A Lazy Rainy Metadata Sunday

Today's weather in Northern California at Anthony's weather station at http://www.bidwellranchcam.com

Guest post by Steven Mosher

I’m feeling lazy today, after a few months of writing code around the metadata question, I have a post to write up about 230 land stations that are located in the ocean. But, I’m feeling lazy today, tired from doing basic quality checks on the data the “team” uses routinely and hopeful that NCDC will answer my mails about the corrections I think need to be made.

As we approach the anniversary of Climategate, with our book well stocked in the remainder bin and it’s pages lining bird cages in the offices at UEA,  I’m going to donate some excerpts to the WUWT community. Thanks for all your support. Thank you more for your criticism. And thank you to Anthony for hosting people with different views.

Steve McIntyre’s recent series of posts on Dr. Jones seminal 1990 paper on UHI, brought back to the foreground a comment made in the mails by Kevin Trenberth that seem particularly applicable to my current work on checking the accuracy of metadata in GHCN. And Judith Curry’s recent posts on climate science “dogma”, a term I don’t think is helpful to address the issues at hand, brought up the variety of methods that the “Team” either used or contemplating using in response to data requests from McIntyre and others. “We can say they are lazy.”

The issue, as Tom and I wrote in the book, is not the science. The mere fact that some small group of scientists expressed less than wholesome ideas about sharing data, the mere fact that they cast aspersions on those requesting the data or thought about casting aspersions, does not in and of itself establish or refute any scientific fact. The world is still warming, despite their all too human behavior. Unfortunately, the public seems less inclined to have the same high regard they once had for climate scientists. The Minnesota satirists have yanked the team off their pedestal and there is no answer to that form of humor. That first laugh was the last laugh. And no, this

does not count as humor despite the pedigree of the writers. You do not answer the satire of midwesterners with self parody.

As we review the statements of the team below, I need to add this: It is neither fruitful to make too much of the comments or to brush them aside as inconsequential. They don’t change the science, but they do show that some would do well to examine their attitudes and beliefs, especially their attitudes towards citizens who want to check the numbers for themselves.

Excerpt from Climategate: the Crutape letters

Climate Audit again is on the radar of Phil Jones of CRU and Kevin Trenberth of UCAR. Ben Santer, a former CRU employee, is also alarmed at what is transpiring. Inspired by McIntyre’s work, Doug Keenan is reviewing the Jones 1990 case and notices some discrepancies in the work of Jones’ co author Wang, a scientist from China. Construing Wang’s work as academic fraud, (a charge later dismissed by Wang’s university), Keenan starts writing letters to Jones. The case is more interesting for the attitudes and preconceptions it reveals about Jones, Trenberth and others than it is about the questionable work of Wang. Trenberth on April 21 to Jones:

I am sure you know that this is not about the science. It is an attack to undermine the science in some way.  In that regard I don’t think you can ignore it all, as Mike suggests as one option, but the response should try to somehow label these guys and lazy and incompetent and unable to do the huge amount of work it takes to construct such a database.  Indeed technology and data handling capabilities have evolved and not everything was saved.  So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric.  Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.  How about “I tried to get some data from McIntyre from his 1990 paper, but I was unable because he doesn’t have such a paper because he has not done any constructive work!” :

There is no evidence at all that McIntyre has ever wanted to ‘undermine the science.’ He’s really just asking for the tools to do what they should have done themselves—check their numbers.

Rather than answer Keenan’s rather minor issue (which the university will eventually do), Trenberth suggests a personal attack, suggests impugning their motives. Rather than provide the data, Trenberth suggests a false attack on the abilities of those requesting the data. Ironically, the community reading on the internet has far more capability as a whole than Jones at managing large datasets and documents. Many of the engineers, scientists and academics that regularly visit Climate Audit could give lessons on the subject. Trenberth’s attack on McIntyre and his readers is reminiscent of the early attacks on bloggers by the mainstream media who tried to label them as “pajamas media.” What Trenberth failed to realize is that they were an army of Davids ready to tackle that large database work and in the end provide detailed documentation that NOAA would actually request for its own papers.

Mann weighs in with his views and he politicizes the problem and fails to understand that the story has a life of its own, independent of politics and the Main Stream Media:

So they are simply hoping to blow this up to something that looks like a legitimate controversy. The last thing you want to do is help them by feeding the fire.  Best thing is to ignore them completely. They no longer have their friends in power here in the U.S., and the media has become entirely unsympathetic to the rants of the contrarians at least in the U.S.–the Wall Street Journal editorial page are about the only place they can broadcast their disinformation

Jones also explains some of the confusion about the actual sources of the data. In CRU FOIA responses, CRU has argued that they should not have to supply the data they used because it is available from GHCN and NCAR. Jones reveals that this is not the case:

As for the other request, I don’t have the information on the sources of all the sites used in the CRUTEM3 database. We are adding in new datasets regularly (all of NZ from Jim Renwick recently) , but we don’t keep a source code for each station. Almost all sites have multiple sources and only a few sites have single sources. I know things roughly by country and could reconstruct it, but it would take a while.  GHCN and NCAR don’t have source codes either. It does all come from the NMSs – well mostly, but some from scientists.

