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Friday, November 27, 2009

ClimateGate: The end of credibility and the need for process control 


The right side of the blogosphere is in a Thanksgiving tizzy over today's news that New Zealand's climate studies center has manipulated (or "adjusted") temperature data over the last century to show lots of warming when the raw data shows very little. Coming as it does in the wake of the leaked email scandal at the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, climate alarmists are on defense in the mainstream media for the first time, well, ever. This is annoying to them, because it threatens to change the political circumstances over the global deal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

It probably ought to be said in this moment of passion that temperature data needs to be adjusted to make it reasonably consistent over time. Temperature stations are moved, or the environment around them has changed, so the data from the same station may not be comparable over time. If a station was once in a meadow shaded by trees and now sits at the edge of an asphalt parking lot, you need to account for that or you cannot compare data from years past to the present. (Here is a summary of some of the data integrity issues, written from a skeptical perspective.) The result is that surface station temperature readings all over the world are adjusted -- routinely -- to generate the data series that policy wonks are using to justify their proposals to regulate virtually all economic activity around the world.

There are at least four problems.

First, the slope of warming diminishes considerably if you exclude the adjustments. This was true in New Zealand, and it is true in lots of other local data around the world. As I understand it, a large part of the case for historical warming lies in the adjustments.

Second, it did not take the CRU document leak to know that many if not most of the scientists performing these adjustments are not only interested in determined what is, but in influencing what ought. They are not only describing a version of reality, as scientists are supposed to do, but using their description to advance a policy agenda. NASA's James Hanson is the leading exemplar of this phenomenon, but there are obviously many others. This conflation of science with policy advocacy makes it especially important that all matters of judgment, including especially the adjustment of raw data, be completely transparent.

Third, for reasons legitimate and otherwise, the data adjustments have not been transparent to scientists, journalists, and interested citizens outside the climate specialist community. The Kiwis have not released their adjustments, and actually refuse to do so in the linked article. In at least one case, the raw data has been lost or destroyed, so there is no way to examine the changes that were made. Steve McIntyre, the increasingly expert blogger who runs Climate Audit (and who earned mention in today's Wall Street Journal editorial), is repeatedly stonewalled in his efforts to get the same data (which has almost always been created using public funds) that the insiders have used to produce the "official" record.

Fourth, it is increasingly clear (especially from the computer code that drives the climate models) that neither the science behind what has been (studying the historical climate to see what happened) nor the construction of the models that purport to tell what will happen have been subject to the internal controls and quality systems that we require of, say, medical technology companies that produce and validate software that will be used to diagnose or treat an individual human being. It seems to me that we the voters ought to require the detailed validation -- and there are "internationally accepted" methods for doing this, to coin a phrase -- of any computer model cited as justification for any policy intervention. After all, lives hang in the balance.

The result, as writers as politically diverse Richard Fernandez and George Monbiot point out, is the expiration of "social proof" as sufficient to win the case for anthropogenic global warming. Increasingly, the average concerned citizen without a particular ax to grind will no longer trust the climate scientists simply because they say so, or because Al Gore says so on their behalf. So how do we regain that trust? By agreeing that we will not use data or the output from climate models to inform public policy unless they have been developed according to established quality systems for mission critical software and have been audited accordingly by a genuinely disinterested third party. Because of the implications for the global economy and the well-being of literally billions of people over the next century, requiring that the models and the data used to feed the models be subject to at least the process control and auditing that we would require of a medical device seems the absolute least we should do.


58 Comments:

By Anonymous IndispensableDestiny, at Fri Nov 27, 09:05:00 AM:

Climatology is in danger of descending into the realm of pseudoscience. I appreciate the need to adjust data because the station has been moved or the micro-environment has changed. But, it's much better to not collect bad data in the first place.

The United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/ushcn.html) describes itself as "a high quality data set" from 1218 stations. But independent, volunteer analysis shows otherwise. Go to Surfacestations.org and see that only 10 percent of the stations can be rated as high quality. Siting criteria are not met, and yes the micro-environment has changed. Data from these station cannot be believed. For a sample see http://www.surfacestations.org/odd_sites.htm.  

By Blogger "Mindles H. Dreck", at Fri Nov 27, 09:08:00 AM:

word.

This will do a lot of damage. You make a good point about process, but it is the process watchdogs that became politicized. These bozos did substantial damage to thousands of scientists who will help us understand future climate variations as well. If I was in the field, I would be livid.  

