googling my name and looking at my Wisconsin homepage, or try clicking on my name right here. You will see under personal descriptions that I am a (graduate) student in atmospheric science, with my B.S. in that field; specifically, I currently study climate science. That doesn´t make me an expert but I do know a few things here and there. Of course, I suspect most people here do not have a formal degree in atmospheric physics, but I don´t use that as an argument for why I must be right, because that would be an ad hom (not what other people think an ad hom is, which does not include voicing my opinion about Loehle/Scafetta´s intentions). I have my own posts on various blogs which can stand in the face of scrutiny as well; I have some guest posts at SkS, some at RealClimate, one on a recent newspaper blog I am now contributing with (if you click in my name), and my own site (which hasn´t been active for a while)…you are free to read these and judge whether I know what I am talking about.

    • “Why are you hosting this Judith?”

      Chris – When I first read the paper, my reaction was somewhat similar to yours, but as the thread evolved, I began to change my mind. The paper has been subjected to severe criticism here (by me and others), and has been defended by its authors, who have remained gracious in the face of much critical onslaught. I believe the impression that emanates from the thread at this point is that the paper has significant flaws that render it unconvincing as an explanation for twentieth century temperature trends. Interestingly, the reception from many readers at WUWT was also quite critical. Some interesting concepts regarding geophysics, astronomy, open access publishing, and statistics have also been addressed during the process.

      All of this is the result of Judith’s hosting of the paper, and perhaps helps to answer the question “why?”.

      • I will be following up with a post in a day or two that is relevant to Chris’ question (i.e. why i think the paper is of interest). If an author of a published article that is relevant to topics that I and the denizens are interested in wants to discuss the paper here, I will post it. I think the discussion on this thread has been very good. Both Loehle and Scafetta have previously participated in blog threads (here and at CA) in constructive and critical discussions regarding their work. I wish more scientists engaged in this way.

      • It appears Chris C is a bit envious. Don’t you think.

      • There are two parts in this paper. One is the fitting certain functions (two oscillations and a increasing trend starting from some point in time to the temperature data. The result is not very different from what many others have obtained from similar approaches, where some details have always been done differently, but much is also close to the same. This turns out to be a reasonably good description of the data, as the earlier similar fits have also been.

        The oscillation with a period of about 60 years is a common feature of these fits, and it certainly makes sense to ask, whether there is something important in that oscillation. The additional, but weaker evidence of similar oscillations in earlier history add to this consideration.

        The second part concerns the explanation based on solar phenomena and planetary periods. This is, where the arguments start to get more questionable. The role of Saturn is important in the 60 year period, but the influence of Saturn on the Sun is really minuscule. The long distance of the Saturn leads to a large effect on the position relative to barycenter, but that influence is really of the type where the argument about the free fall is valid, and for the same reason that makes that specific effect large: the distance of Saturn from Sun. It would be more meaningful to look at phenomena as they really affect the Sun or the relationship between the Earth and the Sun. These phenomena are perhaps more difficult to analyze, but at least they would describe something physical. It would also be possible to give some quantitative estimates for the varying factors, which would help in disregarding those with are most certainly too weak to of importance.

        Some additional arguments were proposed, when the first mechanism was criticized, but the arguments for them are not much stronger and they don’t have that specific period. As soon as there is uncertainty on the period, the statistical significance of the fit disappears very rapidly.

        All physics proposed is indeed so vague that the level of statistical agreement is totally insufficient for drawing any conclusions. All conclusions fail to reach a level better than purely speculative.

        It can certainly be argued, whether it’s in some way useful to bring papers like this to discussion. On the positive side everyone interested may make his or her arguments. The paper does exist, and in can certainly be argued, whether this post and the comments put together add to or subtract from the status of the paper in future discussion.

      • Alexander Harvey


        Saying something on the plus side, all they really need to show to make the attribution case is that there is a known persistent resonance, it doesn’t have to produce either constant frequency, amplitude, or phase. Just a damped resonance driven by noise might be able to explain the apparent signal in the paleo-data and the temperature record.

        To produce a projection they do need much more than that. Also they would need a model and a scenario to drive it. Their projection is I think just an extrapolation and I do not find that satisfying.

        Regarding the 20 year resonance, I do not know if they have separate evidence for that. FWIW I have a “pre-whitened” (spectrally flattened) temperature history and the 20 year cycle is not strong (not really above expected for the noise), the 60 year is a better candidate, in my opinion, but I do not think either are as marked as the amplification in the ENSO band.

        If they can demonstrate a paleo-resonance at both periods then subtracting a contribution from the data could be justified but is not that straightforward as the known forcings are not orthogonal to their candidate resonances.

        Letting the the 60 year and 20 year functions have first grab on the variance is not really equitable as it can give a different result from a multiple regression against all the candidates. Unfortunately in order to do that, one needs a model to convert the forcings into temperature responses. There are limits as to what can be achieved relying completely on empirical decomposition.

        As it happens I do suspect a well damped 60 year resonance with a small amplification (Q factor) of maybe 2-4. Not much but enough to make most epochs have some perceptible spectral content at that period. For that reason alone I do welcome this paper, for I do not want that point dismissed without strong arguments.


      • Prior to the Law comes the Theory. Prior to the Theory comes the Hypothesis. Prior to the Hypothesis comes the Speculation. Prior to the Speculation comes whatever catches a scientist’s interest and imagination.

        In this case, L&S have pointed out an intriguing way to “attribute” a data record’s fluctuations. Maybe it will graduate to a Hypothesis if some “hard” testable proposal come s out of it; they have made a first pass at this by predicting the next few years of temperature averages in a way not identical to other such efforts. That is sufficient for a potential “falsification”, at least.

      • Fred,

        people need to contradict a finding with scientific arguments.

        Claiming that somebody is “unconvinced” is not a strong argument.

        Unconvinced because of what?

        Because they have proven it wrong? no they did not.

        They appear unconvinced
        1) Because it contradicts their previous belief. This would be confirmation bias.
        2) Because they do not see other cycles that a lot of other people have seen.
        3) Because the physical mechanisms are not yet fully understood.

        and/or because other irrelevant arguments?

        See, Fred, a lot of people are unconvinced of the AGW GCM simply because those models have never been able to forecast anything and because these models have been found to not agree with the data in multiple occations. For example, the IPCC models do not get the 60-year modulation nor the 20-year modulation observed in the data.

        So, perhaps you just need to be more cautious and perhaps unconvinced people just need to look at the data with an open mind.

