Climategate? Not likely.

In case you were unaware, hackers got into the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) servers and published hundreds to thousands of documents and private communications from CRU climate scientists that pertain to climate disruption. And the climate disruption denial and conservative blogs have subsequently gone completely apeshit over it. The Wonk Room has a few of the better quotes from the deniers:

“If you own any shares in alternative energy companies I should start dumping them NOW,” says the Telegraph’s James Delingpole.

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey claims the emails discuss “repetitive, false data of higher temperatures.”

The National Review’s Chris Horner salivates, “The blue-dress moment may have arrived.”

“The crimes revealed in the e-mails promise to be the global warming scandal of the century,” blares Michelle Malkin.

The Australia Herald-Sun’s Andrew Bolt claims the emails are “proof of a conspiracy which is one of the largest, most extraordinary and most disgraceful in moderrn [sic] science.”

So, do these emails and documents represent proof of a “conspiracy” and “scandal”? At this point it seems highly unlikely, and the more that people look at the illegally-obtained emails and documents, the less likely it will become. Here’s why.

First, there has been much ado made about some emails that supposedly talk about “tricks” and procedures to “hide the decline”, as well as other words used that indicate that the CRU scientists (and their various correspondents) were lying about their data (something that RealClimate discusses). And it’s much ado about nothing (with apologies to Shakespeare). I work in electrical engineering where I use words and phrases that, taken out of context, could be misinterpreted as nefarious by people who are ignorant of the context or who have an axe to grind. For example, I regularly talk about “fiddling with” or “twiddling” the data, “faking out” something, “messing around with” testing, and so on. In the first case, I’m analyzing the data to see if I can make it make sense or if I can extract the signal from the noise. In the second case, I’m often forced to force a piece of electronics into a specific mode manually so I can test it and verify some other function, or I use the phrase to provide artificial test data for calibration and/or verification that my electronics are working correctly. And in the third case, it usually involves trying to deduce whether a problem is caused by the electronic board I;m testing or by the equipment that is doing the testing.

Second, it might be unpolitical to say that you’ll be happy when someone died, or that Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts are pricks and assholes, but that doesn’t make the statements a scandal. I personally was happy when former Senator Jesse Helms died, and I will probably enjoy a drink of expensive scotch when Marc Morano, James Inhofe, and Steve Milloy kick the bucket. And I’ve got no problem calling someone like Joe D’Aleo a liar or Steve Milloy an oxygen thief. If that makes me a bad person, well, I’m OK with that. I expect that most people hold enough contempt for some of their enemies to relish it when they die. So it’s not political and it’s not nice or decent, but it’s also not scandalous. It’s still human, and scientists are just as human as anyone else.

Third and probably most importantly, no matter how much the deniers scream, these emails aren’t likely to reveal any evidence of scientific malfeasance. And even if they do, there’s an entire globe of researchers whose independent research has bolstered the case that climate disruption is real and that it’s predominantly caused by human civilization. It will take more than even a couple of thousand emails to knock the massive, reinforced scientific foundation that underlies anthropogenic climate disruption.

And let’s not forget – the emails and documents were obtained illegally. If there is truly damning information (such as a critical scientist or three overtly saying stuff along the lines of “I fudged my data and nobody caught me. You lost the bet – pay up.”), then the illegality of the release will fade somewhat in the face of other data. But if not, this hack will be a major problem for not only the hackers who released it but also for all the people who are republishing the emails. Hacking is illegal, but in some states and countries, releasing private email correspondence is considered breach of privacy and is thus also a crime.

Finally, let’s point out that some of the people here screaming the loudest from their soapboxes are hypocrites (such as Michelle Malkin and Ed Morrissey). If the hackers had got into military computers and released private communications, they’d be screaming for the hackers’ blood and demanding that any site republishing the emails be brought up on federal charges. But here they’re screaming for the victim’s blood. If hacking and leaking emails is wrong, then it’s wrong. Claiming that it’s wrong when a leak targets your friends but OK when it targets your enemy makes you a hypocrite and a political hack worthy of nothing but disdain.

There’s a chance that the hack will end the career of a scientists or two, probably for political reasons. But the supposedly damning emails the conservatives and deniers are touting are nothing of the sort. And given how strong the science is, it can survive this latest round of denier dirty tricks.

For anyone interested, here’s a link to a Memeorandum page where there’s lots of links about this topic.

101 comments on “Climategate? Not likely.

  1. Look, the e-mails are there, and if I point at them and shriek very loudly I instantaneously have proved my point. Don’t be silly, now.

    Here’s the thing, actually trying to prove that these e-mails don’t mean that thousands of scientists worldwide haven’t formed a gigantic cabal in order to… Destroy he hopes and dreams of caucasian middle-class families (or something) is a fool’s game. You can’t win against people who value the appearance of correctness over actual correctness.

    Go over their heads and keep hammering the politicians with the economic and scientific truth. You might lose some impressionable minds to the noise, but politicians don’t need mandates to safeguard the future and the well-being of many millions of third-world people.

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  3. You can’t win against people who value the appearance of correctness over actual correctness.

    Should be said again and again and again and…

  4. Pingback: This is not good, the CRU computer hack « Greenfyre’s

  5. “You warmers are truly a despicable bunch.”

    And you are a weak coward and an embarrassment to those who know you. One of the many reasons I support climate legislation is because it frustrates people who deserve it – I’m not ashamed to admit it and I don’t think it devalues the cause either. Hearing the usual suspects shriek about “cap-and-tax” nourishes me.

    Unless you are joking or something. Irony and the internet, ya know.

  6. I agree with Axel.

    Despite the massive evidence of fraud, deceit, deception, dishonesty, violation of basic scientific principles, etc. found throughout these emails over the course of the last decade, I still believe!!!!!!

    My faith is unshakable!

    Praise Gore!

  7. Pingback: Skeptics claim stolen emails prove global warming a hoax | Raw Story

  8. Sure–and when Tony Soprano said he wanted a hit on someone, he meant that he wanted them to be in a popular broadway show.

    Sorry, the old “you rubes are too simple-minded to understand the complexities of scholarly thought” routine doesn’t work anymore. Except on the Press, of course. They are stupid enough to buy anything you throw out there.