As has been pointed out earlier, the construction of a global temperature index is largely a book keeping job. Yet Jones seems singularly ill-equipped to keep a handle on the data or accurate records of where data comes from. His breezy assertion that he ‘could probably reconstruct’ the database record could not be more sharply in contrast to McIntyre’s style—or accepted best practice in data handling and management circles. McIntyre’s work in the mining industry auditing reports is focused on the issue of provenance.

Santer’s solution to this “problem” of Climate Audit readers request for data is not a careful exposition of what data sources were used but rather this, from April 25th:

I looked at some of the stuff on the Climate Audit web site. I’d really like to talk to a few of these “Auditors” in a dark alley.

Jones’s best thought at clearing up this confusion in data sources and data provenance is to deliberately confuse the matter more. He writes:

Ben,

Thanks for the thoughts. I’m in Geneva at the moment, so have a bit of time to think. Possibly I’ll get the raw data from GHCN and do some work to replace our adjusted data with these, then make the Raw (i.e. as transmitted by the NMSs). This will annoy them more, so may inflame the situation.

Reviewing the ideas the scientists have for dealing with data requests we have the following: Lie about the dedication and work habits of the requester, ignore requests, beat requesters up in a dark alley, and deliberately confuse the provenance of the data. Later they will add obstruction of the FOIA process to their bags of tricks, demonstrating that they should never in the future be trusted with data that is fundamental to our understanding of the climate. Releasing the data and letting the “auditors” discredit themselves never occurs to them.

(pgs 99-100)

Advertisements

60 thoughts on “A Lazy Rainy Metadata Sunday

  1. “Best thing is to ignore them completely. They no longer have their friends in power here in the U.S.”
    Prof, Mann has just learnt that what goes around, comes around. The hornets are disturbed and Prof, Mann could well be badly stung.

  2. Steve.

    I’ve actually just got round to buying your book. A bit late but it is as relevant now as it was a year ago.

    I agree: it’s the fact that many different viewpoints are allowed here at WUWT that makes this site so special.

    A Very Merry Climategate Day to you all!

  3. If you are thinking nothing will get better with the change in leadership in our country, you are right. But ask yourself, WHY nothing will get better? First you have to understand it is inevitable because the systems logical conclusion is to end up in an economic and societal collapse.

    Political parties are irreverent due to the automatic nature of our Hamiltonian monetary model. There is nothing that will improve our lot in life unless the current model is thrown in the dustbin of history. The Jeffersonian model used for more than 100 years prior to 1913 worked so well, we even built the US capitol building without a dime of income tax. We had no income tax, an IRS, or the Federal Reserve before 1913.

    It is our monetary system that drives all political agendas and is responsible for the demise of our once great nation. I urge you to watch the following series of lessons for a more in depth explanation of HOW our current system works. Our system is reaching it’s logical conclusion and you can’t fix what is broken if you don’t know how it operates in the first place. This is a 6 part series and I urge you to take the time to view and think.

    You can view this whole body of work on this Youtube channel:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/councilonsper

  4. “The issue … is not the science.”
    “The world is still warming…”
    “Unfortunately, the public seems less inclined to have the same high regard they once had for climate scientists.”

    I think your book was written as damage limitation for the AGW movement.

  5. [QUOTE]It is neither fruitful to make too much of the comments or to brush them aside as inconsequential. They don’t change the science[/QUOTE]
    But they do change the science. When the entire climate science community defends the attempt to “hide the decline”, then no evidence they bring, except that which can be easily independently verified, can have any weight. The kind of evidence used in climate science is to easy to manipulate to get the answer the researcher wants.

  6. “An account of an experiment or observation should give the reader all the information required to carry out exactly the same procedure and observe the same outcome. This is clearly a severe constraint on the type of knowledge considered acceptable to science. As every scientist knows, this regulative principle both limits and empowers the concept of an empirical scientific ‘fact’.” – Real Science, What It Is and What It Means, J. Ziman, Page 99. Cambridge, 2000.

  7. “The world is still warming, despite their all too human behavior.”

    I’m afraid that seems like all too begging the question.

  8. So how can we over come issues like this?

    To me, the answer is simple. Maje it mandatory for all papers being submitted for publication etc to have all the data used in that paper archived and made available for public scrutiny, this of course would include the raw ab’s subsequent adjusted data.

    Only then will issues like what we are seeing now go away.

    Mailman

  9. “I looked at some of the stuff on the Climate Audit web site. I’d really like to talk to a few of these “Auditors” in a dark alley.”

    This cements my impression that Ben Santer is an immature punk…

  10. a post to write up about 230 land stations that are located in the ocean

    Just another Climate Science day… let me guess…

    Maybe it would be simpler to hire a moving crew?

    Change Datums for the coordinate system?

    Change the satellite software?

    Give “Harry” new instructions….

    Take out the “sanity checks” in your gridding program!

    OK I give up — what’s the answer…

  11. Quotes from The Team per this Post by Steve Mosher
    label these guys and lazy and incompetent, cast aspersions on their motives, Best thing is to ignore them completely, I’d really like to talk to a few of these “Auditors” in a dark alley, I’ll get the raw data from GHCN and do some work to replace our adjusted data with these, then make the Raw (i.e. as transmitted by the NMSs). This will annoy them more, so may inflame the situation.