      • Nicola – I think some of this discussion is growing repetitive. If by “findings”, you mean an absence of an aerosol cooling signal because the observed changes are caused by a putative “cycle” instead (perhaps of astronomical origin), that finding has been refuted by the evidence, throwing doubt on one of the basic premises of the model. If the “finding” is that your model can be made to fit the data if no attribution to causes is made, then that isn’t contradicted, but I don’t know what it proves. If the “finding” is that the GHG warming of the past 50-60 years has a certain value, then the burden is on the authors to offer convincing quantitative evidence rather than on others to disprove it. If you read through the long list of comments, you will see why many of us don’t believe that burden has been met, which is why I don’t think a repetition of the arguments here will add information..

      • Which evidence are you talking about? Fred.

        The IPCC GCMs have failed to properly reconstruct the warming trend from 1910 to 1940. The same models have predicted a “warming” from 1940 to 1970, which is interrupted only by some volcano activity in the 60, while from 1940 to 1970 there was a cooling. The same models have predicted a warming since 2000 at a rate of 2.3 C/century, nobody has seen yet.

        look carefully this figure of the IPCC

        Your religious faith in the IPCC AGW GCMs models is great, indeed.

        You do not accept our finding because some issues are still “mysterious”. But you blindly believe in the AGW which is supported by models that do not reproduce the patterns observed in the temperature.

      • If you read my first comment in this thread, you’ll find that I addressed the mid-century flat interval in some detail, based on extensive aerosol cooling data summarized by Wild in the review I cited. The aerosol evidence is quite strong (readers who wish to judge this should read the Wild article themselves). If there is an additional downturn in a “60-year cycle” that also exerts a cooling influence, the strength of anthropogenic warming from 1950 to the present must be extremely large to account for the observed warming trends in the face of both cooling factors – probably far larger than the 50% cutoff figure sometimes set as a standard. If you wish to suggest that what everyone concludes to be a predominantly anthropogenic aerosol cooling effect (again, readers should consult Wild) is actually your 60-year cycle in disguise, then readers can judge that claim on its merits. I have seen no evidence to suggest that the aerosol effect was not an aerosol effect after all, and so you would face a considerable burden of proof. The evidence that 55-70 year fluctuations in the climate record are actually true oscillations with a 60-year periodicity and a common mechanism is also meager, for reasons discussed in detail above, but even if they are genuine oscillations, their strength is not necessarily sufficient to have a large effect on temperatures of the last one hundred years.

        Whether warming at 2.3 C/century will transpire is not something any of us is in a position to judge on the basis of the first ten years (2001-2010).

      • The aerosol cooling effect from 1940 to 1970 is estremely uncertain as it is during any other period. And the IPCC GCMs did not get the cooling despite the strong aerosol effect they have adopted.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        “Unconvinced because of what?”

        Unconvinced because this is the millionth paper I’ve seen that finds a ‘highly significant’ fit between a set of ‘predictors’ and global average temperatures and also the millionth different conclusion concerning the underyling causes of climate change.

    • Chris Colose re 60 year cycle of flying flamingos causing global warming.
      To support your evidence (sic), please be advised that postal rates show far better correlation to global temperatures than CO2. See:
      Shock: Global temperatures driven by US Postal Charges

      The rise in global temperatures since 1880 closely correlates with increases in postal charges, sparking alarm that CO2 has been usurped as the main driver of climate change.

      Please provide a link to the evidence you cited.
      Best wishes for further development of your “scientific” models!

    • I believe there is a 60-yr cycle of flying flamingos that are causing global warming

      IOW, a few of us with shotguns could stop global warming and have some fun at the same time. What DOES flamingo taste like? Chicken maybe?

    • Alexander Harvey

      That both this paper and the Huang & Wu? empirical decomposition both support the IPCC WGI post 1950 warming attribution judgement is probably reason enough. Both have had a fairly free hand to assign what they can to natural occurrence but neither manage to break the 50% barrier for the post 1950 period. Both give headline figures but for the periods 1980-2000 and 1970-2000 where the pickings are easier. Neither seems to make a specific claim for 1950-2000, but neither one could claim the 50% prize as they don’t make it. In fact it is highly unlikely that any paper relying heavily on a fluctuation with a near 50 year period could make a dent in a 50 year attribution period.

      I think having a second paper that falls in with the IPCC WGI attribution scheme is rather worthwhile.


    • K Scott Denison

      Ah, behold the hubris of youth! And one who went to that bastion of open, yet oddly always uber-liberal, thinking in Madison. Well played Chris!

  56. Dr. Craig Loehle:

    I wanted to thank you and Dr. Scafetta for your work.

    I am sure it was a tremendous amount of work, not just the science, but in obtaining publication.

    I will carefully read this paper and look forward to the discussions about your valuable contribution.

    • I agree. It very interesting but the could have been more open about attribution by leaving it out.

    • Ad hom accusation of fraud and /or incompetence with no argument even? Stay classy Chris, it does your credibility so much good.

      • You must understand that you are severely challenging his faith, so he’s going to resort to these desperate measures.

    • Chris, your models are rubbish. I understand the envy you are clearly suffering.
      Can you point us to some credible sulfate aerosol data for the middle of the C20th please?

      • The Wild paper that Freddie M keeps shovelling at us on this (sulphate aerosols) uses as it’s base the paper from Smith, S.J. et al “Anthropogenic sulfur dioxide emissions: 1850-2005” (Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 1101-1116, 2011)

        I’ve read Smith, S.J quite carefully. It fudges the sulphur content of coal burnt in Chinese power stations with a putative increase of > 50% to actual laboratory-checked measurements of raw/washed coal input. I know this because I have spent > 30 years (with the last 7 years including exact Chinese specifications and their 70 year back history) specifically modelling coal input parameters for power stations, including 70 year back histories. Sulphur content is a make-or-break parameter for supply contracts, so it has to be known very well indeed

        The basis for claiming that the cooling in the mid-20th century is due to increased suplhate aerosols from Chinese power stations is a kludge

        While Freddy M’s knowledge of geological science is almost non-existent (remember his view that AGW may cause tectonic plates to move), this never stops him from opining on it

      • Here is the link to the review by Wild on Global Dimming and Brightening – readers can visit it to form their own judgments, although since the paper was published in 2009, it’s hard to see how it could have been based on the 2011 Smith paper ian888 mentions, which it doesn’t reference. Wild does refer to global aerosol changes involving many regional measurements, of which China represented only one small part.

