Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Coal in their stockings: climategate Christmas

Jerry Stratton, December 10, 2009

My nephew sarcastically wrote me yesterday morning from Michigan: “We don’t usually get snow days before Christmas, it must be the global warming.” It’s also snowing in California. Sacramento Valley got a rare snowfall on December 7 while the rest of us were being rained on.

If it weren’t for Climategate, this would all quickly be forgotten. I caught this comment on Ace of Spades:

Today’s Washington Post has a top of the fold/A1 story on Climate Change in Australia. It’s 100% false, but since so few know which end is up in Oz, the story gets legs.

I was involved w/a similar WaPo hitpiece last year when they A1’d a story on the previous winter being “completely snow free” in parts of Eastern Europe. I emailed photos I had taken the 1st week of Jan that year in Budapest, Bratislava, and a few other towns & cities (some showing over 1.5 meters snow).

The then ombudsman replied to me that my photos were “unvetted” and therefore “questionable”.

They’re not interested in either “truth” or “reality”.

The emails make that pretty clear; this was results-driven research. The climategate emails and especially the climategate software highlight that. The software results were faked. Every programmer knows this. English can be ambiguous; computer code cannot. It can look ambiguous, but it can’t be ambiguous.

It’s important to remember, though, that the fakery found in the emails and software isn’t just faking the amount of warming, it’s also faking the shape of temperature trends. The “tricks” appear to take a trend that looks natural and make it look unnatural—make it look as if mankind is the source of warming rather than the sun or other cyclical aspects of nature. Climate changes all the time, and at the end of a “little ice age” we should expect rising temperatures—right up to the point where the cycle switches back down again.

The challenge at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit was to make that natural change look unnatural. The climategate deniers are saying, well, CRU’s bad data isn’t a problem, because other people’s data says the same thing as the faked data does.

Well, think about that for a moment. There are only three sources of climate data. And the other two sources have results that resemble known faked results? This could easily end up being another case of cargo cult science: ignoring data that contradicts their pre-conceived results. At CRU, they knew what they wanted the trends to do, and those other sources know the same thing. If the other sources look like bad data, there’s a good chance they are bad data.

  1. <- Climate psychology
  2. San Francisco cheat ->