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Sunday, February 14, 2010

World may not be warming? Say it ain't so! 


A cheap, pandering headline, to be sure. I continue to suspect that greenhouse gases are causing some warming at the margin. That said, this article from the Times of London certainly implies rising, er, skepticism from within the establishment. It points to the growing recognition that the surface stations are compromised.

My own view is that the climate science community should hit the reset button on the whole project. Post all the raw data, then post all the adjustments with the explanations therefore. Do it in bloggy form, allowing for comment fields. Post the software used in the models, and use change control (which requires ex ante justification for any change), just as one would require for any mission-critical software. Use open-source programmers, when appropriate, who might well produce better code for a given routine. Harness the distributed power of the web, act in the open, and see what the data look like and the models predict then. Do all of that, and many more people will believe the result.


39 Comments:

By Blogger steve, at Sun Feb 14, 08:17:00 AM:

You are absolutely right. They should restart this whole research effort and do it right. The problem is, we have a President (and majority party) that is so vested in the dogma that AGW is proven that they cannot change their minds without looking like an idiots.

They have told the world this is all "settled" science and we must change the entire world economy in response. How do you tell the world you were mistaken about remaking the world's economy?  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Feb 14, 09:22:00 AM:

"How do you tell the world you were mistaken about remaking the world's economy?"

Like any other part of life, you stand up and say: "Look, we may have a serious problem, but the data is flawed and equiviocal and therefore does not meet muster for the kind of changes that have been suggested. We will continue to support clean power, but we will encourage independent oil, gas and nuclear sources because our economy needs it. I will place a moratorium on Cap and Trade legislation while we actively fund independent, high quality, reproducable clumate science that will allow us to accurately follow that natural course of our climate, detect any oddities and respond to (rather than attempt to change) the climate".

What a breath of fresh air a speech like that would be!

Too bad it's never going to happen.

That's because, IMHO, "AGW" is the single most massive fraud that has been perpetrated on mankind since the snake gave us a bite of the the apple.

Fortunately, mankind has eyes and a cerebrum. We wonder why draconian measures are recommended for changes that are not evident and, for practical purposes, cannot be accurately measured.

Something is rotten in Denmark, and most of us are on to it.  

By Blogger John, at Sun Feb 14, 09:33:00 AM:

If they did that, the world would realize that the findings are inconclusive. In theory, there should be change, absent feedback mechanisms, but apparently the effect currently is so minimal that it cant be observed without heavy biasing of the data. What to spend trillions on that, when measly billions spent on vaccines and clean water infrastructure, will save hundreds of millions of lives?
Really?  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Sun Feb 14, 09:38:00 AM:

There's good alternative climate science already out there -- it's just been suppressed and ignored. Moonlighting physicists at CERN for example have developed a theory that variations in sunspots drive variations in gamma rays which in turn affects cloud cover on Earth and thereby affects global temperature. It's in the detail of their work that they may have something probative. Water vapor traps sunlight as heat -- and there's much, much more of it in the air than there is CO2. The CERN theory fits the data, but needs more work as the CERN scientists readily admit. Real scientists do that. Now here's the Holy Shit kicker -- if the CERN theory is right we're entering at least a few decades of global cooling. It's climate change alright, but man has nothing to do with it. In a recent paper, even James Hansen is admitting that we might be experiencing something "analogous to the Maunder Minimum, a period of few sunspots that may have been a principal cause of the Little Ice Age." Thus, even Hansen is now saying that it may be getting real cold  ... and real soon.   This is a Holy Shit Headline.  
Source: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2009/20091216_TemperatureOfScience.pdf

The Big Lie needs to be exposed because of the bad politics involved -- and the bad journalism. This isn't Emily Litella.

Arguments over things like temperature station placement just let the likes of Brian shout their disinformation louder and longer.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Sun Feb 14, 09:54:00 AM:

Follow-up. Just saw this. You can't make this up.

East Anglia honcho Professor Phil Jones now says that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming. He also concedes the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now.

Here's another: “The temperature records cannot be relied on as indicators of global change,” said John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a former lead author on the IPCC.

Hansen and Jones and Christy have thrown in the towel, but not Al Gore nor our Brian.

Will the EPA reverse on its declaring CO2 to be a pollutant?