        Regarding a tangential point ian888 mentions, there is fairly good evidence that sea level rise since the Last Glacial Maximum has affected tectonic activity through increased pressure on areas vulnerable to deformation. The point he refers to related to the possibility that a small modern sea level rise could exert a small triggering effect on plate slippage. The effect would be far too small and the change in vulnerability too miniscule to measure, so there would be no real world implications, but it was an interesting theoretical speculation.

      • Thanks Ian, always good to get an expert’s view. Another line of evidence which refutes the ‘global dimming’ from sulfate aerosols required to make the co2 driven model fit the temperature curve is Doug Hoyt’s work on pyrheliometry. He and his co-investigators found no change in atmopheric opacity in over 70 years of measurements.

      • Readers are urged to compare Wild and Hoyt. I don’t have to tell them what conclusions to reach, since the comparison will make that obvious.

  57. Craig,

    Good paper! I don’t agree with all the conclusions, especially the AGW part (GHG, Aerosols), but it’s in the right direction. I will repeat my question:

    Does your empirical model take into account thermal inertia of the climate system (oceans, ice) or is it only solar motion/activity?

    The warmists don’t like it at all. You hit the sore spot! Bravo!

    • Scafetta uses information on thermal inertiato create his solar index model which we compare to our fitted model. The linear AGW effect is empirical and so is “after” thermal inertia, as are the timings of the 60 and 20 yr cycles.

  58. In light of the Argos data is there now consensus of opinion as regards the accuracy of the following quote:

    “We must face the fact that the earth is now cooling.”

  59. Pekka Pirilä | July 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Reply
    The role of Saturn is important in the 60 year period, but the influence of Saturn on the Sun is really minuscule. The long distance of the Saturn…

    Mr. Pirilä
    Distance of Saturn doesn’t really matter much, if you whish to consider that there are effects different to gravitational one. I suggest have a careful look at this NASA’s link:

    Observe that a large fraction of the solar system, in its equatorial plane, gets engulfed with the CME.

    Underlining effects are close circuits (closing at the solar surface) of magnetic field and electric currents. Both magnetic field and electric current are partially short-circuited by the huge magnetospheres of both Jupiter and Saturn (known as magnetic reconnection).
    Every 19.859 years (Leohle and Scafetta -20years cycle) this short-circuiting is particularly effective since both planets find themselves in the same direction. Now imagine our little Earth zipping in between, its tiny magnetic field gets zapped by these huge currents:
    Heliosphere is highly squashed in the head on direction so the effectiveness of the zap is far more severe when both Jupiter and Saturn find themselves in this head on direction. This happens every 59.5 years (Leohle and Scafetta -60years cycle).
    For more details see:
    and effect on the climate at:
    There is your mechanism.
    Now lets there be peace among men!

    • I see that somebody started to think.

    • Nice summary Vuk, and very interesting research you’ve been doing. The geomag field clearly is linked to the heliomag field, and so that supports your ideas about Jupiter and Saturn too. The NOAA geomag data on you MF page resembles the solar activity of the C20th too. Love that arctic temperature correlation. :)

    • Vukcevic,

      There is no doubt that the magnetosphere of Jupiter is huge and that it has major effects for Jupiter and its surrounding in particular on the far side of Jupiter. That doesn’t, however, tell that it would have any significant effect for Earth or Sun. The magnetic field of a dipole falls inversely to the cube of the distance, which is enough to make it’s effect on Earth and Sun very weak. It affects certainly somewhat also cosmic radiation from the direction of Jupiter, but only from a solid angle too small to make much difference.

      The effect of the magnetic field of Saturn has an effect less than one percent of that of the Jupiter, as the magnetic moment is very much smaller (about 3% of that of Jupiter) and the distance is almost double. Thus the effect of Saturn cannot modulate to a noticeable extent that of Jupiter, which is already small.

      Good try, but totally unconvincing. If you wish to convince, real numeric estimates are required and they must by many orders of magnitude higher than i consider plausible.

      • I shall not reply with any further details since you either:
        – did not read what was written or
        – did not understand what was written or
        – decided to put totally false interpretation.

      • I looked fairly well through your links looking for a place that would say something precise enough to tell what is the real basis for your claims, but found only speculative diagrams, which didn’t appear justified by any real understanding.

        If there is a real effect, it must be based on quantitatively supportable analysis. As long as all is just diagrams and hand-waving the only conclusion that I can draw is that there is nothing real in that.

      • Your comment
        The magnetic field of a dipole falls inversely to the cube of the distance, which is enough to make it’s effect on Earth and Sun very weak. It affects certainly somewhat also cosmic radiation from the direction of Jupiter, but only from a solid angle too small to make much difference.
        shows you have no slightest idea what I was talking about.

      • My comments purpose was to tell, why the magnetic properties of Jupiter and in particular of Saturn are very unlikely to have significant influence on Earth or Sun. That is a natural first thing to check. if you want to tell that there is even so a significant effect you must have a good quantitative argument. Without such arguments, I don’t take any proposals seriously, but nothing real is likely exist.

        I’m ready to change my mind, when valid evidence is given to support some alternative, but not on the basis of some pictures or non-quantitative arguments.

        In physics nothing is of value until it has been described by some formulas. The formulas may be approximate, but they must be justified at a level required for proving the point. When the mathematical presentation is available, the results may be explained also in words, but only, when the mathematical formulation is also available to specify more precisely, what the claim is about.

        This applies equally to Loehle and Scafetta. If they propose some mechanism, it’s not enough to calculate the correlation, but the explanation must be studied quantitatively at some level of accuracy to verify that it has indeed a possibility of being relevant.

      • I suggest a read of papers on the CMEs and the magnetic reconnection, and my comment “you have no slightest idea what I was talking about” still stands.
        As formulae go here is one
        You will recognise the numbers.

      • By the request for formulas I mean some of physical significance. Those don’t appear to have any slightest connection with that requirement.

    • Excellent. Very nice!. Thank you. I had been thinking about magnetic fields but did not have sufficient info on them.

  60. Craig: 2.5 60-year cycles in the modern temperature record provide only a limited evidence (which you supplement with a 20-year cycle and a linear trend). It also wouldn’t be surprising to find a 60-year cycle in a limited number of proxies caused by chance or by a something besides temperature that influences that proxy. Are you planning to search a large database of temperature/solar proxy records for 60-year cycles.

  61. Reading Loehle and Scafetta is like being subjected to Roy Spencer. Several knowledgeable commenters have the methodological and statistical critique right.

    • Adam Gallon

      Unlike being subjected to Mann, Briffa & Jones?

    • Thanks for the comparison to Roy Spencer (though I gather you were trying to insult me). I’m sure your statistical knowledge would make short work of our analysis…

      • As I said, others (on both ‘sides’) have the critique exactly right.

