Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sniff Test

This week I've spent three days in Washington, D.C. Each day was well above 100 degrees, with a humidity so thick visibility was no more than a couple of miles. The air hangs over the city like a dirty brown blanket, trapping pollution and the smells of the city, reflecting them back to the street to remind us all of what the air would smell like if a soft breeze didn't so often carry them away.

This reminder of what a modern city in 2010 creates, air quality warnings, brown-outs and rolling black-outs as power grids are taxed to the breaking point to provide the energy needed to keep us in our air conditioned houses, out of the oppressive atmosphere. We drive to work, shelter in our offices, burn our coal to create the power, further turning the skies brown, and then we...

Deny it has any impact.
The Global Warming Denier Faith claims the skies look like the oil-soaked waters of the Gulf of Mexico after the Deep Water Horizon catastrophe has no meaningful impact at all.

I am tempted to ask my conservative friends about this, the ones who like to cackle when there is a cold-snap and quip, "So much for Global Warming" or "How's that Climate Change thingie workin' out for ya'" (credit to Sarah Palin). They forget (or ignore) there's a huge difference between climate and weather. One is a long-term pattern, the other simply today's circumstances as a small part of that pattern.

I want to ask my friends after a spell like this week, where record temperatures are being set across the country, where 2009 was the warmest year ever recorded, "I don't know, how's this week workin' out for YOU?"

I want to ask them, do you still claim that it's all a hoax? Because if you do, may I please direct your attention to:

Climate Change Scientists Vindicated

Without meaning to take a shot at anyone who comments here, claims that the British scientists "made it up" have been debunked. The worst that can now be said about those scientists is that they weren't entirely transparent. The whole "hoax", though, has been refuted. For those unaware, the hoax claim stemmed from the fact that of many geographical locations of climate measurement and spanning decades, at one of those point, during the 1950's, the decade with the sharpest rise in temperatures, that one point, saw falling temperatures and the scientists involved rather than spend time trying to explain this anomaly, folded the data into a longer term chart - stop the presses!

Now after an investigation, of course what's been shown is that their methods were sound, their measurements correct, and their conclusions were on point.

Instead, the reek of fraud is wafting up from the charges themselves (and from those in the media who made them). It is not the data and not the researchers which have an issue or questions to answer, but rather those who attempted to take one isolated incident of condescension, and perhaps of 'hiding' something which was a little inconvenient, and claim it disproved hundreds of person-years of research, disproved thousands of findings and which pointed to something knowingly untrue (if you believed the anomolous finding rather than the raft of other measurements) - namely that the Earth is cooling - because that's what the one set of data suggested. It didn't speak to/refute human causation, it (according to the Denier Faith) suggested the measurements were faulty and the Earth was in fact cooling.

That is something that no respected scientist on any side of the debate agrees with. The fact that the Earth is warming is undisputed, there are hundreds and thousands of measurements of average temperature to validate it.

What is in question is the cause, but this claim of "hoax" wasn't about cause, it was about the actual reality (or unreality) of warming itself. Consequently, since those in the Denier Faith must know the Earth was warming, they also should/must have known claiming "it's all a hoax" from this incident, was itself, a hoax, a lie, a gross exageration perpetrated to fool those who didn't look any deeper than claims of faked data and e-mails disparaging those who disagreed.

No, it is the accusations of "made up" data, of phony results, that was the true fraud, and it smells as bad as a three-day old dead fish left out in this sweltering, 100 degree miasma they refer to as air here in D.C. The charges and those making them don't pass the sniff test.

However, I wouldn't recommend holding your breath waiting for them to admit they were wrong; but you might want to hold your nose.


  1. According to the NYTimes thus morning, this is the third vindication so far.

    All three have been critical of academics acting in what could fairly be considered poor taste or with a certain unflattering pettiness, but not in any way faking their data or fudging their conclusions.

    Which I am sure that any of the penigma readers who have had prolonged exposure to academia will find all too true; a lot of egos are involved in research. It goes with the territory.

