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Second Inquiry Exonerates Climatic Research Unit 764

Posted by kdawson
from the wash-behind-your-ears dept.
mvdwege writes "After being cleared of charges of misconduct by a parliamentary committee, now the CRU has the results of the inquiry (PDF) by a panel of scientists into their scientific methods. Here is the CRU press release. Criticisms: The statistical methods used, though arriving at correct results, are not optimal, and it is recommended future studies involve professional statisticians if possible; and the CRU scientists are lacking somewhat in organization. A very far cry from the widespread allegations of fraud. It seems 'Climategate' is ending with a whimper."
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Second Inquiry Exonerates Climatic Research Unit

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:16AM (#32094718)

    blue-ribbon committees of politicians

    From page 7 of TFA:

    APPENDIX A
    PANEL MEMBERSHIP
    Chair: Prof Ron Oxburgh FRS (Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool)
    Prof Huw Davies, ETH Zürich
    Prof Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Prof Lisa Graumlich, University of Arizona.
    Prof David Hand FBA, Imperial College, London.
    Prof Herbert Huppert FRS, University of Cambridge
    Prof Michael Kelly FRS, University of Cambridge

  • by Cochonou (576531) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:37AM (#32094824) Homepage
    Fraud you say ? Don't you think your view lacks a bit of perspective ?

    From the report, on dendroclimatology:
    "Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design, in the CRU papers that we examined we did not come across any inappropriate usage although the methods they used may not have been the best for the purpose. It is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results. "
    "With very noisy data sets a great deal of judgement has to be used. Decisions have to be made on whether to omit pieces of data that appear to be aberrant. These are all matters of experience and judgement. The potential for misleading results arising from selection bias is very great in this area. It is regrettable that so few professional statisticians have been involved in this work because it is fundamentally statistical."
    "After reading publications and interviewing the senior staff of CRU in depth, we are satisfied that the CRU tree-ring work has been carried out with integrity, and that allegations of deliberate misrepresentation and unjustified selection of data are not valid. In the event CRU scientists were able to give convincing answers to our detailed questions about data choice, data handling and statistical methodology. The Unit freely admits that many data analyses they made in the past are superseded and they would not do things that way today."

    On historical instruments reports:
    "Like the work on tree rings this work is strongly dependent on statistical analysis and our comments are essentially the same. Although there are certainly different ways of handling the data, some of which might be superior, as far as we can judge the methods which CRU has employed are fair and satisfactory. Particular attention was given to records that seemed anomalous and to establishing whether the anomaly was an artefact or the result of some natural process."
    "The Unit has demonstrated that at a global and hemispheric scale temperature results are surprisingly insensitive to adjustments made to the data and the number of series included. "
    "Recent public discussion of climate change and summaries and popularizations of the work of CRU and others often contain over-simplifications that omit serious discussion of uncertainties emphasized by the original authors."

    In the conclusions:
    "We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it."
  • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:2, Informative)

    by sg_oneill (159032) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:38AM (#32094832)

    "Fox "News" are a bunch of partisan frauds who are paid to lie through their teeth, and they are very good at it."

    Theres a few sites on the net that look at the corporate backgrounds of most of Fox's "Experts". Almost all of them are in some way linked to the corporations they comment positively on (Ie defense experts who get on recomending america should buy a certain missile, then it pans out they are being paid off by the missiles manufacturer, or health experts claiming cigarettes are harmless who pan out to be employed by a PR company working for tobacco firms, and so on).

    Its like they don't actually hire anyone at all qualified to comment, but instead let their advertisers nominate "experts".

