Thursday, March 11, 2010

Corruption or impeachment 

The different climate data sets may not be as independent as was claimed in the wake of the "ClimateGate" scandal. This is important, because it means that the corruption -- or, more accurately, impeachment -- of the Climate Research Unit data set cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the validity of the other data sets. If I read the linked story properly (and a critical link there is broken, so it is tough to verify), two of the other three data sets may not have been independent of CRU influence after all.


By Blogger TOF, at Thu Mar 11, 08:39:00 AM:

It's what you get when religion supplants science.  

By Anonymous Opinionated Vogon, at Thu Mar 11, 10:16:00 AM:

It looks like they fixed the link. I just downloaded the .pdf file without issue.  

By Blogger Viking Kaj, at Thu Mar 11, 10:32:00 AM:

Said it before and I will say it again, there is no reasonable statistical basis to claim that global warming trends are the result of human activity.

NO reputable climatologist will make this claim.

The measured data sets only go back to the 1880's. Before that we are relying on British admiralty logs, tree rings, ice cores, oxygen isotope data, and other things that go bump in the night to make inferences.

No one yet knows what caused the little ice age which began around 1200 and just ended around 1800. New York harbor used to routinely FREEZE over in the 1700's, so that you could skate from Staten Island to Manhattan.

12,000 years ago there was a glacier one mile high about 5 miles north of the present site of Princeton. 400,000 years ago southern England had a subtropical climate with rhinos. Over the last 50 million years the earth has been both significantly cooler and significantly warmer than it is now.

About the only thing that REPUTABLE climatologists will agree upon is that we are presently in a period of interGLACIAL warming, which means unless we do something that glacier is coming back in about 10,000 years plus or minus 2,000.

There are lots of good reasons to reduce hydrocarbon emissions especially including acid rain. But there is no provable statistical link between global warming and human activity. We could stop everything tomorrow and it is more than likely that the polar ice caps would still melt and refreeze without us.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 11, 10:33:00 AM:

It seems to me that a huge part of the attitude from the left comes from them projecting what they think and do onto conservatives. They think we hate like them, they think we are as corrupt as them and they think we use junk science like they use it.  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Thu Mar 11, 01:10:00 PM:

I guess President Obama called it right. He lambasted the influence of politics in science during the Bush years, and if I read the timeline right, there was a lot of politics in science in the Bush years. Then he said that if the country elected him President, that we'd get the politics out of science, which even if it has only begun, seems to be the trend.

What did we ever do to deserve such a smart President?


By Blogger Don Cox, at Thu Mar 11, 02:08:00 PM:

"NO reputable climatologist will make this claim."

I suspect your definition of "reputable climatologist" is "one who does not make this claim."

I wonder what mechanism you think is preventing the great increase in CO2 in the atmosphere from having the expected effect? If this increase is not causing global warming, why not?

You have to come up with a good theory, and support your climate model with solid data.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 11, 05:19:00 PM:

Don, your logic is circular and sloppy. "Great increase in CO2" is a qualitative statement.

If I'm going to England, and I walked a mile yesterday, but 5 today - HEY, I've made a 'great increase'. It doesn't solve how I'm going to get across the wet part of the trip, though.

I know you FEEL there has to be a quantitative relationship, but unfortunately the burden is still on you to empirically establish it.

Asking those not emotionally invested to disporve what isn't proven is irrational.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 11, 05:29:00 PM:

I compliment the previous Anon on a remarkably clear post.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Thu Mar 11, 07:05:00 PM:

Criminy, I really want to believe that most of these guys are honest scientists who just got fed some bad data and some social pressure but are still warning us for our own good on the basis of considered opinion.

It's getting harder to hope that.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 11, 07:11:00 PM:

Anon 5:29 - thank you. I spent many years debugging machine control logic coupled with mechanical systems - oftentimes with deadlines lurking and customers waiting. It isn't hard science, but it teaches you some important systems lessons. One of the key lessons: systems do not care a whit about your assumptions of how they should behave. The faster you can move from "That can't be happening" to "What did I miss?", the earlier the truck gets loaded, and you can go home.  

By Blogger randian, at Thu Mar 11, 07:42:00 PM:

No one yet knows what caused the little ice age which began around 1200 and just ended around 1800.

Couldn't you grow wine grapes in England during the warm period immediately prior to this? As I recall England had a good little industry going exporting wine to the continent, including France.

There are lots of good reasons to reduce hydrocarbon emissions especially including acid rain.

But CO2 isn't a hydrocarbon. I have no doubt part of the pro global warming propaganda campaign includes getting people to wrongly associate CO2 with the effects of hydrocarbons and NOx. Btw, SO2 (sulfur dioxide, present in coal and diesel fuel) and NOx (nitrogen oxides) are what cause acid rain, not hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons cause smog and atmospheric haze.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Fri Mar 12, 05:06:00 AM:

""Great increase in CO2" is a qualitative statement."