    The problem is that those who are unwilling to believe that we humans are a significant factor in climate change, are at the end of the day unwilling to be moved by facts that don't support their position. I am discouraged that the same willingness to dismiss the facts in support of the theory of evolution, or the notion that geology disagrees with the interpretation of the Bible that claims the earth is around 6,000 years old -- essentially the same groups that have pressed the Texas textbook board to badly weaken the educational content of text books for political purposes -- will be the modern equivalent of the same establishment that penalized Gallileo, the people who are willing to subordinate facts to their beliefs instead of the other way around.

  2. claims that the British scientists "made it up" have been debunked.

    Well,no - the story that the Hadley crew was running an epic conspiracy took a shot.

    So-far un-debunked (or is it just "bunked"?) - the IPCC's computer models on which much of these theories are based still don't correctly predict the past.

    We know you folks' mission is to never waste a crisis when there's an opportunity to hamstring society, but anyone thinking this story is a silver bullet vindicating the academic dishonesty and political scam of AGW, assuming they have a shard of intellectual honesty, is still going to be disappointed.

  3. I keep trying to warn the two of you about your constant unquestioning acceptance of your side's propaganda-driven "conventional wisdom.

    Really, I do:

    will be the modern equivalent of the same establishment that penalized Gallileo,

    Oh, yes. But perhaps not in the way you think.

    the people who are willing to subordinate facts to their beliefs instead of the other way around.

    So far, the evidence is pretty much that it's the AGW supporters who are doing that.

  4. Dear Head - btw, in what is meant as a joke (my friend) I DOOO find it ironic that your followers have described themselves as other body parts of Mr. Garcia, making you their brain in euphamism, much as you are in practice.

    Frankly, the FAITH here seems to be saying that human causation IS or IS NOT proven. Neither is fully proven, though the VAST VAST preponderance of evidence is on the side of human causation.

    Yet, what goes on here is this, you GCC Denier Faith followers use THIS circumstance to suggest it's a hoax, when it pointed to the Earth not warming, not a refutation of human causation, and that's not something anyone EVER actually said - certainly not anyone credible.

    Yet, the claim was made, regardless of the relevance of this supposed "hoax" - and continued regardless of this claim of "hoax" having been repeatedly debunked. There hasn't been any correction, and the claim continues. Further, that every time there's a cold-snap, the same bogus and ludicrous comment that in fact the Earth isn't TRULY warming crops up all over. So, we've got media types bogusly claiming this set of e-mails proved Global Warming is a hoax AND we've got others of the chattering right sayng that any cold spell proves the Earth isn't warming either.

    So I ask you, Mr. Garcia's head (e.g. Mr. Anonymous) - do you accept the Earth is warming and do you accept that this claim that these e-mails proves it's a hoax is itself a bogus claim? Which camp is operating on vapor here?

  5. Fred, old.......head, always good to have you commenting here, although I'm not sure why you are back to your nom de plume.

    I'm quite conversant with the facts of Galileo Galilei's life. I'm not sure that he would have felt that being denounced to the Roman Inquisition - albeit comfier than the Spanish Inquisition - was something he would have preferred. No matter how lavish the accomodations, being condemned as a heretic, having your works banned, being forbidden to teach were not minor consequences. Having your work declared wrong - and lets not forget abusrd and silly - by what was the single most influential multi-nationally influential organization in the western world at that time was nothing to sneeze at either.

    So, yes, I believe my comparison stands on its merits, in full appreciation of the details of Galileo's experience with acceptance of the geo-centric versus helio-centric model of the solar system.

    Sorry, Alf but I'm afraid you climate change / anthropogenic deniers are the geo-centric equivalent here.

    I would suggest you revist the three - so far - investigations into the research in the UK, and I think you will find the criticism largely agrees and supports their conclusions, and does not support the climate change opposition's conclusions.

    But if you have something better than a link which provides relatively few details about Galileo, do offer them here.

    While you are reading Penigma - I do hope you like our editorial cartoon. That Ed Stein is a funny guy, and very clever too.

  6. BTW Head,

    Thanks for trying to warn us of our unquestioned acceptance, except of course, our acceptance is anything but unquestioning -

    I'd have to suggest, your side of this debate - not so much. You appear to be accepting on blind faith that despite the preponderance of evidence in support, but, because there are some questions unanswered, some points not entirely explained, you deny entirely the potential and much more likely truth.

