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Conspiracy nation

I was updating this site’s list of recommended books from what was on my bookshelf, and I came across the book, Conspiracy Nation: The Politics of Paranoia in Postwar America (2002). It’s a collection of essays, edited by conspiracy historian Peter Knight. Somehow I hadn’t read it, and I am correcting that oversight now.

For those of us interesting in conspiracy theories, I think that the book is rather valuable in that it challenges a number of popular notions, not the least of which is that conspiracy theorists are a just bunch of crazies, a fringe aberration in an otherwise normal population.

Another challenged notion is that there are just two alternatives to explaining world events: a malevolent hand or a bunch of screw-ups. The idea came to me that writing off conspiracy theorists as crazies is rather like debunking a conspiracy theory by invoking screw-ups and accidents. Neither is particularly rigorous, and neither explains much of anything.

I’m finding the book thought provoking. I am spending more time thinking about what I am reading than I am reading.

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29 Responses to Conspiracy nation

  1. avatar
    alg November 5, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    Thanks for the suggestion Doc! I may pick up and read a copy myself. I am big fan of Michael Shermer and enjoy reading about this subject matter.

  2. avatar
    charo November 12, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    I read an article today from The Nation concerning global warming. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/Cold-sun-rising-30272650.html As much as those who like to equate man-made global warming deniers with the Flat Earth Society, there is no legitimate comparison. I have been perplexed by the condoning of dissent on the complex issue. The “follow the money” charge can be invoked by both sides. Legitimate debate is needed. Shutting down dissent is dangerous. In my opinion, multiple theories may apply in the climate arena.

    The article brought to mind how the notion that Trump supporters are primarily birthers because of a poll. Trump supporters are coming from all directions. We found out last week my neighbors are Trump supporters. That was surprising. Their support is for economic reasons. I don’t believe that the Black vote will suddenly vote Republican, but Black Hispanic relations are not good. I worked in the public school system 20 years ago with both populations. The relations were cool at best. I recently left the prison system, and the same is still true. I believe there will be some effect at the polls, if Trump is the nominee. To what degree, I can’t guess. In my opinion, if a poll is taken in the 2020 presidential cycle, a birther question will yield similar results, the same as for the question of whether George Bush was behind the fall of the World Trade Towers.

    On a side note, no one is ever as good or bad as they are depicted. I found out that Trump’s son Eric heads a charity for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. In my opinion, St. Jude’s is one of the shining stars of the country. I suppose the argument will be that the charity is merely a tax write-off. There could be worse tax write-offs.

  3. avatar
    Crustacean November 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    What you read was an article from Nation Multimedia Group, based in Thailand. Who is Sam Khoury? Is he a climate scientist? I’m not, but according to NASA, “Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.” Maybe NASA is part of some vast conspiracy to tax your carbon?

    charo: I read an article today from The Nation concerning global warming.

  4. avatar
    Lupin November 13, 2015 at 2:14 am #

    charo: I read an article today from The Nation concerning global warming.

    I’m not a scientist so I won’t try to debate the issue in scientific terms, but I’ll give you my opinion as a layman and more importantly a European.

    1) Too many Americans are woefully uninformed about the very real and practical consequences of a global warming trend which is not (a) hypothetical, or (b) in our future (but already in the past). Not only things are happening right now, but they have been for the last 5-7 years or so. Folks in my region deal with it on a daily basis.

    2) The writer from THE NATION distilled a bunch on unrelated hypotheses that may or may not be true, somewhere like 30 or 50 years down the line; By then, your state of Florida will be mostly underwater; in fact, it is going to be, no matter what we do at this stage. the only question is, how much of it.

    3) I have read some of the same points in French newspapers, and they are neither false nor uninteresting, but a good analogy would be: some people who fall of an airplane don’t die because they land on bales of hay. It is indeed true, but as you and I are falling right now, it doesn’t really help us much, does it?

    I assume you are operating in good faith and I do blame your media for being almost the only media in the western world to have presented this very real crisis if foggy, debatable, hypothetical terms. When your house is on fire, the pattern of smoke, flames and air current is all very good, but you’re going to burn nevertheless.

