The University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit’s New & Improved Scientific Method

By mw | Related entries in Bad Decisions, Climate Change, Gore

The new and improved University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit Scientific Methodology

14 days since the East Anglia CRU data leak, 4 days until the beginning of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and the story continues to grow. By that I mean it is now hitting the mainstream network news, but only after being confirmed as a real story by Jon Stewart. Frank has been all over the climategate story, but he left a few angles for me to explore.

There is still news – Michael Mann, creator and defender of the “hockey stick” graph, pen-pal to disgraced CRU Director Phil Jones, and star of the “hide the decline” YouTube video, is also under investigation by his University.

There is still a mystery – Senator Barbara Boxer disingenuously reminds us that the identity of the whistle blower who released the data is yet to be disclosed. Personally I think the perpetrator is a hero, on the order of Daniel Ellsberg releasing the Pentagon Papers. If I was to take a wild guess, I’d take a hard look at “Harry” the CRU programmer of the now infamous HARRY_READ_ME file. He had the access, he had the means, he had the technical chops, he more than any single person on the planet understood the depth of the deception in the code, and for motive he may simply have decided he did not want to be an accessory to the scientific crime of the century.

Central to understanding the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit kerfuffle is an appreciation of the “scientific method“. The scientific method outlines the rules of the game when competing and contradictory theories vie to explain the world in which we live. McQ at QandO offers a good summary of the methodology and where the CRU comes up short:

“Other scientists have, for years, been asking for and been refused the original data on which the CRU based its hypothesis of man-made global warming. We see pundits defending the science claiming the emails don’t prove AGW to be a fraud. Maybe, maybe not – but what they do show is a consistent effort to avoid providing the data requested to others who would like to test it. That alone should raise a sea of red flags to any real scientist.”

True enough. The CRU scientists invested a great deal of time in their models of anthropogenic global warming. They are convinced that they are correct. Their critics believe they have made critical errors with faulty assumptions and the CRU models are projecting scenarios that are the scientific equivalent of GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out). Scientific methodology and observation will ultimately prove the truth or falsity of their models. That is the nature of science.

However, when politics enters the game, the rules change. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (and fellow Nobel Prize winner Al Gore) bestowed upon the CRU the imprimatur of absolute truth – of “settled science” – of “overwhelming consensus”. These phrases have nothing to do with science or scientific methodology. Nothing. This is the language of politics, not of science.

The CRU scientists were granted a status where they could, for a time, modify and referee the rules of the game as played by believers and skeptics alike. The consequences can be found in the purloined e-mails.

I have spent some time browsing through the the e-mails, documents, and blog reactions (The complete directory can be downloaded here, and the e-mails searched here). Reading the purloined e-mails and documents and understanding their context provides a greater education on the current state of global warming science than a dozen lectures from Al Gore.

As a service to the Donklephant community, I can now reveal one document that is yet to be found in the leaked CRU data dump. I have reversed engineered the CRU Scientific Methodology from the procedures documented in the e-mails and code. It is clear to me that they have built on the work of maverick chemist Theodore Hapner, who revolutionized thinking about the scientific method in 2006. Standing on Hapner’s shoulders, and with the backing of the IPCC, the CRU forged a new path to scientific truth. The New & Improved CRU Scientific Methodology can now be revealed – it is shown graphically at the top of this post, and amplified with a few examples from the CRU files in the context of their new methodology below:

1) Assert Predetermined Conclusion

“This work played a critical role in the conclusion reached by the 1995 assessment of the IPCC that “the balance of evidence suggests that there has been a discernible human influence on global climate”. Subsequent IPCC reports have strengthened these statements (in 2001: “there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities” and in 2007: “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”) and led most governments, industries, multi-national companies and the majority of the public to accept that the climate is warming, and humans are part of the cause. Accepting the evidence is one thing, but not all governments appreciate the full scale of the problem yet.” – The History ot the CRU – according to the CRU

2) Select & Massage Data -

(0942777075)
Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999
Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,

Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or first thing tomorrow.

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998. Thanks for the comments, Ray.

Cheers
Phil

3) Align hypothesis, code & data to pre-determined conclusion

From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

; 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)

This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s 1930s — see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

4) Confirm hypothesis by plotting carefully weighted and selected data

(1054736277)
From: “Michael E. Mann”
To: Phil Jones, Tom Wigley, Tom Crowley, Keith Briffa, Michael Oppenheimer, Jonathan Overpeck
Subject: Re: Prospective Eos piece?
Date: Wed, 04 Jun 2003

… Re Figures, what I had in mind were the following two figures: 1) A plot of various of the most reliable (in terms of strength of temperature signal and reliability of millennial-scale variability) regional proxy temperature reconstructions around the Northern Hemisphere that are available over the past 1-2 thousand years to convey the important point that warm and cold periods where highly regionally variable. Phil and Ray are probably in the best position to prepare this (?). Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back…

5) Assess results by comparing to hypothesis predetermined conclusion

“One example from something called a “SOAP-D-15-berlin-d15-jj” document.

A non-native English speaker shows a plot of various proxy reconstructions from which he wanted to “reconstruct millennial [Northern Hemisphere] temperatures.” He said,


“These attempts did not show, however, converge towards a unique millennial history, as shown in Fig. 1. Note that the proxy series have already undergone a linear transformation towards a best estimate to the CRU data (which makes them look more similar, cf. Briffa and Osborn, 2002).”

In other words, direct effort was made to finagle the various reconstructions so that they agreed with preconceptions. Those efforts failed. It’s like being hit in the head with a hockey stick.”

6) If true (agrees with pre-determined conclusion) – Publish results in non-reproducible way (refuse to provide data,
dismiss critics, and lose source data).

(1237496573)

To: santer1
Subject: Re: See the link below
Date: Thu Mar 19 17:02:53 2009

Ben,
… I’m having a dispute with the new editor of Weather. I’ve complained about him to the RMS Chief Exec. If I don’t get him to back down, I won’t be sending any more papers to any RMS journals and I’ll be resigning from the RMS. The paper is about London and its UHI!”

Cheers
Phil

At 16:48 19/03/2009, you wrote:

Thanks, Phil. The stuff on the website is awful. I’m really sorry you have to deal with that kind of crap. If the RMS is going to require authors to make ALL data available – raw data PLUS results from all intermediate calculations – I will not submit any further papers to RMS journals.

Cheers,
Ben

(1089318616)

From: Phil Jones
To: “Michael E. Mann”
Subject: HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL
Date: Thu Jul 8 16:30:16 2004

Mike,
…The other paper by MM is just garbage – as you knew. De Freitas again. Pielke is also losing all credibility as well by replying to the mad Finn as well – frequently as I see it. I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!
Cheers
Phil

7) If false (at variance with pre-determined conclusion) – review, re-select, re-weight data, rinse and repeat.

(1255352257)

From: Kevin Trenberth
To: Michael Mann
Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009
Cc: Stephen H Schneider, Myles Allen, peter stott, “Philip D. Jones”, Benjamin Santer, Tom Wigley, Thomas R Karl, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Michael Oppenheimer

Hi all

… The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate

Kevin

(1120593115)
From: Phil Jones
To: John Christy
Subject: This and that
Date: Tue Jul 5 15:51:55 2005

John,

… Also this load of rubbish!

This is from an Australian at BMRC (not Neville Nicholls). It began from the attached article. What an idiot. The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.

Heh. The computer model is true. The observations from nature are wrong. Everything you need to know about these guys is right there.

