Dr Vincent Gray

Dr Vincent Gray

I regret to announce the death of Dr Vincent Gray at 7:45 yesterday morning, after an illness.

Vincent was a co-founder of the NZ Climate Science Coalition and was generous in sharing his knowledge. He consistently offered me help and encouragement after being invited by Bob Carter to join the Coalition about twelve years ago.

His support of colleagues was matched by an implacable defiance towards opponents, an unmatched skill in identifying errors of reasoning and an enviable fluency in refuting arguments with unfailing courtesy.

The world has lost a ferocious illumination.

Slip on a list, a humorous list

We were circulated a list published in Wikipedia of scientists sceptical of the IPCC version of dangerous anthropogenic global warming (DAGW). The list has been published and updated since 2005 and it appears still to be provoking discussion.

On seeing the list yesterday, a sceptical scientist offered some wry observations:

Unintentionally by the writers, this is actually quite an amusing list, despite it managing to omit more than a few known sceptics of standing. Continue Reading →

Climate system as heat engine

Here’s an interesting reflection on the climate system which at a stroke highlights the complexity of climate and puts to one side (at least for a moment) the belief that it must have a single controller, such as a minor atmospheric gas.

Dr Vincent Gray explained today:

The idea that the Earth has a “radiation budget” is inherently wrong.

The climate is a heat engine. The energy comes in from the sun. The exhaust goes out to space.

The exhaust must be less than the input because in between some work must be done. This would include maintenance of all living creatures plus erosion and other changes in the surface.

A scientist comments that the concept of a budget is both sound and useful, even if not strictly applicable all of the time. The energy budget approach is at the heart of modern climatology and is not controversial.

I wonder if any papers have addressed the total work done by the climate system? Continue Reading →

The uncertainties of averages

Dr Vincent Gray

Those who provide us with the supposed Mean Annual Global Temperature Anomaly (graph shown below) treat the annual points in their graph as if they were constants. The points on the graph do not represent actual observations. They are processed versions of actual observations and they are subject to statistical uncertainties.

The latest CRU paper to calculate these uncertainties is Brohan, P., J.J. Kennedy, I. Haris, S.F.B. Tett, P.D. Jones (2006). “Uncertainty estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new dataset from 1850.” J. Geophys. Res. 111: D12106. doi:1020/2005JD006546.

This paper combines many sources of uncertainties and the final figures vary from year to year, but are typically about ±0.2 ºC on a 95% confidence basis. Some versions of their graph include these figures as “error bars” attached to the data points.

Brohan et al even admit that they do not include “unknown unknowns”, even referring to the internationally recognised expert on this subject, Donald Rumsfeld.

It is surprising that they have left out of their discussions the most important source of uncertainty in their figures, one which is “known” to every person who has studied stratistics. It is the uncertainty which arises every time you take an average. Continue Reading →