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Widely Reported Alarming Ocean Warming Study Is Wrong

Skeptic of catastrophic climate change projections is right about significant errors in alarming new study.

BoilingOceansFredericbDreamstimeFredericb/DreamstimeA major error in an alarming study published in Nature on October 31 suggesting that "ocean warming is at the high end of previous estimates, with implications for policy-relevant measurements of the Earth response to climate change, such as climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases and the thermal component of sea-level rise." How much higher? Using a novel technique to measure the accumulation of heat in the oceans, Princeton geoscientist Laure Resplandy and her team calculated that the amount of heat being absorbed by the oceans is more than 60 percent higher per year than the estimates offered by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014.

Dire headlines warning that catastrophic global warming was more likely than previously thought ensued.

However, British climate researcher and statistician Nicholas Lewis re-crunched the numbers in the study and found that Resplandy and her team had made significant errors in their calculations. I noted in my reporting on the controversy that I had reached out to Resplandy and had not heard back from her or her colleagues yet. I added that I expected that she and her colleagues need time for a careful evaluation of Lewis' arguments. Now co-author Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist Ralph Keeling has acknowledged that Lewis is at least partially right and the reseachers are preparing a correction to their original article (apparently not yet published).

The San Diego Union-Tribune article, "Climate contrarian uncovers scientific error, upends major ocean warming study," is reporting that Keeling now accepts that Lewis is right and that the study's findings are far more uncertain than they had claimed in their Nature article. "When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there," Keeling said to the Union-Tribune. "We're grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly."

"Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that's going on in the ocean," Keeling said. "We really muffed the error margins."

But getting the error margins wrong is not the only problem with the research, suggests Lewis. Keeping in mind that the correction has not yet been peer-reviewed or published, Lewis responded to an email asking for his reaction to these developments:

In general terms, if [Keeling] is only saying that they acknowledge that their study underestimated the uncertainty in their ocean heat uptake estimate, that is not enough. They should also acknowledge that another consequence of their mishandling of the treatment of uncertainty was that their central estimate of ocean heat uptake was overstated by approximately 30%.

So far as I can tell (from statements on their websites), the authors hope to alter an assumption that affects one aspect (that relating to constancy of the land oxygen-carbon exchange ratio) of the input data used to derive their ocean heat uptake estimate, in such a way that will increase its level, when correctly calculated, to a value close to their originally published estimate. It would seem a little surprising that a valid adjustment made after publication happened, conveniently, to have the effect of almost cancelling a statistical methods error.

Unfortunately their work involves many assumptions where there scope for subjective choices by the authors, so it is difficult to validate those assumptions. I would hope that Nature will have any changes made by the authors to their assumptions examined carefully by peer reviewers who are experts in the same field as Resplandy and Keeling, as well as by statistically expert peer reviewers. However, the failure of the original peer review and editorial process to pick up the fairly obvious statistical problems in the original paper do not engender confidence in Nature's approach.

The upshot, says Lewis, is that "If you calculate the trend correctly, the warming rate is not worse than we thought – it's very much in line with previous estimates."

Of course, peer review is not perfect. However, cynical folks might be forgiven for thinking that this ocean warming paper is an example of a study confirming the prevailing scientific shibboleths being subject to far less scrutiny than those that might challenge them.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    However, cynical folks might be forgiven for thinking that this ocean warming paper is an example of a study confirming the prevailing scientific shibboleths being subject to far less scrutiny than those that might challenge them.

    They might indeed.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Ya think?

  • Tankboy||

    If you criticize their findings you could be shunned by 97% of scientists (not sure if this figure includes Christian Scientists and Scientologists) and 100% of organizations that hand out research grant money.

  • ||

    I've noticed a trend where 4-5 years ago when Ron would put up something climate-science related there would pretty reliably be a small crowd of Climate Believers who would show up to excoriate us for our ignorance of "The Science." While many of these people were intractable fanatics, they tended to have at least a basic grasp of physics and could speak intelligently about actual scientific studies, even if their conclusions were not always entirely honestly arrived at.

    Has anyone else noticed that this doesn't happen anymore? That for about the last year all we get is Tony, who doesn't understand the science at all and for whom it's 100% a partisan-political commitment?

    I find that encouraging. I think we may be on the down side of this particular wave of hysteria.

  • BYODB||


    I find that encouraging. I think we may be on the down side of this particular wave of hysteria.

    As a die-hard pessimist and contrarian, I expect that anyone with any knowledge (even pretend knowledge) has simply stopped showing up here in favor of more insular thought-bubbles.

  • ||

    I expect that anyone with any knowledge (even pretend knowledge) has simply stopped showing up here in favor of more insular thought-bubbles.

    Even that is encouraging - they're no longer evangelizing, just taking comfort in being echoed by like-minded Believers. That's how movements start to whither and die.

  • Ron||

    in other articles the error rate is more in the 70% range. If I deigned houses with a 70% inaccuracy range i would be out of business heck even the min10% error believed to be the minimum error in the reports would be huge. with everything being in error the original author has admitted his study is useless.