++++++++++++++++++
UPDATE (12-5-09):

Commenter Jim S complains that I did not adequately support step number 7 with these examples. I disagree, but suppose it is inherent in the release of embarassing e-mails that the argument will devolve to spin about what was really meant and “Who you gonna believe – me or your lying eyes?” statements from the authors. Still – Jim may have a point, I was getting a bit lazy by the time I got to step #7 of this tongue-in-cheek post about CRU methodology. Still, I strive to satisfy the commentariat, so for Jim’s benefit, I’ll take a long post and make it even longer with another example in this update.

This time, instead of using e-mails, lets go to what is now being refered to as “The Smoking Code”. This is the clearest explanation I could find to an inherently complex and technical subject – looking at the detailed workings of the computer code. It comes from Robert Grenier, a self described “scientist and engineer with an agnostic stand on global warming” blogging at Cube Antics.

This is how he starts:

“Emails prove nothing. Sure, you can look like an unethical a-hole who may have committed a felony using government funded money; but all email is, is talk, and talk is cheap. Now, here is some actual proof that the CRU was deliberately tampering with their data. Unfortunately, for readability’s sake, this code was written in Interactive Data Language (IDL) and is a pain to go through.”

Next he goes line by line through the code showing where factors were added to shape the model into a global warming “hockey stick”. There is too much detail to put here. Go to his blog and read it.

This is what he concludes:

“As you can see, (potentially) valid temperature station readings were taken and skewed to fabricate the results the “scientists” at the CRU wanted to believe, not what actually occurred… First and foremost, this doesn’t necessarily prove anything about global warming as science. It just shows that all of the data that was the chief result of most of the environmental legislation created over the last decade was a farce… I tried to write this post in a manner that transcends politics. I really haven’t taken much of an interest in the whole global warming debate and don’t really have a strong opinion on the matter. However, being part of the Science Community and having done scientific research myself makes me very worried when arrogant jerks who call themselves “scientists” work outside of ethics and ignore the truth to fit their pre-conceived notions of the world. That is not science, that is religion with math equations.”

:END UPDATE
++++++++++++++++++++

As statistician William Briggs points out, there is no need to invoke conspiracy to understand their actions. True Believers convinced that they hold the white hot sword of truth with the future of mankind hanging in the balance will not take kindly to scientific criticism or correction:

“I have not seen open acknowledgment that the premise that forms the models is false. That is, that it is possible, even with the observed small increase in atmospheric CO2, that that gas has at best a marginal effect. As far as I can tell by my early reading, all the folks in those emails truly believe their models (it’s the observations they don’t love).

There is no conspiracy, as far as I can tell. A conspiracy would obtain if the participants knew their stated beliefs were false, yet the still espoused them with the goal of winning either money, or power, or control, or whatever. My early, and admittedly incomplete, judgment is that all of these people really are convinced that catastrophic warming is on the way and that it will be caused by mankind. Further, they believe it fervently.”

Mother nature is a bitch. And if the observations of nature do not agree with computer models, the models must go by the wayside. No matter how fervently and how many believe otherwise.

That is the scientific method.

Perhaps now we can get back to it.

Version x-posted from Divided We Stand United We Fall


This entry was posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 and is filed under Bad Decisions, Climate Change, Gore. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

50 Responses to “The University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit’s New & Improved Scientific Method”

  1. Frank Hagan Says:

    I think Briggs has it right; there is no grand conspiracy here to perpetrate a fraud. There may be collusion to cover up data that may ultimately prove the most extreme versions of their hypothesis false, and there certainly is a lot of bad behavior going on among the top guys. (The graphic is funny, even though I don’t really agree that’s what’s happened intentionally).

    Because I don’t want to make Donklephant look like a skeptic blog, I’m not posting an interesting story that came out in the Washington Times today. But I think it fits for those who are interested in this story. NASA has also been doing research into the issue of climate warming, and have been marginally more open with data sources (they have even acknowledged error and corrected things promptly when it was pointed out). But they have been delaying or dodging a FOI request from a noted skeptic, Christopher C. Horner. Now, the The Washington Times reports:

    Mr. Horner, a noted skeptic of global warming and author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” wants a look at the data and the discussions that went into those changes. He said he’s given the agency until the end of the year to comply or else he’ll sue to compel the information’s release.

    Mark Hess, public affairs director for the Goddard Space Flight Center, which runs the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) laboratory, said officials are working on Mr. Horner’s request, though he couldn’t say why they have taken so long.

    “We’re collecting the information and will respond with all the responsive relevant information to all of his requests,” Mr. Hess said. “It’s just a process you have to go through where you have to collect data that’s responsive.”

    If nothing else, Climategate may lead to more eyes on the data, and a better idea of what is really happening with global warming.

  2. mw Says:

    Despite the tone of the post, I don’t consider myself a gobal warming skeptic. The numbers showing a gradual decades-long warming trend are convincing. The unsettled issues are whether it is primarily CO2 caused, whether it is continuing, and whether the rise is historic or consistent with prior variations. Ten years ago, no one considered those questions settled. On those questions I was agnostic, and after these revelations, I am now skeptical.

    Mann, Jones and the CRU made some extraordinary claims over the last 10 years. They claimed all those issues were settled by their models. That CO2 in the atmosphere swamps all other effects. That we are seeing an unprecedented historical rate and level of heating. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Climategate revelations show the proof is not there. Not even close.

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  4. Jim S Says:

    mw’s claim to not be a skeptic has to be viewed skeptically, doesn’t it? To make a post like he did and then to say he’s not a skeptic seems a massive contradiction. Especially since he quotes a hyper-conservative blogger who is making a bald faced lie. Because the raw data wasn’t even CRU’s. The data came from many other sources, freely available for anyone who wanted to accumulate it like CRU did. But the so-called skeptics couldn’t do that, could they? They had to make accusations of malfeasance that weren’t true, much like their version of science.

  5. Jim S Says:

    Horner is more than a noted skeptic. He’s a right wing loon, IMO.

  6. pdx632 Says:

    Just what is wrong with being a skeptic? Just because some says something, are we just supposed to take them at their word. Just because they make a movie with pretty graphs, are we not supposed to investigate the data. When a President says we need to go to war, are we just supposed to line up like lemmings and say Yes Sir.

    Hell no. We must question everything. We must challenge EVERY piece of data that is put in front of us. Our future depends on it.

  7. Jim S Says:

    And don’t forget who Horner works for.

  8. BJ Says:

    My main concern is how sloppy the science appears to be. If I submitted a paper in my field without a way to reproduce or test the results, the chance of it being accepted is very close to zero. Isn’t this Science 101?

  9. mw Says:

    Ok, Jim. I am a skeptic. I was just trying to clarify what I am and am not being skeptical about.

    My views have changed and sharpened since immersing myself in the leaked CRU data. One example of my previously posted perspective is linked here.

    I link to a lot of people in this post. I don’t know who they all are. I don’t know if your characterization of Horner is fair or not. I’d have to hear it from someone other than you to believe it. But in any case, the majority of my links in this post are to the e-mails and data and source code of the foremost proponents of Catatstrophic AGW – Phil Jones and his cadre at CRU.

  10. kranky kritter Says:

    In America, if a right wing loon makes a FOI request, it should be honored. Same for a lefty loon. I’m very sympathetic to the fears of climate scientists that the skeptic brigade will spin the data by cherrypicking and use FOI as a way to obstruct research. Some will undoubtedly do this.

    But that’s not a good enough reason for climate scientists to actively search for ways to avoid releasing their data, which they clearly did.

    Climate scientists need to be transparent about their source data and methodologies so that their findings can be duplicated. Those climate scientists who believe most fervently about the threat of AGW should be the ones who take the greatest care to play by these rules.

