A picture is worth 10,000 long winded explanations

By Joliphant Comments (59) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

This is courtesy Hall Of Record

I am not a climatologist but I do know how to read a graph. Which do you think is the big influence in global warming ?

Crossposted at the The Minority Report

emission of greenhouse gasses causes increased sunspot activity.

(do I win?)

you could have gotten extra points for pointing out that human activity is causing the polar ice caps to melt, on Mars.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

Is that it ends in the 90's. That is about the time one of the graph's authors noted a divergence between sunspots and temperature rise, and concluded that CO2 increases were causing global warming. See below for the links.

To present the graph in this fashion without noting subsequent developments is in fact the worst kind of psuedo science.

In fact, it's a lie and so typical of much of the advocacy on this issue from the right (and there is a fair amount on the left too).

that starting about 1990, fully a third of the world's roughly 4000 temperature measuring stations closed as the Soviet Union collapsed, and that those station were about 90% located in Northern Hemisphere cold climes. Thus we get the sudden "spike" in world temperatures, and "hottest decade on record".

Not hard to do when the cold stations don't report and the world's temperature is calculated on a world-wide averaging of those that did. Funny too that the Southern Hemisphere didn't heat up in the 90s. All the temperature rise to speak of was pretty-much in the North. I think the Southern Hemisphere has only heated up something like 0.058 degrees Centigrade since 1935, when the GHG proliferation started.

great find. wish I could recommend it 20 times.

Moe? Jeff? Dr Evil?

Two thirds of the world is covered by water, the other third is covered by Champ Bailey

If it was all this simple and you didn't actually have to think?

that uses 20x the energy of the average American household.

Two thirds of the world is covered by water, the other third is covered by Champ Bailey

was my irony meter breaking

(Delta Momentum)*(Delta Position) < h

Theres a lot of these. Its funny how the beautiful and simple theories are correct. As if a great artist crafted the world.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

"a man's admiration for absolute government is proportinate to the contempt he feels for those around him". Tocqueville

But every climate change model worth its salt does take the sun into account. YMMV.

[F]or by the fundamental law of Nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred...

-John Locke

The sunspot cycle is also linked to the solar magnetic field and the solar wind. What this is doing is correlating the solar cycle length (not power output) to the temp.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

prescesion, (if I am spelling it correctly) That also has an effect on the Earth's climate.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

no matter how pretty the graph is. Apologies if Joliphant is being tongue in cheek here.

It would be nice if the AGW people said the same thing when they use the same graph minus the solar cycle or solar intensity data.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

It's like a blizzard in here!

Run like Reagan!

There are several alternative explanations here:
--- Pure coincidence.
--- Global warming causes changes in sunspot activity.
--- Some other process is causing both.
Maybe we should go with that second one so that we can continue to blame us eeeevil humans! :)

But by that logic, you can't claim GHG rise is causation either.

If we actually understood how Earth's climate worked, what caused what and what drives what? Until then, it's all smoke, mirrors and politics. It's the goal of this global warming politics/religion where it starts to get dicey. Moral issue, sure it is -- Worship the Goracle.

And I mean it, that is the answer to all of this.

Molon Labe!

we have to pour more money into climate research? Thereby debunking the theory that global warming is a hoax to get more money (i.e. if the climate is that simple, why do we need more research?).

Patterson's composite graph looks to incorporate the 1991 Friis-Christensen/Lassen graph, discussed here (pdf). It has some errors.

Of course, as one commenter put it, any decent climate model takes solar variability into account, because solar variability is a forcing factor - possibly up to 50% of observed forcing. And the chart reflects that, somewhat accurately.

You are quite right, but your link is broken - it is the 1991 FCL graph, and the refutation is the EOS paper reprinted here. I thought there was something wrong when I saw that the plot has 24 points; you can only get one cycle length per cycle, and there have been just 14 cycles since 1855. Basically, they fudged it by combining filtered earlier readings with unfiltered later readings. The corrected plot shows no significant rise in sunspot cycle length to match the rise in temperature since 1970.

Incidentally, did anyone notice that the left vertical axis is upside down - rising temp is supposed to correlate with short cycles.

I could find no indication of this work on Dr Patterson's website.

The graph is tremendously convincing, even in the face of the supposed "refutation" presented here. This article merely quibbles about the handling of the data on the very tail end of this graph (i.e. from about 1970 onward).

