The Chronicle of Higher Education’s short posting warning that Heartland Institute was paying experts to develop school curricula and other public presentations casting doubt on Anthropogenic Global Warming received the most attention.
The Guardian’s environmental blog was particularly gleeful, trumpeting the news that “Leaked Heartland Institute documents pull back curtain on climate scepticism.”
Megan McArdle, at the Atlantic, looked closely, however, and concluded that the most scandalous of the leaked documents was almost certainly a fake.
The textual analysis alone would make me suspicious–but the fact that the document was created much later, using a different method, with different formatting–makes me fairly sure that while the other documents are real, this was written after the fact, by an author outside of Heartland. If there were any way to get conclusive proof, I’d bet heavily against this document being real.
McArdle later discovers that another blogger’s commenter ran a pdfinfo script over the suspicious document, and lo-and-behold! found it had been created in a different (West Coast) time zone from the others.
Why did they fake it?
[T]he quotes were punchier, and suggested far darker motivations than the blandly professional language of the authenticated documents–and because it edited the facts into a neat, almost narrative story.
The stupid, backward, and sexually inadequate residents of China and Vietnam suffer from a delusion that consuming the horn of the rhinoceros (black or white) will increase, or restore, their potency. The usual associative sympathetic magical thinking is behind all this. Rhino horns are long, impressively stout protuberances, so their consumption is supposed to result in long, impressively stout et ceteras for Chinamen.
Stupid, backward, and ethically-challenged black African poachers kill rhinoceros for their horns which get to East Asia via totally illegal black market smuggling operations.
This is all very regrettable, of course.
So what do noble and idealistic left-wingers do about THE PROBLEM?
They modify popular videos that bourgeois residents of Western democracies watch, deceptively labeling new versions remixed with heart-wrenching images of dying and mutilated rhinos. Pirating somebody else’s content in order to mislead people into watching their own advertisements (they made 60 of these) is left-wingers’ idea of a clever intervention.
Watching their disgusting advertisements is intended to get you to start weeping big salty tears over all those poor dead rhinos and make you sign this petition.
This petition, as far as I can see, includes no specific proposals of any kind. So you would really be signing the equivalent of a kind of political blank check, indicating that you are oh-so-very concerned about poor rhinos and believe that Something Must Be Done.
What that Something might consist of is unknown. But if you are stupid enough to sign, you are indicating agreement with the theory that you (residing almost certainly in a location with no rhinos and being yourself a non-consumer of medications made from rhino-horn) nonetheless subscribe to the theory that you are personally responsible for the foolish and unethical actions of various Africans and Asians totally unknown to you, and believe that the Congress of the United States (despite its complete lack of authority over Africa & Asia) is also obliged to do something about all of this, beyond agreeing to the CITES treaty and all the other things Congress has already done.
That moron Andrew Sullivan and an advertising blogging asshole who calls himself copyranter both thought deceiving Internet video watchers into accessing agitprop crap was clever and worthy of commendation. Personally, I wish Vlad the Impaler were around today to punish Internet fraud, along with its encouragement and support, in his traditional old-fashioned way using some very long rhino horns.
“Earliest image of Christ,” according to the newspapers.
Yesterday’s Daily Mail big story was a new antiquities discovery supposedly liable to eclipse the Dead Sea Scrolls in importance as a new source of information on early Christianity and First Century Judaism.
It turns out that these are fakes which have already been thoroughly debunked on a number of specialist blogs.
The text was incised by someone who did not know the Greek language, since he does not distinguish between the letters lambda and alpha: both are simply represented, in each of the texts, by the shape Î›.
The text literally means â€˜without grief, farewell! Abgar also known as Eisionâ€™. This text, in isolation, is meaningless.