    The standard for scientific proof is among the greatest strengths of the scientific method. And there are all sorts of well-educated, tech-oriented Americans who understand that. So climate scientists are stuck either showing their entire body of work warts and all, or facing the prospect that well-educated Americans will view their finding with distrust. That’s all there is to it.

  11. Frank Hagan Says:

    Jim S – as I understand the “publicly available data” issue, in at least one case the data is public … but the selection criteria is not. Without knowing which stations were used in the reconstruction, the data is meaningless.

    Unless you happen to feel that “selection criteria” constitutes intellectual property when public policy is being formulated based on the results of that criteria.

  12. kranky kritter Says:

    Right. The whole point is that other folks need to be able to verify the figures that have been arrived at. Surely you understand this aspect of science quite well, Jim.

    I read the emails about the FOI evasions. It’s clear that Jones et al were actively seeking to evade disclosure.

  13. kranky kritter Says:

    Right. The whole point is that other folks need to be able to verify the figures that have been arrived at. Surely you understand this aspect of science quite well, Jim.

    I read the emails about the FOI evasions. It’s clear that Jones et al were actively seeking to evade disclosure.

    If we are going to make public policy based on the final results tabulated in column x of sheet 3 of the spreadsheet, we need to be able to check all the columns, all the sheets, and all the formulas. Period.

  14. Jim S Says:

    mw, Horner works for the CEI. Anyone who doesn’t realize that the CEI and all of their employees represent the worst examples of those who don’t think any science is worthwhile if it might be bad for the unfettered desires of corporations either isn’t paying attention or is plugging their ears, closing their eyes and screaming at the top of their lungs to make certain they can’t be accidentally exposed to the truth.

    Let’s look at what you once quoted(emphasis mine):

    Like a scholarly lemming, she compulsively reads inaccurate antievolutionary sources and accepts them on account of their reinforcement of what she wants to be true. It never once occurs to her that she might find it prudent to check on the reliability of those sources before accompanying them off the cliff, either by investigating critical takes on those sources, or by actually inspecting the original technical literature directly.

    It seems that what you once quoted approvingly you now ignore completely.

  15. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Please don’t cite a guy who wrote a politically incorrect guide.

    They are hit jobs.

    I skimmed the politically incorrect guide to the Crusades once. I could go on for pages about the lies in that one.

  16. Jim S Says:

    Let’s look at one of the claims in mw’s post:

    7) If false (at variance with pre-determined conclusion) – review, re-select, re-weight data, rinse and repeat.

    (1255352257)

    From: Kevin Trenberth
    To: Michael Mann
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009
    Cc: Stephen H Schneider, Myles Allen, peter stott, “Philip D. Jones”, Benjamin Santer, Tom Wigley, Thomas R Karl, Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Michael Oppenheimer

    Hi all

    … The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate…

    Kevin

    (1120593115)
    From: Phil Jones
    To: John Christy
    Subject: This and that
    Date: Tue Jul 5 15:51:55 2005

    John,

    … Also this load of rubbish!

    This is from an Australian at BMRC (not Neville Nicholls). It began from the attached article. What an idiot. The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.

    Heh. The computer model is true. The observations from nature are wrong. Everything you need to know about these guys is right there.

    Was there anything in those e-mails saying what mw claimed they did? No. Didn’t stop him from saying it, though, did it? Did it say that their models were right and observations were wrong? No. As far as the Trenberth letter is concerned I think that Trenberth’s response in an interview with Wired is pretty accurate. The denialists (more accurate than skeptics for the majority of them) don’t read the article being referred to so their claims about what Trenberth means in the e-mail is automatically out of context. Trenberth’s reference to an inability to explain cooling refers to short term phenomenon, not the longer term trends that still indicate warming. I also find it interesting that the Phil Jones letter partially quoted is to John Christy, one of the true skeptics.

    And the quote from the person who hacked into the CRU is really amusing.

    We feel that climate science is, in the current situation, too important to be kept under wraps.

    We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code, and documents. Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it.

    This person obviously had an agenda. Yet they claim that the selection of data is random. Somehow I have my doubts.

  17. kranky kritter Says:

    It’s clear to me anyway that many on the skeptic side are overselling the significance of some of the decontextualized quotes from the emails.

    That’s bad for everyone. Bad for skeptics because it makes them look like overzealous kooks. And bad for the rest of us because it distracts attention from the very and troubling behavoir that some of these folks really do need to be called on.

    AGW true believers can spend their time leading the climategate debate towards the weakest points of riled up skeptics. That’s unfortunate. Bob Murphy at Masterclimate get at the heart of iongoing doubt:

    In contrast to these harmless remarks, this email exchange between Tom Wigley and Kevin Trenberth stunned me. Most coverage of the CRU emails has mentioned Trenberth’s statement, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the folks at RealClimate have argued (seemingly plausibly) that Trenberth was just being a good scientist, wanting to dot his i’s and cross his t’s. According to the damage control coming from RealClimate, the public shouldn’t buy into the lies of the deniers and think that Trenberth was doubting the basic idea that human activity is responsible for 20th century warming.

    But hold on just a second. Trenberth’s follow-up email was even more interesting than the one receiving the bulk of the press coverage. Tom Wigley quoted Trenberth’s statement and said, “I do not agree with this.” In other words, Wigley was saying that he thought he and his colleagues could explain the lack of warming, and so there was no travesty. To this Trenberth replied (bold has been added):

    Hi Tom
    How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!
    Kevin

    At the risk of being melodramatic, I do declare that the above email is simply jaw-dropping. If the climate scientists cannot tell if a particular remedy is working, it means that they aren’t exactly sure how the climate would have evolved in the absence of such a remedy. In other words, Trenberth at least is admitting that he is not at all confident in the precise, quantitative predictions that the alarmists are citing as proof of the need for immediate government intervention. And this expression of doubt wasn’t from the distant past: Trenberth sent the above email in October of this year!

    This leads me to strongly suspect that Trenberth is far from the only climate scientists who understands in private that we haven’t encompassed the entirety of Earth’s climate dynamic yet. And aren’t close, though we know much.

    And that’s very different from the claims of the kookier skeptics who are true believers that its no more than a progressive hoax or conspiracy or whatever.

    That’s where I am focusing, on the notion that we haven’t encompassed the entirety of Earth’s climate dynamic yet. And aren’t close, though we know much. We should craft our policies in light of that, with the caution that concerns warrant, but not by taking drastic actions that could bring adverse side affects without blunting GW.

  18. Jim S Says:

    Real comments on climate science from a real climate scientist.

  19. mw Says:

    @ Jim S

    “Was there anything in those e-mails saying what mw claimed they did? No. Didn’t stop him from saying it, though, did it? Did it say that their models were right and observations were wrong? No.” – Jim S

    From the Trenberth e-mail “there should be even more warming [Like our models project] but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate”

    You can believe Jim or you can believe your lying eyes.

    Because I just want to make Jim happy, I’ve updated CRU Scientific Methodology Step 7 in the post by adding the Smoking Code example. Let me know if you need more Jim. There is plenty out there, and more every day.

    Regarding the whistle-blower who leaked the data. Of course this is selected data. Of course he had an agenda. The agenda was to expose the incompetent and/or deceitful “science” on which so much draconian policy was being crafted. As “Harry” the CRU programmer comments:

    “So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option — to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations … In other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad …”

    @ Kranky

    That’s where I am focusing, on the notion that we haven’t encompassed the entirety of Earth’s climate dynamic yet. And aren’t close, though we know much. We should craft our policies in light of that, with the caution that concerns warrant, but not by taking drastic actions that could bring adverse side affects without blunting GW. – kk

    Seconded.

