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Russians Claim More Climate Data Was Manipulated 715

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-flamewar-begin dept.
DustyShadow writes "On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) claimed that the Hadley Center for Climate Change had probably tampered with Russian-climate data. The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations. The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley CRU survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century."
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Russians Claim More Climate Data Was Manipulated

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  • Well, let's see if they have any bias [] (although this is poorly translated):

    Proposed supporters of climate alarmism methods to combat global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions are not only scientifically unfounded - in the absence of extraordinary characteristics of modern climate change, but also incredibly expensive in economic terms. Especially dangerous such measures, if adopted, are for the medium and low levels of economic development, effectively cut off their path to reduce the economic gap with more developed nations of the world.

    I'm going to venture out on a limb here and say that the Institute of Economic Analysis is primarily concerned about the economic problems with combatting anthropogenic global warming. Unfortunately, that's not what this is about. This is about what scientific tools we can apply to develop a percentage of how sure we are that such climate change is created by man and -- actually happening. Until we establish it is or isn't, will the economic institutions relax and let the institutions who contain the most appropriate experts publish, release and make conclusions from the data.

    Credibility skyrockets when I read the subtext of the blog's heading (that is linked to by the story):

    James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything. He is the author of numerous fantastically entertaining books including Welcome To Obamaland: I've Seen Your Future And It Doesn't Work, How To Be Right, and the Coward series of WWII adventure novels. His website is

    Oh if you think he might be an unbiased reporter working for the telegraph, please visit his page that he shamelessly plugs.

    Unless the IEA produces data it claims is 100% raw uncut, this story is below the threshold of credibility.

  • Of course... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Z1NG (953122) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:25AM (#30468996)
    Of course they don't believe in global warming, it's freezing there.
  • by feepness (543479) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:29AM (#30469042) Homepage

    So if is there any reputable source that is publishing a story about this, could a link please be posted in the original submission.

    If you'd bothered to read past the byline, you'd see he links to the Russian translation [] as well as the original published PDF [] (in Russian).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:30AM (#30469048)

    These Russian experts in particular have a history of opposing international climate treaties (based on flawed expert analysis, as determined by other experts in the linked paper below):

  • More smear campaign (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sir Holo (531007) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:35AM (#30469078)
    It's not "The Russians" making these claims. It's a privately funded free-market "think tank" that is based in Russia.

    They posted a PDF on their web site, issued a press release, and a British paper reported it without doing any source-checking.

    For example, the article highlights a quote from an anonymous poster to a blog thread about the press release describing the web-posted report. How's that for "cherry-picking" your sources?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:43AM (#30469166)

    Its pretty clear that the "Institute of Economic Analysis" is a right wing whackjob source. It was founded by this guy []. His wikipedia entry []

    Who also authored stuff like:

    "Kyoto is killing off the world economy like an "international Auschwitz," "The Kyoto Protocol is a death pact, however strange it may sound, because its main aim is to strangle economic growth and economic activity in countries that accept the protocol's requirements."


    "A Liberal Agenda for the New Century: A Global Perspective"

    and has been in a ton of questionable institutes.

    So believing anything from a group like this would probably not be wise to say the least.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:02AM (#30469288) Journal
    Here is evidence that two papers about this very topic were suppressed. [LINK] [] The specific quote:

    Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either appears I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL. Cheers Phil

    Of course it is not proof, but there it's not without reason that people believe some funny business is going on.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:10AM (#30469342) Journal

    It's nothing new, either. Remember that Russia is one of the major oil-exporting countries, and significantly dependent on oil exports for its budget. Furthermore, it's a major provider of gas, too, particularly to Europe. If, under the guise of combating climate change, Europe moves to greener power generating and heating tech - solar, wind, or better yet, nuclear - that will leave Russia out in the cold, with no well-paying customers for its only valuable exports.