The interesting part of the graph, however is between 1900 and 1970 which this "refutation" implicitly acknowledges as being accurate. The only conclusion one can reach from this data is that the sun, and not carbon dioxide, is the major driving force behind mean global temperatures.

Does that mean that other factors have no effect? Certainly not. But it does mean that any other factors are, by definition, non-controlling and therefore only bit players in the big picture.

This graph quite clearly demonstrates that carbon dioxide is playing a minor role, at best, in any global climate changes that we might be experiencing. Even with the corrected data presented in the above "refutation" the correlation between Sunspot activity and mean global temperature is still far greater over the entire time period than that of carbon dioxide.

The remaining part of this "refutation" is pretty much an attempt to chastise the original researchers for modifying their hypothesis in the face of new information (which made the data for the questionable data points more complete because the actual filtered values could now be computed). Well, isn't that what scientists are supposed to do? Put forth hypotheses, test them, and then refine them based on the newly available data?

The "refutation" also complains that the original researchers went on to discuss cloud cover and low-level cloud cover in recent years without acknowledging that the sunspot hypothesis had been refuted. Why should they? It has hardly been refuted, it has been confirmed and even implicitly so by the very article trying to present just such a refutation. The data from 1900 to 1970 are irrefutable which is why they are not being contested even here.

Interestingly, the authors of this so called "refutation" on the one hand are chastising others for not acknowledging things that not true (go figure) but on the other hand are failing to acknowledge the very real implications of the data as presented from 1900 to 1970. And we are supposed to accept their judgement of others?

In other comments many people have pointed out "well of course any decent climate model takes solar variation into account, it is a driving force." This too is an acknowledgement of the obvious fact that the Sun is a primary factor in determining the mean global temperature. It is the starting point for any such model. Therefore, by definition, everything else in the model is a mere refinement relative to that.

No, I fear that the predictions of cataclysmic consequences due to human activity are hugely overblown. Can we be having an effect? Sure. But it is measured as a small percentage of the over-all change which will be predominantly driven by Solar activity.

Republicans: We're still proud of America!

But of what? That global temperatures are determined by sunspot cycle length, with high temperatures caused by short cycles? I don't know of any scientist, AGW sceptic or not, who maintains that. Lassen doesn't (see below), and F-C hasn't published anything in the area since the 90's.

This plot is misleading in all sorts of ways. Firstly, there is no excuse for promoting an unattributed 1991 plot which has known errors, and is not now backed by any scientist (even F-C and Lassen published an update). Secondly, even the original plot is misrepresented here. The "temperature anomaly" is not the global value, which might have been expected, but Northern Hemisphere data. There are significant differences and I suppose the global values wouldn't have fitted as well. Another omission is the different markings that FCL used for their unfiltered values - that's all gone here.

The apparent agreement is illusory. There have only been 14 cycles in the period, and so there are really only 14 cycle lengths to base a plot on. You can interpolate in all sorts of ways, and they seem to have found a way here of drawing a curve that looks like a good match for a while.

And the non correlation of CO2 to temperature is what ?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Knud Lassen, one of the authors of the original graph, later acknowledged the error, and published a joint updating paper with Thejll. They said

Peter Thejll said: "The curves diverge after 1980, and it's a startlingly large deviation. Something else is acting on the climate."

He and Dr Lassen suspect that emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are responsible, saying "it has the fingerprints of the greenhouse effect".

From CO2 that isn't there And the 1860's have a warm spike.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

It does look like sunspots have a greater correlation with Earth temperature than CO2 concentrations. I am put in mind of several Ice Ages and mini-Ice Ages ... and the "global cooling" anxiety of the seventies.

I find it amusing that the eco-wackos just hate CO2 (which they breath out, every day), but are so vehemently opposed to nuclear power that creates no CO2.

I am less amused by the similarities between the content of stack (ie, powerhouse chimney) gases, and the atmosphere of Venus (surface temperature: 800-900F).

As to graphs and charts, essential reading for all Americans should be the short book:

How to Lie with Statistics, Darrell Huff, 1954, WW Norton & Co, New York

Have you read a Mathematician reads the newspaper by John Allen ?

My all time favorite on this is The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Tufte.

Anyway you raise a really big point here how the graphs lie. The AGW people are always showing the 120 year graph of temp rise. The upper and lower limits of the vertical axis are the delta in the temp. They always chop off the 280 degrees absolute that those changes are sitting on top of. Even if you look at the earths overall temperature range its plus minus 10 degrees with some estimates of up to plus 20.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

My all time favorite on this is The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Tufte.