However, this text corresponds precisely to line 2 of the Greek text of a bilingual Aramaic/Greek inscription published by J.T. Milik, Syria 35 (1958) 243-6 no.6 (SEG 20, 494), and republished in P.-L. Gatier, Inscriptions grecques et latines de Syrie XXI: Inscriptions de la Jordanie, 2: Region centrale (Paris 1986), no.118. That inscription reads, in its entirety, as follows,
â€™For Selaman, excellent and harmless man, farewell! Abgar, also known as Eision, son of Monoathos, constructed this tomb for his excellent son (i.e. Selaman), in the third year of the provinceâ€™.
This is a stone tombstone from Madaba in Jordan, precisely dated to AD 108/9, on display in the Archaeological Museum in Amman.
The text on your bronze tablet, therefore, makes no sense in its own right, but has been extracted unintelligently from another longer text. … The longer text from which it derives is a perfectly ordinary tombstone from Madaba in Jordan which happens to have been on display in the Amman museum for the past fifty years or so. The text on your bronze tablet is repeated, in part, in three different places, meaningless in each case.
The only possible explanation is that the text on the bronze tablet was copied directly from the inscription in the museum at Amman by someone who did not understand the meaning of the text of the inscription, but was simply looking for a plausible-looking sequence of Greek letters to copy. He copied that sequence three times, in each case mixing up the letters alpha and lambda.
This particular bronze tablet is, therefore, a modern forgery, produced in Jordan within the last fifty years. I would stake my career on it.
Mark Goodacre posted links to several more articles by legitimate scholars.
In general, the New Testament/codicology sector of the blogosphere was expressing satisfaction at how quickly and thoroughly this one had been debunked.
A scientific swindler preyed on American scientists working in Geology during a period extending from 1884 to 1891, obtaining books, specimens, and money from a number of American scholars. He had a good knowledge of Eastern European languages, was well acquainted with the field and frequently assumed the names of prominent authorities. By the time he vanished from history, he had also accurately identified large numbers of specimens in American museum collections.
Larry Solomon explains how you get a 97% scientific consensus in favor of AGW.
How do we know thereâ€™s a scientific consensus on climate change? Pundits and the press tell us so. And how do the pundits and the press know? Until recently, they typically pointed to the number 2500 – thatâ€™s the number of scientists associated with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those 2500, the pundits and the press believed, had endorsed the IPCC position.
To their embarrassment, most of the pundits and press discovered that they were mistaken – those 2500 scientists hadnâ€™t endorsed the IPCCâ€™s conclusions, they had merely reviewed some part or other of the IPCCâ€™s mammoth studies. To add to their embarrassment, many of those reviewers from within the IPCC establishment actually disagreed with the IPCCâ€™s conclusions, sometimes vehemently.
The upshot? The punditry looked for and recently found an alternate number to tout – â€œ97% of the worldâ€™s climate scientistsâ€ accept the consensus, articles in the Washington Post and elsewhere have begun to claim.
This number will prove a new embarrassment to the pundits and press who use it. The number stems from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers – in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produces the 97% figure that pundits now tout.
The two researchers started by altogether excluding from their survey the thousands of scientists most likely to think that the Sun, or planetary movements, might have something to do with climate on Earth – out were the solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers. That left the 10,257 scientists in disciplines like geology, oceanography, paleontology, and geochemistry that were somehow deemed more worthy of being included in the consensus. The two researchers also decided that scientific accomplishment should not be a factor in who could answer – those surveyed were determined by their place of employment (an academic or a governmental institution). Neither was academic qualification a factor – about 1,000 of those surveyed did not have a PhD, some didnâ€™t even have a masterâ€™s diploma.
To encourage a high participation among these remaining disciplines, the two researchers decided on a quickie survey that would take less than two minutes to complete, and would be done online, saving the respondents the hassle of mailing a reply. Nevertheless, most didnâ€™t consider the quickie survey worthy of response – just 3146, or 30.7%, answered the two questions on the survey:
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
The questions were actually non-questions. From my discussions with literally hundreds of skeptical scientists over the past few years, I know of none who claims that the planet hasnâ€™t warmed since the 1700s, and almost none who think that humans havenâ€™t contributed in some way to the recent warming – quite apart from carbon dioxide emissions, few would doubt that the creation of cities and the clearing of forests for agricultural lands have affected the climate. When pressed for a figure, global warming skeptics might say that human are responsible for 10% or 15% of the warming; some skeptics place the upper bound of manâ€™s contribution at 35%. The skeptics only deny that humans played a dominant role in Earthâ€™s warming.
