Sunday, 4 April 2010

Wotts Up With That?

Over at WattsUpWithThat, Watt's is selling a $84.95 thermometer you can fit to your car. The idea is you can drive across the city and measure the UHI!

But wait...

Saturday, 3 April 2010

March Madness

A website called has recently published climate model projections for how areas of the US with monthly average temperatures below freezing are expected to shrink over time. This goes out to 2090 and there is the option to pick from two emission scenarios.

Here is an example of projection maps from the website based on the SRES A2 emission scenario:

Regional projections of temperature change under the A2 emission scenario are given in AR4:

Of some relevance to the article on the website is a 2007 study by Meehl, Arblaster and Tebaldi, which finds that the number of frost days (number of days in a year when the temperature goes below freezing) in the US has decreased in recent decades and they attribute these changes as largely anthropogenic:

I haven't read the rest of the website, it was drawn to my attention only because I saw Steve Goddard had attacked this particular article on WUWT, in a post on WUWT which concludes:

Based on the NCDC data, there is no evidence that increases in CO2 over the last 30 years have affected March temperatures in the north central region of the USA or moved the freeze line north. Once again, we see a case of scientists trusting climate models ahead of reality.

Goddard's conclusion (if true) would be specific to the article rather than the peer reviewed literature on the subject (eg Meehl 2007), so offtarget of true relevance.

Steve Goddard describes the article as "March Model Madness" and cites the following graph of mean temperatures of Winconsin Marchs since 1979:

He explains:
The orange line is the mean and the red line is the freezing line. Note that not only is there no trend towards a warmer March, but the standard deviation is high (3.67) and the range is also large – about 15 degrees difference between the warmest and coldest March.

Already I am thinking the article covers a lot more area than Wisconsin (and the other state Goddard later looks at), so can Goddard's post really have much relevance to the article? For the sake of argument I will just assume it can.

He asks us to note that there is no trend towards a warmer March, but how can we note that when he hasn't provided us a figure for it? The mean line, as far as I can tell, is literally the mean over the 31 year period (1979-2009). I plotted the same range of March mean data for Wisconsin from the (Wisconsin State Climatology Office) and also added a line of best fit:

Here's the same graph in Celsius:

There is a slight warming trend, it works out as about 0.08C/decade. I doubt it's statistically significant, but extrapolating that increase would put mean Wisconsin becoming about 0.7C warmer by 2090. The average March temperature of Wisconsin over the period 1970-2009 is about -1C.

Goddard justifies the start point in 1979 by saying
The reason to use 1979 onwards is because Hansen reports his trends from 1979 onwards. CO2 has increased quickly since about then, and that is also when satellite data came on line. 1979 is the year when GISS data turned sharply upwards, so it is a conservative time period to argue the thesis.

Goddard's words here are the real March Madness. What has Hansen got to do with this? Since when to skeptics copy what Hansen does? When Goddard says "the year when GISS data turned sharply upwards" Goddard refers to and shows the GISTEMP global-land temperature index. But what relevance does that have to Wisconsin? If such an "upturn" method made sense (it doesn't), wouldn't it make more sense to take the year when Wisconsin data turns sharply upwards?

As for co2 increasing quickly, what's special about 1979 that distinguishes it from 1970 or 1985? What's special about the year the satellite records start? None of this has any relevance to Wisconsin temperatures and none of this explains the start point of 1979 as anything other than arbitrary.

Could it be that this long nonsensical ramble of a justicication might indicate Goddard knew something more that he let on - that the choice of start-point makes a big difference to the result? Could he be merely constructing an odd justification for the choice of 1979 in case anyone checks?

I plotted the data from 1970:

The red line shows the best fit line from the previous 1979- graph. From 1970 there is a larger slope, 0.28C/decade. At that rate March in Wisconsin would be on average about 2.5C warmer by 2090. The average temperature of March in Wisconsin over the period 1970-2009 is about -1.1C. So the projection to 2090 using the start date of 1970 puts the average March temperature of Wisconsin easily above zero by 2090 (not that this is completely relevant to the article anyway). These results are very different than if you start in 1979, so the whole method is likely a waste of time.

Imagine that an "alarmist" had chosen a start point with a long and weird excuse and then a skeptic had subsequently found that pushing that startpoint back a mere nine years revealed a very different result. We wouldn't hear the end of it!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

It Might Be April 1st but This Is No Joke. Worst News Article In History?

I exaggerate. Or do I?

I saw an abysmal Fox News article criticized at

Wow. Remember though. Fair and Balanced. Fair and Balanced.

How far out of your way do you have to go to "find" a story like this? It's just not the kind of thing that comes up in the day's reportable news events. It's not actually news. No this is a story someone has had to actively create as part of a political agenda. The agenda is obvious too.

I imagine a general rule of science journalism is not to get info for your news articles from political think-tanks. What the hell were Fox News thinking?

Have a read of another criticism of the Fox News article I found here too CEI's Horner enlists Fox News in manufacturing another climate email scandal

If you read the fox news article and then read the emails by Hansen and Ruedy you can see for yourself what straw grasping this news article is based on. I won't bother going into that - it's blindingly obvious. Skeptics wonder why investigations are clearing scientists of their accusations? The skeptics call whitewash, but the fact is that their accusations are based on them being idiots who fall for rubbish like this Fox News article. But enough of all that. I want to go through the article and comment on many things.

What's the first thing you think of when you think of NASA? Landing of the moon of course! So how better to start the article than a lame and rather reader-insulting attempt to tie the story in with a cheap quip about landing on the moon. And so it starts:

NASA was able to put a man on the moon, but the space agency can't tell you what the temperature was when it did.

Oh but Fox News can you be sure NASA did land on the moon? Perhaps next weeks fair and balanced story can discuss how NASA cannot explain shadows in moon photos.

By its own admission, NASA's temperature records are in even worse shape than the besmirched Climate-gate data.

Besmirched! What a crapper of a word to use. Why not say bastard instead? You know that bastard data that all those bastard scientists are always going on about.

"NASA's temperature data is worse than the Climate-gate temperature data. According to NASA," wrote Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who uncovered the e-mails"

Well all that tells me is X < Y and Fox News has told me that Y = Besmirched. If only I was reckless enough to put imaginary values to those variables I might actually fall for whatever unfolding scandal Fox News thinks it's reporting.

Horner is skeptical of NCDC's data as well, stating plainly: "Three out of the four temperature data sets stink."

Horner is skeptial of NCDC's data as well? I might faint I am so shocked. I have a hunch that Horner would be skeptical the Earth is round if that could be construed as supporting global warming. One thing that is a little surprising is that Fox News is not skeptical of Horner.

We are given more code though - we learn, from Horner no less, that three out of the four temperature data sets stink. What are these four datasets? Lets see, they've mentioned CRU, NASA and NCDC so far. Hmm that's odd that's only three. I guess these are the ones that stink. So what's the squeaky clean one not mentioned? It can't be UAH because that would mean they were pretending RSS doesn't exist...

"Global warming critics call this a crucial blow to advocates' arguments that ..."

This is the fair and balanced part where they bring in the as yet unrepresented other side - the global warming, wait..... Hang on thought we just had the global warming critics represented by Horner? Oh I suppose he isn't representing the critics at all. He is just what the media would call an "independent voice". It's just coincidence that he is an unbiased senior fellow of a political think-tank, which has got itself involved in some nitty gritty detail of some sub-sub-discipline of a particular scientific field because....well because the CEI is very interested in science. Nothing to do with politics. Next week they will be investigating special relativity and the germ theory of disease and I am sure Fox News will be there to report it...