A classic. An absolutely beautiful book. Buy a copy for your inquisitive adolescent. All non-scientists who want to at least be numerate and capable of understanding visual representations of data should read it. It should be the subject of its own required course at every journalism school in the world. So much needless hokum could be avoided if it was. ONE COURSE!!

Global warming or not, I would like to see the US invest heavily in Nukes.

adapted from proven plants in Japan, France and even Russia, a serious and sober investment in nuclear power could really pay off, I think.


I was just listening to a "nuclear engineer" on Mike McConnell's show the other day talking about that and the only thing I could imagine him meaning is that "Use only proven plants" means we need to never innovate again.

There are those who look on Dresden and Tokyo and Hiroshima as some of the greatest evils ever perpetrated by man. I look on them and thank the perpetrators for saving millions.

It's been more than 3 decades since the United States commissioned a new nuclear powerplant and in the meantime I think what the engineer above was probably referring to are the "proven designs" that Westinghouse and General Electric have developed over that time and the technology that a dozen other countries around the world have pioneered since that time.

America's nuclear power plants are all outdated and practically obsoloete in comparison to the plants being built in France and Japan, for instance. You can thank Jimmy Carter and Jane Fonda for that.

Which, though state of the art when they were built are, indeed, obsolete.

I was saying we should take what others have designed/built and improve and innovate from there (if not just come from an entirely different angle) and build a better plant.
This whole "Only proven designs" thing says to me that we aren't supposed to come up with our own designs at all and that's how it's being pushed.

There are those who look on Dresden and Tokyo and Hiroshima as some of the greatest evils ever perpetrated by man. I look on them and thank the perpetrators for saving millions.

designs from GE. I don't believe that the new ESBWR design that the US utilities are looking at has been built yet. The new designs are designed to be passive safe, with fewer active safety related components. This is a good thing as reliability is inversely proportional to the number of moving parts. The French designs are I believe largely PWR's and are not the newer passive safe designs. Frammatome does have a passive safe design and is looking to build one in the US. We do not want to build any Russian design. Many (if not all) of their designs are less safe than existing US plants and are unlicensable in the US.
Whether or not the new designs get built will be largely an economic decsision by the US utilities. The largest hurdles I see are as follows:
1) Spent fuel disposal - This is the largest issue, and it is entirely political. The technology for reprocessing and dsiposal has been around for decades. The French and Japanese already reprocess fuel, which dramatically reduces the volume of waste to store. In my view we can reprocess fuel, store it underground or store it above ground in a retrievable facility. Any could be made technically acceptable. We just need the politicians to get out of the way.
2) Availability of engineers and skilled labor. This will be a huge issue for the nuclear industry as soon as shovel one of dirt is turned for new construction. Currently approx 65 % of the Nuclear Industry's engineers are in their late 40's to early 50's. In the next 10 -12 years, most of these people are going to retire (myself included). Given low numbers of graduating engineers and competition from other industries with more sex appeal ( i.e. biotechnology, robotics, pharmaceutical, etc) the industry will struggle to meet recruiting goals. In the mid to late 70's (the last nuclear building boom) the industry met their manpower demand by recruiting engineers from China and India. Both of those economies are growing much more rapidly now and will not provide the numer of engineers they might have in the past. Also, skilled craft (i.e. welders and electricians) are in short supply since the emphasis in our high schools is on sending kids to college rather than into the trades.
3) Regulatory Issues - While the NRC is trying to support the licensing of new designs, the key area remains the willingness of Public Utility commisions in a number of states to allow utilities to recoup the cost of their construction through required rate increases. If the utilities don't have assurance of recouping their investment, they won't build. One factor in the spiralling costs of construction in the 70's ( along with inflation and high interest rates) is the way Utilities have traditionally been allowed to recoup their construction costs. Traditionally. utilities have not been allowed to raise their rates to recoup capital investments until the facilities are complete and on-line. This may seem fair, because, why should rate payers pay for a plant that isn't finished, but it increases the overall cost because it requires more borrowing to finance construction.
Right now, things look positive for further growth, but we will see in the next 2 - 3 years if the second nuclear buildout will occur.

And I'm so glad that we have an actual, bonafide nuclear engineer here at RedState to sum this up because what you just wrote stopped me from having to write precisely the same thing, differently worded.