  20. mw Says:

    More real comments on climate science from another real climate scientist.

  21. Jim S Says:

    Not a whistle-blower. A hacker who broke into the systems. A whistle-blower is someone from inside the organization. In spite of claims that this is the case here, the claims inevitably come from people who just want to believe it is so, not anyone who has any proof of the claim.

    The quote from Trenberth is referring to a fact that is admitted by every legitimate climate scientist, which is that the ability to account for short term trends is sorely lacking compared to the ability to analyze longer term trend lines.

    Richard Lindzen quit being a real scientist years ago.

    http://logicalscience.com/skeptics/Lindzen.htm
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Richard_S._Lindzen
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/03/09/richard-lindzen-heartland-denier/

    Heck, he has the same level of credibility as your link concerning the “hockey stick”. They are just following the same strategy of those folks you love and adore, mw. The climate denialists. Not skeptics. Pure, no truth involved liars who constantly continue to cite as proof of their claims things that have been thoroughly debunked.

  22. mw Says:

    We are going in circles now, but I’ll keep playing for a while.

    Jim S Says:

    “Not a whistle-blower. A hacker who broke into the systems. A whistle-blower is someone from inside the organization. In spite of claims that this is the case here, the claims inevitably come from people who just want to believe it is so, not anyone who has any proof of the claim.”

    Jim just wants to claim the language and use the more pejorative term. It’s not really an argument, and the facts are unknown. My view is that extensive quantity and the very specific selection of data argues for an inside job. So the only possible response to this, is to do exactly what Jim does and respond in kind:

    MW Says:
    “Not a hacker. A whistle-blower working from the inside. A hacker is someone from outside the organization. In spite of claims that this is the case here, the claims inevitably come from people who just want to believe it is so, not anyone who has any proof of the claim.”

    Jim S Says:

    “The quote from Trenberth is referring to a fact that is admitted by every legitimate climate scientist, which is that the ability to account for short term trends is sorely lacking compared to the ability to analyze longer term trend lines.”

    The quote from Trenberth is what it is. Anyone who understands English can read it and understand it. Both Trenberth and Jim are acknowledging the basic fact of the matter. The alarmist hockey stick projections are failing to predict the observations of the last ten years. So now the claim is the last 10 years are an anomaly, or too short a time, or something. Fine. Lets see how it turns out over the next 10 years rather than impose draconian policies now, that are based on something more akin to religious belief rather than science.

    Jim S Says:

    “Richard Lindzen quit being a real scientist years ago.”

    Pure ad hominem. There are clearly two sides to the AGW debate. Jim’s response in every case is to ignore the argument itself and instead flog his team’s most pejorative perspective of the other team’s members. This often works in politics. It doesn’t work (for long) in science. This argument is moving out of the political realm and back to science, for the simple reason there is no consensus and the science is not settled.

    But, if I am going to play, I can do the same. Here is a view of Jim’s favorite alarmist – Joe Romm – and his ClimateProgress blog:

    “In a fit of rage, uber-alarmist Joe Romm of ClimateProgress has recently offered a temperature warming bet that he can win even if more than 85% of all climate models are shown to overpredict future warming…. For someone so strident on this issue, I would have thought that Joe Romm, would bet on climate catastrophe, not climate-model catastrophe. … He is emotionally attached to the issue with a public record of alarmism that is beginning to put Paul Ehrlich in the shade. “

    Jim S Says:

    “he has the same level of credibility as your link concerning the “hockey stick”. They are just following the same strategy of those folks you love and adore, mw. The climate denialists. Not skeptics. Pure, no truth involved liars who constantly continue to cite as proof of their claims things that have been thoroughly debunked.”

    More ad hominem. More mindless insistence on using more pejorative language. Zero content. Except for the New Scientist Article. It is an updated version of an article that was originally posted in 2006. Here is the link that debunks the New Scientist debunking of the debunked hockey stick.

    In the meantime: Al Gore has canceled his appearance in Copenhagen. Obama has pushed out his appearance in copenhagen as CRU data dump revelations finally start spilling into the MSM. And the UK Met office has resisted UK Government pressure and stepped away from climate change forecasts to do a new three year evaluation of the core raw data they shared with CRU.

    What do they know that Jim does not?

  23. kranky kritter Says:

    So now the claim is the last 10 years are an anomaly, or too short a time, or something. Fine.

    Since you didn’t budge, I’ll need to repeat myself. If you want to consider yourself an honest broker of the GW debate. you need to try better to understand thew substance that underlies the superficial level on which the debate about the last 10 years of data is concerned. The data concerns ONLY surface temperature measurements. (It doesn’t include ocean temperatures, which are a HUGE part of the discussion, because oceans cover more surface than land, and the water stores heat.) Any reasonable scientific view of this surface data from the last year shows a continuation of the same warming trend of just under a degree over the course of a century.

    The quote of yours I have cited shows that you have yet to undertake to actually understand the substance of the debate in a scientific or mathematical way, and that reflects poorly on you. “…or something like that.” Come on. Look into it, Understand linear regressions. Or admit you lack the basic understanding to comment knowledgeably.

    Not a whistle-blower. A hacker who broke into the systems. A whistle-blower is someone from inside the organization.

    Semantics? Really, Jim? Really? Can you refute the argument that a whistle blower is someone who blows the whistle? Well, someone blew the whistle. A hacker. If there was ever a case where the end justified the means, this is it. Who can seriously argue against the notion that the information that has been revealed is stuff the public deserved to know? Come on.

  24. Jim S Says:

    mw,

    If you want to claim that you are the one looking at the real arguments then look here and try to find someone reputable to “debunk” their points.

    Then there are these:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0805721105.full.pdf

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2008/09/climate-hockey-stick-has-staying-power.ars

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=still-hotter-than-ever

    http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptic_arguments/fakeddata.html

    It’s not an ad hominem argument if the person being criticized is in fact dishonest in their approach to the arguments, btw. Lindzen is no longer presenting honest arguments. For one thing he is even trying to push the idea of water vapor as equivalent to CO2 when in fact the concentration of water vapor is more of a feedback mechanism instead of a forcing. The difference is important but Lindzen has apparently chosen to forget this for some bizarre reason of his own.

  25. Divided We Stand United We Fall Says:

    The University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit’s New & Improved Scientific Method …

    UPDATE II: 6-Dec-09
    An updated version of this post was cross-posted at Donklephant, stimulating an interesting comment thread. Check it out.

  26. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Semantics? Really, Jim? Really? Can you refute the argument that a whistle blower is someone who blows the whistle? Well, someone blew the whistle. A hacker. If there was ever a case where the end justified the means, this is it. Who can seriously argue against the notion that the information that has been revealed is stuff the public deserved to know? Come on.

    Apparently there’s also some evidence suggesting these guys are Russian Intelligence:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233562/Emails-rocked-climate-change-campaign-leaked-Siberian-closed-city-university-built-KGB.html

    I freely admit the headline is beyond hyperbole. The KGB has been renamed (to FSB IIRC), and the emails don’t seem to have changed the minds of any world leaders. And “rocking climate change campaign?” The simple fact is this dispute is interesting but irrelevant.

    Why? Because Gordon Brown, Obama, etc. don’t seem to care.

  27. Frank Hagan Says:

    Nick, there’s an analysis done by a network guy that supports the idea that collecting the emails and releasing them could not have been done from the outside in a hack attempt. No one knows for sure, but the way email is stored on different machines argues strongly in favor of the idea that whoever it was, s/he knew where to look (and how to compromise the different machines to access the emails, which, the author claims, had to be on at least two different servers … and probably at least three, as both Sendmail, Exim and Exchange servers are used.) That’s a minimum of three passwords to hack.