    As J Goebbels said “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.”

    The Team obviously agreed with Goebbels and worked hard to achieve this goal by dispersing disinformation and casting aspersions etc however like all people having dishonest intent they got caught out.

  12. I’m sorry Mosh, but I don’t think your rebuke of the IPCC climategate cabal of so called scientists goes far enough. I’m in agreement with this:-

    “Reviewing the ideas the scientists have for dealing with data requests we have the following: Lie about the dedication and work habits of the requester, ignore requests, beat requesters up in a dark alley, and deliberately confuse the provenance of the data. Later they will add obstruction of the FOIA process to their bags of tricks, demonstrating that they should never in the future be trusted with data that is fundamental to our understanding of the climate. Releasing the data and letting the “auditors” discredit themselves never occurs to them.”

    However, you forgot to mention the Harry file which shows the data used to show global warming wasn’t fit for purpose in the first place. Indeed it was so poor that Jones was willing to destroy the data, rather than have it scrutinise by an independent auditor.

    In view of this, I think your assumption that the science was good, even though the scientific methods employed were bad just doesn’t hold water. Even the Met Office Hadley Centre has doubts about the old data set and are spending lots of money to construct a new data-set using raw data and a transparent peer review process.

    Once the new data-set has been constructed, and the correct adjustments made for UHI and poorly sited stations, it will be interesting to see just how much the globe has warmed. I find it interesting that there has been no statistically significant warming for the last 15 years, despite a continued increase to CO2.

  13. Mindbuilder.

    When I say that the mails cannot change the science I literally mean that.

    Let me explain. Let us suppose that we read a mail where a scientist reported that he had experimental results that proved that F != MA. That mail, those words on the page, don’t change the facts that F=MA. Hiding the decline, doesnt change the calibration that the math executes. It changes the perception people have in the certainty of the science.

    A paper is nothing but the advertisment for the science. A mail about a paper doesnt change the math. It changes our willingness to take things on trust, trust in the peer review system and trust in certain individuals. Even if Jones said that CRUTEMP was made up from whole cloth, that would not change the facts about whether it has or has not warmed. It would change your willingness to believe in the words of Jones’ paper. The only thing that can change “science” is other science. Not mails. not words.

  14. WillR says:

    I relented and wrote the post. some of the mislocations are due to rounding errors ( it would seem) the source data is in degrees and minutes, and GHCN inventories are limited ( what the heck) to two digits of precision. Some of the errors are due to bad sources. Some of the errors should have been obvious to them because they did use NVDI, some of the errors seem due to the fact that some sources are only good to 10km or so. Some cases are super hard, atolls for example.

    can’t say they are lazy. I don’t know who them is. The construction of the assets does indicate a certain lack of skill or failure to perform simplistic cross checks with information that is readily available. In my mind there is no point is speculating why this happens. Just fix it. Peter Oneill deserves a lot of credit for pointing me down this path, but all the mistakes I make are my own.

  15. Tenuc:

    The harry file is meaningless. Sorry it just is. Even if the code WAS connected to anything that CRU currently do it would still be meaningless.

    If you looked at my notes on nightlights for example you would find me writing all sorts of horrible things as I struggled through problems. If you looked at my early code for doing the SSTs you would find lots of errors. Errors that I didnt catch, and that others didnt catch. In the end those errors get fixed and you find out that even with errors the answer comes out generally the same.

  16. The Chicago Tribune article on the AGU planning to get into politics contains a blatant lie that appears to have come from the AGU.

    “Climate-change skeptics argued that the sniping in some e-mails showed that scientists suppressed research by skeptics and manipulated data. Five independent panels subsequently cleared the researchers involved and validated the science.”

    It’s impossible to validate a science through an investigation of e-mails. These same clowns still think that Mann’s hockey-stick math was approved by several investigations.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/la-na-climate-scientists-20101108,0,3784003.story

    I am sickened by the actions of both the AGU and the American Physical Society.

  17. So far I have not seen any proposal of how the data set should be constructed and archived. This is, in my opinion, the starting point of understanding the data. It is almost as if that task is in itself beyond the range of any of the individuals working on the data. While I have mentioned the concept of version control, which works for programs, it does not address the issue of the data and its structure. I have been recently working in the area of accounting for financial transactions and for them I do not allow any modification of the original transactional data. Only more transactions that can change the net result. Each new transaction references the original with date/time stamp reason and by who. In my mind each data point is a transaction that is archived in a database. Currently a description of those transactions is lacking. Certainly the date/time stamp of the data,date time of acquisition of the data, the data, the location and source are part of the original transaction. Any thoughts?

  18. Steven,
    With all due respect, the Earth has warmed by 0.7C since 1850. It has done this through three upwaves and two down, with the upwaves adding slightly more heat than the downwaves cool. And that’s assuming everything is hunky dory with the temperature datasets.

    There’s every indication that bang on cue, we’re into another downwave. All other things being equal, this downwave will reverse the heating we have seen by about 0.2C. So we will have warmed a total of about 0.5C in ~180 years and by that time CO2 concentrations will be ~420ppm.

    And bear in mind, this isn’t taking into consideration the quiet sun, or the likelihood of enhanced volcanic activity. I’m failing to see why we should be concerned about this.