  9. The only solution is to reduce population, starting with the dumbest.

    Ending global warming won’t bring genocided species back.

    We need fewer humans… specifically, fewer stupid ones.

  10. “Despite the massive evidence of fraud, deceit, deception, dishonesty, violation of basic scientific principles, etc. found throughout these emails over the course of the last decade, I still believe!!!!!!

    My faith is unshakable!”

    Except there’s no evidence of any of that in the emails. But you believe there is, because some logic-challenged, honesty-bereft wingnuts with blogs say there is. Your faith really is unshakable.

  11. Lets for a moment just say that it was a conspiracy among scientists. Maybe they just wanted people to pick up trash, recycle, use less water, and burn less. I’d be fine with that.

    What is unbelievable is that there is really no proof that these e-mails exist. I also bet most deniers haven’t visited China and witnessed the yellow haze that blankets the country.

    On a side note it was 60 degrees today in Buffalo, and we haven’t had one flake of snow, and only about 2 frosts so far.

  12. The wheels are coming off the Global Warming gravy-train. We KNOW the earth has cooled for at least the last 11 years, we KNOW that the RCU has refused peer review, or to release their source data. We know they’ve hidden temperature transients. It’s like the original Catholic church control of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the truth will out – and it’s coming out now. This scandal has gone on long enough. Just google “missingsignature.pdf” and it all unravels…

    60 deg’s in Buffalo, that’s weather, not bloody climate. Keep up at the back!

  13. “Sorry, the old “you rubes are too simple-minded to understand the complexities of scholarly thought” routine doesn’t work anymore.”

    You are the one claiming something about the emails. You have to show your work and explain how one snippet actually *proves* that any manipulation or skirting of the scientific process ended up in the final reports, moron. Do you go up to schoolteachers and say “I already know that stuff, I shouldn’t have to do the exams!”

    “On a side note it was 60 degrees today in Buffalo, and we haven’t had one flake of snow, and only about 2 frosts so far.”

    That doesn’t prove anything, Darrell. There’s always an anecdote of coolness to negate one of hotter weather.

  14. Pingback: Here’s what we know so far: CRU’s emails were hacked, the 2000s will easily be the hottest decade on record, and the planet keeps warming thanks to us! | Going Green

  15. “There’s always an anecdote of coolness to negate one of hotter weather”

    Of course there are periods of coolness, but on a graph over time the trend line for temperature is going up. I was simply enjoying the global warming.

  16. Can’t decide which to comment on.
    This one?

    Axel Edgren, November 20, 2009 at 6:19 pm :
    “ One of the many reasons I support climate legislation is because it frustrates people who deserve it – I’m not ashamed to admit it “.

    Or Brett Stevens “We need fewer humans… specifically, fewer stupid ones.”

    They both sound like crackerjack election slogans for Babs Boxer.

  17. well, the e-mail about them trying to create their own peer reviewed journal is pretty damning. Further, the e-mails where they describe how they want people to delete e-mails is also pretty bad. there appears to be a lot of evidence here.

    I would say its a bit premature for this blog to say “this is not a story because I used the word fudge at my job”. . . its similar but not the same. IF there were bush era e-mails about fudging the intelligence on iraq, people would be in conniptions.

    you don’t want to be on the wrong side of this story. If these guys come out and admit wrongdoing your credibilty tanks with them.

    • Lacrosse – first off, I didn’t use the word “fudge” to describe my job, and neither did they. My point was that, unless some of the CRU scientists came out and admitted that they “fudged” data, what’s here thus far is context dependent and examples of poor judgment, but not of conspiracy.

      I haven’t read the email (about the journal) you’re referring to. Got a link?

  18. “You are the one claiming something about the emails. You have to show your work and explain how one snippet actually *proves* that any manipulation or skirting of the scientific process ended up in the final reports, moron.”

    No actually we just have to remember what you said, and cheer you on to even bigger and more over the top pronouncments, while you alienate all the “morons” for the 2010 elections.

    Tell me more about how I’m stupid and need exterminatin.

  19. Finally, let’s point out that some of the people here screaming the loudest from their soapboxes are hypocrites (such as Michelle Malkin and Ed Morrissey). If the hackers had got into military computers and released private communications, they’d be screaming for the hackers’ blood and demanding that any site republishing the emails be brought up on federal charges

    We don’t need a hypothetical here. All we need to do is look back a little over a year ago when Sarah Palin’s email was hacked. These people were out for blood when it came to the hacker. Now they love hacked emails.

  20. “there’s an entire globe of researchers whose independent research has bolstered the case that climate disruption is real and that it’s predominantly caused by human civilization”

    so you accept their “research” and discount the entire globe of researchers whose independent research has bolstered the case that climate disruption (quite the word, eh?) is not a cycle or predominantly caused by human civilization?

    • Null01 – I read the papers of both the experts in the field and their critics, and at this point the preponderance of scientific data points to anthropogenic causes for climate disruption and to problems in the critics’ methodology. So no, I don’t ignore Singer, Soon, Baliunas, Christy, Douglass, Singer, et al. It’s because I’ve studied their work and understand the math, science, and data well enough to do most of it myself that I discount the critics’ positions.

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  22. When I first read the “Tricks” email, I immediately assumed someone would try to bury it with a context argument.

    You, sir, win the prize. But you get extra moron points for arguing that your experience in electrical engineering is relevant here.

    • RH, electrical engineering is a math-heavy, science-based technical discipline with a specialized internal language that requires some foreknowledge of context to understand. Climatology is obviously science-based, but it’s also math heavy and it too has a specialized internal, context-dependent language. Most professional disciplines have similar context-dependent languages – medicine, law, marketing, public relations, business management, etc. all have terms and phrases that require a knowledge of the context in order to understand properly. I suspect that, if you’re a professional of some kind, your own job is just like this, although like most people you may not realize it.

      Context matters. If it didn’t, then everyone who took photos of a murder would get pulled in by the police for watching crows.

