Tuesday, September 29, 2009

no longer just broken, the hockey stick is finally dead

I ended my last post by saying that data do not change your perspective, your perspective changes your data: a by-line for this blog. Some see the wisdom of this contention, others query it, or just think it odd, disagree and reject it.

The latest support for the insight of the contention is provided by the ongoing sadness of the hockey stick fraud that was further evidenced with the revelations of this week. They are outlined by Anthony
here, with many accompanying links and enough comments and explanations that those with and without any background can fully appreciate the import of the latest audit findings. (Direct links to Steve's work are here and here).

In short, not only was the infamous hockey stick for global warming produced with faulty methods and suspect data, it is now clear that the data utilized then and subsequently were selectively employed to bias (falsify?) the results. This was done by a small coterie of experts consistent with the prevailing ideology and justification that AGW had to be sold as the public policy crisis of the present era.

These revelations follow hard on the embarrassing admission that data critical to the AGW myth are just not being withheld from scrutiny, they are in fact simply missing: maybe the dog ate them?

Will anyone from the scientific climate community actually step up and sanction the climate alarmists who sought to distort and deceive? It is not the character of academics to do their laundry in public but one has to hope that some strong repercussions at least in the court of public opinion are finally forthcoming to the "Team" for their shameless self-promotion at the expense of scientific integrity

Follow up:

here is an excellent summation of the whole mess by Ross McKitrick, which concludes

  • The IPCC review process, of which I was a member last time, is nothing at all like what the public has been told: Conflicts of interest are endemic, critical evidence is systematically ignored and there are no effective checks and balances against bias or distortion.
  • I get exasperated with fellow academics, and others who ought to know better, who pile on to the supposed global warming consensus without bothering to investigate any of the glaring scientific discrepancies and procedural flaws.
And here is another good summation from Jennifer's blog.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

latest climate data

Many people want to disregard the politics surrounding climate change and AGW. Despite comments about ideology and politicization of science, there are those who still want the whole mess to be just reduced to the facts: what do the data indicate?

Here is a site that presents the data, in historical context, in as neutral, objective a fashion as I have seen.

A recent example is this pdf which contains graphs of temperature, temperature change and CO2 from each of the four sources of temperature data, such as this one:

The author offers these comments:
  • Most climate models assume the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide CO2 to influence significantly upon global temperature. Thus, it is relevant to compare the different global temperature records with measurements of atmospheric CO2, as shown in the diagrams above. Any comparison, however, should not be made on a monthly or annual basis, but for a longer time period, as other effects (oceanographic, clouds, etc.) may well override the potential influence of CO2 on short time scales such as just a few years.
  • It is of cause equally inappropriate to present new meteorological record values, whether daily, monthly or annual, as support for the hypothesis ascribing high importance of atmospheric CO2 for global temperatures. Any such short-period meteorological record value may well be the result of other phenomena than atmospheric CO2.
  • What exactly defines the critical length of a relevant time period to consider for evaluating the alleged high importance of CO2 remains elusive, and is still a topic for debate. The critical period length must, however, be inversely proportional to the importance of CO2 on the global temperature, including feedback effects, such as assumed by most climate models.
  • After about 10 years of global temperature increase following global cooling 1940-1978, IPCC was established in 1988. Presumably, several scientists interested in climate then felt intuitively that their empirical and theoretical understanding of climate dynamics was sufficient to conclude about the importance of CO2 for global temperature. However, for obtaining public and political support for the CO2-hypothesis the 10 year warming period leading up to 1988 in all likelihood was important. Had the global temperature instead been decreasing, public support for the hypothesis would have been difficult to obtain. Adopting this approach as to critical time length, the varying relation (positive or negative) between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 has been indicated in the lower panels of the three diagrams above.
So the data show 40 years of cooling, followed by a 20 year period of temperature increase, followed by the present period of another 10 years of cooling.

In the midst of the warming phase the dogma for AGW was established and has been developed as the central platform for ideological environmentalism since then.

Science gives us measurement. Meaning is provided by us.

And what meaning is applied to those measurements varies with ideology, politics, values and agendas of those framing the public policy issues that arise from the meaning they apply to those data. The data may be neutral: the meaning they are given is never neutral nor free of ideology.

Data do not change your perspective. Your perspective changes your data.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Growth first, climate later

So the major topic of the day is Obama's speech to the UN on climate (well, other than the dust storm that shut down Sydney -- no fear, someone somewhere will manage to link the two, causally: meanwhile see this).

Here is a particularly pithy but accurate take on events:

  • U.S. President Barack Obama more or less shuffled climate control policy off into the great dreamscape of unattainable plans and long range objectives.
  • Like equality for all and peace in our time, the world will have to wait for sweeping and binding climate policy.
  • On the urgency of climate policy, Mr. Obama used language with enough drag coefficient to stop an ocean liner, even one with the momentum and power of climate change.
Other comments of interest include this and this.

So how soon before the careerist advocates of ecomyths abandon the AGW meme and re-surface with another vehicle for their dogma, abandoning climate science to the scientific obscurity it had prior to its Warhol moment of fame?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Tomorrow marks first showing at my local Fine Arts cinema of the re-release of the classic Monty Python film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.   Python humour is deeply ingrained within the cohort that grew up watching all of the original episodes on English TV and re-enacting them all the following morning.  To this day, members of that generation can recall with great accuracy their favourite skits: the cheese shop, the dead parrot, the upper-class twit race, the Bishop and nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!  We may falter at Shakespeare, our Latin and Greek is passed recall, but Python sketches, we have them!
What prompted this reminiscence, was the exchange over at the Roger Pielke Jr. site concerning the pathologies in climate science, the subsequent illustration of tribalism in climate politics and the continued confirmation that nobody expects the Spanish inquisition when they posit reasonable propositions only to be scorned.
Sadly, as Climate Audit continues to document, all climate science is not equal, nor do people practice what they preach.
Over at Climate Resistance, they discuss the status of climate porn and make this observation:
  • ....climate change isn't something difficult for governments to cope with. It is actually convenient.
  • The political establishment's absorption of environmentalism allows it to substantially lower the standard by which it is measured, and gives authoritarianism a legitimising basis.
  • The looming, inevitable environmental crisis instructs the public to lower their expectations accordingly. It means that rather than finding a way through problems such as energy supply, water and travel infrastructure, and of course, raising expectations, politicians can turn the normal business of politics around, and redefine the problem as one of individual morality.
  • The statement that the public must use less electricity, must travel less, and must consume fewer resources is a statement that the public must expect less of politicians and politics, and behave themselves.
  • The failure of the establishment's collective imagination is what drives 'climate change ethics'.
  • The search for international agreements and legal frameworks to 'combat climate change' is a way of externalising what cannot legitimately be done domestically. Once in place, politicians can reasonably argue that punitive climate laws are a matter of international obligation; we are all bound by them, and cannot do anything about them. It defers politics and political accountibility to the strange, undemocratic, inaccessible space that exists between states.
It was Harold Wilson's England that gave rise to Monty Python's particular brand of satire.  Hopefully the current state of political ineptness will serve as similar fodder for new comedy.  Until then, there is this and, of course, the renewed quest for the Holy Grail.