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Archive for November, 2009

Hope At Last: Scientists Retract Irreproducible Paper

Just to show that there are very good Scientists around…

Researchers are retracting a highly-cited 2004 Science paper describing a new way of adding sugars to proteins — a longstanding challenge in molecular biology — citing their inability to repeat the results and the absence of the original lab notebooks with the experiment details

AGW Belief Has Eaten My Newspaper!

2009/11/27 8 comments

(Letter sent to the International Herald Tribune)

> From: Maurizio Morabito
> To: letters@iht.com
> Cc: Subs@iht.com
> Sent: Thu, November 26, 2009 9:39:16 AM
> Subject: Missing pages in my IHT newspaper

Dear Editors

I wish to report a case of missing pages in the IHT I have received for the past couple of days.

Aa I am sure you know very well, the revelations about the ‘scientific’ practices at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia have been causing disconcert and not just among so-called skeptics.

The internal computing code notes about a futile multi-year quest to replicate their own results looks especially worthy of a good journalistic investigation. Could it really be true, that the multi-billion-dollar climate-change bandwagon might be based on computational practices that would have made Enron’s Ken Lay proud?

That’s why I am sure you have been dedicating many pages to the topic and I have just been unlucky as those pages were not included so far in my paper.

So please send them along. I know you have published a piece by NYT’s Andy Revkin a couple of days ago. That is the same Revkin that appears to be treated as a credulous media tool in a couple of the leaked emails, so forgive me if I skip his future contributions if any (as they will be the product either of personal anger or further credulosity).

Please do not betray the trust of this longtime subscriber. I really cannot believe the naysayers claiming you have been silent on this topic because afraid of the legal implications of those emails and other documents among the leaks.

Regards

Maurizio Morabito

ClimateGate: Had It Been For AGW Believers, Enron Would Still Be In Business

2009/11/26 1 comment

Professor Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer of the UEA, quoted yesterday by Willis Eschenbach in a comment to his “Freedom of information, my okole…“:

The University [of East Anglia, home of the CRU] takes its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and the Data Protection Act 1998 very seriously and has, in all cases, handled and responded to requests in accordance with its obligations under each particular piece of legislation.

Kenneth Lay answering an analyst’s question on August 14, 2001, as quoted in Wikipedia:

There are no accounting issues, no trading issues, no reserve issues, no previously unknown problem issues. I think I can honestly say that the company is probably in the strongest and best shape that it has probably ever been in.

All That’s Wrong With Global Warming Advocates

2009/11/24 18 comments

(a Jul 30, 2003 blog of mine on Ecademy…not much has changed. Or has it?)

In a few words here by John Houghton, former chief executive of the British Meteorological Office

Human induced global climate change is a weapon of mass destruction at least as dangerous as nuclear, chemical or biological arms, a leading British climate scientist said Monday

Well, I refuse to join Mr Houghton and his fellow scaremongers and agitators.

Human-caused Climate Change is something big enough to be extra-ordinary enough to warrant extra-ordinary proof.

For heaven’s sake, somebody is claiming that humans can have effects over a planet-wide phenomenon. Those same humans that can’t predict earthquakes, can’t switch off a volcano, can’t change the course of ocean currents, can’t stop hurricanes, can’t make sustainable quantities of rain, can’t even generate nor control wind (of the non-intestinal variety). We have no idea of entire major waterflows in the North Atlantic, and yet somebody thinks to be able to cause (and to tell) a few degrees difference in the Earth’s climate over 50 or 100 years?

Vague threats and doom-and-gloom scenarios make little sense. Give me a break. Or give me evidence that the climate is really changing because of humans. For example by showing what is the difference between the current temperature changes and those that happened over 3 or 4 years at the end of the “little ice age” in the mid-1800s (surely those were not man-made)? Or by showing how the amount of emissions by humans can compare to the natural ones?