Over the last 150 years, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have risen from 280 to nearly 380 parts per million (ppm).

You expect me to accept your climate model, in which this increase has no effect, without any kind of evidence.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Fri Mar 12, 05:11:00 AM:

"Couldn't you grow wine grapes in England during the warm period"

You could grow wine grapes in England in the 1960s, too.

"But CO2 isn't a hydrocarbon. "
Burning hydrocarbons gives you CO2.

Acid rain has indeed nothing to do with hydrocarbons, except that it results from impurities in coal used in power stations.  

By Blogger randian, at Fri Mar 12, 06:53:00 AM:

You could grow wine grapes in England in the 1960s, too.

You can grow some varieties (none of the popular ones) of wine grapes in England now, but their domestic wine industry is hardly the powerhouse it was back then, when it was a winemaking country of renown. The obvious point is that global warming models ignore inconvenient facts like this warm period.

One might also ask why, if global warming is real, the citrus line has been moving south, rather than north, all through the last century.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 12, 07:15:00 AM:

Again with the circular and sloppy argument, Don.

Standing by itself, it is a qualitative statement.

To go from Feeling to proving, it needs to be put into a system map/diagram/what-have-you that shows its measured role, along with its interaction with the other inputs. And then gets some regression analysis using some truly random data that hasn't been coached/smoothed/pimped.

I don't have such a model. I'm not smart enough. I would submit we have something in common.  

By Blogger Viking Kaj, at Fri Mar 12, 11:28:00 AM:

While it is correct that acid rain is caused by the SO2 in coal and diesel fuel, you have to burn the coal or diesel fuel to release it. So reducing hydrocarbon emissions would, it seems to me, help to reduce the levels of associated impurities in the atmosphere that cause acid rain.

I, nonetheless, salute the reasoning behind the questioning of my statement, which shows that someone is thinking out there.

As regards the other argument, empirical proof consists of a direct link controlling for all other variables which is statistically significant at some level. Unfortunately, there is nothing like this available for climate studies. The earth is clearly getting warmer, and we are clearly releasing hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, but the earth has been getting warmer and cooler all by itself for millions of years without our influence. We don't have a big enough statistical base to make confident predictions.

And this is all apart from issues of construct reliability and validity. Fudged data sets designed to increase grant funding do not necessarily advance the cause of science.  

By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Fri Mar 12, 02:32:00 PM:

"Over the last 150 years, carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have risen from 280 to nearly 380 parts per million (ppm)."

Let's leave aside the wisdom of measuring CO2 concentrations on volcanoes and simply restate the numbers. Over the last 150 years, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen from 0.028% to 0.038%. Scary!

Of course, the main radiatively active gas is water vapor, whose concentration in the atmosphere is 100 to 1,000 times larger. That's why it is the main radiatively active gas, responsible for most of the natural global warming from which we all benefit.

Facts! They can be such inconvenient truths.  

By Blogger William, at Fri Mar 12, 03:40:00 PM:


You've got an order of magnitude there. How can *anybody* make predictions based on that level of granularity?

(That Dihydrogen Oxide is Dangerous Stuff- I read about it on the Internet.)


By Blogger Don Cox, at Fri Mar 12, 05:09:00 PM:

"the main radiatively active gas is water vapor, whose concentration in the atmosphere is 100 to 1,000 times larger. That's why it is the main radiatively active gas, responsible for most of the natural global warming from which we all benefit."

I think the word you want for "radiatively active" is "absorbing".

Water is certainly the main greenhouse gas, with CO2 a minor component. That is why we are talking about rises of a few degrees, rather than tens of degrees.

I should add that as a person living in the NE of England, I welcome global warming. We could do with a few degrees higher temperatures here.

But I can see why the Bangladeshis are worried.  

By Blogger Don Cox, at Fri Mar 12, 05:15:00 PM:

From Wikipedia: "Earth's atmosphere contains roughly (by molar content/volume) 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, a variable amount (average around 0.247%, National Center for Atmospheric Research) water vapor, 0.93% argon, 0.038% carbon dioxide, and traces of hydrogen, helium, and other "noble" gases (and of volatile pollutants)."

From these figures, water vapor is 6.5x the CO2, not 100x.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Fri Mar 12, 06:24:00 PM:

"a variable amount (average around 0.247%, National Center for Atmospheric Research) water vapor,"

This appears way wrong ... maybe a typo. The sources I've seen say 2 to 3% -- not 0.247%, but with a lot of variability depending on where you sit -- desert vs tropics. When the percentage gets too high, you get rain!

