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Earth Science

Where the Global Warming Data Is 1011

Posted by kdawson
from the premiere-cru dept.
Several readers noted the latest fallout from the Climate Research Unit's Climategate: the admission by the University of East Anglia that the raw data behind important climate research was discarded in the 1980s, "a time when climate change was seen as a less pressing issue" according to the Times (UK) article. The Telegraph quotes Phil Jones, beleagured head of the CRU: "Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them." Some of the data behind these other results can likely be found in a new resource that jamie located up at the Real Climate site: a compilation of links to a wide variety of raw data about climate. From the former link: "In the aftermath of the CRU email hack, many people have come to believe that scientists are unfairly restricting access to the raw data relating to the global rise in temperature. ... We have set up a page of data links to sources of temperature and other climate data, codes to process it, model outputs, model codes, reconstructions, paleo-records, the codes involved in reconstructions etc."
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Where the Global Warming Data Is

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:14PM (#30265522)

    when there aren't cheap alternative energy sources

    humanity will have to learn to control, to some extent, earth's climate eventually anyways, if it is sooner rather than later, so be it

  • My A*& will be sore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wdhowellsr (530924) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:31PM (#30265646)
    I have an energy patent that will go live January 2010. Forgetting for the moment that I don't own it - more when it's live - , within about sixty seconds of it being available to read, the scientific community will rip me several new ones until every single one of them can duplicate everything that I've done with their own labs and equipment.

    Ponds and Fleishman said they successfully created cold fusion and they are now bus boys at Chili's. What I'm saying is that if the scientific community subjected the CRU to even the most basic scrutiny they would either be forced to prove their conclusions or sent packing.

    Imagine for a moment someone spent thirty years recording data in any field then compiled a report based on their interpretation of the data only to delete all of the raw data. What reasonable person on this planet would say, "No problem, I trust you." Bull$#%@.

    This isn't Republican or Democrat, American or European, this is the very basis of what Slashdot is founded on, that is don't give me bull$%#@ show me the data and your source, and most of all don't patronize me!

    This world is going in the crapper unless we call everyone's BS.

    "When the scientific principal is replaced by conventional wisdom or worse peer pressure, what prevents us from returning to the dark ages?"

    William David Howell Sr.
  • AGW = ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mdmkolbe (944892) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:32PM (#30265658)

    So does AGW stand for "anthropomorphic global warming" or "anti-global warming"? And would "anti-global warming" mean you are against global warming (meaning you think it's happening) or you are against the theory that global warming is happening?

  • Deleted data (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:36PM (#30265696)

    If Jones lost the data in the 1980's, then why do many of the emails from Jones (written from 1997 to 2009) talk about deleting the data should a successful FOIA request ever materialize? Oh well. I guess inquiring minds no longer read slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:44PM (#30265754)

    Strawman argument. Fight windmills much?

    The researcher can write in a clearly visible footnote, "by the way, the data for this is unavailable to anyone as we had to sign an NDA to get it". The reader and peer-reviewers will then have to decide to view the results slightly more questioningly and rely more on the credibility of the researcher, and might when they pick a graph for the front page of their monthly magazine choose one with openly available data instead. This is the normal way to do it. In fact, it's the way anyone except trolls and disinformative idiots would do it. Would you provide an article to a peer-reviewed journal with a written policy of requiring disclosure of data, while not including such a footnote? Would anyone?

    Seriously, you will get some scientists that are fine with using proprietary data and some who are not. What the so called skeptics are arguing is that because SOME scientists decided the benefits of using more data outweigh the cons of being unable to disclose it, that means the entire field of climate science is a fraud.

    It is clear from the discussions that being "unable to disclose" isn't the case most of the time - it's "not wanting to disclose". In your view these may be the same, but in realists' view they are not. Please ask me for quotes and references, including a couple of views provided by various professors.

    "Never mind that their findings agree with research done with open data, never mind that you could in principle go sign an NDA yourself if you mistrust the CRU so badly.

    Read. Read anything, because you obviously haven't. The CRU manipulated raw data using various statistical techniques and produced very widely published results that showed an alarming trend. Others have not provided what the CRU provided. When asked, the CRU stated that the raw data AND their transformations had been deleted. Based on their internal emails it is not clear that it HAS been deleted, and quotes can be found of "I would rather delete this data than send it under an FOIA request" (literally, which would be a criminal act). This means that "signing an NDA yourself if you mistrust the CRU so badly" would not be possible even though you claim to do so, because the raw data and how the CRU has transformed it isn't available.

    No it must all be a conspiracy, including the research that were made with open data that achieved the same conclusions.

    +5 for dismissing a case as conspiracy theorists while obviously lacking knowledge about it.

  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:46PM (#30265780)

    Regardless if global warming is a problem, we should ALL strive to lessen our effect on the environment. Restricting emissions that may not heat up the planet, BUT have noticeable problems on health of humans and wildlife. I feel like I have to remind people that even if global warming is false we should always do what we can to conserve our resources and lessen pollution.

    Hippie.

