Friday, December 26, 2014

Using Mt Rainier for climate nonsense


The Tacoma News Tribune ran a major feature on how Mt Rainier is dying. But Sierra Rayne looked at it and found major problems with it. My favorite is that the warming trend is hidden by recent colder temperatures. Recent colder temps are hiding warming? Maybe colder means colder!

American Thinker Here is a sample.

You must be kidding: 105 years of climate data isn't enough to establish trends? Pure nonsense, as is the claim that the park's weather varies so widely that it "obscures long-term changes." Last time I checked, all major scientific organizations were using climate records much shorter than 105 years to establish trends.

And claiming that year-to-year and decade-to-decade variability obscures long-term changes is oxymoronic – although it makes a convenient alarmism talking point. The statistical tools we use to assess whether trends are significant or not take into account this variability.

There are many climate datasets that have substantial variability but still yield significant trends over time. Conversely, there are also many climate datasets that have relatively little variability but that do not exhibit any significant trends. It is all too convenient to raise the "too much variability" flag when the time series doesn't give you a trend – but I don't see any concerns over "too much variability" when the statistical analyses yield a trend.

In other words, the same degree of variability apparently becomes a problem when the analysis suggests no climate change, but it is just fine when a trend can be identified. Heads, we win; tails, you lose. Sounds like a fine philosophy by which to run a casino, but that simply is not how objective and rigorous publicly funded science should work.

Later on in this article, there is the following statement that appears to entirely contradict the excuse quoted above:

[Quoting TNT] Eleven weather stations gather data in the park, but only the station at Longmire has been operating long enough (since 1909) to show trends that climatologists say are significant. [End of quote]

Wait a minute. Were we not just told earlier in the article that "the first weather station in the park wasn't installed until 1909, so there's not enough historic data on temperature or snowfall – especially at high altitudes – to establish trends with those numbers"? And now we are being told that "only the station at Longmire has been operating long enough (since 1909) to show trends that climatologists say are significant."

So data since 1909 is not enough to establish trends, except when data since 1909 is enough to show trends? Sure, that makes sense.

Read the whole thing.



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