    I don’t know if you’ve read chiefios posting Got Wood?. What I took out from this is that the stable levels of CO2 that we see in the ice-core records represents the starvation level of plants, i.e. below that and plants start dying which then release CO2 to keep the rest of the vegetation alive, which then sucks out that CO2 from the air.

    So even if we say that humans are responsible for all of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere (and even this is up for debate), all we are guilty of is releasing it quicker than Nature can absorb it.

    We see that vegetation has increased by 6% in the last twenty years (we only know this because satellites only started measuring it since then), and the major “cause” of that is being put down to all the extra CO2. Eventually Nature will catch up (look at vegetation in the SouthWestern Sahara advancing at 4.5km per year) and we’ll reach a point where despite us adding CO2 to the atmosphere, the levels will stop rising. Without any other intervention on our part.

    Surely given this, we should be focusing on things like helping the BRICs sequester or more completely burn soot and other nasties, sanitation, water and electricity for the least developed nations, and stop wasting our time guilt-tripping Westerners for enjoying the fruits of their hard labour, No?

  19. Steve is right that the emails don’t invalidate the science.

    What they do show however is that scientists with political connections and clout will abuse their positions of trust to prevent errors and bad/sloppy science from being exposed.

  20. “Releasing the data and letting the “auditors” discredit themselves never occurs to them.”

    Steven is it possible that the reason this never occurs to them is that, inspite of their arrogance, they know that they are engaging in sloppy, dodgy science and somewhere in the back of there brains they realise there is a good chance the “auditors” will expose this resulting in the loss of funding, prestige etc.

  21. Steven says:

    “Reviewing the ideas the scientists have for dealing with data requests we have the following: Lie about the dedication and work habits of the requester, ignore requests, beat requesters up in a dark alley, and deliberately confuse the provenance of the data. Later they will add obstruction of the FOIA process to their bags of tricks, demonstrating that they should never in the future be trusted with data that is fundamental to our understanding of the climate. Releasing the data and letting the “auditors” discredit themselves never occurs to them.”
    ==========
    Is not this behavior illegal, not to mention unethical.
    If not, it is surely shameful.

  22. paulhan.

    more C02 will warm the planet. This is known physics.

    the addition of C02 does not cause immediate warming.

    the additional warming does not cause “natural cycles to disappear” in occurs on top of those cycles.

    the cycles cannot explain ALL of the warming we have seen

    The amount of warming that C02 will cause, the lag in that warming, the distribution of that warming, the effects both positive and negative, and WHAT we should do about it are all open questions. Most of them are not even answerable questions.
    But those uncertainties don’t change the fundamental physics. More GHG? you get a warmer planet than you would otherwise, not cooler. THAN YOU WOULD OTHERWISE. So a cool cycle + GHG is warmer than a cool cycle without GHG.
    How much? dunno. thats the real debate.

  23. u.k.(us) says:
    November 7, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Steven says:

    “Reviewing the ideas the scientists have for dealing with data requests we have the following: Lie about the dedication and work habits of the requester, ignore requests, beat requesters up in a dark alley, and deliberately confuse the provenance of the data. Later they will add obstruction of the FOIA process to their bags of tricks, demonstrating that they should never in the future be trusted with data that is fundamental to our understanding of the climate. Releasing the data and letting the “auditors” discredit themselves never occurs to them.”
    ==========
    Is not this behavior illegal, not to mention unethical.
    If not, it is surely shameful.

    Some of the dialogue reads like something in an episode of the Sopranos.

    Steven, I agree we can’t know motive, but the actions and expressed emotions speak volumes.

  24. “more C02 will warm the planet. This is known physics.

    the addition of C02 does not cause immediate warming.”

    For the sake of argument then, isn’t it possible that the factors preventing immediate warming from C02 may prevent future warming, too?

    Andrew

  25. Steven mosher says:

    November 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Redneck.

    You said that. I try to avoid reading their minds.

    The print’s too fine.

    ———————————————
    Steve:

    At least ONE WUWT reader read that comment. Took about 5 seconds for the gears to turn in his tiny mind (mine!) and laughed my head off.

    As a “religious friend” of mine was fond of saying (an illusion to an Old Testament event involving Samson), “Slain, by the jawbone of an ass..”

    But in your case, I’d say…”Run through, by a rapier sharp wit, leaving them with less than the orginal half they had!”

  26. Steven Mosher says:
    November 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm
    Tenuc:

    The harry file is meaningless. Sorry it just is. Even if the code WAS connected to anything that CRU currently do it would still be meaningless.

    If you looked at my notes on nightlights for example you would find me writing all sorts of horrible things as I struggled through problems. If you looked at my early code for doing the SSTs you would find lots of errors. Errors that I didnt catch, and that others didnt catch. In the end those errors get fixed and you find out that even with errors the answer comes out generally the same.

    Weasel words.

    The fact of the matter is just this: THEY —the CRU/NASA/MANN team— VERY shoddily constructed a data set, pretended that it was prime, and passed it off onto the unsuspecting world as ‘the truth.’

    And here YOU are pretending that they still have validity.

