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Sunday, November 29, 2009

ClimateGate by video 


Here's a nifty (if somewhat portentious and one-sided) video that rolls through the ClimateGate controversy in rogues gallery style. A few comments below.



Some of this is a bit over done; not every suspicious turn of phrase in a conversational email hides a conspiracy, and anybody who has worked in a large organization knows that. It is also true that people in all organizations vent about outsiders who threaten to knock down the door as Steve McIntyre, to his credit, does all the time. The emails alone prove nothing.

The problem, of course, is that these emails are not in a vacuum, but are to be read in the context of two wholly unrelated revelations: (1) The deletion, intentional or otherwise, of the CRU's original raw global temperature data, so it is apparently no longer possible to assess whether the "adjustments" to that data were valid or even intellectually honest; and (2) the exposure of code inside the climate models themselves that seems to indicate a direct tweaking of the programming to generate a particular result (i.e., a palpable warming trend). This is really, really, really, really bad stuff, because the entire case for regulatory intervention turns on the predictive power of these models. If the data that is their basis and the the programming itself has been manipulated in any way, shape or form to drive a result intended to influence policy, then all the scientific papers that derive from these models or rely on them in any way ought to be withdrawn.

Finally, the other value in the video is its publicity of the CRU's mission, which quite consciously fuses science with the making of policy. This embeds within one organization, and therefore one group of people, the dual responsibility of determining what is happening and what we ought to do about it. As anybody (CWCID: Glenn) who has taken even a single day of philosophy knows, one can never derive what ought from what is. While it is theoretically possible for an individual to maintain complete separation of what ought from what is in his or her professional life, that would seem virtually impossible for an organization, which has its own bureaucratic imperative, to do. The first consequence of this scandal, therefore, ought to be the clear separation of the science from the policy, so that the people working on the former do not work on or advocate for the latter, and vice versa, at least not in any official capacity. (Yeah, I know I just leapt from is to ought, but I do not think I need to restate the entire philosophical case against bureaucratic conflicts of interest in this one post.)


43 Comments:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 11:45:00 AM:

Watch for heroic efforts to identify the hackers and then discredit them for imaginary reasons. There are hundreds of millions of dollars associated with the myth that global warming is related to CO2.
These guys (and Al Gore and his good fellows) have been building this airy-fairy story for at least 15 years; payday, not just grants and speaking money, big money, stock and patronage, was just around the corner.
Of course, the politicians are as crooked as they are but it does appear that the hackers struck at the worst possible moment. The fraudsters will have to strike back s hard as they can or they could lose everything!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 12:07:00 PM:

Following is copied from another source but is quite illuminating:

"An easy explanation of what ClimateGate means,

ClimateGate emails and computer programs were taken from a main server at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. It is not known if this was a theft or the actions of a whistleblower, disgusted with what the lead scientists at CRU were doing.

ClimateGate exposed the cabal of 20 – 30 scientists (not just at CRU) that peer reviewed each others papers, strong-armed scientific journals to only print their views, and then sat on the IPCC panels as authors judging which published studies go into the IPCC final reports. This is why they always keep shouting “peer reviewed studies, peer reviewed studies, peer reviewed studies”. They owned the peer review process.

ClimateGate exposed that this small group has been adding positive corrections to the raw global temperature data, inflating the amount of published temperature rise over the last 50 years. Both CRU in the UK and NASA-GISS in the US add these biases. At CRU, the programmers did not even know what and why some corrections were added every month. Only since satellite monitoring for comparison have the amounts of biasing leveled off.

ClimateGate exposed the leaders of this cabal instructing each other to delete emails, data files, and data analysis programs ahead of already filed Freedom Of Information Act requests for raw data and computer codes, clearly a crime.

ClimateGate exposed the “trick” about the Hockey stick figure and other studies that performed proxy construction of past temperatures. After all, reconstruction of the last 1,000 years of climate is the first step in predicting the future with super computer programs as explained below:

Everything about all 21 super computer programs used by the IPCC to determine future global warming rely on best-determined past sensitivities to solar and volcanic effects (climate forcings) from the proxy temperature record.

1. The elimination of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age (the handle of the hockey stick) was necessary so that past solar effects could be minimized, thereby allowing almost all of the warming in the last 75 years to be blamed on Greenhouse Gasses. Raw data (like tree-ring thickness, radioisotope of mud layers in a lake bottom, ice core analyses, etc.) are used as a proxy for reconstruction of the temperature record for 1000 AD to 1960 AD. To ensure desired results, statistical manipulation of the raw data and selecting only supporting data, cherry-picking, was suspected and later proved.

2. The slope of long-term 10-year running average global temperature using thermometers from 1900 to present (the blade of the hockey stick) was maximized with the sloppy gridding code, Urban Heat Island effects, hiding the declines, and even fabricating data (documented in the leaked source code comments revealed with ClimateGate). This ensured that the Greenhouse Gas effect coefficient in all 21 of the super computers was maximized, and that maximizes the temperature result at year 2100 based on Greenhouse Gas increases. This thermometer data was used to replace the tree ring-divergence after 1960 and plot this over the climate history data of (1) above giving the false impression that the reconstructed 1000 AD to 1960 AD results are more accurate than they are.

continuing ....  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 12:13:00 PM:

contiunuing ...