    Fair and balanced my arse. Fox is an astonishingly biased news. Remember folks, these same people complain about "liberal bias", despite study after study demonstrating a conservative lean in american news reporting.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:09AM (#32094972) Journal
    In case anyone is wondering about these people (because I was, and thus checked):

    * Prof Ron Oxburgh FRS: a geophysicist, strongly worried about climate change. Worked with Shell and has ties to a number of alternate energy companies.
    * Prof. Huw C. Davies: Works in the Institute of Atmosphere and Climate, is a climate modeler. Couldn't find any industry links for him.
    * Prof Kerry Emanuel: Professor of Atmospheric Science, is extremely interested in hurricanes and cyclones. Seems to disagree with the IPCC position that hurricanes are increasing because of global warming.
    * Prof Lisa Graumlich: Director of the school of Natural Resources and the Environment. Doesn't seem particularly an expert on global warming, but if you want to know what effect a changing climate would have on agriculture, ask her.
    * Prof David Hand: a statistician. He's done statistic work for a lot of companies. Doesn't seem to know much about climatology, but he knows more about statistics than I even dreamed existed.
    * Prof David Hand: Professor of Theoretical Geophysics. Has publicly criticized the Mann Hockey Stick graph. Also really likes math.
    * Prof Michael Kelly: spent a lot of time researching semiconductors. Seems to have no relation to climate science at all, but he is the part-time Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department for Communities and Local Government, whatever that is.

    Seems they chose a good variety of people, and the chances of these guys being part of a conspiracy are low. Also, they are a smart group, and I would not try to trick them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:30AM (#32095080)

    We looked over their published papers and chatted with them a couple of times and they seem like forthright folks.

    Conducting investigative interviews is not 'chatting with them'.

    The methods were subjective? This is science? Maybe it's me. Maybe I don't understand the term "science".

    You don't. Science is not, and does not claim to be completely objective. That's why there is peer review, debate, disagreement, etc.

    We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it.

    Ah, but then they don't need to provide provenance or data. That's so comforting.

    That's how most of academia works. More people are arguing it should be more open, as it receives government funding, which is a good thing, but it's a slow process.

    I am so mollified by this report I'm left without speech. It seems perfectly reasonable, rational and diligent to me. Let's close this case and begin the Cap&Trade.

    Never let reality get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:37AM (#32095114) Journal
    Whoops, I messed up on that second to last line, got the wrong person. Should have been:

    * Prof Herbert Huppert: Professor of Theoretical Geophysics. Has publicly criticized the Mann Hockey Stick graph. Also really likes math.
  • Re:Statistics (Score:2, Informative)

    by wwwald (1452511) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:46AM (#32095158) Homepage
    Completely agree with this.

    Statistics is more often than not used as a "tool on the side" to illustrate study conclusions, while it should be at the very heart of any scientific analysis, all the way from the initial measurement planning to the model validation and further. Too often, the scientific process is still largely based on subjective judgement instead of robust statistics. While experience helps to avoid glaring errors, the process is doomed to produce erratic research as long as decent statistics are not involved. Judgement can be deceived, numbers can't.

    Quite interesting in this regard: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/57091/title/Odds_are,_its_wrong [sciencenews.org]
  • by quokkaZ (1780340) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @03:46AM (#32095160)

    It seems some "skeptics" have (finally) got off their arses and made an honest attempt to make their own global temperature reconstruction using the NCDC dataset. Which is a great improvement over the morons who think filling in form letters for vexatious FOI requests has something to do with science.

    And what a surprise! They find that their record pretty much agrees with the CRU compiled record. If anything it shows a little more warming.

    It is discussed here http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/global-land-temps-cru-style/ [wordpress.com]

  • Re:Sadly... (Score:5, Informative)

    by quokkaZ (1780340) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:53AM (#32095506)

    You want some falsifiable predictions from mainstream climate science. Try these:

    1. The global temperature will increase - predicted by Hansen's model from early eighties. There is an observed increase in temperature.

    2. Arctic and antarctic to warm faster than rest of the planet - predicted by all models. Observed.

    3. Troposphere to warm and stratosphere to cool - predicted by all models. Observed.

    4. Increasing signature of CO2 in long wave spectrum form top of atmosphere. Observed by satellite spectrographically.

    5. Increasing acidification of the oceans. Observed.

    and plenty more where those came from. Please cut the crap about climate science not being falsifiable. Try looking at the evidence, the science and the facts for a change.

  • Re:Sadly... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:10AM (#32095576)

    To scientists, the theory is this: adding CO2 to the atmosphere will somewhat warm the atmosphere. This may cause some minor changes in the earth's climate system.

