Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cheating in NASA climate data probable

Hansen admits to many "adjustments" to his temperature data but claims that they are statistically based. His final "data" certainly diverges strongly from the raw data. Lubos Motl below thinks he has found "made up" data rather than statistically adjusted data. Hansen will not reveal the details of his adjustment procedures so that does feed suspicions. Motl did not find similar divergences from randomness in climate datasets from other sources

David Stockwell has analyzed the frequency of the final digits in the temperature data by NASA's GISS led by James Hansen, and he claims that the unequal distribution of the individual digits strongly suggests that the data have been modified by a human hand.

With Mathematica 7, such hypotheses take a few minutes to be tested. And remarkably enough, I must confirm Stockwell's bold assertion although - obviously - this kind of statistical evidence is never quite perfect and the surprising results may always be due to "bad luck" or other explanations mentioned at the end of this article.

Update: Steve McIntyre disagrees with David and myself and thinks that there's nothing remarkable in the statistics. I confirm that if the absolute values are included, if their central value is carefully normalized, and the anomalies are distributed over just a couple of multiples of 0.1 øC, there's roughly a 3% variation in the frequency of different digits which is enough to explain the non-uniformities below. However, one simply obtains a monotonically decreasing concentration of different digits and I feel that they have a different fingerprint than the NASA data below. But this might be too fine an analysis for such a relatively small statistical ensemble.

This page shows the global temperature anomalies as collected by GISS. It indicates that the year 2008 (J-D) was the coldest year in the 21st century so far, even according to James Hansen et al., a fact you won't hear from them. But we will look at some numerology instead.

Looking at those 1,548 figures

Among the 129*12 = 1,548 monthly readings, you would expect each final digit (0..9) to appear 154.8 times or so. That's the average statistics and you don't expect that each digit will appear exactly 154.8 times. Instead, the actual frequencies will be slightly different than 154.8. How big is the usual fluctuation from the central value?

Well, the rule is that the abundance of each digit, centered at N=154.8, obeys the normal distribution whose standard deviation is roughly sqrt(154.8). Well, it's actually sqrt(139.32), as argued below, but let's avoid unimportant complications here. It means that if you compute the average value of e.g. "(N_i-154.8)^2" over "i" going between 0 and 9, you should again obtain 154.8.

It's not zero, proving that some deviations from the "quotas" are inevitable. On the other hand, it is pretty small for a square of the difference of rather large numbers. And the value seems to be precisely determined. If you generate a random list of 1548 digits between 0 and 9, the average value of "(N_i-154.8)^2" over 10 digits will be remarkably close to 150 or so.

I've played this random game many times, to be sure that I use the correct statistical formulae.


Japanese Report Disputes Human Cause for Global Warming

Researchers debate each other in new study; most disagree greenhouse gases are the cause.

The Japanese Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) published a new study on the causes of Global Warming. Entitled, "Global warming: What is the scientific truth?", the report highlights the differing views of five prominent Japanese scientists. All but one of the scientists disagreed that global warming is the result of human activity.

Contributing to the report were Syunichi Akasofu, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska, and former director of the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the International Arctic Research Center, Shigenori Maruyama, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kiminori Itoh, professor of Physical Chemistry at Yokohama National University, Seita Emori, head of the National Institute for Environmental Sciences, and Kanya Kusano, director of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

While all the researchers agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) statement that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal", four of the five disagreed with the claim that the primary cause of the increase was due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. The only researcher to agree with the IPCC's assertion was Emori, who is himself a member of the IPCC.

Akasofu countered with the statement, "CO2 emissions have been increasing, but the rise in air temperature stopped around 2001. Climate change is due in large part to naturally occurring oscillations". Akasofu says the earth's warming trend began prior to the industrial age, and believes much of the warming seen may simply be a natural recovery from the so-called Little Ice Age, that ended in the 17th century.

Professor Itoh attacked the temperature record itself, saying "Data taken by the U.S. is inadequate. We only have satellite data of global temperatures from 1979 onwards". Itoh, who has previously called global warming "the worst scientific scandal in history", is also an expert reviewer for the IPCC.

Dr. Kasano believes that cosmic rays, which are modulated by cycles in the strength of the sun's magnetic fields, may potentially have large-scale impacts on the earth's climate. The report includes the data in which the researchers base their arguments, and can be publicly viewed (in Japanese) on the Internet.


Global cooling no joke in Alaska

Nicholas Tucker, Sr. who is a resident of Emmonak, a village of about 800 people in Western Alaska, wrote a letter to the people of Alaska, pleading for help to heat and feed his village. Tucker said that the village is experiencing an unprecedented fuel and food crisis due to a salmon disaster last summer, extreme cold, and crippling fuel prices. Tucker has been a full time resident of the village since 1971, after he returned from fighting in the Vietnam War. He writes that this is the first time that he's had to decided between buying food or fuel for his family. "Couple of weeks ago, our 8-year old son had to go to bed hungry," he writes. The letter also chronicles other villagers who are fighting for survival.