    Actually, if I had a choice (regardless of any other environmental impact) if I wanted to live in a place that had clean air or a place that was filled with smog, I choose the clean air. I would prefer my kids not to grow up with hacking coughs and running short of breath after a short run.

    Add to that, that whatever we put up into the air often comes back down in the rain, and suddenly rivers are lifeless or algae blooms, our nature reserves if we have them are infested with weeds as the native fauna struggles to survive, and it's very quickly a bleak picture.

    If you can't cause less pollution to stop a greater environmental impact, stop polluting so much to keep the little area around you alive and hospitable. Your health, your kids health will be so much better for it.

  • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @10:48PM (#30265792)

    Outside of the science, all I know is that the climate zone in my local area has changed. Plants which you could not grow before, you can grow now. I hear from Innuit that there are plants and animals in the North which they have not seen before. I know that tornadoes dot the German Rhine where no tornadoes were seen before, I know hurricanes on the Eastern seaboard are behaving differently, I know that Crete was so dry when I saw it that I couldn't imagine olive trees growing there without irrigation, I know that our highways are a half kilometer wide and countless kilometers long, with thousands upon thousands of idling cars sitting on them, ten times a week for as long as I've been alive, and I know that sea captains don't want to traverse the Indian ocean because the almanacs are no longer reasonable guides to chart how long a given voyage from one port to the next might take.

    Everything else is told to me by strangers. Maybe the arctic is intact, maybe the rainforests never actually existed. Maybe Mt. Kilamajaro doesn't exist, maybe it's all a mind control plot. All plausible answers I suppose from people telling me that climate change is a myth.

    Has anyone here seen a rainforest? Have you seen the clearcutting? Maybe none of this is real. Right now, the temperature where I am is 6 Celcius. Is my thermometer tampered with by some global warming co-conspirators? If I wrote it down, would somebody question it 100 years from now? Maybe the celcius scale has been tampered with.

  • by wdhowellsr (530924) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:32PM (#30266194)
    I apologize to be so forthwright, but you have no idea what I know! One of my closest friends was the first to prove that Pond's and Fleishman's research was lacking.

    As for reading everything about this subject and related information, I would recommend you look at the submissions to the major journals of paleoclimatology over the last one hundred years.

    Please reply to me if you find a paper submitted that wasn't critically peer reviewed. If you do find one, did it also result in a worldwide media circus that put sensationalism above science. I don't know how old you are but I happen to remember a Newsweek article in the seventies warning that the world would be in an ice age by the mid nineties.

    I don't ask that you agree with me just get your head of of your a## and act like a person of science and not a algorean.

    "When people are afraid to disagree with their mentors why have mentors?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:33PM (#30266206)

    The "Ice Age" had to do with pollution and the interesting thing about it, if you actually take the time to read even the articles targeted at laypeople, was that this effect was happening *in spite* of global warming.

    "OMG what about all those other problems that are gone now" is the absolute argument you can make about anything, ever. Can you imagine if someone told you not to give your child vaccines because "polio used to be a problem but not it's not, therefore these doctors don't know what they're talking about"?

  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:51PM (#30266310)

    The problem is that in this field there aren't thousands of other researchers. At this level all these guys know each other. I'm a tech in the physics field. In my specialty all of the PhDs know each other. It doesn't matter where they work. China, South Korea, Canada, UK. The climatology field is like that. These guys at CRU are some of the principle people who advise the UN's IPCC. The U.S. President's science adviser is one of the people who worked with this group (and is mentioned in the emails.) It is one of only four repositories of data used by the IPCC, and as far as I have been able to find the out other three won't release their data either.

  • by tftp (111690) on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:54PM (#30266326) Homepage

    If their code was buggy and produced the wrong answer, nobody *would* be able to reproduce the results

    Naturally. But there would be other, valid and honest, reasons why two loosely similar algorithms may produce different results. For example, look at the average of this set:

    1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 20, 2, 1

    There are several correct methods to calculate the result, and they will produce different answers. Simple averaging will give you 3.7(7). But a Kalman filter [wikipedia.org] will give you a much lower value. If you fit a curve onto these points and integrate the curve you will get yet another result that depends on what curve you used. And so on... and that is just a simplest phase of processing of data.

    The only way to do a coherent, meaningful analysis of someone's complex code is to have full access to that code. Then you have several options. You can prove correctness of the code. You can repeat the calculations using a different algorithm and prove that the differences are exactly what they should be. But you can never conclusively tell that some black box is correct or incorrect, unless you amass a larger number of competing codebases and then just use them to vote. But that's awfully wasteful.

  • Re:I'm not denying. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beamdriver (554241) <beamdriver@gmail.com> on Sunday November 29, 2009 @11:57PM (#30266342) Homepage

    Of course the world is getting warmer. It has been for the last ten thousand years. You know, since the end of the last ice age.

    You know, there are thousands of climate scientists all over the world who have spent a good portion of their lives studying the effects of human activity on the Earth's climate. They have like, gone to school, studied this stuff and got their Phd's and shit. Do you think that they didn't think of the fact that we're in a long-term warming trend and take that into account?