    Several degrees of warming is not trivial, it would result in sea level rises large enough to wipe out many coastal areas which are currently heavily populated - parts of Florida, Bangladesh, India, Bangkok, etc, etc, quite apart from other changes possibly precipitated by the loss of the ice caps. Changes to mitigate the sea level rise after the fact will be hugely expensive, more so than adjusting our behaviour now in my opinion. In addition to this, our reliance on fossil fuels is soon to become a large problem, as they start to run out. Oil, Coal and Gas will probably run out this century, or become incredibly expensive, so we have to deal with these issues for other reasons too.

    There are plenty of reasons to respond rationally to the very rapid changes in climate (rapid in geological terms) over the last few centuries, whether you accept they are man-made or not. They are not minor problems, and will probably constitute the largest problems we have to face this century.

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:25AM (#32095640) Journal
    The point made by the original poster still remains. Publish your data and analysis details. That's how you do science, instead than comparing credentials. We have all been warned about the "magister dixit" bias in our science classes. It applies today as well.

    I don't think there is a conspiracy, but there have been scientists trying to do politics a bit clumsily in order to raise awareness on a phenomenon. Awareness is there now. They should now go back to science before their names, works and, more dangerously, whole field get bad reputation. Now the general public knows there can be bad consequence to climate change. It is time to get finer models and better predictions now.
  • self addition (Score:3, Informative)

    by epine (68316) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @05:53AM (#32095746)

    As a footnote, I read this the other night and was quite impressed with it. This will mostly appeal to slashdotters with low digit IDs and mild Aspergers, if such a creature exists.

    The Art and Science of Cause and Effect [ucla.edu]

    Note that he takes a long view of science as I do. The key slide that just popped into mind is slide 49 with the text:

    However, carve a chunk from it, say the object part, and we can talk about the motion of the hand CAUSING this light ray to change angle.

    The precautionary principle is fundamentally interventionist. However, the focus of precaution is necessarily a human construct, which depends upon how the image is sliced. This claim is heavily supported in the presentation as a whole.

    This insight courtesy of Judea Pearl, who is becoming known as one of the giants of AI. He's a major influence on the recent work of Daphne Koller. Under no circumstances check out the accomplishments of Daphne Koller if you're feeling low about your productivity in the recent week or decade. She's just polished off a nice 1,200 page tome http://www.amazon.com/Probabilistic-Graphical-Models-Principles-Computation/dp/0262013193/ [amazon.com]">Probabilistic Graphical Models: Principles and Techniques (Adaptive Computation and Machine Learning). I'd rush out to buy this, but I'm not sure my ego can handle the blow.

  • by labnet (457441) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @06:38AM (#32095938)

    OK, so I read the file the parent linked and what a shocker.
    Some quotes

    OH FUCK THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I'm
    hitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform
    data integrity, it's just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they're found. :

    I am seriously close to giving up, again. The history of this is so complex that I can't get far enough
    into it before by head hurts and I have to stop. Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and
    semi-automated interventions that I simply cannot just go back to early versions and run the update prog.
    I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections - to lat/lons, to WMOs (yes!), and more.

    Now, this is a clear indication that the standard deviation limits are not being applied.
    Which is extremely bad news. So I had a drains-up on anomauto.for.. and.. yup, my awful
    programming strikes again. Because I copied the anomdtb.f90 process, I failed to notice
    an extra section where the limit was applied to the whole station - I was only applying
    it to the normals period (1961-90)!

    Probably the worst story is temperature, particularly for MCDW. Over 1000 new stations! Highly
    unlikely. I am tempted to blame the different lat/lon scale, but for now it will have to rest.

    If I fix that, I get:...14 stations LESS than the previous exercise. That'll do, surely? It's not going to be easy to find 14 missing stations, is it? Since the anomalies aren't exactly the same. Should I be worried about 14 lost series? Less than 2%. Actually, I noticed something interesting.. look
    at the anomalies. The anomdtb ones aren't *rounded* to 1dp, they're *truncated*! So, er - wrong!