By Anonymous tyree, at Fri Nov 27, 09:34:00 AM:

It has become apparent that at least some of the people who accused President Bush of "politicizing science" were just assuming that he was doing what they were doing.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 09:45:00 AM:

True analysis would collect the data in it's natural state and then apply adjustments in a public way with notations duly mentioned in the public record.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 09:55:00 AM:

I'm with Mr. Gore on this one! If the money is good, then the science of climatology is as sound as the science of astrology or phrenology.  

By Blogger Diane Wilson, at Fri Nov 27, 10:26:00 AM:

There is simply no way to "adjust" the raw data without an accurate, station by station history of what changed, and when, and why. This history simply does not exist.

By contrast, what we do know about the "adjustments" is that they were applied across the board to all stations at all points in their history, without regard to whether they need adjustments or not. The adjusted data simply cannot be trusted, even before any consideration of the analysis that followed.

As for all the rest, I'm simply disgusted. The signs of massive fraud have been visible for years. The state of the modeling software is absolutely no surprise; it's exactly as bad as I expected it to be. The corruption of the peer review process was also obvious before the Big Reveal. What matters now is that it's all documented, all out in public.

What will be interesting is to see whether any of this matters at Copenhagen next month.  

By Anonymous Edward Lunny, at Fri Nov 27, 11:12:00 AM:

The common arguement, beyond "the science is settled" meme, has been that the data and conclusions were above reproach because it was all peer reviewed. Yet, in the recently freed e-mails and information, we find that the person(s) charged with correlating the data from various computer programs and simulations spent several years and could not reproduce the results publicised by Mssrs Mann , Hanson et al. If the people in the organisation cannot reproduce the same results, how could any of the peer reviewers reproduce the supporting results and consequently issue a positive review ? Fraud, I think, is far to kind a description of the criminal behaviour displayed in this boondoggle. Raceteering might be a bit more accurate.  

By Blogger Andrewdb, at Fri Nov 27, 11:37:00 AM:

When they've lost George Monbiot.....  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Nov 27, 11:42:00 AM:

Let's see if I follow this...

An anthropogenic global warming conspiracy exists. People trust anthropogenic global warming conspiracy. Anthropogenic global warming conspiracy's nefariousness exposed. Trust evaporates. Anthropogenic global warming conspiracy is sad.

Obviously, the solution is to re-establish trust in the anthropogenic global warming conspiracy so long as they promise to do better this time in order to continue to make the case for anthropogenic global warming.

Because 'billions' are at stake.

But that justification requires belief in the anthropogenic global warming conspiracy's kool-aid (dogma); the kool-aid that was just exposed to be fraudulently brewed and marketed.

That's self-justification, circular logic, or, as you might expect me to say, theological reasoning based on a core assumption of faith (i.e. 'Global warming' is real and dangerous).

Talking about putting AGW data (which apparently doesn't exist in an untainted form) through scientific rigors (like peer-review? hah) is simply camouflage if you're going to operate in such a manner.

"This messenger is discredited. We must find another."

That's propaganda, not science.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 11:53:00 AM:

You don't have to go far to find out exactly how the NZ AGW brigade cooked the books. They explain exactly how, and they're proud of their work!

Check out "NZ sceptics lie about temp records, try to smear top scientist", Hot Topic, Nov. 26, 2009, http://hot-topic.co.nz/nz-sceptics-lie-about-temp-records-try-to-smear-top-scientist/

For instance, they absolutely had to make the old records colder to make the lines fit together!

And the newer records had to be adjusted upward, to make the lines fit together!

Apparently it never occurred to them to calculate the running averages. Maybe the problem is that doing the math, instead of fudging the numbers, makes a really boring-looking chart.  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Nov 27, 12:01:00 PM:

I can't embrace - right now - the view that these revelations by themselves (lots of qualifiers here) completely undermine the entire AGW argument.

There have been thousands if not tens of thousands of studies and reports - published in reputable journals - that indicate that warming of the planet has taken place and that human activity has played a role in that warming.

I simply can't believe that even in the most extreme cases of confirmation bias that this entire array of evidence is wrong.

To dismiss all or even most of these other studies based on these reported abuses - and these are pretty egregious - is, to me, much too premature.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Nov 27, 12:07:00 PM:

When they've lost George Monbiot.....

Monbiot is still a true believer. What he wants to do though is throw Jones under the bus as a demonstration of the religi...errr...science's commitment to purity. Basically, he wants some quick scapegoats so this whole flap blows over quickly.

