Friday, July 06, 2012

More of that glorious Greenie data faking

Pesticides researcher guilty of faking data; two papers to be retracted

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has found that a neuroscientist who studied the effects of pesticides on a mouse model of Parkinson's disease made up data.

As The Scientist reported on Friday, the ORI found that Mona Thiruchelvam faked cell counts in two grant applications and a number of papers that claimed to show how the pesticides paraquat, maneb, and atrazine might affect parts of the brain involved in Parkinson's. The Scientist notes:

A collaborator at UMDNJ first brought the matter to the attention of university research integrity officials a few years after Thiruchelvam joined the university in 2003, when he realized she was publishing cell density data without using his lab as she had done before. An initial inquiry was launched, for which Thiruchelvam provided the name of a researcher in California who she said had provided her with data.

The witness, who Thiruchelvam said by that point had moved to England, was called and confirmed the story, but further investigation by UMDNJ revealed that this was a false witness. When investigators got a hold of the actual person Thiruchelvam had named, they learned she still resided in California and that she denied providing any data to Thiruchelvam.

Thiruchelvam produced 293 data files she said were the product of a confocal microscope system manufactured by the company Micro Bright Field (MBF). When UMDNJ investigators gave MBF the data to interpret, the company concluded that the files were corrupted and couldn't be verified as real or false.

However, when the case was passed to the ORI for oversight review, agents used forensic computing software to determine that many of the files, despite having different file names and dates, were identical in content.

Thiruchelvam has agreed to retract two papers:

Rodriguez, V.M., Thiruchelvam, M., & Cory-Slechta, D.A. "Sustained Exposure to the Widely Used Herbicide, Atrazine: Altered Function and Loss of Neurons in Brain Monamine Systems." Environ Health Perspect. 113(6):708-715, 2005, cited 36 times, according to Thomson Scientific's Web of Knowledge

Thiruchelvam, M., Prokopenko, O., Cory-Slechta, D.A., Richfield, E.K., Buckley, B., & Mirochnitchenko, O. "Overexpression of Superoxide Dismutase or Glutathione Peroxidase Protects against the Paraquat + Maneb-induced Parkinson Disease Phenotype." J. Biol. Chem. 280(23):22530-22539, 2005, cited 74 times

The JBC paper had already been the subject of a correction in 2008 in which co-author Eric Richfield was removed. We asked Richfield why his name was taken off the paper, but he declined to comment. It's not clear if Richfield is the collaborator referred to in The Scientist story.

The JBC usually prints unhelpful one-line retraction notices saying only whether the study has been retracted by the author or editor, and claims that any other information is confidential.

Given that the ORI has given the reasons for this retraction in the Federal Register, we'll see what the JBC publishes.

Thiruchelvam left UMDNJ in February 2010, according to The Scientist, and is now barred from receiving federal grants for seven years. That's a longer ban than we typically see in ORI cases.


Michael Mann's Hissy Fit Shows Why Global Warming Alarmists Fear Debate

Last month I received a worried telephone call from a government official in California. An Orange County government agency was holding a water summit, just days away, and one of the speakers was throwing a last-minute hissy fit about a fellow speaker scheduled for his panel. According to the official, the speaker throwing the hissy fit, Climategate central figure Michael Mann, was expressing indignation that the other speaker allegedly did not have the scientific credentials to share a stage with him. The official worried that Mann would back out of his speaking appearance, after Orange County had extensively advertised Mann's appearance there, if they did not remove the scientist to whom Mann objected. As cameraman Larry exclaimed after a Phil Connors hissy fit in the movie Groundhog Day, "Prima Donna!"

The government official was hoping for some good scientific give and take on the panel. Accordingly, he asked me if I could identify highly qualified scientists who could give a different perspective on global warming than alarmist Mann, and at the same time match Mann's inflated view of his own credentials.

The Michael Mann hissy fit, I advised the government official, likely had little to do with the other speaker's credentials. From my own experience with Mann and other politically driven global warming alarmists, they will go to great lengths to avoid appearing on the public stage in a format that requires them to debate or defend their alarmist assertions in the presence of scientists who actually focus on facts rather than scare tactics. I nevertheless gave the government official a list of highly qualified skeptical scientists and wished him good luck with his upcoming conference. "Don't be surprised, however, if Mann refuses to take the stage with any of these scientists, or anybody else who will ask him challenging questions on the panel," I predicted. "I know that scientists are supposed to encourage and celebrate critical thinking and open debate, but alarmists like Mann are scientists in only the loosest sense of the term."

