I do not think that means what you think it means

code by kevindooley

Mining The Source Code
[Via AllegationAudit]

In the last post we saw that accusers are willing to quote mine the released CRU emails, selectively taking a choice phrase at face value and missing the preceding and proceeding context in the longer email.

Now we will see them doing similar with some of the released CRU source code. The released source code included source for some of CRU’s surface temperature record and source code for some proxy work. No climate model source code was released as far as I know, although that hasn’t stopped many of the accusers rampantly assuming there has been – presumably either confusing or not knowing the difference between temperature records and climate models.

This post concerns the an accusation which is now spread far and wide all over the internet.

Here is one example:

http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1447

Here’s the code and comments in question:

;
; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
;
yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,- 0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,’Oooops!’
;
yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

The accusers point to the words “very artificial”, “fudge factor” and to the nature of what is being done.

yrloc is assigned a 20 element array, the first value starts at 1400, the second at 1904 and the rest increment by 5 until 1994. Ie 1400, 1904, 1909, 1914, … 1994. They are obviously years.

valadj is another 20 element array, you can see the values it is assigned above in the line “fudge factor”. The ‘Oooops!’ message is displayed if the number of elements in the yrloc and valadj arrays are different. They shouldn’t ever be according to the code, this line was probably added in as a first pass safety check and not subsequently removed.

yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

I have to guess a little here (I don’t know IDL), but I think this is producing an array yearlyadj to hold an adjustment value for every year since 1400, derived by interpolating yrloc over valadj

Despite so many accusers citing this snippet of code, they amazingly fail to mention (or perhaps notice?) that directly following this snippet is:

;filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy+yearlyadj,tslow=tslow
;oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=20
;
filter_cru,5.,/nan,tsin=yyy,tslow=tslow
oplot,timey,tslow,thick=5,color=21

The top line contains yyy+yearlyadj. This is the only place where the previously created adjustment array is used, I presume (I don’t know IDL, the language used here) that yyy contains each years temperature data and that this is adding the adjustments to the temperature data to produce the plot. But notice at the start of that line is a semi-colon. That line is commented out, inactivated. The lines that are used instead do not contain the use of yearlyadj and therefore do not apply the adjustment, they only plot yyy.

Of course it would be trivial to switch the comments around and activate the adjustment, but as the accusers are relying on a face-value interpretation of the source code they should fall by such silliness.

They haven’t even shown their quoted adjustment was used, let alone what it’s purpose is. A proper analysis of this would require knowing what the adjustment was based on (it clearly isn’t arbitrary), why it was done (perhaps nothing more than an experiment), and not to forget – whether it was even used at all in published results.

It’s not difficult for me to point out why the accusations of fraud are misplaced. All I have to do is point out that they have insufficient evidence. Come back with better, if you can. I am surprised they haven’t picked up on the mispelt “artifical”, surely that beggars belief – true scientists wouldn’t spell words wrong! Quick to the blogs!

Isn’t it surprising some of the same people who demand so much evidence when faced with the science behind manmade global warming are surprisingly relaxed at placing accusations of fraud with such a dearth of evidence?

[More]

This is an important analysis. Just as people who do not understand climate science are making fools of themselves with some of the interpretations of the hacked emails, people who have no idea about coding are just looking ridiculous.

I included the whole post so you can see the entire piece of logic. Yep, there is such a thing as a fudge factor in the code. But the only part of the code that appears to use it is commented out by the semicolons. This means that the computer ignores any line that begins with a semicolon.

So, it looks like this fudge factor might only have been used to check out some code and make sure the arrays worked right. It was used in a command (yearlyadj ) but not in the actual print out. It was then commented out and not used.

What a conspiracy. And this is why it is so often useless to provide data to people who do not have an inkling of understanding.

At RealClimate, they are providing links to the data that have been open posted on the web for years. So, instead of saying “Thanks,” many of the comments are “We don’t understand this. You have to make it understandable to us.” Apparently now that it is obvious that the data, along with algorithms and some coding, are available, the conspiracy is that those fraudulent researchers will not explain everything to the denialists.

