Saturday, June 06, 2015
More on the Karl et al. attempt to abolish the warming "hiatus"
There is no doubt that the work of Thomes Karl and his colleagues as publicized by NOAA will be welcomed with a gladsome heart by Warmists. It purports to wipe away their biggest embarrassment. As such it will be seized on and recalled triumphantly for years. No doubt will ever be attached to it. It will be treated as unassailable truth.
But even if Warmists close their eyes to the various weaknesses of the study, it still seems important to let conservatives know what a piece of junk the study is. I put up on Friday an account of some of the huge holes in it but there is one thing more about it that is, I think, worth saying.
The authors have in fact supported their basic point by their findings. They say that the rate of warming observed in the 21st centory is quite similar to the rate of warming in the late 20th century. But that in fact throws the spotlight on how weak was the warming in the late 20th century. If their findings for the 21st century did not meet the normal criteria for statistical significance, what does that say about warming in the late 20th century? It clearly says one thing: The effects observed in both the late 20th and 21st century were extremely feeble: So feeble that even their statistical significance is in doubt.
Statistical significance is only a minor type of significance. It is simply the first step in assessing overall significance. It rules on whether an observed effect was of a size that could be due to chance fluctuations alone. Any effect robust enough to take seriously should demonstrate statistical significance with the greatest of ease. Statistical significance is simply an initial filter to enable us to toss out absolute junk. It guarantees no other form of significance. Lots of correlations can be statistically significant without being of any importance to the world at all.
So when do we say: "No warming"? The easiest and least controversial answer is "when any observed warming is so slight that it does not even reach statistical significance". But that is in a way something of a cop-out. What we really need to say is "When the effect is so weak as to be of no practical importance". And when we are looking at warming of less than one degree Celsius per century, that condition is clearly fulfilled. And there is no dispute that warming as weak as that is exactly what has happened. The whole Warmist religion has been based on a triviality from the get-go.
Nobody noticed the tiny temperature rise of the 20th century until Warmists started jumping up and down about it and nobody will notice a similar rise in the 21st. century if it occurs.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).