Or by comparing the energy used and release by humans to that involved in the Earth’s working on a daily basis? To understand the situation, I did some quick computations last year to find out that all energy ever generated by humans would rise the ocean temperature by hundredths if not thousandth (0.01 to 0.001) of a degree…ours is still a big planet indeed, tampering with it requires enormous quantities of energy and I am aware of little work done in planetary engineering.

My mind is open to explanations, and I can definitely talk to people saying “Beware the climate beast“. But I won’t listen to those that panic to claim that the world is ending tomorrow (or this century, or this millennium).

Willis vs. The CRU: A History of (FOI) Evasion

2009/11/24 137 comments

(a guest blog by Willis Eschenbach, originally posted to the Climate Sceptics mailing list. Published almost completely as-is).

An excerpt for those without time to read it all

the issue is not Trenberth or scientists talking smack. It is the illegal evasion of legitmate scientific requests for data needed to replicate a scientific study. Without replication, science cannot move forwards. And when you only give data to friends of yours, and not to people who actually might take a critical look at it, you know what you end up with? A “consensus” …

Freedom of information, my okole…
by Willis Eschenbach

People seem to be missing the real issue in the CRU emails. Gavin over at realclimate keeps distracting people by saying the issue is the scientists being nasty to each other, and what Trenberth said, and the Nature “trick”, and the like. Those are side trails. To me, the main issue is the frontal attack on the heart of science, which is transparency.

Science works by one person making a claim, and backing it up with the data and methods that they used to make the claim. Other scientists attack the work by (among other things) trying to replicate the first scientist’s work. If they can’t replicate it, it doesn’t stand. So blocking the FOIA allowed Phil Jones to claim that his temperature record (HadCRUT3) was valid science.

This is not just trivial gamesmanship, this is central to the very idea of scientific inquiry. This is an attack on the heart of science, by keeping people who disagree with you from ever checking your work and seeing if your math is correct.

Read more…

The CRU Hacking Song (With Apologies To George And Ira Gershwin)

2009/11/23 11 comments

(And no…I am not going to leave my day job)

 

 

 

It ain’t necessarily so

It ain’t necessarily so
It ain’t necessarily so
The t’ings dat yo’ li’ble
To read in de IPCC,
It ain’t necessarily so.

Li’l CO2 was small, but oh my !
Li’l CO2 was small, but oh my !
He fought Big Solar Influence
Who lay down an’ dieth !
Li’l CO2 was small, but oh my !

Wadoo, zim bam boddle-oo,
Hoodle ah da wa da,
Scatty wah !
Oh yeah !…

Oh Phil Jones, he lived in de CRU,
Oh Phil Jones, he lived in de CRU,
Fo’ he made his home in
Dat institute’s warming.
Oh Phil Jones, he lived in de CRU.

Li’l Mann was fond of a trend.
Li’l Mann was fond of a trend.
He floated on bristlecones
Till Ol’ Briffa and colleagues,
They saved him, they said, and dat trend.

Wadoo …

Well, it ain’t necessarily so
Well, it ain’t necessarily so
Dey tells all you chillun
De skepticism’s a villun,
But it ain’t necessarily so !

To get with the Science
Don’ bet your emissions!
Live clean ! Don’ have no pollution !
Oh, I takes dat IPCC gospel
Whenever it’s pos’ble,
But wid a grain of salt.

Gavin Schmidt wrote nine hundred blogs,
Gavin Schmidt wrote nine hundred blogs,
But who calls dat writin’
When no reality will give in
To no man with nine hundred blogs ?

I’m preachin’ dis sermon to show,
It ain’t nece-ain’t nece
Ain’t nece-ain’t nece
Ain’t necessarily … so !

Raise Your Hands If You’re Ready To Handle (Dishonest) Data Tampering

2009/11/23 4 comments

(comment posted at Greenfyre’s)

Greenfyre: if there is a subsequent release and it contains actual credible evidence of data tampering, I will say so

And that’s good enough for me.

After “ClimateGate” the consensus is still there, the AGW science is still there, COP15 will still take place, etc etc. What is dead is the notion that climatological alarmism is a nicely consensual necessary conclusion of an unbiased reading of the data, rather than a reasonable worldview based on observations but that might just as well be supplanted by a different one.