Their goal is generally not understanding but to make it impossible for scientists to get any work done by disrupting their research. That, and moving the goalposts. That is all they have left.

And, based on the tenacity of the creationists over the last 100 years, they will not go away. Even if they are treated with respect.


25 thoughts on “I do not think that means what you think it means

  1. If they had provided the code and the data and included their reasoning for their adjustments in their papers from the beginning, this would never have been a problem.

    The concept that the data, particularly data for results in which policy decisions are made, should be proprietary is unacceptable.

    From the beginning, with Callendar’s cherry-picked CO2 average for the 19th century, there has been a problem. The real world does not agree with their results and somehow they have to be brought into alignment – naturally, logically, and honestly.

  2. Quote#1 “I don’t know IDL”

    You don’t know, yet you comment

    Quote#2 “Their goal is generally not understanding but to make it impossible for scientists to get any work done by disrupting their research. That, and moving the goalposts. That is all they have left.

    And, based on the tenacity of the creationists over the last 100 years, they will not go away. Even if they are treated with respect.”

    The goal might be to delay the implementation of Government Policy based on incorrect assumption and corruption. Why do you continue to persecute people of faith? All the alarmists have done is create a religion fused with statistics.

  3. Charles,

    From what I know, the major climate groups have provided data, when it was asked for. I also beleive much of the code for them is available also. Only the CRU has not released a small fraction of their data. So, you have no problem at all with groups like NASA/GISS, right? The data is right there to be worked with.

    While I agree with you about proprietary data, that seems to be a consequence of much of the privitization of government organizations over the last 20 years. That is not the fault of the researchers. We should take it up with the governments.

  4. Alvin,

    The quoted material is from wingding at AllegationAudit, not me. I simply did a Google search on IDL to verify that semicolons are used for comments.

    As you state, your goal is not about understanding the science. It is about preventing political action. And this is being done by preventing non-politicians such a scientists from doing their job. If all you have is some sort of DDOS-style attack on researchers then your point of view has very, very weak arguments to support itself.

    Finally, how am I persecuting people of faith? I am simply writing about things that interest me. Wouldn’t persecution be preventing someone from doing their job because of political differences? Mote meet beam.

    I do love Matthew 7:4 in these instances.

  5. As someone who makes his living working with massive data sets (not cilimate – ones that create value rather than destroy it), I have never seen metadata like this. Terms like “fudge factor” and “Ooooops!” tend not be indicators of credible, trustworthy analyses.

    1. acaly1
      As someone who has spent 30 years in scientific research, I know firsthand the playfulness of young (and some old) scientists. They were writing code to use, not to satisfy some sort of Scientific Manual of Style. Choosing terms to match the sensibilities of people not even working in the same area who might someday read hacked copies of their code was simply not on their minds.

      And, truthfully, if they had used terms such as ‘test data’ and ‘Please try again!’ would you actually all of a sudden believe in AGW? I would find that very unlikely. The terms they use have nothing to do with whether the work is correct. But the terms do appear to help serve as confirmation bias for an opinion you already had.

  6. manwithphd,

    I think the key here is the rate at which the temperature data is being skewed by the valadj array.

    Also, just because the line is commented out in this version of the source file does not mean they intended on using it. Simply writing a line of source code implies intent.

    That being said, if there is evidence (no matter how big or small) that research data were falsely manipulated, doesn’t logic dictate that all of the results of that research cannot be trusted until it has been verified?

    I’m taking this very position, that proof exists that the CRU researchers lied or thought at one point about lying about their data. And, therefore, all of their results must be independently verified before they can be trusted again.

    1. Robert,

      All very good points to make. They could still have been asked by including all of the material from the code.

      I happen to disagree with you that any proof exists of malfeasance. I think there are reasonable explanations that, in context, do not reveal anything to indicate that the entire databases used at CRU are wrong. But I am glad they will investigate. The key point for me, since I have seen this again and again with denialists of evolution, is that no proof, no matter who verifies it, will enough for many people. We are already seeing this for the email investigation. It is only a couple of hours after the head of the investigation is announced and already there are groups saying the fix is in. They will not believe the results of the investigation unless it confirms what they already “know.”