All that aside, if we're going to spend trillions and stunt/wreck economies, might it not be prudent to spend another few billion bucks doing the mathematical proofs of correctness on all this computer code?

There are techniques for mathematically proving correct programs are correct. They're not often employed due to their tedious nature and expense, but the principle is sound and has been employed on occasion in the past.

If course, if they're NOT correct, then it would be impossible to prove them so ;->

Oh, TH, I've looked at some of this code and its quality is poor. If your biomed code were like this, you'd be killing dozens of people a day.  

By Anonymous IndispensableDestiny, at Fri Nov 27, 12:37:00 PM:

I'm not surprised that the modeling code leaves a lot to be desired. It's academic code which for the most part means it is junk. That such code is used to form national policy is an abomination.

I'm quite familiar with information system, having managed the development of such for 15 years. Academics (and I include our National Labs) are wonderful scientists, but have no understanding of how to translate their science into valid code. It's much more than verifying and validating what they produced. The follow no process, accept blatant errors, and tend to honor code that validates their assumptions.

I was responsible for the management of a chemical plume dispersion model. We had some great scientists working on the algorithms. But, they didn't write code that found it's way into the product. They gave their algorithms and pseudo-code to programmers who could follow an established process and deliver solid code. It helped that the programmers knew something about the plume dispersion domain. It's much easier to make a programmer knowledgeable in a particular domain, then it is to make a domain expert a programmer.

There is a widely used dispersion model in DoD that was developed by brilliant scientists. Years ago, the code was given to professional programmers to work over so that it could be supported by staff other than the aging scientists. The scientists were aghast by the end state code. Although it was validated against their science, they took it as an insult to their work. I'm not sure what happened after that. But the new code code actually be understood by others, it could be verified, and most importantly, validated against empirical data.

It's my understanding that the climatological models cannot be validated against historical observations. That is not because the observations do not exist, it is just poor code or code that is being used outside its extent of validity.  

By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Fri Nov 27, 01:07:00 PM:

Wait, they're defending bumping UP the readings because the micro-climates around the stations have changed, even though it's well-known that URBAN ENVIROMENTS ARE HOTTER?!?!

That's... wow....  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Fri Nov 27, 01:10:00 PM:

Copenhagen will be the biggest game of three card monty in the modern age. It will be very hard for politicians to change course because each of them have someone nipping at their heels waiting to pounce at the first sign of error.

Still, they do not call all the shots all the time. I agree there needs to be some credible international effort to find the present truth of AGW. There needs to be a trustworthy locus of trust and under no circumstances should something this important be left to the UN.

Alarmists will not, I think, welcome any inquiry of this sort. This inquiry will take too long and will derail their dreams. On the other hand their policies do not work well for much of the world yet, so there are other natural (economic) forces for delay. Note how craftily China worded it support of Carbon reductions as being based on a unit of economic output. If their economy grows, so does the amount of carbon they can release. Their rules are different.

The CRU fiasco may seem to some like an outlier, but it is important because it was at the hub of the "social proof". The Hockey Stick, now thoroughly disgraced, was the central pillar of the of science that every layman relied on for their understanding of the trend of AGW. It symbolized our runaway assault on the planet. Al Gore's movie would have been little more than a travelogue without it. It was the perfect ppt slide.

Still, I think what we will hear more and more of (unless we are relentless) is,

Nothing to see here. Move along.

M.E.  

By Blogger Diane Wilson, at Fri Nov 27, 01:26:00 PM:

SMGalbraith, what do you think this is, another "fake but accurate" story?

Those hundreds of papers that support AGW all refer back to the same few original papers, all published by this group at CRU, or their American counterparts. Read particularly the emails that document corruption of the peer review process - journal editors lost their jobs if the published articles skeptical of AGW, or their journals discredited and shunned by the AGW crowd. (And in spite of this, there are hundreds of published articles skeptical of AGW; the AGW crowd denies that they exist.)

This isn't just a random group of scientists who have been exposed; this is the core of the AGW's base of "evidence" (such as it is) and research.  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Nov 27, 01:34:00 PM:

Those hundreds of papers that support AGW all refer back to the same few original papers, all published by this group at CRU, or their American counterparts

There may indeed be hundreds or papers that rely on this, if you will, "foundational" material but there are thousands more that do not.

I'm just a layperson but my readings - admittedly sketchy - tell me that there have been numerous independent peer review studies that indicate warming has occurred and that human activity has played a role.

