Skeptical Science Folly: Video Based On Flawed Rahmstorf & Foster Paper Disappears!

Die kalte Sonne website posted an article yesterday about a Skeptical Science video folly.

Climate activist group close to IPCC removes video: The science on which it was based, from Stefan Rahmstorf, is no longer the scientific consensus
By Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning (translated/edited by P Gosselin)

For years Skeptical Science has been actively defending the climate catastrophe model scenarios of the IPCC. The name of the website was purposely selected to mislead, as it is not skeptical of the climate catastrophe, like the name implies. Rather it is more skeptical of climate skeptics (“Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism”). At the website, a group of activists discusses the more common climate-skeptical points and attempts to refute them scientifically, which more often than not fails. A look at the discussion there reveals shocking results. For example, an incomplete temperature chart was used as the basis of discussion for showing the climatic impacts of the sun. The temperature plateau of the last 15 years was mysteriously missing.

On 10 January 2013, a new 2-minute video was featured at Skeptical Science, which used the argumentation of Stefan Rahmstorf (Foster & Rahmstorf 2011) to show that the stop in temperature rise of the last years was indeed in agreement with the current IPCC models. So all was well at the IPCC. However, all that changed. A wave of new publications has shown a significantly reduced CO2 climate sensitivity and a stronger influence by ocean cycles. Moreover, scientists dismantled the methodical approach used in the video, and thus the one used by Foster & Rahmstorf (2011). Then about a month later on 21 February 2013, Skeptical Science pulled the emergency brake by taking down the video altogether. When you call up the video at YouTube, there’s nothing to see. At the Skeptical Science site the following message is found:

Update 21/02/2013: Troy Masters is doing some interesting analysis on the methods employed here and by Foster and Rahmstorf. On the basis of his results and my latest analysis I now think that the uncertainties presented here are significantly underestimated, and that the attribution of short term temperature trends is far from settled. There remains a lot of interesting work to be done on this subject.”

On 21 May 2013 Skeptical Science then published an even more detailed error discussion at its site. These efforts are openly welcome, and do help re-establish some confidence in climate science. However the broad rejection of the Foster & Rahmstorf approach by the IPCC colleagues does not come as a surprise. Already on February 4, Die kalte Sonne blog contributor Frank Bosse did a comprehensive error analysis of the dubious Rahmstorf paper. In his blog article “How much man-made influence is there in climate change?” Bosse criticized, writing:

We remove what we know very well and conclude from it: Whatever is left, must be anthropogenic. In the end that’s how you could describe the approach used by F/R 2011. This indeed may be a good strategy to use on TV quiz shows (the process of elimination) and may function reasonably well because there is only a very limited number of possible answers. However in science there’s always something new that gets found. One example is the effect of black carbon, or soot. It has been assigned a warming effect that is approximately  2/3 the effect of the IPCC-assumed CO2 warming effect (see our article ‘Soot is a much greater climate killer than previously thought. Must the CO2 effect now be scaled back?‘). The space that is left for CO2 in the overall equation is becoming increasingly smaller.  Who knows  what we will soon know with greater certainty and what we will be able to remove from the overall equation. Research on solar impacts on our climate is now proceeding at full speed and goes beyond the total solar irradiance (TSI). See our article ‘New US National Research Council Report on the Climate Effect of the Sun‘).”

At his KlimaLounge blog Ramstorf has been silent about the video folly. No comment. The large June 2013 flood seems to be taking most of his media attention.

With all the folly surrounding the video, it’s understandable that readers would want to view it as the latest sorrowful example in the recent science story. Although the original video has been removed by Skeptical Science and is no longer available to the public, some other dedicated climate catastrophe warrior has the video in his Youtube film repertoire. It’ll be interesting to see for how much longer (PS: you may want to save a copy – quickly!):

One question still remains open: Why didn’t Rahmstorf’s science-colleagues even lift a finger when the Foster & Rahmstorf 2011 paper appeared? Did it really have to take 2 years to discover that the simplistic methodical approach was incomplete? Other than scientific reasons, could other reasons be involved here?


4 responses to “Skeptical Science Folly: Video Based On Flawed Rahmstorf & Foster Paper Disappears!”

  1. Manfred

    That was ruthlessly propagated on some alarmist websites, but I think it was never “consensus”.

    1. DirkH

      They throw things at the wall until something sticks.

  2. Physics_of_Climate

    I believe I have proved beyond reasonable doubt that it is the gravity effect which, in conjunction with natural variations in Solar flux reaching a planet’s atmosphere, determines that planet’s atmospheric, surface, crust, mantle and core temperatures. This is based on valid physics and is explained in my 20 page paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” which so far no one in the world has successfully rebutted, because when they study it they realise it is correct.

  3. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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