The CEI are afterall just the kind of entity any reputable media organization should get it's science news from. That makes complete sense. It's not bizzare at all.

Global warming critics call this a crucial blow to advocates' arguments that minor flaws in the "Climate-gate" data are unimportant, since all the major data sets arrive at the same conclusion -- that the Earth is getting warmer. But there's a good reason for that, the skeptics say: They all use the same data.

But Fox News, how can NASA and CRU use the same data when Phil Jones has the only copy and deleted it? Ah the plot thickens. And what about your 4th dataset (the squeaky clean one). Does that use the same data? Does it arrive at the same conclusion?

"There is far too much overlap among the surface temperature data sets to assert with a straight face that they independently verify each other's results,"

They use temperature data from the same stations? I can't imagine why! We must immediately get them to use different stations! Just promise you won't turn round and exploit that by spreading a nasty rumor that NASA deliberately excluded valid stations from their analysis and only kept the warm ones! Actually no need to promise I am sure skeptics wouldn't stoop so low.

Just one more thing. Who made the argument that there is too much overlap?

says James M. Taylor, senior fellow of environment policy at The Heartland Institute.

Ah yes the Heartland Institute. Another political I mean another reputable science source that any journalist writing a science article should get their information from. Like the Competitive Energy Institute, the Heartland Institute are only interested in this subject because they enjoy science. Next week the Heartland Institute will be organizing an international quantum physics conference.

Again I repeat that it is not at all bizzare for a major news organization to be getting it's science information from "senior fellows" at political thinktanks.

"Neither NASA nor NOAA responded to requests for comment."

Shit, That means no more material to quotemine from. All you have is Hansen's email and his draft paper to quotemine.

Here comes the token balance:

But Dr. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weather Underground, still believes the validity of data from NASA, NOAA and East Anglia would be in jeopardy only if the comparative analysis didn't match.

That silly Jeff Masters, he "still" believes the science is okay even though Fox News has said otherwise. I won't quote it all, there's a few sentences. Masters finishes with:

This should give us confidence that the three groups are probably doing reasonable corrections, given that the three final data sets match pretty well."

The Fox News article then continues with:

But NASA is somewhat less confident, having quietly decided to tweak its corrections to the climate data earlier this month.

So they brought in Jeff Masters simply to provide a facade of "balance". But no sooner as he is done they wildly misinterpret the Hansen et al 2010 draft paper which contains updates to the GISTEMP analysis as meaning NASA are not confident that the "corrections are reasonable". Also what the hell is the "having quietly decided" part about? How do you quietly decide something? Do you make noises while you make a decision? How about publishing a paper? Is that quiet?

There's no defense for such claims, let alone putting them in a news article which is supposed to be "fair and balanced". It's steeped in an agenda to discredit GISTEMP with flimsy arguments. It's not fair or balanced at all.

I don't think this is the kind of stuff a fox news author will know about anyway. It's too specific. Am I to really believe that they've found the draft paper on James Hansen's site and understood it? No I don't buy that for a second. Either they are reading something off a skeptic blog, or there's some CEI or Heartland Institute like person ghost writing this information for them.

So they quote CEI and Heartland Insititute "senior fellows" and balance that with Jeff Masters, but all the text in-between is more skeptic crap. Ie the article is riddled with skeptic bullshit with a few token Jeff Masters sentences in the middle, the middle because they can't help but follow up by trying to dismiss what he says. That's unbalanced. In fact including Jeff Masters just makes it worse because it's exactly what you would do if you were trying to create the mere illusion of balance without actually providing it.

In an updated analysis of the surface temperature data released on March 19, NASA adjusted the raw temperature station data to account for inaccurate readings caused by heat-absorbing paved surfaces and buildings in a slightly different way.

"A slightly different way" is not good enough. Did it make a big difference to the results or not? If not then how can you claim the change means they are "less confident" than Jeff Masters in the data? This Fox News article is complete bullshit. They might as well just hand over the website to Watt's or Joe D'Aleo and say "here you go, write some shit, we'll throw in a few sentences from Jeff Masters and call it fair and balanced". For all I know that's what they did.

But wait it gets better, after using the adjustment updates in Hansen 2010 to imply NASA are less certain in their results than Jeff Masters, they can't help but add:

Of course, this doesn't solve problems with NASA's data, as the newest paper admits: "Much higher resolution would be needed to check for local problems with the placement of thermometers relative to possible building obstructions,"

They've even cherrypicked a sentence from the paper! Someone has gone through the paper an used the common anti-scientific act of quote-mining stuff.

And it gets better!

a problem repeatedly underscored by meteorologist Anthony Watts on his Web site. Last month, Watts told that "90 percent of them don't meet [the government's] old, simple rule called the '100-foot rule' for keeping thermometers 100 feet or more from biasing influence. Ninety percent of them failed that, and we've got documentation."

Old simple rules!

It continues to get better:

Still, "confidence" is not the same as scientific law, something the public obviously recognizes.

Confidence is not the same as scientific law? What the fuck. That sentence doesn't even follow from anything, let alone make sense.

According to a December survey, only 25 percent of Americans believed there was agreement within the scientific community on climate change. And unless things fundamentally change, it could remain that way, said Taylor.

Is Taylor saying 25 percent is too low or too high? By fundamental change is he expressing a hope for more shit articles to be published in the media to bring the % down.

No he means:

"Until surface temperature data sets are truly independent of one another and are entrusted to scientists whose objectivity is beyond question, the satellite temperature record alone will not have any credibility," he said.

He cares. But what does truely independent mean? That they use completely different temperature scales? That they are not all on Earth? What does objectivity beyond question mean? How is that even obtainable? Your statement makes no fucking sense. It's not practical, it's meaningless toss.

This is why we employ scientists to do science, not pie in the sky "senior fellows" of think-tanks who...well who knows what you do.

And isn't there more than one satellite temperature record Taylor? Yes there is.

Then the article ends.

Out of Breath after a Swift Hack?

Announcing the final nail in the coffin of AGW is a common skeptic argument. There are many variants. Some skeptics will tell you outright the "theory is dead". Some just sadly inform you that "it's over". Others helpfully suggest you can just "give up" (stop making it so hard on yourself!). Amusingly some even think they can pull a fast one on you by saying something like "what shall we focus on now that the co2 theory is dead?".

It's as if they believe it possible to talk a theory to death.

This goes back before climategate even though climategate did see an increased usage in this (and all) skeptic arguments. This kind of behavior of announcing the end of a scientific theory is not an unprecedented tactic of anti-science groups.

I am going to do something similar and predict the imminent demise of climategate. It's over dudes. Like some natural cycle it just reversed. Move on. What will you focus on now that climategate didn't work?

Depressing. Seems some of them really believed climategate would be the "final nail in the coffin of AGW"

What was climategate? (like how I slipped in some past tense there?) It was more than just hacked CRU emails and data, it was mostly in fact skeptic interpretations, imaginations and topics from their past blog posts. The skeptics made sure to take every thread from the hacked emails and data they could find, but they also redoubled their efforts at smearing scientists, science institutions, surface temperature records, etc. They gave it their all - threw it all into the mix. Tried to create one massive "climategate" reason to dismiss all the science. Annoucing the end of the "co2 theory" as they sometimes put it, was a heavily invested goal.

Except we knew that wouldn't work because it was a facade. A facade that would have misled many of the public. But a facade nonetheless. It was layer upon layer of desperately bad arguments. Grasping at straws. There were good criticisms to make concerning the CRU emails and data, but they weren't nails in the coffin of manmade global warming - so not enough for the skeptics. They wanted something mega, so they span it up like crazy. They sprinted.