      That is not the perspective of a skeptic but of a zealot. I hope that is not the perspective you have. As a scientist, I remain a skeptic until the overwhelming amount of data from a large number of independent approaches tilts the balance. At some point, even a skeptical scientist has to admit that the reigning theory does the best job for explaining the world around us.

      That is why evolution remains the best theory for the origin of species and why AGW remains the best theory for current climate change.

      I am not worried about the science of the investigation. I expect it will find nothing fundamentally wrong with the data and some procedures that need to be tightened. But even there is a lot more, it does not negate the huge amount of independent data for which AGW is the only theory that fits.

      To make me skeptical of AGW, produce another theory that explains the multitude of data better.

  7. Quote Richard: I am not worried about the science of the investigation. I expect it will find nothing fundamentally wrong with the data and some procedures that need to be tightened. But even there is a lot more, it does not negate the huge amount of independent data for which AGW is the only theory that fits.

    You find that this is tolerable, these loose procedures in a very important, expensive, and somewhat contentious scientific pursuit. Yet I wonder how you might react if looseness, the opposite of tightness was applied on the rim of your car going around a tight turn on a very high mountain.

    Context? When is tightness best expressed and practiced? I hope your mechanic does not share your lack of passion for exactness in his work as you have defended here. If you were to argue for my side I’d claim my blindfold now.

    1. Dave,

      I’m afraid I do not find your metaphor apt, as engineering problems, such as automobile mechanics, are very different sorts of things from scientific research. In my view, the ‘looseness’ you describe mostly depends on the type of scientific research one is engaging in. Some science, such as chemistry, can be very tight. But some, such as biology, can be very lose. That is the nature of the system.

      An example – I did my postdoc in a chemistry lab, dealing with synthesizing oligonucleotides. I was the only one trained in molecular biology so I could see how chemistry and biology have very different approaches. With chemistry, process is everything. Once a procedure has been defined, things are very tight. If you are supposed to get 95% yield and you get only 4%, most likely it is because you did something wrong and did not follow the protocol properly (assuming the reagents are fine). So you either need to be properly trained or should find a new position (I’m making things a little extreme for my point. But only a little.) In chemistry, once the protocol is vetted, results are generally black and white. Chemistry can be tight.

      Not so in biology. A skilled researcher can do the same experiment two days in a row, following everything precisely, and get different results. Results are shades of gray. Good biology requires the truth in the shades of gray. Biology is generally loose.

      Why? Biology is a very complex system. It relies on stochastic processes, where there is a random element or probability in the reactions. It can be nearly impossible to define everything beforehand in a complex, living biological system and even if you did, the best you could do will still contain probabilities. Stochastic events really require a certain looseness to one’s approach.

      Even so, we have gotten very good at teasing the truth out, particularly from these very complex systems. We have found ways to deal with stochastic events. That is why we have some incredible drugs for cancer, arthritis, etc. But even with these great therapies, we can still not say it will work on everyone. We can still only deal with probabilities, not certainty. Such is the looseness of a complex system.

      Luckily for our cars, turning a wheel or stopping is not a complex action and does not require a probabilistic approach, although Toyota appears to have created such a stochastic process in their fly-by=wire accelerators. But biology and climatology both examine complex systems and they both require probabilistic approaches in some areas. So a little looseness may be necessary. The key is whether that enhances or degrades the data and the knowledge gained.

      From my examination of the emails, I find nothing I think would result in a large degradation of the data. I am sure you disagree. Thus a good investigation will be helpful.

  8. > From what I know, the major climate groups have provided data, when it was asked for.

    Funny, I did a web search and, within 3 minutes, found this, which is purportedly what CRU told Roger Pielke when he did an FOI request for their data:

    “We are not in a position to supply data for a particular country not covered by the example agreements referred to earlier, as we have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value. Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data.”