  5. avatar
    charo November 13, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    If climate change is 100 percent the fault of man and we are far too late to take any measures, then to use your analogy, we we all burn. If circumstances beyond man’s control are causing climate changes as has occurred in past eras, we all burn. I believe as a Christian that we have to be good stewards of creation, but draconian measures that will have no effect under either any theory (there is no climate change; climate change is not man-made; climate change is man-made but negligible; climate change is man-made and it is too late) are useless, harmful to the average U.S. citizen of the working poor class [I cannot judge the effects in other places], and line someone’s pockets somewhere.

    The Nation article was a synopsis of other content There was a repeated paragraph which showed sloppiness on the part of the opinion writer. I have read, but I have not immersed myself in the issue nor would I even attempt to explain what effects our sun contributes to the issue. Climate is a complex entity. I don’t have the mind of God. He ultimately decides how it all is going to end. We have free will and are individually accountable for how we exercise it concerning the environment and all else.

    There was a beautiful field on the property of a school near me that is now filled with ugly solar panels, expensive solar panels, that help service the school. By the time the solar panels are paid off, they will need replaced. Whatever habitat existed in the field is gone.

  6. avatar
    Daniel November 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    charo:
    If climate change is 100 percent the fault of man and we are far too late to take any measures,

    Rapid climate change certainly is, and we are not too late.

    Even if we are, we’ll have wastes a little money on making the world better for the time we have left.

    It only seems draconian to the luddites.

  7. avatar
    charo November 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    Looking over the sloppiness of my comment, it was worse than the guy’s from The Nation.

    A little money to some is not a little to others. As for too little or too late, who is the expert?

  8. avatar
    Crustacean November 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    Well, that just sounds like a stupid plan to me. In my neck o’ the woods, the schools put solar panels over their parking lots. Shade for the cars, power to the people. Win-win! :0)

    charo: There was a beautiful field on the property of a school near me that is now filled with ugly solar panels, expensive solar panels, that help service the school. By the time the solar panels are paid off, they will need replaced. Whatever habitat existed in the field is gone.

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 13, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    If you have access to the PBS Series Cosmos (the recent one), check out the last episode in the series on climate change. It lays out the science plainly. It’s on Netflix and perhaps elsewhere.

    charo: If climate change is 100 percent the fault of man and we are far too late to take any measures,

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 13, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    The more solar that goes up, the lower the price per kWh.

    Crustacean: Shade for the cars, power to the people. Win-win! :0)

  11. avatar
    Rickey November 13, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

    charo:

    There was a beautiful field on the property of a school near me that is now filled with ugly solar panels, expensive solar panels, that help service the school. By the time the solar panels are paid off, they will need replaced. Whatever habitat existed in the field is gone.

    According to engineering.com, today’s solar panels degrade just 0.4% per year. In other words, after twenty years solar panels will still be generating 92% of the power they were generating when they were new.

    How long is it going to take the school to pay off the solar panels?

    http://www.engineering.com/ElectronicsDesign/ElectronicsDesignArticles/ArticleID/7475/What-Is-the-Lifespan-of-a-Solar-Panel.aspx

    Here are representative examples of how school districts around the country have installed solar panels.

    http://www.solarcity.com/commercial/education-solar-projects

  12. avatar
    charo November 13, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    I am not opposed to solar panels altogether. They look so ugly, though, in that field, and do not sustain the school. I am foggy on the details, but someone explained to me that using the solar panels was such a good deal for homeowners that one owner had to end up paying the electric company back somehow. What I took away from the conversation was that there was a disincentive to use the solar panels. Using the sun’s energy is a good idea. It’s always about the money and who will be and who will not be getting it, IMO. Concerning the school, I thought the solar panels would be paid off in ten years, and at the time, the discussion was that the solar panels would need repairs after they were paid off.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    If you have access to the PBS Series Cosmos (the recent one), check out the last episode in the series on climate change. It lays out the science plainly. It’s on Netflix and perhaps elsewhere.

    Thanks, I have Netflix. I have heard the science because my kids are in a public charter cyber school, but I have not completely studied the issue. An acquaintance is a professor at the local college, and I read information in a pamphlet he wrote. He clearly believes that man is responsible for climate change. I have not seen the arguments countering the so-called evil climate deniers. I have only seen name calling in the mainstream news. Some blogs cover the topic where actual discussion takes place, well a bit of mud slinging but not too bad. The discussions become so complex that they are hard to follow. Then there are people who believe in population control and wealth distribution, all lumped together with climate change. In any case, I have would like to have faith in humanity and more importantly, God. Riding in the car the other day, I was thinking how creative man is, to invent a vehicle that moves. God made man above the animals. Was progress wrong then, if it led to climate change, if indeed that is happening strictly because of man?

