Saturday, December 12, 2009

NOAA/GHCN, the "Global Historical Climate Network", are crooks too

Willis Eschenbach (sounds like a pen-name of someone with a job to lose) has been looking in great detail at the work of one of the alternatives to the CRU. We know that CRU are crooks but what about the alternative sources of climate history? There are only two major alternatives and one of those is NASA/GISS run by Jim Hansen. So you have got the fox minding the henhouse there. That leaves only GHCN. So do they "adjust" their data in the same way that CRU do? Eschenbach uses the data from the Darwin area in Australia as a case in point. He presents the raw data -- which shows FALLINg temperatures -- and then the GHCN adjusted data -- which show RISING temperatures. And the adjustments done to achieve that are just plain weird. An excerpt from Eschenbach below followed by some comments on the risible "reply" to Eschenbach by Tim Lambert:

Then I went to look at what happens when the GHCN removes the “in-homogeneities” to “adjust” the data. Of the five raw datasets, the GHCN discards two, likely because they are short and duplicate existing longer records. The three remaining records are first “homogenized” and then averaged to give the “GHCN Adjusted” temperature record for Darwin.

To my great surprise, here’s what I found. To explain the full effect, I am showing this with both datasets starting at the same point (rather than ending at the same point as they are often shown).

YIKES! Before getting homogenized, temperatures in Darwin were falling at 0.7 Celsius per century … but after the homogenization, they were warming at 1.2 Celsius per century. And the adjustment that they made was over two degrees per century … when those guys “adjust”, they don’t mess around. And the adjustment is an odd shape, with the adjustment first going stepwise, then climbing roughly to stop at 2.4C....

Intrigued by the curious shape of the average of the homogenized Darwin records, I then went to see how they had homogenized each of the individual station records. What made up that strange average shown in Fig. 7? I started at zero with the earliest record. Here is Station Zero at Darwin, showing the raw and the homogenized versions.

Yikes again, double yikes! What on earth justifies that adjustment? How can they do that? We have five different records covering Darwin from 1941 on. They all agree almost exactly. Why adjust them at all? They’ve just added a huge artificial totally imaginary trend to the last half of the raw data! Now it looks like the IPCC diagram in Figure 1, all right … but a six degree per century trend? And in the shape of a regular stepped pyramid climbing to heaven? What’s up with that?

Those, dear friends, are the clumsy fingerprints of someone messing with the data Egyptian style … they are indisputable evidence that the “homogenized” data has been changed to fit someone’s preconceptions about whether the earth is warming.

One thing is clear from this. People who say that “Climategate was only about scientists behaving badly, but the data is OK” are wrong. At least one part of the data is bad, too. The Smoking Gun for that statement is at Darwin Zero......

What this does show is that there is at least one temperature station where the trend has been artificially increased to give a false warming where the raw data shows cooling. In addition, the average raw data for Northern Australia is quite different from the adjusted, so there must be a number of … mmm … let me say “interesting” adjustments in Northern Australia other than just Darwin.

And with the Latin saying “Falsus in unum, falsus in omis” (false in one, false in all) as our guide, until all of the station “adjustments” are examined, adjustments of CRU, GHCN, and GISS alike, we can’t trust anyone using homogenized numbers.


Tim Lambert teaches computer science at the university of NSW (my old stamping ground) so he has a good brain. But, like most academics, he is a very conventional thinker much given to defence of Leftist pieties. He certainly displays the anger that is characteristic of the Left. He is as unhappy with the world he lives in as I am happy with it.

And his latest exudation, dependant on just one of Eschenbach's eight graphs, is in the usual Leftist style: Abuse, accusation, appeals to authority and ignoring the full facts. Most risibly, he accuses Eschenbach of "cooking" the books, even though he admits the fact that Eschenbach argues against making ANY adjustments to the raw data at all! That's "cooking" with the stove off! He justifies his assertion by noting something that Eschenbach dealt with at great length: The discontinuity of the various records. He fails to acknowledge Eschenbach's main point that none of the records show an upward trend -- with the records before 1941 tending clearly downwards and the post-1941 records pretty flat. He also accuses Eschenbach of not taking into account the apparent step-change around 1941 when Eschenbach in fact dealt with it at great length and looked at the effect and rationale of making allowances for it.

