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Climategate: If you can’t stand the cold, get out of the freezer

Yes, there has definitely been a chill around climate science in recent weeks. Brrr!!

Patrick J. Michaels, who used to study and write about climate, comments on Climategate:

After Messrs. Jones and Mann threatened a boycott of publications and reviews, half the editorial board of Climate Research resigned. People who didn’t toe Messrs. Wigley, Mann and Jones’s line began to experience increasing difficulty in publishing their results.

This happened to me and to the University of Alabama’s Roy Spencer, who also hypothesized that global warming is likely to be modest. Others surely stopped trying, tiring of summary rejections of good work by editors scared of the mob. Sallie Baliunas, for example, has disappeared from the scientific scene.

GRL is a very popular refereed journal. Mr. Wigley was concerned that one of the editors was “in the skeptics camp.” He emailed Michael Mann to say that “if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official . . . channels to get him ousted.”

Mr. Mann wrote to Mr. Wigley on Nov. 20, 2005 that “It’s one thing to lose ‘Climate Research.’ We can’t afford to lose GRL.” In this context, “losing” obviously means the publication of anything that they did not approve of on global warming.

Soon the suspect editor, Yale’s James Saiers, was gone. Mr. Mann wrote to the CRU’s Phil Jones that “the GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/ new editorial leadership there.”

It didn’t stop there. Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory complained that the Royal Meteorological Society (RMS) was now requiring authors to provide actual copies of the actual data that was used in published papers. He wrote to Phil Jones on March 19, 2009, that “If the RMS is going to require authors to make ALL data available—raw data PLUS results from all intermediate calculations—I will not submit any further papers to RMS journals.” (Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2009)

Now, in assessing Climategate, I must begin by making clear that I have no axe to grind. The planet could be warming up, and human activity could be partly responsible. I am all for ecology; I just wish most of the people fronting environmentalism in my zone were not fashionable urbanites who can’t imagine that our ecology, which has existed since the close of the last local Ice Age , may be sturdier than they think. 

To say nothing of  ambitious politicos looking to gain power that a constitutional monarchy or republic would not normally permit.

Actually, according to the Canadian Museum of Nature, we – at any rate – are still in an Ice Age (Quaternary Period). Well, that maybe explains why we don’t grow bananas here, though we import plenty.

Meanwhile, here’s another of the burgeoning mass of stories on the Climategate scam:Quoting from Rionovost agency (“What Russian papers say”),

 On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations.

IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.

The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.

Global-temperature data will have to be modified if similar climate-date procedures have been used from other national data because the calculations used by COP15 analysts, including financial calculations, are based on HadCRUT research.”

-James Delingpole, “Climategate goes SERIAL: now the Russians confirm that UK climate scientists manipulated data to exaggerate global warming” (Daily Telegraph, December 16, 2009)

By all means, read the rest at the Telegraph site. It is pretty enlightening.

So what have I learned?:

- Climategate naturally causes me to wonder how much “science” is similarly corrupt. Darwinism might be the biggest bubbles on the surface of a boiling pot. (Important, to be sure, but hardly the whole story.)

Look, when I am buying raspberries, I inspect the clear plastic containers on all six sides. If I see a berry with mould fuzz growing out of it, I pass the whole container by – even though most of the berries are probably sound. But I can’t know for sure, can I? Mycelia, the roots of mould fungi, are invisible, so I have no way to know.

- My biggest loss of confidence came when big science organizations tended to defend the status quo instead of demanding inquiries headed by non-interested parties. See, for example, the American Association for Advancement of Science’s statement that

“The vast preponderance of evidence, based on years of research conducted by a wide array of different investigators at many institutions, clearly indicates that global climate change is real, it is caused largely by human activities, and the need to take action is urgent,” said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science.

AAAS expressed grave concerns that the illegal release of private emails stolen from the University of East Anglia should not cause policy-makers and the public to become confused about the scientific basis of global climate change. Scientific integrity demands robust, independent peer review, however, and AAAS therefore emphasized that investigations are appropriate whenever significant questions are raised regarding the transparency and rigor of the scientific method, the peer-review process, or the responsibility of individual scientists. The responsible institutions are mounting such investigations.