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html#ixzz0fWP97Fjg

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece  

By Blogger steve, at Sun Feb 14, 10:09:00 AM:

Christy has always been a skeptic. There was no towel to throw in. In response to the second comment, they are as heavily invested in AGW as the Pope is in God. Politicians change their minds all the time. He has already said it is impossible for new information to come along that would shake his faith. It is all "settled". To admit otherwise would be admitting complete misjudgement on an issue central to his Presidency. It would undermine confidence in his basic competency.

He, and his advisors, will hold out to the bitter end. I wish it weren't true.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Sun Feb 14, 10:10:00 AM:

You are assuming that everyone has a dispassionate attitude to this topic and will judge the evidence fairly if it is presented.

What you forget is the tens of millions of dollars the oil companies are spending on undermining the science and generally casting doubt. There is such a thing as astroturfing.

It would be like the war against biology that is waged by the "Intelligent Design" people.

Not saying it shouldn't be done, but there are agendas out there. And unlike the biology, climate research is still tricky, hard-to-do science. How do you measure sea levels to an accuracy of less than a millimetre, for example? It can be done, but how is not obvious to a person with no mathematical background.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Sun Feb 14, 10:13:00 AM:

"We wonder why draconian measures are recommended for changes that are not evident and, for practical purposes, cannot be accurately measured."

If you parked your car on the edge of a cliff, and you see it move forward just a little, do you do something about it, or wait until it goes over?  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Sun Feb 14, 10:39:00 AM:

"What you forget is the tens of millions of dollars the oil companies are spending on undermining the science and generally casting doubt. There is such a thing as astroturfing."

This is laughable, given the long-standing disinformation campaign waged by AGW supporters -- complete with Oscars and Nobel prizes. I especially resent the implication that if you don't believe in AGW you must be gullible or unscientific.

"And unlike the biology, climate research is still tricky, hard-to-do science."

Another laughable statement.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Feb 14, 10:41:00 AM:

Bad example, Don. The science of gravity is "settled," and further, the risk/reward calculus in not parking a car at the edge of a cliff is readily discerned.

Unlike AGW.  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Sun Feb 14, 11:07:00 AM:

As Don mentioned, Christy was already a skeptic. His quotes don't represent movement. He also publishes satellite data, so he has every reason to say and believe that competing data from surface records are useless.

Same with McKitrick, Watts, D'Aleo. No rising movement there, just the same old guys and amateurs, aging away. I don't know Terry Mills so I don't know if he's new or old.

As for TH's suggestion, a lot of it's already done. Drafts and review comments of the last IPCC report are publicly available. Modes and data from research institutions are also generally available when they have publishing rights (they sometimes have use rights but not publishing rights). You can mind much of it at:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

Have fun!  

By Anonymous Rob, at Sun Feb 14, 11:12:00 AM:

This is all to assume that AGW was ever really about climate or science. It looks more and more like it was all a political power grab. Check the UN first. They are all trained scammers.
And then follow the money.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sun Feb 14, 12:22:00 PM:

and use change control...as one would require for any mission-critical software.

In my experience, your apparent optimism about the pervasiveness of SCM for mission critical software out in the field is well...optimistic ;->  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Sun Feb 14, 12:28:00 PM:

I continue to suspect that greenhouse gases are causing some warming at the margin.

That some (note the qualifier please) folks think this is all a giant scam, that all of these scientists over the past 25+ years in fields ranging from atmospheric science to earth science to ocean science et cetera - have just made things up is simply amazing to me. People who look for corrupted science can find it here; but if that's all they're looking for they're missing much more.

Confirmation bias, if you will, goes both ways.

The evidence, for me, is overwhelming that some warming is caused by human activity. The debate - like the devil (or is it God?) - is in the details.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sun Feb 14, 12:31:00 PM:

Modes and data from research institutions are also generally available

We should trust that "data" for what reason?

You just don't get it, do you. The whole edifice has become suspect. Even more suspect with Jone's recently trying to walk back the cat saying the "uncertainty" needs to be reduced, and admitting that if the MWP proved global, the current era would NOT be unprecedented.

Here's a clue - when there is a lot of "uncertainty" even the high priest now admits to, that means stuff isn't "settled".  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Sun Feb 14, 12:40:00 PM:

The thing about the New Deniers is that they are every bit as closed minded, and emotionally dependent on their point of view, as they long charged the Old Deniers of being.

