Monday, September 28, 2009

Massive scientific fraud: Blatant and grossly deceptive data selection ("cherrypicking") by Warmist "scientists"

These guys would not make a real scientist's a**hole. They were pretending to use tree-ring data to create a picture of the climate before thermometers were invented. And they claimed that their data showed no Medieval warm period but record warming in the late 20th century. And their data did exactly that. But how did they get their data? By ignoring a whole heap of data and just picking out a tiny subset of trees that suited their preconceptions. And if you use ALL the tree-ring data, you get totally opposite results. See the divergence in the graph below. Following the graph is a summary of the huge battle skeptical scientists had in order to get the raw data concerned. The Warmists knew that they had committed a repeated fraud and did their damndest to cover it up. Scientific fraud is a serious matter. They should lose their jobs.

Here’s a re-cap of this saga that should make clear the stunning importance of what Steve has found. One point of terminology: a tree ring record from a site is called a chronology, and is made up of tree ring records from individual trees at that site. Multiple tree ring series are combined using standard statistical algorithms that involve detrending and averaging (these methods are not at issue in this thread). A good chronology–good enough for research that is–should have at least 10 trees in it, and typically has much more.

1. In a 1995 Nature paper by Briffa, Schweingruber et al., they reported that 1032 was the coldest year of the millennium – right in the middle of the Medieval Warm Period. But the reconstruction depended on 3 short tree ring cores from the Polar Urals whose dating was very problematic.

2. In the 1990s, Schweingruber obtained new Polar Urals data with more securely-dated cores for the MWP. Neither Briffa nor Schweingruber published a new Polar Urals chronology using this data. An updated chronology with this data would have yielded a very different picture, namely a warm medieval era and no anomalous 20th century. Rather than using the updated Polar Urals series, Briffa calculated a new chronology from Yamal – one which had an enormous hockey stick shape. After its publication, in virtually every study, Hockey Team members dropped Polar Urals altogether and substituted Briffa’s Yamal series in its place. PS: The exception to this pattern was Esper et al (Science) 2002, which used the combined Polar Urals data. But Esper refused to provide his data. Steve got it in 2006 after extensive quasi-litigation with Science (over 30 email requests and demands).

3. Subsequently, countless studies appeared from the Team that not only used the Yamal data in place of the Polar Urals, but where Yamal had a critical impact on the relative ranking of the 20th century versus the medieval era.

4. Meanwhile Briffa repeatedly refused to release the Yamal measurement data used inhis calculation despite multiple uses of this series at journals that claimed to require data archiving. E.g.

5. Then one day Briffa et al. published a paper in 2008 using the Yamal series, again without archiving it. However they published in a Phil Tran Royal Soc journal which has strict data sharing rules. Steve got on the case.

6. A short time ago, with the help of the journal editors, the data was pried loose and appeared at the CRU web site.

7. It turns out that the late 20th century in the Yamal series has only 10 tree ring chronologies after 1990 (5 after 1995), making it too thin a sample to use (according to conventional rules). But the real problem wasn’t that there were only 5-10 late 20th century cores- there must have been a lot more. They were only using a subset of 10 cores as of 1990, but there was no reason to use a small subset. (Had these been randomly selected, this would be a thin sample, but perhaps passable. But it appears that they weren’t randomly selected.)

8. Faced with a sample in the Taymir chronology that likely had 3-4 times as many series as the Yamal chronology, Briffa added in data from other researchers’ samples taken at the Avam site, some 400 km away. He also used data from the Schweingruber sampling program circa 1990, also taken about 400 km from Taymir. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of pooling samples from such disparate locations, this establishes a precedent where Briffa added a Schweingruber site to provide additional samples. This, incidentally, ramped up the hockey-stickness of the (now Avam-) Taymir chronology.

9. Steve thus looked for data from other samples at or near the Yamal site that could have been used to increase the sample size in the Briffa Yamal chronology. He quickly discovered a large set of 34 Schweingruber samples from living trees. Using these instead of the 12 trees in the Briffa (CRU) group that extend to the present yields Figure 2, showing a complete divergence in the 20th century. Thus the Schweingruber data completely contradicts the CRU series. Bear in mind the close collaboration of Schweingruber and Briffa all this time, and their habit of using one another’s data as needed.