I just hope that in the eyes of all, “catastrophical AGW” is now a little less like “General Relativity” and a little more like “String theory”.

And even if the work of hundreds hasn’t been invalidated, still there is enough ongoing “power politics” activity at CRU (and elsewhere) to warrant a different approach to AGW skepticism. The problem is in fact not much in scientists that have an “ideology of science”, rather with scientists whose ideology involves stifling debate and censoring those who do not follow orthodoxy.

How many of those quoted would be prepared to “say so” if any “credible evidence of (dishonest) data tampering” were to surface?

R.I.P.

2009/11/22 1 comment

The CRU…CRU…CRU…el Destiny Of Climatology

2009/11/20 16 comments

Twenty-four hours later, we can be pretty sure that of “smoking guns” in the leaked CRU documents there are none. Everyone can read that information any way they please, as evidence of a global conspiracy or demonstration that climate science is solid and honest.

Whatever…now there’s a little bit more people aware that Science is done by humans, with their preferences and dislikes, their personal beliefs, and capable to use all the tricks of “power politics” to isolate opponents and to support friends. At the end of the day, the problem is not much in scientists that have an “ideology of science”. There’s plenty of it in history, from the controversy about the wave-particle nature of light to the patriotic debates about who invented calculus.

The problem is with scientists whose ideology involves stifling debate and censoring those who do not follow orthodoxy.

Let’s just hope there will be less of that…especially because the alternative is the piling up of yet more revelations, transforming it all in some kind of “climate tabloid journalism”.

A New Maximum For Climate Hubris

2009/11/19 10 comments

What should one wisely think upon discovering that 200-year-old remarks sound as if uttered today?

  • within the last 40 or 50 years there has been a very great observable change of climate
  • a change in our climate … is taking place very sensibly
  • men are led into numberless errors by drawing general conclusions from particular facts

Why, one might start considering the possibility that a lot of the climate debate is as relevant and as important today as a discussion about the relaxation of costumes, the good old days and the decline in University exam standards (=something more or less in the news since the times of Cato the Censor some 23 centuries ago).

But of course…no, now it is different! Now “we have satellites monitoring high-latitude snow cover, thinning sea ice and deep-layered atmospheric temperature increases, coupled with ground observations revealing the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro (85 percent ice loss since 1912) and many other glaciers“.

In its modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, not always with the lack of knowledge

Dear Tom Friedman, Please Look At The Forest Instead Of The Trees

In “What They Really Believe” (NYT, Nov 17), Tom Friedman states (before the usual tirade against “willfully blind” non-believers in global warming):

if you follow the debate around the energy/climate bills working through Congress you will notice that the drill-baby-drill opponents of this legislation are now making two claims. One is that the globe has been cooling lately, not warming, and the other is that America simply can’t afford any kind of cap-and-trade/carbon tax

I am afraid Mr Friedman is missing the most important point.

If you follow the debate around the energy/climate bills working through Congress, and what has already come out of it in the House of Representatives, you will not find anything remotely like the “serious energy/climate bill” global warming advocates such as Mr Friedman are opining for.

Surely not even “green hawks” believe that the pork-laden 1,400-pages of the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009” (aka “Waxman-Markey”) will bring anything practical about climate change? Unless, that is, one is talking about “green hawks” that are “willfully blind“, and (literally) “hurting America’s future to boot“.

The BBC ‘Catastrophical AGW’ All-Out Assault Has Started!

2009/11/18 9 comments

COP15 is three weeks away, and as expected things are getting hotter by the minute in AGW media outlets such as the BBC.

Just a quick look at Nov 17: in the Science & Environment home page, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten stories with a single focus.

Then incredibly in the “Scotland” pages an article and a video, part of a “three part special” filmed…in Thailand! Including what is likely to be the silliest ever report ending: “Fiona Walker, reporting Scotland, in the Gulf of Thailand

(alas, they could kid themselves only up to a point: the “three part special” is classified under “Scotland politics” and Ms Walker clearly introduced as “BBC Scotland’s social affairs reporter“).