I simply reject the implicit if not explicit view that all of these other peer-review studies are fraudulent or poorly done or based on bad science.  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Nov 27, 01:41:00 PM:

Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy puts it much better than I can: Social validation and Climategate.

As he points out (while acknowledging the questions that the revelations raise):
I don’t think we have anywhere near enough evidence to show that the academic consensus on global warming is completely bogus, or even close to it. Nor has it been proven that all or most prominent scientific supporters of global warming theory are as unethical as those exposed in this scandal.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Fri Nov 27, 02:02:00 PM:

SMGalbraith:
There have been thousands if not tens of thousands of studies and reports - published in reputable journals - that indicate that warming of the planet has taken place and that human activity has played a role in that warming.

When leading lights of AGW admit in e-mails that they will make efforts to suppress publication of papers that do not support their point of view, that puts your assertion of "thousands of studies..published in reputable journals" in another light. When the "consensus" is tilted to stop publication of papers that do not support the "consensus," that makes the "consensus" rather shaky.

When "everybody says so" is used to support an argument, and one finds out that the speakers 1)lie and 2) suppress contrary statements, that rather diminishes the validity of the argument.

Where were you thirty years ago when global cooling was all the rage?  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Fri Nov 27, 02:16:00 PM:

We will probably never get any legislative approval for funding the basic mechanics of measurement...because there is simply no INTEREST in accuracy.

This is not a scientific question to world leaders. It is a geopolitical movement designed to centralize economic control and social behaviour.

If the AGW is disgraced, they will simply stage some other media event to "settle" the question.

Witness NO RESPONSE from the White House about this issue.

They simply don't care.

The media push for Copenhagen is already out. I heard a radio commercial this morning making the case for "Climate Control" and calling the conference "Hopenhagen".

Try Dopenhagen.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 02:36:00 PM:

Once I read that in the US, politics lost its innocence with Nixon.

Let me make a prediction. Science will lose its innocence with Global Warming.

Vilmos  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Nov 27, 02:36:00 PM:

When leading lights of AGW admit in e-mails that they will make efforts to suppress publication of papers that do not support their point of view,

"Make efforts", not succeed in doing so.

There is no evidence that I've seen that these individuals were able to suppress or, more important, get others to suppress dissenting views on AGW to the, no pun intended, degree required to pull off such a massive fraud.

To do this would require dozens if not hundreds of other scientific journals and hundreds if not thousands of editors, assistant editors, staff, researchers and others all engaging in this conspiracy to silence dissenting views.

That's what one has to say: that thousands and thousands of respected individuals all got together to pull off the most astonishing scientific hoax in the history of man.

I don't believe it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 02:48:00 PM:

I am not a scientist (although I have a degree in computer science). I cannot judge the pros and cons of global warming since I simply don't have enough underlying knowledge. Whenever I read a "proof" of global warming, I cannot honestly state that this argument is right since I don't know the physics, the chemistry, the geology, the etc. behind it. For example, many say that the snow on Kilimanjaro is melting due to global warming. But I also read that it is melting since the forests around it were turned into fields and thus there is much less humidity in the air. Also, many also say that the glaciers are melting in the Cascades due to global warming. But many also say that the wind patterns changed and this causes the melting (less precipitation). Honestly, I cannot judge any of these claims due to my lack of relevant knowledge.

But I can safely claim that that a huge majority of believers in global warming equally cannot state that they understand the science behind it. They just 1. either not honest about it 2. are too stupid to recognize their own limits.

This means that the global warming brouhaha is coming from a few sources and is amplified through millions of people.

Since I cannot make a honest judgment of the pros and cons of global warming, I try to look behind the scenes and secondary reasons. And this is where I lose all my confidence in global warming advocates.

It is interesting that all solutions mean less freedom and more government. Somehow all solutions converge around my wallet. If I am not a believer, I must be a bad person (denier).

There is way too much money and power involved in global warming, therefore this is not about science but about power. I am with Rudolph Rummel who says that global warming is a huge scam. Scam, financial, and power scam.

This is one of the most novel scams ever in order to take freedom away.

Vilmos  

By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Fri Nov 27, 03:06:00 PM:

SMGalbraith -
you're assuming a zero-feedback system; given that we're dealing with humans, it would only take one or two folks' lives being ruined to incline folks away from putting their necks out on a topic, especially when there's no money to be made there.

Given that we can show they were trying to do harm, and that we can show falsified evidence, it's up to those who wish to defend them to show they didn't succeed in the attempts.