  • by ahabswhale (1189519) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:10AM (#30266402)
    "Your first paragraph seems to indicate that there are those who would actually choose smog over clean air."

    Actually, there are. There are people who would choose money over clean air any day of the week. All of China has done it for starters. The fact that you find it hard to imagine doesn't make his argument a straw-man.

    Personally, I don't really care that much since I have no children to pass the planet on to. So I'm all for saying fuck the planet and exploit the resources (including plants, wildlife, etc.) until there's nothing left of it. The human race isn't immune from natural selection and there's no reason to think that it won't select itself out of existence. Regardless, the planet will always be here (for a few billion years anyway) so our disappearance isn't particularly significant.

    I'm fortunate that there are just enough skeptics to prevent any serious environmental change from occurring in my lifetime, thus sparing me what is likely to be a hefty tax or fee increase of some form.
  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Muros (1167213) on Monday November 30, 2009 @12:45AM (#30266666)
    I see no sources linked in that article. I merely see two graphs which may or may not be correct. Even if the graphs were taken from actual reliable sources, I would like to be able to read why the people at those sources decided to make adjustments. Some adjustments can be made for valid reasons. An article by a sensationalist newspaper providing two graphs with no data source is worthless.
  • by hajus (990255) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:14AM (#30266880)
    While suspicious, I don't see wrongdoing here, but my fortran-fu is weak.

    It looks like a value "yearlyadj" is being calculated from the fudged numbers to create a hockeystick, but the part of the code that would plot "yearlyadj" with oplot is commented out, and some other numbers (perhaps the real ones?) are used instead in the 2 lines subsequently below.

    Perhaps the fudge numbers were being used to test the program before the real numbers were found?  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

    yyy=reform(comptemp(*,2))
    ;mknormal,yyy,timey,refperiod=[1881,1940]
    filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy,tslow=tslow
    oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=22
    yyy=reform(compmxd(*,2,1))
    ;mknormal,yyy,timey,refperiod=[1881,1940]
    ;
    ; 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)
    ;
    ;filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy+yearlyadj,tslow=tslow
    ;oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=20
    ;
    filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy,tslow=tslow
    oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=21
  • by symbolset (646467) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:27AM (#30266960) Journal

    Moderation abuse is a pretty big factor on this article. Nearly all dissent from the Anthropogenic Global Warming point of view is getting modded troll or flamebait. That's one way to tell that this is a very hot social issue that needs lots of attention. As for the moderation abuse -- it'll mostly go away after metamoderation probably, and those moderators won't get points for a long time.

    It's possible we've annoyed a moderator with an axe to grind. Moderators have infinite mod points.

    In the mean time, browse with a -1 lower limit. I set that for the default long ago because I know that the nuggets you get are worth wading through the tiresome nonsense. And if you're afraid to ruin your Karma, post your insightful and informative commentary someplace else.

  • by coaxial (28297) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:40AM (#30267050) Homepage

    I don't know what the rules are on your world, but on mine it isn't science if the work can't be peer reviewed, published and duplicated. If you basing results on datasets that can't be released none of that is possible. Seriously, how would you peer review a paper based on data you can't look at?

    Well at least in computer science, this happens all the time. This is how it works. A paper is written and it uses some dataset, which may or not be widely available. Typically, there are at least two datasets, maybe three. One of which may be widely available but not originally intended for the purpose at hand. What is important, is that the proprietary datasets are explained. How they were gathered, and how the data is statistically distributed. If it looks like it was gathered correctly, then it's fine.

    You are simply never going to get the exact same data. All you can do is gather similar data. For example, a paper may say, "We gathered CIFS traces from 150 desktops connected to 10 servers from the engineering department at a major corporation. The traces were sampled ever second for a month." You're not going to get that data. You will never get that data. What you can do is apply the techniques presented to another similar dataset. The data is irrelevant, how it's gathered is. You compare different techniques to the same dataset, but you don't necessarily share data.

    You also never get the code that run. You get the algorithm, but you don't get the implementation. Why not? Because it doesn't matter. It's the algorithm. If you have the algorithm, or more precisely the interesting part of the algorithm explained, then it just doesn't matter.

    Even with these emails data access was always a canard. Anyone could gather the exact same data if they wanted. It just involves go there and taking some samples. In fact, if you think the data was biased, then you're obligated to gather it yourself in attempt to get unbiased data. Simply having access to a biased dataset, does not magically make it unbiased.

    This is doubly frustrating, because the big allegations against Mann's 98 "hockey stick" paper was never about the data gathering. It was about the mathematics presented about analyzing of the data. Would have access have made it easier for McIntyre to write the 2005 paper complaining about MBH98? Yes, but the fact is that it didn't matter. McIntyre didn't have the all data, yet was able to still write detect the bias, write the paper, and get it accepted, shows that it obviously wasn't a deal breaker.

