Wednesday, January 25, 2006


In true "Yes, Minister" style, a major tool of the British bureaucracy is to do its best to ignore anything that might upset its applecart. But at least the internet offers us the opportunity to see what it is trying to ignore. A good example is the letter below from David Holland about the scientific basis for global warming claims. Holland is an engineer who gave evidence last year to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs and to the recently-appointed Stern Review of the economics of climate change. The letter was sent on Thursday, 24 November 2005 to Mr Elliot Morley MP, Minister for Environment and Agri-Environment, but, two months later, it has yet to receive a reply. The letter:

Re: Surface Temperature Reconstructions

I first approached you by email on 31st October 2003 when McIntyre and McKitrick published their first paper disputing the validity of the paper, MBH98, of Prof. Mann et al., from which one graph has become, in effect, the IPCC logo. I asked the question "Can it really be the case that we ratified the Kyoto treaty without checking the sums upon which the key scientific findings were based?". Despite considerable correspondence with members of your department I received no answer to what I thought was a perfectly reasonable question and would like to ask again for an answer. Members of your department repeatedly stressed peer review as sufficient validation together with reference to a "spaghetti diagram".

Now some two years on McIntyre and McKitrick have published in the reputable peer reviewed journal of the AGU and others such as von Storch, who is a SO&P project member, have published peer reviewed criticism of Prof. Mann's method. Members of the public are repeatedly being told that the science of global warming is settled but this misses the point that much of the debate is centred on statistics and due diligence rather than basic science.

You have available to you some of the best statisticians in the world. Prof. Ian Jolliffe, for instance, whose personal notes are at, is accepted as a world expert on Principal Components Analysis (PCA) techniques. He has been cited by Prof. Mann as justification for the non standard and (and undisclosed) PCA that is one of the main areas of debate. I believe that nether Prof. Jolliffe or any other accepted statistician ever considered Prof. Mann's use of non centred PCA justifiable. In the light of the dispute in this area (it is referred to in the recent House of Lords report) has your department sought the advice of your experts on PCA?

The complaints of many of the so called sceptics or contrarians is not so much on scientific detail but on the almost complete lack of disclosure. Had Prof. Mann disclosed all that was necessary to replicate his results the arguments over the surface record would have been over in weeks. When the US House committee finally obliged Prof. Mann to reveal all it became clear that he had been refusing to do so because it proved that what McIntyre and McKitrick had said was right all along.

The "spaghetti diagram" which with peer review your staff thought sufficient has likewise become thoroughly discredited. This is the graph showing other reconstructions that are said to corroborate Prof. Mann's work. In fact taking the error bands into account they suggest we have little idea of past temperature trends. Tedious detective work by Steve McIntyre has revealed that these studies far from being independent share much of the basic data which in many cases is not available for inspection. The studies share some authors in common. In some cases it is now shown that undisclosed non peer reviewed pre-processing of raw data has taken place for which the authors have no detailed knowledge.

I am sure you will be aware that an important adjustment has just been made to the temperature record derived from satellites as a result of independent replication made possible by the full availability of all data and code. The originator of the satellite record has publicly thanked the researchers that discovered the error. Contrast this with what our own Prof. Phil Jones told Warwick Hughes when he asked for access to the unadjusted raw data from which CRU derive its surface temperature record. "Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it." (source

Warwick Hughes is not alone in being unable to access this important scientific data. Verification of the adjustments made by Prof. Jones to the raw station data is an entirely proper pursuit in a democratic society. The data is archived under password control in the SO&P database and would involve little expense to make available. It was collected entirely at the expense of UK and US taxpayers and ought to be freely available. Will you make this data available to Steve McIntyre who I now believe is accepted as a serious and respected researcher into data analysis?

If the scale of AGW (this is the only real area of debate) is as serious as you appear to think it must be in your interests to see doubts whether legitimate or not dispelled. In an increasingly free, informed and connected world secrecy and obfuscation is seen as likely to be concealing bias as a minimum and outright dishonesty in some cases. Climate Change policy is uniquely expensive and is the only major area of public expense where the access to underlying data is denied to any one that seeks to dispute official conclusions.


