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CRU Hack: More context

Filed under: — gavin @ 2 December 2009

Continuation of the older threads. Please scan those (even briefly) to see whether your point has already been dealt with. Let me know if there is something worth pulling from the comments to the main post.

In the meantime, read about why peer-review is a necessary but not sufficient condition for science to be worth looking at. Also, before you conclude that the emails have any impact on the science, read about the six easy steps that mean that CO2 (and the other greenhouse gases) are indeed likely to be a problem, and think specifically how anything in the emails affect them.

Update: The piece by Peter Kelemen at Columbia in Popular Mechanics is quite sensible, even if I don’t agree in all particulars.

Further update: Nature’s editorial.

Further, further update: Ben Santer’s mail (click on quoted text), the Mike Hulme op-ed, and Kevin Trenberth.

1,285 Responses to “CRU Hack: More context”

  1. 451
    Hank Roberts says:

    Manacker (Max Acker) does this kind of bogus claim repeatedly.

    Above at 5 December 2009 at 2:32 PM — he points to a snapshot (with an April 2009 date, but no attribution/source given).

    It’s so much easier to fool people if you don’t provide the source link and notes to it, so they can check your claims about what it means.

    You can look this stuff up for yourself. Try a reliable source:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/notes.php#trends
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/

    Snapshots are lovely things. You can prove whatever you’re able to believe:
    http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/fairies/cottin2c.jpg

    Or, you can use all the information, and give people a link to check.

    “Here’s the full range of WTI, together with its trendline (currently 0.15°C/decade)” http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/mean:12/plot/wti/trend

    “This is just a tool to help you dig into the data to help you form your own opinions. Whatever you decide the most important thing is that you learned what the issues in analysis are and how to test your ideas against real data.” http://www.woodfortrees.org/

  2. 452
    Phil. Felton says:

    Ref #431

    I am assuming you are then saying that the absorption is not saturated?
    Or at least not saturated in the upper levels?

    And if this is true, then on what data do you argue this? I would like to look at it.

    Comment by Bruce Williams — 5 December 2009 @ 2:51 PM

    Here’s an example of the spectra of CO2 at today’s concentration and double today’s, you’ll see that it is not saturated and that broadening of the individual lines leads to increasing absorption with concentration.

    http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn107/Sprintstar400/CO2spectra.gif

  3. 453
    Deep Climate says:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/06/the-times-climate-e-mail-hackers-aimed-to-maximise-harm-to-copenhagen-summit/

    According to TimesOnline, the investigators of the CRU email theft (dubbed SwiftHack or Climategate) have concluded that the release of the stolen material was timed to cause maximum damage to the upcoming Copenhagen conference. The system had been hacked weeks before.

    This development, along with new reports of sabotage at the University of Victoria, should finally lay to rest the baseless rumour that the CRU hacked file was assembled at CRU and released by an inside whistleblower, a canard that it turns out was started by – wait for it – none other than Steve McIntyre himself!

    Plus: Andrew Bolt fingers Tom Wigley as the whistleblower.

  4. 454
    Tom Scott says:

    More is coming to light about how and why the CRU emails were hacked – see this story from the UK’s Mail on Sunday (a right-wing conservative newspaper):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1233562/Emails-rocked-climate-change-campaign-leaked-Siberian-closed-city-university-built-KGB.html

    There is a bitter irony here. It looks as if all those good folks so eager to expose a grand conspiracy on the part of climate scientists have in fact been playing the part of (very willing, albeit unwitting) accomplices in one of the cleverest pieces of black propaganda of recent years. It seems increasingly probable that the whole exercise has been masterminded by the Russian security services – formerly known as the KGB – who have a proud track record in this respect.

    Vladimir Putin, a former KGB man himself, must be delighted at the ease with which effective action to place curbs on the fossil fuel industry has been sabotaged.

    [Response: Hmm… My faith in the Daily Mail investigative unit is not particularly high, and the story seems to be related purely to the ftp site where the zip file was originally put. But this was on an open ‘incoming’ directory, and seems very like to have simply been used as a convenient spot. I would not get too excited by this. -gavin]

  5. 455
    JBowers says:

    Manacker said (434): **”The most recent decade (1993-2003) showed an increase of 1.6 mm/year, according to a study by Carl Wunsch et al., between –0.3 mm/year and 2.0 mm/year, according to two different Proudman reports using different gauges”**

    TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2 satellite altimeter data put sea level rise trend at +3.3mm per year, between 1993 and 2009. No doubt that’s been pointed out elsewhere.
    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_hist_last_15.html

  6. 456
    Deech56 says:

    RE manacker

    The annual data show the same average cooling trend of 0.1 degC. (See plot below).
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3464289034_9e57f541b7_b.jpg

    No matter how you try to twist it or turn it, BPL, it has cooled since the end of the 20th century.