  13. avatar
    charo November 13, 2015 at 11:44 pm #

    wealth redistribution that is

  14. avatar
    Daniel November 14, 2015 at 2:12 am #

    charo:
    Looking over the sloppiness of my comment, it was worse than the guy’s from The Nation.

    A little money to some is not a little to others. As for too little or too late, who is the expert?

    How little is too little when you no longer have a viable planet to live on?

    Who are the experts?

    We call them Earth Scientists. And there’s a reason we go to them for information on climate change, instead of barbers, and taxi drivers, and factory line workers, and climate change deniers.

  15. avatar
    Daniel November 14, 2015 at 2:14 am #

    We make fun of climate change deniers for exactly the same reason we make fun of birthers.

  16. avatar
    Rickey November 14, 2015 at 4:17 am #

    charo:
    I am not opposed to solar panels altogether. They look so ugly, though, in that field, and do not sustain the school. I am foggy on the details, but someone explained to me that using the solar panels was such a good deal for homeowners that one owner had to end up paying the electric company back somehow. What I took away from the conversation was that there was a disincentive to use the solar panels. Using the sun’s energy is a good idea. It’s always about the money and who will be and who will not be getting it,

    Solar is not a viable alternative for everyone. Without knowing the particulars of your one owner’s situation, it is impossible to make a judgment. Perhaps the owner doesn’t have a good location for solar, or perhaps the owner was ripped off by an unscrupulous dealer who failed to install the panels in the optimum location. Leasing vs. buying outright also makes a difference.

    But I can assure you that if there was a significant disincentive to go solar, the industry would fold up in short order. Consumer Reports provides helpful information about solar panels for homes.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/08/solar-power-is-one-way-to-meet-obama-s-energy-saving-challenge/index.htm

  17. avatar
    charo November 15, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Daniel: How little is too little when you no longer have a viable planet to live on?

    Who are the experts?

    We call them Earth Scientists. And there’s a reason we go to them for information on climate change, instead of barbers, and taxi drivers, and factory line workers, and climate change deniers.

    Those who say it is too late are certainly not climate change deniers, but more to the point:

    This guy is not a taxi driver. How he is being treated is wrong, wrong, wrong, whether or not he is wrong in his position.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/us/skeptic-of-climate-change-john-christy-finds-himself-a-target-of-suspicion.html

    http://nsstc.uah.edu/users/john.christy/about.html

  18. avatar
    charo November 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    The title is somewhat misleading. From the article:

    Not that the earth is not heating up. It is, he says, and carbon dioxide spewed from power plants, automobiles and other sources is at least partly responsible.

    Also:

    By contrast, Dr. Christy argues that reining in carbon emissions is both futile and unnecessary, and that money is better spent adapting to what he says will be moderately higher temperatures. Among other initiatives, he said, the authorities could limit development in coastal and hurricane-prone areas, expand flood plains, make manufactured housing more resistant to tornadoes and high winds, and make farms in arid regions less dependent on imported water — or move production to rainier places.

  19. avatar
    Keith November 15, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    charo: By contrast, Dr. Christy argues that reining in carbon emissions is both futile and unnecessary, and that money is better spent adapting to what he says will be moderately higher temperatures. Among other initiatives, he said, the authorities could limit development in coastal and hurricane-prone areas, expand flood plains, make manufactured housing more resistant to tornadoes and high winds, and make farms in arid regions less dependent on imported water — or move production to rainier places.

    That, dear lady is a BIG crock of feces.

    Not that those initiatives won’t be useful, in fact they are already nigh on required.

    What is a crock is the part about reining in carbon emissions being futile (it isn’t) and unnecessary (it is).

    It is a helluva lot cheaper to ‘rein in’ carbon emmisions than to do any of that stuff – and it would have been down right cheap if we had honestly started doing it when President Carter suggested we should.

    The “idea of making farms in arid regions less dependent on imported water” is silly – arid regions are going to get drier. If they aren’t sustainable now, they will never be sustainable. What we need to do is stop putting cities on our most productive agricultural land.

    The idea to “move production to rainier places” is equally silly. Where are you going to move it to that isn’t already fully developed? You going to clear all the rain forests in Oklahoma are you? OK the rainforests in Brasil and Indonesia then? I guess you haven’t noticed that that is already happening and Indonesia and Brasil are turning into deserts. Thats is because the rainforest itself is a BIG contributor to the rain over the rainforest.