Now the skeptics cannot keep up that momentum, and worse the damage they have left behind is catching up with them. It must have been very exciting to have the spectre of "pending investigations" to spin, but it's not so exciting anymore when those investigations start to reach their climax..

The skeptics will be quick to complain that the investigations didn't look at the right emails, or the right data or the right arguments. The problem though is that skeptics created a cloud of rubbish arguments. If they had a point, they should have reduced the noise and just made a few clear arguments.

It was fun while it lasted. Now climategate is running out of steam. They've had their sugar rush and now they are descending into the dumps. Depressing.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

GISTEMP attacked again

In recent days the accusation has been raised on "skeptic" blogs that GISTEMP has adjusted out the true extent of cooling from 1940-1978.

The accusers cite the image in the 1976 national geographic, which shows a large decline in temperature from the 1940s to the 1970s. The claim is that GISTEMP has erased much of the cooling seen in this 1976 national geographic imagine and even that Hansen has reduced the cooling over various versions of GISTEMP's history.

Below is the comparison image used which shows the red and blue lines drawn haphazardly on the images to convey a change in the data:

This is the original article

The accusations have then spread all over the skeptic blogs:

And to less well known places:

As usual though it's not the analyzers who make the strongest accusations, it's the blogs down the line who link to each other and heap on more and more libelous smears as they go. I even had one commenter on the Joannenova blog direct me here: Through that descent into madness I may be getting close to the hideouts of the folks that send death threats to scientists.


The underlying graph is derived from Hansen et al 1981 (PDF) although the references the image in this NASA article. The paper doesn't really discuss the graph data much, I guess this is proto-GISTEMP. But the paper does strongly suggest that the graph is of meteorological stations. Ie no sea surface temperature input.

Hansen et al 1981 also shows the data for different latitude bands:

Suffice to say it's clear that the Northern latitudes exhibit a larger 1940s-1970s decline than the global record.

Hansen/GISS 1987

Not referenced. Hansen et al 1987 perhaps? The graphs in there don't quite match this one. Here are the graphs from Hansen et al 1987. These are for meteorological stations only:

Comparisons with modern GISTEMP

There is of course a difference between global GISTEMP using land from meteorological stations only, and global GISTEMP using meteorological stations plus sea surface temperature.

It is necessary to compare the old GISTEMP graphs with the right modern type. In this case the one using meteorological stations only.

Comparison of Hansen et al 1987 graph (blue overlay) with current global GISTEMP based on meteorological stations:

Comparison of Hansen et al 1981 graph (blue overlay) with current global GISTEMP based on meteorological stations:

This overlay stuff is all rough eyeball stuff, but there is little difference here o get worked up about. GISTEMP does not show any change in the period 1940-1970 over it's history that deviate from what can be expected from changes in the algorithm, input data, etc. It even coincidentally seems to be within the error bars anyway. Much fuss about nothing.

On the last image notice that the modern GISTEMP image shows a large rise starting just before 1980 while the 1981 image shows (up to 1979) flat. says:

"not only did Hansen alter the trend 1940-75, he also made a HUGE adjustment around 1975-80, much more warming trend in 2007 compared to 1981."

This is incredibly unlikely. Just how could one scientist engineer in a HUGE adjustment like that without anyone else noticing? Let alone getting it to stick. How would he even do it? He cannot alter the underlying met station data afterall. Can you not think of better reasons for the difference? I notice for example that the 1980 graph is plotted with a 5 year running mean, so potentially that is the problem as the end points of the Hansen 1981 graph will be affected.

The 1976 National Geographic graph

This is where the real disagreement is. GISTEMP and HadCRUT disagree with the following National Geographic graph:

This graph uses data from Budyko 1969 (PDF) up to 1960. The final part past 1960 is produced from radiosonde data. It's the final bit involving the radiosonde data where the substantial disagreement with GISTEMP and CRU is (and raw GHCN...). While there is some disagreement between the Budyko data and the GISTEMP and HadCRUT data, I think that could be explained by the following.

The Budyko data is described in detail in Rockboc 1982 (PDF). The summary reads:

A Russian group under the initial leadership of M. I. Budyko, has produced the first analysis of monthly average surface temperatures for the North-ern Hemisphere on a 5x10 latitude-longitude grid. This data set and the magnetic tape of the data are described in this report. The Russian data set is the first and only available digitized, gridded collection of monthly average Northern Hemisphere surface temperature data. The quality of the data over land, especially for recent periods, should be excellent and useful for many studies of climate. The quality of the data over oceans is questionable, and, unfortunately, it will not be possible to objectively determine the quality by a reanalysis. I would recommend to some-one interested in data over the oceans, to either acquire data based on ship measurements (e.g., Pal-tridge and Woodruff, 1981) or wait for the analyses of the Climate Research Unit or GISS. These later analyses will be able to include an analysis of the quality of the data over the oceans, and the depen-dance of the results on the analysis technique used. I expect the analyses of the Russians over land to be very similar to those of these other two groups.

Note the concern about the ocean part of the analysis and the suggestion that GISTEMP and HadCRUT may provide more accuracy here. The paper also notes that
"few data were available for this period south of 20N and near the North Pole, so it was not really a hemispheric average."

Jones 1986 (PDF) mentions regarding the same Russian data:
"The Russians extrapolate their analyses over the ocean areas of the Northern Hemisphere, even though only isolated island data are available. This procedure is dubious and gives a false impression of the true data coverage."

That's plenty of reasons to think that the later analyses by CRU and GISS might find different results. I think it's important to look at papers published in the 70s and early 80s to figure out exactly when and why the changes occurred as scientists typically discuss differences between their results and the results of others. I was looking for Jones 1982 earlier which apparently reviews earlier Northern Hemisphere temperature analyses, but couldn't find a PDF.

To give a case in point as to why the above issues might affect the results, take HadCRUT and CRUTEM. has a post dedicated to the National geographic graph in which they compare HadCRUT3 Northern hemisphere with the national geographic graph.

But if you use CRUTEM instead (land only), there is little disagreement through the Budyko data 1940-1960 (this overlay is y-aligned arbitrarily)
So inclusion of ocean data would seem to make a big difference. If Budyko is strongly reliant on land data then this could explain the difference.

As mentioned earlier the national geographic graph uses radiosonde data after the Budyko data ends. That's where there the big difference is. I haven't looked into this yet. I was hoping to find Jones 1982 and possibly some earlier papers which may shine light on the subject.

The bottom line for me is - why drag GISTEMP and HadCRUT into this at all?

The raw station data is out there and available. If skeptics think the 1970s show more cooling than GISTEMP and HadCRUT show, then by all means demonstrate this using the raw station data.

Tamino has already looked at the raw station data and the result has been reproduced by others too.

The 1940-1970 decline in the raw station data is not as pronounced as the national geographic article. It's absurd on the face of it to accuse GISTEMP and CRU of hiding a decline which doesn't show up in the underlying station data they use.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Cryosat 2 - "Liftoff probably won't occur before early April"

Looks like they are busy fixing problems. It was previously scheduled to launch on the 25th February.

"CryoSat 2 is first in the queue, but liftoff of the ice observation craft from Baikonur probably won't occur this month due to the late discovery of a performance issue with the Dnepr's second stage steering system."

Sunday, 7 March 2010

SMHI and Phil Jones

Stockholm Initiative Called Out Over False Accusations Against Phil Jones

Stockholm Initiative delivers false statement about parliament enquiry

The false statement is not made by the SHMI, but a body calling itself the "Stockholm Initiative". This is important to note, because the way it has been presented on certain blogs has mislead some people into thinking the false statement, with it's rather colorful phrasing, was made by the SHMI itself or another neutral Swedish science organization.