Bob Webster discusses why climate science is an anything but disinterested activity.
Many people cannot imagine why some scientists (whom the media claim to be a “consensus”, as if that were meaningful when considering scientific theory) would act dishonorably to their profession by participating in a scam the magnitude of the human-caused-global-warming (AGW) hoax.
The answer is not complicated. In fact, the answer is rooted in the survival instinct all humans possess and is akin to the “publish or perish” maxim of scientific researchers. And I do not refer to the survival instinct in the sense that we need to survive “human-caused-global-warming.” No, it is all about funding and the survival of budget cuts.
Those who benefit from the flow of enormous government grants and funding (in universities and government agencies) to study a perceived problem (AGW) have been charged with providing guidance to politicians. In other words, the continued receipt of study funds is dependent upon an ever-increasing concern about the magnitude of the “problem” (in this case, AGW).
Is it any surprise that these researchers continue to find evidence of human-caused-global-warming when, in fact, the planet appears to be cooling over the past 10 or so years, perhaps significantly? As of the beginning of 2011, there has still not been one scientific study to ever identify a human component of climate change. None. Never.
To create the illusion of recent warming, ground station temperature data have been manipulated without explanation or sound scientific basis. This has been going on both at the US’s GISS (James Hansen’s handiwork) and at the UK’s CRU (Phil Jones of “Climategate” fame). Neither Hansen nor Jones can provide legitimate justification for their data manipulations that are a matter of partial record (original data has been “lost”, so the record is incomplete). Hansen arrogantly alters ground station records to create the appearance of warming where none has occurred (in fact, in some locations cooling has been altered to give the appearance of warming!).
Should it come as any surprise that these government-paid “scientists” would manufacture “evidence” to support their continued accumulation of funds and power?
Dr. Vincent R. Gray (Cambridge Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry), deservedly ranked as one of Warmism’s leading skeptics, clearly and concisely identifies the fundamental frauds underlying Anthropogenic Warming Theory.
The British scientist John Tyndall in the 1860s, who first established the existence of the greenhouse effect, showed that the most important greenhouse gas is water vapour, so this should be the main emphasis of any investigation into possible damage from increase of greenhouse gases. Unfortunately the concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere varies over several orders of magnitude, being dependent on temperature, time and place. No accurate average value has ever been reliably measured and there is no acceptable evidence of any changes that have been taking place. Even if these were established it might be difficult to blame them on humans.
So, somehow, water vapour had to be ignored. This is done by leaving it out of lists of greenhouse gases, discussing it as little as possible and leaving it out of the main components of their model by calling it a â€œfeedbackâ€. assuming that its average value is exclusively dependent on average temperature.
So then, emphasis was placed on the next trace gas, carbon dioxide. This is a much more suitable candidate, because its concentration in the atmosphere can be blamed on combustion of fossil fuels by humans.
But then another snag arises. Its concentration in the atmosphere has been shown to be highly variable from some 40,000 measurements that have been reported in learned scientific journals, going back to 1850. Some of these measurements were made by Nobel Prize winners, all were respected scientists of the day, and the papers were peer reviewed in the days when this meant something.
In order to show carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is increasing it is necessary to make continuous measurements distributed everywhere in the atmosphere on a representative basis. This is plainly impossible.
But do they despair? No. The first thing to do is to suppress all knowledge of any measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 1850 and 1950. Then they publicized the measurements near the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii as the only authentic measurements and followed this up by taking measurements that had been made in a negligibly small sample of ice cores as representative of concentrations before the industrial era, Subsequently they permitted the use of measurements made over the sea in several places to be added, but they have prevented or suppressed all measurements over any land surface, or in any other than an approved direction which are regarded as â€œnoiseâ€ (unwelcome data). These restricted results showed a fairly steady increase, but this was not large enough, so they more than doubled it for their models.