    Furthermore, as the climate changes, current wet areas are going to get drier on average. The atmosphere will hold more water and hold onto it for longer and the jet streams will move. When the water finally does come out atmosphere it will be in more violent and flooding storms. Have you not noticed that after a drought, the first rains ALWAYS produce flooding? That is the surface of the ground is like concrete, the water just runs off until it has had a chance to be absorbed.

    As of right now. today, in the year 2015, land based wind generated electricity is COST EQUIVALENT to coal generation and sea based wind is not too far behind. And that is despite the fact that fossil fuel industries (oil, coal, gas) get $5 TRILLION PER YEAR (world wide) which is 4 to 5 times the subsidies to renewables (wind, PV) $1 TRILLION PER YEAR. Most of the renewables subsidies go to PV, very little to wind – I don’t know if hydro is included in the renewables total).

    I say we take away all subsidies and let the best electricity generation system win. Of course that is a rather simplistic throwaway line too – much of the fossil fuel subsidy is for petrol price support in third world countries, which can’t just be cutoff without strangling what little economy they do have. So some more subtle way to accomplish the same thing has to be established to ‘encourage’ the movement to less carbon intensive energy generation.

    It took life on earth at least 3 billion years to sequester all that carbon and make the atmosphere compatible for humans and it has taken less than 300 years for humans to put half of that carbon back into the atmosphere.

    I remember you as a religious person from previous posts here and I suspect, therefore that you must consider that God arranged the Earth the way it is, including the sequestration of all that carbon, for a reason. If that is so, why could you even contemplate agreeing with someone who would claim that destroying God’s plan for the Earth is acceptable?

    Rejecting the idea of reducing fossil fuel dependency as unnecessary, and can be ‘worked around’ by turning the economy upside down is frankly unthinkable.

  20. avatar
    Keith November 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    charo: The title is somewhat misleading. From the article:

    Dr. Christy was pointing to a chart comparing seven computer projections of global atmospheric temperatures based on measurements taken by satellites and weather balloons. The projections traced a sharp upward slope; the actual measurements, however, ticked up only slightly.

    Again I call BS. Where are these charts he describes? Are they all to the same scale? Of course models aren’t going to be exact, they are human constructs and humans are fallible. Dr. Christy’s own model (that showed cooling) was found to be wrong and corrected by other scientists (and then showed warming). Dr. Christy accepted that correction, and then adjusted it again (and still showed warming though less warming). Christy seems to be criticizing other people models without showing WHERE they go wrong. That is NOT a scientifically valid operating model.

    Here are some easy to follow charts that are certainly to the same scale and are easily understood by a layman: What’s Really Warming The World

    I will grant Dr. Christy the honor of describing him as “skeptic”, even though his criticism of other peoples work doesn’t appear to be scientific, because he IS a scientist, and a true skeptic must use the scientific method to explore the validity of his/her doubts. Most folks who chose to call themselves “skeptics” are mere “deniers” however (and some are charletons).

    Dr. Christy undoubtedly has something worthwhile to say, but to say that Climate Models are worthless because they aren’t perfect is not only unworthy of a true skeptic, but positively unscientific. As a skeptic and a scientist he “should” be studying and explaining WHY he comes to the conclusions he does – that is what other scientists did when criticizing his work. Then others can review his findings and a new consensus can be drawn if he is right.

  21. avatar
    charo November 15, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    What are your credentials? I admit I have none. I provided a link to his credentials and the article also notes that others who completely disagree with him are disturbed at the treatment he has received, which is the larger point.

    If his grant is renewed, I would suspect more answers would be forthcoming, even a change of opinion if he believes it is warranted.

    As for the charts, the article is from the New York Times. It is clear that he has the charts available.

  22. avatar
    charo November 15, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

    Also, his ideas for how to cope with moderately higher temperature change may be terrible ones. Again, that is not the larger point. Daniel made the comment that the experts should not be taxi drivers and so forth. I think you would agree that Dr. Cristy does have relevant education and experience. If I believe I am going to be blackballed, maybe I will tread carefully so that I do not lose my place in the field? I can’t read the hearts of others, but the possibility does exist.

  23. avatar
    charo November 15, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    Renewable energy is a good thing, and I see what an excellent grasp you have of the topic.

  24. avatar
    Keith November 15, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    charo: What are your credentials?