  23. Who are the deniers? Those who deny that there is an AGW signal in actual THERMOMETER records or those who deny that there is in fact no such signal?

    http://i45.tinypic.com/iwq8a1.jpg

    I’ve posted this far and wide with not a SINGLE valid critique resulting. Silence seems to be the only response on sites full of true believers. It shocks me that such people haven’t looked into the actual long term temperature data that exists though in hindsight it took me a couple years to run into it and in those two years I did adopt many skeptical “talking points” that I came to understand were bogus, meaning both sides are prone to hogwash.

    • I can tell you why people ignore it, Nik – it’s a single thermometer, measuring a single point on the surface of the planet. And as such, it has no statistical value in and of itself. Anyone could choose a single thermometer anywhere else on the planet to make whatever claim they wanted.

      At best, that graph is statistically meaningless for global conclusions. At worst it’s cherry-picking. And yes, those are completely valid arguments against that image, whether you think so or not.

  24. As a long time AGW supporter I must say I found the emails very disturbing.

    I don’t know if they qualify as “smoking gun” that the AGW science is bust, but I just cannot ignore it.

    I feel ashamed for the behavior of our leading scientists. Even more than feeling ashamed – I feel betrayed.

    For years I trusted that science will prevail over the unsubstantiated skeptic view. These emails reveal a very disturbing picture of ideology overriding science. Science being bent out of shape to support a hypothesis.

    They reveal unbelievable arrogance. These people whom I trusted so much think they are
    - above the law (destroying email, refusing FOIA, tax evasion)
    - above the data (“hide the decline”, remove the cooling blimp)
    - above their peers (get uncomforting journal editors fired, block skeptic publications)
    - above the rest of us (manipulate the message, presentation and media)

    I am sick to my stomach. I know there are so many other hard working scientists that have not tainted themselves. But this group – Phil Jones, Ken Briffa, Mike Man, Gavin Schmidt have casted a huge shadow of doubt over the entire field and caused a huge damage to the green movement.

    I talked with many of my friends who, like most of us, continue to believe in AGW, and we think that as long as these guys continue to lead the science and the IPCC assessments they will continue to taint all of the good work done by thousands of other scientists.

    We need to acknowledge that wrong was done. We need to replace the tainted leadership and continue the research without the air of doubt.

  25. I wonder what a hacker would find if he or she downloaded a similar number of emails written by members of the community of AGW skeptics to each other …

  26. With respect to your creds (I majored in EE at Uni. of Texas at Arlington in 1982), what you talk about in engineering is with, indeed, a specific purpose in mind. That is what engineering is about. I am an electrician and electrical instructor. Testing with a meter will show that voltage present is not always “exactly” 120 volts. However, when designing a circuit or equipment to operate, we calculate with that number and design is to accomodate slightly varying voltages in the supplied power. That is, in engineering or electrical work, we have a desired result in mind, not just accepting what is. That should be the difference between engineering and scientific discovery. Rather, it would seem, in your justification of the data tweaking of the the CRU, the sword cuts both ways. You inadvertantly describe exactly what the skeptic’s problem with AGW alarmism is. “Engineering” the data to fit a desired result, namely, the belief that Man is warming the planet through CO2.

    I have a question that I absolutely dare you to answer. Explain how CO2 or any gas is able to direct its re-emission in only one direction. It can’t but I would like to see someone try and define that. In reality, any gas will re-emit in any possible direction. Basic physics of collision (Poincare’s 3-body problem, as an example). Ignore the fact that CO2 primarily responds to 2.5 microns and 15.7 microns and most of the warming effect, if any is at 6.5 microns. Ignore the fact that most of the heat exchange rate of CO2 is in the first 20 ppm concentration and any greater concentration is approximately nil. That 20ppm is entirely in the natural signature. Explain how CO2 alone could re-direct its emissions only at the surface of the planet. Before you say gravity, remember that Einstein said that em behavior was a massless particle or behavior, which led to his development of General Relativity. Personally, I think Einstein was wrong but that’s another blog.

    • Ron – without knowing the context, however, “tweaking the data” could mean no more than running it through a low pass filter to take out high frequency noise. So long as the fact that the data has been filtered is made public and the filtered data isn’t misrepresented as raw data, the “tweaking” is just fine. And all science has a predetermined goal in mind – to prove or disprove a hypothesis. The question is whether the CRU scientists forced their data to match a predetermined outcome, and neither you nor anyone else has proven that this has happened before these emails came out, and I don’t expect that these emails will provide your evidence either.

      You’re point about CO2 emitting in one direction doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve never heard any scientist make that claim, so could you explain why you think it’s relevant?

  27. Climate scientist Roger Pielke Sr.’s comment on this

    “Comment On The Hacking Of The CRU Website”
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/comment-on-the-hacking-of-the-cru-website

    “The challenge to the IPCC community, now that their duplicity has been exposed, is to communicate to all of us why the peer-reviewed papers that we documented, and that were available in time for the IPCC review process, were considered “bad papers” and thus ignored in the IPCC report. A balanced assessment would comment on these papers, and provide the reason they disagree with their results.

    The reply by Gavin Schmidt documents the control of the IPCC process by a few individuals (see also Climate Assessment Oligarchy – The IPCC).”

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  29. “Dr. Denny, November 21, 2009 at 9:44 am :
    I wonder what a hacker would find if he or she downloaded a similar number of emails written by members of the community of AGW skeptics to each other …”

    That’s an interesting thought there Doctor. Fortunately, in almost all cases , we don’t have to worry about it. Jones, Briffa, Mann, and Schmidt have never been shy about outing private correspondences from McIntyre, McKitrick, Pielke, Peiser ect. usually in Wikipedia entries via their stooge Connolloy.

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  31. @ Brian , Here’s the temperature graph I’ve been promulgating recently : http://cosy.com/Science/Lindzenlineplot800.gif . It’s from Richard Lindzen and shows how absolutely inconsequential the entire variation in mean temperature over the century has been compared to daily temperature variance in Boston in April . This hysteria is a watermelon fraud , and it’s just sustained a severe crack .
    You’re right that an EE background should provide one with the intellectual tools to see through this idiocy . I defy you to point me to any succinct coherent derivation of mean planetary temperature with anywhere near the rigor and clarity of an undergraduate EE text . Why do these frauds present a score of models ( none of which predict the last decade ) rather than one – which as Corky Hayden points out real settled sciences do .