It is going to get worse before it gets better.

Christofides and Mamassis (Koutsoyannis) Against AGW

2009/11/17 1 comment

Two of Koutsoyannis’ co-authors (here and here) have contacted me today providing a link to their HK Climate website, designed the old-fashioned way with a Start page and an Epilogue (and About).

The two Koutsoyannis et al.’s are of course the papers arguing that climate models “won’t reproduce the local climate” and any “statement that the predictions would work at [a] longer distance scales is unsupported” (in the words of Luboš).

HK Climate has definitely been written for non-specialists. A couple of quotes:

  • (from the Start page) “we maintain that there is no reason whatsoever to worry about man-made climate change, because there is no evidence whatsoever that such a thing is happening
  • (from the Epilogue page) “Climate is equally uncertain at all zoom levels. In fact, mathematical analysis of the climate indicates that its behaviour is such that the uncertainty is the maximum possible at all zoom levels. This maximisation of uncertainty at all scales is called the Hurst-Kolmogorov behaviour of climatic processes. Nature loves uncertainty, and it fools us in two ways: on the one hand we wouldn’t be able to predict the future of climate, even if we fully knew the natural laws that govern it, because of chaos; and on the other hand, we can’t be very certain of the statistically expected behaviour of climate which is based on our observations of the past, because of the Hurst-Kolmogorov behaviour.”

Sheer Sobriety And Seriousness Are Needed For Climate Fix

In his quest to find how to ‘change any minds‘ about the need for a ‘climate fix‘, Tom Zeller Jr repeats the tired mantras of climate campaigners such as former US Vice president Al Gore (‘Sheer will is needed for climate fix‘, NYT, Nov 16, 2009), including an alleged lack of ‘capacity to respond quickly‘ to dangers that are not ‘tangible in the here and now‘, and the general inability to pass laws anywhere on a carbon tax.

I have a more profane explanation.

Precisely because ‘virtually every Pavlovian trigger discovered in the human brain is now pulled by advertisers‘ (in the words of Mr Gore), people have grown smarter and more skeptical to concocted gimmicks such as those incredibly mentioned by Mr Zeller, i.e. the cat video with fake subtitles and the Maldives Government’s antics scuba-diving in the latest gear to submerged desks (one hopes they found a way for the manufacturers to pay for the publicity).

The cause for a serious analysis and management of climate change is further undermined by the constant barrage of absurdly bad news, once again taking up a prominent space in Mr Zeller’s article: climate change causing mental health problems, women faring worse than men, golf participation plummeting. Who in their right mind could ever believe that everything and anything will be negatively affected by climate change?

The desire of too many to rethorically batter the general public into climate submission by including evermore far-fetched and scary statements however flimsy the evidence and surreal the claim, can only harden the public’s resistance to do anything at all, not just about purported disasters of the year 2100 but also concerning those of 2010.

Unless and until the likes of Mr Zeller, let alone the average climate crusader, get such a simple point, I am afraid it is going to be plenty of fruitless talking, grand posturing and ridiculous feline videos for a long long time. And minds will keep changing, yes, but in the sense of turning away from climate action.

Dr Who Doesn’t Believe In Climate Change

2009/11/17 1 comment

Dr Who doesn’t believe in climate change…at least, that’s what is apparent from this picture of somewhere in the UK (presumably, London), dated Nov 21, 2059:

Dr Who: Nov 21, 2059

Dr Who: Nov 21, 2059

(yes I was beaten to this)

The latest Dr Who episode “The Waters of Mars” is unlikely to be available outside of the UK, so I won’t provide any detail about the circumstances of the above 😎

Notably, Dr Who’s resurrecter Russel T Davies is mentioned in a March 2008 Daily Mail article as having said that “the only plot he would avoid was the environment because he could not give audiences a happy ending“. But having watched every one of this century’s episodes, I really cannot recall any meaningful (non-playful) reference to global warming or climate change.

