Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Enough of This PC1 Nonsense, Time for Something Important

Sometimes a bunny just has to answer a tweet nothing

Monday, September 29, 2014

Zombie Steve and the Hockey Stick

As the hockey stick wars metastisize, Eli feels called upon to provide a perfect image.  Please note that the Rabett reached into his pocket and paid for the image (by Christopher Doehling), but if any bunny wants a T shirt we shall see about licensing.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Obdurate Ignorance Meets Flood Insurance

Eli has been writing about the problems that sea level rise poses for the east coast of the US from Cape Hatarras north.  North Carolina has chose the ostrich strategy driven by a blog scientist called John Droz.  As Eli wrote, about the only thing that might save the situation are the fleeing insurers. 

The Bunny was wrong, it's gonna be the home owners who have to pay for flood insurance.

Today in the Virginian Pilot on Line, an article by Aaron Applegate appears about how real estate (aka houses) in high flood risk areas just is not selling.  Applegate uses the house search of two 30ish newlyweds as the hook for the story
They would search for a home in Norfolk to be near Josh's office. But it could not be in a flood plain, susceptible to rising seas, storm surge and escalating flood insurance prices.  
 Their decision is one glimpse into the changing dynamics of coastal real estate. A growing awareness of sea level rise and flooding, coupled with rising flood insurance premiums as the federal government phases out subsidies, has the potential to reshape segments of the Hampton Roads market.
Sellers are having to alter houses to deal with the risk of flooding, such as moving basements to attics (or at least the heating and cooling plants)
Real estate agent Kathy Heaton found herself on the flip side of the growing concern, and perhaps at the forefront of a new trend.

For months, the Nancy Chandler and Associates agent had been trying to sell a home in the desirable Norfolk neighborhood of Larchmont. The problem: Like many homes in that area, it's in a high-risk flood plain. Flood insurance could run up to $3,500 based on estimates she's seen.

That would add almost $300 to a monthly mortgage, an amount many buyers Heaton has encountered would rather put into the cost of a home.

Regular homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Homes in the flood plains with mortgages are required by lenders to have insurance from the subsidized National Flood Insurance Program. It is struggling financially, and reforms are steadily increasing rates - about 18 percent a year - until they represent coverage of the true cost of the risk.

The specter of flood insurance is making the Larchmont home, assessed at around $270,000, nearly impossible to sell.

"We've probably had 35 showings, and everybody has walked out because of the flood insurance," Heaton said.

The home is not unique in a city penetrated by tidal creeks with some of the highest rates of sea level rise in the country, a combination of sinking land and rising water.
King Canute had it easy.

Upsides Down and Backwards

Nick Stokes has his teeth into the hockey stick for a while.  Back in 2011 he explored Deep Climate's exposure of the Wegman hanky panky, Nick found that if you didn't do the cherry pick the results were much less hockey stick like for decentered PCs

Then this March Nick explaned how McIntyre and McKitrick effectively truncated the Gaspe cedar series by fifty years, leaving, well not very much or really not very much global data for 1400-1450.   MBH had padded out that series from its end in 1404 by persistence, but a Steve McIntyre relied on a narrow reading (and Steve McIntyre is famed for such) of MBH 98 to justify that step, except they were very legalistic in not clearly explaining what they had done, until Nick Stokes worked his way through the thicket.

Then this September, a festival at Moyhu.  Three posts on the manipulations necessary to be Steve McIntyre.  Evidently Kevin O'Neill had gotten to the creative nature of Steve who was compelled to come to the defense of the Wegmans.  Nick looked on with bemusement at how the vegetables were being manuvered