    • Bob – wow, five major problems in such a short comment. That’s impressive

      1. Lindzen should know better than to use that image, given his science background. First off, that image is a comparison of weather to climate, and as such shows pretty much nothing. All of those daily variations are intentionally removed from the climate data because, over the long term, they’re noise. It’s the signal, that red line, that represents the change in the climate (average weather over decades, not days, weeks, months, or even years). So the image is an attempt to convince ignorant people that the climate is negligable when it’s not.

      And second, let’s add a little more context to that image. The green line below shows the difference between the pre-industrial temperatures and the average temperature during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PTEM) or the Middle Miocene (14-16 million years ago). The Middle Miocene was when CO2 was last as high as it is at present. It’s 6 deg. C, or 10.8 deg. F. During the PETM and the Middle Miocene, sea levels were 20-40 m higher than today, and during the Middle Miocene, there were no significant ice caps anywhere on the globe.

      In addition, let’s point out that leading up to the PETM, temperatures took 20,000 years to rise 6 deg C – the latest science projects that, barring changes, it’ll take 100-200 years to rise that same amount due to human-emitted greenhouse gases. That’s a 100x increase in the rate of change.

      Going from 60 to 0 MPH in 100 seconds (nearly 2 minutes) is so slow that the passengers would barely notice. Going from 60 to 0 MPH in 1 second destroys cars and lives. The rate of change matters as much as the magnitude of the change.

      2. What evidence do you have that climate scientists and environmental reporters are, as a rule, closet communists? I’d love to hear it.

      3. The mean planetary temperature is the global spatial average of the measured temperatures. Interpolation is used to fill in holes in the surface temperature due to insufficient ground station coverage. Satellite data doesn’t have those same interpolation problem, and yet all three major satellite datasets (RSS, UAH, and UMd, which all use the same raw data but come to somewhat different conclusions) agree broadly with the surface station-derived global temperature, strongly supporting the interpolation methods used to generate the ground station data. Still, a spatial average that includes interpolation is pretty standard, undergraduate stuff.

      4. The models do predict the cooling over the last decade. The problem is that you misunderstand the function of the models – they don’t care about a single run of the model, because a single run is statistically invalid to project climate. Multiple model runs are averaged together and varied using statistical Monte Carlo techniques in order to generate a statistically valid projection instead of a singular prediction. And there have been at least two published papers that illustrated this point. For a more detailed explanation of this issue, see Point #4 in my response to a comment on another post here.

      5. There’s a number of reasons why there are multiple models, but they mostly boil down to two things. The first is the complexity of the climate system and the second is computational limitations.

      Modeling any complex system, be it climate or a complex electronic design, requires that assumptions and simplifications be made. This is largely because there are more variables than there are equations, and so there’s no such thing as a singular solution. For example, I can build a Sallen-Key Butterworth filter for a specific cutoff frequency using a nearly infinite number of combinations of operational amplifiers, resistors, and capacitors. Which combination(s) I choose are a function of my requirements, available components, part tolerances, temperature environment, and so on. But even using all those external inputs to the system, I still usually have two to 10 reasonable and correct solutions.

      When I model the circuit, even a simple one, I also have to make assumptions or utilize additional inputs. For example, that same simple op-amp filter will perform differently at one temperature than at another. It will perform differently when it’s 5 years old than it does when it leaves my lab. It may perform differently at different humidity levels, or different air pressures, or when exposed to radiation or cosmic rays. Most of the time, however, I don’t care, and so I assume that the design is operating in a benign environment or I request that the customer provide reasonable ranges for all of the above so I can model the circuit correctly and verify that it should work right in the expected environment.

      In all cases, the basic laws of physics that govern the operation of the model are well known and, in your parlance, “settled.” Yet there are multiple different solutions and multiple different correct models and modeling techniques.

      Global climate is significantly more complex than the simple filter I just described (which is composed of two resistors, two capacitors, and a single opamp – 5 parts), so even though the underlying physics is well known and settled (CO2 absorption spectra, thermodynamics, heat capacity, thermal resistance, convection vs. conduction vs. radiation, CO2 geologic chemistry, and on and on and on), it’s entirely reasonable that there would be multiple different models.

      I’ll grant you that there are a couple of areas that introduce significant uncertainty into the climate model results – cloud effects and aerosols. But that’s part of science, and that too is why there are so many models – different models assume different values. That’s also why the modelers use statistical methods to determine the sensitivity to initial conditions and model parameters, and then include those sensitivity calculations in the overall model uncertainty.

      As a result of the complexity, though, it takes a massive amount of computational power to run climate models, and computational limits are a large part of the reason why there are so many different models. Not only do different supercomputers need different programming methods to efficiently utilize the available computational power, older supercomputers can’t model climate in as many different atmospheric layers and with as high of spatial resolution as the latest supercomputers can. So simplifications have to be made, and different scientists and modeling groups make different simplifications. In my own career, I could probably find a modeling program that would model the probabalistic movement of every individual electron through each of the components in my simple filter, but I don’t need that level of detail to know that my filter has the right cutoff frequency and won’t go unstable.

      The models aren’t perfect – that’s why the modelers make statistical projections instead of specific predictions. But at this point there’s no evidence to support the idea that the models are fatally flawed. Adjustments made to models as data, theory, and computational power improve are to be expected. Anything else wouldn’t be science.

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  33. Paper – you missed Denny’s point. Denny asked “I wonder what a hacker would find if he or she downloaded a similar number of emails written by members of the community of AGW skeptics to each other” (my emphasis). To the best of my knowledge, Mann or Schmidt have never published private correspondence that didn’t include them, ie they don’t have hacked emails between Singer and his Exxon contacts, or between Milloy and Ken Green (he of bribing scientists to write anti-IPCC articles before the IPCC AR4 was even public fame), or even between Douglass and Christy.

    While I’d love to see this information, I would come out against it just as much as I did this – hacking is illegal, and it’s easy to misinterpret shop-talk as something nefarious.

    On the other hand, I expect that discussions among the denier camp would be a lot more juicy, given the amount of money paid by Peabody, Arch, Exxon, Koch, etc. to people like Fred Singer and the many conservative think-tanks that host Douglass, Christy, Spencer, D’Aleo, McKitrick, et al.