    I will repeat BPL’s question:

    What was the t-statistic on the year term, Max?

    If the trend is not significant, you cannot conclude that there is cooling.

    Side note: Barton, I was interested in your question, “Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?” Is there a fundamental problem with using the monthly data to determine the significance of the regression – maybe autocorrelation? Thanks in advance.

    [Response: Auto-correlation in the monthly data is clear and impacts the significance, but there is also a difference in the HadCRU data because of the seasonal variability in their arctic ‘hole’ which means that their annual number is not exactly equal to the average of the monthly ones. – gavin]

  7. 457
    Dannielle A. says:

    Below are quotes from an article (http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=413) that I would like clarification on:

    “During the past few thousand years, there were two periods during which global temperature was as high or higher than it now is.”

    “The computer models that incorporate the greenhouse-gas theory are being massively contradicted by current readings. That is, CO2 is continuing to build up in the atmosphere, and yet global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise.”

    “It might be, as the historical evidence can be interpreted as suggesting, that variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is an effect rather than a cause of global temperature, since CO2 levels appear to lag variation in global temperature.”

    Are these statements true and if so, don’t they prove that global warming isn’t a real threat? I am an environmental engineer, so some technical explanation is fine, but I do not work in the “climate change” field. I am only trying to determine what the truth is. Thank you.

  8. 458
    JLS says:

    Hank,

    When in 428 you ventured that Jerry Pournelle “…is just posting old contrarian talking points consistent with his politics, sorry. If you want to rely on a science fiction writer for information about science policy, pick one who is also a scientist…”,

    you also alluded to an operations researcher who mastered experimental systems analysis and mentored under empiricist old school, who among other things did X-projects engineering at Boeing and NA Space Division, Cold War defense studies with Possony and USAF, and was instrumental in refining SDI policy and competitive-strategies” at the end of the Cold War era. Not your average SF writer, and more than the standard rocket scientist we all quip about.

    His trained Bayesian approach helps to profile the premises underlying any complex field which is subject to uncertainties in data, bounded by time and resource limits, and beset by contention between opposing analytical approaches and contradictory scenarios. IMHO this kind of systems insight which does not rely solely on the merit of relevant knowledge is very useful to those at a remove who lack both the expertise and proximity sufficient for an ex-cathedra judgment call.

  9. 459
    Theo Hopkins says:

    The origin (or rather the lack of origin) of the words “The science is settled” has been shown on this website. And I thank those who provided this info or links.

    So what about those who say that “Global warming is now called climate change, yada, yada, yada.”. When was “climate change” first officially and _widely_ used? Clearly the first IPCC used it in 1986. So what is there before that?

  10. 460
    Lubos Mokras says:

    ad 30 (http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/global_warming_misinformation_nature_emits_more_co2.html)”only the human contribution is responsible for the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere.” Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2? “natural emissions are balanced by natural sinks” Really? Why were CO2 levels changing in the past, before human made CO2?

  11. 461
  12. 462
    Hank Roberts says:

    Danielle, for temperatures, that’s easy to look up; for example see
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/cru-hack-more-context/comment-page-10/#comment-147372

    JLS, that an old, old discussion going back to the Vietnam era, see e.g.
    http://www.sfwriter.com/asimov2.htm or
    http://www.coolscifi.com/forums/showthread.php?p=416200

    _The Mote in God’s Eye_ was pretty good though.

  13. 463
    Tuomo says:

    “Stoat covers Zorita quite adequately: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/11/zorita_goes_for_the_jugular.php

    William M. Connolley’s post is a great example of the divide between a certain group of climate scientist and the rest of the thinking world in how the issues are currently perceived.

    When someone (like Zorita) finds professional assassinations of dissidents in the CRU emails, this group says they are not professional assassinations. Then the group claims that someone is making personal attacks or settling old scores and trashes that someone properly. The (probably unintended) effect of these (counter) attacks, such as Connolley’s, is that they confirm to the rest of the world that the professional assassinations of dissidents that we saw in the CRU emails are in fact real.

    [Response: The fact that Zorita is not a ‘dissident’, but rather has personal issues with a number of scientists (who no doubt have personal issues with perhaps him and others) is not a sign of ‘professional assasination’ but one simply of personalities – which I don’t think anyone has ever suggested scientists should avoid. Enough on this issue please. – gavin]

  14. 464
    Bruce Williams says:

    Ref #450

    Hank Roberts – My google does not produce a right hand sidebar. Just a google search page with the results:

    ************************************************
    #
    RealClimate: Still not convincing
    Aug 3, 2009 … However, the Clausius-Clapeyron Relation refers to the saturation vapor pressure, and the atmosphere is not saturated. …
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/…not…/comment-page-2/ – Cached
    #
    RealClimate: The lure of solar forcing
    27 posts – 3 authors – Last post: Jul 31, 2006
    It turns out that this is not how it works. Even though the core of the CO2 band is saturated, the edges of the band are not saturated. …
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/…/the-lure-of-solar-forcing/ – Cached – Similar
    #
    RealClimate: A Saturated Gassy Argument
    Jun 26, 2007 … Any saturation at lower levels would not change this, since it is the layers from which radiation does escape that determine the planet’s …
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/…/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/ – Cached
    ***********************************************
    etc. etc.
    What is the site you were originally on when you used this search?

