Skeptical Science Crap

Abrahams and Nuccitelli
Nuccitelli's Vested Interest

by Anthony Cox

The Guardian is the media outlet of choice for the alarmists who are becoming more hysterical and outrageous in their pronouncements. The latest article, following hot on the heels of Readfearn’s latest bit of rubbish is by SKS (Skeptical Science) regulars, Abrahams and Nuccitelli.

This article is mendacious. It purports to show that the science supporting man made global warming (AGW) is firming and does so by discussing 3 new important papers.

The third paper by Sherwood is junk and is critiqued here.

The other 2 papers discussed by A&N deal with 2 alternative theories to explain the slight warming the globe has had since 1850 and show that these alternatives are inadequate.

The first alternative theory is natural variation. Natural variation [NV] is the cooling and warming which climate history abounds in. AGW strives to show that what is happening today is outside the parameters of what could be expected from NV and therefore AGW must be responsible.

The paper A&N have selected to disprove NV is by Imbers et al. Like all AGW papers this one is based on modelling and even the authors conclude their theory is not fool-proof by suggesting:
that a wider variety of robustness tests, other than simple comparisons of residual variance, should be performed when dealing with other climate variables and/or different spatial scales.
Alarmists have thought they were on a good thing in rebutting NV ever since McLean et al was published. McLean detrended the temperature record and sought to show what remained was dominated by NV and not AGW. McLean was fiercely attacked by alarmists, particularly Grant Foster, a blogger who had a ‘rebuttal’ published in record time.

McLean et al were not permitted a right of reply but still published their response to Foster et al’s criticism along with some of the emails between the authors of Foster et al. The emails are especially revealing in indicating the political and ideological corruption of the peer review process and the treatment of skeptical papers. Here are 3 of the emails: 
“Having now read the paper [McLean et al., 2009] in a moment of peace and quiet, there
are a few things to bear in mind. The authors of the original will have a right of reply, soneed to ensure that they don't have anything to come back on.”Phil Jones to Jim Salinger, July 28, 2009 
“But as it is written, the current paper [Foster et al. draft critique] almost stoops to the
level of "blog diatribe". The current paper does not read like a peer-reviewed journalarticle. The tone is sometimes dramatic and sometimes accusatory. It is inconsistent withthe language one normally encounters in the objectively-based, peer-reviewed literature.”
Anonymous referee of the Foster et al. critique, September 28, 2009 
“Incidentally I gave a copy [of the Foster et al. critique] to Mike McPhaden and discussed
it with him last week when we were together at the OceanObs'09 conference. Mike isPresident of AGU. Basically this is an acceptance with a couple of suggestions for extras,and some suggestions for toning down the rhetoric. I had already tried that a bit. Myreaction is that the main thing is to expedite this.”Kevin Trenberth to Grant Foster, September 28, 2009

These emails clearly show that the peer review system is neither honest nor conducive to honest and transparent science.

The basic issue of McLean et al was whether NV could supply a temperature trend. Foster et al disputed this:
Consequently, their estimates are at marked variance with essentially every other study of the connection between ENSO and largescale temperature variability, particularly with regard to the role of ENSO in any longterm warming trends. 
This is demonstrably incorrect:

As can be seen NV from 1850 due to ENSO strongly shows asymmetry. Asymmetry is well documented with many peer reviewed papers. Asymmetry can be in duration or intensity.
Duration refers to the relative times that either the warm part of ENSO, or El Nino, or the cool part, La Nina, dominate. During the 20thC there were more El Ninos than La Ninas so automatically a warming trend would be created by the greater number of El Ninos.

Intensity refers to whether the El Nino periods are relatively warmer than the La Ninas are cool. Again during the 20thC the El Ninos were warmer than the La Ninas were cool which also provided a warming trend.

This basic fact is ignored by the alarmists and in particular A&N who are part of the advocacy of SKS.

A&N have also ignored the great number of peer reviewed papers which show that NV is either greater than AGW or sufficient in itself to explain temperature trends. See here, here, here, here and here.

Equally important it is now clear that McLean’s thesis about the role of the Southern Oscillation Index [SOI] has been vindicated.

There are a number of ways of lying. One is subreption, omitting crucial facts. By not referring to all the contrary evidence to their point about NV being secondary to AGW A&N are guilty.

The 3rd paper referred to by A&N is by Schurer et al. This paper seeks to reduce the impact of the sun on climate during the 20thC. Again A&N have not referred to important contrary evidence, in this case what the IPCC says:

This is Figure 6.5 from the Third Assessment Report [TAR]. What it shows is the results from major studies of the Total Solar Irradiance [TSI]. TSI is the measure of solar irradiation reaching the Earth. Every study shows an increase during the 20thC correlating with the rise in temperature.

Figure 6.5 is confirmed by 2 studies. The first is by David Stockwell. Figures 4-7 show how an Accumulative TSI [CUMSOLAR] correlates with temperature as measured by all the major temperature indices. The CUMSOLAR is calculated by averaging TSI over a period. When the TSI is above average temperatures are found to be rising and vice-versa when TSI is below the average. The rate of rise or decrease in temperature is determined by whether the TSI is heading away or towards the average.

This elegant concept is valid for all time periods.

The second study is by Dr Glassman. Glassman’s research also shows a remarkable correlation between solar radiation and temperature:

In fact there is a remarkable amount of research being conducted into the effect of the Sun on climate with 71 new peer reviewed papers being published in 2013 alone.

All of this is ignored by AandN who focus in classic confirmation bias on the pitifully small amount of ‘research’ done to support their failed thesis of AGW. That each of their 3 papers is flawed merely adds to their failure and subterfuge.


  1. They are at it again going after Dr. Tol's destruction of their 97% consensus, these jokers never learn.


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