        You are exceptionally arrogant, Craig, if you imagine people do not see that your only goal is to show that there is an alternative explanation and that it does not matter to you that the quality of your statistical extrapolation is crap.

        Frankly I don’t think you know what you’re doing. If you do, it is apparently more important to you to amuse yourself and have an audience than it is to demonstrate basic technical competence and integrity. I find it disappointing.

        And yes – Roy Spencer’s work is what it is and the comparison is a negative criticism.

      • For non-thinking believers, it’s crap.

        For science, it’s essential to brake the bureaucratic spell and free the science from dogma.

      • If my goal was to counter IPCC I could have rigged the analysis to show no CO2 response. I have no reason to take your opinion of my technical competence and integrity seriously. There are a lot of people who don’t like the result we got (from both sides) but this is post-normal, political approach to science. All attribution studies either compare 2 periods or use a climate model and look at the residuals (or 2 models diffs). Our data and assumptions about the timing of forcings come straight out of the IPCC.

      • Martha–LOL are you always upset when something happens that may not agree with your preconceived notions? The analysis may turn out to be flawed, but it is unreasonable to dismiss it without fair consideration

    • Doubtless all of us could debate whether mathematics is a necessary tool in the field of climatology. The debate over the AGW theory, I think, favors the view that without some ‘mathematical realism’ independent of the intuition and beliefs of researchers, all of the conclusions about global warming amount to nothing but dogma.

      For me that is why the mathematics of McShane and Wyner should be thought of as the chalkboard squeak heard ’round the world. The M&S paper sets out to debunk yet again MBH98/99/08 (aka, the `hockey stick’ graph). And, M&S probably also wanted to inspire other statisticians to examine the ‘science’ of Mann and his sycophants.

      And, that is where I believe the mathematics of M&S and other inspired statisticians make their greatest contribution. These statisticians do not even have to take sides.

      There are so many ways to kick this cat it should be a fun pastime for geeks. As concerns climage change, the global warming is a hoax is not even the issue if the math is not debatable: just pick up the chalk and outline the dead bodies.

      The “Medium is the Message,” and that message is very clear now: there is absolutely no ‘signal’ in Mann’s proxy data. The ‘consensus’ is shot to hell. Global Warming Theory is essentially a ‘science’ without mathematics: sort of like the sun without the heat and vice versa.

      AGW is not a problem it is a symptom of a problem. The claimed ‘consensus’ concerning global warming is really just the opinion of science pariahs who do not care if they are helping to destroy the culture, society and the public’s credibility in science.

  62. I find it interesting that the GCMs are off by as much as 4 deg C global temp (see Lucia’s blog), are way off on global and regional precipitation timing, amount and intensity, and completely miss the temperature trend after 1998, and yet that is good science?

    • Craig – Although I haven’t reviewed the data recently, my understanding of the inter-model variation in absolute global temperature is that it reflects certain arbitrary choices for model initialization that are affected by annual seasonal variations in averaged global temperature, and that it has little or no bearing on the accuracy of temperature anomalies.

      I certainly agree with you on the inadequacies of GCMs regarding precipitation. The temperature trend after 1998 is too short to be called a “trend” in the sense of GCM projections – in fact, you can get almost any trend you want depending on start and end dates relative to ENSO changes. It’s not a meaningful criterion for judging long term projections, although it does reflect current inabilities to model ENSO very accurately on a year to year basis.

      • My understanding is that they spin the models up so that initial conditions are not so important, and that the absolute differences ARE significant for the physics–but that is why they show the anomalies and try to focus attention on the trends produced. I would appreciate a reference to be proved wrong.

    • Don’t forget the unphysical hyperviscosity and adiabatic adjustments and are not only good but somehow get the physics correct despite these engineering style parameterizations (think empirical decompositions) on a supposed physical model.

      Nor forget the requred psuedo equilibrium assumption just to get started that is without a base mechanism that your use of one gets hammered by Chris and Fred.

      Further, I like that your projections should be falsifiable in a decade or so. Perhaps you could get Fred and Chris to tell us how well this relates to GCM’s where Tebaldi and Knutti point out that it could take longer than 130 years to know if a 100 year projection was correct. And have Martha critique their methodology and statistics, especially those unphysical little bits of code they put in GCM’s.

  63. It is sad to say that thanks to the promulgation of false global temperature data scientists trying to make sense of global temperatures are led astray. An example is the work of Loehle and Scaffeta who based their work on HadCRUT3 from the Met Office. They jump through hoops to fit their theory to the temperature curve in Figure 3 and achieve a nice fit. But a fit to what? The temperature curve itself to which the fit is calculated shows a steep rise in the eighties and nineties, followed by more extravagant warming after the super El Nino of 1998 arrives. All of that is fictitious [1]. Satellites show ENSO temperature oscillation about a fixed mean in the eighties and nineties but no rise until 1998. These same oscillations are also present in HadCRUT3 but what has been done to them is to raise the temperature of every cool La Nina period while leaving the El Nino temperatures intact. This has the effect of giving their temperature curve an upward slope of approximately 0.2 degrees per decade. They are not alone in this. I know of no natural process that can selectively warm up these low temperature regions without also raising the temperature of the adjacent warm periods. But by doing this they have created the famous “late twentieth century warming“ which supposedly started in the late seventies. According to satellites temperature measurements there was no warming at all until 1998 when a super El Nino arrived. In four years global temperature rose by a third of a degree and then stopped. It was a step warming, something that carbon dioxide cannot create, and there was no warming either before or after it. The twenty-first century high, a six year warm period where temperature stayed the same, followed. It in turn was followed by a La Nina cooling in 2008. This cooling signaled resumption of ENSO oscillations that had been interrupted by the super El Nino. They and not an imaginary greenhouse effect will determine the climate for the rest of this century. In addition to having an unreal temperature curve to work with Loehle and Scaffeta are also handicapped by their vision of what drives global warming and what it will do to global temperature. They are hung up on fitting a superposition of linear, twenty year, and sixty year trends to the actual temperature curves from 1840 to 2000. The curve fit in figure 3 testifies that this can be done but I actually don’t see any justification for using these harmonics as part of the curve fit. When looking at a long term temperature record like theirs you need to understand that there have been natural changes over the course of time that are not too well understood. For example, during the twentieth century there have been several abrupt changes of climate that are often ignored. In the early part of the century there was a distinct., almost linear, warming from 1910 to 1940 that is best viewed as part of coming out of the Little Ice Age. It ended abruptly in the winter of 1939/40 when World War 2 had just begun. The heat wave shown during the WW2 period by official temperature curves ignores this and must be regarded as purely imaginary. The temperature dropped suddenly that winter and stayed down for the war. It later stabilized and did not change for the next fifty years as far as I can tell. It has been claimed that there was a “great Pacific climate change“ that may have raised global temperature in 1976. If so, it should be a break-point in global temperature but I have not been able to verify it because of the surrounding El Nino peaks. The temperature curve from the end of WW2 until the arrival of the super El Nino should be basically horizontal, with a step up where the supposed Pacific climate change took place. In the satellite era the temperature curves before and after the step warming brought by the super El Nino are both horizontal straight lines but they do not meet. And they must not be made to meet by computer fitting a curve. Computer fitting is only valid if the irregularities in the data are random. In the case of the climate breakpoints they are not random and must not be averaged out of existence to create a pleasingly continuous curve. This paper attempts to fit a 160 year curve to preconceived notions of climate forcing which have questionable validity and ignore the existence of breakpoints in the data. The apparent noise in the data is not noise but El Nino peaks and La Nina valleys. El Nino has an underlying harmonic base with a period of five years and is the only real oscillation contained in the entire 160 year data set. Because it is a harmonic oscillation, although distorted by oceanic conditions, the right way to average it is not by computer fitting or using a running average but by marking the center points between neighboring extremes and then connecting them. If you do that any long term trends become visible. As far as I can tell there are no signs of any long term twenty or sixty year harmonics in HadCRUT3 if the entire 160 year data set is so analyzed.
    [1] Arno Arrak, “What Warming?“ (2010), pp. 48-49