  15. 465
    JBowers says:

    Theo Hopkins says: “So what about those who say that “Global warming is now called climate change, yada, yada, yada.”. When was “climate change” first officially and _widely_ used? Clearly the first IPCC used it in 1986. So what is there before that?”

    In the 1950’s we see “climate change” and “global warming” being used:

    *”It was in a newspaper account of Revelle’s scientific work that the phrase “global warming” was published for the first time and “climate change” for almost the first time, although neither phrase would become common until the late 1970s.”*
    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:tTqQMCUdmmQJ:www.aip.org/history/climate/Public.htm

    For a video of a documentary made in 1958 on the subject (complete with falling ice and all), see here for the Frank Capra produced ‘The Unchained Goddess’:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgzz-L7GFg

  16. 466
    Bruce Williams says:

    Ref #452

    Phil Felton
    Are these graphs empirical or calculated? And who produced them?

  17. 467
    Hank Roberts says:

    Theo:
    ——
    “Climate change” is a phrase popularized by Republican pollster Frank Luntz who advised the Bush administration and Republicans everywhere to use it instead of “global warming”
    —–
    http://climatespin.blogspot.com/2008/08/words-matter-call-it-climate-disruption.html

  18. 468
    Bruce Williams says:

    Oh this is nice. A web site devoted to undermining your critics. Now, that’s what I call real science. Real Rush Limbaugh science.

    From
    http://www.desmogblog.com/slamming-the-climate-skeptic-scam

    15 June 09
    Slamming the Climate Skeptic Scam

  19. 469
    John Mashey says:

    re #459
    JLS:
    A good technical background may *enable* someone to learn enough climate science to understand the basics. However, even very smart people
    – with PhD’s in (say) physics
    – perhaps with distinguished publication records in their own fields
    – maybe even Members of the National Academy of Sciences
    – maybe even a Physics Nobel

    can easily fall deep into anti-science for any combination various anti-science reasons, of which the most common is probably ideological/political. By happy coincidence, I recently finished a detailed study of 200+such people, who signed one of the silliest climate anti-science petitions I’ve seen.

    I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Pournelle’s fiction over the years, but he seems squarely within several of the clear demographic attributes for this (Southern California aerospace, SDI/nuclear weapons, libertarian/very conservative politics, knew Robert Jastrow personally). If I’d read the Wikipedia page minus the comments on climate, and knew nothing else, if someone asked me to guess whether he accepted climate science or not, I’d have said “unlikely”.

    In particular, if you are unfamiliar with the politics around George C. Marshall Institute (GMI), SDI (Star Wars), and Robert Jastrow, you might want to learn.
    Jastrow, of course, was a towering figure in astro-*, and very influential, and very politically conservative. I read a few of his books in high school. Would Pournelle have known him? Almost certainly, at least by reputation. Would Pournelle have known him personally? Likely, as Jastrow lived in Los Angeles for 10+ years. That would be my reasoning, but in fact:

    “I’ve known Bob Jastrow for several years.”
    from Chaos Manor Reports.

    My study talks about those some (and the next iteration in a few days, does more), but keep an eye out for Merchants of Doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming, a meticulous scholarly study of GMI’s creation for SDI/Reagan support, and where it went from there, with help from Fred Singer, for example.

    Politics/ideology can sometimes totally trump laws of physics,at least in some people’s minds, if not in the real world.

  20. 470
    Joseph says:

    I just want to thank Gavin et al for the incredible effort they are putting into this. Someone suggested, a few hundred posts back, that it would be better to not get engaged with the public discussion and stick to just doing the science. Real Climate’s work has clearly shown the value of participating in this debate and is proving invaluable to those of us that try hard to keep up with the latest research and its clarification. You are fighting the good fight here. Thanks.

