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IPCC revealed as blowhards February 16, 2010

Posted by BlueGreen in Deception, Doesnt Understand, Misrepresentation, Smear.

Bolt’s Post 16 February, 2010  

As is typical of the way Bolt works, here a reader alert him to someone else’s work (usually a blogger running a site that is running a “sceptical” agenda). As this blog demonstrates, Bolt does not appear to do what one would expect of a good journalist – to thoroughly check the reference and for the claims made. It has an anti-AGW bent, so Bolt puts it on his blog. Is that real scepticism at work?  

To the post referenced by Bolt.  

Andrew says:  

Now the IPCC is accused of telling untruths in its fourth assessment report about hurricanes, too.  

If Bolt had stopped there, he might have been able to claim it was only an accusation but Bolt is clearly convinced:  

Every IPCC error revealed so far exaggerates fears of global warming. That alone says plenty.  

Andrew Bolt references a post from The Register* which does contain the reference to the paper on which The Register and Bolt make their conclusions.  

I have no problems with the actual data analysis carried out in Hatton’s paper. Hatton claims the paper is “unpublishable” – the inference being that the paper is controversial in some way or uncovers some wrong-doing on the part of “the establishment”.  

In his conclusions, Hatton makes the claim that:  

Over the periods 1999-2007 or 1999-2009, it can be concluded that is no evidence to support that the average number of tropical storms, hurricanes, major hurricanes or proportion of hurricanes which mature into major hurricanes has changed in the last 60 years.

But, Hatton’s data analysis does actually corroborate the IPCC and concludes that:  

…there is strong evidence that the Atlantic is becoming more active in both number of hurricanes and number of major hurricanes (3 on the Saffir-Simpson scale)…    

Why does Hatton make the first statement, when his own paper does indeed contain exactly the same evidence that the IPCC used to make one of its statements? The Atlantic is evidence and Hatton’s paper confirms it.  

Hatton’s paper does not carry out an analysis with all the data for the various hurricane areas combined. I suspect and hope the reason he does this is that, as the IPCC says:  

…there are concerns about the quality of data in these other regions…
 Therefore, any analysis done using this data (i.e. a global data set containing all areas combined) could not be scientifically conclusive as a result of the poor data quality from areas other than the Atlantic. 

And yet, Hatton himself is quoted by The Register as saying:  

“When you average the number of storms and their strength, it almost exactly balances.” This isn’t indicative of an increase in atmospheric energy manifesting itself in storms.”  

But Hatton’s paper does not provide the results of such an analysis and, more importantly, the data cannot be relied upon in any area other than the Atlantic. Hatton and The Register have therefore misrepresented Hatton’s own work and make a conclusive statement which, if it is based on data, is based on data of poor quality.  

The Register paraphrases this to say:  

 He found that North Atlantic hurricane activity increased significantly, but the increase was counterbalanced by diminished activity in the East Pacific, where hurricane-strength storms are 50 per cent more prevalent. The West Pacific showed no significant change. Overall, the declines balance the increases.  

Hatton’s paper does not show that the declines balance the increase between the Atlantic data and the other areas. Not at all. Not only that – if he did, he is using poor quality data to make such a claim.  

So, what statements of the IPPC is Hatton left with to dispute?  

Here are the statements with Hatton’s comments, based on his paper (IPCC claims first, followed by Hatton’s claims in parentheses):

1. There has been an increase in hurricane intensity in the North Atlantic since the 1970s (that the increase correlates with increases in sea surface temperature, (corroborated here and highly significant), and not tested).

 2. The observed increase in hurricane intensity is larger than climate models predict for the sea surface temperature changes we have experienced, (climate models are corrupted by unquantifiable errors, not tested).

3. There is no clear trend in the number of hurricanes, (corroborated).

4. Other regions appear to have experienced increased hurricane intensity as well, but there are concerns about the quality of data in these other regions, (Only the Atlantic has experienced statistically significant increased hurricane intensity in this period. All other datasets show no significant change. This is a worryingly incorrect statement.)

5. It is more likely than not (> 50%) that there has been some human contribution to the increases in hurricane intensity, (Since there hasn’t been any significant increase in hurricane intensity, its hard to see what human contribution has got to do with it. Statements like this do not enhance confidence in the quality of the IPCC report).

6. It is likely (> 66%) that we will see increases in hurricane intensity during the 21st century, (Pure speculation based presumably on the same model used for the previous inaccurate statement).

And here we can see why Hatton’s paper really is “unpublishable”. 1 to 3 either corroborate the IPCC or are irrelevant to Hatton’s analysis. In relation to 4, Hatton claims to contradict the IPCC through his own data analysis which is carried out on poor quality data. He cannot therefore make the claim at all. The paper does not say on what basis the IPCC makes the claim but the IPCC does make the clarifying statement relating to the data quality. In relation to 5, Hatton indulges in speculation. In relation to 6, Hatton speculates that the IPCC bases this claim on speculation but provides no evidence and then admits to making a presumption about a statement that he has not proven to be inaccurate.

So, Bolt has referred to an article which in turn references a paper that:

  • Misrepresents the scope of the data analysis made;
  • Uses poor quality data to make inaccurate conclusions;
  • Finds no contradiction to the IPCC statements made;
  • Makes unfounded conclusions;
  • Resorts to speculation and presumption;
  • Is unpublished and is “unpublishable”, not because of any scientific conspiracy but because of the previous points.

Poor work Andrew Bolt.  

[* What is the register? The Register is the one of the world’s biggest online tech publications, with more than five million unique users worldwide. The US and the UK account for more than 1.5 million readers each a month…  

Most Register readers are IT professionals – software engineers, database administrators, sysadmins, networking managers and so on, all the way up to CIOs. The Register covers the issues they face at work every day – in software, hardware, networking and IT security. The Register is also known for its “off-duty” articles, on science, tech culture, and cult columnists such as BOFH and Verity Stob, which reflect our readers’ many personal interests.]



1. Flannery flunks again « Andrew Bolt's Lies, Deceptions & Misrepresentations on AGW - February 19, 2010

[…] yet still we know that even a sceptic’s analysis that Bolt linked to has shown that: Hatton’s data analysis does actually corroborate the IPCC and concludes that:   …there is […]

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