They will not right their own ship.

But we have learned that climate science was hijacked by political science and the correction will, in my view, be political also.

Help is on the way.

M.E.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Feb 14, 12:51:00 PM:

"all of these scientists over the past 25+ years in fields ranging from atmospheric science to earth science to ocean science et cetera - have just made things up is simply amazing to me"

A healthy chuck of the scientific community, mostly those who do not feed at the government trough, think that this process is not only flawed, but disingenuous.

This morning we have additional errors that have come to light on the IPCC report. They "misstated" the water levels in Holland...actually, they got it wrong by a factor of about 100%. They are also wavering on the temperature data as well. The pests seem to be running down the ratlines. Perhaps they fear more than public disapproval as this fraud unfolds.

The fact that it amazes you is merely an indication that you need to get out more.

If AGW were patently obvious, it would not be controversial.

To say that it is "difficult" science, that we are dealing with sea level changes in the millimters, that the discovery of the practical effect on our lives is difficult to prove...is all true.

But that also means that my car is NOT parked on the edge of a cliff...to coin a phrase.

I certainly would not hire a sky crane to protect my car while it sits safely in my driveway.

That would be insane....wouldn't it?  

By Anonymous astonerii, at Sun Feb 14, 01:26:00 PM:

You can go with the margin argument. I personally am more willing to go with the idea that water vapor already gives the earth a 100% saturated infrared spectrum 'greenhouse' effect, thus no amount of added CO2 can cause any net warming at all.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Sun Feb 14, 01:48:00 PM:

Follow-up on astonerii's point.

Atmospheric H20 is about 50,000 times as more prevalent in the atmosphere as CO2, by my math. Small variations in things like solar output could readily generate changes in the amount of atmospheric water vapor that dwarf the total amount of CO2 in the air.

But I guess that just entertaining ideas like this makes one an unscientific denier.  

By Blogger SMGalbraith, at Sun Feb 14, 02:03:00 PM:

Think outside of the IPCC.

The argument for human influenced/caused/contributed warming predated the creation of that mess.

Once the internationalists and politicians got their grubby hands on this it was inescapable that it would be politicized and misused. Lord Acton and power et cetera.

But it seems to me that if you go back to the original science - i.e., the source material in fields ranging from ocean science to atmospheric science to earth science et cetera - is pretty strong on the matter.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sun Feb 14, 02:27:00 PM:

The original climate change materials claimed that the earth was *cooling* into a 'New Ice Age.'

The idea that the evil politicians grabbed ahold of otherwise solid data and warped into a monster may sound plausible and cathartic, but that is false. This charade was driven by scientists who elevated themselves to the level of prophets.

Indeed, one of the primary arguments by the global warming crowd was 'You can't argue with scientists, fools!' This was followed closely by, 'it's peer-reviewed and therefore sacrosanct.' That very same line was dropped here at this blog merely days ago, in the form of 'who the hell are you to challenge the experts?'

It is therefore with great and probably unseemly pleasure that I watch this fraudulent and manipulative edifice of lies collapse under the weight of something as simple and irrefutable as honest scrutiny.  

By Blogger randian, at Sun Feb 14, 06:49:00 PM:

That some (note the qualifier please) folks think this is all a giant scam, that all of these scientists over the past 25+ years in fields ranging from atmospheric science to earth science to ocean science et cetera - have just made things up is simply amazing to me.

Why? We have pretty much irrefutable evidence they were making things up.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Mon Feb 15, 01:38:00 AM:

"...that all of these scientists over the past 25+ years in fields ..."

Certainly not all these scientists, but certain ones in the University Not To Be Named have most certainly made up a great deal of the information they have seen fit to bless us with. The information in the leaked emails and most certainly the source code to their "Analysis" are damming to no end. At this point if they were to release the un-dinked with temp data for their entire data set, I would not believe it until a matching set of data could be procured from the original sources.

They have lost their "Scientific Authority" and damaged the believability of many good scientists, much like the guys who came out with "Cold Fusion". And I refuse to bless them with the title "scientists" until they earn it back.  

By Anonymous Pee wee the kiwi, at Mon Feb 15, 02:16:00 AM:

Hot air and hype GORE has been making sucker money from his fruadulent ficional film and fruadulent books  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Mon Feb 15, 09:22:00 AM:

Whoa, Don! People are spending millions of dollars for an astroturfing campaign about Intelligent Design? Who?

