Almost a year ago
, I revealed Chris Monckton’s fraud, which is the basis for the denialsaur claim that there has been a global warming “pause”. Monckton is the major source of this fraud. Here’s how he did it. More importantly, here’s why the propaganda about the mythical global warming “pause” is about to end.
What is the fraud?
Chris Monckton cherry-picked one (1) dataset -- the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) satellite measurement of lower troposphere temperatures. He didn’t use RSS mid troposphere, or RSS upper troposphere, or RSS stratosphere. Nor did he use the other major satellite troposphere dataset, that from University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). He cherry-picked the RSS lower troposphere dataset.
He cherry-picked atmospheric data. He doesn’t use the NASA surface temperature data (GISTemp), or the NOAA surface temperature data, or the British Met Office surface temperature data (HadCRUT), or the Japan Meteorological Administration (JMA) surface temperature data. Nor the Berkeley surface temperature data (BEST). Nor measurements of ocean heat retention.
Nor does he examine melting of glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea levels, changing growing seasons, or animal migration, or any of the other lines of evidence supporting the climate models.
No. He cherry-picked one (1) dataset (RSS) out of one (1) portion of the climate (troposphere temperatures) out of one (1) line of evidence (temperature data). Why did he do that?
He wanted to show a period, for as long as possible, in which he could construct a misleading flat trendline, a line as long as he possibly could make it.
Here is his graph for March of 2014. Note the date he claims the “pause” started – August of 1996.
Here is his most recent graph, for January of 2016. In order to help distract from his fraud perhaps, he’s recently added more propaganda to the labeling. Note again the “pause” start date – June of 1997. Something has reached back in time and altered the date of the momentous Earth-shattering event that no one noticed that stopped global warming sometime around 18+ years ago. That Warming Stopper once happened in August of 1996. Now, we learn, it happened almost a year later, in June of 1997.
Notice the left sides of the graphs differ, because he has changed the start date. Notice the righthand sides of the graphs differ, because temperatures have been skyrocketing since 2014. Most of the recent change in the last few months is due to an enormous El Nino, comparable to the El Nino that caused the big spike toward the left side of the graph.
Notice also, his flatline has moved ever so slightly upward. Look at the spike in temperature in the middle of the year 2000. In the first graph, there is a definite spearpoint in the wiggly temperature line above the blue flatline. In the second graph, the top of the spear point is almost precisely on the flatline. His “no warming” point has warmed.
Now, how does he calculate this flatline, and why did he choose this dataset?
What Monckton claims he did
Monckton explains it in his article. He publishes substantially the same article every single month. It’s a boiler-plate article that he simple repeats. Far down in his article, there’s a “Technical note” which begins:
Our latest topical graph shows the least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean lower-troposphere dataset for as far back as it is possible to go and still find a zero trend. The start-date is not “cherry-picked” so as to coincide with the temperature spike caused by the 1998 el Niño. Instead, it is calculated so as to find the longest period with a zero trend.
The trouble is, this is a flat-out lie.
(Notice first, that his start date is “calculated” so as to “find” this “longest period.” In other words, it is “cherry picked”.)
Monckton is claiming that if you draw a trendline starting at any point from the start of his graph, you will get a flat trend. He is claiming that no matter where you start, you get a flat line. Until you go back past the Great Warming Stop Event That No One Noticed. Once you go back farther than that date, Monckton claims, the trend will no longer be flat – but it is flat, he claims, for every start date after the Great Warming Stop Event That No One Noticed. This time period back to this date, he says, is “the longest period with a zero trend”.
Is this claim true? If we draw trendlines starting at other points after the Great Warming Stop Event That No One Noticed, will those trendlines also be flat?
Looking For a Flatline
Let’s try it. woodfortrees.org has a tool that lets us do that. For example, let’s graph RSS temperatures and a linear trendline starting in 2008
Oddly, the green trendline goes up, doesn’t it? The trend is not flat.
The green trendline isn’t as steep, but it is still definitely going up. It seems to be moving in the “right” direction though, getting flatter. Hmmmm... one more try.
Damn. This tendline is steeper than the one that started in 2004. What’s going on here? What’s up with that?
Turns out, we have to cherry pick exactly the right date. Blink, and you miss it. Fortunately, Monckton told us that one date where it works: June of 1997.
Monckton lied. June of 1997 isn’t the “the longest period with a zero trend”. It is the only period with a zero trend.
Well, not quite “only”. We will see there is another, when we reveal how he found this one.
The Problem with Trendbacks
As you saw, choosing different start dates gives different trend lines. Some are steeper than others. It turns out, if we’re careful, we can even find a trendline that is negative – if we start from a very, very high point, we can get a negative trendline. How can we find the Magic Spot that yields the Mystical Magical Zero Trend?