    On the other hand, Russia actually stands to benefit a lot from rapid climate change, if current models are to be believed. For one, it has a legitimate claim to a huge chunk of resources under the polar cap, should the latter melt - that even leaving the disputed areas aside. Furthermore, Siberia would be one of the regions for which climate change would indeed be a regional warming - it is already heating up [] much faster than any other part of the globe, and if it keeps doing so, it will become much more prospective for human settlement and agriculture, and in short-term perspective provide for easier access to the vast natural resources of the region.

    At the same time, there are relatively few important coastal cities that would be threatened by ocean level rise - vast majority of the population is living deep inland [].

    So Russia would have much less trouble coping with the effects. The icing on the cake is that U.S. (because of its heavily populated coastal cities) and quite a few European countries would be in a very tough position, and those are perceived as historical global opponents, especially the U.S.

    So, yeah. There are a lot of political reasons for Russia to downplay effects of climate change, specifically so that other countries reduce their efforts to combat it.

  • "Apparently someone tried, but was blocked by the people at East Anglia, as you can see from this quote: [] "

    So there were two articles submitted for publication. They were peer reviewed. Someone in East Anglia, as part of the peer review, recommended rejection. Where is the issue here? If you've some evidence that the articles did not deserve rejection, then you forgot to post it. If, in fact, the other peer reviewers recommended against rejection, then it seem likely that one or both of them got published.

  • by Anarchduke (1551707) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:32AM (#30469498)
    The author of the source article, ahem.. BLOG, seems to be trying to masquerade as a reputable journalist, yet he isn't. His personal website [] (BLOG) contains nothing except climate skeptic material for at least 7 pages back in his history, then a couple of confusing paragraphs []that might make sense to one of his next door neighbors, then back to the climate skeptic material again.

    The source material seemed a little suspect, so with the aid of Google Translate, I attempted to understand a bit about the Russian IEA Mr. Delingpole quotes so freely. The IEA, or Institute of Economic Analysis, is hardly an expert on climate science. The first article on the IEA's website [] says:

    new: scientific consensus on climate issues does not exist - Novaya Gazeta, December 16, 2009
    - Instead of articulating and prosecution of false targets political leaders gathered in Copenhagen should concentrate on the other - to develop policies that promote more effective human adaptation to climate change, economic growth, the development of free trade, protection of property rights, strengthen democracy.

    This hardly seems to be an unbiased website, so I thought I would dig deeper. The article the IEA quoted is also fairly suspect, since it goes into detail and reveals the inherently anti "global warming" bias [] of the source.

    Adoption of the "Arctic ice melt" is outdated. Instead of reducing the area of ice cover in the Arctic is actually observed in 1979-2007 gg. In recent years its growth has come. In those same years saw an increase in the Antarctic ice sheet.

    "Excessive prices for oil and food" to a certain extent the result of policy restrictions on the use of hydrocarbons, the effect of extrusion from the structure of arable food crops through improved crop plants from which ethanol is produced to replace hydrocarbons as fuel. In other words, it is recommended that treatment policy ensures "high prices for oil and food, leading to chaos awaiting us in the future."

    I shouldn't have to point out the satellite photos of Arctic Ice and how it has shrunk [], or how Polar Bears are in real danger of extinction because of the loss of their frozen habitat.
    This drivel seems to come right out of the climate skeptic/big business lobbyist handbook. Normally, I wouldn't bother to respond, but the author's Russian source got me interested enough to investigate. As I suspected, its bullshit.

  • by Rei (128717) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:33AM (#30469514) Homepage

    Okay, how's this for credibility: the Russians are believed to have been the ones who hacked into the servers [] and then selectively released out-of-context quotes to try to discredit the CRU scientists. So gee, should I act shocked that they're continuing their assault? Russia is being the number one impediment these days to a global climate change accord, and it seems to go to the top. For example, they've been one of the main forces holding up a Copenhagen accord.