The press release containing the false statement actually comes from a body calling itself the "Stockholm Initiative" (Take a look at their website). Comparisons could be made with the Heartland Institute, although the Stockholm Initiative seems slightly more credible.

The opening words of the Stockholm Initiative press release contains a false statement attributing a statement to Phil Jones that he did not make. It wasn't Phil Jones who mentioned the data availability issue with the SHMI, it was the Professor Acton who was present alongside Phil Jones the parliamentary hearing (see the transcript of the hearing - This is a very strange and disturbing kind of error given that the transcript is very clear on who said what.

This is not the only error however. The following blog post outlines "many factual errors" that are contained in the SHMI press release:
Climate sceptics are wrong about Phil Jones and SMHI

This press-release have gained considerable attention on climate denier blogs but contains many factual errors. To begin with swedish data is not in the public domain. SMHI have recently made some data available on the internet for non commercial use, but under the explicit condition that the recipient is not allowed to disclose the data.

The license agreement is very easy to find, and if you are able to read swedish the license agreement can be read here. Paragraphs §3.2 and 4.1 are the relevant ones and here's a rough translation of §4.1
4.1 The Licensee does not own the right på disclose, send on, link to or in any other way spread the contents of the data and/or products that has been recieved in accordance with this agreement to a third part.
This is not public domain.

But it is however standard policy for SMHI, and for most of the european wheather organisations. There are even some sort of common guidelines for this sort of thing. The SMHI and others are allowing scientists free access to their data, but they are not allowed to re-publish the data.

See also

The Stockholm Initiative have not commented and clarified a response to their errors or explained how they came about. I only hope they step forward to clear matters up, or else I fear the world will not trust anything they say again. This is of course a very important subject and it would be a shame to see the reputation of such fine organizations as the Stockholm Initiative tarnished..

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Test Cases

Any method to solve the problems of duplicate combination and homogenization of stations has to deal with any number of odd situations (3-way overlaps, gaps in records, spurious jumps, false trends, poor spacial coverage). I think I will approach GHCN analysis by producing a number of test cases which a method can be run against. The benefit of test data is you can know the ideal result and therefore can quantify the accuracy of the method in it's attempt to reproduce that result.

I got the idea from here:

For example to produce a test case for the problem of duplicate merging, start off with an auto-generated ideal temperature record, clone it N times and damage those N clones in various ways (gaps, spurious trends, step changes, etc). Any method for duplicate-merging could then be tested against these N duplicate records to see how well it can reproduce the ideal temperature record. This can also be done for homogenization and other problems.

It would be nice to have a whole load of such test cases that can be run against different methods, both to verify that they don't make gross errors in certain cases, and to compare how well they do with other methods.

Below is a simple example of how a test case helped me spot a problem with my method for calculating the temperature trend of a record. Sorry to say I had assumed the slope of line of best fit through monthly data represented the temperature trend of that data.

For the test case I created a 100 year long test record spanning from January 1900 to December 2000. I intentionally designed the record so it would have an annual cycle but no longterm warming or cooling trend. So the data itself is just a sine wave around 10 degrees C. Any method that determines warming trends should find no warming trend in this record. Here is the first 5 years of the test data:

When I applied my slope of line of best fit method to this data, I found a warming trend of -0.002C/decade, or -0.02C over the entire 100 years.

I was surprised and thought I had an error in my linear trend calculation, I fully expected a full sine wave cycle to have zero trend. Glad I didn't trust my intuition. I checked against a few online linear regression applets and got the same result, so the calculation is fine. I now realize I could have figured this out faster using the the woodfortrees plotter.

If the annual cycle is 0C to 20C, instead of 9C to 11C, the cooling over the period is 0.2C! Even worse with just 50 years of data I get 0.075C/decade cooling. Overall that adds up to 0.375C cooling over the entire period. But of course there has been no such cooling in this test record, so the idea that sticking a line of best fit slope through monthly data will show the warming trend is false.

Many other people will already know this. Chad warned me about it in a previous post:
"One minor nitpick- I think you should convert to anomalies for the trend analysis. There might be some end point effects because of the annual cycle. It's probably nothing to be worried about because the data spans such a large period."

I do notice a bodge, like if I take an 18 month period from the sine wave starting at a certain point, the trend is flat. But I don't understand all this so it's a better idea to abandon the idea altogether.

What I know will work is to compute the annual average for each year and derive the trend for that. In the test data that will give the correct 0C slope (also works here)

So moral of the story for me is - test cases are important! And also I will have to work on producing and graphing annual data after.

Friday, 5 March 2010

UAH switches to v5.3

Oh man does this mean is going to have to redo all their graphs?

For all those easily locatable "skeptics" who insisted that past recorded temperature should not be changed, adjustments should not be made, etc etc - their shields are down, go get em.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Stations reporting in the past ~month

I downloaded the latest GHCN raw mean data file to find that:

1306 Stations have reported January

328 Stations have reported February data already

1581 Stations have reported at least one month since February 2009:

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


I was meaning to make this list for a while.

-Those darned climate scientists have deliberately fudged the surface temperature records so that they support manmade global warming!
-The early 20th century warming in the surface records disproves manmade global warming!

-Computers can be made to say anything! Those darned climate scientists have written the climate models so that the output supports manmade global warming!
-The climate models disprove manmade global warming because the output shows a hotspot that doesn't exist!

-The early 20th century warming in the surface records disproves manmade global warming!
-We can't believe the surface records. They are far too inaccurate!

-The ice core co2 records show co2 lags temperature, not the otherway round!
-The ice core co2 records are inaccurate due to co2 diffusing through the ice so we can't believe them!

-Low Climate Sensitivity!
-The Climate has changed a lot in the past!

-Mankind's resourcefulness and ingenuity will allow us to easily adapt to any change in climate or sea level
-A carbon tax will have a catastrophic effect on our economy and civilization

GHCN work continues...

The slow progress of GHCN analysis continues, nothing to show just tidying up some code. Have generated records for all stations using the simple duplicate merge method, but haven't done anything with them yet. Instead I decided to put in place the ability to add new duplicate merging methods without losing the older methods and associated data. That should make it easier to compare different methods later. Nothing to show from doing this kind of stuff, but it should make work faster in the longrun. I am generally slower than most people, I notice quite a few people seem to have produce GHCN raw results in a couple of days. A number of people have already reproduced Tamino's result ( and I am going to be too late that that party anyway :( all the drinks will have gone. Nevermind, it is good because now if my results don't match everyone elses I will know I've almost definitely done something wrong.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Merging Duplicate Station Records

Haven't got much time to write this. I've gone for something simple wrt merging duplicate records. I think this is pretty much Tamino's original method.

I Take two duplicates, eg (I have shifted one of them up 10 or so degrees to make it easier to see):

I subtract one duplicate from the other. That produces a list of monthly differences:

I then get the average of those differences to use as an offset. I use that offset to adjust one of the duplicates to meet the other. I then average the two duplicates to produce a single record (in blue):

When there are more than two duplicates I continue the process, taking the merged result from the first step and trying to merge a third duplicate with that. During merging if a record contains less than 30 months overlap I abandon the merge and move onto trying to merge the next duplicate record.

I didn't want to lose information by abandoning merges, afterall even though duplicate 0 and 1 might not overlap, they might both overlap well with duplicate 2. So I after the first step above, I go back afterwards to try and merge in any records that failed to be merged in the first time. For example the process to merge 5 records could go like this:

Merge 0+1 pass
Merge (0+1)+2 pass
Merge (0+1+2)+3 fail
Merge (0+1+2)+4 fail
Merge (0+1+2)+5 pass

If I left it at that I would lose both duplicates 3 and 4. But the second go around could now find that duplicate 3 matches:

Merge (0+1+2+5)+3 pass
Merge (0+1+2+5+3)+4 fail
result= (0+1+2+5+3), duplicate 4 discarded.