(From, 17 January 2006 )

Intercomparison of the northern hemisphere winter mid-latitude atmospheric variability of the IPCC models

By Valerio Lucarini et al.


We compare, for the overlapping time frame 1962-2000, the estimate of the northern hemisphere (NH) mid-latitude winter atmospheric variability within the XX century simulations of 17 global climate models (GCMs) included in the IPCC-4AR with the NCEP and ECMWF reanalyses. We compute the Hayashi spectra of the 500hPa geopotential height fields and introduce an integral measure of the variability observed in the NH on different spectral sub-domains. Only two high-resolution GCMs have a good agreement with reanalyses. Large biases, in most cases larger than 20%, are found between the wave climatologies of most GCMs and the reanalyses, with a relative span of around 50%. The travelling baroclinic waves are usually overestimated, while the planetary waves are usually underestimated, in agreement with previous studies performed on global weather forecasting models. When comparing the results of various versions of similar GCMs, it is clear that in some cases the vertical resolution of the atmosphere and, somewhat unexpectedly, of the adopted ocean model seem to be critical in determining the agreement with the reanalyses. The GCMs ensemble is biased with respect to the reanalyses but is comparable to the best 5 GCMs. This study suggests serious caveats with respect to the ability of most of the presently available GCMs in representing the statistics of the global scale atmospheric dynamics of the present climate and, a fortiori, in the perspective of modelling climate change.

[...] 4. Conclusions

The goal of this study is the evaluation of the degree of realism and of mutual coherence of some of the most well-known GCMs in the description of statistical properties of the atmospheric disturbances in the free atmosphere in the present climate. We maintain that such analysis is more insightful into the real performances of the GCMs than the comparison of essentially boundary properties such as surface temperature, because the internal mechanisms of the atmosphere are here taken into consideration. We have considered the variability of the 500hPa geopotential height field, as described in the NCEP and ERA40 reanalyses for the time frame 1962-2000 and in the XX century control run of the IPCC GCMs. We compute the Hayashi spectra of the 500hPa geopotential height fields and introduce an ad hoc integral measure of the variability observed in the Northern Hemisphere on different spectral subdomains. The total wave variability is taken as a global metrics describing the overall performance of each model, while the total variability pertaining to the eastward propagating baroclinic waves and to the standing planetary waves, respectively are taken as process-oriented metrics, aimed at measuring the model capability of describing the corresponding physical process.

In such a context, we obtain the striking result that large biases, in most cases larger than 10%, are found in all the considered metrics between the atmospheric waves climatology of most IPCC models and the reanalyses. The span of the climatologies of the various models is in all cases around 50% of the climatology of the reanalyses. In particular, when considering the total variability of the wave fields of the GCMs, we have that the biases on the intraseasonal and interannual variability are positively linearly correlated: for larger average signals the variability tend to be larger.

When considering the process-oriented metrics, we have that the baroclinic waves are typically overestimated by the climate models, while the planetary waves are usually underestimated. This closely resembles the results of many diagnostic studies performed in the past on global weather forecasting models (Tibaldi, 1986). The climatologies of the wave activity of only two models - GFDL-CM2.1 and MIROC(hires) - are statistically consistent with that of the reanalyses both for the global and process-oriented metrics.

This is a rather surprising result, given that all models are expected to provide very similar vertical temperature profiles, average surface temperature, precipitation and so on (see e.g. the results presented in the TAR). Nevertheless, the general pictures obtained with the global and with the processoriented metrics, are substantially different. In particular the apparent substantial improvement detected in the global metrics (as in the case of the CGCM3.1 model) may indeed mask the loss of performance in describing a specific process. Also, the INM-CM3.0 model, which seems rather close to observations with the global metrics, fails to describe correctly all regions of the spectrum of atmospheric variability at mid- latitudes.

On the other hand, the process-oriented metrics may suggest some of the priorities for planning strategies for model improvements. In this perspective, we found that the increase of horizontal resolution alone has no substantial effect on model performances while the increase of horizontal and vertical resolution brings the MIROC(hires) model into close agreement with observations. An increased vertical resolution could be useful to better mimic the vertical structure of the ultra-long waves, in particular the orographic baroclinic standing perturbations (Buzzi et al. 1984).

