Political Climate
Sep 18, 2007
Is NASA’s Hansen Playing Enron Accounting Games With Climate Data?

By Noel Sheppard, Newsbusters

Since NASA’s James Hansen finally released computer codes related to how climate data are collected and adjusted, anthropogenic global warming skeptics around the world have been waiting to see what a scientific examination of this information would produce. On Monday, Canada’s Steve McIntyre, who himself debunked Michael Mann’s ridiculous “Hockey Stick” theory as well as identified Hansen’s Y2K bug, released information identifying that Hansen recently made additional changes to climate data akin to how companies like Enron used creative accounting to exaggerate earnings and defraud investors.

As published at Climate Audit, shortly after, NASA published their source code on Sept 7, we started noticing puzzling discrepancies in the new data set. On Sept 15, Jerry Brennan observed that the NASA U.S. temperature history had changed and that 1998 was now co-leader atop the U.S. leaderboard. By this time, we’d figured out exactly what Hansen had done: they’d switched from using the SHAP version - which had been what they’d used for the past decade or so - to the FILNET version. The impact at Detroit Lakes was relatively large - which was why we’d noticed it, but in the network as a whole the impact of the change was to increase the trend slightly - enough obviously to make a difference between 1934 and 1998 - even though this supposedly was of no interest to anyone.

In very simplistic terms, SHAP and FILNET are computer programs used by climatologists to assist in the collation and interpretation of climate data. Each program does so differently, and, therefore, yields different final results. As such, by suddenly switching from SHAP - which NASA had been using for decades - to FILNET, NASA was able to once again claim that 1998 and 1934 are now tied for the warmest years on record in the U.S. This despite Hansen’s claim in August that climate record changes precipitated by McIntyre’s Y2K bug find were irrelevant.

As McIntyre pointed out, what’s now happening at NASA is akin to companies changing from Generally Accepting Accounting Principles (GAAP) to what produced a lot of faulty earnings in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA).

While you ponder, Surface Stations’ Anthony Watts accurately depicted the gravity of this issue that somehow will elude press outlets coast to coast. “My first indication that something changed came from surfacestations.org volunteer Chris Dunn who wrote to me complaining that one of the sites he’d recently surveyed, Walhalla, SC had been greatly adjusted at GISS for no good reason that he could ascertain, since the site is pristine by climate monitoring standards, and has not gone through any significant changes in the past, and has been operated at the same location (by the same family) since 1916. He wondered why NASA would have to adjust the data for a “good” station. The way I view it, shouldn’t good data stand on it’s own? That was September 7th. He was using data from NASA GISS published on 8/28. So he continued to look at the data, and the site. The [sic] on Sept 11th he noticed a change when he downloaded the data again. Something had changed, the data was different. Not only the adjusted data but the “raw” data too.”
Read more here.

Sep 15, 2007
Al Gore Is a Greenhouse Gasbag

By John Marchese, Philadelphia Magazine

Ivy League geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack is a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania. Just so you know, the professor said he mostly votes Democratic, and he voted for Al Gore.

Giegengack rejected fears of a catastrophic 20 foot sea level rise. “Sea level is rising,” Giegengack said, but it’s been rising ever since warming set in 18,000 years ago, he explained according to a February 2007 article in Philadelphia Magazine. But the Earth’s global ocean level is only going up 1.8 millimeters per year—less than the thickness of one nickel, Giegengack further explained. “At the present rate of sea-level rise it’s going to take 3,500 years to get up there (to a rise of 20 feet) So if for some reason this warming process that melts ice is cutting loose and accelerating, sea level doesn’t know it. And sea level, we think, is the best indicator of global warming,” he said. 

Giegengack also noted that the history the last one billion years on the planet reveals “only about 5% of that time has been characterized by conditions on Earth that were so cold that the poles could support masses of permanent ice.” See more here and here

Sep 13, 2007
IPCC Peer Review Process an Illusion, Finds SPPI Analysis

Published by the Science and Public Policy Institute, climate data analyst John McLean has written an analysis of the reviewer comments to the UN’s most recent IPCC Assessment Report released in April. In ”Peer Review? What Peer Review?” McLean writes, “The IPCC would have us believe that its reports are diligently reviewed by many hundreds of scientists and that these reviewers endorse the contents of the report. Analyses of reviewer comments show a very different and disturbing story.”

Many reviewer comments appear to be rejected with little or no justification for doing so. In particular there appears a disturbing pattern of rejecting reviewers’ citations of references by claiming that a greater number of papers say otherwise but then referring to just one paper to dispute the comments of other reviewers. Rejecting references to papers that challenge or weaken claims of serious man-made interference with climate serve to create from whole cloth a contrived, false “consensus.”

In Chapter 9, the key science chapter, the IPCC concludes that “it is very highly likely that greenhouse gas forcing has been the dominant cause of the observed global warming over the last 50 years”. The IPCC leads us to believe that this statement is very much supported by the majority of reviewers. The reality is that there is surprisingly little explicit support for this key notion. Among the 23 independent reviewers just 4 explicitly endorsed the chapter with its hypothesis, and one other endorsed only a specific section. Moreover, only 62 of the IPCC’s 308 reviewers commented on this chapter at all. As with other chapters, simple corrections, requests for clarifications or refinements to the text which did not challenge the IPCC’s conclusions are generally treated favourably, but comments which dispute the IPCC’s claims or their certainty are treated with far less indulgence.

In a related finding, McLean observes, “The dominance of research presupposing a human influence also means that the IPCC editing teams are likely to consist of people predisposed to view the situation in that light.” Adds McLean, “The problems continue into the authorship of these reports. According to IPCC documents, scientists are nominated by governments or explicitly invited by scientists already associated with the IPCC. What a wonderful way to position scientists who support a government agenda on climate and then fill out the IPCC with like-minded individuals.” Concludes McLean, “The IPCC reports appear to be largely based on a consensus of scientific papers, but those papers are the product of research for which the funding is strongly influenced by previous IPCC reports. This makes the claim of a human influence self-perpetuating and for a corruption of the normal scientific process.” Read this detailed analysis of the so-called peer review process here.

In a related story in the Wall Street Journal, Most Science Studies Appear to Be Tainted By Sloppy Analysis, medical scholar John Ioannidis believes scientists make more than their fair share of mistakes. By his calculations, most published research findings are wrong. Are scientists and scientific publishers vigilant enough about the findings they publish?  These flawed findings, for the most part, stem not from fraud or formal misconduct, but from more mundane misbehavior: miscalculation, poor study design or self-serving data analysis. “There is an increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims,” Dr. Ioannidis said. “A new claim about a research finding is more likely to be false than true.” The hotter the field of research the more likely its published findings should be viewed skeptically, he determined.

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