    Now you backpedal over the Harry code, pretend that it doesn’t exist or even was used by the CRU groupies, point fingers and cry out ‘Liars! Liars! Liars!’

    The cat is OUT of the bag, the beans have been spilt, and you are caught making excuses where no excuse should have even been tendered.

    Shame on YOU, Steven Mosher!

  27. Every time I read these e-mail exchanges between Jones, Mann and Santer I feel my blood pressure rise. At the risk or re-stating the obvious, these are not statements made by those that hold the pursuit of truth in high regard. Despite their pious claims to scientific fidelity, these statements are, rather, those of a cabal intent on the perversion of truth for the sake of self-aggrandisement. And every time I read these exchanges I am reminded of just how distasteful is their dismissal of external checks on data sources and analytical techniques.

  28. Steven mosher says:
    November 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm
    paulhan.

    more C02 will warm the planet. This is known physics.

    the addition of C02 does not cause immediate warming.

    the additional warming does not cause “natural cycles to disappear” in occurs on top of those cycles.

    the cycles cannot explain ALL of the warming we have seen

    The amount of warming that C02 will cause, the lag in that warming, the distribution of that warming, the effects both positive and negative, and WHAT we should do about it are all open questions. Most of them are not even answerable questions.
    But those uncertainties don’t change the fundamental physics. More GHG? you get a warmer planet than you would otherwise, not cooler. THAN YOU WOULD OTHERWISE. So a cool cycle + GHG is warmer than a cool cycle without GHG.
    How much? dunno. thats the real debate.

    Yeah, right.

    And Mars is as warm as Venus, right?

    It’s already been shown here on WUWT that in the geological past —several times— that the CO2 in the atmosphere has been FAR HIGHER than at present, yet the atmospheric temperature was either LOWER or the same as now.

    Yet here you are playing the CO2 game as though someone addicted to gambling.

    What is it, Steve? Did all those invested CO2 credits go tits-up on you, and you’re trying desperately to resuscitate them before they expire?

  29. The excerpt is timely – I should have drawn attention to it in my notes. Sorry about that. I’ll amend. Right back to Warwick Hughes as well. I’ll be carrying the notes forward to Jones et al 2008 and the “inquiries”,

  30. Steven mosher says:
    November 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    the cycles cannot explain ALL of the warming we have seen
    ====================================
    This is the bit I can’t get my head around. Lets say our planet has warmed 0.4-0.7°C during the last 70 years (depending on who’s data is used). However, and notwithstanding the known cyclical nature of all climate change, this more recent rate of warming between the 1940s and 2010 seems to be consistent with the warming trend between the LIA and the 1940s. Should we be even the slightest bit concerned about a rate of warming measured as part of 1.0C over a long time period of time.

    This is the bit that hurts my head. Many climate scientists tell us this “observed” 1.0C per century warming will accelerate and cause catastrophic destruction to our planet. Yet how can this be when our planet isn’t warming faster. In fact our planet’s temperature seems to have stabilized and is maybe even starting to cycle into a cool phase and this is despite all the CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere.

    These CAGW climate scientists must be some really crazy people to get us all so wound up over nothing of any significance.

  31. Steve:

    Thanks for your post, and for your book, by the way, which I enjoyed. One statement that you keep making that nags at me, however, is that the activities of the scientists “don’t change the science.” It is unclear what you mean by the science.

    Do you mean that their behavior doesn’t change the underlying facts of nature? If so, then I wholeheartedly agree.

    Do you mean the exceedingly simplistic notion that additional GHG concentration in the atmosphere will lead to more warmth, all else being equal, is a scientific fact? If so, then I hesitatingly agree.

    Do you mean “climate science” in the broader sense, namely what we broadly know and understand about the climate? If so, then the behavior of key scientists in the field most certainly does impact the science. Science isn’t simply an objective set of facts. It is a collective understanding of certain facts, based upon proposed theories and assumptions, data collection, data analyses, publication of such analyses, give-and-take between competing viewpoints, refinements of positions, etc. and ect. Much of what we understand as science — certainly much of what “scientists” do — is very much about the process, not just the underlying facts of nature. And when there are good and valid reasons to question the a priori assumptions, the poor data collection efforts, the biased analysis of that data, the one-sided publication process, the refusal to acknowledge and debate competing viewpoints, the siege mentality that does not acknowledge the need to revise entrenched viewpoints, and on and on, it most certainly does impact the science.

    I don’t know what it is that you so trust that causes you to keep saying that “it doesn’t change the science.” Again, if you are talking about the underlying physical facts or a simplistic, nearly definitional, statement of what a GHG does, then your statement is correct, but almost to the point of triviality. Of course the emails and the related things that have come to light don’t “prove” any particular theory wrong in a purely logical sense. But they certainly should cause us to pause and reassess the assumptions, the data, the storyline, the process — in short, the science.

  32. Regarding Steven mosher says:
    November 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm
    paulhan.

    “more C02 will warm the planet. This is known physics.”

    Steve, over what time scales? Actually the known physics as I have seen explained are that more CO2 will warm the atmosphere. The oceans may be another question entirely. If there is validity to the arguement that increased downwelling LWIR cannot warm the oceans, for reasons I am certain you are familiar with, and a decrease in SWR due to albedo of even high clouds causes a reduction of SWR into the oceans that is cumlitive (due to the long residence time of SWR heat that penetrates into the ocean) as long as clouds are increased, then the short term effect of additonal CO2 could be atmospheric warming, and at unknown time scales, ocean cooling. But as you say, the questions are not currently answerable.