  • Ron Bailey||

    R: Yes - that's what Lewis told me - giving the benefit of a doubt I amwaiting to see the correction first.

  • Entelechy||

    Ron should have done more research before buying in to Lewis' overstated conclusion as well as his valid critique.

    Resplandy replied to Nicholas Lewis today in RealClimate ( full disclosure : my work has appeared there as well as in Reason and Nature ) , and she and her colauthors have already submitted a corrigendum.

    But contrary to Ron and Lewis , the correction is not large enough to alter the paper's primary result- here is what Resplandy concludes at RealClimate :

    http://www.realclimate.org/ind.....ent-712970

    Bottom Line

    We recomputed the ΔAPOClimate trend and its uncertainty based on the distribution of the unweighted least square fits to each of the 106 ensemble realizations of ΔAPOClimate generated by combining all sources of uncertainty, with correlated errors now treated as systematic contributions to the trend. The resulting trend in ΔAPOClimate is 1.05 ± 0.62 per meg/y­r (previously 1.16 ± 0.18 per meg/yr) which yields a ΔOHC trend of 1.21 ± 0.72 x 1022 J/yr (previously 1.33 ± 0.20 x 1022 J/yr), as summarized in the updated Figure 1:

    The revised uncertainties preclude drawing any strong conclusions with respect to climate sensitivity or carbon budgets based on the APO method alone, but they still lend support for the implications of the recent upwards revisions in OHC relative to IPCC AR5 based on hydrographic and Argo measurements.

  • Ron Bailey||

    E: Perhaps RealClimate has it it right, but as reported Lewis does note: "The authors hope to alter an assumption that affects one aspect (that relating to constancy of the land oxygen-carbon exchange ratio) of the input data used to derive their ocean heat uptake estimate, in such a way that will increase its level, when correctly calculated, to a value close to their originally published estimate. It would seem a little surprising that a valid adjustment made after publication happened, conveniently, to have the effect of almost cancelling a statistical methods error." It does seem a bit too convenient, but maybe it's right. Let's see how it plays out before concluding that Lewis' conclusions are "overstated."

  • Ron Bailey||

    E: I also find the debate in comments on the RealClimate post illuminating. I think that the claim that Lewis is making "overstated" claims is a bit premature. Take a look and let us know.

  • Bubba Jones||

    This illustrates the echo chamber of peer review. Authors often suggest their own reviewers. They don't suggest "contrarian" reviewers.

  • Jerryskids||

    Of course, peer review is not perfect.

    The latest studies indicate that the rise in imperfections in peer review is much worse than previously estimated. Some researchers are going so far as to say that we've already reached a tipping point and catastrophic failure in the peer review system is unavoidably imminent - we have less than ten years before the trust in the validity of scientific research will be completely burned away. And still some science deniers insist that the scientific method itself is an oppressive remnant of white male European hegemony and are cheering on its demise.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Who needs the scientific method when you have consensus?

  • SimpleRules||

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Well, perhaps female consensus. (See feminist glacier science)

  • DrZ||

    Scientific truth is just a vote away.

  • Tankboy||

    The symbol of the oppressive white male European hegemony should be a unicorn.

  • Juice||

    LOL. Perfect.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Are you saying we've reached peak peer review?

  • Ron||

    To continue I've heard about the supposed higher ocean uptake and know for a fact that nothing in the universe can take up heat faster than it is imparted which is what they have been claiming. those with climate derangement syndrome often forget basic science

  • TuIpa||

    Oho you're just another "Rule of Law" guy I see.

  • DrZ||

    I think you are wrong. Using a rare branch of mathematics known as hyperventilation, I can prove that the earth is warming.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    "Using a novel technique to measure the accumulation of heat in the oceans, Princeton geoscientist Laure Resplandy and her team calculated that the amount of heat being absorbed by the oceans is more than 60 percent higher per year than the estimates offered by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014."

    The technique was so novel, none of the heat was detected by the thousands of thermometers used to measure ocean temperatures.

  • mtrueman||

    "The technique was so novel, none of the heat was detected by the thousands of thermometers used to measure ocean temperatures."

    Getting the temperature of the surface of the ocean is a fairly trivial exercise, as I understand. The tough part is measuring below surface, where the vast bulk of the ocean lies.

  • TuIpa||

    Better headline "Global Climate Change proponents lied again, were caught"

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    #believeAllWomen

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    In line with CA law for board of directors, they should mandate that a man be involved in all of these
    "Science-y things".

  • NoVaNick||

    Facts and numbers don't matter in climate science-its all about how it makes us feelz and saving the cute polar bears

  • BYODB||

    I say we get a polar bear and put it in the zoo. Then, anyone who has an urge to save polar bears will be welcome to enter the bears cage and attempt to save it.

    Obviously, the bear won't be fed. 'Guests' will be encouraged to wear steak vests, though.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Um, aren't we are all wearing steak vests already?

  • BYODB||

    I think that was just Lady Gaga.