    I have a counter question for you, given that there is certainly substantial evidence which suggests handguns aren't causitive to improving overall safety, and most especially not in saving lives vs. those lost due to accidents/misuse (not criminal) - yet you persist in claiming it - doesn't that make you similar to what you are complaining about - someone who takes other than totally conclusive data and draws a reasonable conclusion? You object to it with respect to AGW, but you accept it with handguns safety (as it relates to "shall issue") results.

    This is a political football, you don't want to believe because your political party choses not to. I think taken away from the politics you wouldn't even begin to question it, and so, I think DG's assertions are fully on target, you seem to subordinate facts to belief for political convenience.

  7. The Head of Echoes said:

    "Well,no - the story that the Hadley crew was running an epic conspiracy took a shot. "

    If by shot you mean the STORY claiming they were running a conspiracy, which wasn't a conspiracy, took a daisy-cutter to the groin, yes, then I guess they took a shot - a shot which completely refuted the claim that they 'doctored' anything and even moreso, that the data was incorrect. The story here was that CLIMATEGATE!!!!! was found, that there was PROOOOFFFF!!!!!!!!!!! Yet, the 'proof' pointed to nonsense, and you folks on the right of reality didn't bother to point out what you were complaining about even YOU didn't believe.

    The IPCC's data doesn't FULLY predict the past, nor does it fully predict the future - that part isn't in question, but you are changing the topic to suit your desire here. My post wasn't about the validity of AGW (per se'), but rather that the "hoax" had been debunked and that foolish people say things like "hows that global warming thing going?" when they know full well the earth is warming. This was a case of trying to create a crisis about supposed conspiracies which in the end, didn't exist.

    So if anyone is whipping up a frenzy on this, it was those on the right, needlessly and about something they knew to be irrelevant and false.

  8. "We know you folks' mission is to never waste a crisis when there's an opportunity to hamstring society"

    Wow, so many insults and double-standards, so little actual argument.

    Which "we" are you talking bout' there Head, do you have someone in your pocket? Further, considering the right was the one stamping it's feet, who exactly was the person (or persons) attempting to hamstring society?

    Tell me, Head, what evidence, EXACTLY do you have that pollution isn't a contributor to global warming? Oh, that's right - zero. So, while you may keep "trying to warn us" I think that's simply in your HEAD, because on paper, it feels much like instead you are attempting to be humorous (or paternalistic?) and not actually doing more than substantiating that your opposition to accepting the vast majority of evidence is basically done on faith, rather than fact.

  9. I was a bio major - for a month, anyway. And while I'm not going to say that makes me an expert, I do have more respect for the scientific method than the average bear.

    And leaving aside the really really really huge holes in "climate science", saying that a single government inquiry (from a group of bureaucrats that have everything to gain from propagating AGW, no less) is some wide sweeping proof of the merits of AGW and the virtue of the scientists is, well, pollyannaish.

    And while the scope of the "inquiry" struck me as dubious, the word "whitewash" jumped to mind.

    Turns out Chris Crook, a liberal green writer at that noted conservative tool "The Atlantic" thought the same, and more.

    The UK "inquiry" was little but a whitewash that left more questions than it answered. The inquiry into Mann at Penn State was even worse.

    Bear in mind that Crook's column and conclusions are statements against interest.

    The theory of AGW is in no better shape than the perceived integrity of its proponents.

  10. Wow, so many insults and double-standards, so little actual argument.

    What, the crisis bit? Take it up with Rahm Emanuel.

    who exactly was the person (or persons) attempting to hamstring society?

    Don't be obtuse, Pen.

    Start with Cap and Trade, and then work your way throughout all of the various proposals to socialize society that have been part and parcel of radical environmentalism ever since the "Green" movement came to the fore thirty-odd years ago.

    Tell me, Head, what evidence, EXACTLY do you have that pollution isn't a contributor to global warming? Oh, that's right - zero.

    You're serious?

    You want me to prove a negative?

    That is logically impossible and scientifically vacant.