3. Because tuning of the super computer programs uses back casting, the computer outputs could always replicate the 20th Century (by design); therefore it was assumed that the models had almost everything in them. Because of (1) and (2) above, nearly all climate change predicted by the models was due to CO2 and positive feedbacks and hardly any of the climate change was for other reasons like solar, understood or not.

4. Over the years, when better numbers for volcanic effects, black carbon, aerosols, land use, ocean and atmospheric multi-decadal cycles, etc. became available, it appears that CRU made revisions to refit the back cast, but could hardly understand what the code was doing due to previous correction factor fudging and outright fabricating, as documented in the released code as part of ClimateGate.

5. After the IPCC averages the 21 super computer outputs of future projected warming (anywhere from 2-degrees to 7-degrees, not very precise), that output is used to predict all manner of catastrophes. (Fires, floods, droughts, blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, insects, extinctions, diseases, civil wars, cats & dogs sleeping together, etc.)"

This seems to be an accurate assessment of what happened. Should we be surprised that the models have failed to predict the last ten years? What's scary is that they models could have been half right, because of dumb luck.


If this assessment is correct, the World has been had by an epic conspiracy. If so, the hockey stick is at the center of this, which implicates Michael Mann. What did Al Gore know and when did he know it?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 01:42:00 PM:

Carol Browner is Obama's Climate Czar. She has a BA in English and JD, both from the University of Florida. Earlier in her career, she was a legislative assistant to Al Gore. Clinton made her head of the EPA in 1992. Later, she's been a consultant with various firms where she helped multinationals comply with environmental regulations. She made as much as $5 million in 2008.

Here's what she said at last Friday's White House press gaggle:

Q What's your reaction to the British e-mails that have come out recently?

MS. BROWNER: I've read them. I don't know that I have a reaction.

A few questions later:

Q I hate to back you up on this, but those e-mails -- I know they're controversial, but they're actually feeding the run-up to Copenhagen. You might have read them, but you know basically the gist of them, which is being used by opponents of this deal to say that the whole thing is made up. But you have to have more than just "I don't have any reaction."

MS. BROWNER: Well, first of all, we've all seen bits and pieces, we haven't seen the full e-mails. But I think more importantly there has been for a very long time a very small group of people who continue to say this isn't a real problem, that we don't need to do anything. On the other hand, we have 2,500 of the world's foremost scientists who are in absolute agreement that this is a real problem and that we need to do something and we need to do something as soon as possible.

What am I going to do, side with the couple of naysayers out there, or the 2,500 scientists? I'm sticking with the 2,500 scientists. I mean, these people have been studying this issue for a very, very long time, and agree that the problem is real.

****

"Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" -- Richard Pryor

2,500 scientists didn't conspire. Looks like a dozen or two did and the rest went along for the ride. How culpable are Carol Browner and Al Gore? They sure did well off it. Once again, the value of a Nobel Peace Prize has been confirmed.  

By Blogger Mister Snitch!, at Sun Nov 29, 02:27:00 PM:

"Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" -- Richard Pryor

No, Groucho.  

By Blogger geoffrobinson, at Sun Nov 29, 02:35:00 PM:

Have any computer models predicted future temps within any reasonable degree of accuracy?  

By Anonymous Art Garfunkel Has The Voice Of An Angel, at Sun Nov 29, 02:50:00 PM:

Following is copied from another source but is quite illuminating:

"An easy explanation of what ClimateGate means,


Sorry, Anonymous, I don't trust anybody who thinks a comma should go where a colon actually belongs. Credibility dashed out of the gate!

Also, as much as the writer apparently thinks he is being all Carl Sagan and making it accessible, his explanation is actually full of jargon, obscure references and assumptions about what a mainstream audience would naturally know.

So, BZZZT. The world could definitely use a simple primer on this whole thing, but that isn't it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 02:54:00 PM:

You are wrong that the emails themselves don't prove anything. We scientists and doctors routinely point to the peer-reviewed literature when we justify our facts and advice, such as the fact that vaccinations don't cause autism. There is often a group who is suspicious of the literature because they disagree, but there is not usually any evidence of a conspiracy. The emails reveal an actual consipracy by leading researchers to blacklist journals and researchers not because of poor methodology, but because they dare to challenge the conventional wisdom. If such manipulations occur, then the peer-reviewed literature is no better than what some crank can publish online. These emails are not just a danger to deligitamize climatology, but all of science. What is needed is dramatic action by the scientific community in general (such as the AAS and NSF) to disavow the practices suggested by Mann and others. They should be ostracized by the scientific community until they demonstrate conclusively that they can conduct scientific investigation in an unbiased and honest manner. If they do not, all of science will fall under suspicion. There are many other black eyes to be seen, such as the revelation that much of the stem cell and cloning work in South Korea was fabricated. This is a much bigger story, and I am very concerned that it is being ignored by the scientific community. It's bad enough that all the predictions climatologists made 5-10 years ago have been completely false. Past infractions were often thought due to error; these emails suggest that conspiracy has been at work.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Sun Nov 29, 02:57:00 PM:

"There are hundreds of millions of dollars associated with the myth that global warming is related to CO2."