    The problem is that the synthetics are incorporated at 2.5-degrees, NO IDEA why, so saying they affect
    particular 0.5-degree cells is harder than it should be. So we'll just gloss over that entirely ;0)

    So, under /cru/cruts/version_3_0/fixing_tmp_and_pre/custom_anom_comparisons, we have a
    'manual' directory and an 'automatic' directory, each with twelve 1990 anomaly files. And
    how do they compare? NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!

  • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:25AM (#32096166)

    The parent is factually wrong on several accounts. It has nothing to do with "denier" or "supporter" - the facts are available.

    1) You do not know whether the emails were leaked or stolen.
    2) Some code was used, some code wasn't. There was no documentation as to what was where and for what.
    3) Hide the decline indeed had to do with temperatures, if you accept tree rings as temperature proxies (which was the whole point of using them)
    4) The "trick" referred to something that anyone with any statistical education knows is wrong (merging unrelated data sets into one)

    As to your claim that there was nothing new in the emails, that's also factually wrong. Both the emails, and more importantly the documents and data, contained a lot of new information. To find out what, you might need to visit a so called "denialist" web site, or two, though.

  • by Troed (102527) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @07:34AM (#32096198) Homepage Journal

    The tree ring data from after 1961 is not used because it doesn't match the temperature Simple enough for you?

    Yes. To a scientist it means "tree rings aren't good temperature proxies". You know, what the dendrologists have been saying the whole time.

    http://climateresearchnews.com/2010/04/119-useless-oak-tree-ring-chronologies-used-by-mann-et-al-2008/ [climateresearchnews.com]

    (disregard the site, linked since it contains the relevant quote from the tree ring specialists themselves)

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @08:46AM (#32096664)

    So... we didn't look into whether their numbers were right.

    Their numbers are the records of temperature measurements. They literally came from a book. How, exactly, do you propose we determine if the numbers were right? Check for massive transcription errors that all happen to go one way?

    The entire "climategate" scandal was about their ANALYSIS of the data, not the data.

    As a less snarky answer, if you want to see the data go look at their journal papers.

    The methods were subjective? This is science? Maybe it's me. Maybe I don't understand the term "science".

    Well, if you understood science, perhaps you'd have looked into the problems here.

    First, we didn't have thermometers 5000 years ago, so there's no accurate data. So we have to look for other ways to measure temperature after-the-fact. Tree rings and ice cores seem to correlate well, with tree rings having higher fidelity than ice cores. And for most of the time period where we do have thermometers, tree rings correlate well with the thermometers from the 1800s until the 1960s.

    Starting in the 60's, tree rings are showing a colder temperature than we measure with thermometers. Why? Nobody knows. Best guess is pollution, but it's a problem for the biologists, not the climatologists.

    Should we then treat the pre-1800 tree-rings as accurate? Well, that's going to be subjective. Since we don't know what's causing the slowdown for the last 50 years, an argument could be made that tree ring data is unreliable. On the other hand, our other source of pre-1800s data (ice cores) match the pre-1800 tree rings and we have a hypothesis whereby the slowdown is a new phenomenon.

    In addition, we have this habit of placing the thermometers where people are. Since the thermometer is in a city, we know there will be a heat island effect. For modern readings, we've placed thermometers outside cities so that we can measure that effect. But that won't help for old readings. So we have to compensate for heat island effects without being able to accurately measure them and their change over time (small city = smaller effect). This correction, by definition, has to be subjective.

    If you really were interested in the science here, you'd go fire up Google Scholar and read their papers where they explain all this. On the other hand you are moving the goalposts from "look! Bad analysis!!!" at the beginning of "climategate" to "look! Bad data!!". That kinda indicates you aren't actually interested in the science.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @09:42AM (#32097246)

    There is a big difference between sub-optimal and wrong. Many scientists have a statistical background without being a professional statistician. Professional statisticians don't come cheap and I'm sure it was on their wishlist if their budget had been a lot more than it was. And no, research budgets generally don't go to paying the staff. A PhD could bring you around $45k per year if you work an 80 hour work week.

  • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:01AM (#32097490)

    What point were you trying to make here? That mathematicians don't understand physics? Fortunately that isn't true, but it seems to be what you're striving for with your healthy mix of relativity denial, Big Bang denial, and quantum mechanics denial mixed in with the usual global warming denial?