Lambert then goes on to to parrot the BOM line, perhaps hoping that people will be unaware that the BOM under their present leadership are committed Warmists. And to be a Warmist you have to ignore an awful lot -- the "local" medieval Warm period for starters -- a period so "local" that records of it can be found in such widely separated places as Greenland, Argentina and New Zealand. Only a Warmist would call that "local". But the Warmists are desperate, of course. They first tried to pretend that the MWP did not exist but when that didn't work, they just exchanged one form of dishonesty for another.

So Lambert's parroting of the BOM line is merely amusing. It is similar to a pair of thieves giving one-another an alibi. The BOM "results" are very similar to the "results" published by GHCN so are just as susceptible to Eschenbach's criticisms as are the the bizarre GHCN "results". Lambert makes no detailed effort to rebut those criticisms. He simply rejects them "a priori".


From Petr Chylek []. (Chylek is a Laboratory Fellow and Remote Sensing Team Leader ISR-2 MS-B244 at the Los Alamos National Laboratory)

I am sure that most of you are aware of the incident that took place recently at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The identity of the whistle-blower or hacker is still not known. The selected release of emails contains correspondence between CRU scientists and scientists at other climate research institutions. My own purely technical exchange of emails with CRU director Professor Phil Jones is, as far as I know, not included.

I published my first climate-related paper in 1974 (Chylek and Coakley, Aerosol and Climate, Science 183, 75-77). I was privileged to supervise Ph. D. theses of some exceptional scientists - people like J. Kiehl, V. Ramaswamy and J. Li among others. I have published well over 100 peer-reviewed papers, and I am a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Optical Society of America, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Within the last few years I was also honored to be included in Wikipedia’s blacklist of “climate skeptics”.

For me, science is the search for truth, the never-ending path towards finding out how things are arranged in this world so that they can work as they do. That search is never finished.

It seems that the climate research community has betrayed that mighty goal in science. They have substituted the search for truth with an attempt at proving one point of view. It seems that some of the most prominent leaders of the climate research community, like prophets of Old Israel, believed that they could see the future of humankind and that the only remaining task was to convince or force all others to accept and follow. They have almost succeeded in that effort.

Yes, there have been cases of misbehavior and direct fraud committed by scientists in other fields: physics, medicine, and biology to name a few. However, it was misbehavior of individuals, not of a considerable part of the scientific community.

Climate research made significant advancements during the last few decades, thanks to your diligent work. This includes the construction of the HadCRUT and NASA GISS datasets documenting the rise of globally averaged temperature during the last century. I do not believe that this work can be affected in any way by the recent email revelations. Thus, the first of the three pillars supporting the hypothesis of manmade global warming seems to be solid.

However, the two other pillars are much more controversial. To blame the current warming on humans, there was a perceived need to “prove” that the current global average temperature is higher than it was at any other time in recent history (the last few thousand years). This task is one of the main topics of the released CRU emails. Some people were so eager to prove this point that it became more important than scientific integrity.

The next step was to show that this “unprecedented high current temperature” has to be a result of the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. The fact that the Atmosphere Ocean General Circulation Models are not able to explain the post-1970 temperature increase by natural forcing was interpreted as proof that it was caused by humans. It is more logical to admit that the models are not yet good enough to capture natural climate variability (how much or how little do we understand aerosol and clouds, and ocean circulation?), even though we can all agree that part of the observed post-1970 warming is due to the increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration. Thus, two of the three pillars of the global warming and carbon dioxide paradigm are open to reinvestigation.