    Some of the headers indicated departmental mail servers, so you very quickly get into dozens of computers that have to be compromised to access the email.

    Unless CRU was storing the email in a single place pending FOIA requests, but that doesn’t seem likely to me.

    BTW – His analysis of the total number of emails “that are missing” has been modified; the email names are unix time stamps, and not merely sequential numbers (they are sequential, but gaps of many seconds can exist between any two emails in the numbers). But that mistake aside, his analysis has stood up to poking at it so far.

  28. Jim S Says:

    Considering that the analysis is on a denialist’s web site and the analyst is also a hard core denialist there are some credibility issues. Also, given that is largely read by those who agree with him there’s a problem with saying that it’s stood up to poking at it. There hasn’t been any real poking at it. Also, for someone with the experience he says he has that is not an inconsequential mistake.

    Then there’s this.

    And if you want to see some somewhat more objective analysis of technical issues revealed by the emails look at this one. If you go to his main page you’ll find other commentary on the issue’s programming aspects.

  29. kranky kritter Says:

    Considering that the analysis is on a denialist’s web site and the analyst is also a hard core denialist there are some credibility issues.

    Not calling you out personally Jim. But, boy am I ever getting tired of the dueling ad-hominems. Anyone who doubts AGW is a denialist, and anyone who suggests there’s any substance to it is an apologist.

    We should all be able to do better than this. But the conduct I am seeing on this issue from almost everyone (not here, but everywhere), denialist or apologist, make me certain that as group, we can’t. Once we become even tentatively convinced, we start to attend to supporting evidence and discount the problematic stuff.

    Some days, it’s a wonder to me that we’ve gotten as far as we have. We used to be monkeys flinging poo at each other. And now we have electricity and cars and indoor plumbing and the internet, where we, oops, fling poo.

  30. mw Says:

    Hmmm. Should have been checking back on this thread more frequently. Jim posted a challenge:

    “If you want to claim that you are the one looking at the real arguments then look here and try to find someone reputable to “debunk” their points”- JS

    This is, of course, an impossible task as far as Jim is concerned. Anyone who does offer any argument against “their points” is – in his world – a “denialist”and, by definition, not reputable. That said, I can’t let this thread fade into history without responding.

    The RealClimate website Jim cites as an authority on climate science is the soapbox for Michael Mann (father of the disputed “hockey stick” graph, YouTube “hide the decline” video star and currently being investigated by Penn State) as well as CRU scientists among others who are advocates for the AGW hypothesis. That website presents exclusively one side of the debate. If you are a ‘true believer” in AGW and only interested in one side of the debate (like Jim), that site is more than adequate. If you want to see the other side of the debate, you have to look elsewhere.

    The first place I would look for robust mathematical and statistical based critiques of Mann et. al. is on the ClimateAudit.org website which is the home of Steve McIntyre. I reference it below in response to some of Jim’s other links.

    Jim Links:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0805721105.full.pdf
    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2008/09/climate-hockey-stick-has-staying-power.ars

    These two links reference the same argument. The first is the actual published Michael Mann 2008 defense of the “hockey stick” – a “do-over” of the paper that he originally presented in 1998. I would think it would be a little tough for “true believers” to dismiss McIntyre’s criticism of the 2008 paper, since Mann himself felt compelled in this 2008 paper to respond to McIntyre (and others) criticism of his 1998 paper. This is acknowledged in Jim’s second link – a non-technical review of this same paper: “…it appears that the authors have gone out of their way to address many of the criticisms of their earlier publication.” That fact, in and of itself, makes the critics “reputable”. It also makes sense to see whether the critics that prompted the need for this paper agree that it addresses the flaws of Mann’s 1998 work.

    The McIntyre criticism of this paper begins with this post and continues for months on climate audit. If interested, the best way to follow the chronology of the debate is to click forward post by post on the upper right corner of the site. There are dozens of posts about Mann’s paper to be found there, including the trials and tribulations that McIntyre went through to get acknowledgment in peer reviewed literature of Mann’s statistical shortcomings and flagrant data errors. Perhaps the most egregious of these errors, is the insertion of a data set that is upside down. Really. Upside down.

    Jim Links:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=still-hotter-than-ever

    This Scientific American article references the the Tingley and Huybers Study. It is discussed on Climate Audit here and here. From what I can glean from the literature, is that this study uses an innovative and sophisticated new statistical method, but is applying that method to some of the the same old data sets with the same old problems. Most problematical may be the Yamal data set, based on a very small cherry picked set of trees in Siberia – the story of which is recapped in this recent article “the most inluential Tree in the World”

    Jim Links:

    http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptic_arguments/fakeddata.html

    This link is an extensive compilation of links defending the Mann Hockey Stick. It appears the most recent link in this list is from 2006, which makes it hopelessly out of date, as even Mann’s 2008 paper acknowledges the problems of the Mann 1998 paper defended in these links.

    A more accurate and comprehensive history of the evolution of the hockey stick debate is this recent article by Marc Sheppard “Understanding Climategate’s Hidden Decline” which should be required reading by anyone interested in the topic.

  31. Jim S Says:

    mw claims

    The RealClimate website Jim cites as an authority on climate science is the soapbox for Michael Mann (father of the disputed “hockey stick” graph, YouTube “hide the decline” video star and currently being investigated by Penn State) as well as CRU scientists among others who are advocates for the AGW hypothesis.

    Ooops. Yes, Mann is one of the contributors to RealClimate. But not one of the regular contributors comes from the CRU.

    Then comes his claim that two of the links refer to the exact same article. Ah, no. Part of the Ars Technica article does refer to the PNAS paper but it also discusses other things, including a National Academy of Science study that concluded that Mann’s 1998 paper was irrelevant to whether the “hockey stick” is real since newer reconstructions by other researchers existed that reached the same conclusion.

    When you say “the literature” concerning the Scientific American article I take it you mean Climate Audit. Do you really want to take everything McIntyre has claimed concerning Yamal as gospel truth? Not everyone does.

    As far as the Sheppard piece is concerned, why should anything on American Thinker be required reading for anyone? After all, it generates masterpieces like this diatribe about how Obama is a racist. This paragon of science journalism that tries to claim that yes, AGW is all a fraud is another of their reasonable articles. As for Sheppard, here is the archive of his American Thinker articles. A review of them isn’t really all that encouraging that he could actually write something that could be considered required reading for people actually interested in the issues. Is this really something that anyone but denialists find compelling?

    As the mainstream media move from abject denial to dismissive whitewashing, CRU co-conspirators move to Copenhagen for tomorrow’s U.N. climate meeting, intent on changing the world as we know it based primarily on their now-exposed trickery.

    Mann has recently claimed that the available proxy data ended in 1980, but even his co-conspirators at RealClimate admit that’s nonsense.

    And before there are accusations of ad hominem fallacies because I point out Mr. Sheppard’s questionable understanding of anything to do with the climate, here is another example. Yes, he is a denialist, not a skeptic. Sorry, kk, but that’s just what he is. Don’t like it? Try to disprove it with his own writings.

  32. mw Says:

    Regarding CRU participation in RealClimate, Jim is correct. I misread contributor Raymond Bradley’s bio. My bad.

    Regarding the rest – like I said:

    “This is, of course, an impossible task as far as Jim is concerned. Anyone who does offer any argument against “their points” is – in his world – a “denialist” and, by definition, not reputable.”

