A Good Read

Just a note: Climatesight has an excellent post about the real meaning of “climategate”.

31 responses to “A Good Read

  1. That’s a very nice summary of the ‘scandal’. The rhetorical question is the hard one here: what sort of response is effective, when waiting for inquiries ensures that the lie is swallowed and the the antidote ignored? More broadly, is there some way to get the press to pay attention to the denialist’s abuses, financial motives etc.? From the start, I thought it would be worth challenging denialists like Morano, McIntyre and others to open up their private email to scrutiny– not that they would do it, but set in the right context (sources of funding, political connections, the history covered by Oreskes and Jim Hoggan and others) the challenge could raise doubt for at least some of the audience who were taken in by the ‘climategate’ nonsense.

    • Well, let’s compare scandals:
      1) email is stolen, repeated panels and serious university investigations exonerate scientists. Much press, some widely accuse universities of whitewash.

      2) 2 Congressmen and staffer recruit statistician to mislead Congress, using plagiarized, distorted text, statistics that us looking increasingly incompetent at best,but promoted as independent, unbiased, expert. Statistician’s university, given side by side comparisons of obvious plagiarism, is unable to produce inquiry report (not investigation) in 8 months and counting. Misleading report reused in many papers, by VA AG, submissions to Parliament, many books.

      Media: silence, mostly.

      • To invoke Mr Goodwin..

        If you look at Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, there was a repeated trend. The state was threatened from both political Left and Right; agitators, terrorists, putsch attempts etc. Yet when it came to court, time and time again those perceived to be on the left would receive long sentences for relatively minor crimes, whereas those on the right would get a figurative slap on the wrist – even Hitler, having led an attempt to overthrow the state in which people died, received a relatively short sentence and during that time he was allowed to write a book..

        Now, can you imagine what the reaction would have been amongst the skeptical blogosphere had, for instance, Mr McIntyre’s inbox been hacked and the contents distributed. I’d expect that not only would the act be immediately denounced as a major crime and proof of an AGW-conspiricy, but anyone even suggesting that they had looked at the emails would be called every name under the sun, with legal threats, and a concerted effort would be made to track down those responsable. There are some serious double standards at work here.

  2. A nice summary indeed. I Facebooked it, and may want to look a little further into some of the references for a future article of my own.

  3. Thanks so much, Tamino!

  4. David B. Benson

    I wasn’t so impressed by the \good read\. Rather, John Mashey | November 18, 2010 at 1:06 am has a precise analysis.

  5. Actually, I thought Kate’s piece was pretty good, I doubt I could have done as well at her age.

  6. John Mashey,

    …statistics that [to] us looking increasingly incompetent at best,but promoted as independent, unbiased, expert.

    Even worse: DC has proven that the ‘statistics’ were just a re-run of McIntyre’s code, using McIntyre’s saved data! So in essence, even the statistics were plagiarised :-)

  7. ETA: not to mention Wegman just assuming it was AR1(.2) used to generate M&M’s “trendless red noise” from the 70 proxies, when it was actually ARFIMA, which has a much heavier weighted persistence (more akin to AR1(.9) if this layman understands correctly).

  8. Steve:
    Yes, like I wrote in SSWR W.4.1 “Where is the real statistical analysis?” pp.134-135.

    A: basically, there wasn’t any. Had this been done at Bell Labs when I was there, I suspect it would have been career-limiting if John Tukey had ever seen it.

    At the time, I couldn’t igure out where WR Fig 4.4 came from, so it was amusing that DC found it in MM’s code…

  9. Re. Red Noise:

    Way to go Horatio. Definitely a first for me, having a blog comment… immortalised.

    You know, in a way I’m glad that this comprehensive takedown of the Wegman Report took 4 years to materialise. It seems more timely now, just when the Noise Machine™ is running out of steam. And isn’t the WR a crucial underpinning of Cuccinelli’s witch hunt?

  10. The WR is
    1) indeed a major chunk of Cuccinelli’s latest.
    2) it’s in at least 10 books.
    3) it was in 6+ submissions to Parliament on “climategate”.
    4) It was heavily re-used by McShane&Wyner (2010).

    But, although it lacked real statistical analysis, it may go down in history as the only report to Congress that referenced a fringe-tech paper written by tabloid writer Tom Valentine, of fuel-less engines, psychic surgery and black helicopters fame. That has to count for something.

  11. Couldn’t it be both true or false that:
    1) “Climategate” is a scandal and that climate change scientists were in the wrong
    2) Climate change science is valid

    It appears both sides determine the truth of 1) predominately from what they believe about the truth of 2). There is no logical reasons why these 2 statements are mutually exclusive although cognitive dissonance would explain why most people think that they are.

    • Pete,

      No, I determine the truth of (1) by actually knowing something about what CRU does and why the charges never made sense in the first place. That and the fact that they’ve been totally cleared by three independent investigations now. Think maybe that might be relevant?

      • Not to mention actually reading the emails and discovering from the outset that they were, and still are, being grossly misrepresented.