Brandon Shollenberger responded by trying to move the goal posts. The selection by HS index used by Wegman had the incidental effect of orienting the profiles. That's how DC noticed it; the profiles, even if Mann's algorithm did what Wegman claimed, should have given up and down shapes. Brandon demanded that I should, having removed the artificial selection, somehow tamper with the results to regenerate the uniformity of sign, even though many had no HS shape to base such a reorientation on. 
And so we see a pea-moving; it's now supposed to be all about how Wegman shifted the signs. It isn't; its all about how HS's were artificially selected. More recent stuff here. So now Steve McIntyre at CA is taking the same line. Bloggers are complaining about sign selection:"While I’ve started with O’Neill’s allegation of deception and “real fraud” related to sign selection,...". No, sign selection is the telltale giveaway. The issue is hockey-stick selection. 100 out of 10000, by HS index.
Nick earlier had provided a simple explanation why only looking at PC1, as McIntyre does, leaves a distorted picture (Eli has made this point in the past) and today, well today more on flipped curves from both McIntyre and Moyhu

Now Eli is a simple bunny, and likes to start with definitions.  McIntyre defines the hockey stick index as
. . "as the difference between the 1902-1980 mean (the “short centering” period of Mannian principal components) and the overall mean (1400-1980), divided by the standard deviation – a measure that we termed its “Hockey Stick Index (HSI)”.
If they had defined it as the absolute value of the difference BS and SM (well, Eli notices these things) might have a leg to stand on, but sorting on the defined HSI SM eliminated all negative going curves from their collection of 100.  Accident or incompetence?  Once again Eli notes that Steve McIntyre insists that he is incredibly precise.  Eli reports, you decide.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The American Physical Society Throws Down

One of the joys about having a publishing or public relations office is that news is not judgement, indeed to believe Andy Revkin, that would be evil issue advocacy.  The APS AIP (APS is a majore part of AIP) publishing office just threw down for Steve Koonin (yes, John M, Eli has WebCited, but comments can be left at the AIP APS)
In January, when Steven E. Koonin welcomed participants to the Climate Change Statement Review Workshop that he was chairing for the American Physical Society, he made a point of acknowledging “experts who credibly take significant issue with several aspects of the consensus picture.” Participating, and fitting that description, were climate scientists Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen, and John Christy. Now Koonin has published a high-visibility commentary in the Wall Street Journal under the headline “Climate science is not settled.” In the paper version, the editors italicized the word not.
Ben Santer, Isaac Held and William Collins have now been officially declared chopped liver.
It can be added that Koonin has a long past in investigating and pronouncing on physics questions of special public importance. A quarter century ago, the article“Physicists debunk claim of a new kind of fusion” included this: “Dr. Steven E. Koonin of Caltech called the Utah report a result of ‘the incompetence and delusion of Pons and Fleischmann.’ The audience of scientists sat in stunned silence for a moment before bursting into applause.”. . .

Koonin’s 2000-word WSJ commentary dominates the front page of the Saturday Review section, with a jump to an interior page. The editors signposted it in several ways. The subhead says, “Climate change is real and affected by human activity, writes a former top science official of the Obama administration. But we are very far from having the knowledge needed to make good policy.” A call-out line in boldface on the front page says, “Our best climate models still fail to explain the actual climate data.” Another, after the jump to p. C2, says, “The discussion should not be about ‘denying’ or ‘believing’ the science.” A photo caption on the jump page says, in part, “Today’s best estimate of climate sensitivity is no more certain than it was 30 years ago.” A caption on the front page says, “While Arctic ice has been shrinking, Antarctic sea ice is at a record high.” (Although that photo plainly shows only the extraction of an ice-core sample, the caption adds, “Above, scientists measure the sea level in Antarctica.”)
Now Eli, Eli wonders who wrote this press release.  Not really, but implausible deniability is always useful.  Suspicions are that something wonderful will come from NYU

UPDATE:  It turns out that the author of this piece has a track record.  In the comments, Pinko Punko answers Eli's question.
I'd like to note that the author of the piece, Steven T. Corneliussen, also authored this nice write-up of the National Review attacking Neil deGrasse Tyson. It includes some nice notes about the Discovery Institute and Ann Coulter and reports these opinions as if they were just news. Not clear why this was deemed newsworthy to the Physics community. See how oddly it reads.
Denunciations from Roger Jr. and Andy of such obvious issue advocacy are a bit late tody

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Dog's Dinner

There is considerable unhoppiness about the APS.  The arrogance of physicists was the obvious driver in setting the stage for the now appearing Steve Koonin cluster fuck.  As Eli pointed out the members of the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) drafting sub-committee were several courses short of a clue on climate science, even the physics parts of it.  Ankh commented on how life imitates xkcd.