10. Combining the CRU and Schweingruber data yields the green line in the 3rd figure above. While it doesn’t go down at the end, neither does it go up, and it yields a medieval era warmer than the present, on the standard interpretation. Thus the key ingredient in a lot of the studies that have been invoked to support the Hockey Stick, namely the Briffa Yamal series (red line above) depends on the influence of a thin subsample of post-1990 chronologies and the exclusion of the (much larger) collection of readily-available Schweingruber data for the same area.


Garbage In, Gospel Out

The global-warming crowd has absurd faith in computer modeling

There are two kinds of models that mean anything to most Americans. There are the models who pose for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or the cover of Vogue, date movie stars, host talk shows, and have their antics chronicled on Page Six of the New York Post. Then there are computer models, those nerdy systems driven by thousands of points of data input. This latter type of model serves as the fundamental basis for the belief that unchecked anthropogenic global warming imperils the planet.

These two types of models don’t overlap much — but they do have one critical feature in common: Each suffers from severe limitations. Runway models’ limitations keep the vast majority of them from crossing over into areas like acting or singing — professions that require savvy and talent along with beauty. The limitations of the computer models on which the entire global-warming edifice is built are even more severe, and they could have a profound effect on every single American.

In considering these limitations, it’s worth reviewing the history of using computers to predict the future. In the 1950s, an MIT researcher named Jay Forrester helped develop the first large digital computers. These were designed to track and defend against Soviet bombers, and they worked very well. Soon, Forrester began using the newly arriving generations of IBM mainframes for more general modeling applications, such as for industries and cities. “From a computer’s perspective, the problems were not all that different from tracking bombers,” wrote Peter Huber in his 2000 book Hard Green, which provides a wonderful account of computer models and their limitations. It was a matter of moving otherwise-unsolvable equations into the powerful new computers, and the results were decidedly positive.

At this point, there was every reason to think that running other problems through these increasingly powerful machines would yield useful results. That was the thinking that led Forrester to collaborate with the Club of Rome in the early 1970s. They devised a model of planetary resources that considered a variety of interconnected dynamic systems and global scenarios — death rates, birth rates, natural-resource depletion, population density, capital investment, crowding, pollution, etc. They fed the model into a large MIT mainframe and flipped the switch.

Forrester’s partners published the results in the 1972 bestseller Limits to Growth. They predicted a rapidly growing global population combining with rapid resource depletion to spark violent social upheaval. Limits to Growth suggested that disasters and die-offs were imminent, and that the survivors would live in a world of misery and scarcity.

The model turned out to be wrong — spectacularly and embarrassingly wrong. Despite a large increase in world population, people all over the globe are richer and healthier than they were when Limits to Growth made its predictions. Not only did the Club of Rome fail to predict the future with any accuracy, it failed to account accurately for the past; its model showed that quality of life had peaked three decades earlier.

How could this happen? Turns out the model Forrester had dreamed up could only do so much. Obsessing about population growth, Forrester plugged into his model the mouths that would need to be fed. But he didn’t consider that each mouth was accompanied by a brain, and that brains create wealth and solutions that tend to offset the needs of the mouths. Neither could Forrester successfully model the workings of markets. “If markets could be reliably modeled, as the Soviets thought they could, we wouldn’t need markets at all,” wrote Huber.

Today, computer models predict everything from the stock market to virus outbreaks. And the sole basis for calls to pass cap-and-trade legislation, to drastically curb greenhouse-gas emissions, and to fundamentally reorient the world’s energy economy are projections from the computer models employed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Unlike the Club of Rome’s calculations, which tried to divine the relatively near future (2000), today’s considerably more complicated climate models purport to tell us how the world will look nearly a century out.

The models, data, and methodology have certainly improved since the Club of Rome took its crack 37 years ago. But they still leave much to be desired. Consider the comments of the eminent physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, who said recently, “I have studied their climate models and know what they can do. . . . The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics and do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and biology of fields, farms, and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in.”

Unable to accurately describe and account for these factors, modelers “parameterize” them. Freeman says the problems with that approach are obvious: “They are full of fudge factors that are fitted to the existing climate, so the models more or less agree with the observed data. But there is no reason to believe that the same fudge factors would give the right behavior in a world with different chemistry, for example in a world with increased CO2 in the atmosphere.”

