Apr 15 2010
Major Update At The End!
The manufacturing of a non-crisis takes careful consideration and detailed work -and a lot of ignorance or gullibility on the part of the person being targeted with the Â faux crisis. The most notorious example of this is of course global warming, where the combination of human ingenuity and cow/pig farts is supposedly converting the world’s climate into an oven, inside which all life will die.
I used to give some miniscule benefit of doubt to the Chicken Littles from the Church of IPCC and Saint Al Gore for being well meaning, but incredibly sloppy mathematically and scientifically. But as more details come out about how well crafted the propaganda is, and how too many scientists were too lazy or greedy to challenge the propaganda, I have lost that miniscule remnant of sympathy and respect. And some recent articles help explain why.
The first article is by Richard Lindzen and was posted at WUWT. It sets the stage with this wonderfully glib, pithy and accurate observation about the core issue surrounding the exaggerated cries from warmists:
In a world where we experience temperature changes of tens of degrees in a single day, we treat changes of a few tenths of a degree in some statistical residue, known as the global mean temperature anomaly (GATA), as portents of disaster.
Earth has had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a 100,000-year cycle for the last 700,000 years, and there have been previous interglacials that appear to have been warmer than the present despite lower carbon-dioxide levels.
I could not have said it better. We are worrying about about some statistical noise. In fact, these statistical ‘signals’ are so weak and noisy that we do not know, with any certainty whatsoever, if the current climate is unique at all.
Moreover, the so-called scientists behind this knew this to be true, and covered it up. This has become clear in the CRU emails and documents made public last fall, as emphasized by the esteemed Steve McIntyre.
I am getting more and more concern about our statement that the Early Holocene was cool in the tropics – this paper shows that it was, actually, warm â€“ ice core evidences+glaciers were smaller than now in the tropical Andes. The glaciers in the Southern Hemisphere (Porter, 2000, review paper) were also smaller than at least in the Neoglacial. We do not cite Porterâ€™s paper for the reason that we actually do not know how to explain this â€“ orbital reason does not work for the SH, but if we do cite it (which is fair) we have to say that during the Early to Mid Holocene glaciers were smaller than later in both Northen, and Southern Hemisphere, including the tropics, which would contradict to our statement in the Holocene chapter and the bullet. It is probably too late to rise these questions, but still just to draw your attention.
In the world of the warmists it is always ‘too late’ for facts.
The CRU just completed a lame white-washing of the entire mess, focusing in on safe and uncontroversial reports and avoiding any claims of skeptics. Thus they have completed CRUs credibility crash. CRU will never be a respected voice in science again. Their silly investigative report does have more than one interesting admission:
Although  inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design, in  the CRU papers that we examined we did not come across any inappropriate usage although  the methods they used may not have been the best for the purpose. It is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results.  The published work also contains many cautions about the limitations of the data and their
Numbering is mine. What this says is important – and damning. Clearly the short time this investigation took (3 weeks by some estimates) was focused solely on damage control and covering up. That is how long it takes to craft this kind of legalese blabber (I know, having to help our government craft similar careful language). Let’s dissect this statement into its elements (as I have noted).
 CRU is now admitting Michael Mann’s ‘trick’ of covering up inconvenient tree ring data from 1960 onward (which would have created enormous error bars on the historic temperature record derived from tree rings) was clearly improper. What Mann did was erase CRUs ‘scientific results’ and replace it graphically with incoherent data to create his infamous hockey stick. CRU has clearly distanced itself from Mann’s little ‘trick’.
 The investigation discovered the math used was not in error – but, and this is a big ‘but’ …
 The math applied was not the right math for the assessment and conclusions. This actually violates the claims in , but hey, these people are trying to cover up a major screw up here. Cut them some slack. Anyway, I find it interesting the investigation concluded the statistics applied were not correct for the analyses or the results.
 The real kicker here is the claim CRU warned everyone the results and methods used might have produced shoddy results. A good segment of the world is running around measuring carbon footprints because these people made claims they now admit could easily be wrong.
