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Earthquake Magnitude 6.7 - Kepulauan Mentawai, Indonesia

Image
© US Geological Survey
Date-Time:
Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 07:38:25 UTC

Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 02:38:25 PM at epicenter

Location:
1.397°S, 99.473°E

Depth:
44.8 km (27.8 miles)

Region:
Kepulauan Mentawai, Indonesia

Distances:
110 km (70 miles) WSW of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia

305 km (190 miles) SW of Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia

560 km (345 miles) SSW of KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

960 km (600 miles) WNW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia

Footprints

More Steig Disrespect: Common Decency Goes a Long Way

Here is another tone-deaf incident involving the activist wing of the climate science community that has the effect of making the entire enterprise look corrupt. The short story is that a professor from Ohio State found an error in a paper on Antarctic temperature trends in Nature. He published his analysis of the error on the blog Climate Audit and sent a gracious note to the authors letting them know of his discovery.

What did the authors do? They turned around and submitted the correction to Nature as their own work, and then had it published under their own names without so much as an acknowledgment to the Ohio State professor who actually did the work and made the discovery of the error. In academia this sort of behavior is called plagiarism, pure and simple.

Extinguisher

The climate science credit crunch

Climate Credit Crunch
© unknown

Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit has a very interesting discussion on the giving of credit.

Update: Roger Pielke Jr. blogs on this in rather frank terms:
The short story is that a professor from Ohio State found an error in a paper on Antarctic temperature trends in Nature. He published his analysis of the error on the blog Climate Audit and sent a gracious note to the authors letting them know of his discovery.

What did the authors do? They turned around and submitted the correction to Nature as their own work, and then had it published under their own names without so much as an acknowledgment to the Ohio State professor who actually did the work and made the discovery of the error.

Control Panel

Changing Perilous Assumptions to Suit the Analysis

In 2007 Michael Mann and colleagues published a paper (PDF) critical of work suggesting an undercount in storms from historical records, claiming that it was "perilous" to assume that there is a "fixed" relationship between landfalling and total hurricanes in the Atlantic basin:
Of course, estimation of undercount based on the assumption of a fixed relationship between total TC counts and the number of landfalling storms is perilous. Such an approach assumes, in particular, that the large-scale atmospheric steering which determines the trajectories of TCs once they've formed is constant, when there is in fact strong evidence that it is highly variable over time . . .
Now Mann and another set of colleagues (PDF) make what appears to be the exact opposite assumption in a paper just out in Nature, that landfalls are "in rough proportion" to overall basin activity:
We compared the sediment-based record against the above statistical estimate of basin-wide tropical cyclone activity (Fig. 3), guided by a working assumption that an appropriately weighted composite of regional landfalling hurricane activity varies, at multidecadal and longer timescales, in rough proportion to basin-wide tropical cyclone activity.

Bulb

Mann et al. Unsmoothed, Landsea07 Adjusted

UPDATE: I still find this hard to believe, is it possible that Mann has mislabeled his data files such that the smoothed data appears in the annual predictions column in his data file, rather than the raw counts? I find it hard believe that it is otherwise the case.
graph MANN Lansea unsmoothed
© unknown

I was curious how the curve shown in Mann et al. discussed earlier today would look using adjusted data, and thanks to Michael Mann the data is up online allowing a comparison with data adjusted according to work in 2007 by Landsea (i.e., it doesn't include the analysis from Landsea et al. released this week).

I graphed (above) the adjusted data (red curve) along with Mann et al.'s "predicted" historical data (blue curve, based on the Landsea data) both unsmoothed, just to see what it looks like -- using information from these files at Mann's directory:

Cloud Lightning

Scientists mull quiet '09 hurricane season

Hurricane
© Getty Images
In December 2008, the National Hurricane Center predicted an above-average hurricane season for 2009. Since then, the organization has downgraded it to a below-average season.

The now iconic image of murky dust rising from a smokestack in the shape of a hurricane on the cover of Al Gore's global warming documentary draws a distinct correlation between rising temperatures and stronger storm patterns.

But here's an inconvenient truth: This year's hurricane season has gotten off to the slowest start in 17 years. And yet global warming alarmists continue to ring their doomsday sirens.

The official start of the hurricane season is June 1. And not since 1992 - the year of Hurricane Andrew - has the Atlantic Ocean been silent past Aug. 4. Meteorologists have yet to name even a single tropical storm in the Atlantic in 2009.