THE TEMPERATURE OF THE EARTH
Temperature on the earthâ€™s surface is highly variable. It is impossible to show if there. a general increase unless you can measure the average surface temperature. This would surely involve the placing of measuring instruments randomly all over the earthâ€™s surface, Including the 71% that is ocean, and all the forests, pastures, deserts and icecaps. Such an enterprise is impossible with current technology, so it is not possible to find if the average temperature of the earth is increasing.
But, again, a way of faking it was evolved. The originator, Jim Hansen of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York features on his website a discussion headed â€œThe Elusive Surface Temperatureâ€ which shows that there is no satisfactory way of defining or measuring the surface temperature of the earth. Yet he proposed to make use of temperature measurements that were routinely made at weather stations around the world as part of weather forecasting services, to derive what is called a â€œmean global temperature anomalyâ€.
Weather stations are not situated in representative places on the earthâ€™s surface. They are predominantly near towns. Their number and location varies daily, so there is no fair statistical comparison over any time period. Although many (but not all) thermometers are housed in a standard screen, their positioning is far from standard and it changes over time. Many are close to buildings, sources of heat, concrete, tarmac, vegetation and other changing circumstances. There is no way of allowing either for the lack of representativity or the changes in circumstances.
Then, no weather station actually measures the average local temperature. They typically measure the maximum and the minimum over a 24 hour period which depends on the time of observation. This makes sense for weather forecasting since the temperature regimes by day and night are so different that an average between the two is meaningless.
Recent studies have shown that most weather stations, even today, cannot assess local temperature to better than a degree or two Celsius. Weather forecasters know that their figures are only rough. They never use decimals of a degree.
The â€œmean annual global temperature anomalyâ€ involves multiple averaging, by week, month and year, plus a subtraction from the average for a reference petiod. This process must involve very large accumulated inaccuracies so that a claim of an increase in the â€œanomalyâ€ of several decimals of a degree over 100 years is meaningless.
Then there is the overall warming effect of urban and land use change. The 1990 paper in â€œNatureâ€ which was routinely used to claim the urban effects are negligible was shown by Keenan in 2000 to be fraudulent when he tried to find the Chinese data upon which it was partly based. Phil Jones recently admitted that the data did show an urban effect (and then promptly denied it) but the effect is still ignored in the teeth of the evidence in its favour
IF THERE IS WARMING, IT IS NATURAL?
There is overwhelming anecdotal evidence of warm periods In history which may have exceeded temperatures today, Efforts to discount these by manipulating unreliable â€œproxiesâ€ such as thickness of tree rings have been unsuccessful. There is even evidence from tree rings that the current era is not unusual leading to the need to â€œhide the declineâ€.
Besides being affected by urban and land use effects, the unreliable â€œmean global temperature anomalyâ€ is affected also by currently known changes in the sun and in the ocean oscillations, particularly the North Atlantic Decadal Oscillation and the Southern Oscillation Index. Our knowledge of both of these effects is currently limited. Sunspots are an extremely crude measure of the Sunâ€™s activity, and the ocean oscillations also have crude definitions.
FORECASTING THE FUTURE
The problem of forecasting future climate is also impossible to solve. Genuine honest scientists working in meteorology have struggled for several hundred years to try and provide a model of the climate which could help future forecasting. They have collected every measurable climate variable; wind, rain, temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, sunshine hours and cloud cover, and they have launched weather balloons to study the atmosphere. One measurement they have not found useful is the concentration of carbon dioxide, although that also has been measured in many places. Yet everybody, including the IPCC, knows that forecasts beyond a week or so are unreliable.
Yet in order to confirm the influence of increased greenhouse gases forecasting is essential, otherwise any theory is worthless.