    In summary, they allowed the original data to be destroyed, while keeping their processed data. Since the code for processing it is likely small, and something they likely kept anyway, it’s rather obvious what a real scientist not hiding something would do — they’d keep the original data, and just re-process it if they needed it.

    So, at best, these so-called “scientists” qualify as borderline criminally incompetent by any rational definition of “competent”.

    Oh, and, as far as data being “too large for maintaining”?

    I call “Shenanigans!”

    Storage capacity — even archival storage capacity — has been increasing at a phenomenal rate for the last 4-5 decades

    I have copies of virtually EVERY e-mail I’ve ever sent, for example (I might’ve deleted a few that contained pictures I already had copies of elsewhere), and far and away the vast majority of every one I’ve received (I’ve deleted a fair percentage that were obviously spam, and may have deleted a very few which weren’t if they were hidden in the spam slushpile on one of my many accounts. Fits onto two, three DVDs, tops.

    As data storage capacity has increased steadily, year upon year, first adequate to hold a vast array of pictures, then music/audio, and now to hold video, there has NEVER been a legitimate reason to destroy valid data. NEVER. The space required for any “data” created in the 1980s would be a fraction of that required for keeping a large image, to say nothing of that required for an hour or more of HD video.

    The more likely issue would be of data stored on no-longer accessible formats (I hear that NASA has vast quantities of early space mission telemetry data stored on mag tapes written in proprietary formats for which the equipment is no longer available and the formatting specifications are also faded into the mists of time) — but that’s not the case, here — they aren’t saying the data can’t be read (and anything in from the 1980s onward is going to be readable if you *really* wanted to) — they’re saying the dog ate their homework.

    1. Bloody,

      The original raw data are still available from the groups that originally collected it (i.e. the different met offices). The small amount of data CRU destroyed twenty years ago were copies they had made from the data held at other places. As you said yourself, you have deleted a small number of photos that you knew were copies. Looks like the same was done here.

      All indications are that the other groups (i.e. NASA and NOAA) have their own copies of the same ‘destroyed’ data. If people want the raw data, they can ask the met offices that maintain them.

  9. “To make me skeptical of AGW, produce another theory that explains the multitude of data better.”

    Show me a study that proves AGW, first. With emphasis on the “A”. Even if this “Climategate” brouhaha is cleared up, all the data does nothing to prove that the temperature is being forced upward by human activity. Most “sceptics” that I know acknowledge that the Earth warms and cools, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly. In that sense we are not “deniers.”

    It’s a question of causation v. correlation. The last 10 years of cooling (as well as the cooling in to 40s and 70s) calls into question the direct-line causation of CO2 vs an upward temperature trend. Yes, the trend is up, but the science is out on why.

    If this current downward trend lasts, I wonder if scientists will all suggest that we buy SUVs and even drive to the mailbox to increase atmospheric CO2 to save us all from the impending “global cooling.”

    1. I’m glad we can agree on the fact that the Earth is warming. So, as a scientist, I’d like to know why. Things do not warm and cool without a reason. Understanding warming/cooling periods from the past has provided us with tremendous understanding about the present. They can help us produce an explanatory theory regarding the current trend.

      Read this article Does past climate change disprove man-made global warming? to get an idea of what researchers have found. I’l post its summary:

      Natural climate change in the past proves that climate is sensitive to an energy imbalance. If the planet accumulates heat, global temperatures will go up. Currently, CO2 is imposing an energy imbalance due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Past climate change actually provides evidence for our climate’s sensitivity to CO2.

      The world heats because more energy is stored in the atmosphere and the oceans. The increasing amounts of carbon dioxide nicely explain much of the increasing heat rentention because it is a greenhouse gas. Other possibilities do not provide as strong an explanation. Thus, the best theory for the current warming is that carbon dioxide is driving it.

      So, I guess a first step is whether you believe that increasing carbon dioxide levels play a major role in the current warming trend? If so, then we can discuss the relative importance of human produced carbon dioxide. If not, then what is the cause, as researchers have looked for many others and, for one reason or another, found them wanting?

  10. “I’m afraid I do not find your metaphor apt, as engineering problems, such as automobile mechanics, are very different sorts of things from scientific research.”