Fine, but – under the circumstances – why am I supposed to believe that climate change is real? Those people could all be funning* us, but some were caught.

And, especially, why should I believe that the “responsible institutions” are the right folk to mount these investigations? I’d bring in outside help, myself. That is routine when we don’t know who’s party and who isn’t.

The whole thing feels like the grocer telling me I must need my head read if I think that that gray thready stuff surrounding the berry is really fungus, or that fungus spreads. After all, his produce manager agrees with him that it is not fungus, and anyway fungus doesn’t spread and isn’t harmful, and anyway -

Anyway I better shop somewhere else hereafter, right?

*It’s odd how events in Canada replicate those in the United States, but often in a different area. When the Canadian Human Rights Commission permitted employees/freelancers to impersonate Nazis on the Internet, in order to target and convict people who were drawn into corresponding with them, one outcome is that they contaminated the sample. I have no idea now how many Nazis there are in Canada. I suspect that half or more work for the government, getting a salary and benefits, and they belong to the public service union. Hitler, wherever he is, must be just thrilled.

It would, of course, be easy for a director general of the civil service to prevent or shut down these “James Bond, legend in his own lunch room” antics. But no such boffin bothered. So then, the boffins can ruddy well live with the results: Their credibility is in ruins because no one knows what to believe.

And I say the same for the climate lobby. If we don’t believe them, it’s because  Climategate and its aftermath cast doubt on their credibility. Not because anyone wants to wreck the planet.

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27 Responses to Climategate: If you can’t stand the cold, get out of the freezer

  1. Denyse wrote: “The planet could be warming up…” and “why am I supposed to believe that climate change is real?

    The Arctic Ocean is melting in the summers (leaving the Canadian Navy with a few thousand extra miles of coastline to defend), the Antarctic ice shelves are breaking up (see news stories of giant icebergs in New Zealand waters), and glaciers are receding all over the planet – and you admit “The planet could be warming up…“?

    Set aside claims of anthropogenic global warming for a moment – how can you possibly doubt global warming is taking place? Don’t you read the news? Is some group of conspirators artificially breaking up the Antarctic iceshelves? Is some group of conspirators stealing the glaciers in the dark of night? How far does your denialism go?

    Talk to your own Navy about their Arctic program. Talk to your country’s lawyers about whether the Northwest Passage is an international strait or Canadian waters. You should have a real interest in this, because global warming affects your country – as does your doubt of global warming.

  2. It’s pretty scary how we depend so much on the scientific establishments that have these kind of dishonest practices going on.

  3. You quote this:

    Patrick J. Michaels, who used to study and write about climate, comments on Climategate:

    After Messrs. Jones and Mann threatened a boycott of publications and reviews, half the editorial board of Climate Research resigned. People who didn’t toe Messrs. Wigley, Mann and Jones’s line began to experience increasing difficulty in publishing their results.

    This implies that half the editorial board resigned in response to improper pressure from Jones and Mann.

    It is contradicted by the accounts of two of the editors, Claire Goodess and Hans von Storch
    According to them, a flawed paper by Soon and Baliunas was published by an editor who had previously published climate skeptic views. This publication was felt to be an error, to put it mildly, of the peer-review process.

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with a climatology journal publishing papers which are skeptical of AGW, as long as they are held to the same standards as all other papers. What is wrong is where a paper that would not otherwise have passed muster iss finagled through peer-review by an editor sympathetic to its views.

    Richard Sternberg, anyone?

  4. >blockquote>Now, in assessing Climategate, I must begin by making clear that I have no axe to grind. The planet could be warming up, and human activity could be partly responsible. I am all for ecology…Yes, it is a shame that debate over the extent, causes and solutions (and whether they exist) of climate change has become so politicized.

    What is being attempted is a form of fortune telling by extrapolation. Why should we expect future data points to follow from the pattern from the past? But then is the attempt to reduce our dependancy on fossil fuels otherwise a bad thing? I wonder if it would sometimes be worth considering issues on their merits.

  5. (@ Clive

    messed up tags, please don’t approve previous and delete bracketed)

    Now, in assessing Climategate, I must begin by making clear that I have no axe to grind. The planet could be warming up, and human activity could be partly responsible. I am all for ecology…

    Yes, it is a shame that debate over the extent, causes and solutions (and whether they exist) of climate change has become so politicized.