And billions associated with the claim that it isn't. I don't think the truth or otherwise of scientific research can be decided by looking at the sizes of publicity budgets.

Bear in mind that the "missing" raw data should all be held by the various state meteorological services around the world that provided it. (Many of these charge for data.)

In the mean time, this page has links to large amounts of raw data, if anyone here wants to do their own analysis and modelling.  

By Blogger ForNow, at Sun Nov 29, 03:05:00 PM:

No, Chico, impersonating Graucho.  

By Blogger A Jacksonian, at Sun Nov 29, 03:13:00 PM:

"Some of this is a bit over done; not every suspicious turn of phrase in a conversational email hides a conspiracy, and anybody who has worked in a large organization knows that. It is also true that people in all organizations vent about outsiders who threaten to knock down the door as Steve McIntyre, to his credit, does all the time. The emails alone prove nothing."

When one refers to the emails exchanged amongst a diverse number of people at different institutions as an 'organization', particularly when science is involved, you are citing something a bit different as they should be independent and working on projects independently.

The emails concern more than just EA CRU, and that is the problem. An 'organization' indicates a set of individuals working under a common set of goals and with overhead that is shared amongst them. In this case that is a correct depiction of what is going on. When this organized group of people talk about shutting out those skeptics who have valid points and data sets across those institutions, often using the weight of institutional names to go with them, then you have a more exacting category of such an organization. As that organization is also trying to hide what it is doing and actively works to remove scrutiny from itself, then the organizational type becomes more refined.

The word conspiracy is: to breathe together.

They did, in unison, as an organization. A conspiracy does not need incorporation papers nor even a written code of conduct, just a head nodding agreement that those members of it act in a certain way together. That may even be unconscious, but when done in a fashion that is towards an end that those inside the organization wish to remain secret or to divert attention from themselves, then intent does not matter. The activity defines what is happening, intent is only used to determine severity of penalty when crimes are committed.

It is, indeed, correct to characterize this as an organization.

And that is the problem.

General understanding on talking between scientists is one thing.

Acting together to perform activities to stifle scientific inquiry is quite another, and when done by an organization attempting to hide that fact, it gets a different designation.  

By Blogger Z.Sorenson, at Sun Nov 29, 03:20:00 PM:

Actually, the is-ought dichotomy is a plague upon philosophy - the same that empowers the bureaucrats. If there is no connection, then the the masters of 'ought' need not rely on what 'is'. Hence, not worrying about cooking books, falsifying science, or even relying on science at all. One big argument for global redistributionist schemes based on carbon emission trading isn't that such a scheme would actually save peoples' lives, but that it involves doing 'something' thereby absolving the participants from moral responsibility for the potential negative consequences of warming through their sacrifice. Warming need not even be real, as the moral responsibility covers the possibility of warming, not the actual reality of it.
"But warming isn't a significant reality." response: "But if it were, wouldn't you have to do something about it? So shouldn't we do something now, just to prove that we would, just in case?"

That's the argument I hear, which relies on what 'anyone who has taken any philosophy' knows: is not equal to ought.

But is is ought. And therefore no bureaucrat can justify on moral grounds a decision that would impose severe restrictions on my personal choices because of a contrived consensus of cooked science. Because they can't rely on some detached, phony, collective, view of morality.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 03:48:00 PM:

While I am not a "climate scientist" I do believe that since I can breathe, sit upright and interact with my environment I am nearing that vaunted title.

One of the biggest mistakes we can make here is to begin rationalizing what the motives were of the perpetrators. We have a lot of evidence that something particularly awful in Anglia was Afoot but as soon as we begin creating frameworks for what may or may not have been in their minds, we create an environment of excusal.

We do know that for the past 15 years this gang of greenies have been collecting data, massaging it and building a message. That coveted data repository is the source of their authority, and if audited it could either define the extent of the lie or the extent of their veracity.

But, oops! The dog ate their data! Now what do we do? How do we audit their model? Under rigorus scientific scrutiny, if you've lost your models traceability then you have nothing, nada, bupkus, nil, nada, zero, zippo.

So they may be able to weasel out of culpability, but without the benchmark there is no way things can proceed because there is no basis for agreement. Can you say "back to square zero"?

My point is this: whether or not they open their present day data model to scrutiny, without any way to link it to the actual raw measurements it is of zero value. Just a jumble of numbers that some people say might contain an answer. Like the statement in the hitch-hikers guide to the universe, the magic number is forty two. Unfortunately the results say fifty-four.

Personally, I think the entire climate science world needs to be upended and shaken hard and this provides a great opportunity to do it.

So when the "great, abraham lincoln-like presidents" go to Copenhagen, they will need to bear in mind that there is nothing to back up their fantasy and nobody is THAT persuasive.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 04:19:00 PM:

To Art Garfunkel. Sounds like you were an English major. Here's my version. Anyone, please tell me where I'm wrong.