  64. Stephen Pruett

    Considering the reason that most people seem to think that CO2 is the main driver of climate change is that we can’t think of anything else it could be (to paraphrase a comment from an interview with Phil Jones), empirical examination of natural cycles seems a reasonable thing to do. Of course, a direct physical explanation would be better, but there is no way to determine sensitivity using the physics of CO2. The only way to be convinced that CO2 is the main driver is to assume that we understand quantitatively ALL the other major contributors to climate variation. Empirical evidence without a physical explanation or an assumption based on ignorance of other possible mechanisms? The former seems more scientific somehow.

    One of the reasons it takes so long and so many studies to convince biomedical scientists and epidemiologists with regard to causation of health effects is that confounders are often numerous and the first group to publish a study almost never thinks of and controls for all of them. This is the case, even though it is often possible to use experimental manipulations in animal models that can directly demonstrate causation. Unless the system under investigation is very thoroughly understood there is always concern that species differences are fooling us. I point all this out to demonstrate that there is a large field of study in which the default position with regard to causation is skepticism. That seems appropriate to me.

    A modified Ptolemaic system allowed predictions of planetary movements that were as accurate as provided by the Copernican system (). Empirical predictive models can be useful, even if not correctly understood in terms of physical mechanism. In the current situation, the fact that natural cycles (regardless of their cause) could account for a significant portion of recent warming is interesting. At least it has the advantage of being based on actual data and of being better than GCMs at predicting temperature.

    • Stephen
      you got it!

      Many readers above did not.


    • Stephen Pruett says”

      “The only way to be convinced that CO2 is the main driver is to assume that we understand quantitatively ALL the other major contributors to climate variation.”

      I couldn’t agree more. One of the reasons I favour the sceptic’s position.

      I am an accountant by trade. Anyone who has ever reconciled a balance sheet will know that if you have even a small difference in the reconciliation – say £1,000, that small difference could hide a £1,000,000 asset plus a liability of £999,999. The small difference could even hide a thousand £1,000 assets and numerous liabilities adding to £999,999.

      This parallel seems to me appropriate when climate science presents a computer model of future/past climate. They don’t know all the assets/liabilities in the system so cannot claim to have a complete picture. So the model should only ever be regarded as a work of fiction.


  65. The estimated AGW component matches theory, since the log of an exponential rise in carbon dioxide should give an approximatelinear trend (as in fact the climate models do).

    That depends on the emissions scenario. SRES A2 model outputs are not particularly linear. One problem with this assumption is that the major anthropogenic ‘greenhouse’ gases are long-lived in the atmosphere whereas aerosols are short-lived. ‘Greenhouse gas’ concentrations will effectively increase geometrically while aerosols will only increase arithmetically or may even decrease as countries introduce clean air legislation.

  66. Having read through this fascinating thread the one comment I feel compelled to make is that I think the authors would benefit from developing a thicker skin. You complaints about being insulted do you no favors whether they are true or not. Be confident in your rebuttals but stick to the facts.

    • Don’t like being called on witless abuse?

    • It is not a matter of a thin skin. Insults derail the scientific debate and are not a “rebuttal” of a paper. You will notice we have avoided food fights on this post.

      • I disagree that you avoided food fights. Your comments sometimes end with statements like:

        “Sneaky enough for you? Hidden agenda?”
        “Are you implying that we lied? Wow. Get a grip. All the coefficients are in the paper.”

        I’m just suggesting you tone down your pushback, it’ll help people see the truth in your points rather than fire back at you.

      • Dr. Loehle accused Luis Dias of not reading the paper. Dr. Scafetta later also essentially accused Luis Dias of not having read the paper.

        Luis Diaz had read it earlier on WUWT.

  67. Craig, unfortunately trying to avoid a food fight has not stopped the partial derailing of the thread. It would probably strengthen your case to point out the evidence in the proxy data series (such as this one), which go back way further than the instrumental record.

    I agree with Fred Molton’s comments above that 2 1/2 cycles isn’t going to give you a very accurate frequency estimation.

    As you project forward in time, I would suggest that you show a growing band of uncertainty in your model that reflects this uncertainty in the “60-year PDO” oscillation. I’m a bit busy or I would do it myself.

    • In our paper we show two proxy sequences which contain a quasi 60-year cycle since ~1700.

      Moreover, we reference several other studies showing a 50-70 year oscillation for centuries and millennia in several proxy records, which also include papers dealing with long instrumental temperature reconstructions from Europe since the 17th century.

      So, we did what you say we should have done. Have you read our paper?

      It is not our fault that the instrumental global surface temperature record covers only 160 years.

      • “Have you read our paper?”

        “It is not our fault that the…”

        Carrick is not accusing you of doing anything wrong, he’s simply pointing out that he sees a limitation in your paper, model and dataset. You sound very defensive when you reply this way. It’s not helping you to win over your audience.

  68. The full amplitude of the proposed 60-year oscillation is 0.2 degrees. Important for the long term? I think not. Perspective, people.