So is global warming really doing anything?

"While it is commonly thought that global warming would increase hurricane activity, that is far from a settled issue," said Rob Eisenson, a meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University. "There are some research studies that suggest global warming would not have that effect."

Binoculars

NOAA Lowers Hurricane Season Outlook

While NOAA is lowering forecasts, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) from FSU COAPS is also quite low. Ryan Maue's Tropical web page at Florida State University has this graph that shows accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) :
Tropical Cyclone ACE
© Ryan N. Maue / Florida State University

Sorted monthly data: Text File Note where 2009 is in the scheme of things. More here.


Evil Rays

Chris Landsea: Response to Michael Mann Hurricane Hockey Stick

Dear Michael and tropical storm folks,

I have some additional concerns about this new paper. As you know, I was one of the reviewers for your Nature paper and, as usual, I "signed" my review. Unfortunately, some very large concerns of mine about the paper were not addressed. The two gravest issues are the paper's use of the Atlantic basin tropical storm frequency data without consideration of new studies and the merger of the paleo-tempestology record to the historical storm data. Perhaps these could be addressed here.

The first point is that the paper disregarded (and not even discussed) crucial new work by Vecchi and Knutson (Journal of Climate, 2008) and Landsea, Vecchi, Bengtsson and Knutson (Journal of Climate, 2009). The first paper showed that about 3-4 tropical storms per year were likely "missed" in the late 19th Century down to less than 1 per year by the 1960s. The second paper (provided to you all in the review process as an accepted paper) shows that two-thirds of the massive doubling trend is simply due to very short-lived (< 2 days duration) tropical storms.

Taking out these "shorties" (very likely due just to our vastly improved observational capabilities) from the record and adding in the estimated number of "missed" medium to long-lived tropical storms causes the long-term trend to completely disappear.

Binoculars

Michael Mann hockey-sticks hurricanes: Hurricanes in the Atlantic are more frequent than at any time in the last 1,000 years

Michael Mann Hurricane Hockey Stick
© unknown
Michael Mann: “This tells us these reconstructions are very likely meaningful,”

Just when you think it couldn't get any more bizarre in Mann-world, out comes a new paper in Nature hawking hurricane frequency by proxy analysis. I guess Dr. Mann missed seeing the work of National Hurricane Center's lead scientist, Chris Landsea which we highlighted a couple of days ago on WUWT: NOAA: More tropical storms counted due to better observational tools, wider reporting. Greenhouse warming not involved.

Mann is using "overwash" silt and sand as his new proxy. Chris Landsea disagrees in the Houston Chronicle interview saying: "The paper comes to very erroneous conclusions because of using improper data and illogical techniques,"

From the BBC and the Houston Chronicle, some excerpts are below.

Crusader

More Check Kiting at Nature

Nature has published another remarkable example of academic check kiting by Michael Mann et al, this time "Atlantic hurricanes and climate over the past 1,500 years". (Prior examples of academic check kiting discussed at CA are Ammann and Wahl, the story of which is well told by Bishop Hill's Caspar and the Jesus Paper and "Mann, Bradley and Hughes 2004", cited in Jones and Mann 2004.)

Mann et al 2009 reconstructs Atlantic tropical cyclone counts resulting in a curve that looks pretty much like every other Mannian curve. Atlantic tropical cyclone counts as a linear combination of reconstructed Atlantic SST in the east tropical Atlantic "main development region" (MDR), reconstructed El Nino and reconstructed North Atlantic Oscillation, using a formula developed in (3,16) - which surprisingly enough turn out to be articles by Mann himself (Mann and Sabatelli, 2007; Sabatelli and Mann 2007) previously discussed at Climate Audit here. This is summarized in the article as follows:
An independent estimate of past tropical cyclone activity was obtained using a statistical model for Atlantic tropical cyclone counts. This previously developed and validated 3,16 statistical model conditions annual Atlantic tropical cyclone counts on three key large-scale climate state variables tied to historical variations in Atlantic tropical cyclone counts: (1) the SST over the main development region (MDR) for tropical Atlantic tropical cyclones, which reflects the favourability of the local thermodynamic environment; (2) the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which influences theamount of (unfavourable) vertical wind shear; and (3) the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which affects the tracking of storms, determining how favourable an environment they encounter. The statistical model was driven by proxy-based reconstructions17,18 of these three state variables (Fig. 2), yielding a predicted history of Atlantic tropical cyclone counts for past centuries.