In a phone interview from Emmonak, Tucker said that he's asking help from the people of Alaska because he can't get help from the government. "We're trying. But in the meantime, there are people here who need food and heat." Paul LaBolle, spokesman for State Rep. Richard Foster, who represents the area, said that immediate government assistance would have to come by way of an emergency declaration, which comes from the governor's office. He also said that Foster is aware of the problem and is working with the native corporation of Emmonak and with the executive branch to come up with a solution.

Former Emmonak city manager Martin Moore said that he's been asking for help since October, when a fuel barge couldn't reach the village due to an early freeze. But he's had no luck. "When we have a disaster, coupled with high cost of energy, government has an obligation to do what it can to help people who are hurting," he said. He talked about a villager who had just stopped by his house who didn't have enough money to buy gas for his snowmachine to find wood to heat his house. "He's cold," Moore said. "I hear those stories all the time here."

Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office, said that the senator is aware of the situation and a staff member has been in touch with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Division of Agriculture, and the State of Alaska about the situation. "We're going everything we can do on the federal level but we don't have a lot of options," Dillon said. Murkowski's Anchorage office is in the process of organizing volunteers and events to help the area. Here's Tucker's letter:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

From several years ago, our heating fuel and gasoline costs have doubled in Emmonak. Current retail prices are $7.83 per gallon for heating fuel and $7.25 per gallon for gasoline, including the city sales tax. Our village has run out of heating fuel and the first airlift shipment has arrived at the airport. As early as today, the retail for our winter shipments is expected to be anywhere from $9 - $11 per gallon or higher.

Last summer, we experienced a king salmon fisheries disaster. We did not have any king salmon commercial openings. We had a chum salmon commercial harvest which is nothing compared to the king fishery. Chum harvest traditionally covered our king salmon fishing start-up costs, most of the purchase of new equipment, repair and maintenance, supplies, and operating expenses. Our commercial fishermen did not make any money. Our income from this meager, small-scale commercial harvest is basic to and vital to our seasonal subsistence fishing and hunting, berry picking, plant gathering, motor oil and gas, supplies, equipment, and cash for repairs of our outboard motors and our snowmachines used for winter wood gathering. This income pays for our many household bills.

Last fall, we weren't delivered our usual fall fuel orders due to early freeze up. Following this, we got hit by a rare weather anomaly: It has been very, very cold since last part of September. This cold snap still persists as of this day. Households have tell me that there is more snow covering the driftwood out in the tundra and the coastlines, making it difficult finding the logs for firewood. A lot more gasoline and motor oil is being used in search of the driftwood. This winter-long, extreme cold snap is causing the furnaces and boilers to run constantly and to their maximum.

My family of ten, with a household of six adults and four minors, is one of the causalities of our current high costs of heating fuel and gasoline that are devastating families and households here in Emmonak of 847 residents. I am 63 and my wife is 54. For the first time, beginning December 2008, I am forced to decide buying between heating fuel or groceries. I had been forced to dig into our January income to stay warm during December. Again, for this month, same thing happens. I am taking away my February income this month to survive. Couple of weeks ago, our 8-year old son had to go to bed hungry. My wife and I provide for our family with disability, Veterans' benefits, social security, and unemployment incomes. We are several months behind on our city water and sewer bills. We had originally used up all our $1,200 energy subsidy to prepay electricity for the winter and other bills in hope of surviving for this winter due to these high fuel costs. We didn't anticipate the early freeze-up that prevented our native corporation getting its winter supplies of fuel. We didn't anticipate an unexpected winter-long bitter cold. I don't recall anything having occurred as cold as it has been and its length that we have to endure


Climate Debate Skeptics Once Again Sway Undecided Vote in Leading Debate Forum

Intelligence Squared U.S., the Oxford style debate series sponsored by The Rosenkranz Foundation, announced the results of its first debate of the Spring 2009 season, "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money." In a dramatic shift, 25% of the undecided vote sided with the motion by the end of the debate. In the final tally at the conclusion of the debate, a sold out audience at Symphony Space, New York City, voted 42% for the motion and 48% against. Ten percent remained undecided. Prior to the debate, the audience at Symphony Space, New York City, voted 16% for the motion and 49% against. 35% were undecided.

The results echoed a similar outcome on the proposition, "Global warming is not a crisis," an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate held on March 14, 2007. The Global Warming debate produced an initial vote tally of 29% for the motion and 57% against. At the conclusion of the debate, the vote margins had reversed with 46% for the motion and 42% against.

