The UnAustralian

Saturday, March 22, 2003
Quote of the Day

And much as I respect Estonia and El Salvador, there is something ridiculous about the list of our "partners" ? a coalition of the anonymous, the dependent, the halfhearted and the uninvolved, whose lukewarm support supposedly confers some moral authority.

- Bill Keller
| 5:49 PM

Normally I'm not too hot on fortunetellers and the like, but I'd have to give this Onion article a 10/10.

On the 18 January 2001, they published a piece on the Bush election. With choice quotes like:

"our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

"John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."

"Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."

"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."

And this little gem just finishes it off:

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
| 5:31 PM
Not Really That Surprising...

Thanks to Brad DeLong, I've found this little tidbit:

Doug Henwood reports from the AAPOR that almost half of Americans think--probably because they have been reading too many William Safire columns, or listening to people who have read too many William Safire columns--that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Of those who think that Saddam Hussein was involved, 80% approve of the invasion of Iraq. Of those who think that Saddam Hussein was not involved, only 50% approve of the invasion of Iraq.

Conclusion: Support for the war drops when you actually have a clue.
Conclusion2: Could this explain Kid Rock?
| 5:15 PM
Want a Good Reason to Oppose the War in Iraq?

You won't be on the same side as the muppets who invaded Tim Dunlop's comment box.
| 3:28 PM
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Damn I'm Proud to be a Kiwi

"Faced with a choice between supporting peaceful and diplomatic means which were working, and war which cut off that process, this government made the only rational choice which is to choose the peaceful means.

The government reiterates its profound regret that the diplomatic process being conducted in the Security Council and through the inspection and disarmament process was unable to run its course."

- Helen Clark
| 8:49 PM

Iraq has hit back by firing missiles into the Kuwaiti desert. Apparently there have been no causalties.
| 8:45 PM
US + Vassals vs. Iraq

CNN has some very basic comparisons between the Allied and Iraqi forces.

In 1991 there was 1.52 Iraqi soldiers per Coalition soldier. Now this has dropped to 1.30.

Given that the US is vastly better equipped technologically now than in 1991, and Iraq's military is massively depleted, the outcome for this war is pretty much already determined.

If the US suffers more than 100 casualties, I'll be surprised.

| 7:56 PM

The US has tried to kill Saddam and the Iraqi military with a missile attack. It would be for the best if it is successful, and Iraq quickly folds with minimal damage.

Saddam's appeared on Iraqi TV condemning the strikes, but this could be prerecorded.

Update: Apparently he was live on TV. Hopefully he be dead/disposed/surrended soon, so the war will finish.
| 4:53 PM
Insane in the Brain Again

You know it's time to change the bong water when you start reading that John Howard is a No War Man.

| 11:29 AM
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Iraq.... Yet Again

There is an excellent article in Salon by Edward W. Lempinen detailed a liberal (small l) case for war.

I have very strong sympathies for his view, but at the end of the day I still oppose the war.

Why? Basically it's all about Bush. After he's had his little crusade, I suspect he'll be off, leaving Iraq in ruins. As I've stated earlier, if he had a public concrete (and funded) plan for reconstruction, then I'd support him. Or maybe if a decent effort was put into Afghanistan, then I'd be all the way GWB. But he doesn't, so I'm not.
| 6:16 PM
John Daly

After I looked into John Daly's attack on Micheal Mann's reconstruction of the Northern Hemisphere's temperature history, I decided to ask Daly if had read the Mann paper. Hopefully he will reply soon.

My letter is reproduced below:


I have recently read your article "The Hockey Stick: A New Low in Climate Science", and there are some matters which concern me.

In the article, you make several claims:

"Using tree rings as a basis for assessing past temperature changes back to the year 1,000 AD, supplemented by other proxies from more recent centuries, Mann completely redrew the history, turning the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age into non-events, consigned to a kind of Orwellian `memory hole'..."

"At that point, Mann completed the coup and crudely grafted the surface temperature record of the 20th century (shown in red and itself largely the product of urban heat islands) onto the pre-1900 tree ring record."

Both of which are untrue according to the paper which Mann and coworkers published in 1999 (several ice-core proxies were used, the MWP and LIA were specifically noted, and the surface temperature record was not grafted onto the tree-ring record (which extends past 1900)).

My immediate guess is that your article was written with only the Mann paper abstract and the graph which you republish in your report. I was wondering if you could please comment on your source of information on the Mann paper, and any subsequent thoughts on the Mann reconstruction of past temperatures.

Thank you for your time,

Ken Miles
| 5:37 PM

A very late thanks to William Burrough for his advice on how remove whitespace after tables. Sadly, it didn't work, but it doesn't really matter as the posts are buried far away in the archives.

But now, another plea for help, does anyone know how to add permalinks to blogger posts?

Thanks in advance.
| 5:01 PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
About now I feel sick

Thanks to Robert Corr's fine site, I linked onto this site where the death of a peace activist is being made fun of.