  • Mount Kilimanjaro today, 20, 30 and 50 years ago. Where have the glaciers gone

    The linked WP article you provided has a couple of theories, including the "shrinking of Kilimanjaro's ice cap is not directly due to rising temperature but rather to decreased precipitation." So, it's possible global cooling/warming/climate change is not related.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:43AM (#30267430)

    Where have the glaciers gone?

    My city of residence was covered by massive glaciers not too long ago by geologic standards. My house is built on a big pile of glacial till. I'm happy my area is warmer now than it was.

    It's not a simple matter of true/false, either/or, all or nothing. People to reduce the problem to those terms are making it impossible to have rational discussion.

    Yes, climate temperatures fluctuate with or without our influence. Yes, human influence is large enough and pervasive enough to alter those fluctuations. Yes, some areas of the world will benefit from further warming. Yes, some areas of the world are already at the limit of habitation/productivity because of warm temperatures and further warming may ruin them. Yes, it's always better to pollute less and have less man-made impact on the environment if we have a choice about it. Yes, we will someday run out of useful oil reserves. Yes, significantly changing our behavior may cost trillions of dollars and hurt many people. Yes, making those changes may leave us better off politically and financially in the long term.

    These things are all true. Some of these facts are in tension with other facts. No simple solutions exist. We need a complex, nuanced solution. Unfortunately in these days of conservative vs. liberal sound-bite-bashing, it's impossible to discuss any complex solutions. The only choices we seem to have are "environmentalists are total frauds, burn all the oil you want" and "the world is about to end unless we impose a fascist state to dictate every detail of our lifestyles".

    What I don't get, and maybe someone can answer this for me, is why do people care if global warming is man made or not? Even if it isn't man made, continued rising global temperatures will eventually trigger a runaway greenhouse effect that is catastrophic to our survival as a species and we need to do something to stop it or come up with alternatives for our survival. People also seem to forget about our alarming deforestation rates as well. Sure, there have been cool down periods on Earth, but what caused them and do we know for sure that will happen again? Do we want to place the survival of our species on the unknown possibility that there might eventually be another global cool down? As Carl Sagan said, Venus has the same amount of Carbon as Earth, except most of Earth's Carbon is still in the ground... for now...

    Personally, I've resigned myself to accept the fact that the shit is going to hit the fan some decades from now. I'm reminded of the many pacific island civilizations that were wiped out because they destroyed their island's ecology. It's pretty clear collectively humans are incapable of any self control when it comes to resource consumption and we will continue these behaviors at the expense of our own survival. The extinct pacific island civilizations were modern humans so they are were as smart as we are today, yet there was still someone who thought it was a good idea to cut down the last tree or eat the last animal. Even if we had solid evidence that energy consumption would lead to catastrophic climate change, I have no doubt that we would ignore it and continue our consumption.

    If it's not climate change that does it to us, we still have deforestation, desertification, and a rising global population. With the increase in competition for resources and everyone wanting to get nukes, it's looking like this will be a fun century for us...

  • Re:Deniers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sarhjinian (94086) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:45AM (#30267438)

    In other words, it's bad PR. It's kind of you to admit this so readily -- it saves us time. The moment you are concerned with PR your agenda is no longer a purely scientific one. That is what left you vulnerable to "skeptics".

    And rather than educate those laypeople with a more correct message, you'd rather adopt a different name. If that alone doesn't summarize what's wrong with this whole movement, and why many are suspicious of it, I'd be hard pressed to name what does.

    Have you ever tried to have a rational discussion about climate change with someone who's either unaware of willfully ignorant of the science? It's really irritating, much like trying to talk to a Creationist about evolution. No, actually, it's worse, because at least Creationism isn't getting a leg up by way of the media's gross oversimplification. If I were a climate scientist, faced with "Well, how come it's colder in Podunk?" for the umpteenth time and subsuqently forced to try and get across concepts like global average temperatures, precipitation changes, the difference between "weather" and "climate", etc, etc, I'd want to at least start the discussion from a position that's not automatically handicapped.

    Naturally the federal government will get to define "previously-unlocked." I am sure it will be a sensible definition that is logical, true to the science, and fair in every way, one that won't favor any particular interest groups or large financial interests. Because everything else government regulates has turned out this way, right?

    No. Previously-locked carbon is really easy to define: oil and coal. Trying to extend it to "the building blocks of all life" because that dovetails into a paranoid fantasy about government taxing your body is fearmongering. No, it's worse, it's fearmongering in the service of some of the most powerful economic entities on the planet.

    Saying that this will extend into a tax and, thusly, into a control of your precious bodily carbon is pure, unmitigated FUD. Water is also a taxed substance and has been for much longer: have we proxied water bills into mind control yet?

    When government sees a new excuse for the levy of a tax or the exercise of power, it is not concerned with whether that excuse accurately reflects the actual science. The excuse need not even have a basis in reality, it only needs to be something that average people will believe. "Any excuse will serve a tyrant."

    Because government has never started with a small, agreeable maneuver that sounded good and was difficult or impossible to politically oppose, and then added more restrictions and complications, incrementally over periods of time. I mean, it's not like they have a track record of doing this, right?