One would think that since the review of the APS statement on climate change was scheduled for this year, that the APS would appoint at least one or two physicists who specialized in climate science and could leaven the nuclear complex refugees who were on it.  But no.  That would not be physicist like.

When Eli suggested that what has been drafted was almost certainly a dog's dinner, Ethon's friend who had seen it replied that "while not at liberty to say anything about the statement as drafted, but let's just say I had to change my socks because Rover is drooling so much in anticipation of supper."

Ethon has read some letters to the APS and the Wall Street Journal and various blog comments. It turns out that Koonin lobbied to be in charge of the process, got input from climate scientists and then refused to acknowledge what he had been given, simply walking away.  Eli has it now from three sources (although they may overlap) that he has resigned from POPA.  Given that he was/is still listed the chair elect, take this as it is, but the WSJ article is a sure sign that the statement he ramrodded through has met considerable opposition.  The APS response will be indicative.

Ben Santer, who was one of those talking with the sub-committee is unhappy about the outcome, the waste of time and the possibility that he was simply set up by someone with an agenda and no intent to learn.  By permission Eli quotes him

Another source of real frustration is that Dr. Koonin had a real opportunity to listen. To consult experts in many different aspects of climate science. To do a deep dive into the science. To seek understanding of complex scientific issues. He did not make use of this opportunity. His op-Ed is not a deep dive - it is a superficial toe-dip into a shallow puddle, rehashing the same tired memes (the "warming hiatus" points toward fundamental model errors, climate scientists suppress uncertainties, there's a lack of transparency in the IPCC process, climate always varies naturally, etc.) 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

We don't know everything, but we know enough!

In his recent WSJ piece, Steven Koonin makes the following claim:

Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century.

What are the facts?

In the period 1870-1924, the rate of sea-level rise was 0.8 mm/yr.

In 1925-1992, the rate was 1.9 mm/yr, and in 1993 -2014 the rate was 3.2 mm/y. So the rate has quadrupled in the last century, from 0.8 mm/yr to 3.2 mm/yr.

The rate data can be found here, from Sato and Hansen. (Data were last updated in May 2014).

Basic climate really is settled. While we don't know everything, we know enough. The rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide is causing problems now,and will cause bigger problems in the future.

Koonin doesn't think we know enough to set good climate policy.

He's wrong: policy should be on the supply side, phase out fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, natural gas) and substitute solar, wind, hydro and nuclear instead.

On the demand side, greater energy efficiency.

We don't know everything, but we know enough.

Sea-level rise was important in the $65B damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy on the tri-state NY metro area (NY, NJ, CT) in 2012. Koonin is now at NYU, whose whose Langone Medical Center sustained $1.13B in damages, and the patients had to be evacuated.

Before NYU, Koonin was chief scientist at the oil company BP.


Shaun Donovan is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, without whose approval not a dime gets spent by Washington.  Today he gave a speech at the Center for American Progress.  It was. . .interesting and not aimed to please the Inhofes, Lonborgs, and Currys of the world but the actions not being taken suit them perfectly.  Speech took about 20 minutes, followed by an interview by former Senator Ted Strickland.

Climate action is tremendously important to me. As OMB Director, due to the wide-ranging effects that climate change is having – and will continue to have – it’s critical to our ability to operate and fund the government in a responsible manner.

From where I sit, climate action is a must do; climate inaction is a can’t do; and climate denial scores – and I don’t mean scoring points on the board. I mean that it scores in the budget – climate denial will cost us billions of dollars. The failure to invest in climate solutions and climate preparedness doesn’t get you membership in a Fiscal Conservatives’ Caucus – it makes you a member of the Flat Earth Society. Climate denial doesn’t just fly in the face of the overwhelming judgment of science – it is fiscally foolish. And while we cannot say with certainty that any individual event is caused by climate change, it is clearly increasing the frequency and intensity of several kinds of extreme weather events. The costs of climate change add up and ignoring the problem only makes it worse.
 and as we all know, no hurricane has hit the US in like thousands of days
But it’s also personal – as a native New Yorker, Superstorm Sandy brought home the impact of extreme weather. New York is where I grew up. It’s where I got married. And it’s where my children were born and raised for most of their lives.