    • full amplitude of the proposed 60-year oscillation is 0.3 degrees, not 0.2.

      The long term upper limit is calculated assuming an exponential GHG increase as in the IPCC. Or result differ from the IPCC because that 0.3 C associated to the 60-year cycle implies that the antropogenic forcing effect has been overestimated by the IPCC by a factor 3.5.

      For the long term there are also longer cycles

      • The CO2 warming rate has been increasing steadily, and is already approaching 0.2 degrees per decade. By mid-century it will exceed 0.4 degrees per decade, and continue as CO2 increases. Linear extrapolation does not approximate the effect of CO2, as we can see by extrapolating it backwards. You can’t fit a straight line to a curve.

      • Or imaginary stuff

      • Jim D

        The CO2 warming rate has been increasing steadily, and is already approaching 0.2 degrees per decade. By mid-century it will exceed 0.4 degrees per decade, and continue as CO2 increases

        This statement was correct up to the end of 2000, although the rate of warming did not “increase steadily”, but rather bounced up and down like a yo-yo.

        Since then, there has been no warming, despite the fact that IPCC projected warming of“0.2 degrees per decade”. In fact HadCRUT tells us that there has been slight cooling instead.

        Your guess on what “will” happen by mid-century is interesting.

        My guess would be that the warming will have a very hard time reaching even half that rate.

        But who knows?

        Not you.

        Not me.

        Not IPCC.



      • nicola scafetta and Jim D

        When I look at the 160-year HadCRUT record, it appears that the amplitude is somewhere around +/- 0.25 to 0.3C, so the total swing from coolest to warmest point in the 60-year cycles has been over 0.5C.

        This has certainly been true for the two statistically indistinguishable warming half-cycles (early and late 20th century), and the two half-cycles of slight cooling before and in-between. The late 19th century warming half-cycle was a bit less pronounced.

        This amplitude can be compared with an underlying warming trend of around 0.04C per decade, so appears to be significant to me if one starts looking at periods shorter than 60 years.

        I cannot detect an acceleration in warming rate over the 20th century, just a strong multi-decadal oscillation.

        The IPCC chart (AR4 WG1 FAQ 3.1, p 104) implying such an acceleration by comparing periods of decreasing time length is, of course, a “smoke and mirrors” comparison which tells us nothing.


      • Actually the full amplitude of your proposed 60 year cycle is 0.24°C. Apparently Jim knows your paper better than you do.

        Of course it doesn’t really matter, because the IPCC has a physical basis for its models and projections. Loehle and Scafetta don’t. All they have is a curve fitting exercise.


  69. When it comes to global warming alarmists taking time out from their Proselytizing the latest doomsday scenario to lecture skeptics on how they should react to the Left’s politics personal destruction, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

  70. Moolten

    A mechanism may be elusive at the time a phenomenon is demonstrated, only to be unearthed much later. I’m actually more concerned about the reverse possibility – finding a “mechanism” to explain what is actually a series of coincidences. I say that because once the observations are known, it is almost always possible to postulate a mechanism, and so a hypothesized mechanism after the fact doesn’t necessarily strengthen the evidence for a non-coincidental explanation for the observations. The real test would come from predictions made on the basis of the mechanism. For a 60-year cycle, we presumably will have to wait at least another 60 years and probably much longer to determine whether there is an underlying 60-year mechanism involved as opposed to coincidence.


    Full agreement from me Fred, except you are presumably referring to the L & S paper whereas I find your statement much more applicable to GCMs. Especially the remarkable accuracy of their hindcasts compared to the woeful inaccuracy of their forecasts! Might I ask just how many decades/standard deviation errors it will take before you apply your own logic to GCMs, and by extention, IPCC’s reliance on them?

    I find the physics of radiative forcing of temperature by increasing CO2 convincing, I find the physics supporting net positive feedbacks of 3x that forcing, let alone 10x, entirely unconvincing, not to say, forced!

  71. “GCMs. Especially the remarkable accuracy of their hindcasts compared to the woeful inaccuracy of their forecasts!

    Albert – GCM forecasts are known not to have reproduced observed trends exactly, but whether their accuracy has been “woeful” or “not bad” is a matter of perspective.This issue has been argued so many times in so many of these threads without a resolution that to rehash it here is guaranteed to fare no better and to waste space – particularly since there are a handful of participants here who will pursue this topic relentlessly every time it comes up without leaving readers any better informed than previously. It’s probably best not to dwell on it, but to await the future results of projections from more recent models.

  72. Fred Moolten

    Just because something has been discussed (and argued) incessantly does not mean that it is a subject, which should no longer be debated as new evidence becomes available, as I am sure you would agree.

    New evidence is becoming available regarding the ability of GCMs to accurately predict the reaction of clouds to higher surface or tropospheric temperatures, let alone to possible known or unknown natural forcing components.

    Models employing super-parameterization for clouds have given a better view on the first question, but (as IPCC has conceded its “level of scientific understanding” of “natural forcing components” (including solar) is “low”, and, in addition, “cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty”.

    These are precisely the two greatest sources of uncertainty for the argument that human-induced climate change represents a threat to humanity and our environment, as our host here has stated on several occasions (and testified before US Congress).


  73. Jim D
    “The CO2 warming rate has been increasing steadily, and is already approaching 0.2 degrees per decade. By mid-century it will exceed 0.4 degrees per decade, and continue as CO2 increases.”

    Can you explain to me Jim, how the warming rate per decade can increase, from continuously increasing atmospheric CO2 content, when it is well known that the logarithmic effect of CO2 dictates that adding it has a declining effect on raising temperature?

  74. Dr. Strangelove


    Why did you use time series? Temp. isn’t dependent on time. It’s dependent on CO2. At least that’s the main hypothesis of AGW. Why don’t you put CO2 in the x-axis and do regression analysis and see what happens. I did that analysis sometime ago. I got 35% of temp. variability may be attributed to CO2. 65% may be due to other factors not in the regression model.

    However, I did not consider the margin of error in temp. data. If this turns out to be much larger than the standard error in the regression model, the analysis may be meaningless or inconclusive.

  75. After all discussions, hard feelings and considerations of the travesty that all it takes is combining 2 oscillations and 2 linear trends (“it can’t be right” they shout) – it remains for me: the match is disturbingly convincing.
    I expect to live some more 40 years or so and can’t wait to see how temperatures will turn out then.

  76. I discussed the many fundamental errors in this paper on Skeptical Science.


  77. Skeptical Science has a new post up on the L&S paper, reactions?

    • Dontwritecrap

      What’s your reaction? You’re a climate scientist aren’t you?