  • No Time for Fishing||

    Facts don't matter. Polar bears regularly swim 30 miles at a time. If they are floating on a piece of ice it's because they want to.

    And then there is:
    There are too many polar bears in parts of Nunavut and climate change hasn't yet affected any of them, says a draft management plan from the territorial government that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking.
    https://tinyurl.com/ycj8uupv

  • Sevo||

    Which matters not in the least: the study will be repeated in its flawed state by every Gaia-worshipping rag on the planet.

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    This

  • NoVaNick||

    Seriously, as someone with a science background, I blame the media for the widespread scientific illiteracy. They present things only as "facts" and ignore the actual fact that science is always an open question. They also make scientists out to be these infallible wizard types, when in reality, they are humans just like everyone else, driven by their own interests, and every bit as capable of screwing up.

  • Agammamon||

    You don't blame scientists themselves? Not for putting out studies 'as fact' that have massive error bars?

  • NoVaNick||

    Yes, the scientists do the research and publish papers that often do not match up with the press releases, so I often think its the fault of the university PR people, eager to bring attention and $ to their institutions.

  • Utilitarian||

    Scientists aren't any different today than they were in the past. Scientists have always been flawed, biased individuals, just like everyone else.

  • The Last American Hero||

    While the press is partly to blame, the so-called scientific community does nothing to temper the claims made in the press when they run with a half baked story that misinterprets the data. These idiots won't be blacklisted from Nature, but climate skeptics sure are. The scientific community isn't terribly interested in replication studies, as there is no glory or tenured professorships to be gained from that work. And their involvement in advocating policies which keep that sweet sweet grant money flowing at taxpayer expense, not just reporting results, undermines their credibility.

    Scientists need to get own house in order before bitching about idiots in the press being idiots.

  • Ron||

    Exactly who would pay a scientist who says the world is fine. People want change even if its bad change

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Same problem with reporters. And politicians.

  • Utilitarian||

    People who have a vested interest in that status quo.

  • ||

    Seriously, as someone with a science background, I blame the media for the widespread scientific illiteracy.

    I also blame IP. If the first to discover and reduce to practice holds monopoly rights, why would you reproduce the work that gives another scientist a competitive advantage or even grants them claims to your work?

    Obviously, we don't have to slog through every nth iteration in order to validate every theory and method, but we frequently over-value novelty over reliability.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    From the press release issued regarding the Nature article:
    "Imagine if the ocean was only 30 feet deep," said Resplandy, who was a postdoctoral researcher at Scripps. "Our data show that it would have warmed by 6.5 degrees Celsius [11.7 degrees Fahrenheit] every decade since 1991. In comparison, the estimate of the last IPCC assessment report would correspond to a warming of only 4 degrees Celsius [7.2 degrees Fahrenheit] every decade."

    A bit sensational, no? The ocean isn't 30 ft deep. Ms. Resplandy's comment is utterly fatuous.

    This is not science. It is public relations, which is just a euphemism for propaganda.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Publicity slut.

  • An Innocent Man||

    Imagine if this weren't a religion, too. It's easy if you try.

  • Longtobefree||

    Sort of like "imagine if global science was actual science"?

  • Kazinski||

    But the 30 foot visual is very helpful because 30ft is about the limit of visibility of the ocean, so it's easy to imagine the ocean is only 30ft deep.

    Science shouldn't be just for those that know the worlds oceans average 12,100 feet and 30ft is just 0.24% of the actual average depth.

  • DrZ||

    Global warming is occurring!
    Regardless of deniers, studies using hyperventilation prove that we are heading for a precipice.

  • NoVaNick||

    Scripps Institution of Oceanography climate scientist Ralph Keeling has acknowledged that Lewis is at least partially right

    I bet that Democrats in Congress will immediately launch an investigation of this guy and try to terminate his grant

  • JFree||

    British climate researcher and statistician Nicholas Lewis re-crunched the numbers in the study and found that Resplandy and her team had made significant errors in their calculations

    I'm glad this sort of scrutiny is now happening. It's what the climate folks ignored for far too long - in favor of the emotional attachment to a 'consensus' and the data sharing consequences re that - and is imo a big reason why they lost a lot of credibility. And unfortunately once lost credibility is tough to regain.

  • BYODB||

    The 'consensus' that people keep citing does not say what people, even people like you, seem to think it says.

    The only 'consensus' is that temperatures are going up. Everything else is bullshit.

  • ||

    The only 'consensus' is that temperatures are going up. Everything else is bullshit.

    In fairness, the "97% consensus" is that temperatures are going up. There's a somewhat-greater-than-50% consensus in published climate studies that human activity is contributing to that warming in at least some small way.

    The most deceptive claims are those that 1) there is widespread agreement that the rate of warming is catastrophic; 2) there is widespread certainly that human activity is the primary driver; 3) there is widespread consensus that among human activities the burning of fossil fuels in particular is the primary driver.

  • BYODB||


    In fairness, the "97% consensus" is that temperatures are going up.