    A few points:

    I'm sure that you are mathematically "offended" that the real world is messy and fraught with uncertainty, but that doesn't mean that science itself is bogus.

    There is no "proof of relativity", or of any other scientific theory. Scientific theories are never proven in the way that mathematical theorems are. They are supported or not by empirical evidence, but not proven. Mathematically speaking, relativity theory is as consistent as Euclidean geometry is ("playing fast and loose with 2 variables" notwithstanding, whatever that's supposed to mean), since it's just geometry with a -+++ signature. Quantum mechanics too is consistent (I have no idea what "making up new variables" means), but problems arise when you get to quantum field theory (hence the still unresolved framework of axiomatic/constructive QFT). This includes the Standard Model, which you seem to liek. That has little to do with its predictive skill, and probably a lot to do with QFT being an approximation to some as-yet unknown more fundamental theory.

    "Wrong methods arriving at a correct conclusion" is not evidence for chaos. Newtonian gravity arrives at the correct Schwarzschild radius for a black hole for the wrong reasons. No chaos htere.

    It is blatantly false that the climate passes more tests for chaos than the weather does.

    You cannot prove that the Big Bang could not have occurred -- at least not with existing data. The Big Bang is not thought of by modern physicists as a literal singularity, but rather just a small, hot, dense state from which the universe subsequently expanded. This violates no laws of physics. A singularity does, by definition, which is why most cosmologists do not believe there was a literal singularity: its presence is just indicative of GR being an approximation to a more fundamental theory (quantum gravity). Being from the so-called "exact sciences", you don't seem to grasp the concept of an approximate theory, which is useful even when it has known limitations.

    It is false that statistical methods don't work in non-equilibrium systems.

    It is false that solar influences are ignored. Solar influences have found to be relatively small in the past, and within the range of natural variability of the Sun, they are likely to be overwhelmed by projected human influences, even if, say, a new Maunder Minimum occurred. That doesn't rule out the possibility that the Sun could do something even more extreme tomorrow -- or even explode -- but again, you don't seem to get the whole concept of science. Science can't prove things. It only makes predictions on the basis of what has been observed and what laws can be inferred from them, to the extent that is possible.

    IPCC estimates of feedback strengths - both theoretical and empirical - carry a range of uncertainty. But none of the values within this range imply that the Earth would have been burnt to a crisp or frozen solid over the Earth's history.

    The IPCC does not claim to have all variables covered. If you've ever bothered to read the reports, you will see plenty of discussion of unrepresented processes, a discussion of which unrepresented processes are likely to be important and which not, and, when possible, some crude estimates of possible bounds on their magnitudes.

    I think your posting AC has less to do with intolerance for global warming discussions at universities, and more to do with the fact that you're admitted nutter who has little comprehension of what science even is, let alone the science of climate change.

  • by Troed (102527) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:24AM (#32097828) Homepage Journal

    Why start at 1800? We can try to verify tree rings a lot further back than that, using ice cores as well as other proxies. It turns out the tree rings show a completely different pictures compared to the other proxies - a very flat picture. No MMW, no LIA.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFbUVBYIPlI [youtube.com] (see the very end for sources)

    To be frank, tree ring proxies (especially merging a lot of them together to hide how wildly different they are even from each other) are the only ones that can be used to show the handle of a hockey stick.

    To get the blade, you need to switch away from the proxies again and graft direct temperature measurements to the end.

    ( ... and to be REALLY frank, you also need to modify the temperature measurements so you can minimize the warmth of the 30s and the cooling in the 60/70s.)

    Here's the shocker: We HAVE earlier temperature data. That data does not agree with the tree proxies, and it gives the concept of AGW dubious support if any.

    http://i45.tinypic.com/kqbd4.jpg [tinypic.com]

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:26AM (#32097848) Journal

    You call "arriving at correct results" "Shoddy and careless"?

    What? No, that's not how it works.

    Let's say I look into a crystal ball and say, "My crystal ball is round, therefore the Earth is round." Have I done anything even remotely scientific? Should anyone assign any credibility to my results?