    Since Jim prefers to debate the messengers rather than the message, and write about websites rather than the website content, I offer this observation from Roger Pielke Jr about the true nature of the Real Climate blog:

    “I have long pointed to Real Climate as a canonical example of stealth issue advocacy. They claim on their site to be disinterested:

    “The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.”

    The reality is that they are far from disinterested. The fact that they have a political agenda is not problematic in the slightest. The problem is that they are seeking to hide their politics behind science. This has the net effect of pathologically politicizing the science because most of the issues that they raise, which they say are scientific in nature, are really about politics. It is not a big leap for observers to conclude that these guys are really about politics rather than science, regardless of the reality. People are not dumb and can see through this sort of misdirection with relative ease. Perhaps the most significant and lasting consequence of the CRU email hack/leak/whatever will be to strip away any possibility of a facade of disinterestedness among these activist scientists. In the long run that is probably a very good thing. In the near term it probably means an even more politicized climate debate.

    In The Honest Broker I describe three effective roles that scientists can play in policy debates (the Pure Scientist does not play any direct role):

    * The Science Arbiter who responds to questions put forward by decision makers.
    * The Issue Advocate who seeks to reduce the scope of political choice.
    * The Honest Broker who seeks to expand, or at least clarify, the scope of choice.

    The Stealth Issue Advocate claims to be a Pure Scientist or a Science Arbiter, but really is working to reduce the scope of choice using science. A problem is that science is particularly ill-suited for political battles because decisions that take place in the context of uncertainty or a conflict in values always involve much more than science. One message of The Honest Broker is that, even though these categories are very much ideal types, scientists do face a choice about what role to play in the political process. And among the more damaging roles to the institutions of science is the Stealth Issue Advocate.”

    Incidently, Roger is an advocate for “decarbonizing” the economy regardless of whether it is or is not a significant contributor to global warming.

  33. Tully Says:

    **Yes, Mann is one of the contributors to RealClimate. But not one of the regular contributors comes from the CRU.**

    However, almost all of the founders of RealClimate are lead authors for IPCC, heavily vested in the AGW alarmism of same, and they started the site to combat criticism of the IPCC TAR. RealClimate was begun specifically to defend the debunked “hockey stick” methodology of Mann & Bradley — methodology so flawed no serious work used it before or since — and has since branched out to defending all criticism of the IPCC “consensus.” You can find several of them in the HCRU email dump, Mann in particular. While not “at” HRCU they are most assuredly part of the IPCC/HRCU “net” that was revealed by the dump.

    Pielke Jr. and Pielke Sr. have both been active in trying to advocate for real climate science, and been vastly pilloried by the dedicated CO2/AGW cartel for doing so, even though both do believe in (have done some heavy lifting in) the human role in climate change. Their apostatic sin is in believing (and demonstrating through rigorous research, Sr. in particular) that the forcing by co2 is vastly overstated, and that human influence is mostly regional in nature.

  34. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Frank:
    I would have responded earlier but I didn’t see your post. Apparently there was an archive of this particular groups email inside Russia, which would make it a lot easier for Russian security to get in. Human engineering alone would probably be enough.

    Regardless the Russians are known for having “patriotic” hacker groups that occasionally screw with their country’s enemies. Their exploits include a massive DoS attack that derailed the economy of a Baltic state that displeased them (IIRC it was Estonia). So three passwords are well within their capabilities.

    @Tully,
    Your last post makes no more sense than ignoring McKinley simply because he’s a “denialist.” Heck the logical thing to do when a UN report is challenged is to ask the folks who wrote it about the controversy.

    As for the hockey stick they don’t use it on RealClimate. One of the major reasons I distrust global warming skeptics is they keep talking about an 10-year-old study like it’s the only thing anyone has ever done on this issue. What about the Oyster Guy:
    http://fromthearchives.blogspot.com/2008/04/more-climate-change-thoughts.html

    So Al Gore put it in his movie. BFD. The movie is not the science. If you want to seriously argue whether it’s happening a movie made by a politician is simply irrelevant.

  35. Tully Says:

    Nick, you apparently didn’t bother to read it either closely or in context, as it was a rebuttal of the claim of “RealClimate” being some mythically disinterested group of objective scientists. They’re not, not even remotely, which was the point.

    **As for the hockey stick they don’t use it on RealClimate. **

    Maybe you better do some googlin’, as they do indeed, and the flawed technique that produced it in the MBH/1999 reconstruction study is still in use by the RC people. They devote quite a bit of discussion and outlinkage to their apologetics and evasions over the noted deficiencies of how some of their own have presented it, and how it was constructed. BTW, the “MBH” of the original “hockey stick” study stands for Mann, Bradley, and Hughes. Mann and Bradley are two of the five current lead contributors for RealClimate. Mann was a lead author of TAR. Bradley was a contributing author to TAR, and when questioned before Congress and asked to produce his data and adjustments for the HS, notably evaded the question and did not produce the data. Hughes was also a lead author for the TAR. TAR relied heavily on the MBH/199 study. 4AR did as well, but the actual diagram ended up being redacted out of the 4AR for apparently political reasons.

    **Heck the logical thing to do when a UN report is challenged is to ask the folks who wrote it about the controversy.**

    ROFLMAO. Thereby evoking the immediate response of “No, we’re as clean as the driven snow! Trust us! We would never fudge figures or ever ever make mistakes or exaggerate the results of meta-study conglomerations!”

    Except that from the HRCU data dump, it looks like exactly that was done with some things, including the crucial and critical HRCU temperature reconstructions.

    No, the logical (and ethical, and scientific) thing to do is to isolate the questioned and questionable studies, and for same re-examine the raw data, the integrity of same, the adjustments made to it, the justifications for said adjustments, and the integrity, assumptions, and construction of the models used to shape the final product. Which is notably what HCRU fought tooth and nail to prevent, as revealed (and predicted) in the HRCU data dump.

    Since the reliability and verifiability of the historical temperature record is crucial both to the doomsaying and to the empirical testing of any and all GCM models (or other studies) incorporating same or based on it in any part (the GCM’s are HYPOTHETECIAL constructs that can only be verfied by testing them for reliable predictions, a test they have to date notably failed at in substantial regards), and since ALL the five major sets of historical temperature data rely to some extent on the work product of HRCU, they are now ALL in question as to reliability and proper construction.

    The way to fix that is to replicate and (hopefully) confirm the work. In the open, not in secret. Because that’s how science is supposed to work.

  36. Jim S Says:

    Tully, is there any denialist argument you don’t buy into nowadays? Did you even bother following my link to the National Academy of Science study? Did you ever look into the follow up that Mann and his fellow authors did with three new collaborators in order to try and address the criticisms of the 1998 paper? Did you know that the pertinent information that the denialists always claim is being covered up is posted online? And if you consider the claims by the Pielkes to be some kind of pure, non-interested rebuttal backed up by hard facts there’s this bridge…

  37. Nick Benjamin Says:

    Nick, you apparently didn’t bother to read it either closely or in context, as it was a rebuttal of the claim of “RealClimate” being some mythically disinterested group of objective scientists. They’re not, not even remotely, which was the point.

    And as I said, ignoring them because you can prove they ain’t all-knowing, all-powerful, omni-benevolent gods of climate change makes as much sense as ignoring McKinley because he’s McKinley.

    Maybe you better do some googlin’, as they do indeed, and the flawed technique that produced it in the MBH/1999 reconstruction study is still in use by the RC people.

    The hockey stick is a picture, not a technique. Congratulations on your belated realization of that fact. And that attempt to recover by claiming you meant something completely different was sloppy at best.