You might want to pick a different example, dude.

Brian, the folks at realclimate may indeed be, as you clearly believe, the real scientists with the right stuff. But you are returning us to the people who said there was never any problem. Now that there clearly is a problem, even if only one of perception, they are saying "OK, this time we've got it right."

Can you at least see why that is not a very compelling argument? The refusal of the warmists to engage the discussion without sneering, more than any other single factor, has driven climate skepticism.

I am not fooled by "Have fun!" BTW. Like "Cheers" or "Peace" as a signoff, it means f-you.

http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2009/09/general-note-on-blog-commenters.html  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Mon Feb 15, 10:20:00 AM:

"much like the guys who came out with "Cold Fusion"."

There's no comparison. Fleischmann-Pons went public prematurely. They did this at least in part to protect their potential patent claims. Others couldn't replicate their results, so the whole thing was debunked within months.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Feb 15, 10:21:00 AM:

A smart guy once argued that before embarking on a difficult contest of ideas, it is imperative to know "exactly where we now are; and partially, also, whither we are tending."

As a metaphor for the failings of "climate science" nothing could be more telling. That Climate Science is in a disreputable state is undeniable. It's leading lights are mere advocates, not scientists at all anymore, as they are unable to reliably describe what "natural" climate change is, the baseline if you will, and what the impact of human factors are on the baseline, if any. There are no accepted descriptions of what the natural processes at work every day would do if left in the natural undisturbed state, no reliable mathematical model of the interworkings of these complex systems, and no repeatable experiments that illustrate the impact of human action on the natural systems.

This complex, fear-wrought, idea serves only the purpose of arguing that individuals should sacrifice their liberty to the government, for good (even the survival!) of humanity.
It goes without saying that the arguments for draconian government control of our economies, our civic life, our personal habits, even our ability to reproduce, all in the name of fighting "Anthropogenic Global Warming", is merely another ion the age-old attempts to enslave the people of the world.

As the same smart guy said, "the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it. Turn in whatever way you will---whether it come from the mouth of a King, an excuse for enslaving the people of his country, or from the mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another race, it is all the same old serpent, and I hold if that course of argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing the public mind."

Down with the AGW crowd!  

By Blogger Stack Trace, at Mon Feb 15, 10:28:00 AM:

> Use open-source programmers, when appropriate,
> who might well produce better code for a given routine.

I can't believe you just said that. That has got to be one of the dumbest things ever posted here.

What *shred* of evidence do you have that open source programmers produce better software than commercial programmers?

I could understand advocating an open *process* for reviewing the data, the code, etc. Absolutely. But implicitly slandering professional (in every sense of the word "professional") programmers, while praising the wanna-be socialist programmers... I just can't understand how that sentiment even got here.

As I'm sure you can guess, I'm a professional software developer. I spend a lot of time fighting the perception that open source software is magically better (it isn't), or that open source programmers are magically nicer, kinder, etc. people. It's mostly socialist fantasy garbage. And meanwhile, I have watched quite a few specialized niches of the software market just roll up and die, because the open source people produce free (if often inferior) clones of their products and give them away for free, thus destroying what was previously a viable software niche.

Next time, think before you praise "open source" without qualification or examination. There are a few good things about open source (mostly in legitimate academic research), but for the most part, it has been an economically destructive force.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Mon Feb 15, 10:53:00 AM:

"But implicitly slandering professional (in every sense of the word "professional") programmers, while praising the wanna-be socialist programmers... I just can't understand how that sentiment even got here."

It goes naturally with slandering profesional climatologists and advocating a socialist approach to science. If you are going to have free-for-all climatology, why not free-for-all programming? Obviously no training is needed. Anyone can make judgements, without needing any mathematical or scientific background. Just like the evolution deniers.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Mon Feb 15, 10:56:00 AM:

Steve said:

"They should restart this whole research effort and do it right. "

Do you have a magic thermometer that can go back in time?  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Mon Feb 15, 11:11:00 AM:

Re Astroturfing.
My leftie friend just forwarded an e-mail blast he got from repoweramerica.org, which is tied to Al Gore.

