Euthanizing Overholt et al.: How bad can a bad paper be?

Last month I visited the U of Washington to give a talk in which I discussed the effects of cosmic rays on climate. At the end of it, not one, but two people independently asked me about Overholt et al., which supposedly ruled out the idea that passages through the galactic spiral arms affect the appearance of glaciations on Earth. I told them that the paper had really stupid mistakes and it should be discarded in the waste bin of history, but given that Overholt et al. is still considered at all, I have no choice but to more openly euthanize it.

Sights from a Field Trip in the Milky Way: From Paleoclimatology to Dark Matter

32 million year oscillation in the paleoclimate data
I was recently asked to write an article to “The Institute Letter” of Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where I am spending a wonderful sabbatical year. It briefly describes a very interesting discovery that my colleagues and I made, which is that the 32 million year oscillation of the solar system perpendicular to the galactic plane can clearly be seen in the paleoclimate data. In the article, I also discuss how the discovery came and some of its implications. I am bringing a slightly expanded version here (with more figures and elaborated caption), and references of course. Enjoy.

A friend has passed away

Nigel Calder's the weather machine movie about the imminent ice age
I just found out that a dear friend had passed away. Nigel Calder was the voice of rationality within a sea of extreme, something which is very much missing in the global warming debate. He didn't accept things for granted, but on the other hand didn't make extreme claims in the opposite direction either. He was simply driven by science (i.e., curiosity). One of his interests was of course that of climate.

The worst of the BEST

Blog topic: 

I was asked by quite a few people about my opinion on the BEST analysis of Richard Muller and his group in Berkeley. Since I didn’t want to keep my friends without an answer, I took a more careful look into the analysis. Here is what I think of it.

There are two parts to the analysis. The first part is a reconstruction of the temperature over the 20th century. The second part includes analyzing this reconstruction and drawing various conclusions out of it.

Does the global temperature lag CO2? More flaws in the Shakun et al. paper in Nature.

Over the past two weeks, perhaps a dozen people asked me about the recently published paper of Shakun et al. in Nature. It allegedly demonstrates that the global temperature followed CO2 around the warming associated with the last interglacial warming, between 20 to 10 thousand years ago. One even sent the story as a news item on NPR. So, having no other choice, I decided to actually read the paper and find what is it all about. Should I abandon all that I advocated over the past decade?

Causes of Climate Change - Poll Results

Out of curiosity, I opened a few weeks ago a poll asking the visitors of this site, what do they think is the primary cause of global warming. 429 people answered the poll (thanks to all of you!).

The results can be summarized as follows.

First, the visitors of this site have the following background:
Background Fraction (Votes)
Layman 54.9% (232)
General Scientist 41.1% (174)
Climate Scientist 4.0% (17)

On IPCCs exaggerated climate sensitivity and the emperor’s new clothes

A few days ago I had a very pleasant meeting with Andrew Bolt. He was visiting Israel and we met for an hour in my office. During the discussion, I mentioned that the writers of the recent IPCC reports are not very scientific in their conduct and realized that I should write about it here.

What is your expertise, and what is the cause of 20th century climate change?

Laymen, mostly anthropogenic
2% (8 votes)
Laymen, mostly natural
45% (193 votes)
Laymen, nobody knows
7% (31 votes)
General scientist, mostly anthropogenic
1% (6 votes)
General scientist, mostly natural
33% (142 votes)
General scientist, nobody knows
6% (26 votes)
Climate scientist, mostly anthropogenic
0% (0 votes)
Climate scientist, mostly natural
3% (11 votes)
Climate scientist, nobody knows
1% (6 votes)
Have absolutely no idea what to answer
1% (6 votes)
Total votes: 429

Expert credibility in climate change?

I recently stumbled upon one of the most meaningless papers I have ever seen. The paper "proves" that the scientists advocating an anthropogenic greenhouse warming (AGW) are statistically more credible than the "unconvinced". Their main goal is to convince people that they should join the AGW bandwagon simply because it is allegedly more credible.

To the hebrew readers of sciencebits לקוראי העברית של סאינס-ביטס

(On the hebrew translation of the "Chilling Stars")

לאור העובדה שלא מעט מקוראי האתר בעברית מתענינים בנושא של השפעת השמש על האקלים, מצאתי לנכון "לפרסם" תרגום לעברית של הספר "chilling stars" של הנריק סוונסמרק ונייג`ל קולדר, שהם ידידי. הספר "הכוכבים המקררים" יצא לאור זה עתה בהוצאת עם עובד.