  33. I do wish that the fact that Steven Mosher is a luke wazrmer would not bother anyone. Additional GHG warms the atmosphere, and there is actually very little lag time. I find Mr Mosher honest and willing to dialogue, and in general very detailed and informed. I have never heard him express a view of CAGW, and that, IMV, is where the real debate is. One can state that Mr Mosher is over polite considering the additudes expressed and methods used by certain climate scientist, but there is no reason to be disrespectful.

  34. Steven Mosher,

    “The world is still warming, despite their all too human behavior.”

    Uhh, no it isn’t and no one has reliable data to prove either of us right. In the last 10 years I think we can be reasonably certain that it HASN’T warmed though. Are you claiming psychic power and saying it is going to start warming again in the next 10 years??

    Maybe you don’t believe the ice core data that says we will probably be cooling a whole lot before even the climate model warming could cause problems?? If you do not accept the ice core data you have nothing to support your idea of warming by CO2.

    Get over it bud.

  35. I may not agree with Mr. Mosher’s personal views on AGW but I applaud his attempt to separate the real data from the erroneous however those errors arose.

    Kindest Regards

  36. Philip Thomas says: (November 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm) I think your book was written as damage limitation for the AGW movement.

    This is perhaps why I always get a feeling of unease when I read Steve Mosher.

  37. Mindbuilder says:
    November 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    [QUOTE]It is neither fruitful to make too much of the comments or to brush them aside as inconsequential. They don’t change the science[/QUOTE]

    But they do change the science. When the entire climate science community defends the attempt to “hide the decline”, then no evidence they bring, except that which can be easily independently verified, can have any weight. The kind of evidence used in climate science is too easy to manipulate to get the answer the researcher wants.

    ………………….
    Keith G says:
    November 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Every time I read these e-mail exchanges between Jones, Mann and Santer I feel my blood pressure rise. At the risk or re-stating the obvious, these are not statements made by those that hold the pursuit of truth in high regard.

    ………………..
    Eric Anderson says:
    November 7, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks for your post, and for your book, by the way, which I enjoyed. One statement that you keep making that nags at me, however, is that the activities of the scientists “don’t change the science.” It is unclear what you mean by the science.
    ……………….
    Do you mean “climate science” in the broader sense, namely what we broadly know and understand about the climate? If so, then the behavior of key scientists in the field most certainly does impact the science. Science isn’t simply an objective set of facts. It is a collective understanding of certain facts, based upon proposed theories and assumptions, data collection, data analyses, publication of such analyses, give-and-take between competing viewpoints, refinements of positions, etc. and ect. Much of what we understand as science — certainly much of what “scientists” do — is very much about the process, not just the underlying facts of nature. And when there are good and valid reasons to question the a priori assumptions, the poor data collection efforts, the biased analysis of that data, the one-sided publication process, the refusal to acknowledge and debate competing viewpoints, the siege mentality that does not acknowledge the need to revise entrenched viewpoints, and on and on, it most certainly does impact the science.

    The comments above seem very much on-target to me, especially the last one. My comments on the initial Climategate threads here argued that what the Team had done and said wasn’t all that “dark,” and that the temperature records were probably fairly close to reality, but that the Team had proved themselves untrustworthy, that this intangible outweighed all the tangibles on their side, and that in the end their battle-winning tactics would lose them the war.

    It’s happening, in a delayed-reaction, as Judith Curry will be followed silently by others who have been disillusioned by the untrustworthiness of the key players in the alarmist camp.

  38. Hi Kuhnkat! and others too who want to take issue with the whole GHGs do warm the planet issue.

    what I’d say is this. We will have to agree to disagree. Nothing I’ve seen or read can convince me that the physics I’ve used to build things that work is wrong. I know I can’t convince you. That’s ok. I don’t question your sincerity, your intelligence or your motives.

    we can agree that data should be properly collected and shared. So, I’d choose to focus on our areas of agreement. peace.

  39. A few fellow commenters should remember that Steven Mosher has aquired most of the disputed temperature data and proceeded to examine that data in some detail, writing quite a bit of his own code along the way. So he has a reasonable feel for the whether or not the earlier efforts of the Phil Jones and James Hansen teams produced realistic results. My impression is that from the same data Mosh gets global trend results similar to those of Jones and Hansen. Therefore when Mosh speaks of a degree of confidence in the facts it is with the advantage of substantial detailed knowledge.

    So the question turns to the extent of non-climatic influences like UHI and climate-station microenironments. It may also turn towards the collection of more comprehensive modern data and proxy data relating to the pre-instrumental era. For instance the GHCN database contains data coded by country. In the case of New Zealand this database contains less than 10% of the available data. Crucially the NZ data that GHCN does contain is biased towards urban sites and airfields, more so as time has advanced. So will the real tempertature record for New Zealand please stand up? This is non-trivial particularly in connection with GISTemp because groups of small to medium sized Islands provide much of the record for a large portion of the planets surface.