  21. 471
    Brian Dodge says:

    @Dannielle A. — 6 December 2009 @ 8:08 AM who is “…trying to determine what the truth is.”

    short answer –

    “During the past few thousand years, there were two periods during which global temperature was as high or higher than it now is.” They are expressing an unwarranted certainty in a few local proxies.. It is true that grapes were grown in England, and the coast of Greenland was occupied in some areas by Vikings ioccasionally in the last few thousand years.
    We also know from the differences in sediments (diatoms under ice vs open water, clam shells which grow in open coastal water but not under ice shelves) that the melt in Arctic ice and the collapse of Wordie, LarsenA, LarsenB, & Wilkins ice shelves didn’t happen before in the past few thousand years.
    We also know from borehole thermometry that the temperature trends are different in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps, and frequently go in opposite directions. Grep “arctic antarctic temperature seesaw ” (without the quotes.)

    “The computer models that incorporate the greenhouse-gas theory are being massively contradicted by current readings. That is, CO2 is continuing to build up in the atmosphere, and yet global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise.” They make the false assumption that computer models predict monotonic rises in temperature with CO2, possibly because they are completely unfamiliar with how modeling works, and they haven’t actually looked at the IPCC summaries of model predictions. The models do have a lot of internal variability, and if we have an El Nino, or a La Nina, temperatures can be above or below the long term average trend. Because of diurnal, seasonal, and weather related variations, there is a lot noise in the data, whether its actual data from the many real weather stations, or real satellite temperature images, or model cells. This noise doesn’t mean that the models are wrong, just that neither the models nor the actual measurements aren’t perfectly accurate. They are also ignoring the fact that the five and ten year trends in glacier and Arctic summer ice indicate NO moderating of rising temperatures.

    “It might be, as the historical evidence can be interpreted as suggesting, that variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is an effect rather than a cause of global temperature, since CO2 levels appear to lag variation in global temperature.” This is half true. As sea temperature rises, CO2 exsolves from the water, increasing atmospheric CO2 , and increasing the pH of the seawater. We also know from radiative physics that more atmospheric CO2 will lower thermal IR radiation, causing warming. Variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is not just a cause of warming, or just an effect of warming, but both. Since the 2 effects both have the same sign, there is a positive feedback; it is what causes the rapid rise in temperature at the end of an ice age, when the slowly varying Milankovic forcing crosses a threshold. We know we are putting a lot of CO2 from fossil fuel into the air NOW, more than enough to account for the rise in CO2 we are seeing NOW. The temperature rise we are seeing NOW likely will account for higher CO2 levels in the future, the lag is about 800 years. The pH level in the ocean is falling NOW which accounts for some of the CO2 we know we are emitting, but isn’t showing up in the atmosphere. In about 800 years, the pH of the oceans will probably rise, allowing new organisms to evolve & replace the corals which may go extinct between now and then.

    long answer –
    get yourself a pizza, a six pack, and a long free afternoon, click on the “start here” button at the top of the RC homepage http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/, and keep clicking.

    By the way, I would guess from the URL that the site http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=413 has the logical fallacy that combatting global warming would cost our freedom and destroy our economy, so it can’t be true. (real short answer – they’re lying)

  22. 472
    Deech56 says:

    RE My comment and Gavin’s inline response

    Side note: Barton, I was interested in your question, “Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?” Is there a fundamental problem with using the monthly data to determine the significance of the regression – maybe autocorrelation? Thanks in advance.

    [Response: Auto-correlation in the monthly data is clear and impacts the significance, but there is also a difference in the HadCRU data because of the seasonal variability in their arctic ‘hole’ which means that their annual number is not exactly equal to the average of the monthly ones. – gavin]

    Thanks. Is it standard practice, then, to test for trend significance using annual means? Not being a programmer or R-literate, I just use Excel to perform simple regression analyses of the annual GISTEMP data to challenge “cooling” claims, and just want to make sure I am not over-simplifying.

  23. 473
    manacker says:

    Hank Roberts (451)

    You wrote:

    “Manacker (Max Acker) does this kind of bogus claim repeatedly.

    Above at 5 December 2009 at 2:32 PM — he points to a snapshot (with an April 2009 date, but no attribution/source given).

    It’s so much easier to fool people if you don’t provide the source link and notes to it, so they can check your claims about what it means.”

    A suggestion: Open your eyes before you make false claims.

    The sources for all 4 temperature records are clearly shown on the chart I posted.

    Seek and ye shall find. And don’t make false accusations.

    Max

  24. 474
    John Mason says:

    457
    Dannielle A. says:
    6 December 2009 at 8:08 AM

    Below are quotes from an article (http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=413) that I would like clarification on:

    “During the past few thousand years, there were two periods during which global temperature was as high or higher than it now is.”

    “The computer models that incorporate the greenhouse-gas theory are being massively contradicted by current readings. That is, CO2 is continuing to build up in the atmosphere, and yet global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise.”

    “It might be, as the historical evidence can be interpreted as suggesting, that variation of CO2 in the atmosphere is an effect rather than a cause of global temperature, since CO2 levels appear to lag variation in global temperature.”