  12. Pete,
    Now remind me again: where was the “scandalous” behavior by the scientists? I mean beyond the fact that they didn’t like some wannabes (with precisely 1 peer-reviewed publication between them) pretending to be scientists, what took place at UEA that was any different from what happens daily in any workplace in Europe or the US?

    As to 2). Hell, the science was established >100 years ago. Why would it not be valid?

  13. Pete,
    (1) Scientists may not have spoken in the ways they would if you were speaking in public but the findings of 5 inquiries are clear. If the evidence was so astounding they would have been publicly reprimanded.

    My favorite quote is from Gavin Schmidt on the subject
    “More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords.”

  14. Yet the accusations of conspiracy on a global scale continue. I wonder why, if you wanted to take over the world, you would become a climate scientist, of all things.

  15. I’ve seen a lot of graphs showing global atmospheric CO2 versus global average temperature, trying to prove the pro and con side of AGW.

    Why do we not see graphs of human produced CO2 (ACO2) versus temperature? What I talking about here is total human produced CO2, say going back to 1870, not just the amount remaining in the atmosphere.

    The reason I ask is that if AGW is correlated with ACO2, then we should see a stronger correlation between total human produced CO2 as compared to total atmospheric CO2.

    This would be strong evidence that AGW from ACO2 is correct. However, is the correlation is weaker, then it would tend to show AGW from ACO2 is not correct.

    This seems to be a very simply test. Why not post it? This is my challenge to the pro and con AGW groups. Show that ACO2 is more/less strongly correlated with AGW than total atmospheric CO2.

    [Response: Your suggestion doesn’t make sense. Why would man-made CO2 which had been absorbed by the oceans or biosphere, hence removed from the atmosphere, correlate with temperature? Why should temperature correlate with CO2 *concentration* better than with *radiative climate forcing* from CO2? Why omit the influence of other greenhouse gases (CH4, NO2), of black carbon, sulfate aerosols, albedo change, solar variations? Why ignore the thermal inertia of the climate system, especially the oceans?

    I often hear denialists complain that climate is too complicated for us to model it successfully. Then the same people will suggest some incredibly oversimplified model as some sort of test. It seems you’re making that mistake.]

    • geoo50,
      Well, except that the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is the physical mechanism AND humans have produced about twice as much CO2 as the increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The remainder of the CO2 has gone into the ocean, where it is acidifying the water and working its own mischief.
      We know with virutal certainty that the increase in CO2 is all attributable to human activity.

    • ge,

      Didn’t you just post this same post on RealClimate?

      That’s called “spamming.”

  16. Here is my stupid experiment. Get China, India, and the USA (thanks JN-G) to all agree to cease using FF-sourced electricity for a time period (my guess months, maybe a year.)

    Force all debate participants to make their predictions on a global reality TV show – whole world gets to watch. That way the earth’s inhabitants could tune in (small hurdle here) once a week to find out which scientists/bloggers/talk radio hosts/congressmen/climate modelers/etc. would be eliminated that week. For instance, the crowd that thinks mankind cannot alter the climate at all should, according AGW, face an early elimination.

    I was going to give the state of Texas to China and India for their trouble, but then we would have suffer through listening to Texans lean to speak Hindi, English, and Chinese.

    This would be a “real” atmospheric experiment, and probably a dumb as H idea.

  17. Gavin also answered ge0050’s same question posted at RC:
    and I pointed to some history and graphs and how ge can find them himself.

  18. On Curry’s blog an A. Lacis linked to the paper in which the bottom two graphs can be found. Then another scientist commented that the worst possible thing for climate in an immediate sense would be to eliminate sulphates, which I took to mean something big would happen fairly quickly.

    These issues were a big part of the recent congressional hearings: dust up between Michaels and Santer. I can’t keep score, but it appears to me that Michaels still has Curry in his camp, but scientists are not buying it.

    The point of my stupid “real” experiment would tune down the “negatives” and let’r blow.

  19. I thought that santer did a great job against michaels in the hearings. I think that his direct vs indirect sulphates talk was very effective and it shut michaels up the second he realized that santer had caught him on THAT one.

  20. David B. Benson

    ge0050 | November 20, 2010 at 7:26 am — Here also is a careful analysis of the effect of CO2 upon temperature:

  21. David,
    I’ve been wondering how you used a delay in that analysis. Furthermore, why remove the trend from the AMO if it is previously detrended. I know the average comes up as being slightly negative but the AMO is not through its full cycle currently so wouldn’t it be expected to not be 0. Another question is that it seems that your model doesn’t include volcanic forcing which is fine and dandy if you only have 1 eruption in a decade but the late 1800s and early 1900s had multiple eruptions inside those decades (1880s in particular) so wouldn’t it be expected that temperatures are lower in the GIStemp archive than they otherwise would be if they were explained by CO2 and the AMO relatively alone?

  22. For your interest Tamino, another “good read” can be found here:

    The identified rate of warming is 5.5 °C/century over the past 30 years. This rate continues and we are talking a radically changed climate for Canadians.