The damage has been done. The public trust in climate science has been eroded. At least a part of the IPCC 2007 report has been put in question. We cannot blame it on a few irresponsible individuals. The entire esteemed climate research community has to take responsibility. Yes, there always will be a few deniers and obstructionists.

So what comes next? Let us stop making unjustified claims and exaggerated projections about the future even if the editors of some eminent journals are just waiting to publish them. Let us admit that our understanding of the climate is less perfect than we have tried to make the public believe. Let us drastically modify or temporarily discontinue the IPCC. Let us get back to work.

Let us encourage students to think their own thoughts instead of forcing them to parrot the IPCC conclusions. Let us open the doors of universities, of NCAR, NASA and other research institutions (and funding agencies) to faculty members and researchers who might disagree with the current paradigm of carbon dioxide. Only open discussion and intense searching of all possibilities will let us regain the public’s trust and move forward.



An email from Rupert Wyndham [] below:

In his Open Letter, Petr Chylek writes: "This includes the construction of the HadCRUT and NASA GISS datasets documenting the rise of globally averaged temperature during the last century. I do not believe that this work can be affected in any way by the recent email revelations. Thus, the first of the three pillars supporting the hypothesis of manmade global warming seems to be solid."

I venture to differ. I am currently in Australia. The Sydney press last week reported that "Climategate had hit Australia". Specifically, it was reported that temperature data submitted to CRU from here had been found to be a complete shambles - in one cited example, thirty years of data from 1963 apparently submitted from a station which was not inaugurated until 1993. If accurately reported, great stuff!

Moreover, the temperature record for the last 160 years (usually 150, but let's not quibble) is also severely compromised, is it not? We now know that in broad brush terms,

• the start of the period corresponds with the gradual closure of the Little Ice Age;

• the absolute number of measuring stations globally during that period has declined by a factor of around two thirds;

• historically, the design of measuring apparatus from country to country was far from uniform;

• the reliability of record keeping was likewise far from uniform;

• a large percentage of vanished measuring stations were located in areas of climatic extremes, eg Siberia;

• measuring stations even in the more politically stable and uniform USA over time have become hopelessly compromised by urban expansion and altered land usage;

• thanks to the work of Anthony Watts, in particular, many American sites are now, and have been for some time, quite simply not fit for purpose;

• and finally, and perhaps most significant of all, HadCRUT and NASA GISS fail to correlate with 30 years (+/-) of satellite/radiosonde data which, unlike weather station data, have been scrupulously audited.

No, for strictly technical/scientific reasons, these data sets should be regarded as highly questionable. Added to that, we now have detailed confirmation of malfeasance, by inference always suspected, but never demonstrated in such damning detail.

In other respects, Dr. Chylek's observations are to be welcomed.

The Warmist war on science

Some prominent climate scientists involved in these e-mail exchanges have clearly abandoned a profession for a cause. They appear to exaggerate their public certainty on disputed issues, shade the presentation of information for political effect, tamper with the peer-review process, resist reasonable requests for supporting data and urge the destruction of e-mails to avoid embarrassment. Other scientists in these e-mail chains resist these abuses. But the dominant voices are ideological. The attitude seems to be: Insiders can question, if they don't go too far. Outsiders who threaten the movement are "idiots."

This attitude is demonstrated, not only by private e-mails, but also by the public reaction of prominent scientists to those e-mails. They show "scientists at work." They are "pretty innocuous." They are "understandable and mostly excusable." "We are all humans; and humans come with dogma as standard equipment." This "kind of language and kidding goes on verbally all the time." Criticism is based merely on "ignorance" and critics have "more screws loose than the Space Shuttle Challenger." It is the scientific equivalent of discounting Watergate as a "second-rate burglary."

Climate scientists are clearly accustomed to deference. It is a community coddled by global elites, extensively funded by governments, celebrated by Hollywood and honored with international prizes.

But outside the Copenhagen bubble, the field of climate science is deep in a crisis of professional credibility, which many scientists seem too insular to recognize. Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe it is at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research to prop up global warming claims. If the practices at East Anglia are dismissed as "scientists at work," skepticism will rise as surely as temperatures.