    Are these statements true and if so, don’t they prove that global warming isn’t a real threat? I am an environmental engineer, so some technical explanation is fine, but I do not work in the “climate change” field. I am only trying to determine what the truth is. Thank you.

    Hello Danielle,

    Climate is a multidecadal creature, and is influenced by both anthropogenic and solar/planetary factors.

    You need to look at two things: signal and noise. Signal represents the underlying multidecadal trend, which can be due to anthropogenic factors or things like Milankovitch cycles, and in many instances both. Noise runs along much shorter timespans – a good example being ENSO – El Nino & La Nina. These can cause very short-term but profound warming and cooling patterns respectively.

    With respect to CO2 – it causes temperatures to increase but as temperatures rise more of it is released. Check out what goes on in former Permafrost areas as an example. But the last 200 years are quite unique, in that we have been adding massive amounts of CO2 into the equation on top of what goes on in all the usual natural cycles. This is obviously very different from the last few glacial/interglacial cycles when the fossil fuel burning was not part of the main event.

    Cheers – John

  25. 475
    manacker says:

    BPL (457)

    Believe Gavin has cleared up the slight difference in the Hadley record between the average of the monthly data and the reported annual data.

    It has no real impact on the fact that the record shows a linear decadal cooling rate of 0.1C since the end of 2000.

    The average of all records shows a similar cooling trend (as the graph shows).

    What this signifies long term is anyone’s guess. Right now it looks like the cooling will continue for a few more years, and the Met Office has even explained the reasons for the current cooling (i.e. natural variability).

    But there is really no point in denying that it has cooled since the 21st century started, because that is what the physically observed and reported record shows.

    Max

  26. 476
    manacker says:

    Hank Roberts

    Can you translate what you wrote in 449 into plain English?

    The logic appears a bit garbled.

    Thanks.

    Max

  27. 477
    David B. Benson says:

    Dannielle A. (457) — Global warming is a significant risk to the continuance of agriculture; drier where it is dry and wetter where it is wet; prime agricultural land swallowed by rising seas. This is due to the excess CO2 caused by burning fossil fuels.

    To obtain some idea of the hazards before you, read Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”. Here is a review:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

  28. 478
    Brian Dodge says:

    @Theo Hopkins — 6 December 2009 @ 9:22 AM “When was “climate change” first officially and _widely_ used?”

    The widespread use of “climate change” came about when Republicans came to realize that “global warming” was happening, they could no longer pretend it wasn’t happening, and they needed to regain control of the debate.

    Republican Frank Luntz, “known as the architect of House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1994 ‘Contract with America’,” circulated a “talking points” memo that contains an amazing number of memes -we have to wait until we have all the facts, the science is uncertain, reducing our fossil fuel use will hurt the poor most, taxing fossil fuels will hurt the poor, we shouldn’t do anything until everybody(China, India, Mexico) agrees to do the same things, we should emphasize “common sense”- see http://www.ewg.org/node/8684
    If you want to understand the political battle, you should read the entire memo – http://www.ewg.org/files/LuntzResearch_environment.pdf

    some excerpts –
    “‘Climate change’ is less frightening than ‘global warming’ As one focus group participant noted, climate change ‘sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale’. While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

    “Indeed, it can be helpful to think of environmental (and other) issues in terms of “story.” A compelling story, even if factually inaccurate, can be more emotionally compelling than a dry recitation of the truth.” (Remind you of anyone? “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”Joseph Goebbels)

    “The environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general- and President Bush in particular – are most vulnerable. A caricature has taken hold in the public imagination: Republicans seemingly in the pockets of corporate fat cats who rub their hands together and chuckle manically as they plot to pollute America for fun and profit. ” (Why sir, If you think that I would resort to caricature, let alone sarcasm and ridicule, of the conservatives whose call to inaction is the greatest threat to our civilization and the common environment on which it depends, I would have to reply, you’re absolutely correct.)

  29. 479
    manacker says:

    Timothy Chase (438)

    You asked me:

    ‘What do you think was “uncovered” by “Climategate”?’

    The leaked emails have uncovered very little in legally incriminating evidence, if any at all. They have shown an arrogant inner cabal of highly influential climate scientists, but arrogance is not against the law. They point to possible wrongdoing under the FOIA, but this has yet to be really proven. They point to some massaging of data to make things work out in favor of the point being proven, but again this is far from conclusive.

    But, as these emails and the data they contain are more closely investigated, new problems arise.

    As an example see my post 427 of 5 December 2009 2:24pm, which shows that there are bugs and errors in the CRU programming.

    To the point of “transparency”, I am simply telling you that “Climategate” has resulted in the fact that a higher level of transparency and public scrutiny by independent auditors who do not “have a horse in the race” will now be demanded of climate science than has been the case so far, i.e. the “rules of the game” have changed.