    • It’s very insightful, verging on pure genius!

    • Judith Curry

      You asked for reactions to the attempt by dana1981 to refute L+S 2011 on the Sceptical Science blog.

      The only real argument used by dana1981 is a chart comparing the Moberg 2005 and Loehle 2008 temperature reconstructions with the L+S model. This chart shows good correlation back to around 1600, but then diverges for earlier years. (Another “divergence” problem?)

      I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this chart, but the argument is weak that this supports the premise that AGW is the principal driver of our climate rather than natural cyclical changes, as proposed by L+S.

      In fact, it does not support this premise at all. The correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentration and temperature is anything but robust, precisely because of these observed multi-decadal cycles, which form the crux of the L+S argument.

      By raising the question of correlation, dana1981 has actually weakened the case for AGW as the principal driver of our climate.

      Statistical analyses have shown that the global temperature record is a random walk. There is no robust correlation with atmospheric CO2. Where there is no correlation, the case for causation is extremely weak (if not non-existent), as dana1981 points out in the rebuttal of L+S.

      A closer look at the dana1981 argument shows that it is really a shot in the foot for the AGW premise IMO.


      • manacker, you seem to believe I’m arguing AGW is correct because L&S are wrong. That’s simply not the case. There is an immense amount of data supporting the AGW theory – I suggest you persuse the Skeptical Science site to learn some of it.

        The point of the post was simply to show that L&S are wrong because their model has no physical basis. Their supposed astronomical cycles don’t show up outside of the instrumental temperature record (even in Loehle’s own reconstruction), and their model diverges radically from the reconstructions prior to the LIA. The L&S model fails the hindcasting test because it is not based on physics.

        None of this has anything to do with the AGW theory, except that the AGW theory *is* physically-based. But you’re also wrong in stating that CO2 and temperature are not correlated. Very wrong.

      • I am thinking of doing a part II on L&S, seeing if I can get L&S to respond to your post,

      • dana1981

        AGW theory is “physically based” as you write (but there are great uncertainties regarding the quantification of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity and, hence the impact of increased CO2 levels on our climate).

        But that discussion is quite beside the point here.

        As Judith has suggested, it would be good for L&S to respond directly to your attempt to refute L&S 2011.

        However, despite what you have written, it is clear that there is no robust statistical correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature, even though both have risen over the past 160+ years.

        The temperature record itself is a random walk, statistically speaking.

        The multi-decadal oscillations in more-or-less regular 30-year periods of warming followed by 30-year periods of slight cooling, all on a trend line of slight warming, do not show a correlation with the steadily increasing atmospheric CO2 levels.

        Where there is no robust correlation, the case for causation is weak (or non-existent).

        This is the crux of L&S 2011.

        And, IMHO, you have been unable to refute this.


      • First of all, your description is not remotely “the crux of L&S 2011.” The crux of L&S 2011 is that astronomical cycles can explain a significant amount of the recent warming. They don’t address CO2 at all.

        Secondly, there’s a saying that I don’t recall exactly, but the gist is that responding to a claim which lacks supporting evidence does not require supporting evidence. Why should I refute this claim which is totally off-topic, for which you have provided not one shred of evidence, and which is obviously untrue?

    • JC

      Maybe Loehle or Scafetta will respond regarding the dana1981 post on scepticalscience.


  78. I think skeptical science has a brilliant new post up by dana eviscerating the loehle and whatever paper. What do you think about it Dr. Curry?

  79. A. C. Osbornr

    dana1981 | August 9, 2011 at 11:45 am | Reply
    and their model diverges radically from the reconstructions prior to the LIA.

    Rejecting it because it doesn’t fit reconstructions?????????

    Just what is the accuracy of the reconstructions prior to the LIA?

    • The uncertainty is far less than the diverge of the model…read the SkS post.

    • As Chris suggests, read the post. I rejected it because:

      1) it fails the hindcasting test (even compared to Loehle’s own reconstruction)

      2) the astronomical cycles don’t show up outside the instrumental temperature record

      3) the model has no physical basis. It’s a curve fitting exercise, nothing more.

      • If your purpose is to convince anyone of the integrity and science content of SkS, this is not a convincing way to do so.

      • That’s just an ad hom. I would suggest if you find SkS unconvincing, you probably don’t want to be convinced.

        Anyway, we’re not talking about AGW here, we’re talking about Loehle and Scafetta’s model. Let’s try not to change the subject.

      • You should know that many people who in general agree on, what SkS publishes, find that site unconvincing.

        The basic approach of the site leads to this effect. I may find from there reasonably good descriptions of some issues, but reading it almost never convinces me.

        The site may serve best people, who are already convinced and want to find answers to some issues they are interested to learn a bit more, but whose background or willingness to put more effort in learning makes it impractical to use other sources.

      • I agree that a lot of our posts at SkS will not convince the currently unconvinced, but at the very least they are generally well referenced and are far more consistent with the standing refereed literature than on other blogs. Sites like WUWT will go out of their way to distort the meaning of someone else´s publication, we do not. I think they therefore provide a valuable educational tool. I for one, have tried to gear my own guest posts toward education on climate science issues (like how the runaway greenhouse works, or Milankovitch cycles), rather than gear everything toward skeptics. I think SkS has covered a wide ground, and have addressed all the key skeptical claims.

        We now have many contributors since the days when John Cook carried the load on his own, and a partial consequence of this is varying writing styles, opinions, and degrees of familiarity with the science. This works better on a site like RealClimate where all the contributors are PhD climate scientists, and I have had issues with various SkS posts in the past, but in general I think it is one of the better resources available on the web.

      • Chris

        Let’s call a spade a spade: SkS is a sales tool for the “dangerous AGW” postulation, nothing more.

        It is not strongly censored like RC (which only allows “party line” chatter and deletes all dissenting views).

        In that context, WUWT is a sales tool opposing the “dangerous AGW” postulation. I have seen no censorship there.

        This site is a more neutral one, thanks to our host here. Only really far out off-topic comments or personal attacks are deleted here, as far as I can tell. Both sides of the argument are discussed and tolerated.

        That’s how I would see the various sites you mentioned.


      • “Let’s call a spade a spade”

        You’re a bellicose idiot. Oh, was that not what you meant?

        “SkS is a sales tool for the “dangerous AGW” postulation, nothing more.”

        Nonsense. Skeptical Science has been an advocate for actual science, and as that science is challenged by fools and liars, it has responded to that.

        You are assuming a false equivalence between reality and mythology — that delusions deserve equal time with facts, and if they do not get them, you disregard the source as “biased.”