It's a travesty and a national shame that we have allowed the situation to deteriorate at so many different levels. Less-sober people than myself could liken it to committing national suicide. We need an Apollo Project for Energy, and Nuclear needs to be one of the main beneficiaries.

I don't mean: "run by the government" I am referring to the spirit and the sense of national purpose it engendered.

Just different politicians buying different favors from different groups at different times. This results in no net progress. If we were serious about energy independance,we'd look at several areas; electrical generation, transportation fuels and fertilizer and chemical feed stocks ( just my examples. There are bound to be other strategic areas). We'd identify the current raw materials required to fuel each area vs. what we can produce domestically and provide incentives ( I prefer tax credits to subsidies) for industry to align with the preferred fuel source for that strategic area. Using electric generation as an example, it makes no sense for the US to use oil and natural gas for electricity generation, since they are much more valuable as transportation fuels and chemical feedstocks. Conversely, uranium has little value in any strategic area other than electric generation (discounting for the moment electric cars) and while coal can be used as a substitute for oil and gas, it's most easily used in electric generation. Doing this would at least give us a shot at a workable plan. Without a plan expect no real progress.
Of course, solving problems is never a priority with the political class, because if a problem is solved, they can't use it to whip up votes.

After all, GE (American) and Westinghouse (now owned by Toshiba) built most of our nukes ... and continue to do so for others, overseas.

I was lucky enough to tour the last (I'm pretty sure) nuclear power plant built in America while it was under construction. Inside the containment vessel, you are surrounded by welded steel plates lining the eight-foot thick beehive. Cables running through the cement tie the whole thing together with 36 million pounds of tension. The place was designed to survive a crashing 747.

Unfortunately, that plant had a six-month construction hiatus while the courts decided if a local lady was being irradiated by the plant or not. At the time, the reactors themselves (product of Chicago Bridge and Iron) were sitting on an access road ... there was no nuclear fuel anywhere near the site.

We need more nukes. They are safe. And they don't emit greenhouse gases.

As to operators ... they'll probably come from the same place they often have: The US Navy! Despite Jimmy Carter.

And yes, I know GC is going to have my head for continuing the defamation of his client, but we must destroy the Sun. The precautionary principle demands it. Al Gore told me that rule, so blotting out the Sun is the only reasonable course of action... for the children. Clearly there is scientific consensus behind this?

Run like Reagan!

Typical overreaction.

We just need to cool it. Perhaps we could send manned missions to Mars, capture the polar ice caps on Mars, load them onto rockets and fire them into the Sun, causing cooling.

We would probably have to file an environmental impact statement of the impact on Mars, but that shouldn't be overly difficult. We just send Algore to Mars to lead the study.
Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.
J. Michael Waller

"Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun."

Charles Montgomery Burns


-- “I find it amusing that the eco-wackos just hate CO2 (which they breath out, every day...” --

And, I suspect, breathe out more than their fair share, thus damaging the environment for all of the peepul. The government should do something, like, you know, like, a regulation.

Now, if all you Libs will reach out and hold hands (just like you’re about to sing “We Are the World”)...good, good...now, breathe in deeeeep, and hold it.

This should reduce the CO2 (and by extension, the escalating world temperature) significantly in about a year or so. We’ll keep checking, and let you know when it’s safe for you to breathe again.

Don’t call us (you’ll be exhaling great GOBS of CO2!!...and that simply will not do), we’ll call you.

Gee, that almost rhymed.

Shakespeare, eat your heart out.

Perhaps I should quit my day job.

(BTW, nice subtext Raven. If only there were leaders with such brass spheres today)

McCain Approaches His Tipping Point
McCain Approaches His Tipping Point

Where's the graph of John McCain as he approaches his Tipping Point? What metric do John McCain's recent movements correlate with? Can anyone identify the dependent variable(s) and causative factors? Do John McCain's views follow a power-law or a Gaussian distribution, or what?

What's his frequency, Kenneth?

"I am convinced that we have reached the tipping point and that the Congress of the United States will act with the agreement of the administration," said Mr McCain, who is a favoured candidate in next year's presidential primaries.

The best correlation can be found at the Journal of Irreproducible Results. They've a graph for all purposes.

Once known as The Worm-Runners' Digest, the J.I.R. used to run articles correlating things with the coast of Norway (on a map, silly).