    Back on the initial topic: 100 to 1 odds says that any data exclusions are due to bad data and incomplete records. This is the standard sort of mistake made by people who either don't know how the analyses are done or who deliberately want to mislead. The meteorological station calculations are NOT done by simply taking all data and averaging it. If you did that, the way that the amateur deniers think that contaminated data would enter the record -- such as stations becoming urbanized, being tampered with, etc -- would actually be true. But the data is first analyzed, problem stations detected (in an automated method), and eliminated from the record or normalized. And the preprocessing is itself studied to verify that it's valid -- for example, comparing individual regions to other climate analysis methods, comparing windy days with calm days to make sure the heat island effect has been properly eliminated, etc.

    In short, claiming that many stations are being eliminated is complete nonsense because that's *supposed* to happen, and if you didn't do that, the record would be readily thrown off by human development and equipment faults. I'd bet dollars to donuts that this is all that this comes down to. And that quite a few people at the agency putting this out know this, but are deliberately using it for manufactured doubt nonetheless.

    And let's all not forget that the CRU dataset is just one dataset using one particular type of datasource and one particular analysis. There are many datasources and many analyses, and of equal prominence to CRU's datasets are NOAA's and NASA's. No, the different datasets don't match up perfectly (for example, whether 1998 or 2005 was the hottest year -- they were close), but the datasets all yield similar results.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:41AM (#30469576)

    It appears that scientific fraud was committed? What evidence do you have of this?

    Because right now you have claims from a right wing (look up the history of publications from this institute - they are nearly universally far right wing positions) Russian Institute that have not been evaluated by anybody. If you accuse large numbers of people of something very serious, you had better damn well have something a bit more than "a right wing Economic Institute issued a press release saying the science was bad".

    Heck, even the Institute was only able to say that sensors that dont show global warming "OFTEN" were not used. What the hell does that mean? You need to do an analysis to show that they were more likely not to be used than ones that did show warming. And then you probably need to show that it wasnt reasonable to exclude lots of them. Then you can make your accusations. For all we know, 5% of the excluded sensors showed no global warming and 95% of the excluded ones did show warming. That would still match up with the press release properly since that meets the criteria of "often".

  • by Rei (128717) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:43AM (#30469586) Homepage

    It's misinformation after misinformation. Almost all of the refusals to release data by the CRU come down to data shared by national weather services that they are contractually not *allowed* to share. Almost 100% of the data that they are allowed to share is publicly posted.

    Now, there were a couple scientists who tried to find every excuse that they could not to share their particular data -- most notably, Phil Jones. But you only have to look at Jones' past to see why. He initially responded to all FOI requests -- including one by a financial trader named Douglas Keenan who fancied himself an amateur climate scientist (almost all of the professional climatologists are on one side of the issue, and its their ideological foes, generally people who don't know what they're doing, who are filing the requests). Keenan "discovered fraud" on the part of Jones's partner, Wei-Chyung Wang, and tried to get the FBI to arrest him. The university cleared Wang of all wrongdoing, but honestly, can you blame Jones for looking for any excuse not to have to deal with that again?

    These are people who just want to work. They want to deal with litigious "amateur scientists" as much as they want a hole in their head.

  • by Rei (128717) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:52AM (#30469644) Homepage

    In short, the topic that people are making all of this hullabaloo about failed peer review. Meaning that there were errors found in it that prevented publication. And so what do they do? They turn to the press and hype it up three ways until sunday, hoping people won't notice or care that a peer-review board found the claims bogus. You're burying the lede, trying to allege some sort of peer-review conspiracy, when the reality is that all that says is that a peer review board found the claims as inaccurate/without merit.

    Want an inconvenient fact about this article? The selection of stations is not done manually. It's done in an an automated process that has been analyzed by dozens of peer-reviewed papers. The selection process is designed to eliminate bogus or artificially trended data, such as from urbanization, damaged equipment, etc. What the IEA is basically damning them for is not including data that an automated, peer-reviewed process found was bogus.

    You simply cannot automatically assume that all stations are good and valid. Because they're just plain not. Heck, normally the deniers themselves are the first ones to point this out.