Mann & Co first created a temperature history for the last 1,000 years, then ran it through computer models to predict the future.

To get the first 900 years of data, they extrapolated from secondary sources like tree rings and ice drillings. Their results show a relatively flat 900 years, which is belied by contemporaneous historical accounts from Europe, North America and elsewhere. To Mann & Co, the Medieval High and the Little Ice Age didn't occur or were only localized. So right there, their data is suspect. Instead there's evidence that temperatures were higher during the Medieval High than they are now, and even more evidence that it got a lot colder during the Little Ice Age. If we've been in a warming trend since 1800, it's because we came off abnormal lows from 1300 to 1800.

Data from the last 100 years should be more accurate, but it's been compounded by bias. Many measuring points got urbanized -- so no surprise they've gotten hotter. This throws off the data. We now know that Mann & Co even changed the data manually - a lot. They actually built suppression factors into the computer models. This had the effect of making the 1930s and 1940s look flat, when they weren't.

When you run this data thought the computer models it makes the trend line of 1990 to 2000 look scary. It makes CO2 look like a culprit. On top of that, the models assume all manner of positive feedback loops to create disaster scenarios. This is belied by historical experience -- we've had much higher levels of CO2 in the past and the Earth managed to cool itself into Ice Ages. Increased atmospheric CO2 is probably more of a lagging result than a cause. The oceans don't hold CO2 as well as they get warmer.

But if you knew it was hotter 1,000 years ago than it is today, would you worry? Or that the 1930s had some really funky weather? Happily, mother nature wasn't in on the conspiracy. The models have proven totally wrong over the last ten years.

F*ucking with the data also has the pernicious effect of undermining pursuit of alternative theories -- like the effects of solar activity. Trends of the last 100 years could just be from sunspots, etc. This is actually very important. Lots of research didn't get done, because of this. More reason to hang Michael Mann.

The e-mails are really damning when read against this back drop. Reread that last sentence slowly.

What's been a recent revelation to me is that such a small clique had such control over the data, the computer modeling and the peer review process. You'd only need twenty or so to pull this off. Their names are all over the e-mails. A few names keep popping up -- Michael Mann's included.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 04:20:00 PM:

To Art Garfunkel. Sounds like you were an English major. Here's my version. Anyone, please tell me where I'm wrong.

Mann & Co first created a temperature history for the last 1,000 years, then ran it through computer models to predict the future.

To get the first 900 years of data, they extrapolated from secondary sources like tree rings and ice drillings. Their results show a relatively flat 900 years, which is belied by contemporaneous historical accounts from Europe, North America and elsewhere. To Mann & Co, the Medieval High and the Little Ice Age didn't occur or were only localized. So right there, their data is suspect. Instead there's evidence that temperatures were higher during the Medieval High than they are now, and even more evidence that it got a lot colder during the Little Ice Age. If we've been in a warming trend since 1800, it's because we came off abnormal lows from 1300 to 1800.

Data from the last 100 years should be more accurate, but it's been compounded by bias. Many measuring points got urbanized -- so no surprise they've gotten hotter. This throws off the data. We now know that Mann & Co even changed the data manually - a lot. They actually built suppression factors into the computer models. This had the effect of making the 1930s and 1940s look flat, when they weren't.

When you run this data thought the computer models it makes the trend line of 1990 to 2000 look scary. It makes CO2 look like a culprit. On top of that, the models assume all manner of positive feedback loops to create disaster scenarios. This is belied by historical experience -- we've had much higher levels of CO2 in the past and the Earth managed to cool itself into Ice Ages. Increased atmospheric CO2 is probably more of a lagging result than a cause. The oceans don't hold CO2 as well as they get warmer.

But if you knew it was hotter 1,000 years ago than it is today, would you worry? Or that the 1930s had some really funky weather? Happily, mother nature wasn't in on the conspiracy. The models have proven totally wrong over the last ten years.

F*ucking with the data also has the pernicious effect of undermining pursuit of alternative theories -- like the effects of solar activity. Trends of the last 100 years could just be from sunspots, etc. This is actually very important. Lots of research didn't get done, because of this. More reason to hang Michael Mann.

The e-mails are really damning when read against this back drop. Reread that last sentence slowly.

What's been a recent revelation to me is that such a small clique had such control over the data, the computer modeling and the peer review process. You'd only need twenty or so to pull this off. Their names are all over the e-mails. A few names keep popping up -- Michael Mann's included.  

By Blogger peter, at Sun Nov 29, 04:29:00 PM:

Don Cox said: "In the mean time, this page has links to large amounts of raw data, if anyone here wants to do their own analysis and modelling."

The sense of this comment seems to be to dampen the ardor of the skeptics and suggest that if they take the time and effort to analyze the data, they too will discover a warming tredn that needs to be explained - - presumably by way of CO2 from fossil fuels.

But.