    Not sure when you took your last science class, Pen, but back in seventh grade Mr. Thielman taught us "the burden of proof is on the people who put the hypothesis out there". I'm not suggesting a hypothesis; I'm attacking. The burden of proof is, and will always be, on you proponents.

    And whitewashes and bullying aren't exactly doing your (pl) cause any favors!

    not actually doing more than substantiating that your opposition to accepting the vast majority of evidence is basically done on faith, rather than fact.

    Well, let's move beyond faith, then.

    The IPCC's computer models that started the AGW frenzy have been shown to be incapable of successfully, accurately predicating past climate shifts. And yet the IPCC model is one of the big supports for the hypothesis.

    After you've answered that, we can talk about study instrumentation.

    We're working toward the first of several lessons, here; in this case, "never attribute to ideology what is better ascribed to curiosity".

    There'll be more.

  11. Alrighty 'AlfRhead', my dear. I'm going to issue a challenge, to the pair of youi.

    I challenge both of you, individually, to present what you feel are the three strongest arguments for your position. Show you genuinely understand them and what is compelling about them.

    Since you brought up your brief flirtation, 'Fred', with the biological sciences - lets put this BACK on a scientific footing and take it away from the personal and personality basis for the argumment.

    THEN - and this is where it will get really fun (at least for me) we will see just how objective you are about this, versus that position being dictated by ideology rather than serious science.

    I want both of you, individually, to ALSO present what you think are the three strongest arguments to be made by the OTHER side.

    Debate-style, I want you to argue - and in doing so, to acknowldege - the full scope of this subject, and what each side has -- and lacks.

    So, my esteemed 'Frhead', guests first.

    And since I KNOW I have a stronger background in biology specifically, and I'm pretty darn sure the sciences generally,
    than either of you, I GET TO CRITIQUE your respective answers.

    Which should - I hope!- keep any snark to a comparative minimum, and keep the substance UP.

    Put up, gentlemen; or....comment on something else? (grin)

  12. First, DG, I don't think you're the arbitor of what is or isn't satisfactory proof. You know full well the enormous amount of evidence behind man-caused global warming, so judge for yourself on that evidence, not on the merits of MY argument, or Mr. Head's -

    Second and probably equally important, I didn't make one claim of the absolute proof of man-caused global warming, I don't believe it is proven beyond any doubt, just any reasonable doubt.

    Third, Mr. Head, not to be pedantic, because that's something I know YOU'D never do, it's DISPROVE a NEGATIVE, not prove one, that's actually fairly easy - but disproving one, like asking a guy to prove he NEVER FARTED, it's pretty daunting, or like expecting Saddam Hussien to PROVE HE DIDN'T HAVE WMD - that's scientifically vacant, yessirreee Bob - and something I pointed out to you now about 7 years back, thank you very much.

    That said, you want to claim it's faith, then you need to accept that you're going to get challenged that it is in fact YOU who is clinging to faith. The evidence isn't irrefutable, it is simply very strong, but you chose to ignore it. If you chose to get into side-stepping that reality, that's your choice, but it's also an act of faith, and this is the same argument we've had before, it's boring, move on.

    With respect to your overfocus on the IPCC - you may want to read what I wrote a bit more clearly - I don't solely rely on the IPCC - and more than that, no one else does either, that's just a meme'. The burden of proof is on the 'accuser', and they have offered substantial proof, proof the earth is warming very very rapidly, proof that (at least in models) carbon contributes, as does water vapor, proof that high carbon content in soil is tied to periods of high temperature, and that's not an IPCC model. So the proof is actually there that carbon IS related to (at least as a correlary (sic) to warmer periods), but here's the rub, Brain of the Church, I (me) wasn't claiming IPCC's models were right, that's just your conflation (or misunderstanding?) of what I was saying. I was saying the earth is warming, are you seriously suggesting it isn't?

    But that ignores THIS point, THIS post, which specifically isn't arguing AGW, it is pointing out that you members of the Anti-AGW Church, used this study to claim AGW itself was a hoax, when the thrust of the claim relied upon believing the earth ISN'T warming.