    One doesn’t need “subject matter credentials” in order to understand science behind climate change nor even to have legitimate questions about it. The science behind climate change has been explained clearly and succinctly in many formats for decades and honest questions are welcomed. For my part, I have credentials in physics, chemistry and computer science – I know how to evaluate a scientific argument – but I am not a “climate subject matter expert”. My career was (I am retired) in computer science. I have built computer models for many systems, some were good, others were, uh, less good.

    Certainly one needs “subject mater credentials” to criticize that science at a fundamental level and Dr. Christy appears to have those credentials. That is not in question. What is in doubt about Dr. Christy is his scientific “openness”. He seems to have been offended that his model was found to have an error – but that is the essence of science. His model gave different answers and that is going to attract attention – other scientists looked at his work to see why it was different – which model was right, which was wrong. Turns out Dr. Christy was disappointed; most scientists are when their hypotheses are shot down. Christy seems to have taken it personally, which is not a good character trait for a scientist.

    I also don’t see any reason that Dr. Christy’s grant shouldn’t be renewed – finding ways to improve climate models by trying to understand why they differ from the actuals is important – because that process involves better understanding what affects climate – and if we understand that we can plan better remedies to our own follies. However, if Dr. Christy’s research goal is just to “prove the other guys are wrong” then it just isn’t a worthy endeavor – the research goal must be to enhance the knowledge pool, not to validate his own ego.

    But no model will ever be perfectly predictive – the only ‘model’ that will ever produce the exact result that the earth produces is the earth itself.

  25. avatar
    charo November 15, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    Keith,

    Your intelligence is obvious. I am certainly not disputing it. What is your evidence that he is merely offended that his ideas were shot down? Or that he researched to prove others wrong? Also, he can’t get a handshake from a colleague? He is worried about losing his funding? That is beyond taking an offense. He spent his life in climatology. I would not fault him for finding offense, but it is more than that. I would bet he would have more to say one on one that can be put in a newspaper article. Years ago, I contacted someone to respond to a blog. It was not about the birther issue. If I could get Dr. Cristy to come here or probably somewhere else so as not to use the blog for a discussion, that would be worthwhile to see you two tackle the topic.

  26. avatar
    Keith November 15, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    charo: As for the charts, the article is from the New York Times. It is clear that he has the charts available.

    I ask because I have never seen charts with that kind of discrepancy that weren’t specifically distorted to ‘trick’ the naive.

    Almost every honest ‘prediction’ is optimistic. Sea ice is disappearing in the Arctic faster than predicted. Antarctica is melting faster than predicted. CO2 levels are climbing faster than predicted. We have hit the irreversible 1 degree anomoly faster than predicted.

    I want to know exactly what variables Dr. Christy is comparing in order to form an opinion on his assertions.

    That is the difference between being a “skeptic” and being a “denier”. A Denier hears his assertion, “I have these charts and they are telling me this stuff is wrong” and says “SEE! A scientist says climate change is wrong! I knew it!”. A Skeptic hears his assertion and says “Sorry I need to see your charts before I can agree – are they really saying that? What exactly is ‘wrong’, one small part of one minor model or the entire Climate Change hypothesis or what?.”

    In the article, Dr. Christy says he doesn’t like the term “denier”, but he is encouraging the readers to be just that.

  27. avatar
    charo November 15, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

    Here is a chart from google, but the chart is not going to satisfy you. If I didn’t have about 20 important tasks to accomplish, I would try to contact Dr. Cristy. I mean that. I can’t speak for him. Maybe he would come across as a total idiot. but I highly doubt that, given his career and the positions he has held.

    https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=crissty+chart+temperature&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004

    Anyways, I believe rational discussion is beneficial. I don’t have any technical information to add to the conversation so I will have to stop here. Have a good night.

  28. avatar
    Keith November 15, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

    charo: Here is a chart from google,…

    https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=crissty+chart+temperature&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004

    OK your link is not to a chart but is a search for a chart. And it spells Dr. Christy’s name wrong.

    Be that as it may, the result of the search include a link to this articleSatellite measurements of warming in the troposphere where Dr. Christy’s original work is discussed and the discrepancy explained. Note that the discrepancy is not Dr. Christy’s fault – the underlying data is not simple, it comes from a suite of satellites whose data has to be correlated to correct for orbit drift and imperfections in alignment. Dr. Christy’s work is treated respectably, not with disdain in any way. There is certainly nothing in the reference to Dr. Christy’s work to cause offense to Dr. Christy.