    No, of course not. By sheer luck, I happened to get the right answer. My friend who used tea leaves might have decided the Earth is flat, like a tea leaf.

    Does it make much difference if I have data? Not really, my results are still just as worthless. The only difference is, the data was still there for others to analyze, but that doesn't make my own conclusion any less shoddy and careless. Think about it -- I could look at the collected data and start performing numerology, deciding that the number of happy primes, when converted into characters, spells out "AL GORE WAS RIGHT!" Again, just because I happened to get the right answer doesn't make my methods any less vulnerable to criticism.

    The only thing that saves them is that their data was still available for someone else to analyze properly. So yes, the results are correct. Yes, "climategate" was a storm in a teapot. Yes, climate change is a real thing, backed up (now) by real science. But these guys were still shoddy and careless, and some heads should probably roll.

  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:33AM (#32097954)
    Your *raw* data? Bullshit. None of my astronomy papers has raw data in it; for one, I have to do minimal processing just to get something *I* understand. Nor do I doubt that you publish your method — you certainly have to describe it, but no one wants to see your crappy code in the pages of the Astronomical Journal.

    Mind you, the raw Hubble data *is* publicly available (after a one-year embargo). And what do you know, so is most of the climate data.
  • by yakmans_dad (1144003) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @10:39AM (#32098046)
    A complex statistical analysis was done sub-optimally. Learn to read.
  • NOT Good enough (Score:4, Informative)

    by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:03AM (#32098424)

    Given the gravity of their findings, the seriousness they attribute to the situation, the huge nature of the changes they propose, the affect the actions will have on everyone, the potential devastation to the world economy, etc. etc., the AGW crowd has to meet the Gold Standard of scientific evidence.

    They have to document every last fact, provide access to all the data, provide the means and methods they used to draw their conclusions, account for every oddity, inconsistency, and anything else that would cast doubt on their conclusions. Their case must be iron clad. They have answer their critics, no matter who they are, thoroughly and in a timely manner...again and again if necessary.

    Every aspect of their work has to be meet the highest level of professional standards and scrutiny. You have a conclusion based on statical analysis? It had better be done by a PhD in Statistics. You have a conclusion based on thermodynamics? Only someone with a PhD in that discipline is acceptable. Preferably with decades of experience and unquestionable standing. Cobbling together a little bit of skills here and there is unacceptable, unprofessional , shoddy and careless. Too much you say? Too bad. The stakes are too high for anything less.

    You want to change the world? You better fucking bring your A Game.

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @11:57AM (#32099458)

    Why start at 1800?

    Because thermometers were not widespread and the measurements from those thermometers were not recorded.

    It turns out the tree rings show a completely different pictures compared to the other proxies - a very flat picture. No MMW, no LIA.

    Ah yes, when engaging in a scientific debate, especially one that is as subjective as analyzing tree rings, I always turn to youtube for the best analysis instead of journal papers. Tip: You can use tree rings to prove a lot of things that are false. To the best of our current knowledge, the climate scientists are not doing this. Which is explicitly stated in TFA.

    To get the blade, you need to switch away from the proxies again and graft direct temperature measurements to the end.

    The only reason to use the proxies is because we lack the actual measurements. Continuing to use the proxies means you are continuing to induce the errors caused by your proxies not being the actual thing you want to measure. Climate scientists attempt to correct for this using as many proxies as possible, but there's always the chance for error. Their point, however, is that the data showing human-caused climate change is outside the statistical margin of error.

  • Not universally... (Score:3, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:02PM (#32099580) Journal

    ...or are you also skeptical of evolution? Then you're just as gullible; you've likely been fooled by your church, or by the Discovery Institute's media machine.

    Perhaps you're skeptical of gravity, also? That might be easy to disprove -- just fly.

    Yes, scientists are asked to be skeptical of everything, and never claim to have proven anything. If you're skeptical in the scientific sense, of theories in the scientific sense, that's a good thing. If you're skeptical in the philosophical sense, that's some deep thought. But in a practical sense, if you're skeptical of one theory and not another simply because of personal preference, you're a moron.