    Err, not really. When trying out a new gateway protocol in an external router for a set of intermittently connected network nodes, you really do use scientific techniques to determine the results. In many cases, engineering problems crop up in systems too complicated to model or analyze so you are left with experimentation and analysis. If the network design folks I worked with used the kind of analysis shown in these files they’d be fired immediately. Dittos for their efforts to stack the peer review deck.

    AGW arguments aside, this is pretty horrible stuff. East Anglia ought to be cut out of the loop and all research that used their data should be called into question until it has been independently verified. The only thing you really do know about what went on there is that you can’t trust any of it.

    1. First, find something significantly wrong in their analysis in peer-reviewed publications. Everything else is just conspiracy theories.

      Second, designing a network can be very different (top-down) from understanding one, particularly a complex, adaptive one (bottom-up). Human social networks have very similar properties to computer networks. But their complexity does not permit normal network analysis tools to completely explain everything. For instance, there is nice network analysis work that demonstrates why it is possible for any human on the planet to connect to any other human in a few number of steps (say, 6) But it is almost impossible to do this for a particular person, because the various interactions are not well mapped, nor to tell how long it might take. So stochastic events, randomness and probabilities have to be introduced in order to understand the network system. These are all things that a top-down design would not use.

      My point is that there is an approach that works for research at the leading edge of our knowledge, where our understanding is incomplete, and there are approaches for engineering with well characterized systems where our understanding is more solid. Applying the same metrics to both areas is wrong.

  11. Although I do agree warming is happening, (it has happened many times throughout history-even before man, and will continue as a course of natural cycles), some groups are about to embark on a course that will sack the world financially.

    If you think its hard to get people/countries to spend huge amounts of money to reduce carbon emissions when they do have money, just destroy their fiances and see how easy it is to get them to spend money then.

    Being a contractor that installs solar, the fact that Governments are giving tax credits for this stuff has actually hurt the industry. As a maker of those products, you don’t have to be cost effective, since the Government will help people buy your stuff, keeping the price artifically high. I’m sure this is an “unintended” consequence……..Of the type we always get when Government makes a decision on flawed science.

    I’m not a scientist, I just have to deal with all the muck they can create here…….

    Rick

    1. Again, I’m glad we agree that the Earth is warming. Read this article to see why our understanding of why it has done this in the past informs us about what is happening now.

      And I do understand the fear of unintended consequences. So, what would you suggest be done to lower the possible increase in global temperatures? Hoping that all the researchers are wrong, incompetent and fraudulent does not seem like a viable strategy to me.

      My worry is that the trend for many measures we use to demonstrate warming (such sea level rise, ice, ocean temps) has been faster than many models predicted. For example, the sea level rise we have seen since 2001 is much greater than most of the models predicted. In many cases, climate models underestimated the changes, not overestimated.

      This would suggest the possibility that in reality the world is heating up faster than expected. If this is true, what would be the best approach?

  12. Nice try on this one, but read on for a shredding of your absurd argument here.

    The suggestion that a non climate scientist cannot hope to understand the e-mails of climate scientists is absurd on its face. It’s not hard to understand “hide the decline”, and those of us who are a bit more knowledgeable can read enough context to know that “hide the decline” didn’t mean in temperature, but in tree ring latewood density. We can also understand, however, that latewood density “MXD” was used to reconstruct temperature so the slight misstatement being made in many parts is actually pretty close to the truth. We can also read enough to get context and know that there is so far no valid hypothesis for why the tree rings suddenly do not match temperature lately, but they certainly did going back 2000 years or more. Thus all these tree ring proxies are perfectly good, despite the fact they appear to be quite lousy now when we have a much better idea of temperature in the various locations that tree ring cores are taken. Of course if you don’t want questions asked about the MXD decline you just hide it, and that’s perfectly understandable if you’re a good climate scientist and not some ignorant “denier”.