A few days later I ran into one of the scientists I had included on my list, Patrick Michaels. Dr. Michaels is a senior fellow in research and economic development at George Mason University. He spent many years as a research scientist at the University of Virginia. He is the former State Climatologist for the State of Virginia. He is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He has a Ph.D. in ecological climatology and has been published repeatedly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. If anybody, regardless of their views on the global warming debate, was qualified to speak at the Orange County conference, it would be Patrick Michaels.

I asked Michaels if anybody had contacted him about speaking at the conference. Michaels responded that they had contacted him and that he told them he would be happy to participate, but they never followed up with an invitation to speak. Indeed, despite the government official's strong desire to have balance on the panel, no other scientist appeared on the panel.

I don't mean to say "I told you so," but I told you so..

The Orange County conference, as it turned out, offered a perfect illustration of why alarmists like Michael Mann are so afraid of public debate. In his efforts to scare the audience into sharing his alarmist global warming views, Mann presented a number of arguments that were scientifically laughable. Any objective scientist knowledgeable on global warming issues would have picked Mann's arguments apart and in the process exposed Mann's presentation for the scaremongering that it was.

Mann's final slide in his PowerPoint presentation provides a perfect illustration and summary of Mann's unscientific scaremongering throughout his presentation. Mann's final slide showed a picture of his daughter, a picture of a polar bear sitting on a strikingly small iceberg, and a number of assertions about global warming. According to Mann's slide, our children and grandchildren "may come of age at a time when:

"Polar bears . will be the stuff of myth

"There will be no Great Barrier Reef to explore

"Giraffes and elephants will no longer loom in the foreground of the majestic snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro

"Great coastal cities such as Amsterdam, Venice, and New Orleans will join the lost city of Pompeii. ."

Let's examine these claims one by one.

Mann says polar bears may go extinct by the time his daughter and her children come of age. Yet polar bear populations are rising dramatically. As Canadian polar bear researcher Mitch Taylor reported after this year's official polar bear count, "There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears."

The polar bear population has roughly doubled during the past 35 years, precisely during the time when global temperatures began modestly rising again after a 30-year cooling trend. Now Mann claims the world's 25,000 or so polar bears will go extinct within the next 40 or so years? Oh, please..

Mann says the Great Barrier Reef may disappear within the next 40 years. The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 133,000 square miles and has expanded during the warming temperatures of the twentieth century. Moreover, recent peer-reviewed research shows coral reefs are benefiting from warming temperatures. Now Mann claims the Great Barrier Reef will completely disappear in 40 or so years? Oh, please..

Mann says global warming may cause the glacier atop Mt. Kilimanjaro to soon disappear. Scientists, however, report that temperatures at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro rarely if ever rise above freezing. The much-ballyhooed decline in Kilimanjaro's mountaintop glacier, scientists report, is being caused by a recent decline in snowfall in the region rather than declining temperatures. Now Mann claims global warming will cause the Kilimanjaro mountaintop glacier to disappear in the next 40 or so years? Oh, please..

Mann says Amsterdam, Venice, and New Orleans may "join the lost city of Pompeii." Correct me if I am wrong, but there are no imminently erupting volcanoes in the vicinity of Amsterdam, Venice, or New Orleans. And even if such volcanoes were to miraculously appear and then erupt during the next 40 or so years, I don't think global warming will be to blame. Oh, please..

If Michael Mann had presented any of these arguments on a panel with an objective participating scientist, he would have been laughed off the stage. This explains why he throws hissy fits about having objective scientists sit on his panels.

And this, in short, is the state of the debate regarding global warming. Alarmists make ridiculous claims in the hope of swaying an uninformed populace. They refuse to allow critical objective critiques of their work. And when a skeptical scientist presents objective data that call the ridiculous claims into question, they accuse the skeptical scientist of being "anti-science."

Thank you, Michael Mann, for perfectly illustrating why global warming media hounds are so frightened of public debate.


Sweden Records One Of Its Coldest and Wettest June Months Since Records Began In 1786

The English language Swedish online news site The reports on how the weather in Sweden has been so far during the month of June: wet & cold.

According to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), temperatures have been well below average in June, at just 13.3 degrees Celsius. Normal is 15.2øC.

On June 2, the temperature in Stockholm rose only to 6øC, the coldest high in 84 years, read more here. Earlier in the month one town recorded a temperature of 6øC below zero - the coldest June temperature in Sweden in 20 years. Snow even blanketed parts of northern Sweden.

Normally in the month of June, the mercury rises to 25øC or more on just days 5 days on average. This June the mercury never reached that mark. In fact it didn't even reach the 22øC mark. The high temperature for June in Stockholm was only 21.6øC. This is only the second time the temperature has failed to reach 25øC in June in 92 years.