The "Major reductions in carbon emissions are not worth the money" debate will air on BBC World News March 7 and 8, 2009. The debate can be heard on NPR beginning January 21, 2009. Speaking for the motion were Peter Huber, author of "The Bottomless Well," Bjorn Lomborg, author of "Cool It" and "The Skeptical Environmentalist," and scientist and Emeritus Professor from the University of London, Philip Stott.

L. Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, Oliver Tickell, author of "Kyoto2," and Adam Werbach, global chief executive officer at Saatchi & Saatchi S, spoke against the motion. John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News' "Nightline," moderated. A full transcript of this debate will be available at Key comments from this debate included:

"We no longer control demand for carbon... The five billion poor people are already the main problem -- not us. Collectively, the poor already emit twenty percent more greenhouse gas than we do. We burn a lot more carbon individually, of course, but they have a lot more children. Their fecundity has beaten out our gluttony and the gap is now widening very fast. China, not the United States, is now the largest emitter of greenhouse gas on the planet and it will soon be joined by others. It's only a matter of time. And finally, the poor countries have made perfectly clear that they are not interested at all in spending what a low carbon diet would cost. They have more pressing problems."- Peter Huber

"You know what's going to get China to cut its carbon emissions? It's not going to be you and me and it's not going to be the government. It's going to be Wal-Mart, which recently said to its Chinese suppliers, 'You will report your carbon footprint through a little group called The Carbon Disclosure Project.' Watch China's emissions start to come down simply because that's the way the best companies are doing business now."- L. Hunter Lovins

"One quarter of all the world's deaths are due to easily curable infectious diseases. The equivalent of the population of Florida, wiped off the map, each year. As an example, 1 million people die from malaria each year, and up to 2 billion people get the debilitating disease. Yet, my esteemed opponents will focus on how global warming will cause a slight increase in malaria 100 years from now, and suggest that we should fix that through inefficient carbon cuts... So, this is our chance. Our chance not just to feel good about helping the planet, but actually to do the right thing, the rational thing, and the morally correct thing. I commend this motion to you; do what's rational, not just what's fashionable."- Bjorn Lomborg

To view transcripts and videos or learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S. please visit:


Crunch time for carrots as EU bans pesticides

A ban on pesticides agreed by the European Parliament could make vegetable production impossible and result in a dramatic drop of wheat yields, farmers have said. The National Farmers' Union said growing carrots, parsnips and onions would be more difficult because the herbicides that MEPs voted to phase out killed weeds that affect these crops.

A total of 22 substances will be banned over the next decade as part of an EU plan to remove chemicals that are thought to pose risks to human health and damage water quality. Fears have been raised of a 20 per cent reduction in wheat and an increase in vegetable prices, but officials said that British farmers would be able to apply for permission to keep using two types of herbicide they need to keep carrot-growing viable. The exemptions will last for five years.

Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, said: "These regulations could hit production for no recognisable benefit to human health, and we are being asked to agree to something when nobody knows what the impact will be."


Australian independent Senator rejects Warmist laws as too coercive

Xenophon is a successful lawyer and a genuine centrist, with some Left, some conservative and some Green positions

Key crossbench senator Nick Xenophon has stepped up his attack on the Government's planned emissions trading scheme. "The Rudd Government targets are pretty pathetic, the 5per cent," Senator Xenophon told The Australian yesterday. "What Rudd's done is overly bureaucratic and cumbersome." The South Australian independent senator is travelling in the US and Canada on budget airlines and Greyhound buses to examine carbon reduction schemes, on a trip paid for from his own pocket.

Senator Xenophon said the Government's proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme would lead to a massive churn of funds from industry and households to government and back as compensation, as well as higher-than-anticipated costs. He pointed to modelling by Melbourne consultants Frontier Economics to warn that the CPRS could collect up to $80billion a year that would need to be reallocated. "The scheme is all stick and no carrot," he said. "If the design is wrong, we shouldn't do it."

Senator Xenophon said Australia should follow the Canadian model, which granted concessions to lower greenhouse gas emitters. This would reduce churn and allow for higher emission reduction targets. "What it does is encourage investment in greener technology," he said. "The cleaner you are, the greater level of credits you get. You don't have the same degree of churn because you work at a level of energy intensity. "It's much simpler. You just don't get the same price effect."

Agriculture Minister Tony Burke defended the Government's proposals. "We've got the balance there in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to make sure that industries can deal with the challenges of the transition whilst making sure that Australia is part of the economy of the future and can credibly argue for significant emissions reductions for the major emitters around the world," Mr Burke said.

The minister sought to highlight Coalition splits on emissions trading after Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce told The Australian his party might vote against the Liberals on the issue. "Malcolm Turnbull is willing to tolerate climate change sceptics and a front bench which can't agree on anything," Mr Burke said. "He will tolerate a Coalition partner that only votes with him when it feels like it." The Opposition Leader denied that the Coalition partners were divided. "I've no doubt that we will be responding to this legislation with one voice," Mr Turnbull said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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