Rahmstorf Reamed

The Australian reports a major new controversy after Britain’s Met Office denounced research from Stefan Rahmstorf suggesting that sea levels may increase by more than 1.8m by 2100.

Jason Lowe, a leading Met Office climate researcher, said: “We think such a big rise by 2100 is actually incredibly unlikely. The mathematical approach used to calculate the rise is completely unsatisfactory.”

Critic Simon Holgate, a sea-level expert at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Merseyside, has written to Science magazine, attacking Professor Rahmstorf’s work as “simplistic”.

“Rahmstorf’s real skill seems to be in publishing extreme papers just before big conferences like Copenhagen, when they are guaranteed attention,” Dr Holgate said.

Seems like the concerns with work from the Clown of Climate Science that the blogosphere have been voicing for years are finally going mainstream. Interested readers might want to read:

Recent Climate Observations: Diagreement with Projections

Warning to the Garnaut Commission about the excessive reliance on the work of Rahmstorf and friends.

Also search Niche Modelling, and see ClimateAudit, the Blackboard, as well as many other posts from these and other statistical blog sites for examples of R’s statistical incompetence.

I don’t have a problem with academics being wrong. The problem is with the Federal Government and Penny Wong who are suckers for this charlatan offering the scientific reliability of an astrologer.

The report states one objection:

Based on the 17cm increase that occurred from 1881 to 2001, Professor Rahmstorf calculated that a predicted 5C increase in global temperature would raise sea levels by up to 188cm.

Its worse than that. It appears that the extrapolation in R’s model is actually based in a non-significant rate increase of sea level w.r.t. temperature, i.e. a tiny derivative of already problematic data.

It uses simple measurements of historic changes in the real world to show a direct relationship between temperature rise and sea level increase and it works stunningly well – Rahmstorf

But R cheerfully admits here:

How do we know that the relationship between temperature rise and sea level rate is linear, also for the several degrees to be expected, when the 20th century has only given us a foretaste of 0.7 degrees? The short answer is: we don’t.

Why then should anyone take any notice of predictions from a model when, as the author admits, the truth of the fundamental assumption is unknown? How do we know the stars affect human behaviour? The short answer is: we don’t.

Heed the fourth commandment of statistics: When using multivariate models, always get the most for the least.

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0 thoughts on “Rahmstorf Reamed

  1. Hi David and all,Thanks for the interesting article, and Happy New Year & greetings from Hong Kong airport en route back to Australia.As I return from China, I think of some Chinese friends who were heading off to the Maldives to see the place before it, um, sinks. Curiously, I was also told the locals at the Maldives have no actual fear of global warming, as they see the whole thing as a great hoax — but great for tourism.So I have a question concerning sea level rise — not something I've followed much.If we assume for the sake of argument that the IPCC model projections were accurate, i.e. we suppose a temperature rise of about ~ 3 C by year 2100 is likely, and if we throw out bad science such as Rahmstorf's 1.8 metre scare scenario, then what can we say about sea level rise based on a 3 C increase in global average temperature? Can we say anything? If so, how much are we sure of?Best for 2010,Alex

  2. Hi David and all,

    Thanks for the interesting article, and Happy New Year & greetings from Hong Kong airport en route back to Australia.

    As I return from China, I think of some Chinese friends who were heading off to the Maldives to see the place before it, um, sinks. Curiously, I was also told the locals at the Maldives have no actual fear of global warming, as they see the whole thing as a great hoax — but great for tourism.

    So I have a question concerning sea level rise — not something I’ve followed much.

    If we assume for the sake of argument that the IPCC model projections were accurate, i.e. we suppose a temperature rise of about ~ 3 C by year 2100 is likely, and if we throw out bad science such as Rahmstorf’s 1.8 metre scare scenario, then what can we say about sea level rise based on a 3 C increase in global average temperature? Can we say anything? If so, how much are we sure of?

    Best for 2010,
    Alex

  3. alex,Should one not keep open the possibility that the (post-Climategate more questionable) rise of 0.8 deg globally in the last century might have come from heat release from the sea, in which case it would drop in level? As technology improves with new satellites as apposed to canvas buckets, the change of ocean levels seems to get less and less and most recently there have been graphs showning no change in level for the last 3-4 years. The Maldive observations of Morner appear to support this also, but there is danger in taking a single location as an example.

  4. alex,

    Should one not keep open the possibility that the (post-Climategate more questionable) rise of 0.8 deg globally in the last century might have come from heat release from the sea, in which case it would drop in level? As technology improves with new satellites as apposed to canvas buckets, the change of ocean levels seems to get less and less and most recently there have been graphs showning no change in level for the last 3-4 years. The Maldive observations of Morner appear to support this also, but there is danger in taking a single location as an example.

  5. Having read the the Ten Commandments of Statistics I was wondering how many MBH have been able to avoid breaking so far?

  6. Having read the the Ten Commandments of Statistics I was wondering how many MBH have been able to avoid breaking so far?

  7. What I don't understand is why the Ramstorf paper keeps being used as a reference. Simon Holgate did in fact write a letter to Science which was published – back in 2007. Obviously our host, as well as commentators on Climate Audit have pointed out further defects. Yet the outgoing president of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) James McCarthy cites the Ramstorf paper as evidence of disaster. What does it take to drive a stake through its heart sufficient that no reputable scientist will refer to it except as an example of what not to do?

  8. What I don’t understand is why the Ramstorf paper keeps being used as a reference. Simon Holgate did in fact write a letter to Science which was published – back in 2007. Obviously our host, as well as commentators on Climate Audit have pointed out further defects. Yet the outgoing president of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) James McCarthy cites the Ramstorf paper as evidence of disaster. What does it take to drive a stake through its heart sufficient that no reputable scientist will refer to it except as an example of what not to do?

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