What's behind the unusual cool weather? An SMHI spokesman explains it to us: "Sweden's climate has become both warmer and rainier because of global warming, and rainfall and storms have increased in recent years."

I'm glad he cleared that up.

June has also been a very wet month. According to the SMHI, Stockholm recorded a record rainfall so far for the month: 145.8 millimetres, the most since records began in 1786.


Windstorms in the Netherlands at a record low

A 101 year record of windstorms in the Netherlands

Stephen Cusack


A 101 year time-series of storm losses in the Netherlands is developed from the near-surface wind speed records at five Dutch stations. Station metadata combined with results from statistical tests were used to homogenise the data and retain the temporal variability driven solely by changes in climate processes. The wind speed data were transformed into storm damage using a model measuring loss impacts upon society.

The resulting windstorm loss time-series for the Netherlands contains some interesting features. Annual losses are stable over the whole period and have a dominant cycle with a period of about 50 years. The Netherlands is currently experiencing the minimum aggregate storm damage of the past 100 years, though only slightly lower than a quiet period of 50 years ago. Both of these minima are driven primarily by lowered rates of occurrence of damaging storms. However, further analysis reveals the present-day minimum has different characteristics from the previous lull: currently, the frequency of stronger storms is slightly above the previous minimum whereas the frequency of weaker storms is uniquely low. A seasonal analysis provides more information: there is a dearth of damaging storms in the earlier half of the storm season in the present day; since this period contains generally weaker storms, this seasonality is also manifested as a lack of weaker storms. These results suggest a different mix of climate forcing mechanisms in modern times compared to 50 years ago, in the earlier half of the storm season.

Climatic Change 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0527-0

Organization is "non-partisan" but was founded to combat climate change

Maybe I should found a non-partisan organization to oppose Obamacare! Come to think of it....

Just as easy as a consumer knows how many calories are in a 12 oz. can of Miller Lite (70), an architectural movement is calling for labels on every construction product that identify its "global warming number."

Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization established in 2002 in response to the climate change, is challenging the architecture, design and building communities to design structures that cut fossil fuel usage to zero by 2030.

As part of the challenge, group wants all products to cut their carbon footprint by 50 percent, covering the greenhouse gas emissions of a product from the raw resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, construction, usage, and end-of-life stage.

For structures as a whole, the challenge asks that all new buildings immediately be designed and built with an energy consumption level that is 60 percent below the nation's average, with a gradual scale leading to carbon neutral by 2030.


Local warming ("4 times faster than average") good for crabs and the birds that eat them

Scientists have shown that climate change has resulted in winners as well as losers with a study revealing that lesser black-backed gulls are booming in the North Sea.

The warming water has created an abundance of swimming crabs that are picked off by the greedy gulls. The experts have identified that the arrival of a new warm water species - Henslow's swimming crab, Polybius henslowii - might by an important crustacean in the cycle.

It spends more time swimming at the surface that any other species, and the crab has colonised the North Sea as it has warmed by 1 degree C since the mid 1980s. That level of warming is four times faster than the global average.

The scientists, led by Dr Richard Kirby from Plymouth University, have shown that an increase in crab larvae in the plankton is followed the next year by an increase in adult crabs.

And three to four years later there is an increase in the numbers of breeding pairs of lesser black-backed gulls that feed upon the crabs. This time period is the same as it takes for chicks of the gulls to reach maturity and start to breed.



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slktac said...

I was watching a TV show on scientists hunting for mammoth bones in Siberia. There research was hampered by the large number of very aggressive polar bears on the island they wanted to search. Fewer polar bears would have been a good thing there.

John A said...

Kilimanjaro... For decades I have been hearing about "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" - OK. so it snows, possibly blizzard strength.

It is only for a few years I have heard that its "glacier" is retreating. What glacier?
I did an image search via Google, just "Kilimanjaro". Aerial photos of the peak, looking at the throat of the ancient volcano, show white cover of snow/ice - except about a third of the pictures show bare ground. This is not like Mt. Fuji, which is snow/ice covered at all times.

Some photos ( show a white-capped mountain, some though seem to show a completely bare top. And then, see of a tour group approaching the peak - where I live (Rhode Iskand USA) that is called a "dusting" of snow, barely enough to make a snowball and certainly not enough for kids to go sledding.

If there is a permanent ice field, let be a glacier, where the heck are the pictures? Oh, there may well be such, perhaps in an area that is in permanent shadow - but again, pictures?