    Those climate scientists that accept the new rules will be better off for it, particularly if they have no “dirt” to hide. Those that stonewall, whitewash or try to cover up will not do so well.

    This makes sense, in view of the major economic consequences of the debate and the questions, which “Climategate” have raised.

    When Nixon + company hid behind reasons for not handing over all of the tapes to allow complete scrutiny, this is a similar ploy to hiding behind the great bother that this would cause in the case of the climate records. As the BBC report concluded, it might be best to redo the entire CRU record starting from scratch, regardless of the bother and cost.

    Sure, there are major differences between Watergate and Climategate.

    But there are also similarities.

    And that was my point.

    Max

  30. 480
    manacker says:

    Hank Roberts (447)

    I agree with your point on data transparency.

    Publicly funded scientific climate data should be made available for critical scrutiny by independent outside auditors at the request of the public, who has paid for the data in the first place.

    Data on petroleum prospects and reserves paid for by oil companies should be made available for scrutiny by outside consultants at the request of the shareholders, who have paid for this data.

    It’s all about the “golden rule”, Hank. The gut that puts up the “gold” writes the “rule”.

    Max

  31. 481
    manacker says:

    Kevin McKinney (443)

    You commented to my earlier post:

    “The satellite data are believed to be much better than the tidal gauge data. Unfortunately, the former don’t extend to the beginning of the twentieth century.
    Does that mean the better data should be ignored?”

    As far as “better data” is concerned, the report by Carl Wunsch et al. (for which I cited the link on the graph) concludes (concerning the satellite data):

    “systematic errors are likely to dominate most estimates of global average change” and the “database is insufficient to compute sea level trends with the accuracy necessary to discuss the impact of global warming”
    http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/Wunschetal_jclimate_2007_published.pdf

    A report by one of the NOAA scientists directly involved casts serious doubt on the validity of satellite altimetry for measuring sea levels, concluding, ”every few years we learn about mishaps or drifts in the altimeter instruments, errors in the data processing or instabilities in the ancillary data that result in rates of change that easily exceed the formal error estimate, if not the rate estimate itself.” “It seems that the more missions are added to the melting pot, the more uncertain the altimetric sea level change results become.”
    http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU04/05276/EGU04-J-05276.pdf

    So the satellite data are clearly not “better”.

    The other point that makes 1993-2003 satellite sea level measurements not comparable with the longer-term tide gauge record prior to 1993 is basic: the two methods measure totally different scopes.

    Tide gauges measure sea level at several selected coast lines (where sea level has an impact on us land dwellers).

    Satellite altimetry measures the entire ocean, except for polar regions and areas near coastlines, where measurement cannot be made.

    To make the claim that there has been a recent acceleration in sea level rise by comparing apples with oranges is poor science.

    Max

  32. 482
    manacker says:

    Theo Hopkins (459)

    Who first said, “The science is settled?”

    See post my 371, 3 December

    At a December 1997 Kyoto press conference, climate scientist and IPCC Chair from 1997-2002, Robert Watson, was asked about the growing number of climate scientists who challenge the conclusions of the UN on AGW. He responded, “The science is settled, [and] we’re not going to reopen it here.”
    http://sovereignty.net/p/clim/kyotorpt.htm

    “Climate Change” is part of the name of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, so it is not a new concept or term.

    Max

  33. 483
    JD says:

    Theory: Climate change is a conspiracy.
    Lemma: It is sufficient to show that climate scientists handpick their data.
    Proof: 10,000 emails hacked. Outcome: Some scientists manipulate data in ways 99% of people don’t understand.
    Better proof: ~20 or so emails handpicked out of context show scientists talking about manipulating data using tricks. Therefore there must be a conspiracy.

    Theory: Idiots who don’t trust scientists are willing to cheat the scientific method to deny anthropomorphic climate change.
    Lemma 2: Hack 10,000 emails and handpick ~20 of them to manufacture a conspiracy.
    Proof: If there was a conspiracy, it would be easy to find a better climate model to challenge current findings.
    Lemma 2: They think climate scientists would handpick data.
    Proof: They do, because they would too, and did.

  34. 484

    Sorry if this has been brought up before, but I would like to ask about Dr. Mann´s interview with Black on BBC. He was asked a question about what he thought about the mail from Jones talking about “keeping Michaels & McKitrick 2004 or Kalnay & Cai 2003 out of the AR4 somehow – redefine peer-review” etc.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8392611.stm

    Dr. Mann stated that he does not agree with Jones that should be kept out of the AR4. Unfortunately, he did not sound too convincing to me when trying to distance himself from Jones.