Headline is "Jon Stewart mocks climate deniers"

But if you watch the actual clip, the Daily Show is making fun of everyone -- they're actually saying that one bad winter in DC doesn't mean much. Samantha Bee plays the diz reporting that it's winter in Australia but temperatures are hitting 92 -- the end is already happening!

This e-mail blast literally screams "Extreme weather is climate change!" and
"Fact: The world is warming at a quickening pace!" Meanwhile Phil Jones -- of all people -- is recanting on this very point.
"The refusal of the warmists to engage the discussion without sneering, more than any other single factor, has driven climate skepticism." ...
I'd instead say it's because AGW theory has violated every facet of the scientific process, and that despite the lack of good MSM reporting we're collectively figuring this out our own. Brian could stop sneering, but he'd still have nothing by way of compelling argument.

The USA MSM Sound of Silence is getting louder. The British papers are digging into this more and more -- Pravda had it right months ago.

Basic science is getting lost in this. Yes ... in a lab you can show that CO2 traps light as heat. I know this because AL Gore said so -- "It's like the law of gravity." But my inner Colombo says "how can something that's only 380 parts per billion in the air be so effective at changing global temperature?" If it had the necessary magical thermodynamic properties, it'd have commercial heat pump applications. I keep raising this point here, because it's a basic scientific point that I've never gotten an answer for. Colombo would be out looking for better suspects.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Mon Feb 15, 11:18:00 AM:

To Don Cox

I get it -- you have math / scientific background that the rest of us here don't have .... so you're right, we're wrong. We should just defer while you wait for the oceans to rise a few millimeters ... a small signal in a lot of noise, as you've called it before.

ps I don't have "a magic thermometer that can go back in time" but neither do you. Proxies are just that ... and are subject to known and unknown error.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Mon Feb 15, 12:47:00 PM:

Notice how all the AGW advocates are now talking about "evolution deniers"? Shows how weak their position is that they have to make those kinds of cheap shots.  

By Blogger randian, at Mon Feb 15, 02:51:00 PM:

Yes ... in a lab you can show that CO2 traps light as heat. I know this because AL Gore said so -- "It's like the law of gravity."

Ol' Al should know why that lab experiment is fraudulent.  

By Blogger Brian, at Mon Feb 15, 04:01:00 PM:

Assistant Village Idiot: RealClimate is just providing links. Go there and you can get info from other sources. Don't have fun.

Gary Rosen: it's the climate denialists and evoluntion deniers working together, with none other than the big Kahuna, Rush Limbaugh, showing the way:

http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/yes-rush-limbaugh-is-a-creationist/

According Rush, humans were designed by God and not evolution, and therefore couldn't have been designed so as to cause destructive climate change. QED.

The Discovery Institute gets millions to spend on evolution denial, and has added climate denial to its activity list.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Mon Feb 15, 07:53:00 PM:

"According Rush, humans were designed by God and not evolution, and therefore couldn't have been designed so as to cause destructive climate change. QED"

Actually, Brian, whether that argument is made by a creationist or an evolutionist (and they are not incompatable), the hypothesis is the same: If we are meant to be adaptive (either by "design" or by "natural selection"), then the purposes of Nature would not be served by having beings exhale gas that is poisonous to the environment.

A moot, point, actually, since CO2 is only seems dangerous to hysterical people.

Now THAT would be adaptive, wouldn't it!! Far more adaptive than letting the government control the very air we breathe.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Mon Feb 15, 08:15:00 PM:

"whether ... creationist or ... evolutionist -- they are not incompatible"

The opening of the first book of the Bible -- Genesis -- is actually remarkably compatible with Big Bang and evolutionary theory.

Day 1: "Let there be light"; and there was light.

Day 4: "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens."

Day 5: "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds."

Day 6: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; ..."  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Mon Feb 15, 09:28:00 PM:

"creationist.." "Rush Limbaugh ..."

Yeah, just keep ignoring the inconsistencies and false data in AGW.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 17, 09:17:00 AM:

Mud...wall. That's the way Brian likes to make his case.

On yet another cheery note, here's a worth-reading review of the Nature interview with Phil Jones, the CRU prof. in charge of making stuff up, lying about it and preventing his critics from being heard. I'm sure there is more to come in this story, but right now Jones looks like he has plenty of reason for his reported depression.  

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