Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
Lucia at The Blackboard has an interesting article on how a global warming scientists can justify the kind of massive cherry-picking that went into the infamous hockey-stick.
First, an explanation of ‘proxies.’ Proxies are so called because we cannot measure past temperatures directly, but have to use stand-ins. These stand-ins (or proxies) may be growth rings or changes in glaciers or sea level or other indirect measures of temperature. The problem with all of these proxies is that temperature is not the only thing that affects them. So they need to be cross-checked and recorded very carefully.
Lucia points out that you can cherry-pick without even meaning to, simply by removing the proxies (sets of tree rings or whatever) that do not correlate with other records of temperature.
I am sure this is possible, but I am not so sure this is what happened in the Mann / Briffa hockey stick invention. The cherry picking in that case seems so clear it is hard to avoid the notion that it amounted to scientific fraud.
To be fair, Briffa insists there was no deliberate pre-selection of data. He now says there were problems with the methodology. We are working on it, he says. In the mean time, everyone should still believe it.
Andrew Bolt leads off after his return from holidays with a tightly written summary of the world-is-hotter-than-ever-the-hockey-stick-proves-it fraud.
There is no doubt now that it really was fraud and not simply incompetence.
Now it is clear that there was not only incompetence in the handling of data, but that the data was cherry picked so egregiously there can be no serious doubt that the intention of Mann (the hockey-stick man) and Briffa and their collaborators was to deceive.
A part summary of why on climateaudit.org – essentally the result was based on recordings from just ten trees, carefully selected from over forty.
‘When later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of 21st century as an embarrassing chapter in history of science. They will wonder our time, and use it as a warning of how the core values and criteria of science were allowed little by little to be forgotten as the actual research topic — climate change — turned into a political and social playground.’
And an example of how science has gone so badly wrong is:
‘.. a study recently published in the prestigious journal Science. It is concluded in the article that the average temperatures in the Arctic region are much higher now than at any time in the past two thousand years. The result may well be true, but the way the researchers ended up with this conclusion raises questions. Proxies have been included selectively, they have been digested, manipulated, filtered, and combined, for example, data collected from Finland in the past by my own colleagues has even been turned upside down such that the warm periods become cold and vice versa. Normally, this would be considered as a scientific forgery.’
Of course Richard Lindzen, possibly the world’s leading atmospheric phycicist, said some years ago that he believed future generations would be astonished by the panic generated by, and money spent trying to control, a perfectly natural cyclic rise of a few tenths of a degree over a century.
In related news, this year’ s Antarctic ice melt is the lowest on record since satellite measurement began, Arctic ice is thicker – under the headline ‘Scientists Predict Ice-Free Summers for Arctic’ (of course) , and another leading scientist says publicy that CO2 emissions are good for the Earth, increase productivity, and do not cause global warming.
Oh, and this weekend may see the earliest snowfalls ever recorded in Chicago, beating the previous record set three years ago. Damn that global warming.
Well, this is cool.
Elizabeth Blackburn was born in Tassie, and studied in Melbourne before completing her doctorate at Cambridge. She is now the Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology at the University of California.
Her Nobel prize was awarded for her research into cell aging and regeneration, and in particular, chromosome structure, teleomeres (bits of repetitive DNA at the ends of chomosomes which Professor Blackburn says are like the tips on the ends of shoelaces to keep them unravelling) and telomerase, the enzyme which maintains them.
But Blackburn is wrong to support embryonic stem cell research, and the cloning of human beings so that the clone’s tissue and organs can be harvested.
Not only is embryonic stem cell research a waste of money, not having produced a single useful result (whereas other forms of stem cell research are promising), but more importantly, any culture whose members deliberately destroy the lives of other human beings to enhance their own longevity or comfort is corrupt and immoral and will fail.
I have just finished reading Raphael Aron’s book Cults: Too Good to Be True (out of print now, I think, but his Cults, Terror, and Mind Control is still available). The introduction begins with this quote from Konrad Lorenz, Nobel Prize winner and animal behaviourist:
Some human beings seem to be driven by an overwhelming urge to espouse a cause, and failing to find one, may become fixated on astonishingly inferior substitutes. The instinctive need to be a member of a closely linked group fighting for common ideals may be so strong that iot becomes inessential what these ideals are and whether they possess any intrinsic value.