"whose concentration in the atmosphere is 100 to 1,000 times larger."

I get 50,000 to one. Am I wrong?

1,000,000,000 x 3%= 30,000,000 ... so 30 million H20 parts per billion Co2 is 380 parts per billion. Which would be 78,000 to one. If you use 2%, you're closer to 50,000 to one -- which is what I've used here before.

Some more back of the envelope stuff. All the air above our heads weighs as much as 33 feet of water (= "one atmosphere"). So 3% of 33 feet = 1 foot Thus if all the water vapor fell from the skies the oceans would rise by about 1.4 feet as water covers about 70% of the planet.

If all the CO2 in the sky fell to earth as dry ice, it'd be nothing more than a small crust on top of Earth (1 foot divided by 50,000). I you scooped all this CO2 up -- a la Hendrix in Voodoo Child -- you could make an island -- but it's actually be a small island.

I've ranted here for a long time that there isn't enough CO2 in the atmosphere to have a significant effect ... unless CO2 had truly magical thermodynamic properties. It's not enough to say -- as Al Gore does -- that CO2 turns light into heat ... "it's like the law of gravity" Al says. But lots of things absorb light energy and turn it into heat, and to different degrees. Black t-shirts, black car interiors.
I've postulated that Man's building asphalt roads all around the world may have had more effect to warm Earth than CO2. Where's my Nobel Prize?

Seriously, this an incredibly f*cking obvious flaw in AGW theory. Am I wrong? If right, AGW is just bone-headed f*cking stupid.

I wrote about the following here before: If plants could talk they'd tell us they've been suffocating for millions of years because CO2 levels have declined from levels of nearly 1% to the minuscule levels we have now. Plants would tell us to STFU and count our blessings.

Once again, correlation doesn't prove causation. CO2 is too small to be the culprit.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Fri Mar 12, 07:01:00 PM:

It's 380 parts per million -- not billion, so it's on the order of 50 to 1. But the principle still holds,  

By Blogger randian, at Fri Mar 12, 10:25:00 PM:

From these figures, water vapor is 6.5x the CO2, not 100x.

That's 6.5x by volume, not mass.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sat Mar 13, 12:45:00 AM:

I think that the only reason the envirnazi's decided to implicate Co2 as the culprit is because it had "carbon" in it's name and would fool the "dumb masses" were about to be taxed on their carbon footprints.

The truth is that the overwhelming majority of Co2 production on this planet is oceanic and biological. Only a tiny amount is due to human activity. Indeed, the concentration of CO2 in the Cambrian period was almost 7000 ppm...and yet life flourished and the temperatures were about the same as they are now.

CO2 also fails to correlate with average global temperature.

Rolling back the human contribution of CO2 to the planetary concentration at any given time in history would have a negligible effect on temperature.

So, Don, are you implying that we should bring our economy to a screeching halt, sell our cars and furnaces, pay all of our discretionalry income into the massive global stagflation that "Cap & Trade" wouldbring about...For...NOTHING???

Because that is exactly what you are going to get for all your trouble.

The Congress has not yet discovered that the US population is NOT as stupid as they think. I suspect they will have a revelation sometime this November.  

By Anonymous The Truth is Out There, at Sat Mar 13, 06:02:00 AM:

St Augustine went to lengths to categorize lies, but condemned them all. Like Dante's circles of hell, they're all bad to Augustine ... but they get worse by degree.

AGW wants to be a lie that "harms some, but helps many." It's actually a lie that will "harm many and help no one." In Augustine's hierarchy of falsehood, there's none worse ... except to lie in matters of religious teaching.

Whatever it is, AGW is no longer about science.


More on lies, damned lies and the Obama administration:

You might actually think Healthcare is a good idea -- that it just needs some Sham-Wow salesmanship to push it through. But even cynical me is amazed at the outright budgetary falsehoods being told in its name.
Obama has to know that Healthcare won't cut the deficit, and in fact will do quite the opposite. He can't be that innumerate. Yet he he says the exact opposite. Lately, he's been sending sent his minions forth to amplify this message: Baby Daddy Orzag, HHS Head Sebelius, etc. Never try to win by force what can be won by deception, indeed.

Because of the "Six Degrees phenomenon," Obama has gone through life with a license to lie ... especially when he thinks it's to "harm a few, help the many." It'll be his undoing. At some point we'll reach a tipping point politically with the collective realization that Obama is -- as my Mother used to say -- a "lying sack of shit."  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sat Mar 13, 08:37:00 AM:

Nicely put.

Whether we think government is lying or not is irrelevant if they own our media, energy, education, job unionization, health maintneance, housing, food and transportation.

Resistance becomes futile. Truly Orwellian, is it not?  

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