It is insufficiently understood that the IPCC admits that computer based models of the climate are currently incapable of forecasting any aspect of future climate. This fact is freely admitted. Models never make â€œpredictionsâ€, but always â€œprojectionsâ€, which are the results obtained by accepting the plausibility of the model assumptions. No â€œprojectionâ€ from any climate model has ever successfully predicted any future climate behaviour. …
Climate has always changed in an irregular manner over many time periods and its causes are at present imperfectly understood. Some changes (for example ice ages) take millions of years to develop. Others (such as the effects of a large volcanic eruption) influence only a year or so. The idea that natural changes can only be â€œvariableâ€ and not cause â€œclimate changeâ€ is therefore incorrect. Also it is impossible to claim with any certainty that a particular change is â€œunprecedentedâ€ over such a short period as a few centuries.
The very existence of natural climate influences means that climate models that are not able to predict their influence cannot hope to detect any change caused by the greenhouse effect.
Since this is so, all the IPCC conclusions are based on the unproven opinions of those persons who are paid to produce the models. This conflict of opinion is so severe that any model maker who has a poor opinion of the results of his model would probably lose his job and career. This unreliable process is concealed by a system of levels of â€œlikelihoodâ€ combined with fabricated figures of the statistical reliability of the â€œestimatesâ€.
The forecasts made by meteorologists can be checked. If they are consistently wrong the model has to be modified. The â€œprojectionsâ€ made by the IPCC are usually so far ahead (100 years) that they cannot be checked until the experts have enjoyed their generous pensions. There is no way of telling whether one model is better than another. When more recent â€œprojectionsâ€ fail there is always the excuse that it is due to â€œnatural variabilityâ€. …
Any routine scientific study would have abandoned the attempt to justify the current emphasis on the greenhouse effect because of the impossibility of carrying out any of the necessary observations to confirm its importance. It could only have been established as a potential threat by multiple fraud from each of the considerations listed above.
Phil Jones, the former director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) who resigned in the wake of the leaked Climategate emails, along with a Chinese-American colleague, Wei-Chyung Wang, of the University at Albany in New York, is the target of a major investigation by the Guardian.
Jones et.al. published a paper in Nature in 1990, addressing concerns that temperature data might be being inflated by the location of sensors in urban locations which dismissed those concerns, assuring readers that he and his colleagues had examined the data and analysed the impact of urban settings, concluding that “The results show that the urbanization influence in two of the most widely used hemispheric data sets is, at most, an order of magnitude less than the warming seen on a century timescale.”
The 1990 Nature paper became a key reference source incorporated in the conclusions of succeeding reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change â€“- including a chapter in the 2007 report of which Phil Jones was a co-author.
Climate skeptics, not surprisingly, found the paper’s conclusion counter-intuitive. Brick, asphalt, and cement absorb and retain heat, and centers of human population and economic activity generate considerable heat as byproducts of the warming and cooling of interior spaces and as the result of transportation and industrial production.
Jones responded to requests for information on the locations of 84 Chinese weather stations used in the study negatively, claiming that supplying that information to critics would be “unduly burdensome.”
Finally, in 2007, Jones responded to continuing pressure by releasing the data he had available, which proved to be startlingly incomplete. 49 of 84 Chinese weather stations had no location histories or other details, including all but 2 of 42 stations listed as “rural.” 18 other stations had been moved, possibly compromising the validity of thie data, including one which had been moved 5 times over a distance of 41 kilometers.
Douglas Keenan, a retired British banker and independent climate analyst, published a paper in the peer-reviewed journal Energy & Environment openly lodging an accusation that fraud had occurred. Keenan’s paper is much discussed in the Climategate emails.
On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.
The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.
The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century. …
IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.
Steve McIntyre, at Climate Audit, highlights the Russian report by quoting a pertinent Climategate email:
Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.
In the Spectator, epidemiologist Paul Reiter debunks the “malaria spreading because of Global Warming” meme popularized by Al Gore, and explains how the repetition in print of empty assertions by small groups of activists can effectively promote complete falsehoods into established fact.