Well, the way to do that is to do the trendline calculation for every month going back from now to sometime in 1996 or so. Almost always, that will yield a positive trend line – that is, it has a positive slope, it slopes up. Occasionally, it will give a negative trendline – a negative slope. It is even possible you’ll get a zero trendline.
We can visualize this in a new graph. Along the bottom of the graph, we’ll put the start date for the trendline calculation. Along the left, we’ll put the slope of that trendline – positive numbers mean it slopes up, and higher numbers mean it slopes up steeper.
This is called a “trendback” graph, and there is a tool that will let us do that
. Along the bottom are the trend start dates. Along the left edge is trend slope. The green line shows the slope for each date. That is, where the green line is toward the top of the graph, there is a steep positive slope for that date. The zero slope line is marked. Any point where the green line crosses the black horizontal line, there is a flat trendline for that date.
Notice that the green line crosses the black line in very few places. You have to pick one of those exact months to get a flat trendline.
You’ll notice the spot Monckton is getting a hardon over. The green line crosses the black line just before and just after the beginning of 1998. That’s how Monckton cherry-picks the date of the Great Warming Stop Event That No One Noticed. He looks for where the green line crosses the black one. You’ll see another such spot in late 2001, and another in 2010. That makes six places where the green line crosses the black line (three sets where the green line is going down, then back up). There are six months in the last twenty years in which you’ll find a zero trend line.
This isn’t “the longest period with a zero trend”. It is one of only six times in the last twenty years at which the slope of the RSS temperature trendline is zero. Monckton lied.
Now, here’s the kicker. The green trendback line revealing the slope for every month in the past – that green line does not stay where it is. As the Earth warms, that whole line shifts upward on the trendback graph. The whole line moves up. That means, as it moves up, it moves away from the black zero line.
That’s the reason Monckton’s “pause” start date moved, from August of 1996 to June of 1997. Because, you see, the Earth warmed between March of 2014 and January of 2016. The trendback line moved up on the trendback graph, and the spot where it crossed the black zero line moved forward.
The Earth warmed. That’s the reason Monckton had to move his fake “pause” start date. So when Monckton says “no global warming for XX years and X months,” he’s lying, and he knows it.
See those little dimples that poke below the black zero line? As the trendback line moves up, those dimples will very soon vanish. All those valleys will be above the black zero line. There will no longer be ANY months that will give a zero trendline.
And then, Monckton and the other deniers can all STFU about this fake and fraudulent “pause”.
The sharp el Niño spike is just about to abolish the long Pause in global temperatures – at least for now. This column has long foretold that the present el Niño would be substantial, and that it might at least shorten if not extinguish the Pause. After all, theory requires that some global warming ought to occur.
When Monckton says “at least for now”, he is praying that after the current Godzilla El Nino, the earth will again cool, and he’ll be able to reinstate his fraudulent con act. Cooler months will move that green trendback line back down again, so it again intersects the zero line. But that will be only temporary, because the Earth is, in fact, warming, and soon even La Ninas will unable to move the line down far enough to give Monckton a zero trendline anywhere.
And in the meanwhile, some Magical Force will reach backward in time to undo the Great Warming Stop Event That No One Noticed.
Maybe we can just start laughing at deniers. Well, if their lies were not so dangerous and ugly and globally destructive, we could laugh at them. But threatening to bring down human civilization is no laughing matter.
By the way, here’s an example of why Monckton chose the RSS lower troposphere dataset over, say, NASA’s surface temperature dataset. Bear in mind, “surface temperatures” and “lower troposphere temperatures” are measuring two different things, two different parts of the Earth’s climate system. Expecting them to move exactly in tandem is like expecting the North Pole to warm at precisely the same rate as the Sahara Desert.
Here is a graph of the surface temperature data from NASA, going back to about 1880. Monckton didn’t use this dataset to create his fraud because there is no flat linear trendline that ends with the current date. Monckton cherry-picked the RSS dataset because that’s the one from which he can cherry-pick a fraudulent flat trendline.
(I’ve got to stop thinking of things I need to add….)
Here is the full RSS lower troposphere dataset. The information is collected from satellites which have only been orbiting since 1979, so the data doesn’t go back nearly as far as NASA’s surface temperature dataset. Showing the full RSS history reveals Monckton’s cherry picking of a short timeframe rather dramatically.
Any noisy dataset will give you absurd results if you look at short subsets of the data. It’s important to examine all the data available, lest you wind up merely blowing hot air.
Update the Third
Required additional reading. Take a look at blog.hotwhopper.com, specifically this piece on Chris Monckton’s latest whoppers.