    It should be noted even your attempt to deflect that line of attack is fatally flawed. Climate change is cutting edge research. You implicitly admit that when you claim it’s so unsettled that we shouldn’t do anything. And nobody is surprised when cutting edge research is obsolete a decade after it was published in 1999.

    **Heck the logical thing to do when a UN report is challenged is to ask the folks who wrote it about the controversy.**

    ROFLMAO. Thereby evoking the immediate response of “No, we’re as clean as the driven snow! Trust us! We would never fudge figures or ever ever make mistakes or exaggerate the results of meta-study conglomerations!”

    They tried that. It didn’t work.

    So they produced a website presenting detailed evidence that they are right. Evidence that you are having significant trouble refuting.

    As for the temperature studies, you are absolutely right. The data should be public.

    However in the meantime the only sophisticated climate models we have say it would be a really good idea to pumping less Carbon into the atmosphere, ASAP, so we should implement cap-and-trade anyway.

    BTW, you do realize at least one of those models was produced by an agency controlled by an AGW skeptic? NASA was under Bush for eight of the past nine years. Which implies that a) Bush was so dumb a conspiracy of English researchers was able to surreptitiously control NASA while he was President, or b) the science NASA produced for those eight years showed global warming was a problem.

  38. kranky kritter Says:

    Did you know that the pertinent information that the denialists always claim is being covered up is posted online?

    No it isn’t. I read that whole set of back-and-forths. The East Anglians say it is, but it isn’t. What they kept trying to do was point folks at a giant pile of data from which they selected their subset and then performed calculations on it.

    Unless the East Anglians say precisely which data they used and what they did to analyze it, the East Anglian data can’t be verified. Which Tully already patiently explained, and which you ignored.

    I challenge you to speak directly to this Jim, without changing the subject. Currently, you are simply, repeating the same dodge the East Anglians tried when they were conspiring to evade a valid legal freedom of information request.

  39. kranky kritter Says:

    So they produced a website presenting detailed evidence that they are right. Evidence that you are having significant trouble refuting…. However in the meantime the only sophisticated climate models we have say it would be a really good idea to pumping less Carbon into the atmosphere, ASAP, so we should implement cap-and-trade anyway.

    How come neither Jim nor you, Nick has attempted to speak to the issue of forcing, the issue of how much CO2 might cause how much warming? Because that’s the crux of it. We don’ tknow how sensitive the environment is to an increase of x ppm of CO2. There’s widespread disagreement. Because, as Kevin Trenbeth pointed out in one of the emails:

    How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!

    Look, the convergence of collected data suggests we’ve quite possibly or even probably had a warming trend of nearly a degree over the last century, which coincides with an increase in atmospheric CO2. It’s plausible that the CO2 caused that warming. But even if we assume that this correlation really is causation, we don’t know how much warming will result from any given increase in CO2.

    So the argument that we must do something now (before it’s too late!!) is primarily an application of the philosophical notion that we should be very careful. Every one of the models that Nick talks about has as its underlying presumptions that the correlation really is causation, that we must be really careful, and that the current trend will be at least steady, or may accelerate.

    Models are models. They aren’t reality. They are based on presumptions.

  40. mw Says:

    What Kranky said.

    (Edited your comment to fix the blockquote. Hope you don’t mind)

  41. Jim S Says:

    Actually, kk, I was referring to the data for the study that Mann and his collaborators did in response to the critics when I spoke of the data being online. As to the sensitivity of the system to increased levels of CO2, I am arguing not against those who rightfully say that we don’t know the exact level of forcing coming from CO2 but those who claim that there just isn’t any such thing. They exist. They are the ones who dominate the denialist movement. They certainly seem to be the ones who Tully is buying into (given his dismissive tone against the Pielkes acknowledging that we should still reduce GHGs).

    And you still refuse to acknowledge that Trenberth’s statements (According to Trenberth himself.) are aimed at the question of short term effects.

  42. Nick Benjamin Says:

    How come neither Jim nor you, Nick has attempted to speak to the issue of forcing, the issue of how much CO2 might cause how much warming? Because that’s the crux of it. We don’ tknow how sensitive the environment is to an increase of x ppm of CO2. There’s widespread disagreement.

    From what I’ve seen there isn’t widespread disagreement. There’re some very, very passionate “skeptics” who don’t even try to make models of their own.

    As for how sensitive the earth is to carbon levels take a look at ice core data. When snow freezes it traps bubbles of air in it, go to a glacier that has millenia of layers of snow and you have a long record of the atmosphere’s carbon content:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_core#Ice_core_data

    You’ll note that the most recent cold snap (10,000 years ago) ended at precisely the same time carbon content started increasing.

    I will admit it’s theoretically possible some other factor could cause temperatures to track carbon levels so closely. But for that to be the case this other factor would also have to influence carbon level. And I simply have yet to see an alternative hypothesis that would explain both.

    Until such a time as a hypothesis appears it’s pretty clear that some measures to reduce our own carbon output would probably be wise.

  43. Nick Benjamin Says:

    I guess that’s what happens when you forget to put a / in front of the closing blockquote.

    Oops.

  44. kranky kritter Says:

    it’s pretty clear that some measures to reduce our own carbon output would probably be wise.

    Well, that’s a pretty modest and qualified statement.

    On top of that, you didn’t address the issue I pointed out in the first place. I’ll us blockquotes throughout to accentuate major points for you. You can read the 4 blockquotes below and get a good executive summary of my PoV.

    The issue is not whether the climate has some sensitivity to CO2.

    That’s uncontroversial science. CO2 can trap heat. We know this. So nothing in your post or links above points out anything that I’m contending about. Instead, and as previous noted, (and apparently ignored.

    The issue is how much CO2 causes how much warming.

    How sensitive is our climate to increased CO2? How many additional ppm of CO2 will cause how much warming per unit of time? Guesses, educated and not, are all over the map. This is precisely the issue that Trenberth was speaking to in the email I’ve repeatedly highlighted, and the one which you and Jim have not spoken to… .

    Look, we know how much CO2 is in the environment now, and we have a reasonable handle on how quickly that’s increasing. Fine.

    I’m even willing, for the sake of this argument, to stipulate that there has been, in general and on average, a slight warming trend over the last century, of just under a degree, give or take. (IIRC< just over 0 .75º).

    OK?

    That’s not a crisis.

    We can keep studying this while we start doing the no-brainer stuff. We could easily wait another 10 or 20 or 50 years before establishing a vast international bureaucracy that polices carbon emissions. [And which will be as corrupt, as ineffectual, and as uneven-handed as the UN.]

    Besides,t he fight over how this would actually work is likely to take a decade or two anyways. I think it’s a shame that some on the left are determined to paint our country as the biggest and baddest recalcitrants. (As usual, btw.) Especially since we’ll be the ones held to the highest standards and also be the ones asked to pay the largest costs, once you get down to a legitimate apples to apples comparison. To summarize:

    • The issue is not whether the climate has some sensitivity to CO2.

    • The issue is how much CO2 causes how much warming, and we don’t know.

    • There has been, in general and on average, a slight warming trend over the last century, of just under a degree.

    • That’s not a crisis.

    Instead, it’s a matter for continued watchful concern. If we really do start to see the beginnings of drastic negative consequences, then we can undertake drastic responses.

  45. Nick Benjamin Says:

    How sensitive is our climate to increased CO2? How many additional ppm of CO2 will cause how much warming per unit of time? Guesses, educated and not, are all over the map. This is precisely the issue that Trenberth was speaking to in the email I’ve repeatedly highlighted, and the one which you and Jim have not spoken to… .