    It doesn’t take a Ph. D. to understand “We can’t account for the lack of warming and it’s a travesty that we can’t” either. Nor does it take any special education to understand, when taken in the context of a complete reading of dozens of e-mails, that the “scientists” whose work was involved (in the release of information) were working to blackball and silence those who disagreed with them, and at the same time keep data and computer code from them. I would like to see any of the hand waving “nothing to see here” crowd such as yourself actually sit before a public inquiry and go through those dozens of e-mails and make your explanation for each e-mail in its entirety, and finally explain all of the e-mails in their entirety. You would be laughed out the door if you tried to make your argument about how non climate scientists couldn’t understand the blackballing and stonewalling on data.

    Finally, your little snippet of the code above fully exposes your charade. The file “briffa_sep98_e.pro” found in the released documents has the same “fudge factor”, and it’s not commented out. From other program comments in the code it appears that this code may have been used in one of the vaunted “peer reviewed” papers. Note I said “may”. I suggest you inquire of the CRU whether that was the case.

    The “ARTIFICIAL ADJUSTMENT” code from the program is below. You can see the adjustment gets applied to the “densadj” array and then plotted. Even if you feel the need to remove the code below from this post, at least have the spine to go ahead and post my description of it.

    ;
    ; APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION
    ;
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,x)
    densall=densall+yearlyadj
    ;
    ; Now plot them
    ;
    filter_cru,20,tsin=densall,tslow=tslow,/nan
    cpl_barts,x,densall,title=’Age-banded MXD from all sites’,$
    xrange=[1399.5,1994.5],xtitle=’Year’,/xstyle,$
    zeroline=tslow,yrange=[-7,3]
    oplot,x,tslow,thick=3
    oplot,!x.crange,[0.,0.],linestyle=1
    ;
    endfor
    ;
    ; Restore the Hugershoff NHD1 (see Nature paper 2)
    ;
    xband=x
    restore,filename=’../tree5/densadj_MEAN.idlsave’
    ; gets: x,densadj,n,neff
    ;
    ; Extract the post 1600 part
    ;
    kl=where(x ge 1400)
    x=x(kl)
    densadj=densadj(kl)
    ;
    ; APPLY ARTIFICIAL CORRECTION
    ;
    yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,x)
    densadj=densadj+yearlyadj
    ;
    ; Now plot it too
    ;
    filter_cru,20,tsin=densadj,tslow=tshug,/nan
    cpl_barts,x,densadj,title=’Hugershoff-standardised MXD from all sites’,$
    xrange=[1399.5,1994.5],xtitle=’Year’,/xstyle,$
    zeroline=tshug,yrange=[-7,3],bar_color=20
    oplot,x,tshug,thick=3,color=20
    oplot,!x.crange,[0.,0.],linestyle=1
    ;

    1. Chris,

      Not sure where I said non-climate scientists could not understand the emails. It is not ever what I meant.

      I think that many people are suffering from confirmation bias, where the emails ‘prove’ what they already ‘know.’ Most scientists get training in ways to reduce the effects of confirmation bias. In a manner of speaking, one of the reasons for the Scientific Method, peer review and publication is to minimize confirmation bias.

      Look, people misunderstand emails all the time, even when they are directly involved. You appear to come from the proposition that the emails reveal malfeasance, fraud and outright conspiracy. I don’t. Since there will be an investigation, I expect that one of us will be proven wrong.

      As for the code, I was referring to the fact that the post at WUWT was ignoring a relevant piece of information. Moving the goalposts by bringing in something that was not part of the post does nothing to demolish my point.

  13. Quote Richard:” Luckily for our cars, turning a wheel or stopping is not a complex action and does not require a probabilistic approach, although Toyota appears to have created such a stochastic process in their fly-by=wire accelerators. But biology and climatology both examine complex systems and they both require probabilistic approaches in some areas. So a little looseness may be necessary. The key is whether that enhances or degrades the data and the knowledge gained.”

    Sir, I see we do agree and I submit to your experience. However, it is precisely a lack of predictable exactitude as you mention that needs to addressed, but not the reasonable account that you have presented here. The method and the delivery of public climate science that is being ramrodded states quite the opposite of your obvious understanding and clarification. As for the stolen emails they can be understood for either their exactness of word, or their intention but I am really more interested in what you have to say on the subject.