    And lastly, why are we even listening to a report from the "Institute for Energy Analysis" in the first place? Are we going to frontline reports from the Institute for Petroleum Research next?

  • by ghostdoc (1235612) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:01AM (#30469714)

    No, you don't actually.

    Showing that the system was rigged and that some valid papers were rejected is enough. Even showing that a single valid paper was rejected is enough, because it's not supposed to be possible.

    A conspiracy has been exposed, and that's enough to start questioning the conspirators and treating the evidence skeptically.

  • by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:11AM (#30469798) Homepage Journal

    Because otherwise, the only thing you've shown is that.... a single person rejected two papers based on personal bias against the conclusion.

    He didn't even show that; he showed that a person with a stake in the matter wrote damning reviews of two papers. He may have written damning reviews because he didn't like the conclusion, but he may have written damning reviews because the papers were crap and riddled with errors. All the quote shows is that he wrote damning reviews.

  • by Spoke (6112) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:23AM (#30469868)

    Because of graphs like this: [] that contradict your very first statement about the arctic ice. When you look at it, you see that there is more ice now than the previous 2 years

    A number of problems with your argument:

    1. Sea ice extent is not the same as sea ice volume. Extent measures surface area covered, but not the thickness. Survey of the thickness of the arctic sea ice (by both satellite and manually) have shown that the overall ice volume of the arctic is rapidly declining. See here for some data: []

    2. Finally, given the amount of noise in the signal and the number of years it takes to make a statistical difference show up, it is impossible to make any determination of current trends using only a few years. Climate trends need to be taken over decades, not a few years. The shorter the time period, the more likely you are just measuring differences in weather and not necessarily climate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:24AM (#30469876)

    Except there has been no evidence shown whatsoever that it was a hack. No computer logs, nada.

    Wrong. East Anglia were first warned when attempts showed up on the logs of other climate scientists. When they checked they found their system had been compromised. Weeks before the Russian hackers posted on their site.

  • by mvdwege (243851) <> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:37AM (#30469950) Homepage Journal

    Typical denialist bullshit. Cherry pick a few sentences out of a whole email to make a scientist look bad. But the linked e-mail shows exactly why Dr. Jones is planning on going to town on his peer review: people are stating things about the Siberian data that the CRU has already accounted for in published research.


  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:40AM (#30469966) Journal
    A couple of years ago I saw an interview here in Oz with the russian finance minister/treasurer (not sure of the title or if he still has the job). Anyhow, the guy is not only an economic alarmist he is the Russian equivalent of Senator Inhofe, ie: a raving anti-science lunatic.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:25AM (#30470318) Journal
    Can you point to where ALL this fossil evidence that supposedly "proves" evolution is held. What about Piltdown man doesn't that invalidate the rest of the fossils? Please don't point to the tens of thousands of papers and the godless "scientific community" who invariably fail to question the basic premise of evolution becuase the discovery institute has already debunked them using nothing more than a bannana. /sarcasm

    Just case the sarcasm is too subtle.

    The "missing raw data" is not neatly compiled into an easily acceessible database. It is held by countless weather and archival centers around the world, some of whom are unwilling to share unless you are willing to jump through hoops and wait months. It is on paper, in diaries, incompatable data bases, microfilm, ancient computer tapes, you name it. Anyone remotely familiar with the enourmous effort by Phil Jones and others to painstakingly collate, correct, and open up the HADCrut data set cannot help but see "climategate" for the witch hunt that it is.
  • by Capsaicin (412918) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:29AM (#30470348)

    I beg your pardon, phantomfive, you are in fact my interlocutor. I should perhaps not have given you such short shrift, but that impertinence (in both senses of the word) was calculated to stop me reading another line. However since we are apparently in conversation ...