    Now, I've answered my view about IPCC, care to answer why it is that you relied upon a claim you knew to be false (i.e. the claim that these Brits hid evidence that warming is false - when you know yourself the earth IS warming and then you used that hoax argument to claim AGW was a hoax, which this whole case WASN'T ever about?), because THAT after all was the point. You gin'ned up a story that proved nothing. This was a post holding you accountable for that fakery.

  13. Pen, Alf-Rhead, you each believe the other is wrong.

    Pen, you can of course speak to what you think someone else should believe; but you cannot with any authority or certainty, KNOW what they do or do not think.

    Therefore I protest your claim

    "care to answer why it is that you relied upon a claim you knew to be false

    (i.e. the claim that these Brits hid evidence that warming is false - when you know yourself the earth IS warming

    I would alternatively state that Alf has an ideology.

    That ideology includes 1. avoiding the knowledge that the earth is significantly changing - in a sense, like a cartoon ostrich with it's head in the sand; and

    2. avoids FAR more strenuously any knowledge that human activity has any influence on that change, because the knowledge would require adapting, changing priorities - especially ones relating to business and the wealthy getting wealthier.

    In short - it appears to me that our friend Alf is fiddling while the proverbial planet-wide Rome burns - well, heats up significantly anyway past continued living, at least living as we know it, in many, many places.

    I would like to see you both stop directing your efforts at snarking towards each other and address the science.

    Alf,1. give it your best shot at showing the global temperature is in the same safe parameters as ever, which is not the same thing proving a negative. Provide 3 different sets of data, measurements, observations --- something more tangible than "I think" or "I believe"-- that supports there is nothing going on to worry about or change.

    Not a list of people who believe as you do. DATA ABOUT THE PLANET THAT SOMEONE DID - studies, projects, etc.

  14. I would put it to you Alf, that the changes proposed to address the observations is not

    " you folks' mission is to never waste a crisis when there's an opportunity to hamstring society"

    That is silly and wrong. No one wants to hamstring anyone, nor do we like change just for the sake of change. Contrary to your little lame theory, we don't really like a crisis. There are other, better ways to succeed, including in what you would describe as achieving political and economic power than creating crisis.

    I find the notion that people would do this 'just for a good crisis to their advantage' ludicrous:

    Nor is it reasonable to suggest the royal society (whose founding I mentioned recently in one of my 'this day in history posts, btw - for this reason) is a bunch of tree-hugging liberals.

    There are many deeply conservative individuals involved in this science.

    Ultimately, if this climate change IS happening, as seems evident, and it is worse than anything we've seen before in recorded history, or what we can find of pre-recorded history, we need to do something if we can - and it seems we could if we choose.

    But if we are wrong - and then and only then can you laugh your....head off -- then at the worst, we have made changes which STILL put us, pardon the expression, A-HEAD in areas like non-fossil fuel energy that we need to do sooner or later anyway.

    That makes it a win-win set of proposals.

    DO - ALF and PEN - bring on the science, and leave the ideology AND criticism of respective motives aside.

    Let the games begin.

  15. DG, I suppose you're right that I believe he knows the earth is warming. I believe he's said he knows it in the past, I also know that many voices on the right admit they know that the earth is warming - they just doubt human causation, btw, it's much easier to type human causation than Anthroprogenic - I think using Anthroprogenic is just a way people use to sound more informed... just my thought.

    I believe Mr. Head has said he knows the earth is warming several times, in fact - so I guess you're right, I don't know it for certain, he's only said it (as I recall).

    Here's a few things for Mr. Head to consider then...I guess.. when he considers whether global warming is primarily attributable to man, or perhaps even just contributed to meaningfully.

    Core earth samples show the earth is warming faster right now than at any other observable point in the past 400,000 years.

    Glaciers are receeding now faster than at any other point in known human history.

    The earth is experiencing greater solar energy input now than it was 150 years ago. This has caused roughly .5 to .75 degrees of warming since that time.

    No other explanation exists to describe the pace of ice loss or warming than some contribution by man - we've deforested large portions of the earth (for example), dumped hundreds of millions of tons of pollutants in the air - yet we know of no other event which might cause warming OTHER than the solar energy increase, YET, we're warming faster now than in 1850, it should be that the pace of warming would generally be linnear, and the solar energy increase isn't seen as remarkable.