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:12PM (#32099730)

    Ice cores aren't exactly as accurate as we believed or hoped

    That would be the fidelity I was speaking of. Ice cores can't be used to say "it was this temperature on July 18th, 5324 BCE". What it can reveal is an approximate average temperature over a many-year period. This is why ice cores are used in an attempt to confirm data from other proxies instead of directly used.

    If we figure out why, we'll know if it was caused by something recent and new (humans!) or if it's something else entirely that may have happened before (making tree rings an unreliable source of data

    Alternatively, we can use other proxies to get an idea of the margin of error. If the ice cores and tree rings massively disagreed, then we've got a problem since we don't know which to trust. But: 1) Ice cores and modern air temperature readings correlate nicely, 2) ice cores and ancient tree rings correlate nicely, and 3) tree rings and air temperature readings correlate nicely until the 1960's. Put all that together and tree rings are a reasonable proxy until the 1960s, when we'd want to switch to air temperatures anyway because they're more accurate.

    oh and the "climategate" did involve their data -- they 'normalized' their data.

    Normalizing data is analysis.

    they won't share the original data (it's been lost, as in, it was thrown out 20-some years ago and only their adjusted data was kept)

    Data from some sites was lost. Data from other sites are still available, you just have to ask the people who own the data. In addition, the normalized data from the lost sites doesn't appear to be outliers relative to the sites where data is still available.

    We can't verify their conclusions based upon their data, because the data is gone.

    That's not verification. That's proofreading.

    To verify their results you need to collect your own data and write your own software to analyze the data, and then see if your results confirm their results. All using their data and software would confirm is that you both know how to click the "Run" button.

  • Re:Calling bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

    by bobwoodard (92257) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:19PM (#32099876)

    I'm not sure what the non-profit/governmental/academic status has to do with anything? Any group can have its own motivations or prejudices. Just because that group is non-profit/governmental/academic doesn't mean it isn't looking out for its own interests or for a larger agenda.

  • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Omestes (471991) <omestes AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:20PM (#32099914) Homepage Journal

    But, if AGW is true and we do nothing, then the consequences would be worse than if AGW is wrong and we do something.

    Ignoring AGW, most of the solutions for global warming are also good things on their own, even without the added kick of preventing hypothetical warming.

    I personally am on the fence about AGW, though I do see evidence for global warming itself. I just am not sure if humans can be attributed to it. But I am fully in favor of limiting our impact, developing sustainable, weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels, and generally being good stewards of our environment. If this causes the CEO of Exxon-Mobile to cry, sobeit. We have a greater obligation to our planet, and future generations than we do to keeping some rich buggers rich.

    Solutions to AGW are good, even if AGW turns out to be wrong.

    I would rather have done something than nothing. When dealing with consiquences as grand as those of AGW (if true), then I'd rather opt for the "better safe than sorry" solution. It is, in my opinion, too much to gamble.

     

  • by Jerry (6400) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @12:35PM (#32100170)

    Why would he want to do that? Carbon Credits is a gold mine for Gore and he is mining them for all he can.

    I downloaded the FOIA.ZIP file and examined the 1,037 emails and other documents it contained. Gore claims that the emails are "all ten years old or older" and implies their contents are meaningless today. He lied or he is totally ignorant of the facts: http://www.examiner.com/x-25061-Climate-Change-Examiner~y2009m12d9-Al-Gore-talks-Climategate-on-CNN-and-Slate-misstates-the-facts#video [examiner.com]
    Of the 1,037 emails over 10% were written in 2009. The most recent had the following header:

    From: "Thorne, Peter (Climate Research)" (peter.thorne@metoffice.gov.uk)
    To: "Phil Jones" (p.jones@uea.ac.uk)
    Subject: Letter draft
    Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 14:17:44 -0000

    which was sent only FIVE days before the files were posted on line.

    One has only to read HARRY_README.TXT to understand what was going on and see how the manipulation, cherry picking, cooking and creating "data" out of thin air was taking place.