There’s more admissions hidden throughout the report, for example:
 With very noisy data sets a great deal of judgement has to be used.  Decisions have to be made on whether to omit pieces of data that appear to be aberrant. These are all matters of experience and judgement.  The potential for misleading results arising from selection bias is very great in this area.  It is regrettable that so few professional statisticians have been involved in this work because it is fundamentally statistical. Under such circumstances there must be an obligation on researchers to document the judgemental decisions they have made so that the work can in principle be replicated by others.
Statement  clearly notes that the historical temperature record derived from proxies is mostly guessing, not hard fact. Tree ring data especially has too many other factors driving ring size and density of the rings to confidently claim you can extrapolate a regional temperature (let alone a global one). In addition, temperature is a step function in tree rings – either on or off, either dormant or growing. Above a certain trigger temperature, growth is NOT dependent on temperature at all.
Statements  &  combined is an admission that CRU filtered out some data in their analysis. They selected data in a manner that changed the result. They selected data in a manner that ensured the result would be in line with global warming theories. Statement  admits to the filtering of input data, statement  admits this filtering altered the conclusions.
Statement  is an admission CRU needed outside help and some skeptical eyes to stop them from creating biased inputs which created biased outputs using improper statistics.
The report really is a fascinating exercise in admitting to wholesale screw ups without not actually doing so. Give credit where credit is due, these people know how to produce finely crafted spin. Sadly for them, there are those of us who know how to decompose this propaganda back into its normal, blunt form.
So how wrong where CRU – and by extension the IPCC? Well that brings us to the smoking gun. Willis Eschenbach posted on WUWT another brilliant tutorial, this time on how to present data for effect. He shows the following graph of that statistical residue Lindzen mentioned (click to enlarge):
Horrifying isn’t it? The eye is drawn to that bold red line (in degrees Fahrenheit in order to increase the upward slop). What the eye misses is that light blue line showing the actual annual variation. When one studies that line we see it is as warm now as in the 1930’s and 1940’s (blowing another hole into the warmists doom and gloom screeds).
When the data is presented this way, that statistical residue looks down right scary. But Willis shows the SAME DATA in another form. He shows the temperature variation by year and by month, and he shows it not as a difference (tenths of a degree) but in the actual temperature value:
Now what we see is a bunch of mild variation around a very stable and regular pattern. Willis does a great job of emphasizing the true context of the Chicken Little cries:
Presented in this fashion, we are reminded that the annual variation in temperature is much, much larger than the ~ 1Â°F change in US temperatures over the last century. The most recent year, 2009 [the bold red line], is â€¦ well â€¦ about average.
You can misrepresent data by the way you chose to display it. Michael Mann covered up recent tree ring data by splicing on actual temperature measurement data. He did this to cover up the fact the recent data proved tree rings don’t accurately represent temperature. The CRU and others have exaggerated the recent variation in global temperature. But the reality is these tenth Â of a degree variation are beyond the ability of most biological systems to detect, let alone be threatened by.
All living creatures, great and small, can deal with temperature changes on the order of tenths of a degree. We all do it every year as temperatures shift by many tens of degrees. The planet has experienced times warmer and colder than now, all without the benefit of humankind being around to declare how superior it is to nature.
The fact is, the global warming con is an attempt by the left to prey on the good will and concerns of people (our inherent green side) and steal our money and independence. The left want to run the world, and they concocted this myth that the world was about to end to convince people to let them lead in order to save us all.
The only thing we need saving from is con artists with misleading graphs and poor judgement in selecting what data is valid.
Major Update: It seems real scientists and mathematicians areÂ distancing themselves big time from Dr Mann’s little graphical ‘trick’:
A key piece of evidence in climate change science was slammed as â€œexaggeratedâ€ on Wednesday by the UKâ€™s leading statistician, in a vindication of claims that global warming sceptics have been making for years.
Professor David Hand, president of the Royal Statistical Society, said that a graph shaped like an ice hockey stick that has been used to represent the recent rise in global temperatures had been compiled using â€œinappropriateâ€ methods.
It used a particular statistical technique that exaggerated the effect [of recent warming],â€ he said.
Everyone with a high school grasp of science knows not to mix data and claim they are all the same. Mann should be banned from all computing devices (except his fingers of course) for the crap he pulled with that graph. Hand goes on to deny the false data invalidates the results it purports to show. A sloppy sleight of hand in itself.