    Are you really trying to proxy concern about the stability of the biosphere among scientists into the New World Order? This fails the "follow the money" test on so many levels: not only is politically unpalatable to tax something so ephemeral that governments are being dragged kicking and screaming to it, and not only is the economic incentive more of a disincentive, but the opposing interests have billions of dollars staked in it not happening at all.

    You're working from a flawed premise: that everything government does is inherently flawed, wrong and immoral. Even assuming that's the case, who would even be looking at this (or past issues, like ozone depletion, acid rain, mercury toxicity in the food chain, etc)? Our oh-so-altriustic corporations that caused and make money off the problem in the first place? And yes, you can make the "well, government enabled it" standard argument and say the the solution is to sprinkle magic Libertarian pixie dust and make everyone into Randian supermen, but in the real world where we have billions of people who need to coexist in a functioning society with legacy social structures we need solutions that work, not philosophical wankery.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:51AM (#30267460) Journal

    If it's not truly as serious a problem as some would have us believe, then we don't need to radically restructure the global economy, expand government at the expense of freedom, or transfer more wealth to other countries. At least for this reason.

    Government has always been expanding at the expense of freedom.
    Most recently, the war on drugs, the war on drunk driving, and the war on terror.

    At least a war on climate change isn't going to require Big Brother to gut the constitution... Unless you want to make the argument that regulating what the 'free' market can sell is on the same level as warrantless wiretaps and national security letters. In which case, good luck with that.

  • by AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) on Monday November 30, 2009 @02:59AM (#30267500)

    Actually in some parts of the country (USA) we view the labels Hippie and Liberal as compliments, usually applied by right-wing reactionaries to individuals that still know how to think for themselves instead of swallowing the pablum dished out by the right-wing controlled media (AKA Talk Radio) Yes, Rush and Sean are the media as much as they try to protest that they are not.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:10AM (#30267550) Journal

    If we're adjusting the climate to suit humans, +6 to +10C should do it. That moves the arable zone closer to the irrigatable land. +13C would be bearable. Too much over that would be bad.

    That leaves a large uninhabitable equatorial zone though. Most of Florida and many coastal cities will have to go. Most extant humans (India, Pakistan and China) would have to move North as their regions became uninhabitable. It would happen slow enough for the displaced to walk and forage on the way.

    Even that doesn't prevent the Malthusian catastrophe but it does delay it for half a century or so. If we're not adjusting the climate to suit humans, well, we're screwed that much quicker.

  • by ekhben (628371) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:30AM (#30267642)

    What you do about GW depends on its cause. If you accept GW and all its dire consequences then a reasonable course of action is to look to ways to mitigate some of those consequences, but one should also be looking at ways to slow, stop or reverse GW too. And then it matters what the cause is.

    (The cynic in me also says that debating the cause also stalls any action without needing to directly debate the truth of the effect).

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:40AM (#30267682)
    There has, to my knowledge, never been a platform or group of any appreciable size or influence that really wanted, as an end, to mess up the environment.

    What if they really wanted, as an end, something that required messing up the environment? That's happened many times with loggers, fishermen, real estate developers, exterminators, agriculture, and many many others. No one profits from destroying the environment, but almost everyone profits (in the short term) by ignoring the environment, which leads to its destruction. So, is ignoring the environment with a direct path to destroy if for profit the same as wanting, as an end, to destroy it?

    No one hates the environment. Hunters are some of the most conservative people and hate environmentalists, but want the same things. It's something that plenty of people want to protect, and no one wants to damage. But it's an inconvenience to protect it.

    People are getting worked up because of the perception, well-founded or not, that certain people's preferences for how and when to normalize improvements will become mandatory soon and thus result in less choice at a higher cost.

    If the costs of energy were able to be accurately predicted out over a person's life, averaged, and they were responsible for that cost with no externalization, I'd be all for getting rid of the stupid regulations we have. However, we can't accurately predict life expectancies, energy cost, or such. And we've elected to externalize some costs of energy. So that leaves it where people buying petrol in the US pay less (per damage to the environment) than diesel. Or electric costs are kept down to where people don't see a benefit to better insulation. The way it's handled now, taxpayers subsidize people that don't insulate more than those that do and use the rebate programs. But yet, people like you insinuate that the insulation subsidies are bad because they will end up mandatory and being forced to preserve the environment is evil.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:41AM (#30267686) Journal
    And sometimes (as in this case) it means "obvious bullshit".
  • by Toonol (1057698) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:47AM (#30267720)
    YOU don't get to decide who is a scientist and who isn't. A scientist is somebody who does science, like a writer is somebody who writes. There are prominent figures on both sides of the debate who are clearly NOT doing science, and some who ARE.
  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday November 30, 2009 @03:56AM (#30267786) Homepage Journal

    >>If you thought climate skeptics were giant assholes who cheat and lie and ridicule you and your work in public, would you want to help them?

    Yes, I would, because if the science is solid, it will stand up to analysis. I used to work for the San Diego Supercomputer Center doing modeling of oceanwater, and we never did anything scurrilous like this.