Some of the defining qualities of a cult are emotional manipulation, especially of the young or otherwise vulnerable, the definition of those who question the cult’s values and beliefs as on the side of evil, material benefits (money, sex, adulation, etc) which accrue to the leader/s, claims of knowing the only path to salvation, and prophesies of imminent doom for an evil and unbelieving world if it fails to heed the warnings of the cult and take the actions it demands.
Al Gore and the IPCC are the increasingly wealthy high priests of the cult. Their problem now is that the prophesies are not coming true. The seas are not rising, and world temperatures are stable or declining. We are more likely to be facing much colder temperatures than much hotter temperatures over the next century.
Nothing especially nasty is happening. They must be terribly disappointed.
In related news, a Russian former traffic cop has proclaimed himself the reincarnation of Jesus, and attracted about 5,000 followers. Well, why not?
Well, almost. World leaders have decreed global temperature must not increase by more than 2 degrees over pre-industrial levels.
How realistic this is depends what they mean by ‘pre-industrial.’ Generally that term would be taken to mean the time prior to the industrial revolution. That is, before about 1780. That is, about the time of the Dalton minimum.
The Dalton minimum was a period of low solar activity, low temperatures (one German station recorded a fall of 2 degrees in 20 years), and the ‘year without a Summer’ (1816).
Given that solar activity is at similarly low levels now, and that global mean temperatures have been steady or declining over the last ten years, our beloved world leaders may find they don’t need to do anything at all to achieve their tide holding back ambitions.
However, according to a paper by Wilson, Hendy and Reynolds, published in Nature in 1979 (279, pp315-317), temperatures in New Zealand during the medieval warm period (which is definitely pre-industrial) were about .75 degrees warmer than the very brief late 20th Century warm period. So we’ve still got 1.25 degrees to go!
The climate’s been changing for billions of years, and there’s no evidence anything humans have done has changed those natural cycles.
.. while trying to spread the word about the possibilities of space, Dr Aldrin said he was sceptical of climate change theories.
“I think the climate has been changing for billions of years,” he said. “If it’s warming now, it may cool off later. I’m not in favour of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today.
“I’m not necessarily of the school that we are causing it all, I think the world is causing it.”
While you are thinking about this, why not visit the fascinating, detailed and illuminating surfacestations.org?
There is a useful collection of graphic evidence that the urban heat island effect has made a significant contribution to supposed rising surface temperatures in the last half of the twentieth century.
Possibly the most monumental piece of economic lunacy ever proposed by any government anywhere (and I include the collectivisation of farms in Stalinist Russia) has passed through the US Congress.
This despite the fact that members of congress could not have read the bill for the simple reason that no complete, updated copy existed at the time of the vote. (Via Hyscience). As David Freddoso points out, global warming is apparently so urgent that politicians do not even have time to know what they are voting for.
Senator James Inhofe is not a brilliant speaker. But he is a clear thinker who does his homework. This video of his speech to the US senate illustrates the horrifying cost of this utterly pointless scheme. His criticisms apply equally well to Australia’s equally disastrous proposed Cap and Tax legislation:
In related news, Polar Bear expert Mitchell Taylor has been told by the global warming alarmists preparing for the Copenhagen conference that because his research does not support the cause, his views are not helpful, and he is not welcome.
Copenhagen is not a science conference, it is a religious revival meeting.
I noted in my introduction to global warming Profits of Doom, that:
The IPCC’s warming figure of 0.8 degrees Celsius over the last century is doubtful, for at least two reasons.
First, no one knows for certain how much of that increase is due to what is called the Urban Heat Island effect. Industry, air-conditioners, vehicle traffic and other human activity, along with large amounts of concrete and asphalt, can increase the night-time temperature in city areas by as much as three degrees compared with that of surrounding countryside. Many temperature recording stations which were in rural areas at the time they were established are now well within city limits.
The difference this makes can be seen clearly in these two graphs which compare average temperatures in the six Australian capital cities from 1882 to 1992, with records from twenty-five regional and remote Australian recording stations. The graph of city temperatures shows an increase of about 0.8 degrees, which the IPCC claims is the average global increase over this period:
This second graph, of rural and remote stations, shows minor fluctuations, but no overall increase at all:
Now Michael Hammer has posted an article on Jennifer Marohasy’s blog which looks in much more detail at the urban heat effect in one major Australian city, Melbourne, compared with surrounding rural areas including regional centres.