    My question is quite simple: What is the need for disagreement? Why not just stand by Jones´ statement? At the time of Jones´ writing the e-mail, it was well known that these two papers contained significant errors, undermining their conclusions completely. Why is it necessary to make excuses for aiming to exclude such papers – known to be wrong – from the AR4? To my mind, one surely does not need to “redefine” peer-review in making a convincing argument for that. Is this too difficult to explain to the broader public?

  35. 485
    Bruce Williams says:

    Could someone explain were I am wrong here:
    From #452 – By doubling the CO2, the emissivity decreases by about 8%.
    CO2 is about 4% of the total Greenhouse energy blocking mechanism.
    If we double the CO2 and assume that it fully blocks all the extra energy from the earth, then it will block an additional 4% * 8% = 0.32%.

    To reach equilibrium, the earths energy output must increase by 0.32% – It does this by increasing temperature.

    At 286 K, according to the Stefan–Boltzmann law, j = oT^4
    o being a constant, j at 286 is equivalent to 379.3562.
    Adding 0.32% we get 380.5701. Divide by o and taking the 4th root we would get 286.23, or a temperature rise of 0.23C.
    (Back of the envelope type thing)

    What brings it up to 3C (13X calculated) as the IPCC seems to state?

    o = Stefan–Boltzmann constant = 5.67e^-8

    [And yes, I realize the 0.32% will compound itself if you iterate through a couple of times, but it is really insignificant beyond the first pass.]

  36. 486
    Martin says:

    Max/Manacker,

    you aren’t seriously crowing about an EIGHT year trend, are you? Do you think this is somehow significant (whether or not it’s even true)? If you look at eight year trends, then the record shows substantially more negative trends in the anomaly at many points in time in the past 130 years (just for kicks, I actually did this using the J-D annual anomaly from the following site: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts.txt), let alone the past 30 years. Imagine if every time climate contrarians had popped up and said, “Look, the warming is done, now it’s global cooling!”. They’d look pretty silly, huh?

    Cheers,

    Martin

  37. 487
    Hank Roberts says:

    manacker says: 6 December 2009 at 3:10 PM
    > Hank Roberts (447) I agree with your point on data transparency.

    Nope, you don’t agree, you’re trying to pretend I’d agree with your interpretation, which is pure market-libertarian PR.

    I’m sure you understand my point. Your spin isn’t even close to right.
    The companies profiting from the damage need to be opened up.
    Here’s the model. You’ll find climate scientists won’t object to taking this approach and opening up all the research, I expect.

    Even though scientists make their living and reputation by collecting data and then extracting papers from it, and giving away data loses the benefit to them of all the work done to collect it — once the proprietary files are opened up, everyone gets equal benefit and a whole lot more research gets done to everyone’s benefit.

    Here’s the model to follow:

    http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/1/45
    http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/91/11/1749/
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/settlement/interviews/glantz.html

  38. 488
    David B. Benson says:

    Lubos Mokras (460) — Under equilibrium conditions, warming the oceans expresses some of the CO2 there; cooling the opposite. So under equilibrium conditions CO2 acts as a feedback to enhance the actual forcings making the climate a bit warmer or cooler. But burning fossil fuels has added excess carbon to the active carbon cycle; equilibrium no longer obtains.

    There are many resources to learn something about climate. I suggest starting with the “start here” link at the top of the page.

  39. 489

    The leaked emails have uncovered very little in legally incriminating evidence, if any at all.

    You don’t there is enough evidence to demonstrate that the emails where illegally hacked? Seems like a pretty cut and dried case to me of illegal hacking, although I’m sure the perpetrators covered their tracks well enough.

  40. 490
    Tuomo says:

    “Response: The fact that Zorita is not a ‘dissident’, but rather has personal issues with a number of scientists (who no doubt have personal issues with perhaps him and others) is not a sign of ‘professional assasination’ but one simply of personalities – which I don’t think anyone has ever suggested scientists should avoid. Enough on this issue please. – gavin”

    Forgive me dwelling on this a bit, despite your plea to drop the topic. Given that this is a comment thread of post “Comments on CRU Hack: More context”, I think this is the most appropriate place on your site to discuss Zorita’s that “Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process.”

    I think that this is an opinion by a serious scientist in the field. I find the attempts to dismiss this as a “personal issue” or as an attempt to “settle old scores” utterly unconvincing.

    I have personally witnessed and to a lesser extent been involved in situations where the academic debate gets personal and things heat up. Nobody was calling for barring people or anything like that.

    I think Zorita is realistically seeing the situation from the outside perspective. The emails reveal what the outsiders see as unprofessional conduct that taints the entire IPCC process. The simplest way to fix the IPCC process in the public’s eyes is remove the people most tarred by the emails from the process. Is it possible that Zorita could hold this view even in the absence of any personal issues?

