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February 15, 2010

CRU's Former Head Phil Jones: Well, I Guess Maybe There Hasn't Been Any Warming Since 1995, And Oh Yeah, Maybe The Medieval Warm Period and Subsequent Periods Were Warmer Than Things Are Now

What precisely is left of this "theory"?

[Question:] Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

[Phil Jones:]... Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other. Here are the trends and significances for each period:

1860-1880: 21 0.163 Yes
1910-1940: 31 0.15 Yes
1975-1998: 24 0.166 Yes
1975-2009: 35 0.161 Yes

That "Yes" at the end is the answer to whether each is statistically significant -- as you can see, they all are, and all are pretty much just as significant as the current period of warming (assuming it exists).

He later claims this doesn't mean much, because he says he can explain previous periods of warming by volcanic and solar activity, which cannot (he maintains) explain the current period of warming. But as Powerline notes, he's simply wrong about that.

He also claims -- unscientifically, as Powerline notes -- that if we can't explain warming by two factors (volcanic activity and solar activity), it must of course all be due to human activity. Not only is that silly to begin with, but he completely blows off the oscillations of the ocean, which seem to track pretty well with temperature changes.

And then there's that pesky Medieval Warm Period.

[Question:] There is a debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was global or not. If it were to be conclusively shown that it was a global phenomenon, would you accept that this would undermine the premise that mean surface atmospheric temperatures during the latter part of the 20th Century were unprecedented?

[Jones:] There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the NH and SH) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm that today, then current warmth would be unprecedented.

We know from the instrumental temperature record that the two hemispheres do not always follow one another. We cannot, therefore, make the assumption that temperatures in the global average will be similar to those in the northern hemisphere.

There is "much debate" over whether the MWP was global? Gee, that comes as a shock to me, because I keep being told there is no debate about -- the warmistas claim the MWP didn't exist, that the very clear (as he himself calls it) evidence of high temperatures in the northern hemisphere are offset by unsubstantiated low temperatures in the conveniently-lacking-in-temperature-proxies southern hemispheres.

That is the whole claim of the hockey stick -- that temperatures were flat for 1000 years and only now is there significant warming.

Compare these two graphs -- the hockey stick, and a more sensible chart of global temperatures, and the one that once was completely accepted by the scientific community (also known as "the overwhelming consensus," aka "the science is settled).

mwp-graphs.jpg

Via Hot Air.

Obviously, if there was a Medieval Warm Period (and there, you know, was) then the current warming is not "unprecedented." In fact, it's small beans compared to the MWP. And the MWP was a period of great bounty for the earth-- the plentiful crops in fact (if I'm remembering right, and I think I am) were a major factor in ushering the Renaissance, as fewer humans were needed to produce food and more people became artisans, merchants, and so forth.

That's a big, big problem with the Warmistas admitting the MWP -- a higher temperature then actually translated into an era of plenty, and progress. Pretty much tells you right there that our current temperature is not our best temperature -- our "best" temperature seems to be a degree or two higher than it is now.

And the science continues to unsettle every day -- now a key IPCC claim, oft-repeated by the stooge Pachuari, that African crop yields would decline by 50%, turns out to be made-up nonsense by a guy who literally makes his living (literally) on carbon credits.

Oh -- one more startling omission by Jones.

The debate? That we keep being told "is over"?

He says it's not over at all.

[Question:] When scientists say "the debate on climate change is over", what exactly do they mean - and what don't they mean?

[Jones:]It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.

Not only does he say he doesn't agree that "the debate is over," but that the vast majority of scientists (his words) don't think the debate is over, either.

So why do Al Gore and Barack Obama keep saying it is? Their boy -- boy! -- is himself saying that the debate is not over.

Ooops: I forgot a key admission. Phil Jones justifies his "hide the decline" tactics by admitting he includes tree ring proxies which are congruent with his theory and tossing out proxy series which undermine it.


More: Where is the American Media? Note that the BBC is doing actual journalism while the American media continues embargoing the story.

And note even the left-wing Guardian UK is writing balanced pieces here -- in this piece, they note that the "hockey stick" was thought badly flawed and cherry-picked even by the CRU.

And this continues to be incredibly important, because even as AGW comes apart under the very first scrutiny ever given to the "theory", the White House is planning on using inherent -- and invented -- executive powers to force a carbon-controlling regime on us that would never in a thousand years pass Congress.

And Oh Yeah: The Evidence That the Earth Has Warmed At All is In Serious Doubt: As related already by DrewM. A new peer-reviewed paper shows that temperature increases are greatly and consistently overstated, because the readings aren't properly adjusted down for factors like urbanization.

And let me re-quote this withering passage:

In an interview with The Times Robert Watson said that all the errors exposed so far in the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) resulted in overstatements of the severity of the problem. Professor Watson, currently chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that if the errors had just been innocent mistakes, as has been claimed by the current chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, some would probably have understated the impact of climate change.

...Professor Watson, who served as chairman of the IPCC from 1997-2002, said: “The mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact. That is worrying. The IPCC needs to look at this trend in the errors and ask why it happened.”

"That is worrying." This guy just accused the IPCC of manipulating data -- he discards the "innocent mistakes" explanation as implausible, because if the mistakes were innocent, we should see them going either way. In fact, they all go the exact same way.



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posted by Ace at 01:35 PM

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