    As you your point three, there are 2 lines of evidence, both of which are fairly convincing on their own. Firstly there is the carbon audit (for and interesting discussion see the beginning of this talk []. Secondly, there is the isotopic smoking gun (ie C12/C13 ratios), which demonstrate that the increase in C02 concentration is largely the result of the combustion of biogenic (ie. land clearing and fossil fuels) sources. As I have to run, I'll leave it to you to pursue that yourself.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:40AM (#30470410) Journal
    "And since we have found they were suppressing opposing viewpoints in journals" Please try another myth. The papers you are referring to were published in the IPCC reports, given their quality and history they shouldn't have been. Besides, Mann does not work for the UEA CRU.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:04AM (#30470554) Journal
    The raw data is in pretty good shape and easily accessible []. However this is just a collation of what is held on paper etc, so the conspiracy theorists still have an escape hatch wich their brain can escape through.

    Hat tip to the article on Realclimate [] for the link. I'm sure you know of realclimate, they're the guys who won't show anyone their raw data.

    "It may come as a surprise to some that the first compilation of world-wide meteorological data was published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1927, long before anthropogenic climate change emerged as an important issue (Clayton et al., 1927). This volume is still widely available on the library shelf as are updates that were issued periodically. This same data collection provided the foundation for the World Monthly Surface Station Climatology, 1738-cont. As has been the case for many years, any interested party can access this from UCAR ( and other electronic data archives." - Realclimate

    I await the analyisis of the of the slashdot skeptics.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:11AM (#30470602)
    from tfa:
    Here from March 2004, is an email from Phil Jones to Michael Mann.

            Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it
            wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either
            I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.

    Conspiracy or a few hundred incidents?
  • by hughk (248126) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:34AM (#30470744) Journal

    There simply is no way to produce any rational decisions based on the data and hand, which is hardly surprising given that no-one was allowed to peer review.

    The paper was peer reviewed. In case of any doubts, the reviewers may challenge the authors to back up their claims with original data. The clowns who were demanding access to the data could hardly be called 'peers'.

  • by mvdwege (243851) <> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @04:39AM (#30470764) Homepage Journal

    We find no such thing. You are dishonestly stating things that are not in that linked e-mail at all. Dr. Jones points out that the problems in the Siberian data set are known and published about, and yet people keep submitting papers about it without referring to the existing literature. That's sloppy research, and he is right to recommend a rejection as a peer reviewer.

    But don't take my word for it, here's the full text:

    From: Phil Jones <>
    To: "Michael E. Mann" <>
    Subject: Re: have you seen this?
    Date: Wed Mar 31 09:09:04 2004

    Yes, but not had a chance to read it yet. Too much else going on. Ed has a paper
    reworking Esper et al. as you'll know. If you're going to Tucson, I suggest you talk to
    Keith about it then - don't email him as he's too busy preparing to go and marking essays.
    Jan is in one of our EU projects. Seems that Keith thinks Jan is reinventing a lot of
    work, renamed the RCS method and much more. Jan doesn't always take in what is in
    the literature even though he purports to read it. He's now looking at homogenization
    techniques for temperature to check the Siberian temperature data. We keep telling him the
    decline is also in N. Europe, N. America (where we use all the recently homogenized
    Canadian data). The decline may be slightly larger in Siberia, but it is elsewhere as
    Also Siberia is one of the worst places to look at homogeneity, as the stations aren't
    close together (as they are in Fennoscandia and most of Canada) and also the temperature
    varies an awful lot from year to year.
    Recently rejected two papers (one for JGR and for GRL) from people saying CRU has it
    wrong over Siberia. Went to town in both reviews, hopefully successfully. If either
    I will be very surprised, but you never know with GRL.
    At 11:20 30/03/2004 -0500, you wrote:

    Have you seen this piece of crap by Esper?
    The JGR paper, which Scott is supposed to be finalizing, demonstrates quite convincingly
    that the greater amplitude of Esper et al is due to spatial and seasonal sampling,


  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:28AM (#30471016)

    He initially responded to all FOI requests

    It's worth pointing out that at one point CRU were getting over 50 FOI requests per week from climate skeptics. Maybe it's more now. That is a crazy additional workload for the CRU scientists who are paid to do actual research and not fill out FOI replies.