    [Response: Anything is possible, but single scientists calling for blacklists of other scientists – one of whom was barely mentioned in the emails – and in the absence of any evidence of impropriety associated with their roles in the IPCC, is both premature and, frankly, a little odd. I do not want to get into a psychological or personal examination of Zorita’s motives in making this statement (and for the record I don’t recall any interactions with him personally), and so this topic is closed. – gavin]

  41. 491
    David B. Benson says:

    Bruce Williams (485) — I think you’ll find what you did wrong by reading Ray Pierrehumbert’s
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/ClimateBook/ClimateBook.html

  42. 492

    stevenc: BPL,if the surface is warmer then the atmosphere then more energy has to go from the surface to the atmosphere then from the atmosphere to the earth. Now that energy may go from the surface to the atmosphere and back again several times with some of it being lost to space with each cycle but it remains true that it is the sun that is warming the earth and the atmosphere is mearly acting to retain the heat. Hence no violation of the 2nd law.

    BPL: No. The atmosphere is giving off IR because it is warm, not because the warmth came from sunlight absorbed earlier. The surface is being heated more from the atmospheric IR than from the direct sunlight. And there’s still no violation of 2LOT.

  43. 493

    Max: “What was the t-statistic on the year term, Max? Or were you using monthly data to inflate it?”

    Sorry. BPL. No “inflation” from monthly data.

    The annual data show the same average cooling trend of 0.1 degC. (See plot below).
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3464289034_9e57f541b7_b.jpg

    No matter how you try to twist it or turn it, BPL, it has cooled since the end of the 20th century.

    BPL: I’ll ask again. What was the t-statistic on the coefficient of your year term?

  44. 494

    Dannielle A: The statement “global temperature is moderating rather than continuing to rise” is false. Check it out here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/VV.html

  45. 495

    Lubos Mokras: Could some smart scientist explain, how can nature distinguish between man made and nature made CO2?

    BPL: By its radioisotope signature. CO2 from the climate system has a normal complement of carbon-14. The carbon in CO2 from fossil fuels is 100-300 million year old, and since the half-life of 14C is only 5570 years, the 14C is effectively all gone. There are also differences in the 13C/12C ratio.

  46. 496
    manacker says:

    BPL (493)

    The data are the data, monthly or annual. And they show a linear cooling trend, using exactly the same approach that IPCC has used in explaining longer and shorter term trends in its AR4 and SPM 2007 reports.

    Your question is an irrelevant side track.

    Max

  47. 497

    Max: But there is really no point in denying that it has cooled since the 21st century started, because that is what the physically observed and reported record shows.

    BPL: Sorry, Max, you’re wrong. You do not have enough data to conclude that. A “trend” has to be statistically significant, and your regression is not. There has been no significant cooling; the data is sufficiently flat that we don’t know if the real trend is up, down or sideways. We simply don’t know. And the main reason we don’t know is that 8 years is too short to prove anything.

    The World Meteorological Organization defines climate as mean regional or global weather over a period of 30 years or more. They came up with that definition decades before global warming was a public issue, solely from statistical considerations.

    Where statistical sampling is concerned, 8 << 30.

  48. 498
    manacker says:

    Martin (486)

    I agree fully with you that eight (or almost nine) years of cooling prove nothing for the long term.

    The record has shown other cooling multi-decadal trends (1880-1910, 1945-1975) with warming half cycles in between.

    Is the current cooling the start of another multi-decadal cooling half-cycle, like all the others?

    Who knows?

    I do not. You do not. Nor does the Met Office or GISS.

    We’ll just have to wait and see if “natural variability” (a.k.a. natural forcing factors) will continue to more than offset record increases in CO2 for another decade or so. Right now it’s anyone’s guess with differing opinions out there.

    Max

  49. 499
    Bruce Williams says:

    John Mashey
    Ref #469

    Do you remember as a kid when something went wrong and you were sure it was your fault, but couldn’t figure out what you had done to cause it? Like when parents get divorced and their children blame themselves because of what they (the children) had done?

    This is inherent in human beings, it is a mechanism we use to keep from doing things that will hurt us, and sometimes it goes awry. Are their people in the world that never outgrow this?

  50. 500

    Bruce Williams: Could someone explain were I am wrong here: From #452 – By doubling the CO2, the emissivity decreases by about 8%. CO2 is about 4% of the total Greenhouse energy blocking mechanism…

    BPL: Well, to begin with, CO2 is 26% of the clear-sky greenhouse effect, not 4% (Ramanathan and Coakley 1978, Kiehl and Trenberth 1997). So I guess that takes your 0.23 K increase to 1.5 K. With water-vapor, ice-albedo and other feedbacks, it’s not hard to see that doubling.

    BTW, radiation physicists say the expected dT from doubling CO2 in the absence of all feedbacks is 1.2 K, not 0.23 K.