    Indeed, that is what I said but I assume you wanted to mention the ~50% opinion of climate scientists that humans have some impact is also a consensus. They're not wrong in my view, simply because of obvious and known things such as the urban heat island effect, but that 50% 'consensus' is never the number used.

    They willfully conflate the 97% with the AGW crowd, when that isn't the case at all.

  • ||

    They're not wrong in my view, simply because of obvious and known things such as the urban heat island effect, but that 50% 'consensus' is never the number used.

    Oh, exactly. And that's the trouble with that 50% consensus - urban heat island effects are well known and empirically demonstrable. They're effect on GMT? Probably negligible.

    Others speculate deforestation may be contributing to warming. Still others postulate that reforestation contributes to warming. There's speculation that a significant climate shift happened when the Tibetan Plateau rose high enough to get snow, thus changing its reflective properties.

    Even among the GHG crowd, there has long been tension between the methane people and the CO2 people. Oddly enough, it was right when Al Gore started pursuing his class action against the energy sector that the methane people were told to shut up and stop distracting from CO2 - go figure.

  • Tony||

    Nic Lewis? Never change, Ron. Look forward to the next update from Spencer and Christie (oh, those seem to have disappeared). Well, surely Judith Curry has something to say.

  • ||

    How dare they listen to heretics! Don't they know how to science?!

  • polsksm||

    I don't think you understand. The authors admit they fucked up the math, royally. The esteemed peer-reviewers for this prestigious journal didn't catch what Nic did just by reading the first page. If you value any of this research at all that should set off major alarm bells.

  • ||

    I don't think you understand.

    It's not that Tony doesn't understand, per se - he just doesn't care. I doubt he even read the article.

    If you value any of this research at all

    He doesn't. He values it only and exactly to the extent that it can be used as a bludgeon against people who don't vote Democrat.

  • polsksm||

    I must admit I'm surprised at how quickly the authors admitted the mistake AND credited Mr. Lewis. That's quite a departure from the normal reaction. There may be hope after all.

  • ||

    Yeah - that is striking. Usually the reaction is more akin to Tony's "how DARE you give audience to heretics!" In the end I think a lot of these people are, in fact, well-intentioned and just tend to succumb to publication pressures. It will be slow, but real science will win out in the end.

  • Tony||

    Hey hey, you know what none of this back and forth does? Confirm the hypothesis of climate change deniers, whatever form that may be today. Nor does it corroborate Bailey's incessant climate optimism. The extra alarmism of this particular report may be unwarranted, but alarmism itself is not. They margins were off. Doesn't mean everything's OK. The problem isn't the reporting, it's the selective reporting. I'm not saying Reason has to report on every development in climate science, but the fact that it only seems to report things when they support, however feebly, a denier bent, is what I have a problem with. Science reporting should not make people stupider.

  • TuIpa||

    Shorter Tony "blah blah I fucked up and now I'm distracting with blather blah blah"

  • polsksm||

    Interestingly though the original paper went strongly against the "luke-warmers" hypothesis and confirmed the catastrophic alarmists "it's worse than we thought" mantra. I don't understand why some people react so negatively to learning it's NOT worse than we thought. Should be good news.

    The bigger concern should be, in my opinion, that peer review is broken. This was not hard to figure out for someone of sufficient intelligence and the proper background, i.e. the "peers." And yet they failed. How good do you think they are at catching the more subtle problems? Do you think they're even looking if the conclusion is "right"?

  • Tony||

    It is good news relative to the original reporting. The best news ever would be if the deniers were right all along. We all want them to be right. Unfortunately they are not, and all they're doing is making the problem worse by forestalling policy action.

  • ||

    We all want them to be right.

    If that were the case, you wouldn't dismiss everything they say out of hand and get so, so, so angry that they say it.

    all they're doing is making the problem worse by forestalling policy action.

    And we come to the real point - you don't actually have any interest in or understanding of the science or what "the real problem" actually is - you just want to bludgeon people who don't agree with your policy preferences.

  • Tony||

    The people whose policy preferences are "do nothing and let the habitable environment of the planet get destroyed" are winning. Sorry if I have a problem with that.

    There's no such thing as not making a choice, and you're on the side of maximum radical action (by inaction).

  • commentguy||

    "If that were the case, you wouldn't dismiss everything they say out of hand"
    What a non-sequitur. There are lots of things I would like to be true but that evidently aren't - I don't need to waste time listening to cranks who want to convince me otherwise.

  • Ron Bailey||

    This^

  • Sevo||

    polsksm|11.14.18 @ 1:17PM|#
    "...I don't understand why some people react so negatively to learning it's NOT worse than we thought. Should be good news."

    It would be if your goal was honesty rather than obtaining power.
    Tony is a very distant acquaintance to honesty.

  • DesigNate||

    Death cultist like Tony tend to get posed off when you tell them they aren't going to ascend to heaven while their enemies are smitted.

  • ||

    Hey hey, you know what none of this back and forth does? Confirm the hypothesis of climate change deniers, whatever form that may be today.

