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Popular Technology > Rebuttals > Rebuttal to The Carbon Brief Part II - Authors

Posted by: Andrew Apr 19 2011, 06:40 PM
Rebuttal to The Carbon Brief -

Update: The arguments over DeMenocal, Meehl and Zeebe's low-quality papers are simply distractions from the quality of the list and their papers have been removed. None of these authors ever contacted Popular to remove their papers. The actual reasoning for listing them which is not the strawman arguments made by their authors is given below.

In Part II of his desperate attack on the Popular peer-reviewed paper list, Christian lists "comments" from three authors without providing the question he asked them. Based on his false statements about why papers were included on the list, the question was likely based on a strawman argument intended to mislead the authors. This tactic has been tried in the past by alarmists since asking a legitimate question based on the truth would not get the response they hoped for. All the papers are listed because they support skeptic arguments against ACC/AGW or Alarmism defined as, "concern relating to a perceived negative environmental or socio-economic effect of ACC/AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic." It is made explicitly clear in the disclaimer that the list has nothing to do with any of the personal positions of the authors,

Disclaimer: The inclusion of a paper in this list does not imply a specific personal position to any of the authors. While certain authors on the list cannot be labeled skeptics (e.g. Harold Brooks, Roger Pielke Jr., Roger Pielke Sr.) their paper(s) or results from their paper(s) can still support skeptic's arguments against Alarmism.

1. Christian lies about what the list claims to include, "The authors of the list claim it includes more than 900 scientific papers which question human forced climate change" and "our analysis also shows that many of the papers do not focus on human-induced climate change - and so have little relevance to the theme of the list."

What the list includes is explicitly stated in the title and the first paragraph,

900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarmism

Read: The following papers support skeptic arguments against Anthropogenic Climate Change (ACC), Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or Alarmism."

Alarmism (defined), "concern relating to a perceived negative environmental or socio-economic effect of ACC/AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic."

All the papers support skeptic arguments against Alarmism and thus relevant to the "theme" of the list.

2. deMenocal et al. (2000) was listed explicitly under the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) section because it supports skeptic arguments for the existence of the MWP and that it was a global rather than a regional phenomenon. (
(Science, Volume 288, Number 5474, pp. 2198-2202, June 2000)
- Peter deMenocal et al.

The actual data from the paper shows,

"At Hole 658C, the LIA cooling is also represented by two distinct 3°C to 4°C cooling events between ~1300 and 1900 A.D.; the earlier Medieval Warm Period (MWP), between ~400 and 1000 A.D., was only marginally warmer than present"

In their paper, Fig. 4 (West African SST) shows this clearly.

While for whatever reason they inject a comment unrelated to their work,

"...although the warming in recent decades is unprecedented relative to the past millennium (36)."

This comment is sourced to a Michael Mann paper not their work. What is interesting is the citation is incorrect, "36. M. E. Mann, J. Park, R. S. Bradley, Nature 392, 7797 (1998)". I could find no such paper with these authors, journal and date. Michael Mann does not have any such paper listed on his The closest thing he has is the infamous MBH 98 paper (The original Hockey Stick), "Mann, M.E., Bradley, R.S., and Hughes, M.K., Global-Scale Temperature Patterns and Climate Forcing Over the Past Six Centuries, Nature, 392, 779-787, 1998". Since that comment has nothing to do with the work the authors performed, it is likely it was injected in at the request of a reviewer or editor. Regardless deMenocal et al. (2000) supports skeptic arguments relating to the MWP.

Regarding Peter deMenocal's comments,
"I've responded to similar queries over the years. No, this is not an accurate representation of my work and I've said so many times to them and in print.

"I've asked Dennis Avery of the Heartland Institute to take my name off [another similar] list four times and I've never had a response. There are 15 other Columbia colleagues on there as well ... and all want their names removed."

Since Dr. deMenocal does not know why his paper was listed he cannot make any such claim. He says he has said so "many times to them", who is "them"? Certainly not Popular as I have never received an email from anyone on these issues. Dennis Avery's list has nothing to do with the Popular's list as the former's wording is very different from ours. So confusing the two lists is a very serious mistake. Dr. deMenocal has never been included on any list here in relation to his personal position on AGW nor has the other Columbia colleagues he speaks of. I respect their personal position on this issue and have never attempted to misrepresent them. Their personal position on the issue does not prevent skeptics from using this paper to support skeptic arguments.

Update: I emailed Dr. deMenocal with the question: "Can your paper, "Coherent High- and Low-Latitude Climate Variability During the Holocene Warm Period" be used to argue for the existence of a medieval warm period (MWP)?"

deMenocal: "Yes. But this is not the relevant question."

This is a strawman argument as Dr. deMenocal does not decide what the "relevant" question is. This is decided by the skeptic argument that is being supported. In this case the skeptic argument was for the existence of the Medieval Warm Period and that the MWP was a global rather than a regional phenomenon. Since he kept attempting to create a strawman argument for why his paper was listed I directly asked him to tell me why his paper was listed and he failed to respond.

