Set aside for one moment the fact that New Zealand has just (in every sense of that word) won the Rugby World Cup for the first time in a quarter of a century, and consider instead events in the world of temperature records. (Don’t worry, it won’t take long). A team led by Berkeley physicist Richard Muller — the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) — has successfully reinvented the wheel, by demonstrating (once again) that the planet has been warming over the last 150 years. Tim Lambert at Deltoid explains the algorithm Muller employed:
- State that “reported global warming may be biased by poor station quality“.
- Collect funding from Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.
- Make the utterly predictable finding that warming is not a product of poor measurement.
- Brief reporters.
Michael Tobis at Planet 3.0 puts the affair in its proper context:
The science has not changed a whit – no serious scientist cares very much that the record has been confirmed yet again. Under ordinary circumstances this paper would have trouble getting published. This is not a red-letter day in scientific history. No new information is on the table. It’s posturing.
As for posturing, Brian Angliss at Scholars & Rogues points out that a certain US weather station quality control effort is under a little stress. One wonders if this might not spread to those who would wish to cast doubt on the NZ record?
[The Style Council]
Australian climate scientists have been receiving abusive emails — even death threats — from people who mistake violence for political expression. Graham Readfearn provides some examples (not for the squeamish). The Canberra Times broke the story at the weekend and it’s been covered in depth at The Conversation (one, two). Tim Lambert comments on the vapid response from right wing commentator Tim Blair, but I was horrified by the unrepentant tone adopted by Joanne Nova:
This is sheer beef-it-up spin, making a mountain out of a molehill, clutching at straws in desperation to eek out a PR victory from the dregs of a fading scam.
I might have expected a ritual “we do not condone violence” from Nova and Blair, but it’s nowhere to be seen. Nor is this tactic new. It’s been a fact of life for climate scientists in the USA for years. That it’s crossing the Pacific and polluting the discourse in Australia should be a matter of shame for those opposing action on climate change.
It’s also evidence of how desperate the campaign of denial has become. Denied recourse to the evidence because it is overwhelmingly against them, they resort to bullying and hate speech. There’s a lesson here for those who would argue against action on climate change. When you make common cause with the crazies by invoking conspiracies as your case for inaction, then you open the doors on a very dangerous form of debate.
Don Easterbrook seems to have decided that when under pressure, attack is the best form of defence. He’s replied to my original post and Tim Lambert’s added exposure of his statistical sleight of hand in this document (pdf) — apparently composed as a reply to a query from Andy Revkin of the New York Times‘ Dot Earth blog. Here’s how he ends his piece (it’s all in caps because that’s the way it is in his document, and I wouldn’t want to alter the data…):
CONCLUSION — THE ‘FAKE DATA’ CHARGE BY THE ‘TRUFFLE GROWER’ IS A COMPLETE LIE–THE DATA COMES FROM THE WORLD STANDARD OXYGEN ISOTOPE RECORD FROM THE GREENLAND ICE CORES, AND THE RECENT TEMPERATURE DATA IS FROM SATELLITES. ALL OF THIS DATA IS EASILY AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PLOT THEIR OWN GRAPHS. THE CHARGE THAT THIS DATA HAS BEEN ALTERED IS A DISPICABLE LIE.
Unfortunately for Easterbrook’s credibility, all he’s done is confirm his own mistakes. He not only attempts to defend the wrong graph, but confuses me with Tim Lambert and underlines the considerable statistical naivety in his analysis of recent global temperatures. To make matters worse, a pixel-by-pixel comparison of Easterbrook’s slide nine and the Global Warming Art equivalent shows that they are a perfect match — confirming my original charge: that Easterbrook had crudely altered the GWA original to better suit his storyline.
Continue reading “Cooling-gate: Easterbrook defends the indefensible”