    Besides, even RC.org has admitted that by withholding data and denying repeated FOIA requests for years, it made them look like they had something to hide.

  • Re:RC != CRU (Score:2, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:12AM (#30267842) Journal

    Here's NOAA's "adjustment" graph: graph [noaa.gov].

    Compare and contrast to UEA's "Adjustment" graph [ibiblio.org].

    The diff on these two graphs is negligible. These two graphs constitute the entire alarm about AGW. Without these adjustments the source data is level noise whether you read it forward or backward, or substitute for it any random noise of your choosing.

    These adjustment graphs have serious credibility issues involving the determinism of increasing error.

    It's neither flamebait nor trolling to insist that these adjustments be explained before we scuttle the entire world economy to manually adjust the global ecosystem to fit a model that corrects problems found only in these "adjustments" of uncertain provenance.

  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:28AM (#30267912)

    Oh, for fuck's sake.

    There used to be a glacier on Ngaurahoe* in the 50's, now there isn't. I've seen photos from the 50's and I've climbed the fucking mountain. I lived in NZ for four years, and I don't believe you or James Delingpole, or the Torygraph have the first clue about the NZ climate. How can it not be bloody warmer? (No shortage of precipitation, so no excuses that way.)

    * you'd probably know it better as Mt. Doom from LOTR.

  • Re:Deniers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mikey_boy (125590) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:31AM (#30267922)

    Wow, you just made me so angry I almost just filled this entire response with expletives. You are either stunningly ignorant of the how the entire world of communication works, or you are a troll, or you are one of the reasons why PR is required in the first place.

    Of course the shift in language is a PR exercise. That's because when you are trying to tell the world some important information, use of language is important. It's called nuance. Public Relations is just that - relating information to the public at large. If you discover that the language you are using is not getting the message across, then you have to alter the language to succeed. Otherwise you simply get drowned out by people who are betting at language, but not necessarily better at science.

    In case you hadn't noticed, the number of scientists in the world vs the number of 'laypeople' is somewhat disproportionate. scientists don't often get to pick the lessons that taught to the public, especially when a bit of controversy can be stirred up instead. Or the latest news about who's fucking paris hilton.

    And this whole continual argument about how bad governments are at regulating stuff really gets up my nose as well. In what way are private businesses good at regulating anything?! The only thing private organisations regulate successfully is skimming as much profit off the rest of the world as they possibly can. Free markets only price short term costs, they have no model for pricing the long term impact of what they produce - certainly not without regulation and laws laid down by a strong government willing to take on special interests. Which are sadly few and far between.

    I've run out of steam now, and I know that this will make no difference to anyone's opinion whatsoever. But i feel a smidgen better ...

  • Congratulations (Score:2, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) on Monday November 30, 2009 @04:48AM (#30267994) Journal

    Last week I was an AGW believer who was ambivalent about the harm. The abusive comments, including yours, and the rabid moderation of this topic have led me to investigate the issue. Now that I've seen that the "adjustments [slashdot.org]" are the whole source of the alarm, I'm convinced that the side of truth is on the AGW sceptics until we see some unadjusted observations. Congratulations - you've helped sway somebody over a cusp.

  • Science is a process (Score:3, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:27AM (#30268198) Journal

    Have you ever tried to have a rational discussion about climate change with someone who's either unaware of willfully ignorant of the science?

    Have you ever tried to have a rational discussion about science with someone who's unaware of statistical analysis or the importance of reproducibility? It's like talking to a wall.

    Take for example the raw climate data. It's level noise. Unless you add in adjustments like this [noaa.gov] and this [ibiblio.org] it's completely boring annual measurements that vary but don't trend.

    Adjust them, and they're sexy. They are alarming. They're a cause for action that makes the science interesting and important. We all like to be important, don't we?

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:36AM (#30268234) Journal
    Well yeah, the industrial revolution was well and truely under way by 1800 and they had no pesky regulations to stop them pumping soot into the air and killing "large numbers" of people with pea soupers [wikipedia.org]. (in case you need a further hint, soot melts ice)

    This is the same industry that is funding (apprently effective) propoganda such as this infamous "we call it life" commercial and more recently the icecap web site.
  • by uid7306m (830787) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:48AM (#30268284)

    > Here is a hint. If he says "Trust me" he ain't no scientist he is a salesman/politician.

    Not really. Science progresses because we generally trust each other. If you didn't trust other people's results, you'd spend your entire career repeating experiments that someone else has already done correctly. You'd waste your life.

    Of course, you trust, but not 100%. You keep an eye open for things that might indicate that someone is wrong or incompetent. But, really, most of the checking happens when you try to use someone's result as a tool. If they are wrong, it usually becomes pretty obvious pretty fast "Hey! all my nails are bending over. I wonder if this is a good hammer..."

  • by Vintermann (400722) on Monday November 30, 2009 @05:52AM (#30268296) Homepage
    > You can quite clearly see the "fudge factor" (actual code comment) where it was calculated to produce the desired result.