    The "reviews" whitewash the actions of the CRU and its cooperating agencies, all part of a subagency of the UN,the IPCC, all government funded. The "reviews" in effect say it is:

    • OK to ignore Freedom of Information Acts, or subvert their intent, or make plans to destroy the data if no other recourse is available.
    • OK to intimidate climate journals into getting AGW articles "peer reviewed" by cronies after getting equally qualified academics with apposing views thrown off of the list of peer reviewers.
    • OK to slander non-AGW academics, some with more expertise and academic standing than they have, like MIT Prof Richard Lindzen, and try to destroy their careers. BTW, you can read the tactics they discuss and choose in the emails.
    • OK to publish articles in those journals that posit conclusions which cannot be verified or replicated because the data is withheld from the journal, and thus its readers, a specifically NON-academic attitude.
    • OK to publish articles making unsubstantiated claims about the Amazon forests or the Himalayan glaciers, or other topics, using the un-reviewed rantings of Green Peace activists as your authorities.
    • OK to make contracts with UN agencies guaranteeing "deliverables" (data) at "milestones" which will support the AGW theory the UN supports, because AGW can be used to justify redistribute wealth from rich countries to poor ones (dialectical materialism) in the form of "Carbon Taxes". (Manipulating Carbon Tax Credits is where Gore is making his millions.)

    To see who is putting their money AND actions where their mouth is just compare the homes of two prominent politicians:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/house.asp [snopes.com]

    Here is how Gore is putting his money where his mouth is:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/6491195/Al-Gore-could-become-worlds-first-carbon-billionaire.html [telegraph.co.uk]

    I remember the "Global Cooling/Nuclear Winter" hysteria.
    I remember the Club of Rome hysteria (I fell for that one until I analyzed the BASIC program and realized the program was rigged to produce the same results regardless of the input, just as the AGW computer models do. Using the "Hockey Stick" methodologies one can get a hockey stick using red noise. Similar manipulations of models were used by Federal Agencies to justify dictating water usage in the Mid-West US.)
    Now I am witnessing the AGW hysteria

    The people who pushed the first two are the ones (and/or their students), pushing AGW, along with their friends in the Left Wing media. The "solution" in each is the same: adopt Marxism world wide and we'll all stand around in the promise land singing Kumbaya.

  • Re:Doesn't matter. (Score:2, Informative)

    by isomer1 (749303) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @02:25PM (#32102348)

    I would like to clarify a few things as someone who is both an engineer and an academic.

    Academics don't have to produce anything (besides words).

    In the lab across the hall from my office sits the world's first diffuse optical tomography platform capable of imaging and mapping multiple fluorescent lifetimes. My office mates have built a high-density NIRs grid currently being used to map brain function in infants to help clinicians diagnose and treat early neural trauma and other related disorders. We academics build plenty. Moreover even those involved in more theoretical aspects (like say the mathematicians we collaborate with) have to produce models of light propagation that actually work. Are there papers that show problems with current methodology? Sure, but those are only one aspect of academia, and the same people that write those papers then go on to demonstrate new methodologies superior to the old (which is the entire reason they examined weaknesses in the old models).

    I have to put a product out that works. There are time limits.

    How difficult it must be to live in a world with project deadlines. OH WAIT! I bet that's damn near identical to our grant submission and progress report deadlines. If we miss those the lab either never receives or loses existing funding

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach..."

    Lets not be a jackass about these things. In reality anybody worth a damn is both doing AND teaching as much as their time permits. As a production engineer you may not be teaching in a formal setting but I would certainly expect that you both give and receive informal instruction to the other engineers on your teams

  • by tbannist (230135) on Wednesday May 05, 2010 @04:14PM (#32103752)

    The earth hasn't been cooling for the last 15 years. 10 out of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the last 15 years (2009 is tied for 2nd place according to NASA). How is that cooling? When you consider the last 30 years there's a clear warming trend that continues to this year. The last 15 years or alternatively 12 years is a cherry-picked number because 1995 and 1998 were unusually warm years. Thus if you start with either 1995 or 1998 you get a flatter slope on your graph because you start with a high number and gives a misleading impression that 1995 or 1998 were typical of the time period before the graph starts. It's a very common way to trick people with graphs.

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