Hm, might be a little hard, since they've already proven willing to destroy evidence, no?  

By Anonymous astonerii, at Fri Nov 27, 03:09:00 PM:

Climate Science has never been a true science. It has always been a political endeavor. Mann and Gore coluded back in the 80's on how to run the scam, and who knows how many other people started off involved.  

By Anonymous Moody Deep Thinker, at Fri Nov 27, 03:13:00 PM:

What is so blithely ignored by the true AGW believers is that the second effort of the corruption all but banned any dissenting papers from being published. If it did not agree with their AGW mantra the paper did not get reviewed or published, period.

That fellow who said he remembered some papers being published that "tell me that there have been numerous independent peer review studies that indicate warming has occurred and that human activity has played a role" should widen his scope to recognize that those papers were probably based on the original corrupt studies or were only allowed to be published because they made the kool aid easier to drink.

In my cynical opinion the fact the the AGW dogmatists won't relent is further proof of their gullibility; having been hand fed ideas for so long, they are now reluctant or unable to think for themselves.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 03:22:00 PM:

There is no need to adjust a station if it is moved. You just treat it as the closing of one station and the opening of another. It certainly does NOT represent a continuous data source.

As for other adjustments due to trees growing up or parking lots being added. Yes, those need to be made. I would espect with urbanization that most of the corrections should be downward.  

By Blogger mockmook, at Fri Nov 27, 03:25:00 PM:

SMGalbraith

I doubt here are more than a handful of untainted papers that show AGW.

There may be many legitimate papers that show GW.

Can you cite even one untainted paper on AGW?  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Nov 27, 03:29:00 PM:

you're assuming a zero-feedback system; given that we're dealing with humans, it would only take one or two folks' lives being ruined to incline folks away from putting their necks

I'm just repeating myself but again I'll just say: If someone believes that all of the science directly or indirectly related to this matter has been corrupted, there's nothing I can say to persuade anyone otherwise.

What could I say?  

By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Fri Nov 27, 03:40:00 PM:

Well, there's always that outrageous notion of showing evidence and making logical arguments for a something instead of just trying to "say something" to change folks' minds.

You know, like how science is supposed to be done, rather than how these SOBs have been doing it?  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Nov 27, 03:44:00 PM:

Can you cite even one untainted paper on AGW?

Here: http://www.sciencemag.org/

Type in: "global warming".

If you think that all of them are "tainted" or "corrupt", what can I say?

Since you're the judge and jury, there's nothing I can do.  

By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Fri Nov 27, 03:47:00 PM:

If you think that all of them are "tainted" or "corrupt", what can I say?

You can offer actual evidence. Or at least do more than throw your hands in the air and say "oh, golly, I can't do anything!"

Assuming you actually have any argument, beyond trying to claim everyone who disagrees with you is biased?  

By Blogger Nik, at Fri Nov 27, 04:08:00 PM:

For those who don't care about New Zealand have a look at New York City...NO WARMING IN THE RAW DATA THERE EITHER!

Their "adjustment" seems to assume NYC has been depopulated. The adjustment for urban heating ADDS heat instead of subtracts it!

http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1798

Steve's site is mysteriously overloaded. Here's Google's slow but steady loading cache:

http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:VpRuPRhz2W0J:www.climateaudit.org/%3Fp%3D1798+http://www.climateaudit.org/%3Fp%3D1798&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a  

By Anonymous Akatsukami, at Fri Nov 27, 04:20:00 PM:

"If you think that all of them are "tainted" or "corrupt", what can I say?"

Which of them do not rely on the tainted data cooked up by "The Team"?

Which of them were not peer-reviewed by members of "The Team"?

Is the knowledge generally and readily available, ot is this another "Trust me!" moment.

VW: frutt. Shall we discuss if the whole AGW hypothesis is not but the frutt of the poison tree?  

By Anonymous vulgar moralist, at Fri Nov 27, 04:26:00 PM:

You might wish to look at "Scientists aren't science - and science isn't a method":

http://vulgarmorality.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/scientsts-arent-science-and-science-isnt-a-method/  

By Blogger Stan, at Fri Nov 27, 04:36:00 PM:

It's really simple --
No reliance on computer models that haven't been verified and validated.
No reliance on studies which do not conform to the scientific method's requirement of replicability.
No study should be allowed to influence public policy that hasn't been thoroughly audited and replicated.
Free the data. All raw data and adjustments must be readily available.
Free the code. All computer code must be readily available. And cleaned up by professional software engineers.
Free the stats. And key studies must be cleared by professional stats experts.
Establish competent siting for the thermometers.
Assessments must include all relevant studies, not just the cherry picked garbage of the alarmists.