* deMenocal's paper has been cited multiple times to support skeptic arguments about the Medieval Warm Period (,

3. Zeebe et al. (2009) was listed because it supports skeptic arguments that CO2 was not a past primary climate driver and thus unlikely to be a current primary climate driver. (
(Nature Geoscience, Volume 2, Number 8, pp. 576-580, July 2009)
- Richard E. Zeebe et al.

The actual data from the paper shows,

"At accepted values for the climate sensitivity to a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, this rise in CO2 can explain only between 1 and 3.5C of the warming inferred from proxy records."

Since up to 89% of the observed warming in the time period studied cannot be explained by CO2 forcing this clearly supports skeptic arguments against CO2 being a past primary climate driver. The paper explicitly mentions that other forcings would have to account for the discrepancy,

"If the temperature reconstructions are correct, then ...forcings other than atmospheric CO2 caused a major portion of the PETM warming."

Regarding Richard Zeebe's comments,
Using our paper to support skepticism of anthropogenic global warming is misleading.

This is a strawman argument as his paper is not used to support skepticism of AGW but rather Alarmism as there is nothing misleading about showing evidence that CO2 was not a past primary climate driver.

Update: I attempted to email Dr. Zeebe but received no response.

4. Meehl et al. 2009 was listed explicitly under the solar section to support skeptic arguments by providing a mechanism for how small solar fluctuations are amplified to produce a larger influence on the climate. (
(Science, Volume 325, Number 5944, pp. 1114-1118, August 2009)
- Gerald A. Meehl et al.

The actual data from the paper shows,

"Two mechanisms, the top-down stratospheric response of ozone to fluctuations of shortwave solar forcing and the bottom-up coupled ocean-atmosphere surface response, are included in versions of three global climate models, with either mechanism acting alone or both acting together. We show that the two mechanisms act together to enhance the climatological off-equatorial tropical precipitation maxima in the Pacific, lower the eastern equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures during peaks in the 11-year solar cycle, and reduce low-latitude clouds to amplify the solar forcing at the surface."

While for whatever reason they inject a comment unrelated to their work,

"This response also cannot be used to explain recent global warming because the 11-year solar cycle has not shown a measurable trend over the past 30 years (10)."

This is to a paper by Judith Lean, "SORCE Contributions to New Understanding of Global Change and Solar Variability" not their work. The same paper that is at controversy in the IPCC report,

Regarding Gerald Meehl comments,
"It's odd that our 2009 paper is on a site about global warming. Our paper addressed specifically the climate system response to the 11-year solar cycle. Thus it is about decadal timescale climate variability.

"It said nothing about long-term warming trends, and in fact, in the last sentence of the paper, we state, 'This response also cannot be used to explain recent global warming because the 11-year solar cycle has not shown a measurable trend over the past 30 years.'"

There is nothing odd about it, since the list includes papers on climate change and global warming. As already stated his last sentence had nothing to do with his work but that of another controversial paper.

* Meehle's paper has been cited multiple times to support skeptic arguments about a solar influence on climate (,,

5. Christian lies that, "It's well established that solar irradiance has contributed little to warming since the 1960s, whilst the Earth's temperature has risen."

No that is not established at all and many of the papers in the solar and cosmic ray section argue against this. Such as, (
(Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Volume 71, Issues 17-18, pp. 1916-1923, December 2009)
- Nicola Scafetta

"Since 1980 ...The sun may have caused ...a significant warming (up to 65% of the total observed warming) if ACRIM, or other TSI composites are used."

6. Christian misrepresents a quote from Scafetta & West (2006), "Since 1975 global warming has occurred much faster than could be reasonably expected from the sun alone."

This is an out of context quote that is simply the author laying out the other side of the argument so he can offer an explanation. Which he does later in the paper, (
(Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 33, Issue 17, September 2006)
- Nicola Scafetta, Bruce J. West

"Minor disagreements between the patterns can be due to possible imprecision in the proxy reconstructions of temperature and/or solar irradiance records and to indetermination of the time-lag, which is also frequency/amplitude dependent. For example, the temperature record peaks around 1950 while the solar temperature signature shown in Figure 2 peaks around 1960, however, by adopting a different TSI proxy reconstruction [e.g., Hoyt and Schatten, 1997], the two peaks would almost coincide. ...The difference since 1975 might also decrease if part of the observed NH warming comes from spurious non-climatic contamination of the surface observations such as heat-island and land-use effects [Pielke et al., 2002; Kalnay and Cai, 2003]. Some authors [Christy and Norris, 2006; Douglass et al., 2004] suggest that the recent surface warming is overestimated because temperature reconstructions for the lower troposphere obtained with MSU satellites since 1978 present a significant lower warming than the surface record,"

7. Christian lies about what is "believed" at Popular, "The authors of the list at Popular Technology appear to believe that studying the effect of non-human effects on the climate provides evidence to undermine the theory of man-made climate change."

What is "believed" is that peer-reviewed papers supporting larger natural influences on climate beyond what the IPCC and alarmists acknowledge supports skeptic arguments against Alarmism since they support a reduced anthropogenic influence.

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