The improvement of numerical scheme has also a positive impact on model performances (GFDL models). In particular, the use of semi- lagrangian advection schemes for tracers seems to be an important requirement for model reliability. Somewhat unexpectedly, in the case of the GISSER and GISS-EH models, the characteristics of the adopted ocean model also seems to be critical in determining the agreement with the reanalyses. Among the three GISS models, the GISS-AOM seems to have superior performances. The models ensemble obtained by arithmetic averaging of the results of all models is biased with respect to the reanalyses but is comparable to the best 5 models.

This study suggests a serious caveat concerning the ability of most of the presently available climate models in describing the statistical properties of the global scale atmospheric dynamics of the present climate, and, a fortiori, in the perspective of climate change. One of the possible outcomes of this study may be the provision of quantitative information needed to weight model reliability when considering models ensemble results, e.g., in the context of the IPCC reports. On the other hand, the GFDL-CM2.1 and MIROC(hires) models, being able to reproduce with some degree of confidence the statistical properties of wave activity in the atmosphere, seem to be the best candidates for more detailed studies on atmospheric circulation regimes (Ruti et al., 2006), which will be the subject of future study.

Among the several other in-depth analyses which can follow up from the results presented here, we would like to mention two future paths. In the context of the global properties of the atmosphere, it seems relevant to study the links between the degree of the models mutual coherence and realism in the description of the mid- latitudes atmospheric variability and in the representation of ENSO (Van Oldenburg et al. 2005), which seems critical in the set-up of the regimes of the low25 frequency mid- latitudes planetary waves (Ruti el al., 2006). In the context of the understanding of climate change, it seems relevant to study the mutual coherence of the GCMs in their sensitivity to CO2 doubling of the statistics of the atmospheric waves cons idered in the present analysis.

Peter Walsh: The Australian Labor Party should ditch the Greenies

Peter Walsh was a senator and finance minister in the Hawke Labor government

Since the 1980s, Australian Labor Party policy has been incrementally hijacked by well-heeled, self-indulgent, morally vain and would-be authoritarian activists, whom the media often misdescribes as the intelligentsia. If language had been less debauched, they would have been more accurately described as secular religious fundamentalists, as contemptuous of the values and aspirations of mainstream Australians as Mao Zedong was of Chinese peasants.

The consequences for Labor have been four successive electoral defeats. Short of a self-destructive Coalition implosion, there is little chance of reversing this electoral trend in the near future. Some smart Labor people have been long aware of the poisoned chalice handed to Labor by green ideologues and their media cheer squad. Opposition resources spokesman Martin Ferguson is one person to have attacked their holy grail: global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. Writing on this page recently, Ferguson drew attention to the mutual exclusivity of green hostility to economic growth, the greens' self-proclaimed commitment to social justice, their Kyoto-inspired eagerness to export technically efficient Australian industry to Third World countries (thereby increasing greenhouse gas emissions), and their secular religious veto of the only economically feasible alternative to fossil fuel for base load power: nuclear energy.

To secular religious fundamentalists - and others who should know better - global warming, induced by burning fossil fuels, is responsible for all disagreeable or dangerous climatic events: extreme high temperatures, extreme low temperatures, drought, floods, dying coral reefs and rising sea levels. Never mind that one of its high priests, Stephen Schneider, was predicting a catastrophic ice age only 35 years ago. The Kyoto hypothesis, so we are told, must be accepted without reservation. In several important respects empirical evidence does not confirm the climate model or models on which the Kyoto hypothesis is based. For example:

* Satellite temperature sensors - the most reliable source of global temperature data - show little if any increase in the lower tropospheric temperature.

* Precipitation on the Antarctic continent is increasing.

* Evidence, not yet conclusive, does suggest a small rise in surface temperature since 1970, but to fit the Kyoto models this should have happened 50 years ago. It didn't.

* Anyone who knows anything - including the authors associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - concedes their models are imprecise, even if they have not been designed to prop up favoured or predetermined conclusions. But Ian Castles and David Henderson's exposure of the fanciful economic statistics incorporated in IPCC models suggests they have been fiddled. If your case is immaculate, why feed lies into it?