Suddenly I'm getting flashbacks to people dancing in the streets after Sept 11.

These monsters seem to be cut from the same cloth.

Update: One of the more famous Aussie bloggers, Tim Blair, has linked to the same blog. No disgust from him. Could somebody please remind me again what the difference is between these barbarian's and the ones who celebrated the WTC attacks?

Update2: Yobbo also makes sick jokes. Bargarz proves that not all conservatives are dickheads.
| 8:27 PM
WMD and Saddam

There is an interesting discussion on at John Quiggin's blog on whether or not Saddam's non-use of WMD in the coming war would be evidence of their non-existance. I don't think that his non-usage would provide evidence of their absence.

If he didn't use them, but they are latter found by US forces, then I would like an independent study (studies of the genetics of the bio weapons, impurities in chemical weapons, etc) of them to determine if they are plants or not.
| 8:12 PM
A New Low in Climate Pseudoscience: Conclusion

A well known global warming sceptic, John Daly, has tried to refute a 1999 paper by Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes. This paper plays a important role in the IPCC's 2001 report into the scientific basis of global warming.

Daly's critique, has several major flaws which render it useless. I would guess that Daly has only read the abstract to the Mann paper (otherwise he is extremely dishonest), and based his attack on an incorrect assumption that the Mann paper denies the existence of a Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. He also fails to correctly understand what the Mann paper researched, nor the efforts that went into validating the results.

This has lead him to try to refute it by proving the existence of a Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. As the Mann paper supports the existence of these events, Daly's critique has had it core ripped out. Some of Daly's regional studies do support a warmer Medieval Warm Period than the current warming, however, these regional studies do not reflect larger scale trends.


NOAA Paleoclimatology Program

Crowley, T. J., and Lowery, T. S. How warm was the Medieval Warm Period?, Ambio, 29(1), 51-54, 2000

Mann, M. E., Bradley, R. S., and Hughes, M. K. Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries, Nature, 392, 779-787, 1998

Mann, M. E., Bradley, R. S., and Hughes, M. K. Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: Inferences, uncertainties, and limitations, Geophys. Res. Lett, 26, 759-762, 1999

Yang, B., Braeuning, A., Johnson, K. R., Yafeng, S. General characteristics of temperature variation in China during the last two millennia, Geophys. Res. Lett, 29, 10.1029/2001GL014485, 2002
| 7:54 PM
A New Low in Climate Pseudoscience: Part 6

This section concerns Daly's collection of regional studies which show a MWP and Little Ice Age with a considerable larger magnitude than indicated by the Mann (and subsequently others) paper.

It is important to note that the Mann paper was a multiproxy (ie. multiple techniques) temperture reconstruction which looked at multiple sites around the Northern Hemisphere. The paper's which Daly cites are all regional studies.

As can be seen in this IPCC diagram, these is considerable differences in temperture changes between different areas of the world. Hence we would expect certain regional studies to show significantly larger trends than the global average.

So a good question would be, are the studies selected by Daly cherry picked to support his case or are they representative of global trends.

To test this, I've only looked at one of his examples (sorry, but I?ve already spent far too much of time on this), that of China.

If one only read Daly's selected studiers on China, you would see evidence for a MWP and Little Ice Age (erroneous interpreted by Daly as support for his theories), and the following statement:

"They estimated the temperature between 1100 and 1200 AD at around 2°F warmer than today, matching the Medieval Warm Period, confirmed by the existence at that time of plant remains from species that normally exist only in southern China. They found very cold temperatures between around 1550 and 1750, matching the Little Ice Age found elsewhere."

I've done some very basic looking around and found a paper (Yang, 2002) which looks at multiproxy temperture reconstructions of China. They use 6 data sets (plus 2 more from Taiwan, and another from Japan) to do their reconstructions. The data sets are from the Guliya ice core, the Dunde ice core, Dulan tree rings, Tibet tree rings, Eastern Chinese temperatures, the Big Ghost Lake (Taiwan), the Jiaming Lake (Taiwan), and Japanese tree ring data. Their data shows that by 1950's it was warmer in China than during the MWP, something at odd with Daly's selected studies.

This is supportive of Daly's selected regional studies not being representative of larger scale trends.