If what I've read these last few days is correct, RealClimate is - - how to put this - - if not in on the conspiracy, at least close to the conspirators; and the data pointed to by RealClimate is NOT raw data but what is referred to as "value-added data". We may soon have a clearer idea about the value-added nature of these data. But any analysis done with these data, if they have already been adjusted according to rules and processes that are not available to the would-be researcher and uncheckable against the source data/raw data, then what would be the point??  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 05:01:00 PM:

I would like to emphasize that the real 'devils' here are not the scientists. Yes, it is obviously wrong to publish/promote results that they think are wrong. But it seems that many (just like the public) think they are the 'good guys' and saving the world. I think the real devils are the media. They push/sell this without ensuring that it is true. The media are the ones that even now state e.g.: "polar bears are eating their young because of global warming CTV-Canada Nov 28/09" rather than present anything about this 'climategate'. The media benefits from the scaremongering and then it will benefit when it claims that it has discovered the truth.
At least we can get many sides of the story from the internet ... we should try and put the mainstream media out of business - the sooner the better!  

By Blogger ZZMike, at Sun Nov 29, 05:12:00 PM:

One of the Anonymii said, "Sorry, Anonymous, I don't trust anybody who thinks a comma should go where a colon actually belongs."

OK, then, you can continue to hold the bomb, because there's no colon after the word "Danger".

He also seems unimpressed with the article's style. That's the usual tactic of people who have nothing to say against the argument itself.

Another Anonymous: "While I am not a "climate scientist" I do believe that since I can breathe, sit upright and interact with my environment I am nearing that vaunted title."

You're right up there with Al Gore, who calmly told a TV talk show host that the temperature of the Earth's interior is "a few million degrees". He didn't even say whether that was Fahrenheit or Celsius.

"Don Cox said: "In the mean time, this page has links to large amounts of raw data, if anyone here wants to do their own analysis and modelling."

Yes - it's the old "if you have no case, dazzle them with data."  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 05:40:00 PM:

Let's double down on crazy.

James Hansen is a big name in AGW. He's director of NASA's Goddard Institute.

He's quoted today as saying that the "Copenhagen approach" is a fraud. He says that offsets and cap-and-trade must be exposed. Funny, I say the same thing.
source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/29/copenhagen-summit-climate-change

Where we disagree is the implications of this. Like Hansen, I see the politics as a sham that could never solve the purported problem. Where we differ is that I worked backwards to first conclude that AGW theory was weak, and now believe that it's corrupt.

Hansen is instead a true AGW believer: "It is a dead certainty that continued high emissions will create a chaotic dynamic situation for young people, with deteriorating climate conditions out of their control." So his answer is for the World to stop using coal totally in 20 years. No new synfuels either. He wants big carbon taxes across the board. He alludes to Lincoln and the slaves, and Churchill and the Nazis. We must do it for the children.

Copenhagen could be very entertaining.  

By Blogger tom swift, at Sun Nov 29, 05:46:00 PM:

Curious. I wouldn't say that "the emails alone prove nothing." They're signed confessions telling us that at least some of the correspondents were falsifying and obscuring data. This means that those particular individuals are not scientists, no matter what the little signs on their office doors say. To an honest and competent scientist, Data is King, and not something to be dicked with when convenient.

The perp's motivations for their actions - fame, fortune, religious zealotry, Ludditism, whatever - don't come into it. The admitted fact remains, they were fiddling with the data, and were apparently quite proud of themselves for doing so.  

By Anonymous Pat, at Sun Nov 29, 05:49:00 PM:

I understand that raw data has been plotted for New Zealand- and shows a minuscule 0.06 rise in average temperature, compared to the 0.7% shown if the value added data is used. Surprising , since New Zealand is certainly more urban than it was a century ago- one would expect adjustments to modern data to be more downward as compared to adjustments to century old data.
I believe a similar exercise has been done in France with comparable results- but have no details of this.
Anyone who believes a theory backed up with neither data- and yes that means raw data- nor with calculations is a fool. The courts wouldn't do it. The taxman certainly wouldn't. So don't.  

By Anonymous Art Garfunkel Has The Voice Of An Angel, at Sun Nov 29, 05:54:00 PM:

One of the Anonymii said, "Sorry, Anonymous, I don't trust anybody who thinks a comma should go where a colon actually belongs."

OK, then, you can continue to hold the bomb, because there's no colon after the word "Danger".

He also seems unimpressed with the article's style. That's the usual tactic of people who have nothing to say against the argument itself.


Sigh.

First of all, I'm not one of the Anonymii. My name is Art Garfunkel Has The Voice Of An Angel.

Second of all, yes, I was unimpressed with the writing style. (Let us for now set aside the odd notion that one's impressions could be a "tactic.") But that tells you absolutely nothing about my position on the argument. It tells you something only about my position on the writing style.

You are unwittingly correct, however: I indeed have nothing to say against the argument itself, because I can't understand it. That was my whole point, for God's sake.

All the global-warming business has long smelled like horse crap to me. The revelation of these e-mails and data sets has seemed very promising. However, most of it is incomprehensible to average folks like me. The commenter seemed to think he or she was providing an accessible, reader-friendly summation. But it wasn't, really.

The anonymous commenter who followed up with a new version did a very fine job, I think. It is starting to fall into place for me.

Quit making assumptions. Assuming makes an ass out of you and me -- me being Art Garfunkel Has The Voice Of An Angel.  