    Some time soon we should expect to see our host (Anthony) weighing in on bias introduced as a result of poor temperature measurement practices in the USA. This is likey to come in the form of a major peer-reviewed paper. I suspect data quality issues such as those already revealed by Anthony and his volunteer crew are spread world-wide.

  40. Sorry Steven,
    How can there be a lag time between when CO2 goes up into the atmosphere, and when it starts causing more warmth to stay close to the ground.

    As far as we know, CO2 causes extra warmth by backstopping warmth rising from the Earth out to space, much like insulation does in the roof of a house. That effect should be immediate, it either does or it doesn’t. I don’t expect to have to wait a while before my house feels warmer, once I’ve put some insulation in.

    What is the mechanism by which CO2 needs to stay in the atmosphere for a while before it starts having its effect? If this were true, the first thing we should notice is that the upper atmosphere should warm first with that warmth spreading downwards as more of it gets backstopped. This hasn’t happened, so there cannot be more warmth “in the pipeline”.

    You say that CO2 should enhance the warming during an upwave and cause less cooling during a downwave, and I agree with you, yet we find that the last warm wave only lasted 24 years from 1974 to 1998. Surely this should have lasted longer with all that extra CO2, No?

    Sure, GISS may show that 2010 as a whole was the warmest year, but only by extrapolating a few thermometers on land to across the whole of the Arctic, which is sea. Yet we find that none of the other datasets agree with this, and the DMI which uses actual measurements show no extra warming across the Arctic. Even the monthly anomalies on the satellite records haven’t reached the high in 1998, which would surely be a valid expectation if we lived in a warming world.

    I’m just not seeing why we in the West have to uproot our lifestyles to the extent that we are being told we will have to. And I’m certainly not seeing how this is so big a problem that we have to brainwash our children into thinking that a chemical which is the fount of all life is “pollution”.

  41. Steve, I really appreciate your post here regarding the irrefutable evidence of bad behaviour w.r.t. handling the science, by the key scientists. You’ve collected them together very well and I wish Muir Russell would read them here.

    However, I disagree over the science, and the importance of Keenan’s forensics. The whole scientific establishment has bought into UHI growth being negligible w.r.t. global temperature trends, on the strength of Jones’ and Wang’s papers. But I see every indication that their figure of 0.05 deg is out by a factor of 10 or so, that UHI growth’s distortion of temperature trends is not negligible, and that if the UHI growth factor were properly assessed, it would cause the correlation of global temperatures with solar changes to be clearly visible again, thus making the CO2 factor irrelevant.

    Anyway, while CO2 rise, at its current concentration, has been asserted to cause warming, there is no evidence in the real world to back up this assertion – whereas there is evidence that CO2 changes lag temperature changes by 800 years or so. I’ve looked for years for this evidence but all I’ve found is brazen assertions. Please correct me if I’m wrong, let me know if you know of any such proof or evidence.

  42. Steven Mosher says:
    November 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm
    “Tenuc:

    The harry file is meaningless. Sorry it just is. Even if the code WAS connected to anything that CRU currently do it would still be meaningless.”

    Sorry Mosh, but your wrong. What the Harry file shows is that the meta-data sitting behind the temperature measurements was a complete mess (interestingly the same topic of this very post regarding the NCDC meta-data). Indeed it was so bad that Jones was willing to break the law to stop people discovering that the data-set being used to show global warming was unfit for purpose.

    No amount of hand-waving about the ‘science still being correct’ can prevent this conclusion – GIGO has to apply.

  43. Steven Mosher writes in the main post:
    ” … does not in and of itself establish or refute any scientific fact. The world is still warming, despite their all too human behavior.”

    If I install a Franklin Stove in my basement, and stoke it up, there is a fair chance that I could heat my home that way all winter.

    Or I could light a single match, and light sequential matches as each burns out. Even if I double that to two matches, it is doubtful that an observer would feel much difference across the room, let alone the whole house.

    And yet the physics is the same in both cases.

    Those who focus over much on the stove or matches may completely miss the fact that I also have a functional heat pump that warms the house in winter and cools it in summer.

    The question is not whether CO2 has an affect, but rather how much of an affect? Global Warming is real, but may or may not be driven much by additional CO2. When looking for potentially small changes, the accuracy of the temperature data becomes critical to making a determination. When told – Trust us, you need not go to the basement to look for yourselves – I become concerned that there is something to hide. That well intentioned idiot with the matches might just burn the house down by mistake.

  44. Steven Mosher,

    I have heard similar statements that Climategate does NOT change the underlying science. This is excellent misdirection. Most Climate Science is NOT Science as it is not falsifiable and DEFINITELY NOT REPEATABLE!!! What you people loosely call Climate Science is not. It is Cargo Cult Science.

    Climate Science is based mostly on a series of extremely poor (if not fraudulent) papers like Jones UHI and Mann’s Hockey Stick. It is also based on papers that were NOT ALLOWED TO BE PUBLISHED which would have kept the conversation on a more reasonable level. If there had been an open exchange of ideas and no Cargo Cult Science there would have been no AGW scare and no billions of dollars spent on it.