Some fear that it may not be only the models’ variables that are being fudged. Pat Michaels details elsewhere on NRO today the disconcerting facts about the U.K.’s Climate Research Unit, which has repeatedly refused to release its global surface-temperature data so that its climate modeling can be verified by outside experts — and now claims that the raw data have been lost.

What does that say about the trust the public is supposed to place in those who tell us that the world is heading for disaster? Ultimately, what you put into your model determines what you get out of it. If you subscribe to the notion that even the least plausible catastrophe is at least a possibility, you can make your model predict it.

None of these flaws necessarily mean that the IPCC’s predictions for temperature and sea-level rise by 2100 will not materialize. On the other hand, they should inspire some skepticism.

If there is one factor that should make us all sit up and take notice about the deficiencies inherent in modeling, it was supplied in a recent article by Vinod Khosla — the Sun Microsystems co-founder and green venture capitalist who in 2006 helped bankroll California’s failed Proposition 87. Had it passed, Prop 87 would have socked Golden State oil companies with extra taxes and given that money to renewable-energy ventures. Among the cap-and-trade crowd, Khosla is a prophet on the level of Al Gore, and he’s a prized speaker on the clean-energy lecture circuit.

In a recent piece for Grist on the future of electric cars, Khosla wrote: " So what kinds of technology are we investing in? I think the traditional approach to lithium ion battery making, such as A123, is going to be competing in an overheated, nearly-commoditized market and will probably not (I guess never say never!) get down the cost curve in the next 5 years. (Longer-term forecasts are futile because so-called experts can make anything they want up — we all know long term we will be on fusion power.)"

That second parenthetical could hardly be more telling, coming as it does from an established leader of the green brigade, a billionaire activist who counsels President Obama’s White House on climate-change policy. In essence, what Khosla is saying is that when you are investing your own money, you shouldn’t trust a forecast looking more than five years out because “experts can make anything they want up.”

Fair point, and good investment advice. But shouldn’t it apply to climate policy as well? The IPCC’s “so-called experts” aren’t offering five-year forecasts, but 100-year ones. Do the rules of forecasting somehow change when the subject is justifying higher energy taxes, or justifying the punitive taxation of oil companies to give their profits to uneconomic green-energy projects? Probably not, which suggests at the end of the day that the green regime is more interested in political payoff than in applying sound science and analysis to questions about climate change. One would hope that even a supermodel could figure that out.


CO2 is not melting the Arctic

It is modern myth that CO2 is melting the Arctic sea ice. No doubt many people will take immediate offence at the mere title of this post but they would do well to listen to the data before they jump. CO2 is supposed to heat the earth's atmosphere and then would melt the ice from above. The atmosphere can't get past the ice to warm the water below so the only logical conclusion is that a warm atmosphere should melt the ice from above.

But what is happening is the Arctic ice is melting from below due to warm waters that normally are about 100-200 m below the surface. I am going to show that due to a change in the winds, the Arctic ocean became more salty (salinization). The increase in salinity caused the underlying deeper waters to come into contact with the ice above, which melts the Arctic ice from below. Unless one can demonstrate that the wind change is due to global warming, one can't claim that CO2 is melting the Arctic ic.

Let's start by looking at the vertical temperature profile of the Arctic ocean. The surface layer, the layer in which the ice floats, is in general is fresher than the warm Atlantic sea water below.

Note that about 200 meters beneath the sea surface, the water temperature is 2 deg C--well above the melting point. If that heat can get up to the surficial layer, past the fresh water, it would melt the ice. Since fresh water is less dense than salt water, the density difference is what keeps the warm water from the ice.

Now, the halocline, the layer of fresh water is about 50-100 meters thick. The ice above is only about 3 meters thick--people think the Arctic sea ice is hundreds of feet thick but it isn't ( What happened in the Arctic is that the halocline, the freshwater layer has been destroyed, or significantly reduced, and that has allowed heat from below to rise beneath the ice, melting it.

Much more HERE

Who are the Branch Carbonians?

Are radical environmentalists members of a political movement or more like the devotees of a religious cult, one that might dubbed the Branch Carbonians?’s Jim Guirardi suggests the label and offers an illuminating case for the latter in this post from the American Thinker.

There is much more to Guirardi’s piece, but as a sample, here are his 10 reasons these fanatical devotees qualify as participants in a cult. If these sound somehow familiar, they are based on the criteria elaborated upon in the 2003 book, “Kingdom of the Cults,” by Walter Martin and Ravi Zacharia:

1. Leadership by a self-glorifying, manipulative New Age Prophet -- in this case, former Vice-President Al Gore, though he is rapidly being supplanted by President Barack Obama.