By Blogger n, at Sun Nov 29, 06:04:00 PM:

a bit over the top.

But real-world corporations have been subject to this level of scrutiny for years. Steve McIntrye is not even a vicious person, like many on the Left who would give their right arm to do this to a corporation.

These guys live in a bubble world where they are elite technocrats who are the guides for the Policy Makers. Pretty heady stuff.

Plus, I'm sure, that Mann, Hansen, Jones would love for future books to be written about them like this generations' Watson and Crick. And especially fighting the good fight against the Dark Forces.

Insofar as the questioners...what would this society give if Enron had been cracked open earlier? Not to mention the financial collapse of 2007 to present?

These small men don't want people to question???? I think we've had plenty of that attitude.  

By Blogger Brian Macker, at Sun Nov 29, 06:35:00 PM:

"one can never derive what ought from what is"

Nonsense, if my tire is flat and it is true that I want to drive it then I ought to fix the tire. In fact you cannot derive ought without is.

What you can't do is derive an is from an ought. Silly philosophers.  

By Blogger Ari Tai, at Sun Nov 29, 07:14:00 PM:

Biggovernment.com is reporting that RealClimate.org is owned by the same trial-lawyer types that brought us the Alar scam as well as other forms of legal extortion and market-bending regulatory rent-seeking.

Wonder if this will go down as the next Enron-like scandal (which looks to be due to a member of the Clinton administration telling Enron execs that "carbon trading" was a near-term certainty that they should make a big wager on). My money is on Mr. Gore - if / when the truth comes out.

It's great to see that the new media knows how to investigate and publish facts, v. MSM's all opinion, all the time, spew.

see: http://biggovernment.com/2009/11/28/climategate-what-are-the-alarmists-so-afraid-of/#more-37586  

By Anonymous Art Garfunkel Has The Voice Of An Angel, at Sun Nov 29, 07:34:00 PM:

"It's great to see that the new media knows how to investigate and publish facts, v. MSM's all opinion, all the time, spew."

Good grief. They're all media. Enough with the distinctions. We live in a big grown-up Internet world now. There are lots of voices.

Seriously, the whole "harumph, the 'MSM' didn't do this!" stuff is just getting old. Yeah, and BigGovernment.com didn't tell me how the Dallas City Council voted last week. It didn't bring down Detroit's mayor with text messages. It doesn't have game day quotes from my local NFL coach.

Give BigGovernment the respect it deserves and stop trying to separate it. It is mainstream media. There's enough news to go around. We need all the media outlets we can have, of all kinds.

Why do people get such a charge out of talking about the media? It gets boring.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 07:54:00 PM:

No matter the rationalizations or excuses on offer, the bottom line, upon which everyone pro- or anti- should agree is: "Science" which does not share data and methods for replication by others is not Science. Period. End of discussion.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 29, 09:12:00 PM:

Copenhagen may come and go without Climategate going wide. Or it may become the biggest story of the year. MSM has a role to play in this, unfortunately.

You can't tell me that the senior editors at NYT, WaPo, Time, Newsweek, ABC, NBC etc aren't aware of this. My inner cynic finds this quite entertaining, and far from boring. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in their offices.

It's a hard story for them to tell right now, as it would mean admitting that they've been telling us fibs for years. They're also worried that if they move first, Obama will cut them out. Without access, they're nothing. If you're an NBC property, there's the added risk of GE CEO Jeff Immelt firing you -- the man wants to sell windmills. But you don't want to be a month late breaking this story. Papers like the NYT might never recover.

I expect knock-on developments in the next two weeks will drive the narrative.

MSM has been abysmal for several years now. It got worse in the election. I'm convinced that you have to be functionally illiterate at math, science or reason to be chosen to cover politics. They're all Jason Blairs to me. The editors may be worse, because they're often compromised. To me, the failures of MSM are key to understanding why the US has fucked up so much in the last decade.  

By Blogger Papa Ray, at Sun Nov 29, 10:47:00 PM:

"but I do not think I need to restate the entire philosophical case against bureaucratic conflicts of interest in this one post.)"

You don't have to, in one sentence you can just say this:

There are too many powerful people, trillions of dollars and the master plan of a global socialist government riding on this enormous con of mankind for it to be stopped or even slowed down by this event or any of its revelations.

See...easy.

Papa Ray  

By Blogger Noumenon, at Mon Nov 30, 01:01:00 AM:

2) the exposure of code inside the climate models themselves that seems to indicate a direct tweaking of the programming to generate a particular result (i.e., a palpable warming trend).

I want to see if this has as sound footing as the other parts of the post. Unless it's in the video, there wasn't any link provided. Can anyone give me one?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 09:28:00 AM:

"the exposure of code inside the climate models themselves that seems to indicate a direct tweaking of the programming to generate a particular result "

I saw this somewhere, but can't remember where. Don't take my word for it. Just keep digging until you find it.