Notably, according to “an exclusive-to-Internet Doctor Who short story that was published on the BBC website as part of the 2007 Doctor Who Advent Calendar” and probably read by very few, “by the 52nd century, winters never occurred due to global warming” . But humour is never far away, with lines such as “What’s your warp footprint, Doctor?

Climate Or Weather? Spot The Difference!

2009/11/13 2 comments

‘Climate Swap’…Coming Soon To Your TV?

Inspired by Connolley’s 5-fold “oh dear”, about Gavin’s and Roger Jr.‘s mutual displays of affection:

Climate Swap“: Two groups of academicians, usually holding vastly different stances on AGW, swap professors/students (and sometimes janitors) for two weeks. In fact, the programme will usually deliberately swap scholars with extreme, polar opposite AGW opinions, such as a dramatically catastrophist Nature-published author swapping with a fastidiously no-anthropogenic-warming-at-all GRL-published one. Despite using a phrase from the swinging lifestyle, professors participating in the show do not share a bed with the “swapped” scholar while “swapping” AGW belief.

‘Changing Climate…Changing People’ Hollywood Conference Videos

2009/11/12 11 comments

Changing Climate…Changing People

On November 18, 2008, Population Media Center conducted a daylong summit called Changing Climate…Changing People. The summit was held in partnership with the Writers Guild of America West, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Women in Film and the Environmental Media Association. The summit gave attention to the health and security consequences of climate change and the role that population growth plays in accelerating the climate crisis. Writers and producers of numerous American television shows attended the Summit.

Number-Crunched Avaaz.org Shows The Hidden Meaning Of Pledges

2009/11/12 3 comments

Interesting findings in Avaaz’s website:

END THE HUNGER SCANDAL: […] some wealthy countries are threatening to renege on a new $20 billion pledge made earlier this year to boost agriculture in the poorest countries […]

FROM HERE TO A GLOBAL TREATY: […] Developed countries need to put money on the table. How much? According to the Climate Action Network International policy paper, $150 billion per year, additional to existing aid, and raised from auction allowances. The European Commission Communication on Climate Financing is talking on a similar scale at least, calling for €50 billion annually by 2020 […]

Would anybody now please stand up and tell the world they believe it will be any easier to extract billions of dollars from “Developed countries” in 2020 than it is now?

UK Government: Met Office Source Code ‘Available For External Use’

2009/11/10 2 comments

As one of the signatories of the epetition on “CRU Source codes” I just received the following message:

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: 10 Downing Street
To: e-petition signatories
Sent: Tue, November 10, 2009 4:18:55 PM
Subject: Government response to petition ‘CRUSourceCodes’

You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to “Force the Climate Research Unit, or other publicly funded organisations to release the source codes used in their computer models.”

The Prime Minister’s Office has responded to that petition and you can view it here:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page21266

Prime Minister’s Office

Petition information – http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/CRUSourceCodes/

And this is the text from that page 21266 (my emphasis):

The Government is strongly committed to the principles of freedom of information, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 specifically implement our international obligations over access to environmental information. The Met Office’s commitment to openness and transparency in the conduct of their operations and to the sharing of information is set out clearly on their website (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/legal/foi.html).

Simple and transparent licences are in place to facilitate the re-use of the Met Office’s meteorological and climate data, and large quantities are freely available for academic and personal use, for example through the UK Climate Impacts Programme and the British Atmospheric Data Centre.

The Met Office’s climate models are configurations based on the Unified Model (UM), the numerical modelling system developed and used by the Met Office to produce all their weather forecasts and climate predictions.

You may be interested to know that the UM, including source code, is available for external use under licence. For general research, the licence is free; the Met Office just asks individuals to submit an abstract describing the research to be undertaken, and to provide an annual report describing the work undertaken, the results achieved and future work plans.

To improve access to their climate models, the Met Office has worked with Reading and Bristol Universities and NERC to develop a low-resolution version which can be run on a PC and is available to all UM licence holders.

Further Information on how to apply for a research licence can be found on the Met Office website.

(http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/science/creating/working_together/um_collaboration.html)

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