    What is being attempted is a form of fortune telling by extrapolation. Why should we expect future data points to follow from the pattern from the past? But then is the attempt to reduce our dependancy on fossil fuels otherwise a bad thing? I wonder if it would sometimes be worth considering issues on their merits.

  6. Seversky at 2, “Of course, there is nothing wrong with a climatology journal publishing papers which are skeptical of AGW, as long as they are held to the same standards as all other papers. What is wrong is where a paper that would not otherwise have passed muster iss finagled through peer-review by an editor sympathetic to its views.

    Richard Sternberg, anyone?”

    Sorry, I didn’t understand. I hadn’t realized so clearly as now that it is all just a tankerload of propaganda, and the key to getting published in a journal is not to have a new or challenging idea but to be “sympathetic to its views.”

    Our local political parties operate that way, but thankfully they do not pretend to be science. I am glad I don’t fund them. And I’d rather not fund this climate stuff either, not until some reasonable and believable controls are in place.

  7. It is very questionable that Antarctica is getting warmer.
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.c.....es-actual/

    And the extent of Antarctic sea ice is the greatest it’s been since 2002.

  8. Oh, and here are satellite data on Arctic and Anarctica temps.

    http://www.climate4you.com/ima.....verage.gif

    Yes, real data. Try it sometime, Paul.

  9. And here is where you can get a clearer picture of Arctic sea ice.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/200.....more-14159

  10. For Anton: “Iceberg the Size of a City Off the Coast of Australia” – http://www.usnews.com/science/.....ralia.html

    Or are these pictures from NASA faked?

  11. There is clearly more going on with people involved in “saving” the planet than mere science. Rather, being part of such a movement allows the average person to partake in the greatest and most important project ever undertaken by mankind; that of saving the entire planet and all of its inhabitants. There is a type of messianic outlook underpinning some of this.

  12. Paul, arghhh.. Don’t want to do this but… with all due respect, sorry that you have been so err.. Brainwashed. Have you ever heard of media bias or do you know what this means?

    The artic ocean is not melting out of the ordinary.. In fact right now it is increasing dramatically.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-5XwlcBqF0
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/c.....htrend.jpg

    And as for New Zealand.. They have been fudging/miss reporting their temperatures.

    http://briefingroom.typepad.co.....aking.html

    No one disputes global temperatures go up… they also go down.. Its called weather on a short term basis and climate on a longer term.

    And no, I don’t read the bias newspapers. As Mark Twain said “those who don’t read the newspaper are un-informed, those who do read the newspaper are miss-informed.”

    If you want to call the CRU event a conspiracy.. Fine.. I call it FRAUD!

    Oh.. And I go to lawyers for advice on “Global Warming”?

    You have bought the SCAM HOOK LINE AND SINKER!!

    (I was gonna say some other things but am biting my tounge..)

    Of if you’re wondering… the polar bears are just fine..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

  13. #9

    This link provides a clear picture of arctic sea ice? I would have thought this was clearer. The important trend is the summer low – see how the “bottom” of the graph steadily drops over time. It is true that 2008 and 2009 are higher than 2007 – but that is only two data points in a long term trend and 2007 was particularly low.

    Real data.

  14. PaulBurnett at 1: I am not sure how big a problem a clearer Northwest Passage would be for Canada – except that it would bring us (Canada) into conflict with the United States over whether we own the Arctic waters between our islands.

    As you imply, we say we do; they say we don’t.

    That didn’t matter much when it wasn’t an obviously viable shipping lane anyway.

    Taking the Canadian view: A clear Northwest Passage would run through a country not governed by thugs, crackpots, or enablers of pirates. Our tolls would be reasonable; aimed principally at the budget needed to suppress all such.

    You should be so lucky as to have us in charge.

    By the way, for any who care – about the polar bears: It has never been clear to me that polar bears are truly declining in numbers. The bear is omnivorous, and can cover a lot of territory in pursuit of his goal – a seal, a deer, a pile of dying spawned-out salmon, a big bag of stale donuts from the dumpster beside the local Horton’s?