    That you think this is a coherent statement betrays your backward approach and near-total lack of understanding of what science actually is. The "hypothesis" of "climate deniers" is that people like you who run around screaming your doomsday theories and trying to convince everyone that all they have to do is vote Democrat to save the world need to provide some evidence to back up your claims.

    Ron is hardly some knee-jerk "climate-denier." He reports all kinds of developments in climate science, and has never expressed skepticism of the science. He has only ever expressed skepticism of government-based solutions, which is what your real problem is.

    Your complaint is that Ron's reporting isn't selective, not that it is.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    I guess rational people use logic backwards compared to Tony and his comrades, who begin with the premise (conclusion?) that collective government programs are necessary, and work in reverse to come up with supporting data.

  • ||

    He had the exact same approach to the Kavanaugh hearing. Kavanaugh's "accusation" that his accusers were lying was on the same level and required the same burden of proof as the accusations themselves. All things being equal, Kavanaugh should have been considered a proven rapist because he was unable to prove his accusations that his accusers had no evidence.

  • Ron Bailey||

    This is where my "This^" - was supposed to go. Damned threaded comments. :-)

  • Ron Bailey||

    Not here either - I give up. Damned threaded comments 2X!

  • ||

    If I may, my read was that you were responding to polsksm|11.14.18 @ 1:17PM, viz "Should be good news" and "The bigger concern should be, in my opinion, that peer review is broken."

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    But your still going to beg us for money in a few weeks to fund this amazing site?

    - said with much love and frustration.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    ^This

  • Ron Bailey||

    T: As I suggested to SL below: May I direct your attention to Lewis' 2018 article in the Journal of Climate on ocean heat uptake and climate sensitivity? See also my earlier reporting on that topic.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Hehe

  • Eric H.||

    Dr. Spencer posts the monthly UAH temperature on his blog. You can find it elsewhere as well. www.drroyspencer.com.

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    Still not letting facts challenge your belief in "science", huh Tony?

    Moron.

  • Tony||

    Still not believing science is real, huh Freddy?

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    When you repeat that "I believe in science" mantra all you're doing is signalling you're willing to uncritically accept whatever sciencey-type pablum's fed to you by the mainstream media. It's obvious from that statement you have no critical thinking ability.

    Rational people do not "believe" in science. They gather data and form and evaluate hypothesis. You: you've never read a peer-reviewed article in your life, have you?

    Yet you're willing to fuck up my kids' futures because of your beliefs. You're no better than the bitter God-clingers the Rev.'s always bleating on about; worse, in fact, because there's a shiny pair of jackboots it your closet you're just itching to wear, while most bitter clingers just want to be left alone.

  • ||

    "Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that's going on in the ocean," Keeling said. "We really muffed the error margins."

    mad.casual|11.8.18 @ 1:01PM|#

    That's because the number is so small that normal people would shrug their shoulders and say "so what?"

    Here you *measure* something with 50% error and use it to report a value with roughly 10% error. That's some pretty fucking awesome math.

    No studying.

  • D-Pizzle||

    " I would hope that Nature will have any changes made by the authors to their assumptions examined carefully by peer reviewers who are experts in the same field as Resplandy and Keeling, as well as by statistically expert peer reviewers."

    Yeah, I won't be holding by breath for this to happen.

  • The Last American Hero||

    The retraction will be in size 6 font on the second to last page under the ecotourism ad, and will be a link to a website with a 404 error.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    I'm sure the site will be there. The real message will be access denied.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    However, cynical folks might be forgiven for thinking that this ocean warming paper is an example of a study confirming the prevailing scientific shibboleths being subject to far less scrutiny than those that might challenge them.

    Even more cynical folks might notice that in this instance the challenge itself argues in favor of, "confirming the prevailing scientific shibboleths," instead of overturning them with something yet more drastic:

    The upshot, says Lewis, is that "If you calculate the trend correctly, the warming rate is not worse than we thought – it's very much in line with previous estimates."

    That extra measure of cynicism applies especially to denialist comments of the sort the report of the challenge engendered here.

  • Ron Bailey||

    SL: May I direct your attention to Lewis' 2018 article in the Journal of Climate on ocean heat uptake and climate sensitivity? See also my earlier reporting on that topic.

  • Rossami||

    I'm not sure what "denialist" comments you are arguing against. The overwhelming consensus among event the most ardent skeptics is that average temperatures are rising - at about the same rate they've been rising ever since the end of the Little Ice Age.

    Maybe you might consider actually engaging people in debate rather than attacking strawmen sometime?

  • Rossami||

    In the meantime, maybe you'd take a crack at why the methodology proposed by these researchers - relying on spot-measurements of the proportions of atmospheric chemicals that are partly influenced by chemical interactions which are themselves partially proportional to ocean temperature - should be any more reliable than direct physical measurements of ocean temperature by dedicated instruments? Because that is what they were originally claiming - that the trend from their approach was more reliable than the trends from direct measurements. Under what set of circumstances to you believe that could be true?

