The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Revkin does damage control
Tom Smith

Even more worrisome than the fate of the world from global warming is the fate of the global warming worldview.  It seems to be sitting there like a polar bear on a shrinking ice berg.  Here's Mr. Revkin doing his best.  The argument is -- so what if the CRU db is rubbish.  There's lot's of other data to support AGW.  Well, maybe there is.  But when I look at the graph, my first thought is, those results look like they came from the same data, or very similar.  Did they?  I don't know.  But go down to comment 9 and some commentor says they did, or are all similarly compromised anyway, and cites to this (peer reviewed!!) paper.  I'm just a poor country law professor and you can't expect me to wade through all this stuff.

But, obviously I hope, if one side says, oh, so one important db we were relying on is hopelessly fudged and untraceable to the original observations (!) because we, uh, threw all that away (!!), but we have lots of other data, then you have have to look at that other data very carefully indeed.  The NASA data, or so I have read, is compromised.  What other data is there?  Has any of it been made available to any other reputable scientist who wants to try to replicate results?

As to the New Zealand data -- all of the warming is due to the adjustments made to the data?  Can that really be true?  Were the adjustments themselves made in some sort of systematic, e.g. double blind might be a good idea, way?  The CRU data (it should not even be called data, since the numbers were made up) consisted of unreconstructable stuff!  Adjustments with no record of what they were with the original data thrown away!  If you were trying to collect $2 million in an auto accident case and told the court this was the sort of data you had, you would be thrown out in a jiffy.  But many trillions, what, it's somehow too big to fail?

If this were just science, you would say, whatever, I guess we don't really know what's been happening to the climate.  If this were the testing the safety of a drug, or an airplane, or a weapon system, or anything consequential, reviewers would say, regarding the CRU and New Zealand "data" (assuming reports are true) are you kidding?  We are supposed reconstruct the global economy on the basis of this?  And then, when anybody questions it, it's like, we have to do this for our children and grandchildren!  GMFB.  This is a lot more about Kleiner Perkins preferred than it is about anybody's grandchildren.

I'm not prepared to believe any of the data that allegedly proves AGW is any good until it is made fully transparent, right down to the original observations, written in mitten-encased hands at Ice Station Zebra or whereever, and up to the spreadsheets, with all the code there for everyone to see, and all the adjustments documented and theoretically justified.  That the AGW bandwagon has gotten as far as it has without this happening suggests something very troubling is going on.

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Tom Smith


Bait and switch.

The graph at the link isn't the hockey stick data that everybody's upset about. It's reconstructions from weather station data. That's why it starts around 1850 instead of 1000.

Posted by: Zach | Nov 30, 2009 1:17:01 PM

Note this paragraph from the article to which you link:

The raw surface temperature data from which all of
the different global surface temperature trend analyses are
derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has
been reported is that 90–95% of the raw data in each of the
analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication,
2003). That the analyses produce similar trends should
therefore come as no surprise. Indeed, this overlapping of
raw data between different analyses of multidecadal surface
temperature trends is an issue which has not received
adequate scrutiny with respect to the value added of more
than one analysis.

Needless to say, you don't get to say that Dataset 1 corroborates Dataset 2 if they're both looking at the same data.

Posted by: John Doe | Nov 30, 2009 1:30:04 PM

Better yet, see Roger Pielke Sr.'s post on this very point:

Posted by: John Doe | Nov 30, 2009 1:41:19 PM