What I saw was a time series of coefficients that were used to adjust the data. Most of the coefficients are positive, but a few in a row are negative. My understanding is that this had the effect of taking 1930s data down, and increasing the 1940s data -- literally this "hid the decline" and made the 1900s look smoother until we came to the 1990s.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 09:39:00 AM:

This seems typical for current MSM coverage. This morning, if you dig you can find one story on ABC News. It's here:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/scientist-leaked-climate-mails-distraction/comments?type=story&id=9178656

Amazingly, it's about how Michael Mann is calling the leaked e-mails a smear campaign to derail Copenhagen. The comments mostly call AGW a hoax and flame ABC for not reporting the full story.

I don't know what to make of this. Does someone at ABC have a sick sense of humor? Is this a trial balloon to test how and when to break the story? Is ABC just hopelessly compromised?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 09:56:00 AM:

So let me get understand this:

Carol Browner, Obama's Climate Czar, has no science background, but is tight with Al Gore, and has been bringing down millions as a consultant to big companies.

John Holdren, Obama's Science Czar, was tight with Michael Mann and used his influence at Harvard to do a drive by hit on the careers of scientists who had proof of the Medieval Warm Period. Note: The MWP shows that it was hotter 1,000 years ago than it is now, so that CO2 can't be the culprit. If these scientists hadn't been hit, the Mann's hockey stick would never have gotten traction.

Van Jones, who was Obama's Green Jobs Czar, is the guy behind the idea of putting windmills and solar panels in the inner city. Note that a last minute addition to the House-passed Energy bill would require Fannie and Freddie to finance these "home improvements."  

By OpenID davidncl, at Mon Nov 30, 10:31:00 AM:

;
; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
;
yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,- 0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
;
yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 11:59:00 AM:

As I understand it, this code came from the "Read me Harry.txt" part of what got leaked. Programmer types say it's even more revelatory than the e-mails. Apparently, it documents the frustrations of one particular programmer who was hired to scrub the data in order to support Mann's hockey stick.

So who is Harry and who is the programmer? What's their story. If MSM and/or the authorities wanted to work this story, shouldn't we know this already? We knew all about Bristol Palin's unborn two-headed love child in less than a weekend, as I recall.  

By Anonymous Art Garfunkel Has The Voice Of An Angel, at Mon Nov 30, 01:05:00 PM:

If MSM and/or the authorities wanted to work this story, shouldn't we know this already?

Dear me, this gets so confusing. I can't keep the anti-"MSM" storyline straight.

On the one hand, I always hear that the "MSM" doesn't matter, because blogs do such a better job, and good riddance to those jurassic buggy whip makers anyway.

On the other, I always hear that it's really crucial for such-and-such topic to be covered by the "MSM," and when it is, everyone frantically links to the stories to dissect them.

So which is it, exactly: does the "MSM" matter, or doesn't it?  

By Blogger Barry Kearns, at Mon Nov 30, 01:30:00 PM:

"Have any computer models predicted future temps within any reasonable degree of accuracy?"

Actually, yes... but it's not the one that the alarmists favor. It's called the "naive model", and it assumes that the temperature N years in the future will be the same as this year.

It's been shown now that the the IPCC model has 7.7 times the error rate of the naive model.

See: here  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 01:38:00 PM:

MSM does matter. That doesn't mean they do a good job. Blogs and the internet are too fragmented -- but they can develop a story to the point that it's hard for MSM to ignore. Fox and Rush only reach 1/3 of the country. The other 2/3rds think that anything that comes from Fox and Rush is bent. The 1/3 in the middle matter. They mostly voted for Obama, but many of them now have buyer's remorse. Most Congressman and Senators know that the folks in the middle decide elections, if they get riled up enough.

If you polled most Americans right now, they don't know from Climategate or at most think it's just a spat among scientists. Most Americans believe in AGW because that's all they've been told for so long. That's why this story is so hard to break -- it requires people to do a 180 on what's been indoctrinated. It's even harder for many journalists to do this 180 -- they're supposed to know better.

But if Harry or the Programmer were to go on TV and say that AGW was a fraud -- that they were paid to cook the data -- this would all change overnight, with enormous repercussions.

Bloggers don't have the wherewithal to track down Harry or the Programmer. So far, MSM doesn't have the balls.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 02:02:00 PM:

I just looked up the article posted Barry Kearns. It's recent and the authors have pedigree. It's conclusions are damning, if I'm reading it right.

"Global mean temperatures have been remarkably stable over policy-relevant horizons. The benchmark forecast is that the global mean temperature for each year for the rest of this century will be within 0.5 C of the 2008 figure."

i.e., it's not getting hotter.

"While the Hadley temperature data in Fig. 2 drifts upwards over the last century or so, the longer series in Fig. 1 shows that such trends can occur naturally over long periods before reversing."

i.e., recent trends that have caused alarm are not significant when assessed in the context of temperature variance over longer periods of time.

"Moreover, there is some concern that the upward trend observed over the last century and half might be at least in part an artifact of measurement errors rather than a genuine global warming (McKitrick & Michaels, 2007). "

i.e., we think the East Anglia data is flawed.

"Even if one accepts the Hadley data as a fair representation of temperature history, our analysis shows that errors from the benchmark forecasts would have been so small that decision makers who had assumed that temperatures would not change would have had no reason for regret."

i.e. we got better results using a dumb forecasting model than what they got.