It often goes unnoticed how much we rely on the self-enforced standards of professions -- journalists who bury their biases to report the news, judges who suspend their own views to enforce the law. If we view these professionals as politically motivated, we no longer trust the information or judgments they provide.

This professional objectivity is precisely what the hacked e-mails call into question. Some of these scientists are merely activists, deeply invested in a predetermined outcome. They assume that political change is the goal; the scientific enterprise is the means -- like a political ad or a campaign speech. But without trust in disinterested, scientific judgments on climate, most non-scientists will resist costly, speculative, legislative actions. When the experts become advocates, no one believes the experts or listens to the advocates.

It is an irony of the first order. Having accused others of a "war on science," it is climate scientists who are assaulting the authority of science more effectively than anyone else.


Lord Turnbull Questions UK Climate Policy In The House Of Lords

Good to see climate skepticism reaching the political level

House of Lords, 8 December 2009: Lord Turnbull: My Lords, on first reading the Committee on Climate Change's latest progress report, I found it an impressive document. It was broad in scope and very detailed. But the more I dug into it the more troubled I became. Below the surface there are serious questions about the foundations on which it has been constructed. There are questions in four areas-the framework created by the Climate Change Act 2008, the policy responses at EU and UK level, the estimate of costs and finally the scientific basis on which the whole scheme of things rests. I will consider each in turn.

Unlike many of those involved in the climate change field, I have no pecuniary interest to declare, but I am a founder trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which seeks to bring rationality, objectivity and, above all, tolerance to the debate.

I have long been in the camp of what might be called the semi-sceptics. I have taken the science on trust, while becoming increasingly critical of the policy responses being made to achieve a given CO2 or global warming constraint. First, let us look at the Climate Change Act, which has been highly praised, even today, as the most comprehensive and ambitious framework anywhere in the world-a real pioneering first for the UK. However, it has serious flaws. It starts by imposing a completely unworkable duty on the Secretary of State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, even though many of the actions required lie outside his control. It would have been better, as the noble Lord, Lord Crickhowell, and I argued, for the duty to be connected to what the Secretary of State can control, such as his own actions and policies, and not the outcome, which he cannot.

In the Act's passage through Parliament, the target was raised from 60 per cent to 80 per cent, with little discussion of its costs or feasibility. It is a simple arithmetic calculation to show that if the UK economy continues to grow at its historic trend rate, we will need, only 40 years from now, to produce each £1,000 of GDP with only 8 per cent of the carbon we use today. That is a cut of [92] per cent. Many observers think that this is implausible. A recent report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers reported that the rate of improvement in carbon intensity/productivity would need to quadruple from the 1.3 per cent achieved in the five years up to the recession to around 5.5 per cent. It would need to be even higher at the end of the period to make up for what the noble Lord, Lord May, calls falling behind the run rate.

Professor Dieter Helm has pointed out that the measurement system used in the Kyoto framework and in the UK's carbon accounts is a misleading guide to what is really being achieved. The carbon accounts use the territorial method-that is, the emissions from UK territory. In this way, the UK is able to claim that CO2 emissions have been reduced, but that is a misleading way of measuring a nation's carbon footprint and its impact on the world. It should include the carbon in its imports. If this was done it would show that we are going backwards, since we would be forced to take responsibility for the manufacturing that we have outsourced to such countries as China but are still consuming. The current method is, of course, politically very convenient as it allows us to label China as the world's largest emitter. The embedded carbon calculation is, I accept, far more complicated, but it is far more honest.

Another flaw in the framework is that the targets are unconditional. It is a legal duty, irrespective of what other countries achieve. Some, including me, argue that there should be two targets: one of which is a commitment, and a higher one which we will argue for internationally but only undertake as part of an agreement. Ironically, this is precisely the approach that the EU is taking with its 20 per cent reduction target by 2020, which would be raised to 30 per cent as part of an international agreement. The danger is that by going it alone we could face a double whammy, paying for decarbonising our own economy, yet still having to pay for the costs of raising our sea defences if others do not follow suit.