    When you write code with a big comment "Warning: This is very artificial!!" - why do you do that? I sometimes do similar stuff: fudge A temporarily to give the expected results, so I can go test B first, etc. When I do I make these comments to remember and go back and correct it later.

    Which is in fact what happened. The fudge factor array is used to create another array, and that one is not used (it is commented out where it was).

    If you were deliberately trying to falsify data, would you put a comment warning readers about it?
  • by Burnhard (1031106) on Monday November 30, 2009 @07:43AM (#30268724)
    You mean like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, first in the queue for a cut of carbon credit trading and hedging? Effectively a tax on everything (because everything needs energy), paid to the investment banks?
  • Re:Deniers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday November 30, 2009 @08:58AM (#30269026)

    Have you ever tried to have a rational discussion about climate change with someone who's either unaware of willfully ignorant of the science?

    I got a better question.

    How you ever discussed a climate paper where you had access to both the data and methodology used by its authors?

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday November 30, 2009 @09:52AM (#30269406)
    Real Climate is claiming that data is available and has this nice link and stuff (given in the slahsdot summary.)

    Following their link I noticed that there was no link to raw data for stratospheric temperatures but there was a link to processed data.

    I followed the link to the processed data in the hopes that there would be some explanation as to why only processed data was available. I discovered that the processed data wasnt available either, instead the link only pointed to a page with GIF files (graphs.)

    Essentially, Real Climate just lied to us about the stratospheric data. Not only is the raw data unavailable, the processed data isnt available either even tho it claims it is available and claims to link to it.


    I then clicked around most of the "raw" sites linked to and almost all are fairly devoid of data.

    Mr. Jones, the public may buy your bullshit because they might think a GIF file with a graph is relevant "data" but I do not. Mr. Jones, RELEASE YOUR FUCKING RAW DATA.
  • by Garwulf (708651) on Monday November 30, 2009 @10:36AM (#30269772) Homepage

    "The parent posting isn't a troll. He is saying it like it is."

    No, he's not. I see this tactic all the time with AGW supporters - if there's evidence demonstrating a problem with their theory, they say it's just a smear campaign, or misinformation. This is not "just another sissy-fit thrown by the denier groups that are willing to use any tactics to distract people from the real issue." This is a revelation that the lead climate scientists in the world were engaged in fraud. The released program code and comments demonstrates that they "cooked" their data to create a more alarming climate picture than actually existed, and the emails contain clear proof that they conspired to defeat FOI requests and subverted the peer-review process at major journals to suppress conflicting research.

    "And I'm trying to figure out the scientific arguments being put forward by the contrarians. Are they saying that data has been suppressed that shows the world hasn't being warming significantly since the 1970's?!! Really?"

    No. Not really. That's another AGW trick I see used all too often. The skeptic points out a problem with the research, and the AGW supporter misrepresents the skeptic's view. I have yet to see a single person claim that there hasn't been significant warming since the 1970s.

    There is no denying that we are on an overall upwards trend in world climate. None. However, the AGW thesis is that industrial CO2 has enough of an impact to swing the balance - that the impact is highly statistically significant. Little problem, though - since 1998 the global temperature has remained steady, with some cooling now coming into the picture...while the CO2 levels continue to rise. If the AGW theory was correct, there should be a corresponding rise in temperature over the last ten years...but there isn't. Some AGW climatologists have tried to hand-wave this away, saying that there's something going on with the oceans or somesuch, and we can look forward to cooling for about another ten years, but we shouldn't forget the AGW threat. In the meantime, solar physicists are noting that this pretty much correlates to solar activity quite nicely. So, yes, the temperature has risen since 1970. But the proof that it was due to human activity is quite weak.

    What Climategate does is demonstrate that certain AGW claims themselves, such as this decade being hotter than the 1990s, cannot be substantiated any longer. The CRU, which is pivotal to these claims, has now been caught out fudging their data.

    This is a good summary: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/30/crugate_analysis/ [theregister.co.uk]

    So, to summarize, this is the skeptic argument: CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and if you add it to the atmosphere it will have a warming effect. However, in the case of industrial CO2, the warming effect is small enough that it is not statistically significant, and is swamped by natural forcings. THAT is the argument.

    Clear enough for you?

  • Re:Deniers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danbert8 (1024253) on Monday November 30, 2009 @11:10AM (#30270054)

    I'm glad you didn't fill your post with expletives. Trolls are useless, but your (rightfully modded) interesting post incited me to respond.

    You're very good at this "PR" thing. And I have no argument with your discussion of language. However, every government has a track record of screwing their populace that has much better data than any climate science. You don't argue that point, you change the subject to letting private businesses regulate things. Thank GOD businesses don't run my life. No business can force me to do anything.

    If I care about the environment, then I plant a tree. If I don't want to emit carbon, I don't drive my car and don't use the lights. If I want a hamburger, I drive to Wendy's and get one. If I don't like Wendy's then the market provides alternatives. What do I do if I don't want Social Security. Oh wait, I don't have a choice.