  • zombietimeshare||

    "... the study's findings are far more uncertain than they had claimed in their Nature article. "

    So, this has gone from "the science is settled" to "the science is suspect".

  • ReadMyLips88||

    I would say that it's more like "the science is really hard". I have no doubt about climate change, since that's one of the most redundantly redundant phrases ever invented (i.e. of course, the climate is changing...it's never been static in the entire history of the earth). But I have serious doubt about our ability to really understand every mechanism and input to such a vast system. I'm not sure that we'll really have anything approaching an accurate model of the earth's climate even 1000 years from now, because the science is that hard.

  • ||

    But I have serious doubt about our ability to really understand every mechanism and input to such a vast system. I'm not sure that we'll really have anything approaching an accurate model of the earth's climate even 1000 years from now, because the science is that hard.

    ^ This. As evidenced by the ever-growing body of papers in the "look, here's another thing we didn't take into consideration" genre.

  • BYODB||


    I'm not sure that we'll really have anything approaching an accurate model of the earth's climate even 1000 years from now, because the science is that hard.

    Instead of 'hard' I'd say the reason is because we literally just started taking measurements a femtosecond ago geologically speaking and the 'snap shots' we have in the geological record are not useful for trends in any way, shape, or form.

    If you asked an astronomer to give you an estimated increase of universal temperatures based on their telescope readings, they would tell you to fuck off since you're an idiot. I'm not sure why climatologists don't say the same thing, but conceptually it's probably because people can hold the idea of the whole Earth in their head, while they absolutely can not do the same for the universe. (Obviously, I'm simply talking about the concept not the interworking's of uncountable processes working in tandem.)

    Of course, the fact that both operate on timescales so vastly different from the human view fails to register on them.

  • D-Pizzle||

    " I'm not sure why climatologists don't say the same thing..."

    It's probably because you don't get the phat grants saying stuff like that.

  • Eyedunno||

    Why is the science suspect? Because they publish corrections when they make a mistake? The horror!

    This is not at all unique to climate science. It happens every time some paper comes out that seems to show an exception to Special Relativity or General Relativity: they find a mistake in calculations or methodology and Einstein is vindicated again. Same thing here: the old figures (which still show warming of the oceans) seem to be pretty close to the truth. Meanwhile half or more of the commenters here react to this by saying: "see, I told you AGW is a pack of lies intended to bring about socialism and one-world government!"

    It might definitely be the case that the journals with the highest circulation are less circumspect about climate change articles on initial publication than they should be. But you can't go from there to "climate science papers are all bullshit".

  • Eyedunno||

    Wow, "might definitely" is a shitty turn of phrase. Replace that with just "might".

  • ||

    Same thing here: the old figures (which still show warming of the oceans) seem to be pretty close to the truth. Meanwhile half or more of the commenters here react to this by saying: "see, I told you AGW is a pack of lies intended to bring about socialism and one-world government!"

    No - this isn't the same thing at all. Einstein's theories have great predictive power. When we observe things in nature that should behave in a certain way based on his predictions, they do. This has never been the case with the climate models. None of them.

    At the heart of any controversy about warming is the extent to which it is catastrophic. The empirical data have stubbornly refused to show a catastrophic rate of warming. What's concerning is the extent to which the present oopsy here revealed a fair amount of confirmationism on the part of all involved.

    In short, this isn't like the occasional attempt to debunk relativity despite all the empirical confirmations. This is taking notice of yet another attempt to force the data into the narrative that the scientists have clearly already decided to believe in spite of the empirical evidence.

  • ||

    People who weren't inclined to Believe before are even less inclined now because it couldn't be more clear how many of the researchers are starting from the conclusion they want and backing themselves into it. One can only hope that the empirical data showing a non-catastrophic rate of warming is correct, because Keeling, et al., are doing more harm than good with this kind of thing if not.

  • handsoffmypineapples||

    Another important difference of course is that no one is campaigning to turn over vast amounts of money and power to the government in the attempt to stop the catastrophic effects of general relativity.

  • Hank Phillips||

    So where's the error in Petr Beckmann's alternative to the Einstein theory? And while we're on the subject, was Einstein also correct in his endorsement of force-initiating Socialism? Einstein's "Why Socialism" essay was published shortly after Ayn Rand composed the non-aggression principle, while hangmen on the gallows stood cutting down the last of the nationalsocialist war criminals.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Should anyone care about Einstein's views on socialism? Does it discredit relativity?

    Squirrel.

  • Utilitarian||

    Einstein's area of expertise was physics, not economic systems.

  • mtrueman||

    "At the heart of any controversy about warming is the extent to which it is catastrophic. "

    'Catastrophic' is a value judgment. It doesn't really have a place in scientific discourse. Science is all about observing, measuring, then observing and measuring again.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    "However, the failure of the original peer review and editorial process to pick up the fairly obvious statistical problems in the original paper do not engender confidence in Nature's approach."

    I always wondered what the scientific term for "bitch slap" was. Now I know and knowing is half the battle.

