I am a climate scientist,
and it is clear that the evidence that “human activity
is prominent [sic] agent in global warming” is NOT
overwhelming. The repeated statement that it is does not
make it so. Further, even if we accepted the hypothesis,
cap-and-trade legislation does not do anything about it.
Here are the facts. We have known for
years that the Mann hockey stick model was wrong, and we
know why it was wrong (Mann used only selected data to normalize
the principal component analysis, not all of it). He retracted
the model. We have known for years that the Medieval Warm
period occurred, where the temperatures were higher than
they are now (Chaucer spoke of vineyards in northern England).
Long before ClimateGate it was known
that the IPCC people were trying to fudge the data to get
rid of the MWP. And for good reason. If the MWP is “allowed”
to exist, this means that temperatures higher than today
did not then create a “runaway greenhouse” in
the Middle Ages with methane released from the Arctic tundra,
ice cap albedo lost, sea levels rising to flood London,
etc. etc.), and means that Jim Hansen’s runaway greenhouse
that posits only amplifying feedbacks (and no damping feedbacks)
will not happen now. We now know that the models on which
the IPCC alarms are based do not do clouds, they do not
do the biosphere, they do not explain the Pliocene warming,
and they have never predicted anything, ever, correctly.
As the believers know but, like religious
faithful, every wrong prediction (IPCC underestimated some
trends) is claimed to justify even greater alarm (not that
the models are poor approximations for reality); the underpredictions
(where are the storms? Why “hide the decline”?)
are ignored or hidden.
As for CO2, we have known for years that
CO2 increases have never in the past 300,000 years caused
temperature rise (CO2 rise trails temperature increase).
IPCC scientists know this too (see their “Copenhagen
Diagnosis”); we know that their mathematical fudges
that dismiss the fact that CO2 has not been historically
causative of temperature rise are incorrect as well. We
have also known for years that the alleged one degree temperature
rise from 1880 vanishes if sites exposed to urban heat islands
are not considered.
We have long known that Jones’s paper
dismissing this explanation (Jones, et al. 1990. Assessment
of urbanization effects in time series of surface air temperature
over land, Nature 347 169- 172) is wrong and potentially
fraudulent (see the same data used to confirm urban heat
islands in Wang, W-C, Z. Zeng, T. R Karl, 1990. Urban
Heat Islands in China. Geophys. Res. Lett. 17, 2377-2380).
Everyone except Briffa knows that the Briffa conclusions
are wrong, and why they are wrong; groups in Finland, Canada
(lots of places actually) show cooling by this proxy, not
warming; the IPCC even printed the Finn’s plot upside
down to convert the fact (cooling) into the dogma (warming).
Prof. McCarthy is, of course, part of the IPCC
that has suppressed dissenting viewpoints based on solid
climate science. His claim to support by “peer review”
is nonsense; he has helped corrupt the peer review process.
We now have documentary evidence that Jones, Mann, and the
other IPCC scientists have been gaming peer review and blackballing
opponents. On this point, the entire IPCC staff, including
Prof. McCarthy, neither have nor deserve our trust.
We have tolerated years of the refusal of Mann
and Jones to release data. Now, we learn that much
of these data were discarded (one of about 4 data sets that
exist), something that would in any other field of science
lead to disbarment. We have been annoyed by Al Gore, who
declared this science “settled”, refused to
debate, and demonized skeptics (this is anti-science: debate
and skepticism are the core of real science, which is never
settled). The very fact that Prof. McCarthy attempts to
bluff Congress by asserting the existence of fictional “overwhelming
evidence” continues this anti-science activity.
All of this was known before Climategate.
What was not known until now was the extent to which Jones
and Mann were simply deceiving themselves (which happens
often in science) or fraudently attempting to deceive others.
I am not willing to crucify Jones on the word “trick”.
Nor, for that matter, on the loss of primary data, keeping
only “value added” data (which is hopelessly
bad science, but still conceivably not fraud).
But the computer code is transparently fraudulent [or
at the very least, transparent evidence of intention to
commit fraud - Ed]. Here, one finds matrices that add
unexplained numbers to recent temperatures and subtract
them from older temperatures (these numbers are hard-programmed
in), splining observational data to model data, and other
smoking guns, all showing that they were doing what was
necessary to get the answers that the IPCC wanted, not the
answers that the data held. They knew what they were doing,
and why they were doing it.
If, as Prof. McCarthy insists, “peer review”
was functioning, and the IPCC reports are rigorously
peer reviewed, why was this not caught? When placing it
in context made it highly likely that this type of fraud
The second question is: Will this revelation
be enough to cause the “global warming believers”
to abandon their crusade, and for people to return to sensible
environmental science (water use, habitat destruction, land
use, this kind of thing)? Perhaps it will.
Contrary to Prof. McCarthy’s assertion,
we have not lost just one research project amid dozens of
others that survive. A huge set of primary data are apparently
gone. Satellite data are scarcely 40 years old. Everything
is interconnected, and anchored on these few studies. Even
without the corruption of the peer review process, this
is as big a change as quantum mechanics was in physics a
But now we know that peer review was corrupted,
and that no “consensus” exists. The “2500
scientists agree” number is fiction (God knows who
they are counting, but to get to this number, they must
be including referees, spouses, and pets).
The best argument now for AGW is to argue
that CO2 is, after all, a greenhouse gas, its concentration
is, after all, increasing, and feedbacks that regulated
climate for millions of years might (we can hypothesize)
be overwhelmed by human CO2 emissions. It is a hypothesis
worthy of investigation, but it has little evidentiary support.
Thus, there is hope that Climategate will bring
to an end the field of political climatology, and
allow climatology to again become a science. That said,
people intrinsically become committed to ideas. The Pope
will not become a Protestant even if angel Gabriel taps
him on the shoulder and asks him to. Likewise, Prof. McCarthy
may claim until the day he retires that there remains “overwhelming
support” for his position, even if every last piece
of data supporting it is controverted. As a graduate student
at Harvard, I was told that fields do not advance because
people change their minds; rather, fields advance because
Posted by Sean December 2, 09 11:26 PM
I can only hope that
more people in the climate field stick their heads
above the parapet and tell it like it is.
Adapted from Watts
Up With That guest post by John A