    Free markets can price long term costs. However, YOU (and the rest of consumers) don't care about the long term. This can be proven by the idiots charging up credit cards that they cannot afford, buying houses with ARMs, and buying big ass SUVs with low mileage. Stop blaming the free market for giving you what you want. Also, why should businesses plan for the long term, when the government can step in and bail their asses out for the bad, short sighted, and incredibly stupid decisions they make.

    Now let's get real, just like you didn't change my opinion, I'm not changing yours, but let's not blame businesses for the decisions that PEOPLE make. Because businesses are just made up entities built to take the blame of the people that run them.

  • by PHPNerd (1039992) on Monday November 30, 2009 @11:48AM (#30270440) Homepage
    Paragraph one, "You are a moron!": Slander the person you are replying to (e.g. "wing-nut", "idiot", "retard", "moron", etc. Get creative!). Then call them a "denier" so that it seems like they're opposing something like evolution, which conveniently lumps them into the same category as people who question that too.

    Paragraph two, "How dare you question climate change???": Call their argument a "straw-man" and proceed to attack their audacity to question "hard scientific facts". Make some sort of reference to this person's education level, mainly that they are not a climate scientist and as such they have no idea what they're talking about - so they should trust the true experts.

    Paragraph three, "CRU Doesn't Matter.": This is the meat of your argument! Although the scientists of the CRU broke all rules known to science and blatantly lied to us all, be sure to ignore this and point out that lots of other researchers have the same findings (even though many of them got their data from the CRU). We need to make it seem like there is a complete and united scientific consensus about climate change.

    Paragraph four, "Case closed.": End on a high note! Make sure to say that case is closed, and has been closed for a long time. The debate is over. Everyone but the person you are replying to believes in global warming. This will make them feel like they are just pushing against a closed door.

    Congratulations, you have won! If they are stupid enough to come back with real data, repeat this process until they feel so ashamed that they just shut up.
  • Re:Oh, hey, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Casualposter (572489) on Monday November 30, 2009 @01:42PM (#30271762) Journal

    So what you are saying is simply that the climate will change. There is NOTHING that we can do to stop climate change. If we spend trillions of dollars to do something the climate will change. If we do NOTHING the climate will change. Which is how this planet's environment has been working for billions of years. The climate changes. Duh.

    Raising a hullabaloo over the climate changing is a very good political game, but it is not very good science. Should we study how the climate works? Should we learn to model and predict the weather? Sure. These are worthy goals. But that is NOT what is going on here. At this time, there are conflicting models about how changes in the various components of the atmosphere will change the climate. Some predict high temperatures, some do not. Some think that the high temperatures will trigger an ice age, some do not. Some predict that the Sahara Desert will become green, some say that the desert will expand. Many of these models, based upon reasonable science lead to mutually exclusive results: they cannot all be correct.

    The arrogance of man is obvious to those who look for it: we THINK that we are so IMPORTANT that we can and should control the climate. The truth is that we do not understand our climate to any significant degree. We cannot predict next summer's weather any better than our ancient ancestors despite reams of data and sophisticated models. Scientists make fools of themselves and their profession by making predictions that do not come true. How many Atlantic hurricanes again? How many droughts predicted in advance? If you could predict such things, you would make a killing in the markets, by the way. The incentive to make accurate climate and weather models is extreme. Think of the things we could do if we knew that the monsoon was going to be bad next year; or how many hurricanes in the Atlantic, Typhoons in the pacific, what the winter in Siberia was going to be. How well are the rains going to fall in the Midwest? Trillions of dollars in damages and untold consequences in human and animal suffering all because we can't predict next years regional climate.

    As to the certainty of catastrophe, none of the models predict a climate that is inhospitable to life on our world. None of the models are even going outside the boundaries of known, past behavior for our planet. So what is this catastrophe? That the arable land will shift around? That humans will have to adapt to a changing climate? That we will face the political and economic difficulties of mass human migration? That is not a catastrophe of an environmental nature. That is a POLITICAL problem caused not by man's technology and emissions of carbon dioxide, but by the artificial walled gardens we created called countries. That changes in our climate can lead humans to kill each other over food is NOT a CLIMATE problem but a problem of human BEHAVIOR. Tossing trillions at a moving climate isn't going to the root of the problem: human behavior. And when those predictions do not lead to catastrophe, the science will be discredited like the boy who cried wolf. THAT is the real impending catastrophe.

    But of course, by 2050, the scientists making the predictions will be long gone. They will have spent their grants and retired, and perhaps even expired. Kinda like religion where the priest promises you paradise after you are dead, so if he lied you can't complain, can you?

    While it is certainly the job of science and those who profess to be scientists to provide the rest of us with data and interpretations, that is clearly NOT what is going on here. The data is being cherry picked. Criticism suppressed not with facts and data, but with political machinations - something that has clearly lead to disaster in our past. The truth, while painful, is liberating to all of us. That is NOT what is going here, people with vested economic and political interests are suppressing and manipulating data to support a pre conceived conclusion. Here we are seventy year

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