    Jim actually has responded to that specific quote. He said you took it out of context, and the scientist in question was referring to the short term. ie: we can’t predict precisely what will happen next month if CO2 goes up x%, but we’ve got a decent handle on what will happen 10 years from now of CO2 gos up x% a month.

    “All over the map?” You got links to back that up? From what I can tell there isn’t any science by climatologists that indicates we should not worry about the greenhouse effect.

    Besides,t he fight over how this would actually work is likely to take a decade or two anyways. I think it’s a shame that some on the left are determined to paint our country as the biggest and baddest recalcitrants. (As usual, btw.) Especially since we’ll be the ones held to the highest standards and also be the ones asked to pay the largest costs, once you get down to a legitimate apples to apples comparison.

    This is America. When’s the last time you heard somebody allege we were a boring middle-of-the-pack country? We’re either brave pioneers, lighting the way for all those other crappier countries; or a decadent people so depraved that we’re on the verge of self-destruction.

    The left is right that we’re slowest among the rich countries. Europe has cap-and-trade already. I can’t think of another industrialized country that hasn’t formally ratified Kyoto. Obviously the Chinese and Indians are a much bigger problems, because they’ve got huge populations, but it’s pretty clear neither one will do jack until we do.

    In the meantime have you looked at any of Obama’s proposals? IMO cap-and-trade would have minimal costs, and would help some, so it’s a no-brainer.

  46. kranky kritter Says:

    Trenberth’s response in an interview with Wired is pretty accurate. The denialists (more accurate than skeptics for the majority of them) don’t read the article being referred to so their claims about what Trenberth means in the e-mail is automatically out of context. Trenberth’s reference to an inability to explain cooling refers to short term phenomenon, not the longer term trends that still indicate warming.

    My issue is not with the Trenberth quote about the failure to explain warming. I’ve already stated my lack of interest in the superfical” hide the cooling” debate. Instead, my concern related to a different Trenberth quote, which I have previously excerpted twice somewhere around here, and will do again:

    Hi Tom
    How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!

    Got it now? Trenberth says we can’t at this point have any hope of geoengineering the climate because we can’t balance the budget by accounting for all inputs and outputs. That’s the worry when it comes to the issue of carbon forcing and its possible extent.

    we can’t predict precisely what will happen next month if CO2 goes up x%, but we’ve got a decent handle on what will happen 10 years from now of CO2 gos up x% a month.

    “All over the map?” You got links to back that up?

    Why not notice what Jim has stated:

    As to the sensitivity of the system to increased levels of CO2, I am arguing not against those who rightfully say that we don’t know the exact level of forcing coming from CO2…

    Nick, I’ve followed the various predictions of various models. The numbers stated for the amounts of temperature and sea level rises we can expect ARE all over the map. Some folks say a degree or two, some say 5 or 6. Other’s say more. Some people sat Florida will be underwater in decades. The only way to shut them up is to offer a wager, apparently.

    This is what happens when people make models and base them on assumptions. Mind you, you do have to make assumptions to build and use models to make predictions and forecasts. Such predictions are at best semi-educated guesses. They always rely heavily on assumptions and presumptiosn. That’s the nature of the beast. Good faith forecasts are substantially wrong all the time.I’m a mathy guy! I’m pro-model. And I’m also strongly in favor of understanding models for exactly what they are,,,good-faith mechanisms for making educated guesses which might be wrong.

    we’ve got a decent handle on what will happen 10 years from now of CO2 gos up x% a month.

    Citations please. Even Jim disagrees with you on this if I have interpreted his quote above about carbon forcing correctly. We don’t have a good handle on the extent or timing of the effects.

    The left is right that we’re slowest among the rich countries.

    I know. Makes me proud!

    IMO cap-and-trade would have minimal costs, and would help some, so it’s a no-brainer.

    Cool. Simply convince 51% of Americans and you can get just what you want. I expect zero political appetite for any such substantial change in this economic environment after healthcare reform finally gets passed. I think C+T is dead in the water, and that suits me fine.

  47. Nick Benjamin Says:

    If you actually oppose regulating Carbon emissions you have no choice but to support C+T ’cause if it doesn’t pass the EPA will issue regulations.

    And if you were Barack Obama, would you issue regulations that were anything less then draconian? Given your base’s extreme passion on this issue, and the intense disappointment that base will feel when health reform passes without the public option, could you issue non-draconian regulations even if you wanted to?

    Here’s the political upside. Draconian regulations would a) give the left a reason to vote for him even after the public option is stripped from the Senate bill, and b) they’d show GOP Senators and groups like the chamber that opposing Obama is only smart if you can win.

    In 2010 the political risk is minimal because it’s all Obama’s fault and he’s not on the ballot. By 2012 there will be other issues moderates care about, such as how the latest Afghanistan strategy worked, so it won’t hurt him much in the center. And it’d help him on the left.

  48. Frank Hagan Says:

    Nick, while “paying for protection” does work for the Mob, it usually doesn’t work so well for people you can vote out in a secret ballot.

  49. kranky kritter Says:

    If you actually oppose regulating Carbon emissions you have no choice but to support C+T ’cause if it doesn’t pass the EPA will issue regulations.

    Sure, Nick, whatever. I’ll take my chances on the EPA.

    And if you were Barack Obama, would you issue regulations that were anything less then draconian? Given your base’s extreme passion on this issue, and the intense disappointment that base will feel when health reform passes without the public option, could you issue non-draconian regulations even if you wanted to?

    I think this is pure fantasy on your part. When healthcare passes, many will be troubled by the big costs associated with it. You think there won’t be any, that it will save money, but you’re in the minority. In that environment, I fully expect Obama’s private communications with the EPA will be orders not to issue any regulations AT ALL that can be viewed as expensive and harmful to economic recovery. Maybe some window-dressing ones atmost.

    Who are all these disappointed progressives you envision supposed to vote for in 2012, Mitt Romney? Sara Palin? Maybe Al Gore. What a spectacle that would be, Gore running against a sitting democratic President. Obama needs moderates to get re-elected, not progressives. If petulant progressives desert Obama, all they will achieve is to ensure a Republican President come January 2013. Which will be just what they deserve.

  50. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Frank
    This is more like good-cop/bad-cop than any Mob scheme.

    @kk
    As long as you know you’re taking your chances with the EPA.

    As for the political calculus, you don’t seem to understand a few things. Number one midterm elections are almost never about the President. They are about two things. Number one is the individuals running, and number two is turnout. From a Machiavellen point of view an extremely aggressive scheme, that industry sees as punitive, will actually help Congressional Democrats. They get turnout from their base (remember total turnout is 35%), and if they are in districts that genuinely oppose the new regs they’ll be able to “fight” those regulations. There’s no chance they’ll win, because Obama has a veto-pen, and if you can;t get 60 Senators to stop talking about health reform you ain;t gonna be able to get 67 to agree on overriding a veto.

    The second thing is that the base always has options. Just ask Al Gore what happened when an uncharismatic guy tries to win Florida after two terms of his boss doing nothing the Democratic base liked. Even without Nader they can screw you simply by staying home.

    As for the economic calculus, you’re not looking at this from a left-wing viewpoint. As far as we’re concerned the costs of carbon mitigation are an investment. Everybody else is doing it and everybody else’s economy is in better shape than us. There would be some short term hits (the initial investment), but the next Presidential year is 2012. By then we’re convinced it will be paying off.

    As for health reform, when that debate is over the only people who will remember it are political junkies and extremists. The mushy middle will simply thank God that DC can move on to the other gigantic problems we’re facing. They’ll give reform a chance to work, and as of the 2010 elections the reform won’t be spending money. OTOH it will have banned the nastiest of insurance company practices.

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