Secondly, let us consider the specific policies that have been adopted. Current EU policy follows two inconsistent paths. On the one hand, the ETS seeks to establish a common price for CO2, against which various competing technologies can be measured. The market share of each is determined by the relative costs. This is attractive to economists, since it allows the cost per tonne of CO2 abated to be equalised at the margin, thereby ensuring that the cost of achieving any CO2 target is minimised. The problem is that, despite its theoretical attractions, the ETS is failing. It provides no clear signal on the price of carbon on which investors can base their decisions. The committee, in this report, estimates that the ETS CO2 price in 2020 will be around €22 per tonne. The committee has rightly identified the central contradiction in its own report: the carbon price will be too low and too uncertain to stimulate the low-carbon investments needed to validate the committee's projections.

At the same time, the EU is following a different approach under its 20:20:20 plan-to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2020, with 20 per cent of energy coming from renewables. In this way, it predetermines a market share for a technology-renewables-rather than letting the merit order decide. The danger is that in pressing to achieve this target, which implies that over 30 per cent of electricity generation will come from renewables, some renewables capacity will be created which will be more expensive than other responses.

There is also a lack of clarity about the true cost of wind power, once we factor in the cost of retaining a large amount of underutilised conventional capacity, and the extension of the grid. The noble Lord, Lord Reay, has said more than enough on that so I do not need to follow that line of argument.

There is illogicality in the treatment of nuclear energy in the climate change levy. It is ridiculous that nuclear power, as a low-carbon source, is still in the taxable box. For 50 years, a major experiment has been conducted just 20 miles off our coast. France has generated three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power. The French believe that it has been a huge success, delivering electricity which is secure, cheap and stable in price. France's carbon intensity is 0.3 of a tonne per $1,000 of GDP, compared to 0.42 in the UK, 0.51 in Germany-so much for it being a market leader-and 0.63 in the US. However, the French option has barely been considered in this country.

As part of the EU plan, 10 per cent of road fuel is mandated to come from biofuels, but by the time this was enacted the credibility of first-generation biofuels had collapsed. Finally, our policy framework lacks balance. It is almost exclusively focused on mitigation through CO2 reduction, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has argued for what it calls a MAG approach, with effort being committed not just to mitigation but to adaptation and geo-engineering.

Thirdly, there is the issue of cost. All we had to go on at the time when the target was set more ambitiously was the estimate by the noble Lord, Lord Stern, of 1 per cent of GDP. Many people were sceptical at the time and probably even more are now, including, it seems, the noble Lord, Lord Stern, himself. It was reported in the press last week that he now thinks that it might be 2 per cent, but could rise to 5 per cent. I hope he will clarify this when he speaks to us shortly.

In the document that we have before us, the committee says that it previously estimated that costs in 2020 would be about 1 per cent of GDP. That is consistent with its view that it might get to 2 per cent by 2050. In the new report it simply reaffirms the 1 per cent figure in just one paragraph in 250 pages. That is it. I have to say to the noble Lords, Lord Krebs and Lord May, that I do not think that that is adequate. It is difficult to relate these figures to what we are observing on the ground about the difficulties and costs of bringing on stream different technologies such as offshore wind and CCS.

One of the problems bedevilling the debate is the lack of transparency over the huge cross-subsidies that are being created by the renewables obligation and the regime for feed-in tariffs. There is no assurance that their extent is commensurate with the benefits in CO2 abated. My electricity costs me 11p per kilowatt hour. If I erected a wind turbine, I could sell the power I produced to the grid for a whopping 23p. I think I would go out and buy a gizmo which linked my inward meter to my outward meter. That excess cost is averaged over the bills of consumers as a whole, but how much is it in total, or for individual consumers? Here I differ from the noble Lord, Lord May. The whole issue of cost must be given far more attention. The Government cannot ask people to make radical changes to their lifestyle without being more open about the costs that they are being asked to bear.