    How is it that the climate models which are somewhat lacking in predictable exactness can cause some scientists and even worse, political activists to claim that” the science is in” while the scientists themselves support such preposterous claims with their silence? If your impartial claim is to be believed, then how can the science be in? Does not gray include both measures of white and black as you would have it? While recognizing that climatology can lack a certain predictable precision there are contradictory and rather more predatory opinions which are expressed by the vociferous representatives of the American media and environmental enclaves. Their claims for climatology I’m afraid are far more sure and compelling while perhaps less grounded in practical theory and understanding in comparison to your position. They consider some of those who are equally well educated who oppose common public climate opinion to be lacking the same interpretative skills that you and those of similar opinion possess. While not taking into account the level of exactness that you have just expressed and this is kindly meant, they in reality express I’m sure a contempt that runs far deeper against those who claim an opposing opinion of AGW. While the science is not completely objective and still under development ,if what I am to understand from those emails is to be considered correct, how can the common man be expected to believe that one side is correct over the other when neither side educated in the matter can even come to a common consensus on the methodology, modeling and predictions? This would be directly comparable to an expression of a religious faith calling upon us to believe in a system which is partially unpredictable and not readily provable even by those who faithfully accept it as truth. Political activism is ruining any common sense discussions. It is because of activism that skeptics lay claim to their beliefs because how can enormous amounts of money, time and effort be attributed to what may be in the end a pointless cause? Also in the name of your scientific discipline we have econazi’s calling for the complete destruction of mankind while hypocritically unwilling to kill themselves in support of their own criminal ideology and the whole time attempting to exercise influence in these matters at a higher level. Preposterous! This is the type of contention that this climate science is happily bringing to bear on society. I believe someone of power and consequence in this field should step forward and attempt to put a stop to this nonsense and bring back the focus of the real science. The alarmists and activists have stolen the show and are running the campaign rather like Napoleonic conquerors who like Napoleon will ultimately fail.
    At this point is tolerance ( the allowance made for deviation) defined by honesty and integrity or a product of it? Please do not take that the wrong way.
    Thank You for your indulgence.

    PS. While automotive engineering may be exceedingly more predictable in its theory and execution, we still find that there are losers on race day, in fact all of them but one. Some understand better theory while others understand better its practice.

    1. Dave,

      Part of the problem may be similar to what I have seen happen in biology with evolution. While researchers and lay people use similar words, they can have different meanings. Then when advocates on both sides, who often have agendas that may want to twist the science get involved, things get really out of whack.

      Here is my take/opinion – ‘The science is in’ refers to the large amount of independent data indicating that the world is warming. There is little scientific doubt dealing with the increasing retention of energy by our planet. In every segment where one might expect to see a trend as a consequence of temperature change, that is what one sees (air temps, ocean temps, tree rings, ice cores, sea level, etc.). That data is very strong.

      So, what is causing this increase? This is the theory of AGW. The only possibility that has continued to hold up to scrutiny over the last 30 years or so is increasing carbon dioxide levels. All the other hypotheses do not appear to be correct. And carbon dioxide appears to be rising due to human activities.

      We can not ‘prove’ this because we can not really do the experiment with a copy of the world where we keep everything constant but remove human beings (In truth, science can not prove any theory. it can only show it is not wrong). So, we have tried the next best thing, which is to model the situation. Modeling is, however, simply a simulation. But researchers have worked hard the lasy 25 years or so to make the simulations better. These are the climate models used to project what could happen.

      As with the confusion of evolution (it is both a fact and a theory) I think people get confused with climate change as fact (all the data) and climate change as theory (the models for AGW). I do not think any scientist would say that a particular model describes facts. It simply supports the theory of AGW.

      The models do a pretty decent job matching the climate records we possess (retrospective studies). So what happens when the models are extended into the future? When climate researchers use the best tools we have at our disposal, to look out 20 years and more, things do not look good at all. They can play all types of simulations to try and make changes in the trends. Only lowering carbon dioxide levels seems to make any difference.