I'll end this post with the abstract of paper (Crowley, 2000) which came out as about the sametime as Daly wrote his essay:

A frequent conclusion based on study of individual records from the so-called Medieval Warm Period (similar to 1000-1300 A.D.) is that the present warmth of the 20(th) century is not unusual and therefore cannot be taken as an indication of forced climate change from greenhouse gas emissions. This conclusion is not supported by published composites of Northern Hemisphere climate change, but the conclusions of such syntheses are often either ignored or challenged. In this paper, we revisit the controversy by incorporating additional time series not used in earlier hemispheric compilations. Another difference is that the present reconstruction uses records that are only 900-1000 years long, thereby, avoiding the potential problem of uncertainties introduced by using different numbers of records at different times. Despite clear evidence for Medieval warmth greater than present in some individual records, the new hemispheric composite supports the principal conclusion of earlier hemispheric reconstructions and, furthermore, indicates that maximum Medieval warmth was restricted to two-three 20-30 year intervals, with composite values during these times being only comparable to the mid-20(th) century warm time interval. Failure to substantiate hemispheric warmth greater than the present consistently occurs in composites because there are significant offsets in timing of warmth in different regions; ignoring these offsets can lead to serious errors concerning inferences about the magnitude of Medieval warmth and its relevance to interpretation of late 20(th) century warming.
| 7:23 PM
A New Low in Climate Pseudoscience: Part 5

This section of this series of posts, deals with Daly's criticism of the use of tree rings to determine past temperatures. Sadly, because of Daly's ignorance/dishonesty, his essay doesn?t deal with the ice core measurements used in the Mann paper, rather he pretends that they don?t exist.

Because I've got virtually no knowledge of dendrochronology, I can't direct deal with Daly?s criticisms of dendrochronology, except to note that some of them seem to be in direct ignorance of one of the principles of dendrochronology; The Principle of Limiting Factors.

So rather than address his concerns directly, I'll attack them from a different angle. The important question of how valuable Mann's research is: does it accurately reconstruct past temperatures?

Daly must have forgotten to mention it, but Mann has put in a lot of effort into validating the results. Basically, Mann took as much historical surface station data as he could find and divided into two categories; stations that measure back to 1902, and those who measure back to 1854. None of the stations that were in the second category were included in the first. The temperature information in the first category was used to calibrate the reconstructed temperature history. Now, if Mann's reconstruction was misrepresentative of the pre-1902 temperature record, the correlation between the reconstruction and the 1854 temperatures should be extremely poor. There is a good correlation.

About now, I should point out that there is one criticism of Daly's that I agree with. The reconstruction doesn't cover the world?s ocean areas. This doesn't make it bad, but rather it is a qualifier that should be keep in one?s mind.

In conclusion, while Daly lists a number of reasons as too why dendrochronology may not work, he doesn't deal with the extensive validation efforts that were performed by Mann and coworkers.
| 6:36 PM
Monday, March 17, 2003
A New Low in Climate Pseudoscience: Part 4

Daly misrepresents the Mann paper quite significantly. If one hadn't read the Mann and co-workers paper, then it would be very easy to get the wrong impression of Mann's work. I will quote Daly while inserting my own comments.

Using tree rings as a basis for assessing past temperature changes back to the year 1,000 AD, supplemented by other proxies from more recent centuries,

This is untrue. Mann and co-workers used 14 proxies to reconstruct the temperture. Of these, five were from ice cores. All of the proxies went back to at least 1000 AD, not "more recent centuries" as Daly asserts.

Mann completely redrew the history, turning the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age into non-events, consigned to a kind of Orwellian `memory hole'. From the diagram, the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age have disappeared, to be replaced by a largely benign and slightly cooling linear trend in climate - until 1900 AD.

Once again, this isn't true. Maybe Daly can't see it, but the MWP and Little Ice Age are clearly visable. Or to use the words of Mann and co-workers; "Our reconstruction thus supports the notion of relatively warm hemispheric conditions earlier in the millennium, while cooling following the 14th century could be viewed as the initial onset of the Little Ice Age sensu lato". What the Mann paper does is reduce the magnitude of the MWP and Little Ice Age, and shows that they are considerable smaller than the recent temperture changes.

At that point, Mann completed the coup and crudely grafted the surface temperature record of the 20th century... onto the pre-1900 tree ring record. The effect was visually dramatic as the 20th century was portrayed as a climate rocketing out of control.

Once again, this is untrue. What Mann does is too superimpose the proxy data (which isn't just tree rings, nor does it end at 1900, as Daly asserts) onto the surface temperture records. Rather than grafting the two records together, they are compared with each other. They correlate well.

The red line extends all the way to 1998 (Mann's `warmest year of the millennium') , a year warmed by the big El Niño of that year. It should be noted that the surface record is completely at variance with the satellite temperature record. Had the latter been used to represent the last 20 years, the effect would have been to make the 20th century much less significant when compared with earlier centuries.

This part really confuses me. Mann's temperture reconstructions measure surface temperture, the surface temperture records are also surface based, the satellite temperture records measure tempeture in the upper atmosphere (at least the ones that Daly is referring too do, other satellites show that the earth as a whole is warming). Why you would compare surface temperture records with atmospheric temperture records is beyond me.

As a piece of science and statistics it was seriously flawed as two data series representing such different variables as temperature and tree rings simply cannot be credibly grafted together into a single series.

One again, Daly is wrong. Mann didn't graft the two records together. He compared them with each other.

On short Daly either a) didn't read the Mann paper, or b) lied about it contents.

| 5:14 PM