  • by Stuarticus (1205322) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @05:37AM (#30471084)
    It is probably also worth noting the fact that Russia also has some of the worlds largest reserves of oil and natural gas and considers exploiting them to be one of it's most likely avenues to economic success.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:55AM (#30471604)

    In order to bolster their claim, the IPCC report says, "we can't think of anything else that could cause such a warming other than CO2."

    This is a (deliberate?) misunderstanding. The IPCC says, that the numerical calculations agree with the current warming trend and show a rather dramatic temperature increase in the future.

    What? Why not just show, "CO2 contributes X degrees to the earth's atmosphere, if we double it, then it will contribute X more degrees." (...) In fact, I challenge anyone here to show fact number 3, because I REALLY want to know about it. I've carefully read a lot of the literature looking for an answer to prove that link, but it really doesn't exist.

    This is a bullshit request. Temperature is not a simple analytical function of CO2 concentration. Your request is equivalent to ask for the exact solution to the three body problem (or, rather, the 1-million-body problem), or wave function of a crystal. For all these problems, no analytical, easy solutions are known, and the "easy" part is very likely impossible.
    Still, we do have numerical approximations of these things (and in some cases damned good ones!), just as the climate scientists have developed numerical approximations of the earths climate.
    If you want to reject the conclusions of the climate scientists on the philosophical argument that "it is just a computer model", then you can reject most of the physics done in the last 50 years.
    You could of course detail why you think that the models/approximations of the climate scientists are horribly wrong (preferably backed up with data/simulations on your own), but that is not what you are doing.

    There is no such statement because we don't know how much CO2 is actually affecting the earth's temperature.

    Yes we do, at least considering the overall trend. Because we do have numerical approximations of these things.

  • by Troed (102527) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:55AM (#30471608) Homepage Journal

    or how Polar Bears are in real danger of extinction because of the loss of their frozen habitat

    You're right - you shouldn't point that out since it's completely false.

    the polar bear seems like an unlikely target for ESA listing. Its global numbers have increased substantially, from an estimated 8,000–10,000 in 1965–1970 to 20,000–25,000 today.[3] Clearly, any warming that has occurred has not had an adverse impact on polar bear numbers. This is true of the polar bear populations in Alaska, Canada, Russia, and other nations []

  • by Troed (102527) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:00AM (#30471638) Homepage Journal

    But Russia is only a part of the world and even if the IEA were right it doesn't affect anything else enough to change the fundamental conclusions about global warming.

    Russia is regularly the "most warm" part when the monthly global numbers are released, and extrapolations made from stations in Siberia are often used to get numbers for the Arctic.

    So, on the contrary, this does effect the global numbers released a lot.

  • by dylan_- (1661) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:03AM (#30471658) Homepage

    If AGW isn't true, CO2 is great - plants grow better, more rainfall, deserts getting greener (already happening in Sahel/Sahara).

    No, *slow* CO2 increase *might* (it's difficult to tell) have been great, but not at this rate. Clearly there's too much for plants to absorb anyway, since we know CO2 levels are increasing; we're not just getting more plants.

    Some deserts get greener, others increase in size or new ones form.

    And, of course, the acidification of the oceans is also a huge problem.

    It's not the actual level of CO2 that causes these problems, it's the rate of increase, but the problems remain nonetheless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @07:18AM (#30471718)

    And it's additional work they're required to do by law. They can't just go "sorry, I'm too busy". And how about this - why not make all the data, models publically available and put a link on the website? The reason they're getting requests is because they're sitting on the data.

    And to those who say the data is out there, it's just not. A lot of the adjusted data is there but the list of stations used, the raw measurements, the reasoning for adjusting the data and how isn't.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @08:43AM (#30472230)

    They aren't, the "scientists" are, for a variety of reasons which boil down to the age old canards of money or religion.

