Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Behind the Climate Curtain - Exposing the reality of the Hokey Stick

Scottish blogger Bishop Hill has certainly made a bit of a name for himself in recent days by writing an article that exposes the lengths climate science is going to in order to maintain the validity of the Hokey Stick.

Here are a few paragraphs. Make sure to read the whole thing for yourself and send it to your Climate Faithful friends who unquestioningly accept the 'science' as presented by the IPCC and the climate community.
At some time or another, most people will have seen the hockey stick - the iconic graph which purports to show that after centuries of stable temperatures, the second half of the twentieth century saw a sudden and unprecedented warming of the globe. This was caused, we were told, by mankind burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For a while, the hockey stick was everywhere - unimpeachable evidence that mankind was damaging the planet - an impact that would require drastic measures to reverse. The stick's most famous outing however was just a couple of years ago when it made a headlining appearance in Al Gore's drama-documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. The revelation of the long, thin graph with its dramatic temperature rise in the last few decades, and the audience gasps that accompanied it, is something of a key moment for many environmentalists.

Shortly after its publication, the hockey stick and its main author, Michael Mann, came under attack from Steve McIntyre, a retired statistician from Canada. In a series of scientific papers and later on his blog, Climate Audit, McIntyre took issue with the novel statistical procedures used by the hockey stick's authors. He was able to demonstrate that the way they had extracted the temperature signal from the tree ring records was biased so as to choose hockey-stick shaped graphs in preference to other shapes, and criticised Mann for not publishing the cross validation R2, a statistical measure of how well the temperature reconstruction correlated with actual temperature records. He also showed that the appearance of the graph was due solely to the use of an estimate of historic temperatures based on tree rings from bristlecone pines, a species that was known to be problematic for this kind of reconstruction.
What Bishop Hill has done is expose the lengths that the IPCC, climate scientists and professional publications are prepared to go to in order to defend their position that the Hokey Stick is the product of sound science.

Roger Pielke Jr weighs into the debate with his own commentary.
Here at Prometheus we have for years closely followed the controversy over the so-called temperature reconstruction “hockey stick.” So it was with some interest that I saw this blog post linked from Climate Audit, apparently written by a Scottish libertarian blogger called Bishop Hill. Hill writes of the recent years of the hockey stick debate:
  • The story is a remarkable indictment of the corruption and cynicism that is rife among climate scientists, and I’m going to try to tell it in layman’s language so that the average blog reader can understand it.
And indeed Hill’s post is well-written, and accurate as far as I can tell. Of course, such stories have as many sides as there are participants, so if any of those involved including Steve McIntyre or Caspar Ammann would like to post or comment here, they’d be welcome.

...Further, as a long-time observer of this debate, how the more vocal climate science community has dealt with the criticisms of the Hockey Stick and McIntyre’s determined efforts is really an embarrassment to all of the hard-working and brilliant scientists who work out of the limelight trying to advance knowledge in a rigorous manner. The problem is that the behavior of the few reflects upon the community as a whole.
To which Willis Eschenbach responds with the most salient comment yet on the state of professionalism in the climate research field.
I have to respectfully disagree, however, when you say:
  • Further, as a long-time observer of this debate, how the more vocal climate science community has dealt with the criticisms of the Hockey Stick and McIntyre’s determined efforts is really an embarrassment to all of the hard-working and brilliant scientists who work out of the limelight trying to advance knowledge in a rigorous manner. The problem is that the behavior of the few reflects upon the community as a whole.
The problem is not the behavior of the few. A few people will always do wrong. The problem is that the behavior of the community as a whole has been just what you said. They have not stood up to oppose the bad science done in their name. They have not clamored for an investigation into the bad science. They have, in large part, done absolutely nothing in response to this abysmal situation. Nothing. No public statements. No behind-the-scenes maneuvers. Nothing. Zip. Zero.

Instead, by and large, they have in your words “stayed out of the limelight” … and now you are claiming that they are the victims in this case?

In my opinion, they have no one but themselves to blame for the fact that they are being tarred with the same brush as the miscreants. I have been astounded at the silence about these matters from the scientific establishment, both inside and outside climate science. Where is the outrage that M. Mann was able to sell a bill of goods under the highest IPCC imprimateur? Where is the outrage that the NSF, and Science Magazine, and Nature Magazine, all routinely ignore there own requirements for data archiving?

So I’m sorry, but I have absolutely no sympathy for those poor, brilliant, benighted, hardworking scientists who are staying “out of the limelight”. They have no one to blame but themselves.

The problem is not that the actions of the few are reflecting on the community as a whole.

The problem is that the actions of the community as a whole, in dealing with the few, have been weak, ineffective, pathetic, or non-existent.

The problem is not that Michael Mann and a bunch of others have been gaming the system. That happens in every system, people will try to game it.

The problem is that the other “hardworking and brilliant” climate scientists haven’t had the [*snip] to police their own backyard, and in that regard, staying “out of the limelight” is not a noble act, or even a neutral act.

It is an invitation to a self-created disaster of the type we are embroiled in right now, and there is no-one to blame for it but the “hardworking and brilliant” scientists who make up the “community as a whole”. Your sympathy for them is misplaced.
Many people who lived behind the Iron Curtain knew that the propaganda being presented to the rest of the world was just that but they couldn't speak out for fear of losing their employment or being sent to the gulags.

I believe that most scientists behind the Climate Curtain live in a similar situation. They know that the science doesn't support the exaggerated claims being made by the likes of Al Gore but also realise that to speak out means loss of employment and ostracism from the climate community.

Like the Useful Idiots who supported the Soviet Union, those behind the Climate Curtain have their own Useful Idiots in the form of the mainstream media, education institutions and Big Green activist groups.

(Nothing Follows)


Anonymous said...

Another great post on this topic, Jack. I loved the Bishop's dissection of the hockey stick hokum.

The true believers don't care, since this isn't about science. It's all about social engineering....which is ironic in that engineering suggests a process of science.

In that regard, it's more like the science of deceit.

Ain't that so much like the loopy libs? Intellectual integrity has no place with them.


Anonymous said...

No behind-the-scenes maneuvers. Nothing. Zip. Zero. - whenever I see someone writing in this sort of infantile way (as you do here frequently), I think it's safe to dismiss them as a crank. All that needs to be said here is that the only people who have a problem with the 'hockey stick' are crazed right wing bloggers. In the real world of people who actually study the climate, it's well established and has been independently verified on numerous occasions.

Anonymous said...

Safe to dismiss them as cranks? That's your answer?

Presumably, all facts stated in the post are subject to verification or refutation. That silence you hear is acceptance of the facts.

How many ways are required for the climate faithful to begin to wonder if it isn't all just smoke and mirrors?

Far from having been "well established" and "independently verified on numerous occasions", it has been clearly shown as not proven.

Which is all that really matters in science.

To the looselugnut libs, bogus science is just another implement to hammer out leftie social policy.



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