Come now Joli. Anyone worth their weight in science knows this chart is only valid up to its end date - 1985. And actually there was an article in Science a few years back that showed the last two points in chart were flawed - meaning its validity is really only good until 1975.

Now why would anyone not even plot the last 20 years of data (it's freely available) and use the incorrect data from 1975 to 1985? Maybe it's just me, but I'd be skeptical of such a person wouldn't you? We know that you know the chart is misleading Joli, why do you continue to try and sell it? Or who is paying you to sell it?

We've got you figured out now Joli. After all no rational person could ever be skeptical of the mountains of evidence supporting global warming. So what's you're connection? What? You bought gas once? From Exxon?!?! Now we all know you're just here to spread doubt for the evil oil companies and I can blissfully ignore you.

of course he/she is not going to admit anything, but Joli certainly seems to have a lot of time to spread GW myths that actually look like real science, even though no scientist would own up to them. My other guess is (s)he's a retired professor that somehow got disgruntled with the scientific method and now insists on butchering it. Either way I'd advise taking all of his/her posts with a grain of salt.

So, nilram, as a defender of Joli and self-proclaimed rational person, please tell me how the chart above is relevant for global warming observed over the last 30 years?

Good to see you again. I meant to ask is your order militant or are you content to just preach the faith ?

Ah well either way you are welcome here Redstate appreciates people of faith after all we are conservatives. No need to hide behind science, here you can be accepted conservatives are tolerant.

I say the above because anyone that looks at a chart containing a 140 years of data, and concentrates on 30 years of data stretching them to make a point isn't dealing in science. It must take a great deal of faith to look at that chart and see the correlation between CO2 and temperature, I could never do it.

As to the chart well its not perfect but it has features that AGW proselytizers always leave. It has the data from 1860 to 1880. The faithful like to start in a temperature dip to give themselves a leg up in the argument. Second it does a very nice job showing CO2 concentration against temperature. You have to ask just where did that mid century warm period come from ?

Be of good cheer Brother Shifty, while we may not subscribe to your faith you are welcome to profess it.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

thanks for the kind tone - what a welcome change from past discussions. So, Joli, please enlighten us as to what the correlation with sunspot activity looks like for the last 30 years and why it is left out of the above plot. I think you know what it looks like, why are you hiding this information from us? I certainly hope there are no divergences from the observed trend in the revised chart.

I once created a plot of airline passenger growth and started in the late 1800's, strangely my correlation values changed around 1910, but I decided not to plot them because it didn't support my argument that airline travel would never last.

Perhaps sunspot activity was important in the early-mid 20th century, but I and the rest of the world are interested in what is happening now. Why aren't you?

Are you trying to say there was no CO2 in the air in the 1800's ? Or are you just trying to spread the faith ?
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

First of all, the sunspot axis is flipped (intervals getting shorter). Because it's a cycle, this has major issues with trying to physically explain warming with sunspots (it should be noted that the sunspot number, a number not necessarily an intensity, has risen over the same time period. This has more of a potential for a physical explanation, why isn't that plotted?). Simply stated, CO2 has physical grounds to explain warming (in a simplified world, that statement is unarguable); the physics of a decreasing sunspot cycle length has no basis in physical explanation, it's just a correlation.

2nd- the sunspot plot is has axes of year vs. year, which makes highly dependent on how a sunspot cycle is defined and all the assumptions that go into it. Since the plot is year vs. year and the y-axis only covers 1.5 years, it wouldn't take much of a relaxation or redefinition of the determining how long a sunspot cycle lasts to completely change the story of the graph.

And really important ones. Sunspot number is indicative of solar power output. Sunspot cycle length is inversely proportion to solar magnetic field strength, suggesting that the effect is not directly caused by luminosity but perhaps by solar wind or solar magnetic field effects.

Second I believe the graph used a moving average and interpolation for the sunspot cycle line.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

You can read the original paper here . They tried plotting temperature against the direct measures of solar activity, but that didn't work too well. Then they tried solar cycle time, which they argued had some association with sunspot intensity, and hit the jackpot.

They have described how they made the graph. They did some fitting to find maxima and minima, took the peak-to-peak readings, and then smoothed. The problems, especially in getting accuracy to the nearest month or so, are obvious. If you look at the current cycle , it has two peaks, about two years apart. If you choose the wrong one, your graph goes from one end of the scale to the other. Just as well they are smoothing heavily.

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