Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another great article by Tim Ball

Bernard Baruch said, “Vote for the man who promises least; he’ll be the least disappointing.” Barack Obama promised a great deal. He was rarely specific, but his generalities were interpreted to mean he would deal with each voter’s specific concerns. His promise of change was nothing new, but people believed it was different than any thing seen before in Washington. He is not President yet, but already he has demonstrated an inability to satisfy the expectations raised by his eloquence and vagueness. For example, Republicans say his appointments are not change but simply a return to the Clinton regime. Democrats claim he needs experience and the Clinton years were good ones so this does not affect the concept of change he promoted.

Everyone hopes he is successful in resolving at least some of the issues facing the US and the world. However, this assumes in every case that there is a problem that the cause is generally understood, and the solution resolves rather than exacerbates. For example, all the financial fixes may achieve short-term and apparent resolutions, but if they don’t address the fundamental fact that you can’t spend more than you make as an individual or a government you will make the problem worse.

Obama, knowingly and unknowingly, has raised the bar of expectation very high. In the area of climate change he has done it with almost messianic fervor. How else can you interpret the objective to stop climate change? He is not alone in this arrogant objective, but all it means is he is not alone in the fact that it displays a complete lack of understanding of climate and the natural extent of climate change. In his case, he provided evidence when he announced plans to list CO2 as a toxic substance and a pollutant. When he was specific he simply underscored his lack of knowledge and understanding.

This is not surprising as Al Gore is apparently his source of information. Indeed, many were touting Gore as the new climate Tsar in the Obama administration. Even if Gore wasn’t chosen and reports say he has already rejected the possibility, his position as the guru of climate change within the Democratic Party make him impossible to ignore.

A German proverb says, “He who would rule must hear and be deaf, see and be blind.” This is ideal but not realistic. It assumes the leader hears and sees all sides of an issue and reaches a conclusion independent of biased advisers. It also assumes the leader understands the details and complexities of the issue. That is clearly not the situation with Obama and climate change. It is also untrue about Gore. So who becomes the player of influence on climate and energy policy in the Obama regime?

The answer is James Hansen, the same person who has influenced Gore since 1988 when he appeared before Gore’s Senate Committee. Stephen Schneider introduced him at a Stanford University presentation recently as “an iconic leader”.

Schneider made the following statement reported in Discover magazine (October 1989). “Scientists need to get some broader base support, to capture the public’s imagination… that, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of doubts we may have… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” No wonder Schneider defines him as iconic because nobody has practiced what Schneider preached more than Hansen.

John Daly described Schneider as a “Greenhouse Superstar.”

Schneider continued his career in climate even though he is a biologist and his most recent influence was in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. He was an author for the Summary for Policymaker (SPM), the document most important in determining what the media and public know about the science of climate change. It is a political document produced before the final scientific report is produced.

So Schneider has been involved with the deception that is the IPCC from the very beginning.

Schneider operates behind the scenes, but Hansen is very prominent. Despite being a Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), he appears before Congressional Committees sometimes as bureaucrat and sometimes as private citizen. This practice is typical Hansen. He is entitled to his personal opinions, but it is impossible for a committee to consider his views equal to another private citizen in a matter related to his expertise. Professor Bob Carter classifies this behavior as `Hansenism’. After making statements about three generally held but false beliefs about climate and climate change, he says;

Their assertion is a symptom of a disease called Hansenism which has gripped western media sources and political, business and public opinion in a deadly grasp. Hansenist climate hysteria is driven by relentless, ideological, pseudo-scientific drivel, most of which issues from green political activists and their supporters, and is then promulgated by compliant media commentators who are innocent of knowledge of true scientific method.

Carter says Hansenism is more dangerous than Lysenkoism. This was ideological control of genetics by Trofim Lysenko, Director of the Institute of Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which evolved around four main themes Carter identifies as follows:

  • A necessity to demonstrate the practical relevance of science to the needs of society;
  • The amassing of evidence to show the “correctness” of the concept as a substitute for causal proof;
  • Noble cause corruption, whereby data are manipulated to support a cause which is seen as a higher truth; and
  • Ideological zeal, such the dissidents are silenced as “enemies of the truth”.

  • At his Stanford speech Hansen showed photos of his grandchildren and said, “It is a basic conflict between fossil fuel special interests and the interests of young people, nature and animals.” Surely this is a classic case of noble cause corruption to justify the pattern of his behavior.

    From the time of his appearance before Gore’s committee to the speech at Stanford, Hansen continued his tactics. Fear, threats of impending doom, running out of time, are all used and backed by misinformation, unjustified speculation, and inaccurate information. “ Time is running out to prevent catastrophic consequences from global warming,” “We’ve reached a point where we have a crisis, an emergency, but people don’t know that”. They do know about it, but they are less and less convinced as the evidence shows humans and their CO2 are not the cause. In another Hansenism he claims, “There’s a big gap between what’s understood about global warming by the scientific community and what is known by the public and policymakers.” He is right for the wrong reason. It is the IPCC and his own public statements that have created the gap. Data put out by NASA GISS for which he is Director has created serious misdirection.

    His agency claimed 1998 the warmest year in the US and the eight warmest years occurred since 1998. Steve McIntyre showed that the numbers were due to an error and 1934 was the warmest year and four of the top ten warmest years were in the 1930s.

    The incident was classified as an error, but many considered it suspicious in light of a pattern of “errors” and adjustments of the record NASA GISS. All these adjustments made past temperatures lower thus making current conditions apparently warmer. GISS is not alone in this practice. The infamous ‘hockey stick’ achieved the goal of “getting rid of the Medieval Warm Period as reported here.