As a result I only lose one duplicate. I go round and round until no more merges succeed.


I've only tested this on a handful of stations and by eye it looks okay, but I want to write some validation tests to spot any weird things happening. As it currently stands I calculate an offset when merging two duplicates, but I don't check that the difference between them is roughly a constant offset to begin with. It should be, but it might be possible that a station has two duplicates that totally contradict each other. It would be nice to at least raise a warning for weird stuff like that and review it.

It should be possible to automatically detect a number of other weird things too. For example here's a blog finding a possible problem with a raw GHCN record:“trick”-in-australia/

I haven't looked at it much but it looks like the GHCN raw record duplicate 0 for this station incorrectly contains the tail end of a record that should really be a duplicate in it's own right. As a result the early part of duplicate 0 is offset downward from the latter part - which is separated by a gap.

Here it is in GISTEMP:

If this is an error then my merge method would end up merging the records incorrectly (or rather it wouldn't spot the problem and correct for it). It should be possible to at least identify such a large gap and that the record preceding the gap has a very different average to the record just after it. So that could be flagged as "possible problem".

In this way I could either review the possible problems or run an analysis "with possible problems" and without to see what difference it makes.

Willis Eschenbach Deconstructed

See here for what Willis Eschenbach has to say

Willis Eschenbach gets mad at Judith Curry. I present some extracts, out of order. But they are in order of relevant points.

Willis writes:
"And you wonder why we don’t trust you? Here’s a clue. Because a whole bunch of you are guilty of egregious and repeated scientific malfeasance, and the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence. Your response is to stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes."

Willis Eschenbach also argues:
"The problem is that 71.3% of what passes as peer reviewed climate science is simply junk science, as false as the percentage cited in this sentence. The lack of trust is not a problem of perception or communication. It is a problem of lack of substance. Results are routinely exaggerated. “Scientific papers” are larded with “may” and “might” and “could possibly”. Advocacy is a common thread in climate science papers. Codes are routinely concealed, data is not archived. A concerted effort is made to marginalize and censor opposing views."

Evidentially Willis is wrong. The problem is not a lack of substance. This is clear by looking at an area of climate science which is pretty much rock solid in substance. The fact of recent co2 rise and it's human cause for example. The evidence in that case is overwhelming, the science is settled. So by Willis's logic there should be no "problem" there right?

Yet we have had the Great Global Warming Swindle and Ian Plimer telling people that volcanoes emit more co2 than man. We have Ernst Beck accusing scientists of fraud when it comes to the instrumental co2 record. We have Jaworkowsi doing what amounts to the same to ice core researchers. And we have all those denier blog posts that have the side effect of making readers lose trust in the fact co2 rise is human caused.

So this is not an issue of substance as Willis claims. Otherwise the deniers would not be spamming the entire field of climate science, including very solid areas, with their lies and distortions and accusations of fraud.

As far as I am aware, the likes of Willis Eschenbach do not actively go out of their way to correct those who make absurd co2 claims.

So to Willis I say:

And you wonder why we don’t trust you? Here’s a clue. Because a whole bunch of you are guilty of egregious and repeated scientific malfeasance, and the rest of you are complicit in the crime by your silence. Your response is to stick your fingers in your ears and cover your eyes.

and with some rewording I get:

"The problem is that 71.3% of what passes as denialist talking points is simply junk, as false as the percentage cited in this sentence. The reason we call them deniers is not a problem of perception or communication. It is a problem of their lack of substance. Minor problems and errors are routinely exaggerated in denialist blog posts. “Scientific papers” are misinterpreted, or spun so that caveats such as “may” and “might” and “could possibly” are omitted. Political advocacy is a common thread in denialist blog posts. Context is routinely concealed, the big picture is routinely ignored. A concerted effort is made to marginalize and discredit science."

I was amused to see that Willis also made a reference to "policing your own backyard" too. It's utter hypocrisy:

The solution is for you to stop trying to pass off garbage as science. The solution is for you establishment climate scientists to police your own back yard.

As I have mentioned before, they don't get a free pass because they are "just blogs".

Willis also makes two statements that leaves scientists in a lose-lose situation:

"We’re not interested in scientists who don’t mention their doubts."

but also
"“Scientific papers” are larded with “may” and “might” and “could possibly”"

That's right. No sooner as scientists mention their doubts which Willis demands of them, Willis is ready to jump on them for using caveats. Uncertainty cuts both ways, it can make known risks uncertain, but can also raise the specter of risk in the unknown. Willis seems to think only one of these is valid.

Judith isn't necessarily wasting her time, but I doubt these people will be satisfied by the truth, which is that manmade global warming is a fact despite climategate and errors in the IPCC report. They want the whole thing discredited and so muddying science is their goal.

Friday, 26 February 2010



A customizable sized grid can now be drawn over the world map and the grid cells can be colored or contain a text item. Below I have plotted a grid of 30x30 cells. The number inside each is the number of stations in that grid cell. The stations are also plotted as blue dots. The image is quite blurry due to the jpeg compression.

In the image below a grid of 10x10 cells is drawn with cells containing more than 10 stations highlighted.

Finally 30x30 cells again with the proportion of area of the globe each cell contains:

Saturday, 20 February 2010

How Skeptics Distorted the CRU Emails In the Name of "Climategate" (Part 2)

I continue my critical analysis of the SPPI "Climategate Analysis" report, email by email. I will try to stick to the following formatting to make things clear:
Parts in this color and in bold are the reports own words. Parts in this color and in italics are the report's quotes from the CRU emails. All other parts are my own analysis.

email 0843161829

The report starts:

Two days after the previous exchange, Gary Funkhouser reports on his attempts to obtain anything from the data that could be used to sell the message of climate change:

I really wish I could be more positive about the ... material, but I swear I pulled every trick out of my sleeve trying to milk something out of that. ... I don’t think it’d be productive to try and juggle the chronology statistics any more than I already have—they just are what they are ... I think I’ll have to look for an option where I can let this little story go as it is.

Now where in that text is there anything about "selling the message of climate change"? That interpretation cannot have been drawn from the email, which simply doesn't support it. So where does it come from? Where is the hidden place that the Analysis frequently dips into to draw these wild accusations?

What are Briffa and Funkhouser even discussing here? The self-styled "Climategate Analysis" doesn't say. That's right the skeptics can't even be bothered to figure out what aspect of the science is being discussed. In fact the report goes as far as to omit parts of it with ellipses as if it's all just getting in the way of the allegations they want to make.

Here's a thought - what if Gary Funkhouser is not complaining that he can't obtain data to sell the message of climate change, but is actually complaining that he can't get data to show anything? Ie that the data is too noisy to yield a signal? Wouldn't that be consistent with the email? Why yes it would. In fact one of the ellipsed out sentences "The data's tempting but there's too much variation even within stands." suggests that no?

Me thinks you "skeptics" have the idea of email analysis backwards! You are interpreting the emails to fit your conclusion. But what you should be doing is interpreting the emails to determine the conclusion. In other words the "hidden place" mentioned earlier which you are drawing to interpret individual emails is in fact your conclusion.

So I see a vicious cycle, a kind of snake eating it's own tail. Your conclusion comes from your interpretation, but at the same time your interpretation is drawn from your conclusion. So which came first, the chicken or the egg? I suspect the paradox is resolved by observing the baggage skeptics arrived with before they began the analysis. They wanted climategate so badly that they formed their conclusion before looking at the emails, which due to their bad analysis technique tainted their interpretation of the emails, which then looped back to reinforce their conclusion. There is surely not enough ridicule in the whole world that would be sufficient to heap upon these "skeptics".