The data for Ballarat, Alexandra and Mildura suggest no temperature rise at all over the measurement period and especially (Ballarat and Mildura) over the last 3 decades. Horsham data suggests some temperature rise early in the century but if anything cooling over the last 3 decades. Cape Otway is questionable, there is an 0.7C rise in minimums but a 2.1C fall in the maximums most of which occurred in the early part of the century before the rapid rise in carbon dioxide. The last 3 decades have seen a return to the temperatures of the 1920’s.
Overall one would have to say the Bureau data suggests no significant warming over the last century and in particular the last 3 decades in Victoria. On the other hand it does show significant UHI. Consider that an increase of 1.5C in the minimums for Melbourne over the last 3 decades corresponds to 5C per century. Averaging the minimum and maximum readings yields a rise from 14.7C to 15.7C over 30 years equating to 3.3C per century and Melbourne is far from the worst city in the world for UHI.
The data analysed here is real, high quality, data from Australia’s premier weather/climate organisation. It is completely at odds with the claims of about 0.6C of warming over the 20th century predominantly in the last 3- 4 decades. Is Victoria really so anomalous or are the AGW claims questionable?
The multiple frosts that have blanketed Western Canada in the last week are the most widespread in the top canola-growing province of Saskatchewan in at least five years.
In Manitoba, the frost is the worst in memory for its frequency and area covered.
But isn’t it, like, Summer up there?
But why? Losing one’s temper is usually a sign of insecurity. If global warming alarmists are so certain the evidence supports them, why don’t they just provide it?
Instead insults are thrown at Fielding and anyone who, like him, questions the dogma of warmism. Such questioners are stupid, or out of date, or in the pay of oil companies. But again, why not just provide the evidence, if it is so clear?
It had jolly well better be clear, given the enormous cost.
The world runs on energy. Cheap goods, transport, medical care, virtually every aspect of daily life we now take for granted, depends on the energy presently produced by fossil fuels.
In the form of emissions trading schemes, legislation is being proposed which will cause massive unemployment, shut down major industries, and cause a depression and depth of suffering never seen since the beginning of the industrial age.
It is not only the right of legislators to ask for clear evidence of the reasons for which such legislation is being proposed, it is an absolute obligation.
Fortunately, more and more people are becoming that aware claims of a scientific consensus, and the ‘science’ on which that consensus is supposedly based, are both a crock of doo-doo.
While we’re thinking about global warming.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center has a tool which allows you to compare the extent of sea ice in any two years from 1978 to 2009.
Here are figures for sea ice in May of three different years:
1980 Southern Hemisphere = 9.5 million sq km
1980 Northern Hemisphere = 14.0 million sq km
Total = 23.5 million sq km
2008 Southern Hemisphere = 11.5 million sq km
2008 Northern Hemisphere = 13.2 million sq km
Total = 24.7 million sq km
2009 Southern Hemisphere = 11.4 million sq km
2009 Northern Hemisphere = 13.4 million sq km
Total = 24.8 million sq km
A Russian climatologist says global warming played a ‘significant part’ in the crash of Air France flight 447 in the Atlantic a couple of days ago.
If you don’t know, you might as well make something up. Especially if what you are making up might get you some more grant money.
Reading that article reminded me of this list of all the things scientists have so far claimed are caused by global warming. The Earth spins faster. The Earth is slowing down. Widespread floods. Widespread droughts. Maple syrup production down. Maple syrup production up. Mountains breaking up. Mountains getting taller. Farmers getting richer. Farmers getting poorer. Polar bears becoming aggressive.
Well, that settles it for me. Those polar bears have always been so gol darn cute and cuddly before. I just know something’s going on.
No s%#t, Sherlock.
A study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth’s climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution. Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles. At the cycle’s peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat.
Solar activity has shown a major spike in the twentieth century, corresponding to global warming. Recent cooling corresponds to a cyclic decline in sunspot activity. Comparable up and down changes in atmospheric temperature have been observed on Mars, Jupiter, and most other places which receive light and heat from the sun.
June 1 is the beginning of the North Atlantic hurricane season. Benita Dodd, of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, notes that:
Odds are a mild hurricane season will be blamed on … global warming. Odds are an active hurricane season will be blamed on … global warming.