* Authentic history is more reliable than models, doctored or otherwise. The Vikings, who settled Greenland early in the second millennium, grew barley crops for several centuries. To do that, the climate would have to be at least 2C warmer than now, but glaciers did not melt, sea levels did not rise, coral reefs did not disappear and atmospheric carbon dioxide remained stable. How come?

To divert attention from the enormous damage ratification of Kyoto would inflict on the Australian economy, the green cheer squad asserts we are forgoing a golden opportunity to make a fortune from carbon trading. That is another lie. At best, an honest international carbon trading system would reduce, to some extent, the losses of Kyoto compliance.

But who will regulate and audit an international market? Another misbegotten, self serving and corrupt offspring of a corrupt UN? Another IPCC? In the aftermath of the oil-for-food scandal, does anybody really believe the UN would run an honest chook raffle? Asserting that carbon trading will produce windfall gains for all is cargo cultism resurrected: the hoax of the decade, or perhaps century.

Planting forests for carbon sinks has become a fashionable stunt for populist politicians. Western Australia's populist Government announced it will plant enough trees to offset emissions from its proposed desalination plant. Recent research from Stamford University says that plants, including forests, produce 30per cent of the world's methane emissions. What about that?

Of one thing we can be certain. If rising atmospheric carbon dioxide really is a problem that threatens civilisation, Kyoto is not the answer. Nor is another populist stunt, renewable energy - unless we ignore the social and economic damage inflicted by an enormous increase in energy prices. Parasitic rent seekers who market windmills and solar panels (and would-be rent-seeking ethanol producers) are beneficiaries of the captive market already delivered to them by mandatory renewable energy targets, so they naturally demand those targets be increased. They may run into a political problem they have not anticipated.

A proposal to establish a wind farm in Denmark, Western Australia, an area much loved and populated by politically correct green nimbies, is being torpedoed by the residents. Consequently, federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell has refused to allocate it any money from the federal renewable energy slush fund, because the green nimbies, including the local Green state parliamentarian, don't want it. Be alert for many repeats of this hypocrisy.

The only economically viable answer to the emissions problem, if indeed it is a problem, is nuclear power, as Ferguson points out. In recent years, Labor has stubbornly truckled for Green preferences, which have helped lower the party's primary vote. But if it wants to remain a major party, Labor should pay more attention to Ferguson and distance itself from a movement that alienates a large body of traditional Labor voters.



(Post lifted from John Brignell of Number Watch)

"All science is either physics or stamp collecting"
(Ernest Rutherford)

Ever since primitive man developed tools and found the leisure to conjecture upon such abstractions as purpose, cause and effect, there have been individuals who set themselves up to exploit the gullibility of their fellows by assuming a spurious expertise. As time goes on their kind develops an elaborate structure of bogus erudition by which they come to enslave their contemporaries. Few human societies have escaped this process. It should therefore come as no surprise that in various web forums a counter argument has begun to appear, taking the form "You are not an X scientist and are therefore not qualified to discuss X". X can be one of several subjects - environment, food, climate etc. As we have observed previously, the appearance of the X sciences is a modern phenomenon related to the general dumbing down of the educational system.

In most societies the priesthood strives to establish a monopoly, often by draconian means, such as torture and death, in order to preserve its status. The brief flourishing of the age of science in the last two or three centuries largely brought that process to a halt but, now that the scientific method and its inherent scepticism have fallen into disrepute among the powers that be of the new establishment, the new theologies are beginning to assert their authority. The journals that were once the great pillars of science and its methods now openly practice a crude censorship of anything that smacks of heresy, while committees of self-styled scientists brand dissenters and attempt to consign them to oblivion.

The peer review system, another fundamental pillar of science, has always been prone to corruption by the formation of dominant interest groups, but the present situation is orders of magnitude more serious than that. Dissenting arguments are not only excluded from peer review publications, but they are dismissed by dint of that very exclusion. Some of the high priests of the new order go to extraordinary lengths to prevent the publication of challenges to their own preachments. Then there is control of funding. Those who produce hard evidence embarrassing to the establishment (such as why 2003 was supposedly a year of record heat) are likely to find themselves bereft of cash.

Alas, poor science!


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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