The report continues:

His reluctance to report a “null result” (namely, that the data do not show anything significant) is extremely disturbing as it flies in the face of standard scientific practice, which requires that all results be reported.

Bullshit. If you can't extract a signal from some noisy data and therefore you have nothing to use for any analysis, you don't go and publish a paper saying you couldn't do any analysis because the data was too noisy. Where are these "we didn't do shit" papers published? In the International Journal of Having a Laugh?

The fundamental problem is that any censoring of results that do not lead to a predetermined conclusion will always—by design—bias the corpus of reported results towards that conclusion

Wow that describes the SPPI report. Censoring of the straight-forward interpretations of emails that do not lead to the predetermined conclusion, "bias the corpus of reported results towards that conclusion". However in case of this email, there is no hint of a predetermined conclusion being discussed. Indeed the email seems to be saying the problem is that no conclusion can be drawn.

in the same way that a gambler who always brags about his wins (but stays silent about his losses) will appear to be hugely successful, even if his losses have, in reality, far outweighed his winnings (as is generally the case, in the long run, except for the extremely skillful).

They were clever to add the "except for the extremely skillful" caveat at the end, if they hadn't done it someone might have criticized them over such an error!

We will, sadly, see that this fundamental scientific flaw—which, in and of itself, is sufficient to render the evidence for climate change completely unreliable and scientifically worthless—is one that runs throughout the entire Climategate saga.

They make the word "sadly" sound so...insincere. It's like they are trying to play on my emotions...but utterly failing. The hyperbole here based on the flawed analysis pointed out above needs no comment. We will, sadly, see a lot more of this in the rest of the analysis/saga I am sure.

Note, also, the immense power wielded—albeit ever so subtly—by Briffa: he influenced the analysis that Funkhouser performed, simply by telling him that the results would need to politically “saleable”. Scientists are not naive: they know that securing funding, publication of their papers, and interest from other institutions are the key factors determining their future.

This is talking about the last email I discussed and it showed no such thing. This is a new phenomenon we have discovered though - one email's misinterpretation being relied on as a crutch to misinterpret another. I imagine that quite a lot of the analysis works like this, a rotten construction.

Reforming the IPCC

My idea for reforming the IPCC is to set up a funded group whose sole aim is to defend science by addressing the output of the deniosphere, whether on blogs or in the media.

Given that deniers claim their smears and shit analyses are simply "questions" and that they just want good science to prevail, they can hardly complain about the construction of such a group.

How Skeptics Distorted the CRU Emails In the Name of "Climategate" (Part 1)

Global warming skeptics have published and propagated an analysis of the CRU emails which is shockingly biased.

This report was is based on an online analysis that was spotted and packaged up by the Science Public Policy Institute (SPPI), a global warming skeptic organization. It was then propagated uncritically through various skeptic blogs and political think-tanks of the world.

It is very revealing given how poor the analysis of the emails is, that it was accepted uncritically even by the bigger skeptic names. This makes it a good read for fence-sitters who might appreciate an insight into how global warming skeptics are prone to accepting, and indeed spreading, any garbage that supports their position. I therefore recommend that fence-sitters are referred to the report to "decide for themselves" whether the interpretations reflect the emails fairly.

I will continue my critical analysis of this report, email by email. I will try to stick to the following formatting to make things clear:
Parts in this color and in bold are the reports own words. Parts in this color and in italics are quotes from the CRU emails. All other parts are my own analysis.

email 0842992948

The report describes this email as such:

"We now turn to Keith Briffa, one of the more curious University of East Anglia characters in the Climategate saga. Gary Funkhouser of the University of Arizona writes to Briffa about some data that was collected in the late 1980s. Briffa makes it clear that he is only interested in the data if it can be used to “sell” the climate change message to the general public:"

To back this allegation up the report quotes this part of Briffa's email, which as you see does not back up their allegation at all:

Briffa: "The data is of course interesting but I would have to see it and the board would want the larger implications of the statistics clearly phrased in general and widely understandable (by the ignorant masses) terms before they would consider it not too specialised."

My interpretation of the email, which I think reflects what any unbiased person would see, is that there is a report for public consumption being produced. Briffa is stating that whatever goes into that report cannot be too technical. If it's aimed at the public it must be understandable by the public. It must be summarized and what goes in there must be relevant. This is all standard stuff that any technical group will do if producing a report for a lay audience.

The skeptic interpretation is nonsense. There's no hint that what is being discussed can be used to “sell” the climate change message to the public, let alone that Briffa is advocating any such bias. Not only have the skeptics interpreted this in a way that is unsupported by the text, but they have the gall to claim their interpretation is "clear" from what Briffa says!

If the skeptics have a genuine case, why must they resort to misinterpreting emails such as this? If they aren't just out to smear scientists and science, why do they seem they so willing to do so in the case of this email? I assure you this isn't an isolated example. The SPPI report is full of these kind of misinterpretations and I plan to continue demonstrating this email by email.

Friday, 19 February 2010


The problem with the current "debate", which I have seen others mention elsewhere (I can't remember where or I would link), is the asymmetry.

Scientific research labs and institutions are held accountable for what they publish and the media will actually criticize them for any mistakes. They simply couldn't get away producing and publishing anything near as low quality as the SPPI analysis of the CRU emails. Even the investigative team that is reviewing the CRU emails is under scrutiny.

In contrast, none of the usual denialist outlets have any accountability. They can't be discredited even if they deserve it. Noone writes headlines when Watt's screws up. Same with the Heartland Institute and SPPI. Noone writes headlines when an analysis like the one the SPPI published gets spread like wildfire. The deniosphere have a lack of oversight. Anyone can say what they want of course - even really ridiculous things - but they should be justly held to account and widely discredited if they do say ridiculous things or behave badly (it's overdue).

It's ironic of course that a lot of denialist's appeal to immense levels of accountability from the likes of the IPCC and the CRU, without demanding any of themselves.

Therein lies a bit of a skeptic delusion about the difference, I am sure you've heard a variant. It's that scientific organizations, etc should be held accountable because they are funded by tax payers.

This is wrong of course. Scientific organizations should be held accountable even if they are privately funded and that goes for non-scientific organizations too. If you mislead people, intentionally or not, you should be held accountable. Which in many cases can just mean some bad press. Being discredited is the risk you run and so hopefully stops people running it. That's the checking role the media and journalists play and any publishing medium that can possibly influence decisions that affect many people, should be held accountable. Yes even blogs. Even think-tanks. When they get to a certain level of influence it's the job of the media to hold them accountable.

But lets go back to the talking point, and for the moment drop the fundamental error in it's premise about taxpayer funding determining accountablity, because there is a further error in the argument even when we accept it's premise. If you are misleading people over aspects of science and that science has been taxpayer funded, then by extension you are wasting people's tax money. Therego by the same argument you should be held just as accountable for falsely discrediting the science and wasting taxpayers money.

A little sarcasm there - but there is also a point. We can't have a world where a denialosphere and psuedo-journalists can run rampant tearing down the public perception of good science to the extent that they try - and get away with it just because they "aren't funded by tax payers".

Critically the deniers don't get much bad press, even despite all the gaffes and libelous smears they make. In part it is because they aren't as visible and influencial as we might imagine. They don't afterall get much good press either if you think about it.

Of course recently they've been getting more mentions in the mainstream papers. And here a pendulum could have already been swung. The deniers should hope it hasn't been swung too far in their favor, because the back-swing has a journalist investigating a newly discovered "wattsupwiththat" blog and it's ties to certain think-tanks. There is a story there, but it's only newsworthy if the "skeptics" and their message gets so loud that the public would be interested to read it.