    Thus far, I’ve seen no smoking guns, never mind the “mushroom cloud” that some deniers are claiming. I would expect that we’d be much more likely to see such things coming out of a hack from the denier side.

  34. Brian , your vita shows you have some impressive skills . However , you appear to have a captive mind with respect to this silliness . Lindzen’s Boston Globe graph has the current month’s weather , but the error bars are Boston’s climate . So , it’s you , not Lindzen & me , who should know better .

    I’m sorry , I was going to spend more time rebutting your post , but the next line is so statistically illiterate , it would be a waste .

    • So, you’re saying that the current weather at a single point and over a single (small) period of time should negate the importance of a global average temperature? It is not possible to calculate variance and expected value for a single data point, therefore comparing any single point (in this case Boston) to the global average is, excuse the pun, pointless. Here’s a plot of average annual Boston MA temperatures from 1872-2002 (the best I could find given a quick look) – looks like:

      Looks like Boston’s local climate has been warming faster than the global average to me – the difference between the two endpoints of that trend is 1.7 deg C, or 2x the global average. It looks to me that both you and Lindzen should have compared local climate change to local climate instead of trying to manipulate people by comparing global climate change to local climate.

  35. Nobody here has addressed the context of the “tricks” email. The “trick” was to post the actual
    temperature record after the 1960s, instead of the treering “proxy” record. The email is admitting that
    McIntyre and McKittrick were right all along, and that tree ring proxies are crap. They never work outside the calibration period.

  36. Brian , Interesting that you happen to have that 1872 spike in there which appears to have only been exceeded by the spike at the end of the series . But taking your 1.7c change over the century in a typical urban heat island to which we are continually adding on the order of a gigawatt of heat , and plotting it with a true 0 , you would see it as a line with about the thickness of Lindzen’s and total change of just 0.6% over the century . That’s the point of Lindzen’s graph ( see his YouTube linked on my Temperature page ) , and the physical point Vaclav Klaus makes . All this hysterical attempt to monopolize global government in a Soviet style hierarchy is over molehills of change . We’re damn lucky the sun is as stable at it is .

    Note also that there is no visible CO2 acceleration visible in your graph .

    Mean temperature of a radiantly heated ball is a much simpler problem than the chaotic flows which constitute “climate” . Point me to a quantitative explanation of that first , because that constrains climate .

    • Bob, you’ve made your communism claim twice now, without offering any proof. Do you have proof of your claim, or are you indulging in scare tactics? Similarly, if you can prove I’m “statistically illiterate,” I’d love to hear why. At this point, however, you’re making claims without offering any substantiation, and claims made without substantiation can be dismissed similarly.

      As for the data, I’m very careful to include everything and to describe everything I’ve done if I process the data. I haven’t looked at the data close enough to see if there’s a good explanation for why that spike would be an artifact, so I left it. Better to leave it and weaken my own argument than cut something off and damage my own credibility.

      There’s a paper about the urban heat island effect that you might be interested in. It found that, in long established urban areas, the UHI effects produced a correctable bias in the results, but didn’t alter the overall temperature anomaly measurement. Whether the Boston MA station has been stable long enough to have a simple bias effect is a fair question, and one I don’t immediately know the answer to.

      Your point about CO2 acceleration doesn’t necessarily apply. Again, this is a single data point, and there’s nothing you can say about a global, spatially-averaged climate from a single data point.

      The mean temperature of a radiantly heated ball doesn’t apply here, because the Earth is a) not a uniform ball and b) not uniformly heated. A radiantly heated ball doesn’t have a mixture of solid, liquid, and gas, with internal heat transfer via fluids and varying albedo. If the Earth were a radiantly heated ball, it would be about -25 deg C (assuming black body radiation from the sun and black-body absorption by the Earth). Clearly we’re not living on a iceball, so our atmosphere is keeping us warmer than a purely radiatively heated ball.

      If you’d care to explain why you feel a radiatively-heated ball is an upper constraint instead of a lower one, I’ll consider going off to run the math myself.

      After thinking about this a bit more, you may not have been referring to simple black body absorption of radiation, but rather the temperature delta through an arbitrary material of arbitrary thickness due to incident radiation. Still, though, this simple model qualifies as a lower bound, as the Earth has active heat transport from the tropics to the poles, and that enables the tropics to absorb more than a passive model would suggest.

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  38. What a weird brain you have . I don’t understand how you could get thru
    EE at Boulder or get your software to work given the holes I see in
    your analytical abilities .

    Who said anything about uniform balls or uniform heating ? In fact ,
    while my first cut implementation of Stefan-Boltzmann&Kirchhoff
    in an array programming language on my website only handles grays , not
    full spectra , it has the advantage over all explanations of planetary
    temperature I have found in properly handling anisotropic shading and
    heating . Even without the needed elaboration to full spectra , this
    basic physics explains why we are quite constrained to be about 1/21
    the temperature the sun – which we are .

    These equations , properly elaborated , are the
    constraint on our mean temperature ,  not upper or lower .
     Please feel free to read thru my implementation and extend it
    . I would love to see it translated into MatLab in addition to APL and
    J .  Not being in any funding stream from anyone , it’s hard
    to find time to do the extension to full spectra – which would give
    quantitative answers to the effects of any spectra .

    There will only be a science of global temperature when it is
    understood in terms of these classic equations .

    • After visiting your site, I’m amazed. You seriously believe that Venus is heated to its temperature by internal sources, instead of by greenhouse warming? Even though greenhouse warming has been identified as the cause for decades?

      To think that you’re accusing me of having holes in my analytical abilities.

      Your equations aren’t wrong, as such – they’re just not sufficient.

      I refer you to this discussion on Venus at New Mars as to why your internal sources example is false. Given that internal sources can’t be the entire cause, there must be something else. That something else is the greenhouse effect.

  39. We’ll know when AGW is really a threat when Al Gore and all the other alarmists stop using air travel. Until that day we can rest easy.