    The earth has warmed, undeniably, at least 1.5 degrees, most of that coming since 1950.

    There is no substantive, scholarly article denying the earth has warmed.

    The number of scientists studying the causes and effects around the globe probably numbers in the tens of thousands - yes, many do rely up on the IPCC's models for green house gas effects.. yet no meaningful whole other than precision is pointed to about the IPCC - to be clear, it is that the IPCC (as I recall) is using a predictor model which doesn't necessarily have a high enough degree of confidence that the amount of error won't exceed the amount of future (or observed) warming.

    Scientists are VERY practiced at and appear to gleefully engage in, debunking the theories of others..


    The right denies AGW on the basis of two claims I know of:

    1. A handful of british scientists said somethings uncomplimentary about anti-AGW folks and folded research from one measuring point which might show the earth WASN'T warming, into a longer timeline to smooth-out the anomolous data.

    2. The Washington Times has claimed that glacial retreat is a hoax - effectively arguing - again - that the earth isn't warming. The pace of glacial retreat by the way, seems to be another thing scientists don't deny.

    That means, despite the key problem supposedly being the level of confidence in the IPCC model, the PROOF being touted points to the earth NOT warming - something no anti-AGW scientist I've ever seen or read says. Thus, they use stories which their scientists at least, it seems, would know are tilting at windmills.

    Thus - you have those on one side who have a model without sufficient data to be entirely relied upon, but with massive evidence of warming and no other plausible explanation for the cause.

    On the other side, you have a handful of scientists claiming that scientists don't/won't debunk bad work, that it's a global conspiracy, that have no meaningful or tested explanation for warming (e.g. a plausible counter theory), and whose public voices don't use the issue of a poor predictor confidence to claim "hoax" - but rather point to stories they very much OUGHT to know are irrelevant.

    Ok, DG, you make the call - who are you going to believe?

  16. LOL, the day is still very young, and it is a beautiful, glorious temperate - so far - sunny, breezy summer morning.

    Not a day where I would wish to argue with either of you. But I put myself in the middle this time, so I have my own face in the mirror to blame.

    Well done Pen. I requested Alf(R)head go first. You have provided 2different measures of global warming - core temperature, and decreasing glacial ice.

    Two small caveats, if I may - first, I asked for three objective measurements from you that show global warming and human causation.

    If I might suggest an addition to core samples of drilled earth temperatures (you didn't cite a source - please provide) and the changes in glaciers -- may I suggest the rising temperatures of oceans and other bodies of water? And the changes in air temperature?

    I would suggest earth, air, water should make the point well - with sources, preferably direct sources, not news papers, please?

    Let us have our good friend Alf Head do the same for his belief.

  17. Lets move now to the arguments about what I will refer to for convenience from now on as A-g. I prefer the term anthropogenesis because it represents a better defined concept of cause and effect correlation, imho, not because it sounds snootily more scientific.

    We are still discovering the extent to which our human actions have a ripple effect, sometimes a multiplier effect, on our surroundings, our environment.

    Something that made a very big impression on me when I visited Israel was their reforestation efforts, and the changes brought about by deforestation for the worse, and reforestation for the better ------including TEMPERATURE.

    If I might give you a small 'nudge' Pen in the direction of demonstrating human causation, A-g, whatever words you like.....start there, hint hint.

  18. DG,

    I have no desire to attempt to prove human causation, only that the earth is warming. The point of the post is that the right uses every opportunity to make comments that it isn't warming, such as "so much for global warming" and misusing stories they should/ought to know are pointing to false conclusions, to make what they should/ought to know is a false charge.

    If you would like to prove human causation, go for it - but that's not my point, never was.

  19. You might find some interesting content to this post and your comments in the July 15th day in history post.

    That, and I think you two protagonists might enjoy the WW II content.

  20. QUERY : Will the deniers deny the ex-deniers ?

    FYI : Richard Muller writes in The Wall Street Journal with this headline : The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism ...
    There were good reasons for doubt, until now.

    This is significant considering the source of the funding for the study - Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project .... Koch Industries. Read some reactions which might have quite a few deniers gagging on thier crow.