        While we’re talking about facts: Watts censors comments frequently, and often bans posters that challenge him or his favorites, or push his buttons in some other way.

        RC is a better site for filtering out worthless garbage, and has even taken the further step of kindly providing a place for junk to exist on its own thread.

      • Robert –
        You’re a bellicose idiot.

        You’re projecting again.

        Nonsense. Skeptical Science has been an advocate for actual science, and as that science is challenged by fools and liars, it has responded to that.

        You complain about “pretend” scientists, but when you find them, you fail to recognize them.

        Watts censors comments frequently, and often bans posters that challenge him or his favorites, or push his buttons in some other way.

        AFAIK, Watts has banned exactly one poster. And he advertised it, along with the reason. The site is moderated – in part because of the ignorant, stupid and/or uncivil. But I’ve seen no censorship. If you have, then provide examples.

        RC – is a better site ONLY if you don’t challenge ANYTHING. Or ask any inconvenient questions. Or talk about ANYTHING but consensus science. Or if you’re not a known sceptic.

      • Well said, Robert.

        First off, SkS has a fundamental base in the peer-reviewed literature. Almost every post is based on at least one peer-reviewed study.

        Secondly, it probably has the best moderation system of any climate blog. SkS actually has contributors assigned as moderators, a fair moderation policy, comments are infrequently moderated, and users are rarely banned. WUWT is definitely more iron-fisted in terms of moderation. Another good aspect about SkS moderation is that they don’t allow discussion to go off-topic, like this one has.

        Ultimately, manacker seems to be among those who think if the 3% of “skeptics” aren’t getting at least 50% of the space, then the site is “biased”.

      • I don´t equate the best science site with the most flexible moderation.

      • A better, more honest description of SkS is here –


      • Indeed, it is articulate. The problem with that view is there is not a single skeptical argument to date that works to undermine AGW, nor does SkS continue to spit out posts upon which working counter-arguments exist. There are a lot of people who don´t like the posts, but yes, we are one-sided toward things that actually have support.

        SkS could improve its ¨one-sidedness¨ by working to write posts against some of the more unreasonable claims on the side of climate change, such as people who think methane is going to eject from the ocean floor and destroy life as we know it, or Hansen´s infamous ¨if we burn all the coal and oil, we can trigger a runaway greenhouse¨ (though I have already written at SkS and elsewhere that this is impossible). In general, most of those are written by bloggers and extreme environmentalists though, not by climate scientists so I am not sure we really need to rebut them. If there is something specific you think we should cover that we have not done justice to then we can (insofar as it is well-rooted in the scientific literature and not your own pet theory). But we have considered all the ¨counter-arguments¨ and just because they are rooted in fundamental misunderstandings does not mean we are ignoring it.

      • Articulate isn’t the same thing as accurate or good. That was a pretty delusional “description”, claiming that the “skeptics” have a bunch of scientific references too, and we’re just ignoring them. On what planet? See Oreskes’ and Peiser’s studies. There are very few peer-reviewed studies supporting the “skeptic” arguments. Sorry, that’s just wishful thinking.

      • SkS and RC are intellectually dishonest. Not allowing for the other side to be discussed will not lead to enlightened thinking.

      • My comment was probably the one that led to the above discussion. I referred in that argument to the basic approach of the site, i.e. having as starting point the refutation of skeptics arguments. There are certainly posts of varying nature, but that’s the general starting point.

        Having that starting point means in practice redefining the claims to be refuted, and there is a major risk of oversimplification at that point. Thus what’s is being refuted is not the strongest of the skeptical arguments, but something overly easy to refute.

        The other problem is that present always, when science is presented to non-scientists. Telling all caveats and uncertainties leads to too complicated and lengthy texts, and it’s also possible that the readers would put too much emphasis on the uncertainties. This is at least an issue that many scientists try to avoid more strongly than they should for maximal credibility. The site loses credibility every time it’s cought making claims that cannot be fully justified to the readership. Many of the claims that cannot be justified for non-specialists are actually correct, but that doesn’t help, when the only justification that can be presented is an appeal to authority.

        Nobody would expect that all details of some difficult field of theoretical physics could be fully explained to an interested lay reader, but in case of climate science there are many, who think that nothing is known well unless it can be explained to him in a way that he understands and finds convincing. That’s of course an unreasonable expectation, but we see here time after time that this is indeed the case. Trying to provide such convincing evidence to lay readership is a double-edged sword. While some readers get convinced, others find out that the argument is a simplification that leaves out some issues, that might be significant.

        SkS has often explanations of different level of detail. That helps, but cannot remove the problem. Having references to scientific literature helps also, but on the other hand that creates the question of objectivity in choosing the references. Again an improvement opens also a new mechanism for building distrust.

        I haven’t always been fully satisfied in the way SkS has performed. I may look at it’s description on some issue, but often I have been left with the
        feeling that I must search for the answer independently to know, what’s the most unbiased description of the present understanding.

  80. dana1981

    Regarding L&S 2011, you state:

    the model has no physical basis. It’s a curve fitting exercise, nothing more

    Attempting to construct a trend that matches actually observed empirical physical data is a “curve fitting exercise” while cranking out model projections based on theoretical deliberations is “science”?

    Gimme a break, dana1981.


    • That depends what you’re using to construct the trend. If you’re just using hypothetical astronomical cycles plus a linear trend of undetermined origin (as L&S do), and totally unconstrained parameters, then yes, it has no physical basis.

      Global climate models, on the other hand, are based on fundamental physics, not “theoretical deliberations”, whatever that means. And their parameter values are constrained by observational data.

  81. dana1981

    Tell it to L&S, if and when they decide to refute your scepticalscience blurb.


  82. David Springer

    Anyone interested in a model that gets it right check out this one;


    I wrote to Loehle last week (copied Judith) asking for an update since Loehle & Scafetta 2011 now has 2 more years of data. More importantly 2 more years of data which FITS PERFECTLY to their model’s forecast.

    Loehle replied saying the new data does indeed fit perfectly but since the model is decadal he didn’t think updating it after only two years was useful. Judith also replied saying she’d see what the authors were up to these days and possibly generating a new article.

    Amazing. Here’s flawless model being widely ignored. Why? Because it finds AGW warming of only 0.06C/decade and orbital mechanics explaining the rest. If L&S 2011 is correct there’s simply no basis whatsoever to be concerned about CO2 emission. And that’s why it’s ignored despite being perfectly predictive.

  83. The best climate model is data for the past ten dthousand years
    What did happen will happen again.