    This article: 7 questions with John Christy and Roy Spencer: Climate change skeptics for 25 years seems to show the chart referred to in the article.

    The first comment I can say is that the red line appears to me without further verification to be [b]something[/b] like what IPCC might have said. Note that the charts calls it an average of several IPCC models not an IPCC ‘prediction’. However, usually the IPCC’s model results would be presented as a range of possibilities, not a narrow line.

    The second comment is that that IPCC prediction line (if we can legitimately call it that) is overly optimistic. It suggests that the 1 degree anomaly will not be reached until around 2020, but it appears we will reach it this year.

    The third comment is I am not sure exactly what Dr. Christy is dataset is yet. Clearly his dataset does not match the “rest of the world’s” dataset. It could be that the data he is using just does not correlate to actual temperature anomalies as measured by other datasets. I understand he is measuring the troposphere and expects that that should correspond somehow to the surface and/or sea temperature anomalies. The fact that it does not deserves study.

    The fourth comment is that looking at his web site (actually his research partner, Spencer’s, site) doesn’t hold out much hope that they are approaching the problem with an open mind – they have made up their mind that climate change is not man made and that is the point of their research. They are not looking to explain the discrepancy, they are looking only to push the discrepancy.

    Now as to why would the other scientist not shake hands? I don’t have a clue – I don’t have any idea what the ‘history’ is between the two. It wouldn’t be ‘simply’ because of a science dispute – there is more to it than that – maybe they had a tiff in the bar at some convention or other – I don’t know either of them and it is none of my business.

    By the way, I keep using the term “anomaly”. In case that throws you off, it is easily explained here: Global Surface Temperature Anomalies

    What is a temperature anomaly?
    The term temperature anomaly means a departure from a reference value or long-term average.

    Why use temperature anomalies (departure from average) and not absolute temperature measurements?

    Absolute estimates of global average surface temperature are difficult to compile for several reasons. Some regions have few temperature measurement stations (e.g., the Sahara Desert) and interpolation must be made over large, data-sparse regions. In mountainous areas, most observations come from the inhabited valleys, so the effect of elevation on a region’s average temperature must be considered as well. For example, a summer month over an area may be cooler than average, both at a mountain top and in a nearby valley, but the absolute temperatures will be quite different at the two locations. The use of anomalies in this case will show that temperatures for both locations were below average.

    Using reference values computed on smaller [more local] scales over the same time period establishes a baseline from which anomalies are calculated. This effectively normalizes the data so they can be compared and combined to more accurately represent temperature patterns with respect to what is normal for different places within a region.

    For these reasons, large-area summaries incorporate anomalies, not the temperature itself. Anomalies more accurately describe climate variability over larger areas than absolute temperatures do, and they give a frame of reference that allows more meaningful comparisons between locations and more accurate calculations of temperature trends.

  29. avatar
    Keith November 16, 2015 at 12:26 am #

    Further to the climate change thread jack:

    It is not clear to me (I am not a climate subject matter expert) how Drs. Christy and Spencer prepare their dataset to make it comparably predictable. What we know is that surface and sea ACTUAL temperatures are rising. We are on track to hit a 1 degree anomaly for this year (at least 5 years ahead of Dr. Christy’s IPCC chart).

    His dataset shows no warming in the troposphere, other datasets do show warming in the troposphere, and other researchers show that even his dataset, when corrected for satellite error shows warming that corresponds reasonably well with the actual land and sea observations and the general trends predicted by modelling.

    Here is another interesting chart: http://skepticalscience.com//pics/Schmidt2014.gif

    Notice how the model result is presented with a ‘band’ of possibilities. The solid blue line is the least squares average (I assume). Notice also how adding the effects of El Nino and Volcano/Solar activity bring actual observations into the model. As more variables are added, the prediction becomes better.

    Dr. Christy appears to be insistent that his uncorrected dataset is telling the truth and the corrected dataset is lies. I see no way to reconcile this view anymore than I can reconcile CRJ or Laity’s views on “Natural Born Citizenship”.

    So these various analyses clearly show that the Troposphere IS warming, as determined from multiple sources. And if anyone quotes satellite temperature data to make a point with you, make sure you ask them which series they are referring to. If they simply say ‘the satellite data from UAH’, they may not know what they are talking about.

    End of thread jack.