No more hide the ball crap. No more hiding behind the "peer review" dodge. No more slander. No more blaming oil companies. Time to make them man up.

Science. All the science. And nothing but the science.  

By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Fri Nov 27, 04:44:00 PM:

Is anyone else having an overwhelming urge to channel Agatha Heterodyne?
Science!  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Fri Nov 27, 04:49:00 PM:

Assuming you actually have any argument, beyond trying to claim everyone who disagrees with you is biased?

(1) I've made my argument quite clear.

(2) I've accused no one who disagrees with my argument of bias.

I'll state again (and then move on): If someone believes that all of the science, directly related to or indirectly related, on global warming over the past (roughly) decade has been corrupted, there's nothing I can do to persuade them otherwise.

Are we going to sit here and go over every paper, every study, line by line? Of course not.

I'll go with the consensus view on the matter with the understanding that science isn't determined by consensus but by facts.

In the abscence of clearly agreed upon facts, our public policy must be based on the best available evidence.

And that, for me, indicates that human activity is causing a warming of the planet to a degree that is harmful.

As to the solution? Hell, if I know.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 05:02:00 PM:

I have noticed several posts in comment sections similar to the initial one that SMGalbraith made. Very much alike in tone and content, mentioning thousands of untainted AGW papers. No offense, but are these comments spontaneously alike (in tone and content), or is there a coordinated effort behind these postings?

Also, beyond expecting people to search for the untainted papers, are there some that you can specifically point to? It would certainly help with your assertion that they exist (and at present, it is nothing more than an assertion), and provide a better counter argument than "I don't belive it" to peoples reasonable counter-statements.  

By Blogger SChaser, at Fri Nov 27, 05:18:00 PM:

I'll say up front that I'm a skeptic on AGW - but I am not someone who "knows" that it is not happening. I find the CRU scandal to be devastating to the AGW political cause, and it should be seriously damaging to the "scientific concensus."

Caveat aside, the defense of the New Zealand (NIWA) Wellington data adjustment against the NZ skeptics is convincing. That data adjustment is correct from a simple lapse-rate point of view (the adiabatic lapse rate of the atmosphere is 9.8C/km).

The skeptics criticism in that particular case is indeed absolutely wrong.

There might be other biases that are not corrected for (such as urbanization). That doesn't, however, let the CSCNZ off the hook.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 05:31:00 PM:

As a scientist I can tell you that there is never a reason for adjusting the data! If you do, how the heck do you know that your adjustments are correct? If a station was moved, it must be stated that it is a NEW station and the data are different! Try dealing with the FDA and telling them that you had to adjust your data. They would cut you to pieces. Just switching a thermometer would need to be recorded and then the readings would have to be SHOWN to be equivalent to the previous setup. Scientists my big hairy butt, they are nothing but fools!!
Go to YouTube and look up Global Warming Urban Heat effect.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcsvaCPYgcI
So Simple a Sixth Grader can Understand it!  

By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Fri Nov 27, 05:41:00 PM:

(1) I've made my argument quite clear.

Yes: "Those who do not agree with me will not have their minds changed by anything I say."

(2) I've accused no one who disagrees with my argument of bias.

You have not said the words: "if you disagree with me, you are biased"; instead, your argument consists entirely of "if you don't agree, you won't agree, so I won't even try" and "Go prove that I'm wrong!"

I'll state again (and then move on): If someone believes that all of the science, directly related to or indirectly related, on global warming over the past (roughly) decade has been corrupted, there's nothing I can do to persuade them otherwise.

Never know if you never try. Of course, same could be said of the so called scientists and their theory=>result process.

SChaser -
why are you bringing up the process used to express "rising air that decompresses gets colder" as evidence that adjusting temperatures measured at a stationary location up because they're now in an urban heat island when, historically, they weren't?

Also, the adiabatic lapse rate of the atmosphere is only 9.8C/km for dry air.

Maybe just link where you got your data-- or cite it, if you've got a physical source?  

By Blogger StormCchaser, at Fri Nov 27, 05:41:00 PM:

Anon, I disagree...

What they are trying to do is produce a time series, and they simply DO NOT HAVE single-station data. It is quite normal in that situation to adjust the time series (the data remains the same, and they apparently documented that).