2. Assertion of an apocalyptic threat to all mankind.

3. An absolutist definition of both the threat and the proposed solution(s).

4. Promise of a salvation from this pending apocalypse.

5. Devotion to an inspired text which (arguendo) embodies all the answers -- in this case, Prophet Gore's pseudo-scientific book "Earth in the Balance" and his more recent "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary.

6. A specific list of "truths" (see the Ten Commandments listed below) which must be embraced and proselytized by all Cult members..

7. An absolute intolerance of any deviation from any of these truths by any Cult member.

8. A strident intolerance of any outside criticism of the Cult's definition of the problem or of its proposed solutions.

9. A "Heaven-on-Earth" vision of the results of the mission's success and/or a "Hell-on-Earth" result if the cultic mission should fail.

10. An inordinate fear (and an outright rejection of the possibility) of being proven wrong in either the apocalyptic vision or the proposed salvation.



European leaders voiced growing doubts on whether the world will meet a December deadline for a new climate deal as a summit here looked set to take up global warming in generalities. Twenty leaders who represent 90 percent of the global economy were holding two days of talks in the eastern US city of Pittsburgh, itself billed as a model of transition from decaying steel town to a green technology hub.

The summit opened two days after a high-powered climate meet at the United Nations, where Japan and China offered new pledges on how to save the world from rising temperatures predicted to threaten entire species if unchecked. But with just a little more than two months before a conference in Copenhagen -- designated two years ago as the venue to seal the successor to the landmark Kyoto Protocol -- pessimism was growing. "When it comes to the negotiations, they are in fact slowing down; they are not going in the right direction," said Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, the current head of the European Union. "We are very worried that we need to speed up the negotiations," he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sounded a sour note. "There has been progress, in particular from the Chinese side, from the Japanese side now, and the UN meeting with (UN Secretary General) Ban Ki-moon," Merkel told reporters in Berlin before heading to Pittsburgh. "But I have to say that when I consider what still has to be achieved before Copenhagen, we cannot be happy," she said.

World leaders are expected to discuss climate change in Pittsburgh but few expected any breakthrough. Climate negotiators, however, will meet next week in Bangkok in a new effort to make progress before Copenhagen. The Kyoto Protocol's obligations for rich nations to cut emissions blamed for global warming expire at the end of 2012.

President Barack Obama sharply reversed the US line on global warming after assuming the White House in January by pledging to take strong action, although Congress has yet to finalize legislation on restricting emissions.

Despite their divisions over the Kyoto Protocol, developed nations are united in insisting that emerging economies must make commitments under the next treaty. Chinese President Hu Jintao told the UN summit that the emerging power would reduce the intensity of its carbon emissions as its economy keeps growing but offered no figure.

Japan's new left-leaning prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, pledged to ramp up the emission-cutting commitment of the world's second largest economy, in one of the few major recent gestures on climate change by developed nations.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who ratified the Kyoto Protocol as his first act in office in 2007, said that developed and developing nations all favored a new treaty but needed to find a "grand bargin" to seal the deal. Rudd, speaking to students at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, said that the Group of 20 should see a climate deal as a way toward a sustainable growth in the world economy. "Beyond avoiding another crisis, our parallel challenge is how to generate the economic growth and the jobs of the future given that the debt-driven consumption model of the past is unlikely to be trusted anymore," he said. A climate deal could "turn the threat of climate change into a great transformational economic opportunity," he said.


Australia: Solar Energy Hits the Dust

Dust on a solar panel will reduce its efficiency by up to 50%. See here

The Day Solar Energy disappeared in the Australian Dust Storm (23/9/09). This picture was taken from the office of the Carbon Sense Coalition in south eastern Queensland, Australia.

The green coalition in Canberra recently decreed that by 2020, just a decade away, Australia must produce 20% of its power using feeble energy sources such as sunbeams and sea breezes. This Green Plan will require vast areas of dry and dusty Australian deserts to be covered by solar panels.

Have they allowed for the army of cleaning persons and the Murray Rivers of water that will be needed to wash the panels after every dust storm? Maybe this where the Green jobs are coming from, and why Penny Wong is hoarding water permits?



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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