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  41. Show me the physics . You claim it is possible to create a sphere , in fact a uniformly gray sphere , which when radiantly heated , will come to a higher temperature at its center than given by Stefan-Boltzmann&Kirchhoff . Show me the equations so that we can construct such spheres here on earth and have an eternal source of free energy . Seems to me it a priori violates Fourier’s heat flow law .

    Browsing that blog you link , which is totally non-quantitative , I saw it appear to be accepted that changing the albedo of a radiantly heated isotropic gray ball will change its temperature . My implementation makes that fallacy , which was Kirchhoff’s essential insight 150 years ago this year , very clear .

  42. GAME OVER.

    Global warming is a hoax.
    The “experts” have been lying all along.

    Proven. End of story.

    These hackers should be lauded as heroes for pounding the final nail into the coffin containing perhaps the most colossal lie to which mankind has ever been subjected.

    The headlines should all read along the lines of: “Leaked Documents Prove Global Warming a Politically Motivated Hoax”

    The truth is out.

    All the Gore bunch has left are pure lies and weaseling mass psychology propaganda.

    It’s admitted that the documents are valid.

    Carbon dioxide is not planetary poison. More of it makes life thrive. Plants breath it.
    It was all a fraud.

    YOU LOSE.

    Carbon MONOxide is BAD and there are real environmental problems with pollution, but global
    warming is a hoax cooked up by the Club of Rome in the post WWII years.

    It’s ALL political. Like Goebbell’s “Big Lie,” a crisis concocted to impose global taxation of the energy people use and the air they breathe and impose “GLOBAL GOVERNENCE” and global taxation of not only the People’s energy use, but the air they breathe, their very existence. Ban-Ki Moon, the head of the UN, is giddy over the idea. [See his Op-Ed entitled "We Can Do It" in the NY Times last month.] But now any notion of such a system even having the appearance of legitimacy is over.

    All that’s left is for the people of the world can be deprogrammed and see the naked lunch on the end of their spoons. For them to see the BS they’ve been force fed for decades. For them to admit that, yes, the Sun is one of the most important factors affecting climate, if not THE most important. For them to have-the courage to admit their gullibility and rebuild their self-esteem on not being fooled again or as former puppet President, G. W. Bush once tried to say, “Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice. Shame on me.”

    Yes, G. W. Bush served the role of “bad cop” at Kyoto so now our new puppet, Obama, can pose as the “good cop” and savior of the planet at Copenhagen. Well, now the jig is up. We have to grow up and see through the psychological mind games where our idealism and altruism is twisted and used as a weapon against our best interests. The giant veneer of hypocricy and deceit has already fallen. It’s only a matter of time.

    Mahatma Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” The truth has come out, the truth is being attacked, and we about to win and overcome the Big Lie of Man-made Global Warming.

    And that’s all the liars and their dupes have left. All you have to cling to now is the willingness of people to remain sheep and believe the doublethink and the lies instead of letting their egos be bruised. For people to stick their heads in the sand and mutter “2+2=5.”

    Well, it doesn’t.

    2+2 does equal 4.

    TRUTH WILL PREVAIL.

    YOUR LIES ARE FINISHED.

    • Dan – That would be the same Club of Rome that wants to kill off 90% of humanity, right?

      Sorry, but can you point to any studies that have been falsified by these emails? How about any data that’s been proven to be false?

      How about this – can you point to any of the hundreds to thousands of scientists who aren’t involved and prove that their independent verifications of the climate science are somehow also busted by these emails?

      Oh, and given that the emails appear to have been edited, how do you know that all the supposedly damning emails didn’t have exculpatory emails purged from the published list?

      The answers to those questions are “No”, “No”, “No”, and “You don’t.” At this point, this is a political football, with no impact on the validity of the science and data whatsoever. And given that the science is what this is all about, until you can prove the science wrong (as Bob thinks he has), your crowing is rather premature.

      It’s interesting to note that we’ve been hearing from Inhofe et al that “this year marks the end of the global warming hoax” for years now, but people like you don’t seem to notice how the science keeps getting stronger, how Inhofe and Morano keep moving the date. It’s like a doom prophet carrying a sign with “The world will end Monday Tuesday today tomorrow eventually, but you don’t seem to get the joke.

  43. “It’s like a doom prophet carrying a sign with “The world will end Monday Tuesday today tomorrow eventually, but you don’t seem to get the joke.” – Brian

    Who is the prophet of doom? I think his name is Al Gore. The irony here should be obvious.

    Oh yeah. The Club of Rome. They don’t exist right? Eugenics never existed and doesn’t exist now under different euphemisms like population control. The annual Bilderberg Group meetings don’t exist. Fabian socialism never existed. The Anglo-American Establishment doesn’t exist. Dr. Caroll Quigley, Bill Clinton’s mentor at Georgetown that literally wrote the book on it never existed. The EU was never planned as far back as WWII and it doesn’t exist. The UN doesn’t exist. The world doesn’t exist. Reality doesn’t exist.

    The science isn’t getting stronger. The power may be consolidating, but this is definitely a major hurdle and I don’t think Al Gore is taking this lightly. He has a lot of money to lose if he doesn’t get his “cap and trade” carbon taxes. And the surface of the planet has been cooling for at least 3 or 4 years, since the sunspots decreased. I suppose our SUV’s caused the ice caps to shrink on Mars. Don’t pretend that there is no room for debate on the science. There is no consensus among climatologists and science does not necessarily depend on consensus anyway.

    People have been planning this scenario for decades with a worldwide power consolidation that’s at least hundreds of years in the planning to be the outcome of it’s success. There is much at stake here for either side. So those who plan are not just going to roll over. I get that. But this is a watershed moment. This thing is all about more centralized power through global control of people’s labor. You could call it feudalism. You could call it slavery. You could even say it’s the “free market” even though it is really fascism and corporatism. As long as people can think and distinguish themselves as individuals in any sense at all the power elite of this world have a problem. People will resist. The world will continue to turn and the overall fight will go on. I get the joke. But the worm HAS turned.