But after Superstorm Sandy, it was where hundreds of homes were turned into piles of debris; mom and pop businesses were left submerged in water; and roads – including the one I had taken my driving test on – were wiped out. One hundred sixty people lost their lives. One of them was a daughter of a family friend. She was just 24 years old.<

As we all know, the storm also carried a hefty price tag: it caused $65 billion in damages and economic losses. Nine million homes and businesses lost power. Over 650,000 homes were damaged or completely destroyed. To help recover and rebuild, the Federal Government provided over $60 billion in much needed relief funding to affected areas.
and Aunt Judy tells us that the pause is in the stadium wave pudding
But, let’s get some facts straight about the continued costs if we don’t act.

Thirteen of the 14 warmest years since good records became available in the late 19th century have occurred since 2000.
Still, the future is bright
Looking ahead, leading estimates suggest that if we see warming of 3° Celsius above preindustrial levels, instead of 2°, we could see additional economic damages of approximately 0.9 percent of global output per. Our Council of Economic Advisers puts this figure into perspective – 0.9 percent of estimated 2014 U.S. GDP is approximately $150 billion.

Within the next 15 years, higher sea levels combined with storm surge and potential changes in hurricane activity are projected to increase the average annual cost of coastal storms along the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico by $7 billion, bringing the total price tag for coastal storms to $35 billion each year.

According to the National Climate Assessment, climate change has made the fire season in the United States longer, and on average, more intense. Funding needed for federal wildland fire management has tripled since 1999—averaging over $3 billion annually. In a world of finite budgets, greater fire suppression costs have left less money available for forest management and fire preparedness. So we spend what we have to in order to put out the fires, and underinvest in the tools that can help mitigate them – only leading to higher costs in the future.

And then there’s the devastating impact of drought in recent years. In 2012, we experienced what NOAA has called the country’s most extensive drought in more than 50 years, racking up $30 billion in damages. This year, California has been facing its third worst drought in recorded history, with a projected cost to the State’s economy of $2.2 billion and more than 17,000 jobs.

The bill to all of us, as taxpayers, is going up too: For example, in January, when the 2014 Farm Bill passed, CBO estimated that agricultural disaster assistance payments would total just under $900 million this year. But due to the severity of the drought, USDA has already spent $2.6 billion this year—three times what the CBO estimated would occur in a more typical year. And crop insurance payouts in the aftermath of the 2012 drought totaled more than $17 billion.

Now, when you consider the impact of climate change on the Federal Budget, it’s bad news for everyone. Even a small reduction in real GDP growth can dramatically reduce Federal revenue, drive up our deficits, and impact the government’s ability to serve the public.

Now, I’ve painted a pretty grim picture. But we are not powerless.
Well, Shaun, you could cut the pipeline off at the knees.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Koonin Hits the Fan

Eli, not a long time ago, posted on the utter cluelessness of the sub-committee putting together a new APS statement on climate change. Like lambs to the slaughter he said, but sadly, one of the lambs was not a sheep but a wolf, lying in wait.  Steve Koonin, the former (Ethon reports) chair of the subcommittee has outed himself in the Wall Street Journal.  

He reprises the expected

  • No such thing as settled science.
  • Scientific and policy discussions have been inhibited
  • I am a physicist and I know
  • It could be bad, but you can't prove it will be bad in my backyard.
  • People are itty bitty things, how could they affect the Earth
  • Climate models are not to be trusted
  • The Pause, The Pause
  • and the models missed The Pause.
Well, if you want more go read Rupert's Rag but sadly damage may have been done.  Ethon has heard that having steered the APS committee in the direction he intended Koonin has resigned in the Hal Lewis manner.  Noisily and nastily.  Confirmation awaited, but there should be blood on the floor. 

The APS has been arrogantly negligent in  its handling of the coming Climate Change position statement.

This sucks.

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