  • Benitacanova||

    Math is hard.

    We need more women in STEM. Or not.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Or less math.

  • Dillinger||

    definitely more women

  • Longtobefree||

    Hence common core; no more mistakes if the answer is wrong, just show you know the procedure.

  • Dillinger||

    forecast weather beyond tomorrow unreliable in any format

  • DesigNate||

    Weather is different from climate!!!2!

  • Headache||

    For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

  • BYODB||


    However, cynical folks might be forgiven for thinking that this ocean warming paper is an example of a study confirming the prevailing scientific shibboleths being subject to far less scrutiny than those that might challenge them.


    And that's essentially exactly what we said on the previous article on this subject. I like the wink and the nod, though. I also find the term 'Climate Contrarian' to be absolutely idiotic. I guess they got tired of using 'climate change denier' for some reason.

  • ||

    I guess they got tired of using 'climate change denier' for some reason.

    They may have found that mixing the discourses of Science and Faith was off-putting to the sciencey types, who they sort of need if they're not going to come across as a Faith.

  • BYODB||

    Indeed, and I note that by using 'contrarian' they're still using language that paints the 'contrarian' as an outlier instead of the median. Go figure.

  • ||

    Yes, but it's strategically smarter. It says "oh, we sometimes appreciate your skepticism, because it keeps us on our toes, but really, now - it's time to stop just being contrarian for its own sake," in contrast to "DENIER! HERETIC! BURN THE UNBELIEVER! OR FREEZE THEM IN ICE TO FOREVER SEQUESTER THEIR CARBON!"

  • Hank Phillips||

    Mystical pseudoscience does kind of let the mask slip too far, especially when the game calls for pretending to be different from God's Own Pachyderms.

  • Juice||

    Way wrong. And yet, it passed peer-review and was published in the very prestigious, general science periodical, Nature, and it will almost certainly not be retracted nor will a rebuttal allowed to be published.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Reviewed by TOP MEN! And TOP WOMEN! And TOP TRANSGENDERS!

  • Nerþuz||

    Wrong? Don't you mean "fabricated to fit the narrative "?

  • polsksm||

    I seriously doubt this. Ironically the problem is much more sinister though - they got a result that should have caused triple-takes, but because it fit what they thought was "right" it wasn't given much scrutiny.

  • ||

    Ironically the problem is much more sinister though - they got a result that should have caused triple-takes, but because it fit what they thought was "right" it wasn't given much scrutiny.

    ^ This.

  • Here for the outrage||

    This will stop zero democrats from attacking oil companies and pressuring for more taxes for wealth redistribution to "affected parties"

    And Reason editors will say "be nice to socialists"

  • BYODB||

    'Be nice to socialists' was one of those articles that made me seriously wonder if Nick has a brain tumor. Because every nation that succumbs to socialist impulses turns into a shit hole pretty reliably. Why should anyone 'be nice' to the person advocating an end to everyone else's private property rights?

    It's absurd, unless you assume someone is only a socialist because they're retarded. That said, if they ARE a socialist because they're retarded (instead of them wanting to be, say, a member of the ruling elite themselves) than you aren't going to convince them either way.

    The only people you theoretically could convince are the people who think with their emotions, but last I checked there is very little to like in rational empiricism for those types of people.

  • ||

    Still - engaging them as if they are rational people capable of debating in good faith is the only way. They don't spontaneously realize that they're wrong. Not even when everyone in their country is starving to death.

  • BYODB||

    If they are rational people capable of debating in good faith, it would seem that their calls to end my private property rights might be considered a willful act of aggression to be met with equal or greater aggression.

    Just because someone advocates for someone else to take my home and possessions from me isn't a reason to treat them as if they are somehow more ethical for it.

  • ||

    But your not actually going to kill them, right? That's why you can't just ignore them.

  • BYODB||

    A decadent society is a society that doesn't value things like empiricism, probably because hell could be described as being one of the minority of rational people in an irrational society.

    I hardly find it surprising that in American society, that wants for nothing, people have forgotten what needs even look like. This is probably the reason for the rising tide of bourgeois socialists, in that they don't consider themselves 'well off' even while their standard of living is as high above that of your rural African as a billionaire tycoons is above them.

  • Entelechy||

    The Argo floats voted for Bernie Sanders ?

    Who knew?

  • Uncle Jay||

    It doesn't matter if this study is flawed or not.
    The important issue is to redistribute the wealth from the selfish and morally bankrupt people of America so a bunch of quacks in research and development and academia can obtain more wealth and power over all us little people.
    After all, we have so much extra capital on hand, we might as well spend it on something really stupid as "climate change," "global warming," "global cooling," or any other non-existent crisis de jour, and the quacks, bureaucrats, politicians and their toadies don't have enough money to buy that penthouse suite they covet so much located in Manhattan, that 40 room mansion in Montecito, or their third vacation home in Monaco. How anyone can deny any of these wonderful frauds and fools researching the wonders of junk science of their money is beyond me.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    THE. SCIENCE. IS. SETTLED.

    How many times do you anti-science Republithals have to hear it???!!

    /proglodyte

  • CDRSchafer||

    Funny how their "errors" always seem to favor one side. I'm sure that is just coincidence.

  • Longtobefree||

    "Using a novel technique"

    Sorry, lying is hardly novel - - - - - -

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    If someone does not blindly and fanatically accept The Consensus and the Settled Science, they must be derided as the "CCD"/"denier" reductive strawman. Never engage the heretic in meaningful and rational discussion, or acknowledge their arguments; simply deride them and scorn them for being anti-Science and a backward, hateful bigot. Congratulate yourself and smirk as you have fought another brave and noble battle in the name of PROGRESS!

  • mchughjj||

    Your post is spot-on. As a disclosure, I dislike Donald Trump to the extreme. However, the premise that we are going to boil the earth unless we undo the industrial revolution is purely political and not scientific.

  • DrZ||

    But, if they cannot prove the ocean is heating how will they get grants to do more research?
    Remember you can only get a grant if you suggest that warming is occurring.

  • Headache||

    Democrats support the "Settled Science" for the same reasons Republicans don't.

    If warming actually melts all ice from the tree line to the poles, ocean levels would rise 7 meters. This would flood all democratic strong holds, wiping out their political power.

    That is why I fire up the charcoal grill whether I use it or not.

  • mchughjj||

    Anyone who believes the oceans are warming because of manmade CO2 emissions is not an actual scientist.

    What happened to the heat?

  • mchughjj||

    But, the climate is still changing, isn't it? And, we must be to blame for it, aren't we?

    I guess I'm the 3%.

    It's actually way, way more than 3% of scientists who don't buy into the whole CO2 armageddon theme.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Nearly 32000 verifiably degreed scientists signed the Petition Project that has kept the Senate from ratifying Kyoto-style religious tithing treaties. Set that equal to 3% and solve for x and the fraud is obvious. The 97% would have to exceed the joint membership of the APS and Amer. Chem. Society--yet where is the list of misanthropic global warming scientists? I can't find more than 20 with actual degrees among the data-faking doomcriers.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Ronald's essays are less and less like William Miller's calculations of the date of Christ's Second Coming, mainly for lack of numbers. The problem with letting political prostitutes run measurable rackets is that they fake, varnish and edit the data--to the extent of altering past figures previously published. Here is a current Australian article on how temperature projections failed: https://preview.tinyurl.com/y7ksf5zu
    Observe that the prophesied net air temp change for the entire graph is 1.2ºC and the measured net change is 0.2ºC from 1980 to 2015, and the same tiny clique of government-scientist-impersonators is comparably off on water temperature prophesies. Oh, and parties whose platforms pander to carbon tax Cassandraism lose voters.

  • majil||

    Who cares? I am still thawing out from the Ice age "they: said would happen in the 1980's and am also dead from starvation due to the overpopulation "They " correctly predicted in 2000 .
    Sure, let's listen to the same cock suckers who gave us the worst environmental disaster in the Western Hemisphere aka The Dust Bowl.

  • aajax||

    If only pundits and politicians were as well organized for self-correction as scientists.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Here we have the news media seizing on a science article to support popular apriori political assumptions, before the peer-review process was over, before any initial article, critical comment, author reply cycle, and before any follow up original articles confirming or denying the hypothesis. Actual science is a long process and should be conducted without this "Lost World" Professor-Challenger-and-hecklers circus.

    The politicizing of science will be the death of both politics and science.

    I have seen real scientists admit error and thank critics for pointing out their mistakes.

    I can't recall politicians admitting error and thanking critics for pointing out their mistakes. They usually double down in error, move the goal post, or point at squirrels. Or all three.

  • mtrueman||

    "They usually double down in error"

    Usually when science writers write an article like the above, they almost always include some boilerplate at the end, like 'We hope with more research and more funding, scientists will eventually unravel these mysteries.'

    Why is the boilerplate absent here? Politics.

  • Clive08||

    If the oceans are warming it's got nothing to do with climate change. The air in contact with the ocean, UV long wave radiation does not penetrate water. The ocean is warmed down to 100 metres, by direct sunlight, short wave radiation. It's got nothing to do with carbon dioxide.

  • mtrueman||

    " The ocean is warmed down to 100 metres, by direct sunlight, short wave radiation. "

    This is a good hypothesis. It's falsifiable. This is what we need for science to do its thing. Clive says that below 100 metres, the ocean's temperature shouldn't show any increase. All he needs now is evidence in the form of observations, and, if he can swing it, a theory to explain what he observes.

  • Lasciata||

    I have said for years that I would have more respect for the climate-change advocates if they didn't keep faking and/or otherwise misrepresenting their data. Plus ca change . . .

  • ||

    "The upshot, says Lewis, is that 'If you calculate the trend correctly, the warming rate is not worse than we thought – it's very much in line with previous estimates.'"
    Let's not forget: that is bad enough!

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