Al Goreâ€™s film, An Inconvenient Truth, was a masterpiece. Like an elder brother to all humanity, he patiently explained the familiar litany of disasters â€” droughts, floods, hurricanes, sea-level rise and the rest â€” spiced with heartrending personal stories: his baby sonâ€™s near-fatal accident, the agony of losing a sister to lung cancer. It was a science lecture crafted by Hollywood. …
In his serious voice, Mr Gore presented a nifty animation, a band of little mosquitoes fluttering their way up the slopes of a snow-capped mountain, and he repeated the old line: Nairobi used to be â€˜above the mosquito line, the limit at which mosquitoes can survive, but nowâ€¦â€™ Those little mosquitoes kept climbing.
The truth? Nairobi means â€˜the place of cool watersâ€™ in the Masai language. The town grew up around a camp, set up in 1899 during the construction of a railway, the famous â€˜Lunatic Expressâ€™. There certainly was water there â€” and mosquitoes. From the start, the place was plagued with malaria, so much so that a few years later doctors tried to have the whole town moved to a healthier place. By 1927, the disease had become such a plague in the â€˜White Highlandsâ€™ that Â£40,000 (equivalent to about Â£350,000 today) was earmarked for malaria control. The authorities understood the root of the problem: forest clearance had created the perfect breeding places for mosquitoes. The disease was present as high as 2,500m above sea level; the mosquitoes were observed at 3,000m. And Nairobi? 1,680m.
These details are not science. They require no study. They are history. But for activists, they are an inconvenient truth, so they ignore them. Even if Mr Gore is innocent, his advisers are not. They have been spouting the same nonsense for more than a decade. As scientists, we have repeatedly challenged them in the scientific press, at meetings and in news articles, and we have been ignored.
In 2004, nine of us published an appeal in the Lancet: â€˜Malaria and climate change: a call for accuracyâ€™. Clearly, Mr Gore didnâ€™t read it. In 2000, I protested when Scientific American published a major article loaded with the usual misrepresentations. And when I watched his animated mosquitoes, his snow-capped mountain was oddly familiar. It took a few moments to click: the images were virtually identical to those in the magazine. The author of the article, Dr Paul Epstein, features high in Goreâ€™s credits.
Dr Epstein is a member of a small band dedicated to a cause. And their work gains legitimacy, not by scholarship, but by repetition. While they publish their work in highly regarded journals, they donâ€™t write research papers but opinion pieces and reviews, with little or no reference to the mainstream of science. The same claims, the same names; only the order of authors change. I have counted 48 separate pieces by just eight activists. They are myth-makers. And all have been lead authors and/or contributory authors of the prestigious IPCC assessment reports.
Take their contention, for example, that as a result of climate change, tropical diseases will move to temperate regions and malaria will come to Britain. If they bothered to learn about the subject, they would know that in a period climatologists call the Little Ice Age, when Charles II held ice parties on the Thames, malaria â€” â€˜the agueâ€™ â€” was rampant in the Essex marshes, on a par even with regions in Africa today. In the 18th century, the great systematist Linnaeus wrote his doctorate on malaria in central Sweden. In 1922-23 a massive epidemic swept the Soviet Union as far north as Archangel, on the Arctic circle, killing an estimated 600,000 people. And malaria was only eliminated from the Soviet Union and large areas of Europe in the 1950s, after the advent of DDT. So itâ€™s hardly a tropical disease. And yet when we put this information under the noses of the activists it is ignored: ours is the inconvenient truth.
Iowahawk offers readers “a detailed how-to-guide for replicating the climate reconstruction method used by the so-called “Climategate” scientists. Not a perfect replication, but a pretty faithful facsimile that you can do on your own computer, with some of the same data they used.”
It takes 30-60 minutes, along with modest math & spreadsheet skills, he promises.
My goal was to provide interested people with a hands-on DIY example of the basic statistical methodology underlying temperature reconstruction, at least as practiced by the leading lights of “Climate Science.”