    And this is where the grand conspiracy theory falls down. The idea that the vast majority of climate scientists around the world would all conspire to pervert science and perpetuate a grand fraud against humanity in exchange for money or to please God is ridiculous. These are guys who went into academia - a place where salaries a typically a fraction of the private sector - out of choice. If they were interested in money, why did they spent years toiling away on PhDs for a below-minimum-wage income? Why, after obtaining those PhDs, did they then choose to become low-paid postgrad researchers, publishing papers instead of earning big bucks in the private sector? So that after a couple of decades of hard work they could commit scientific fraud on a global scale in exchange for money!?! Unlikely.

  • by hamburger lady (218108) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @09:17AM (#30472406)

    foia requests aren't so simple that you can point out a link with everything you have. at least in america they aren't. you are asked to search your data, files, emails, physical papers and notes, everything for specific terms. it really does take a while to get everything together.

  • by tjonnyc999 (1423763) <> on Thursday December 17, 2009 @10:39AM (#30473122)
    Yes, admitting the entirety of data into calculations of this scale would be foolish.

    However, that is NOT what the Russian IEA is claiming Hadley Center did.

    The 21-page PDF ( specifically explains how the English "scientists" discarded more-complete datasets in favor of less complete, used data from stations that were moved around (less reliable) and ignored stations that were, ahem, stationary, etc, etc.

    So it's not a question of admitting all data & risking contamination - it's a question of intentionally choosing worse data when better data was available.

    There's a translation of the "Conclusions" section of the PDF (can't blame the guy for not translating the entire document, it's a linguistic bitch). Not posting it here - too long - follow the link [] and search for "Posted Dec 17, 2009 at 2:44 AM".
  • Why should that restriction exist at all?

    To weed out trolls.
    The background knowledge needed to interpret raw climatological data is immense. I'm knee deep in it now, and it's not straight forward. It's not a nice excel spreadsheet. The amount of work that needs to be done to just get the data into the sort of shape where statistics can be done on it is tremendous. A few quick examples:
    Arctic measurements. You may already know this, but shit breaks in the cold. All the time. Add in ice melting and thawing, and 50 mph winds, and equipment does not last long. So our data from arctic areas is filled with holes. It's got bogus measurements. Knowing how to spot those bogus results requires an understanding of the equipment being used, how it functions in the cold, and where it's located. You may be able to totally trust a piece of equipment at temperatures over -10C, but have to throw out all data for temperatures below -60C. Just handing out the raw data to anyone will result in some fool taking it as absolute truth.
    There are dozens of climatological oscillations in the earth's atmosphere and oceans. El Nino is half of the most famous one. (No, the other half isn't La Nina, it's the Southern Oscillation) When you look at something like temperature data, you see all sorts of ups and downs. When a couple of these oscillations are in phase, you'll have abnormally high or low temperatures. When they're not in phase, you'll have some mixture. If you're trying to analyze temperature patterns on earth and don't know to take these into account, you're just wasting your time, and potentially going to publicize incorrect findings because of it.
    Geophysical data is ridiculously hard to work with. You need to understand the engineering of the tools used to collect the data, the tolerances and quirks of them, the areas they're used in, sometimes even HOW they're used to take measurements. On top of that, you need to have a very good understanding of the physical processes of the earth's climate systems to be able to isolate any sort of signal. Otherwise, it's just a chaotic mess.
    In short, this requires experts. It's not something that anyone can just hop into Excel with stats 101 under their belt and do. A lot of work is a partnership between engineers, climatologists, AND statisticians. No, your "econometrics heavy MSc" is not enough. Not by a long shot.
    Like anything stupidly complicated, it requires the work of experts. If you want to be an expert, you generally need to spend the time studying to BECOME an expert. How does one prove this? Relevant degree and some peer reviewed publications under your belt.

  • by dylan_- (1661) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @11:33AM (#30473926) Homepage

    Can you read?

    Yes we are, the Earth's biosphere is booming and has been for the last decades. Up more than 6% in total.

    I said not just getting more plants; CO2 levels are increasing so clearly the plants aren't absorbing it all.