This paper is a slamdown of accepted AGW thinking. What am I missing?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 04:53:00 PM:

Can someone help me here? This goes to the "trick to hide the decline."

Mann & Co's temperature history is based at least in part at looking at tree ring density. They think it can serve as a proxy to measure long ago temperatures. But their own papers acknowledge that their tree ring proxies diverged from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960 ... and they can't explain why.

Now some of us might have drawn the inference that maybe the tree rings weren't such good proxies for temperatures after all. Things like rainfall that year, etc. might have been a contributing factor. Or that it's just too clever by half.

Instead these guys felt pressed to massage the data to correct for this phenomenon. So they blended data to smoooth the transition. They actually use this as their innocent explanation for "hide the decline."

What am I missing? Your tree rings don't work for recent years when we had good instrumentation, so you you massage the data to smooth a fit? I'd have thrown out the tree ring theory as disproved. It''s the only validated experimental conclusion they have -- and they ignored it!

They say it's OK because it was peer-reviewed.

Is this insane? This is their innocent explanation. I'm sure there's more of this mix and match going on.

Here's actual selection from their literature:

The “decline” refers to the “divergence problem”. This is where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. The divergence problem is discussed as early as 1998, suggesting a change in the sensitivity of tree growth to temperature in recent decades (Briffa 1998). It is also examined more recently in Wilmking 2008 which explores techniques in eliminating the divergence problem. So when you look at Phil Jone’s email in the context of the science discussed, it is not the schemings of a climate conspiracy but technical discussions of data handling techniques available in the peer reviewed literature.

During the second half of the twentieth century, the decadal-scale trends in wood density and summer temperatures have increasingly diverged as wood density has progressively fallen. The cause of this increasing insensitivity of wood density to temperature changes is not known, but if it is not taken into account in dendroclimatic reconstructions, past temperatures could be overestimated. Moreover, the recent reduction in the response of trees to air-temperature changes would mean that estimates of future atmospheric CO2 concentrations, based on carbon-cycle models that are uniformly sensitive to high-latitude warming, could be too low.  

By Blogger Barry Kearns, at Mon Nov 30, 06:35:00 PM:

Don't know if this will "help", but...

Yes, that's actually what they are doing. Once the "divergence problem" was officially recognized, the field of dendroclimatology (which Wikipedia generously calls a "young science") was left with a quandary with respect to using tree-ring widths and maximum latewood density (MXD) as signals for determining previous temperatures.

They were left with two basic premises:

1. Around 1960, something changed with respect to how trees "work". They started responding less and less to temperature signals, and therefore we must apply "corrections" to the post-1960 data to account for this increasing signal divergence... but we can trust that for the last thousand years prior to 1960, we don't need to adjust anything.

2. Trees are basically the same as they have always been, and there is some factor or combination of factors which we haven't properly taken into account which is causing this divergence. This should cause us to seriously question whether our data can be accurately used until we determine what the factors are, and how to determine whether they were in effect at various points in the past (and compensate accordingly).

Since this is a case where the lion's share of the data for the past-thousand-years reconstruction is tree data, this comes down to an almost existential question: Do they put their own research "on hold" while investigating what the hidden factor is (premise 2), or do they adopt premise 1 instead, and continue their research?

They opted for premise 1.

Here's the final paragraph in the Wiki dendroclimatology article. I fundamentally disagree with the premise:

"Dendroclimatology is a young science—improvements in methods are being made to squeeze the most insight from tree-ring evidence. While the number of factors affecting growth of a tree ring may seem daunting, there is much good information tied up in tree ring records. Current inferences from tree rings (even if imperfect) are better than knowing nothing about previous climate."

In my opinion, there can be something worse than "knowing nothing" about previous climate. You might come to "know" things about previous climate which are, in fact, false... and these false things might lead politicians and others to make momentous decisions based on false conclusions.

From my perspective, the proper approach should have been to take the "divergence problem" as evidence that there were likely factors which were remaining un-accounted-for, and as such, it should cause the researchers to question the validity of conclusions regarding portions of the past for which they have no instrumentation record.

(As an aside, if you think this is "insane", what until you find out about "teleconnection"!)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Nov 30, 07:19:00 PM:

Thanks Barry, "Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?"

Seriously, these guys put me in mind of the Holy Grail skit.

Sir Bedevere: ...Exactly. So, logically...
Peasant 1: If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood.
Sir Bedevere: And therefore...
Peasant 2: ...A witch!

Is the simple explanation that when tree ring "divergence" became clear around 1998, the members of Mann & Co had each already invested years and even decades of work based on tree ring data and couldn't accept that it should all be thrown out?  

By Anonymous Americans for Individual Liberty Coalition, at Mon Nov 30, 10:06:00 PM:

Americans for Individual Liberty Coalition is a newly formed political action committee, our main cause is to ensure the indiviudal, not the community, is the foundation of our nation. Allow the individual to go about their daily lives without interference from the government and to ensure a child may always be able to achieve their dreams and aspirations by maintaining a free, capatilist society. Please join our page on face book and visit our site at www.individualpower.org  

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