  44. Have the comments in the readme_harry.txt file that was released along with the emails not ended this debate?

    Instead of running calcs on the commenters, why not run calcs with the very data and source code the scientists used at CRU? It’s in there along with the emails. Start by retracing the steps in the readme_harry.txt

    Or do I hear crickets chirping……

  45. Bob,

    You’re equations at your site have a significant error, and as a result, your conclusions are similarly erroneous. Here’s a link to a .pdf file where I illustrate your error and to the Excel spreadsheet (zipped) that I used to generate the images in the .pdf.

    To anyone else – I don’t have a HTML equation editor, so I chose not to embed the file’s many equations in-line here – go and read the .pdf if you’re interested in my derivation.

  46. Dan, if you have something serious to add to the discussion, please do so. But touting tired old conspiracy theories with no basis in fact just makes you look like a crackpot.

    If you want to learn about the science underlying climate disruption and how it’s getting more and more clear, by all means read my various posts over the last 2+ years of regular updates. You’ll find debunking of the Mars meme (as well as examples of how it’s logically inconsistent – how could Mars temperature go up due to solar increases when solar radiation is low?) and the cooling meme. However, if all you’re going to do is spout nonsense without supporting it with science and data, then frankly, you’re not worth my effort.

    Your choice – educate yourself by learning some actual science, or leave the rest of us alone.

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  48. Brian , finally some substance . Couldn’t justify spending time on this yesterday . I assume you don’t have an income stream from this conflict either .

    I don’t have anything to edit PDFs which makes contextual commenting clumsy . Your spreadsheet motivates me to try to “read” one ( using OpenOffice ) for about the first time , and I haven’t yet figured out how to find the formulas for the graphs Is that your your derivation ? If so , I take back my questioning of your pedigree . In any case , it’s one of the cleanest I have seen . You ought to go get the Wikipedia pages on Stefan-Boltzmann and Black-Body fixed . I like the implicit recognition
    that the Kirchhoff parameter is a single parameter , ε .

    I see no difference between us on the physics .  You are wrong that I assume a temperature of 6000k . Take another look at the tableK
    modeling of basic black body planetary temps
    . You will see I also come to a temperature of 278.7 for a solar temperature of 5778 . An important point to note is that you see that the essential parameter is the ratio between the values of ε for radiation to and from earth . That ratio is what I label AE . You recognize that a default ratio is 1 which is the ratio for a
    uniform flat-spectrum ( gray ) body . The overall albedo does not matter .  So you don’t start with the absurd assumption , which Martin Herzberg calls the cold earth hypothesis , that the earth absorbs acording to its measured albedo , but radiates like a black body .  Like Wikipedia , Pierrehumbert starts his new textbook with this absurdity which is where the notion that the earth would be , by my implementation :

    AE : .7 1 1  ;  Tcs : 5778 3 3 ; ?[ Tdif ; 0.0 ; 6000 ]   /  />/ 257.06

    kelvin rather than 278.7k implying 31c needs to be explained rather than 9c .

    The main differences in approach is that your formula is one dimensional implementation of the earh-sun geometry ; mine models a point surrounded by a sphere partitioned into areas at various
    temperatures , each with its particular AE
    .

    I think after this point , you go off base , and are confusing the Planck spectra for the sun and gray body at our distance with the correlation of our spectrum with each of those . I think you can see
    that your equations leave out the spectrum of the planet entirely . It’s the correlation between the actual spectrum of the planet and each of those spectra that counts . So , for instance , a pure CO2 spectrum , the important ratio is  cor[ SunPlanck ; CO2_Spectrum ] % cor[ EarthPlanck ; CO2_Spectrum ]

    I’ve not had the motivation to refine my implementation to handle full spectra yet , partly because of the need to find comensurable sources of spectra . Perhaps you could finish the computation and quantitatively close a bunch of that 9c gap .

    None of this says anything about the temperature of Venus , of course .

    • Actually, Bob, my ratio IS albedo (and so is yours). I’ll crank out a long-winded mathematical explanation of how sometime this weekend.

      Also, I failed to point out that I was assuming that the Earth was a uniform, ideal material for those graphs. However, my point was to illustrate that effective absorption and effective emission were NOT the same, and so the ratio would not be 1, even for a uniform ideal gray body. And since a uniform ideal gray body has different effective absorption and emission coefficients, non-ideal bodies will also have different effective absorption and emission coefficients.

      I’ll see if I can’t crank out the math for your Venus problem too.

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  54. Yah there’s nothing there all right. Just when trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending for questional purposes are being put to our world wide economies we find that a small group of scientists are refusing to share raw data, manipulating findings and quashing via a cabal the chances of opponents to publish. To me it wounds like George Orwell;s 1952. But to an Al Gore collectivist scientist I guess it is just business as usual….

    • Doug, let me ask you a couple of questions. Do you have any proof that the scientists involved manipulated their data? And if you were contractually obligated by another government to hold the data in confidence, would you break that contract because someone asked for the data, or would you abide by the terms of the legally binding contract?

      CRU gets free weather station data from nations around the world who sell that data to anyone else who asks for it. CRU was contractually obligated to not release the data for that reason.

  55. What you should find hilarious is that Brian is not at all concerned that there must be something wrong with his data when it’s extraordinarily higher than the even reported global average. If your city is higher than average, some station must be lower. But what if turns out there is a staggering correlation between stations in cities and higher than average temps and other stations outside cities? Well, you can use factor analysis to isolate and build-in the effects in and run the data against that. And guess what? no one will find fault with you — your results are open and others can see it. But if you go magically and secretly pulling datasets to fit your hypothesis and refuse to tell anyone where and when you pulled and poked, then you’d be an idiot. Or CRU’er.

    It doesn’t matter if the same data is available to anyone — CRU doesn’t say how the massages the data (though it admits it does) and then demands you take their results as gospel and if you don’t you can’t get in the peer club. That’s not science and you should be offended.

    • Ted, can you prove that CRU chose data to match their hypothesis? I haven’t seen any emails quoted that come even close to proof.

      At this point there’s no proof that any of the science has been manipulated. It’s about the science, people, and the science hasn’t changed as a result of this. Even if a few dozen papers are found to be seriously flawed (and don’t you think that we’d have heard about that by now? All I hear on the science front is crickets), those papers would barely scratch the surface of the overwhelming scientific evidence and fundamental physics underlying climate disruption.