Global temperature has (possibly, no one is really sure) risen by about half of one degree over the last hundred years.
Given that seals have survived the last several million years of climate changes, varying from ice ages to periods considerably warmer than now, their ability to survive this miniscule change is hardly surprising.
Unless you are a raving climate catastrophist who looks for horror stories around every corner. In which case you would have been pleasantly suprised by growing numbers of protected Russian seals. Or horribly disappointed.
In further news, disobedient sea otters and polar bears also continue to increase in number.
The Tragedy of The Diocese Of The Murray.
You have never cared about me. Nobody likes me. But I am still your bishop, so do what I say. Or give me $1 million and I will leave.
That was the message from Bishop Ross Davies to members of the Anglican Diocese of The Murray at their annual meeting (synod) a week ago.
The Anglican Diocese of The Murray is a small (by Australian standards) diocese in South Australia.
I have known Ross Davies for nearly thirty years. He is an intelligent man, and a capable speaker and administrator.
He was consecrated bishop in March 2002.
At that time I was Rector of Naracoorte and Rural Dean of the South East. I was on the Bishop Election Committee. So was Bishop Ross, who was then Vicar-General of the diocese.
It was not appropriate for him to remain on the committee after his name was put forward. But he did remain, and did not excuse himself when his nomination was being discussed.
Nonetheless, he was elected, and I was happy with the result.
I preached at the Bishop’s consecration at St Peter’s cathedral. Shortly after, I was asked to be the first Dean of The Murray. I declined, believing I was still called to serve in Naracoorte. A year later I was asked again and accepted.
The bishop and I are both conservative anglo-catholics. We were of similar mind in terms of the central issues of the faith, and the role of the Diocese of The Murray in the life of the Anglican Church of Australia, and the wider Anglican Communion.
These, and our long standing friendship, were strong reasons for me to want him to succeed.
Problems began very quickly after the consecration. The Bishop had difficulty keeping his temper, and those who disagreed with him were treated like enemies. Both clergy and lay people reported feeling hurt and confused by his behaviour towards them.
Over a period of time I raised some of these concerns with him, only to be sworn at myself, and told that I had been ‘opposing him at every turn.’
I still supported the Bishop, though often with considerable embarrassment and internal conflict, in relation to some of his public actions, such as participation in the consecration of bishops for the Traditional Anglican Communion, and at his treatment of people who did not instantly agree with him, or were slow to do as he wished.
Eventually ill-feeling in the diocese rose to such a point that I wrote to the Archbishop of Adelaide and to the Primate, listing some of the major issues, and asking them to speak to Bishop Ross.
This did not happen.
As time went on the situation became completely unworkable, with the Bishop increasingly expressing resentment against the people he was called to serve, experienced clergy leaving or being sacked, and lay people refusing to come to church if the Bishop was present.
Claims that allegations of a pattern of predatory sexual abuse of women by the then Vicar-General had been ignored, or worse, deliberately covered up, were the last straw for many faithful worshippers.
The Bishop has been largely absent from the diocese for the last eighteen months.
A number of parishes have made it clear he is no longer welcome. It has been reported that the Diocesan Council has passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership. But Bishop Davies has refused to leave until he is given a payout of close to $1 million.
The Archbishop of Adelaide has complied with a request from the diocesan council of the Diocese of The Murray to open an independent investigation into Bishop Davies’ behaviour. The investigator may then recommend that a tribunal be set up which would have the power to dismiss Bishop Davies.
Bishop Davies disputes the Archbishop’s right to set up such an investigation, and the authority of any tribunal established as a result.
The categories of behaviour which a tribunal can investigate are very limited. They do not include simply being unable or unwilling to do the job of Bishop.
However, Bishop Davies is an employee of the diocese. If he is not able or willing to do the job he was appointed to do, and all attempts at negotiation have failed, the diocese is within its rights to dismiss him.
This has been suggested before, and the response has been that this would be a harsh and unforgiving thing to do. It would not.
There is much to be forgiven. And much has been forgiven. But the question is the suitability of Ross Davies to be Bishop.
It is not unforgiving to recognise that someone is not suited to the position to which he has been appointed. The last five years have been miserable for Bishop Davies and his family as well as for the diocese. The longer this crisis continues, the more harm will be done.
It is time to call an end.