    No, it's not. CO2 in the atmosphere has been more than a magnitude higher before in history without the oceans having gone acidic.

    The oceans are already more acidic. This is not opinion, it's fact. It's been measured. It's in the article you yourself linked to.

    Why don't you like science?

    I actually *know* some science. It comes of being able to read. Why don't you try it?

  • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @11:51AM (#30474204)

    Not really, no. Generally scientists are assumed to be honest until proven otherwise. How would you work any other way? Perhaps *if* data collection was done by a completely separate team to analysis (with no possibility of collusion) and absolutely everything was published down to the last detail. In practice, these conditions can't be satisfied and would be horrendously time consuming, expensive and wasteful.

    Fortunately, there's no need. Since the whole point of science is that results are reproducible, any fraud of significance isn't going to last long before it's discovered. Someone claiming a great discovery that nobody can reproduce looks pretty suspicious. Even fields with large, centralised data sets (such as climatology) have more than one set and typically more than one researcher working on it. Fraud would require conspiracy on a grand and utterly implausible scale - even if there was a plausible motive, which there isn't.

  • by dylan_- (1661) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:10PM (#30474470) Homepage

    Chemistry lesson. pH less than 7 = acidic. pH 7 = neutral. pH > 7 basic.

    Chemistry lesson: pH decreasing = becoming more acidic, pH increasing = becoming more basic.

    These are the terms as used by everyone. If you'd paid attention at school, you'd remember it.

    pH of the oceans is about 8 and they are becoming more acidic. That's why it's referred to as "ocean acidification". Google the term: you'll find real scientists using it.

    And you're yet another of those who don't even know the basics of science, yet think they know better than the people who do it for a living.

  • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:50PM (#30475048)

    . Unfortunately, there is no computer model that can accurately simulate the earth's climate.

    Isn't there? That depends on what you mean by "accurately". A model which predicts a temperature change of 0 +/- 50 degrees C is obviously not precise or indeed useful, but it's nevertheless correct. One that claims 4 +- 0.1 when the correct value is 5 is wrong. The last time I looked the models had fairly wide error bars associated with their predictions but the lower bound was still positive, and some decent estimates could be made as to the likely effects of different emissions scenarios. There's always the possibility that something has been missed and that the error analysis is not correct, but that's true of pretty much any measurement or calculation. But you don't need perfect precision in your predictions to get a useful result, you just need a decent understanding of the errors and limitations of your method.

  • by Rising Ape (1620461) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:17PM (#30475404)

    You don't think they're capable of twisting, distortion, selective quoting, poor analysis? Yes, it all *could* be debunked given enough time, and willingness of people to listen. But who has that kind of time, especially considering they'll never accept they were wrong and just drop it [1] and move onto their next poorly thought out point. And all people will remember is that there were a lot of criticisms, with the fact that they were unfounded being lost in the cognitive biases. Don't forget, if you don't care about the quality of your criticisms, you can throw them up much faster than they can be shown to be wrong. And it's all made worse that invalid criticisms can nevertheless look quite plausible to the untrained eye.

    This isn't just paranoia on my part, there's clear evidence of the "sceptics" doing just this if you look. As with the boy who cried wolf, I've now filed most of them in the "not credible and can be ignored" bin.

    Your suggestion that the true evidence will win out in the public sphere is quite amazingly naive.

    [1] Temporarily, anyway. I've seen lots of cases where some point was comprehensively proved wrong but the same person used it again later anyway, despite the fact that he must now be well aware of the flaws. Honesty? Fat chance.

  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:08PM (#30477118) Journal

    Those of us who remember the 70s recall the breathless press accounts of the coming ice age

    Yeah, except that was the press saying so, not the scientists. Watch this video []. So your argument falls apart.

  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#30477226) Journal

    Then there was going to become an ice age in the 70s and it was because pollution was covering the skies.

    No there wasn't. This was not scientific consensus at all. Watch this to educate yourself. []

Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination.