Friday, May 22, 2015

Monckton and Watts inadvertantly reveal global warming "Pause" to be clumsy fraud

The idiot climate denialist website, run by the idiot climate denialist Anthony Watts, is fond of running graphs proclaiming NO GLOBAL WARMING FOR ‘XX’ YEARS ‘X’ MONTHS. Most of these entries are written by another ignoble denier, Christopher Monckton. The British Daily Mail does similar things.

 Below are some recent examples from Watts/Monckton. (I've linked the WUWT articles, if you want to read them.) What Monckton did is to produce identical-looking graphs, month after month, with the time of the "pause" in global warming lengthening, ever lengthening, implying that since the time he started, the world has not warmed one tiny jot.

Below are the graphs from March 2014, November 2014, and April 2015. For each graph, Monckton took a carefully-selected stretch of time and added a linear regression line. Look closely though. Without meaning to, he has revealed his fraud. Notice anything odd? Join me underneath after you've thought about it ...

Okay, did you catch it? I’ll tell you. Ready?

 All these graphs start in different months.

 The first one starts in August 1996. The second starts in October 1996. The third starts in December 1996.

Notice the end date on the first graph -- March of 2014. Then look at the end date on the third graph -- April of 2015, thirteen months later. Monckton helpfully tells us the time period each graph covers -- the first covers 212 months, and the last one covers 221 months. Thirteen months have passed, but the third graph is only nine months longer than the first one.

In March of 2014, global warming had stopped in August of 1996. But in April of 2015, global warming hadn't stopped until December of 1996. What's up with that?

In almost any noisy time-sequenced dataset such as monthly averages of world temperatures, it is easy to find a stretch of time ending at the current datapoint that shows a flat trendline. You just need to do a little trial and error, find the longest recent stretch you can that has both ups and downs, and add a linear regression line. Nothing to it. That's clearly how Monckton started.

But as time goes on, Monckton has to keep changing the start date in order to find the flat trendline. This is an almost perfect example of cherry picking for the purpose of committing a fraud.

If in fact there had been “no” global warming over this period, he wouldn’t have to change the start date. He’d only have to change the end date in order to show that "no" global warming keeps happening. Which is the impression he wants to give.

Monckton keeps using a later and later start date. Why does he do that? Well, compare the rightmost part of the squiggly line on the first graph with the rightmost part of the squiggly line on the third graph. Notice what happens there? For most of the period between the time he drew the first graph and the time he drew the third one, the squiggly line is above his "flatline". In other words, for nearly that whole period, the Earth was warmer than the "no global warming" flatline.

If he drew a linear regression line from the beginning of his first graph to the end of his third graph, that regression line would slant upward. It would show that the Earth has warmed during this period. It would reveal his lie.

What to do? Well, since the average temperatures got warmer from the time of his first graph to the time of his third graph, in order to have a flat trendline, he's got to eliminate some readings from the left side that are below the trend. So he does. Compare the leftmost part of the squiggly line in the first graph to the leftmost part of the squiggle in the third graph. See that?

Monckton dropped the lower temperature readings at the beginning of the graph in order to maintain a flat trendline. He is purposely cherry-picking new dates in order to perpetrate a fraud.

To summarize: Monckton wants to pretend that the Earth has stopped warming. And yet, the average of the temperature readings went up in the thirteen months between March of 2014 and April of 2015. To hide this, he dropped the colder temps at the left end of his graph, and he wants you to think there has been "no global warming" during this entire period.

The whole exercise, of course, is a classic example of cherry-picked dishonesty. Monckton is intentionally selecting a stretch of recent time to create the false impression he wants to show. And since 1998 is so warm, he’ll be able to keep doing this for a while, probably at least a couple more years, regardless of what happens to global temperatures. As warmer temperatures continue to get added onto the right end of the chart, he can continue to chop colder temps off the left end.

And by the time the lefthand edge of his graph reaches that huge 1998 spike and his dishonest technique stops working, people will have forgotten he was doing this, because he’ll have gone on to some new dishonest technique.

After that he'll merely have to choose a flat line slightly higher than the one he's using now, continue to cherry-pick start points, and keep merrily on with his fraud.

Let’s also note that 1) he is cherry picking the dataset he wants to use (the Remote Sensing Systems satellite data, a.k.a. RSS), and 2) the time period he’s chosen is ridiculously short. Below is the real temperature trend, using some other datasets (the Met Office, NOAA, and NASA). I’ve circled the part in the upper-right-hand corner, which is the cherry-picked sub-selection that Monckton shows. In context of the overall dataset, it isn’t flat at all, but is part of a clear long-term upward trend –- which is why Monckton has to keep changing the start date for his cherry-picked subset of his cherry-picked data set.

 Because the Earth keeps warming.
The main difference between RSS and the other datasets is that RSS looks at lower troposphere temperatures, and the others are surface temps where humans live. Most of the troposphere is warming at a slower rate than the Earth's surface is, so it's easier for Monckton to cherry-pick a longer flat trendline with the RSS data.

Note also that all four of these data sets – RSS, Met, NOAA, and NASA – omit ocean temperatures, where over 90% of the earth’s excess heat is being stored. So you can take the graph above, and make the slope more than ten times steeper to show the actual amount by which the Earth has warmed during this period.
Stolen from here
So, did global warming stop in August of 1996, or in December of 1996? Neither. It continues. In fact, in the thirteen months while Monckton was producing these fraudulent graphs, between March of 2014 and April of 2015, the Earth continued to warm. During the period Monckton and Watts claim there was "no global warming." Even in the cherry-picked dataset that Monckton uses.

Of course, anyone knowledgeable about these matters will tell you that thirteen months is far too short a span of time from which to draw any conclusions at all. So is the five months at the beginning of the first graph, which Monckton had to hide because they reveal his fraud. So is the entire span of time contained in these graphs. But that's the point. Short-term cherry-picked time periods from a cherry-picked dataset mean nothing.

And to pretend it does mean something is fraud.


  1. Saw your post over on Sou's so came here to check out your article. Well done. An extra graphic, if you wished to make it, would be to combine the full range of Monckton's cherry-picked graphs and put in the trend line to show that it is increasing. That is, use his original cherry-picked starting point of August going to present day, which would show his deception in one easy graph---it might be the sort of thing Tamino at Open Mind was asking people to put together.

  2. Ah, I see cunudiun has already posted something similar in the comments at that last link.

  3. Very timely - your link to this over at Hotwhopper...Chris has another post up at WUWT, lengthening the "pause."

  4. Very timely - your link to this over at Hotwhopper...Chris has another post up at WUWT, lengthening the "pause."

  5. Notice that while Monckton publishes the slope (Trend) and the r-squared value on each graph, he never reveals the intercept, i.e. the Y-value of the horizontal trend line, which is inexorably creeping upward. For example, on his first graph above, this value is 0.233. On the second, it is 0.235. The obvious reason why he fails to include this information is that this single number would give the whole game away by proving that each of his graphs provides confirmation of "No Warming" at a warmer level than the one which came before.