This happened recently in the case of the misquote of John Houghton, former IPCC head. The deniers had been relaying this quote for so long, and Monckton recently so loudly, that the a leading UK newspaper took it to print. In part it was thanks to John Houghton taking it to task, but if not for the loudness of skeptics recently I don't think it would have been newsworthy.

Now accountability might not occur. The deniers might not ever get relevant enough to get sufficient media attention for it to happen. Especially given that time is running out for them - as much as they will deny it they have gambled on warming not continuing and so when it does they will find their foundations crumbling.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Example of Pseudogate

Someone called John P. Costella has picked out the "key" CRU emails and analyzed them:

John, your analysis of the emails is appalling. Yet I believe you have created a work of art. It's like a painting of what's going on inside "skeptic" minds when they imagine Climategate.

I will take one of the emails you analyzed and show how you are trying too hard. You take a perfectly innocent email and extract the most amazing conclusion out of it.

No wonder skeptics have made it clear they plan to refuse any investigation result they don't like as a "whitewash". It's because perhaps you guys know your entire case is an illusion bourne of wishful misinterpretation of bog standard emails.

email 0837094033

First here is my interpretation of the email.

This is an email exchange between Phil Jone's and a US colleague. Phil Jones discusses a scientific issue and then sticks a big P.S at the end in which he goes into non-work related aside. It's a kind of "hey in other news you know you have those skeptics? We've got one too.". He ends with a joke. I think this kind of email is run of the mill communication between US and UK colleagues. Work stuff, followed by some trivia of "whats happening in the UK right now".

Now lets look at your interpretation...

"Note that Jones is immediately reporting the existence of this first British skeptic to climate scientists on the other side of the Atlantic, taking special note of the “air time” (exposure on television or radio) that the skeptic is apparently receiving.

This is nothing but a cheap spy story woven around a perfectly run of the mill email. You shouldn't be adding such a story to the email as part of an analysis. The email does not warrant your total lack of regard for my far more ordinary and believable interpretation. Occam's Razor my friend.

You continue:
"Already, we can start to appreciate that the politics and “spin doctoring” in this field outweighs the scientific issues. Continuing from Jones’s email:"

We can't appreciate something that is only there if you presume it. Unless of course by "appreciate" you mean "justify our preconceived conclusions". How else could you have come to such a quick broad conclusion about an entire field based on what is consistent with a run of the mill email?

And just a minor point: Phil Jones started off the email with a scientific issue. That's the main content of the email. In fact many of the emails concern scientific issues, but those tend to be the emails that skeptics don't cite. Slagging off Piers Corbyn is an aside - marked under P.S.

You continue to weave a cheap story around the email:
Jones’s report is as efficient as that of an intelligence agent: the skeptic is dangerous because he is the British equivalent of a college professor—in the “hard sciences” of physics and astronomy, no less.

Now we have talk of "intelligence agents" and "dangerous" you see yourself as the next Dan Brown?

And you continue:
However, he softens his attitude to the skeptic slightly: "He’s not all bad as he doesn’t have much confidence in nuclear-power safety."
We here see clearly that Jones’s assessment of a scientist’s worth is influenced strongly by his assessment of their ideology—in scientific terms, nuclear power safety is completely unrelated to the science of climate change.

Your interpretation leaves a lot to be desired. You also missed the key context in Jone's next sentence:

"He's not all bad as he doesn't have much confidence in nuclear-power safety. Always says that at the begining of his interviews to show he's not all bad!"

Sounds like a joke to me, and the first part now sounds like sarcasm. Ie Phil Jones hasn't softened his attitude at all, but is jibing at Corbyn for raising his nuclear-power safety view at the start of his interviews as if it showed he wasn't all bad.

You conclude:
"This dangerous prejudice will prove to be one of the most persistent threads throughout the Climategate scandal."

Which speaks volumes of "Climategate" that you can reach such conclusions based on such an unnoteworthy email. Dare I say it's almost as if the "climate gate" scandal is perhaps the conclusion you want and your rubbish analysis is simply a means to achieve it?

I believe that at least 90% of Climategate is just the bullshit imagination of skeptics who exaggerate it for politics. Yes ironically they go mental when the IPCC report is wrong and has exaggerated something, but they are happy to exagerate most of the stuff in the CRU emails. In fact they demand the media report it.

Just in case none of this was clear I will resort to an analogy. I am not comparing Corbyn with a creationist. It's sad that I have to make that clear, but I do. I am just showing that the analysis technique is clearly Fail.

From: UK Biologist
To: US Biologist

Some science stuff here.

PS. Britain seems to have found it's Kent Hovind (US Creationist). Our population is only 25 % of yours so we only get 1 for every 4 you have. His name in case you should come across him is Bob Creationist. He is nowhere near as good as a couple of yours and he's an utter prat but he's getting a lot of air time at the moment. For his day job he teaches medicine at a University and he predicts flu outbreaks from solar phenomena. He bets on his predictions months ahead for what will happen in Britain. He now believes he knows all there is to know about the evolution issue. He's not all bad as he doesn't have much confidence in biblical literalism. Always says that at the begining of his interviews to show he's not all bad !

Now if I applied your analysis technique to this email - what would I find?

Already, we can start to appreciate that the politics and “spin doctoring” in this field outweighs the scientific issues.

Well there goes the entire field of biology.

I'll continue using your own analysis on the biology email to show how shoddy it is.

Note that this UK biologist is immediately reporting the existence of this first British evolution skeptic to biologists on the other side of the Atlantic, taking special note of the “air time” (exposure on television or radio) that the skeptic is apparently receiving.

The UK Biologist report is as efficient as that of an intelligence agent: the skeptic is dangerous because he is the British equivalent of a college professor—in the science of medicine, no less.

However, he softens his attitude to the skeptic slightly:

"He’s not all bad as he doesn’t have much confidence in biblical literalism."

We here see clearly that the UK Biologist's assessment of a scientist’s worth is influenced strongly by his assessment of their ideology — in scientific terms, biblical literalism is completely unrelated to the science of evolution. This dangerous prejudice will prove to be one of the most persistent threads throughout the Evolutiongate scandal."

Yeah it's Evolutiongate. Throw in a few more emails with such analysis, parrot it over the INTERNET, and you generate a false rumor. Then the idiots who fall for it will go all over news sites going "why aren't you reporting on the emails??? OMFG email 0837094033 shows us that "spin doctoring" is rampant in biological sciences.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist

Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist

The most eye opening thing is the comments by skeptics under the article.

There was nearly an Iron-Sun-Gate

On the same BBC blog I had raised the point that even Lindzen and Choi propose about 0.5C warming from doubling co2 and that as 0.5C represents more than half the warming of the 20th century then even by Lindzen's estimate co2 will probably be the primary driver of the temperature trend over the 21st century.

This was not to counter all skeptics as a good number of skeptics accept the above, Lindzen for one. It was to counter a certain fundamentalist kind of psuedoskepticsm that I was observing on the BBC blog and others that seeks to claim co2 has no effect on climate whatsoever. This fundamentalist group are typically the worse of conspiracy theorists too, for co2 having no effect on climate whatsoever is a necessary condition for their conspiracies that it is just an excuse for taxes or a new world order, etc. If there was a genuine basis for the focus on co2 having an important role in climate change these conspiracies would flounder.

Shortly after a skeptic told me that the "science is NOT settled". Science in general is not settled, I don't think there is a theory in science that is settled. I decided to rephrase "settled" so it was clear I was talking about the current state of the science. I replied that in my view the science had settled down on the matter of doubling co2 causing at least 0.5C warming - although never say never.