    Anything that converts some kind of stored energy into bear fat is acceptable to the bear. He likes honey best of all (no surprise, it is the most easily digested sugar).

    He will go first for the iced or honey-glazed donuts, if he cannot get fresh, warm seal blubber.

    True, many bears have been shot because they became a dangerous nuisance around dumps and dumpsters. Handling this problem in an ecologically sound way requires some co-operation (like, closing the lid on the dumpster at night, and latching/locking it down). THen the bear must go back to running down deer or stray calves.

    BTW, a safe bear is a distant bear.

  15. #12 Dougit

    Your links are misleading. You show a global sea ice chart. The Antarctic sea ice has increased slightly, and so the trend in Arctic sea decline is not easy to detect. The growth in Antarctic sea ice (and the relatively constant remperatures over much of the Antartic) is recognised by climate scientists and is in line with broad predictions that the North will see the effects of AGW sooner than the South.

    The you-tube excerpt highlights the fact the last two years have seen more summer artic ice then 2007. But as I say in #13, this is just two data items in a long term trend. 2007 was particularly low in sea ice (even below the trend) so it is not surprising that a subsequent years are not quite as low.

  16. Oh.. And I go to lawyers for advice on “Global Warming”?

    Perhaps a better approach might be to examine the raw data and whether manipulation of such data is justified. Certainly climatologists should explain how data are collected, processed and interpreted.

    Dismissing claims of climate change without making such an effort is akin to ID critics dismissing intelligent design without considering the evidence.

  17. Just out of interest The UK body, The “Met.” Office, are predicting

    The latest forecast from our climate scientists, shows the global temperature is forecast to be almost 0.6 °C above the 1961–90 long-term average. This means that it is more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record, beating the previous record year which was 1998.

    This would appear to be a testable prediction by which to judge the quality of their data and modelling.

  18. The apparent shrinking of glaciers seems hard to dispute as an actual occerence. Maybe there are other perfectly reasonable explanations that do not involve any suggestion of a general warming trend? Does anyone know of one?

  19. Mark Frank @15

    Oh I see.. so by your chart we are back to the levels of 5 years ago?

    Thanks!

  20. 20
    EndoplasmicMessenger

    Zach@18:

    The sun.

  21. #19

    Dougit

    As I assume you know, it is the minimum extend of sea ice in the summer that is under discussion. That is the troughs at the bottom of the graph. You will see that 2009 was lower than any other point except the very low points of 2007 and 2008. You will also see that the trend is extremely clear – more so than many time series.

  22. #20 EndoplasmicMessenger

    Zach asked if anything other than a global warming trend might be responsible. If the Sun were responsible this would be because it contributed to a general warming trend.

  23. Mark Frank (#22) wrote: “If the Sun were responsible this would be because it contributed to a general warming trend.

    That could explain why the polar ice caps on Mars are shrinking: http://news.nationalgeographic.....rming.html

  24. Mark @22,

    If the Sun is causing a warming trend that does not mean it’s AGW. I believe the earth has warmed but I’m not sure the cause is AGW. I think it’s just periodic climate change at work with the Sun being the main driver.

    That’s why I’m skeptic of the UN wanting us to distribute mass amounts of wealth over this issue when it’s not clear at all what the cause is.

  25. Quite a bit of information with links to further sources on solar variation.

    I just wish more people would look past the propaganda and examine the primary evidence.

  26. #23

    ellijacket

    Your position is fair enough. I was only responding to EndoplasmicMessenger’s comment on Zach’s comment – which was simply about whether earth is warming.

    One of the false conclusions to come out of climategate is that the e-mails cast significant doubt on the recent surface temperature record (since about 1850). UEA kept only one of several global temperature records all of which agree on recent warming. This is also corroborated by many other measures of warming such as glaciers and artic sea ice.

    This is separate from Mann’s hockey stick. I have always had doubts about this.

  27. Yes ice is breaking off of Antarctica- that is what happens with glaciers- ya see they move and sooner or later an Antarctic glacier will slide off of Antarctica.

    Then it is just hanging on/ above the ocen.

    Sooner or later the weight will cause that overhang to crack and break off.

    But that is all due to more ice being formed on the continent!

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