If you’ve followed all this, it should also give you the important glossary terms that should help you decipher the Climategate emails and methodology discussions. For example “instrumental data” means observed temperature; “reconstructions” are the modeled temperatures from the past; “proxy” means the tree ring, ice core, etc. predictors; “PCs” mean the principal components.
Is there anything wrong with this methodology? Not in principle. In fact there’s a lot to recommend it. There’s a strong reason to believe that high resolution proxy variables like tree rings and ice core o-18 are related to temperature. At the very least it’s a more mathematically rigorous approach than the earlier methods for climate reconstruction, which is probably why the hockey stick / AGW conclusion received a lot of endorsements from academic High Society (including the American Statistical Association).
The devil, as they say is in the details. In each of the steps there is some leeway for, shall we say, intervention. …
(If you run a few tests,)
(C)ontrary to Mann’s assertion that the hockey stick is “robust,” you’ll find that the reconstructions tend to be sensitive to the data selection. M&M found, for example, that temperature reconstructions for the 1400s were higher or lower than today, depending on whether bristlecone pine tree rings were included in the proxies.
What the leaked emails reveal, among other things, is some of that bit of principal component sausage making. But more disturbing, they reveal that the actual data going into the reconstruction model — the instrumental temperature data and the proxy variables themselves — were rife for manipulation. In the laughable euphemism of Philip Jones, “value added homogenized data.” The data I provided here was the real, value added global temperature and proxy data, because Phil told me so. Trust me!
Catastrophists everywhere have been spinning furiously, attempting damage control in the wake of the Climategate email scandal.
Oh sure, we’re told, those emails contained some examples of nasty academic backbiting, expressions of animosity and malice, but references to a “trick” and model failure, well, those are being read out of context. The data is still good.
And then critics started comparing available data to the processed results delivered by the Climate Science Establishment, by NIWA and GHCN and, what do you know? massaged data looks a lot different from unmassaged data.
Charles, of The Dog Ate My Data, decided to illustrate the point by doing a gif illustrating what the difference looks like (in the manner of Little Green Football’s Charles Johnson debunking Dan Rather’s Bush National Guard letter) .
We hear climate alarmists saying that yes the Climategate scientists at the CRU destroyed emails, and hid from Freedom of information Acts, messed with proxies, and fought to keep other scientistsâ€™ papers out of the journals â€¦ but that doesnâ€™t affect the data, the data is still good. Well Willis Esenbachâ€™s research shown over on Watts Up With That casts serious doubt on that belief.
The Data, Before and After
Just out of interest I decided to plot the raw temperature data for my home city of Brisbane, Australia from the GISS (ie the raw GHCN data) against the homogenized or adjusted GISS GHCN data. The temperature sensor is located at the Brisbane Eagle Farm Airport which is now our busy main international airport. The data used is the series available from 1950 to 2008. I have aniumated the result to highlight the difference.
As you can see the raw data shows a downward trend of about -0.6 C per century. The unadjusted data however shows an opposite trend of +0.6 C per century. Intuitively as the airport grew from a quiet strip to a busy international jet airport one would think the more recent data would be adjusted downwards for the heat island effect. Instead we see that the data prior to 1978 is adjusted down and the data in recent times was adjusted up. This is why it is essential that the relevant scientists disclose the reasons for each adjustment – the entire warming trend in the Brisbane data is due to the adjustments as the raw data clearly shows a cooling trend. Without being able to check the veracity of the adjustments used the trend cannot be relied upon. Our default position must be that until all data is made available to other scientists to scrutinize and test the data temperature data used to derive the graphs and models used by the IPCC is not to be relied upon for climate modeling or policy making.
NIWA published chart showing alleged warming trend
Uh oh! Another of those world famous climate research institutes renowned for issuing dire proclamations blaming human economic activity for terribly harmful patterns of warming weather is in trouble. This time it is New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition just published a paper which took NIWA’s data and made their own graph comparing it to NIWA’s published graph, and what do you know? An ordinary graph of the actual data showed remarkably consistent climate patterns over the last century and a half. Goodbye, Global Warming!
It looks like more climate scientists are going to have some explaining to do.