I also haphazardly threw a passing grenade at psuedoskepticism by pointing out that, in my opinion anyway, the psuedoskeptic movement have opened their minds so much that nothing can be considered be settled. Any idea becomes credible (ernst beck, g&t, even recently "it has not warmed"). As an example I mentioned a global warming skeptic paper that had been published on the internet had argued the core of the sun was made of iron.

This provoked a remarkable response which chastised me for being dishonest:

"And as far as I recall, I disabused you personally of this intellectually dishonest claim some time ago. If you cannot direct me to where a genuine sceptic said this, you should be ashamed of yourself, because it's clear you make things up for political effect

I demand that you direct us -- NOW."

I don't remember being disabused, although perhaps I had posted about the iron sun paper before and not read the replies. I guess this is a little like climategate. With insufficient evidence, conclusions are drawn (meanwhile another skeptic is repeatedly demanding EVIDENCE WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE? from me)

Anyway here we have a skeptic who considers that the publishing of an iron sun paper by a global warming skeptic would reduce the credibility of skeptics sufficiently that it would be a slur to claim such a thing if it wasn't true.

So there should be outrage that such a paper does indeed exist, let alone that, contrary to what I had thought, it was actually published in Energy and Environment not simply on the internet. If we took just 1% of the outrage of climategate and applied it to this travesty, what should we get? Surely this should become Energy-and-Environment-Iron-Sun-Gate should it not?

The paper is "Earth's Heat Source - The Sun" by Oliver K. Manuel

I am no scientist and my technical knowledge on stats, math, climate science, etc is rudimentary. I also know nothing about solar models. So I have no personal technical perspective on Oliver Manuel's "iron sun" idea whatsoever. It could be right. But I have noticed a lot of experts who think the idea is a little on the fringe. And I am willing to go with that.

Although really it matters not what I think, the skeptic in this case has made it clear that they find the idea of an iron sun to be preposterous. I should be ashamed with myself for even claiming a climate skeptic has published such a paper.

But if you thought this would damage the credibility of Energy and Environment in some way, let alone become a fully fledged "Gate", well no.

"I stand corrected -- there is someone crazy enough! I guess I should have known.

But is this a typical "sceptic paper on the web" that infinity just happened to be stumble upon as part of his open-minded research into the case for scepticism, or is it something he (and you) looked up on Google specifically to show that such a paper actually existed?"

So I am still on trial, not for an "intellectually dishonest claim" this time, but for possible cherrypicking from google. For some reason the paper that the skeptic thought was a slur on skeptics if it existed matters no more now that it does - even though it was not in some dusty part of the internet as I originally remembered, but actually published in Energy and Environment.

What now matters is whether I have cherrypicked the paper from a google search. I think that matters not, if I had cherrypicked something crazy - that should be all the more reason to expect a journal wouldn't have published it.

But it gets worse. How I found this paper was not by cherrypicking from a google search, but:

"I wouldn't have heard of the paper but for a certain list of "450 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of Man-Made Global Warming" that was paraded around the internet by skeptics a year or so ago. Featured an article on WUWT etc and was posted on various blogs, etc. If you google the exact phrase "450 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of" you get 97,500 hits.

I bothered to trawl through some of the list to see what the papers were like. So I didn't so much as look for this paper up on google as had shoved in my face at the time.

Notice also the presence of strange contradiction in the title of the list itself. Skeptics tell us that climate scientists act as "gatekeepers" stopping anything skeptical of manmade global warming being published. But here they are claiming nigh on 500 papers have been published. Yet again they want to have it both ways - both claiming being persecuted and supressed, but they also want to claim a large number of skeptical publications exist. As the old adage goes heads we win, tails you lose."

So now the entire deniosphere are implicated. Will there now be an Energy-And-Envrionment-Published-An-Iron-Sun-Gate? Will there be an investigation?

I sure don't care much, this isn't outrageous, it's just part of the usual psuedoskepticism. I wasn't the one uptight about reality though, I was just pointing it out.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

posted comment to BBC Richard Black's blog

I shouldn't bother reading the comments on BBC blogs anymore, they are mostly filled with stuff that winds me up rather than anything interesting. I can almost guarantee that if I read anything in such places I will lose at least the next hour as I cannot go without ranting out a reply. For some reason I can't let absolute garbage accusations go unchallenged. If someone else challenges them for me my blood pressure goes down. If not...

Is it even constructive to reply though? Will I just harden the people I reply to? Possibly. What about fence sitters who read what I say? In fact I don't really care, it's just something I have to do. I feel better if I reply than if I don't. If there is such a thing as karma though this behavior cannot be good for it. Part of me thinks just to sell my computer, pretend the Internet doesn't exist and live a relaxed life in blissful ignorance of denialist nonsense.

Anyway below is a comment I just posted expressing utter exasperation.

"So little of what "skeptics" are arguing makes sense. I don't know where to begin. There are layers upon layers of utter rubbish being said.

I have to somehow put into words the errors and tangle of contradictions I am reading from skeptics. A whole bundle of stuff that doesn't make sense. Internal contradictions. How can I do this concisely? I'll just make a davblo style list I think. We'll see how it goes.

1) My overriding point here is that there is something rotten in the "skeptic" community. There are growling contradictions in the background and glaring mistakes on top.

2) What Joe says about (20-1) co2 is a common fallacy. But nevermind, lets just write off an entire field of science over our own misunderstanding of the carbon cycle.

3) It is claimed above that AGW is merely an extrapolation of data. This is outlandishly false. AGW is based on explanation of how the climate works, not data extrapolation.

4) The claim about AGW being a hypothesis of Callendar and Keeling is just historically false.

5) The claim that the IPCC have ignored 150 years of data is bizarre, slightly comical and at the same time slightly unnerving to imagine the poster might actually believe it.

6) I see comments by skeptics claiming that the early 20th century warming is an argument against AGW. Yet think about it - "skeptics" are keen to accuse the climate scientists that produce the temperature records of willingness to commit fraud to further AGW. Why then would such scientists leave an early 20th century warming in the temperature records? That's right, "skeptics" want to both claim scientists willingly modify the surface record to support AGW and that also they've put in something that falsifies in it. The skeptics want to have their cake and eat it too. It just doesn't make sense. I submit that the "skeptics" often don't even realize their own contradictions, for their position is born of little more than downright contrarianism that requires little thought than to simply oppose ideas and generate conspiracy theories.

7) The climate models that are widely known to show AGW also show much of the early 20th century warming due to natural causes. How then can "skeptics" even begin to claim that warming in the early 20th century contradicts AGW when the very models that show AGW also show early 20th century warming?

3) "Skeptics" are trying to pour doubt on the early 20th century temperature record. That's right - they are trying to claim the early 20th century temperature record is inaccurate, but at the same time they want to use it for an argument! It's sheer ridiculous. Yet stranger-than-fiction - it's happening all over the internet.

The problem here is that "skeptics" only engage one single simple concept at a time and they seemingly lose track of the big picture, of how the different concepts tie together and how things make sense overall.

This is what science does - it makes sense of the world by trying to explain it. This is not what the skeptics are doing, they are playing a contrarian game wherein they try to knock down single concepts, one at a time. That's why they so often knock down concepts they later try to rely on to knock down others. Internal inconsistency.

If "skeptics" are making this many mistakes can we really trust they have their conclusions in order? How about instead of doubting the science because some skeptics make wild claims (20-1 co2! extrapolations!), we start doubting the "skeptics" have anything useful to bring to the subject?

I went back in hindsight and put the word skeptics in double quotes. I may have missed some."