    Even if there were more to the alledged science, I would point out that it very well DOES affect our perception of it. We only know this by its secondary effects. What was the motivation for ALLEDGEDLY honest scientists to completely jump the shark and start the gatekeeping, passing off garbage as reliable scientific research, and LYING about it?? What so corrupted these men so that their first reaction to the slightest honest criticism was to circle the wagons and start breaking laws?? (remember Phil Jones and others only have the statute of limitations to thank for not having to stand trial. Oh, and why would their colleagues in Australia, New Zealand, and possibly other countries fudge their temp records to help??

    No, the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from Climategate is that these men KNEW their science wasn’t and had to protect it by any means necessary, like smearing honest critics, lying, hiding and possibly destroying data and evidence. Someone who believes in their own work and how solid it is would not dream of putting their careers on the line like that. I believe they already KNEW their jobs would be on the line if there was any inquiry because they KNEW it was Cargo Cult Science.

    Finally, since each of those persons are not known to live frugal, low energy lives, eschewing plane travel, limos, heaters and other high energy activities, it would seem that they do not believe that they must be examples of how we should deal with the impending catastrophe they were helping to promote. Like most hypocrites they are not believers in their own lies, but, wish to continue rooting at the trough.

    The radiative physics you and other luke-warmers hang onto is only theory. That is, the warming computed under ideal situations may or may not happen as it is only one component of the system. The Cargo Cult Science has twisted so much of physics that it is really ludicrous that you still hang onto their falsified pronouncements. Unless you use adjustments that have never been proven for general use, there IS NO WARMING AS CLAIMED!!! The adjustments were calculated based on specific stations and are smeared over ALL the stations. For the tiny amount of signal you are claiming you would need to survey every station regularly and use much higher resolution equipment with a much higher coverage of the earth to gather data appropriate to the task, and it would still need to include humidity data to be useful.

    Actually, I changed my mind. Climategate really doesn’t affect the science. It was Cargo Cult before ClimateGate and it is STILL Cargo Cult!! ClimateGate DID change many people’s perception of Climate Science, appropriately I might add.

  45. Steven mosher says: November 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm
    more C02 will warm the planet. This is known physics.
    the addition of C02 does not cause immediate warming.
    More GHG? you get a warmer planet than you would otherwise, not cooler.

    Nothing I’ve seen or read can convince me that the physics I’ve used to build things that work is wrong.

    Steven, you’re missing the point. Other posters are saying:

    More GHG? More C02 in a closed system will warm the planet. You get a warmer planet than you would otherwise, if the planet did not have internal mechanisms, involving water, whch has served for thousands of years to maintain an equilibrium.

  46. Steve Mosher wrote: “others too who want to take issue with the whole GHGs do warm the planet issue.”

    This is a strawman, plain and simple. No-one is taking issue with the idea that GHGs warm the planet. That’s what a GHG is — essentially by definition — so the statement is nothing more than a trivial tautology.

    What I am hearing some posters question, however, is:

    – By how much will x% increase in CO2 over x number of years increase the global temperature? This needs to be answered in the context of the overall climate system, not a lab-based “all things being equal” scenario.

    – Given that the temperatures have not been lockstep with CO2 increase over the past century, on what basis can we assume that CO2 was the main cause or even a meaningful contributor to the increase in temperatures over the past century?

    – Given the numerous uncovered issues about station coverage, data collection, UHI, infilling, etc., how confident can we even be that there has even been statisically significant warming? And if there was warming, might it be just as readily explained as part of a natural cycle?

    – If CO2 is supposed to lead to warmer temperatures, what physical mechanism underlies the “lag” time proposed by some to explain the lack of recent warming? Why is the lag being seen now if it wasn’t seen in earlier decades, such as the 90’s?

    That is just a quick toss out of some of the open issues and I probably haven’t done a very good job of articulating these questions, but there are lots of good open questions about CO2’s role as a driver of global temperatures. All of them are part of the science. Our confidence in the answers is necessarily tempered by knowing that the top scientists in the field don’t have answers, and in some cases actively worked to conceal that fact. So when someone questions CO2’s role or the role of man’s emissions, they are typically not questioning the basic physical fact that GHG’s warm the planet, all things being equal — everyone knows that. They are questioning the many significant additional questions that remain — all of which are very much part of the “science.”

  47. The long wait is over.

    Come January, Congressman Darrell Issa will begin investigations of the EPA and its regulation of CO2, Michael Mann and how his grant money is used to perpertuate the Hockey Stick/Tree Ring fraud, and Climategate.

    I am waiting on the edge of my seat!

  48. Eric Anderson says: November 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm
    “If CO2 is supposed to lead to warmer temperatures, what physical mechanism underlies the “lag” time proposed by some to explain the lack of recent warming? Why is the lag being seen now if it wasn’t seen in earlier decades, such as the 90′s?”

    Hi Eric. I am not entirely sure how other commentators are relating “lag” time and “lack of recent warming”. I see the two as distinct and unrelated. If you heat a pot of water it takes time for the water to reach its final temperature (lag). If a trend is small compared to the volatility of a sequence there will be periods where the sequence is flat or negative (lack of recent warming). If this persists there comes a point where the “trend” must be called into question. We are not there yet. In particular, averaging the temperature in ten year blocks yields a rising sequence and 2010 is shaping to be a very warm year.

Comments are closed.