As long as they document it, and everyone knows it, then it's still reasonable to publish the results. It just means that the reliability isn't as good.

The FDA is overcritical on science, greatly damaging the availability of medications in the US, at a net huge cost in lives compared to those saved by their procedures.

Furthermore, in doing lab science, you have a great advantage of paleoclimatologists - you can run experiments. They cannot - they are stuck with what they have.

So sorry, but they are scientists, and most are doing the best they can with what they have (obviously, as climategate shows, some are perverting the field of science, and furthermore publishing from data that is not only difficult to justify, but also no longer available).

And remember, I'm not in the tank for AGW. It's just I've been around enough earth science to know that your criticism is incorrect.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Nov 27, 05:54:00 PM:

...The scientists were aghast by the end state code...

Getting people over this (very detrimental) notion of personal linkage to code is quite difficult in my experience.

Psychologically, they view reported issues with the code as personal attacks on their integrity.

Weinberg touched on this briefly, MS's McGuire went a little further in his book on software development.

Its a tough nut to crack getting from the defensive position of "my code" to the ownership neutral "the code". The vast majority of organizations never manage to do it and suffer severely because of it.  

By Blogger rhhardin, at Fri Nov 27, 05:58:00 PM:

Science runs on curiosity, not process.

It's curiosity that's lacking in the global warming community, not integrity.  

By Blogger LifeTrek, at Fri Nov 27, 06:04:00 PM:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

"Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” (emphasis and changes added)
----------------------------------


Every Liberal remembers Eisenhower warning against the, "military-industrial complex" but few if any know his second stated warming in that same farewell message, his warning against the, "scientific-technological elite"

This speech could have been made last week, read the whole thing.
David  

By Blogger mockmook, at Fri Nov 27, 06:20:00 PM:

SMGalbraith,

I'm letting you be judge and jury.

So, from those thousands of papers that show AGW, surely you can cite one that you believe is untainted...

Otherwise, your just making stuff up.  

By Anonymous Wildmonk, at Fri Nov 27, 06:48:00 PM:

After looking at the documentation associated with the computer models from CRU I think it is fair to say that we are not at all warranted in concluding that the warming observed in the literature has a human cause - at least from the CRU models.

When I was working toward my Ph.D. and just afterward when working at Bell Labs, I did a fair amount of modelling of complex systems and some of the frustrations reflected in the documentation are familiar to me. However, I was astonished at just how *bad* the work was - how cobbled together with chewing gum and hangar wire it seemed.

Now, I largely agree with SMGalbraith that it seems unlikely that all of the peer-reviewed papers that present their own, original data are part of some grand conspiracy. It would just take a level of coordination that even the CRU scandal doesn't support.

However, there are really three separate assertions being made by the AGW crowd. SMGalbraith's comment captures all three: the research "indicates that human activity is causing a warming of the planet to a degree that is harmful."

The three assertions are: it is warming, it is warming to an unusual degree, and the warming is caused by human activity.

Despite some ups and downs, the scientists do appear to have documented a global warming trend over the past century.

However, the panic over the *rate* of warming that is being stoked by people from the CRU and Hansen's group in the US is greatly undermined by the release of these emails. They very clearly are attempting to overstate and even sensationalize the rate of warming and to undercut scientists who are skeptical of their claims. This is also supported by the recent release of the New Zealand data: the raw data showed no warming trend whereas the "corrected" data (which was previously available) showed a systematic bias towards cooling corrections early in the time series and warming corrections in the more recent data.

Most importantly, there is NO research whatsoever that directly measures the impact of CO2. The entire thesis of a human contribution to global warming is based on computer models - not scientific assessment. I'm not sure that SMGalbraith and others who point to the "science" behind AGW quite get this.

In any event, the faith once placed in these models has been *destroyed* by these revelations.

Just to be clear: the revelations do not show that humans are NOT causing GW. They simply lay bare the fact that we have no reliable basis for concluding that we ARE causing a warming of the planet because these models are simply so obviously bad as to be unusable for making scientific assertions.

To serve as a reliable model of atmospheric physics, these computer programs clearly need a complete overhaul in the presence of a much more rigorous auditing process. *That* much is very clear from the documentation that was released.  

By Anonymous Mike M., at Fri Nov 27, 09:05:00 PM:

How do you regain trust?

You never had it. You had gullibility and fashion.

There lies several problems.

But three things are clear.

1) The whole thing has been a complete and utter sham from Day 1 - and lots of people knew this from Day 2!