  56. No , Brian , your epsilon is albedo – which quantifies , in fact , not just reflectivity but absorptivity. As you indicate , it is the ratio between the values for the half millionth of the sky from which we absorb heat from the sun , and the entire sky to which we emit at the earth’s average temperature . Your standard one-dimensional model can’t correctly express that and therefore can’t model even such things as possible change in cloud cover at night , or differences in albedo between poles and equator . ( in fact , technically , it is equivalent to modeling a point surrounded by a sphere at a uniform temperature – in which case , the point must inevitably come to the temperature of the surrounding sphere , no matter what its color . ) And your comments about gray bodies having different absorption and emission are are just plain wrong . By definition , a gray body has a flat spectrum , so the SB T^4 relation between the area under the Planck curves for , eg , the sun’s and earth’s temperature hold exactly . The differences in absorption and emission are , as I have stated , due to the differences in correlation between a non-gray objects spectrum and that of it’s sinks and sources .

    I invite any readers of this blog to study my implementation at http://cosy.com/Science/TemperatureOfGrayBalls.htm to compare approaches . It’s clear that both produce the same numbers , but understanding our temperature in terms of the difference between our absorption from the small disk of the sun , and the entire rest of space reflects the reality more realistically .

    By the way ( 0 ) , Brian , I see where you got the idea that I was using 6000k . It’s just a starting parameter for K‘s search routine to keep the floating point from exploding . The answer would be the same with any starting point , eg , 5500 , so long as the calculations don’t overflow , which does happen with a starting point of , eg , 0 .

    By the way ( 1 ) , the tax funded Met office’s behavior is inexcusable , but not that uncommon . It simply shows what I’ve always argued ( from experience ) , that peer review is just an “old boys” network and it’s the deifying of it by the Statist alarmists has been the real religious fraud .

  57. Damn , I like having HTML , but I wish it was possible to preview if not edit entries here .

    The sentence :
    “As you indicate , it is the ratio between the values for the half millionth of the sky from which we absorb heat from the sun , and the entire sky to which we emit at the earth’s average temperature .”
    Should be :
    As you indicate , it is the ratio between the values for the half millionth of the sky from which we absorb heat from the sun , and the entire sky to which we emit at the earth’s average temperature which matters .

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  59. Bob,

    First off, here’s a fantastic link (with references in the slides – pages 8 and 10 especially) for how albedo is mathematically defined according to astrophysicists. It appears not only that Wikipedia is wrong (and they’re usually pretty good on raw science), but you and I have been using the wrong definition as well. Albedo is clearly defined as the ratio of total emergent flux (ie reflected plus emitted energy) to total incident flux. Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter. The black-body temperature of a body is clearly altered by the ratio of the body’s effective absorptivity over the body’s effective emissivity, and so the temperature of the body can vary from the ideal according to that ratio.

    Second, I’m not trying to accurately model clouds et al. I don’t need to go to that level of detail to illustrate the errors in your equations.

    Third, it appears that there are two competing definitions of a gray body. Here’s a few definitions from scattered places around the Web:

    “any body that emits radiation at each wavelength in a constant ratio less than unity to that emitted by a black body at the same temperature.” Source: Dictionary.com (emphasis mine)

    “An energy radiator which has a blackbody energy distribution, reduced by a constant factor, throughout the radiation spectrum or within a certain wavelength interval. Also known as nonselective radiator.” Source: TheFreeDictionary.com (emphasis mine)

    “An energy radiator which has a blackbody energy distribution, reduced by a constant factor, throughout the radiation spectrum or within a certain wavelength interval. The designation “gray” has no relation to the visual appearance of a body but only to its similarity in energy distribution to a blackbody.” Source: accessScience Encyclopedia (emphasis mine)

    “A hypothetical body which absorbs some constant fraction, between zero and one, of all electromagnetic radiation incident upon it, which fraction is the absorptivity and is independent of wavelength. As such, a gray body represent a surface of absorptive characteristics intermediate between those of white body and a black body. No such substance are known in nature.” Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center definition

    “Bodies that emit less thermal radiation than a blackbody have surface emissivities ε less than 1. If the surface emissivity is independent of wavelength, then the body is called a “gray” body, in that no particular wavelength (or color) is favored.” Source: Efunda.com

    So NASA says it’s a flat spectrum while the McGraw-Hill accessScience Encyclopedia of Science and Technology online says it’s a black-body spectrum. I’m using the the blackbody energy distribution definition, as it more closely models reality than a flat spectral response gray body does. Here’s an updated explanation in .pdf, based on the same data, but reformatted (since I didn’t explain myself well enough the first time around).

    Fourth, that’s actually not where I got my 6000K thing – The average temperature of the Earth’s surface (which isn’t the Earth’s black body radiation temperature, by the way – I’ll illustrate this below, with my discussion on your problem with Venus) only matches your Tsun/21 if you boost the temperature up from 5778K to about 6000K. Still, though, the difference is so small that it’s within the noise when using four significant digits, so it’s actually a small quibble.

    Fifth, the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit may or may not get tax money from the UK government – I don’t know. But it’s not the same as the Met Office, which is the UK equivalent to the U.S. National Weather Service. Also, neither you nor anyone else I’ve read across has pointed out even a single scientific paper that the CRU emails invalidate. It’s put up or shut-up time on this one, Bob.

    And finally, your errors with regard to Venus are included in this .pdf. In summary, there are two possible ways that Venus’ surface could be as hot as it is – internal heating from either Venus’ core or a collision millions to hundreds of millions of years ago, or the greenhouse effect. I disprove the internal heating hypothesis as the source of anywhere near enough energy to maintain the output energy, leaving the greenhouse effect as the only viable hypothesis.

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  62. How many of you clowns actually know how much CO2 is in the atmosphere?
    How many of you know what percentage of the total man contributes to the total CO2 and CH4 put into the atmosphere each year?
    Just fine my other posts on this site and read the answers.
    You are the programmed mindless droids of the new eugenics movement.
    Agenda 21, SVCP, AGW, RAND
    Answers 0.038% or 380ppm and 0.7% FOOLS
    Because I know your programming has taught you to not look for the truth just beleve what the TV and Rothschild media empire tells you.

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