I accept that "do nothing" is not the right option. Some measures, such as energy efficiency, heat recovery from waste and biomass, and stopping deforestation are probably justified on their own merits. More nuclear power which, in turn, would open the way for electrification of our transport fleet would enhance security of supply. Other measures may be justified as pure insurance, given the uncertainty that we face. But what is badly needed is a consistent metric that allows us to judge whether any given objective is being achieved at minimum cost. The recent book by Professor MacKay, the newly appointed scientific adviser at DECC, provides an excellent starting point. I also very much welcome the intervention by the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, debunking the waste hierarchy and the act of faith that that embodies.

There is the issue of the science, which I had previously taken as given; but many people's faith is being tested. We are often told that the science is settled. I suppose that is what the Inquisition said to Galileo. If so, why are we spending millions of pounds on research? The science is far from settled. There are major controversies not just about the contribution of CO2, on which most of the debate is focused, but about the influence of other factors such as water vapour, or clouds-the most powerful greenhouse gas-ocean currents and the sun, together with feedback effects which can be negative as well as positive.

Worse still, there are even controversies about the basic data on temperature. The series going back one, 10 or 100,000 years are, in the genuine sense of the word, synthetic. They are not direct observations but are melded together from proxies such as ice cores, ocean sediments and tree rings.

Given the extent to which the outcome is affected by the statistical techniques and the weightings applied by individual researchers, it is essential that the work is done as transparently as possible, with the greatest scope for challenge. That is why the disclosure of documents and e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit is so disturbing. Instead of an open debate, a picture is emerging of selective use of data, efforts to silence critics, and particularly a refusal to share data and methodologies.

It is essential that these allegations are independently and rigorously investigated. Naturally, I welcome the appointment of my old colleague, Sir Muir Russell, to lead this investigation; a civil servant with a physics degree is a rare beast indeed. He needs to establish what the documents really mean and recommend changes in governance and transparency which will restore confidence in the integrity of the data. This is not just an academic feud in the English department from a Malcolm Bradbury novel. The CRU is a major contributor to the IPCC process. The Government should not see this as a purely university matter. They are the funders of much of this research and their climate change policies are based on it.

We need to purge the debate of the unpleasant religiosity that surrounds it, of scientists acting like NGO activists, of propaganda based on fear, for example, the quite disgraceful government advertisement which tried to frighten young children-the final image being the family dog being drowned-and of claims about having "10 days to save the world". Crude insults from the Prime Minister do not help.

The noble Lords, Lord Krebs and Lord May, and their eminent colleagues on the CCC have a choice. They can take the policy framework as given, the policy responses as given, the costs as given, and the science as given, and then proceed to churn out more and more sophisticated projections, or-as I hope-they can apply the formidable intellectual firepower they command and start to find answers to many of the unsolved questions.



By Martin Cohen, writing in "Times Higher"

Is belief in global-warming science another example of the "madness of crowds"? That strange but powerful social phenomenon, first described by Charles Mackay in 1841, turns a widely shared prejudice into an irresistible "authority". Could it indeed represent the final triumph of irrationality?

After all, how rational is it to pass laws banning one kind of light bulb (and insisting on their replacement by ones filled with poisonous mercury vapour) in order to "save electricity", while ploughing money into schemes to run cars on ... electricity? How rational is it to pay the Russians once for fossil fuels, and a second time for permission (via carbon credits) to burn them (see box page 36)? And how rational is it to suppose that the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere take between 200 and 1,000 years to be felt, but that solutions can take effect almost instantaneously?

Whether rational or not, global warming theory has become a political orthodoxy. So entrenched is it that those showing any resistance to it are described as "heretics" or even likened to "Holocaust deniers".

Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize-winning economist, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University and columnist for The New York Times, has said: "Is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn't it politics as usual? Yes, it is - and that's why it's unforgivable ... the deniers are choosing, wilfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it's in their political interest to pretend that there's nothing to worry about. If that's not betrayal, I don't know what is."

Another columnist, this time for The Boston Globe, has written: "I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, although one denies the past and the other denies the present and future."

Such pronouncements from these commentators and from other people highly placed in government, international organisations, the press, academia and science make the debate seem closed and the conclusion beyond dispute. Yet the plain fact is that there is something deeply unscientific about the theory of global warming. Despite this, it has gained such widespread, uncritical acceptance that any scientist expressing a doubt often finds his or her actions tarred with accusations of the rankest political and personal motivations.

How this situation came about says much about how science is co-opted to sway public opinion. The case is built, deliberately or not, on misleading images and interpretations that have been perpetuated by parties with a vested interest. It morphs into a tool for governments to intimidate their populations into passive acceptance of very real changes: from the tiny, such as accepting miserable fluorescent light instead of the incandescent light we've been used to; to the major, like welcoming nuclear power plants and obliging rainforest tribes to make way for biofuel plantations.

Indeed, much of what is presented as hard scientific evidence for the theory of global warming is false. "Second-rate myth" may be a better term, as the philosopher Paul Feyerabend called science in his 1975 polemic, Against Method.

"This myth is a complex explanatory system that contains numerous auxiliary hypotheses designed to cover special cases, as it easily achieves a high degree of confirmation on the basis of observation," Feyerabend writes. "It has been taught for a long time; its content is enforced by fear, prejudice and ignorance, as well as by a jealous and cruel priesthood. Its ideas penetrate the most common idiom, infect all modes of thinking and many decisions which mean a great deal in human life ... ".

But call it what you will, as long as you don't think that by calling it "science" it becomes irrefutable. Because that it ain't.


It really WILL be a hot summer next year say British weathermen... But where have we heard that before?

After the fiasco of this year's 'barbecue summer' prediction, you might have thought the Met Office would have hesitated before making such grand statements again. But yesterday it declared that 2010 will be a 'barbecue year'. Forecasters say it is likely to be the hottest year globally since records began nearly 160 years ago.

The prediction follows the announcement that the 'noughties' were the warmest decade on record, while 2009 was the fifth warmest year. But sceptics accused the Met Office of political lobbying and timing the release of climate data and forecasts to influence the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The Met Office's Vicky Pope said global temperatures next year were expected to average 14.58C (52.24F) - around 0.06C warmer than the previous record of 1998. This is partly due to El Niño, the weather phenomenon which has seen warmer than usual water in the Eastern Pacific in recent months. El Niño is forecast to last until May, affecting weather around the world.

The Met Office claims its track record on global weather forecasts is good, with predictions right to within 0.06C over the last decade. But it conceded that the outlook was not guaranteed. 'A record warm year in 2010 is not a certainty-especially if the current El Niño was to unexpectedly decline rapidly near the start of 2010 or if there was a large volcanic eruption which would cool the planet,' it said.

Three years ago, Met Office scientists predicted that 2007 was likely to be the warmest year on record globally. It turned out to be the sixth warmest. Then in April, its longrangeforecast said it was 'odds on for a barbecue-summer'. Although temperatures were warmer than average, the balmy weather implied in the forecast failed to materialise. And despite a brief heatwave in June, much of the summer was grey and damp - with 40 per cent more rain than normal.

The predictions take into account levels of greenhouse gases, volcanic activity, sun activity, sea surface temperatures and El Niño.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation - a sceptical think tank set up by former Chancellor Lord Lawson - has accused both the Met Office and the World Meteorological Organisation of playing politics over their predictions on the warmest years. Although the final temperature data for 2009 will not be made available until March, the estimates were released early in time for the climate change talks in Copenhagen. 'We are very concerned that both agencies have overstepped their scientific remits, which are supposed to provide balanced advice and empirical data,' Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the GWPF 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 are mirrors of this site here and here


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