2) You didn't, and therefore you are best classed as a total freaking moron and grade A arsehole (like every AGW so-called believer).

3) We are totally screwed becauase without relaizing it we have become a society of Nazi-like followers, with not much brains and even less courage to go around.

Did I mention #2 yet? Double ti Jackass!

Mike M.  

By Blogger bobby, at Fri Nov 27, 09:44:00 PM:

"Are we going to sit here and go over every paper, every study, line by line? Of course not."

Are we going to cripple the world economy, shut off our furnaces and generators and transport, drop food production to pre-fertilizer levels, and watch much of humanity starve or die in the wars over food and energy that will come, WITHOUT going over every paper, every study, line by line?

Of course not. We can no longer view any such results as having been honorably and accurately done. The default position can no longer be "accept as truth unless shown otherwise."

We reserve that position for results of science.  

By Anonymous Wayne Richards, at Fri Nov 27, 09:45:00 PM:

Dawnfire82 way up at the top, you ask, 'Let's see if I understand this'. Many subsequent posts ask, 'How can trust be re-established?'
Dawnfire82 and the rest of you credulous bozos, understand this: if the CRU leaks had not occurred, the CRU crew or some other crew would have had to arrange it themselves (always assuming that in fact they didn't).
You see, what we now have is a crisis for the alarmist crowd, and a crisis means GRANTS! They now need lots more grants, lots bigger, and urgently, too: confidence in AGW MUST be restored before the last tick of the Copenhagen confab, or Mother Earth will burn up. So send money. Send more money. Even more!
This may be the most glorious, most profitable crisis in recorded history (after adjusting the historical data, of course).  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Nov 27, 11:04:00 PM:

As usual, the most appalling thing about this affair is the dismissive approach taken by the legacy media, i.e., anyone asking to see raw data and methods is a "sceptic" or "denier." WTF? Everywhere I've worked in both unregulated (petroleum) and regulated (pharmaceutical) industries requires extensive systematic review of data and methods in addition to fully documented methods for data archival. None of this applies to taxpayer funded academic research?  

By Blogger Martin, at Fri Nov 27, 11:57:00 PM:

Wayne Richards--

I have a better idea, let's send them subpoenas and auditors.

Stan at 11-27-09 4:36:00 has it about right.

We have to admit at this point we know almost nothing about this subject. The bad and corrupted data, the unvalidated, undocumented models that never did half what was claimed for them.

Other than anecdote, we don't really know much, when you throw out everything that is tainted. We even lack context in which to generalize from the anecdotes. Of course, many of the popular anecdotes are untrue, as well.

We have to start over with original data and complete openness about any adjustments, open code and audit of the modles, a new data collection program to produce good data on EVERYTHING that may affect climate so at least going forward there is decent data. Done by scientists not in any way tainted by this, and overseen by forensic auditors, all completely out in the open.

And the people who perpetrated this fraud need to spend the rest of their days defending themselves against charges of misstatements to govt officials, misuse of grant funds, FOIA violations, perjured testimony, and academic violations.  

By Anonymous Scott, at Sat Nov 28, 08:20:00 AM:

Believing that computer models contain no bias, produce correct answers to future outcomes....

Gees, sounds a lot like the financial meltdown we just went through. Good thing this blew up prior to the policy based upon these models was implemented. Oh wait, perhaps to early on the last point.

Maybe they should postpone Copenhagen until we get this sorted out.  

By Blogger geoffrobinson, at Sat Nov 28, 08:26:00 PM:

How about another criteria?

A computer model has to predict the future to be considered true. If it can't, we can't assume its accuracy.  

By Blogger Foxfier, formerly Sailorette, at Sat Nov 28, 08:40:00 PM:

I'd settle for requiring they predict the past....  

By Blogger tomcog, at Sun Nov 29, 09:54:00 PM:

Hah. I know what the problem is. I spent time at the University of East Anglia in the late 60's, doing research. I stayed in their "ziggurat" style residences, and UEA was the coldest place I have ever been, and I grew up in northern Wisconsin. No wonder those guys want the globe to warm up!!  

By Blogger tomcog, at Sun Nov 29, 09:55:00 PM:

Hah. I know what the problem is. I spent time at the University of East Anglia in the late 60's, doing research. I stayed in their "ziggurat" style residences; UEA was the coldest place I have ever been, and I grew up in northern Wisconsin. No wonder those guys want the globe to warm up!!  

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