      Now what to do? They could quietly wait, creating better models and doing more simulations. Or they can tell people the results of their simulations – that unless carbon dioxide levels are dealt with, there will be serious consequences.

      Now the policy makers get involved, each with an agenda. And i know that there are environmentalists who manipulate this confusion as there are denialists. I don’t know how many liberals i have run into who think that this is the end of the world, there is nothing we can do and that it demonstrates the inherent evil of mankind. Not a single one of those has anything to do with scientific thinking, much less rational.

      I happen to think we will do fine with this. There are actually all sorts of ways that creative people have put forward to fix the problem without having to make everyone wear hair shirts and whip themselves. I really like Socolow and Pacala’s wedge strategy. i just worry about whether such rational approaches will get any sort of traction in the confusion the world finds itself.

      We are in quite a pickle because the possible ramifications for much of this would result in a huge change in the power structure of many organizations in the world, both left and right. They might be dinosaurs in a changing world but even dying dinosaurs can be very harmful.

  14. I did see after making my earlier post that the code comments didn’t actually come from you. I’m not sure the post on the code isn’t essentially analogous to your arguments, however. More on that in a minute.

    As for “confirmation bias”, I actually had no idea that concerted efforts were being made to keep dissenting opinions out of peer reviewed journals, nor did I know the extent to which the AGW players were willing to skirt the law with respect to FOIA. So in both of those cases the e-mails came as news to me, so there could not have been any bias on my part which was “confirmed”.

    Other than that I was aware that other temperature data had been tampered with, and that urban heat island effects were also influencing recent temperature readings. In that sense indeed the e-mails and code serve to further confirm what I already knew. Throwing out “confirmation bias” as an argument here doesn’t wash, however. There is no rational, valid explanation for artificially lowering past temperatures (or proxy indicators of temperature), and there is no longer a doubt that that was going on at CRU and elsewhere. In this case the “investigation” part consists of readings the e-mails and the code, and taking it all in context.

    If you want to play newsman and use “alleged crime” or the like go ahead. This is however a crime where we have the confession, the DNA evidence, the motive, the paper trail, and even some videotape. Unless all these guys have evil twin brothers who were acting on their behalf without their knowledge, the case is closed for me.

    The more knowledgeable you are the more of an open and shut case this becomes. If the MWP did happen and was warmer than the present day, then there is no reason to make dire predictions based on today’s temperatures. If past CO2 levels were previously much higher than today’s, and in fact were low when temperature rose and later high when temperature fell, the whole theory behind AGW is bogus. If the planet has had stable temperatures for hundreds of years in the past as some hockey stick graphs suggest, and thus was insensitive to forcings, how is it that now it is suddenly very sensitive and will in fact have positive feedback mechanisms in order to drive the doomsday scenarios.

    If you don’t see conclusive proof of malfeasance, fraud, and conspiracy in the released material, then I suspect you were with Bill Clinton when he was talking about “what is is”. Good luck making that point with others who have reviewed the material and otherwise without an AGW axe to grind.

    1. Chris,

      You are certainly allowed to have an opinion but that is all it is. You believe that removing one segment of the data supporting the AGW theory brings down the whole house. I believe that the theory is robust enough to withstand this current imbroglio. Ad hominems serve no purpose but to divide people when logical, rational arguments no longer serve. Non sequiturs, such as bringing Bill Clinton into this, just adds another logical fallacy.

      I am glad you agree with me that confirmation bias exists with respect to the emails for many people and that it happened with you. Do any of the explanations provided by some of the climatologists regarding those emails elicit any doubts in the surety of your views? Is there any possibility at all that you could be wrong?

      More importantly, there has not been anything released to demonstrate that the multitudes of data that have been published actually support a conclusion diametrically opposed to global warming. Show me more of that and I may be willing to change my opinion.

      As for the MWP, take a look at recent data and you can see that not only does the ‘warming’ of the period not appear to be not global but, when compared to global temperature anomalies today, was not even on the same global scale..

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