    More recently NASA GISS claimed October 2008 was the second warmest on record. It was claimed they did not produce the data, but they accepted it and put it out under their name. The error was large and should have raised alarms. Record low temperatures and early snow were reported in many regions, but this was ignored in the eagerness to promote global warming.

    It is not possible to prove the errors were deliberate even though all the changes made were always to enhance current warming. However, the errors are serious enough to require removal for incompetence, especially when combined with with Hansen’s public activities as a bureaucrat. For example, he testified before Congress that oil executive’s should be tried for crimes against humanity. He was testifying in his charade as a private citizen.

    He was also a private citizen when he appeared before a British court recently. He testified for the defense of Greenpeace supporters accused of damaging a coal plant. He said they were justified because it was part of a need to protect the world from global warming. The defendants were acquitted.

    Apparently in 2006, and clearly with justification, concern was growing over the activities of the highly political bureaucrat. Hansen’s defense was a strong offense. He appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform claiming political interference. His claim raises questions about the role of bureaucrats in a democracy. He pursued the topic again in a paper published in early 2008.

    Roger Pielke Jr discussed Hansen’s position at length here;

    Pielke Jr’s most telling comment says; “Hansen does not like the political control of government communications, regardless of who has been elected into power.” If this is true, then Barack Obama will have a problem if he decides to delay action on reduction of CO2. Hansen says at 385 ppm it is well above a ‘safe’ level of 350 ppm. Reduction to that level is necessary as he told the Stanford audience, “To preserve creation, the planet on which civilization developed.” The fact there is no so such thing as a safe level and a reduction will have serious implications for plants, oxygen production and thereby life is what Obama needs to hear. But he won’t because he has promised too much already; he doesn’t understand climate science and Hansen will make him hear when he should be deaf.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    scientific blunder

    So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Memo to Gavin Schmidt

    From: He Whose Name You are Not Allowed to Utter

    Gavin, you said:

    [Response: There are still (at least) four stations that have Oct data in place of september data but that didn’t report september data (Kirensk, Irkutsk, Bratsk, Erbogacen). I expect that the SEP=OCT check that NOAA did, just didn’t catch these. Still, this is embarassing - but will be fixed today. Nobody is ‘indifferent’. - gavin]

    As you said elsewhere:

    Why anyone would automatically assume something nefarious was going on without even looking at the numbers is a mystery to me.

    Why would you assume that Erbogacen, Kirensk, Bratsk and Irkutsk did not report September data? I hope that you didn't do so "without looking at the numbers". Just to make things easy for you, here is a script that will do download daily GHCN data for you.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Cool hand Luke.

    "What we have here is a complete lack of Communication"

    The Santers response reminded me of the Movie Cool hand Luke.
    The Arrogance of a scientist who has something to hide?
    Every time I read Steve M. I often find myself thinking about"how High is his IQ"?
    It's got to be way up there with the Savants. No wonder scientist with suspect data are so afraid to have Steve M. audit them. He is the Tax man of the AGW world. They Know if they have publish suspect data they will be exposed Like M Mann and his team who got more Exposure then they ever planed. Like Cool hand Luke he can get under their skins and drive them Nuts.

    The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists.

    November 9, 2008:
    The two papers we had submitted to Geophysical Research Letters have both been rejected, with instructions to not resubmit either one. The first paper showed how none of 18 IPCC climate models, in over 1,000 years of global warming simulations, ever exhibits the negative feedback we have measured from global satellite data.

    The second paper revealed new satellite evidence that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation modulates the Earth's radiative balance by an amount that, when put into a simple climate model, can explain 75% of global warming over the 20th Century....including the slight cooling between 1940 and 1980.

    Since our previous publications have been basically censored by the news media, and I have now experienced scientific censorship (which I suppose was long overdue), I have decided to take my message to the people in a second book.

    In anticipation of trouble getting these papers published, I had already started the book awhile is now about 80% finished, heavily illustrated. The working title is:
    The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists. My book agent is currently scouting for publishers.

    Saturday, November 8, 2008

    Only Computer Illiterates believe in "Man-Made" Global Warming

    "What people do not understand is that there is no proof of "Man-Made" Global Warming without using irrelevant computer models. Yes computer models have a place in engineering but are utterly useless at fortune telling, I mean "climate prediction". With engineering you can build and test in the real world to confirm the computer model's accuracy. You can do no such thing with the planet Earth and it's climate. You cannot build a planet and it's atmosphere to "test" your computer climate model.

    I am a computer analyst and can program a computer model to do whatever I want. If you program a computer model so that X amount of CO2 increase "forces" X amount of temperature increase then it will happen, this does not make this true in the real world."

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    climate models have no predictive value

    Alan Greenspan former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, a position touted as one of the most powerful unelected offices in the world, in a hearing before Rep. Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said he got it wrong in answer to questions about his role in the recent financial meltdown. His extremely mobile face deadpanned that his economic models, which he had relied on for 40 years, were wrong. He did not apologize; it was merely a statement of fact that portrayed no irrational exuberance. He gave no hint of concern about the massive damage his reliance on the models had done. Huge losses of money among those who exploited the situation his models allowed, garnered no sympathy. However, the dashing of hope at the bottom of the economic pyramid, the disaster of losing one’s home or job, the stress created by worrying about losing either, and a myriad other such stories in the US and across the world appeared to be dismissed with a wave of the academic and intellectual hand.
    There were warnings. In October 2005 Stephen King wrote in the British newspaper, The Independent, “Despite Mr Greenspan’s colossal reputation, I have my doubts that his approach will survive his departure: by giving the impression that all risks can be contained through his own wizardry, Mr Greenspan may have encouraged excessive risk-taking, most obviously with the equity bubble in the late 1990s and, more recently, with the emergence of a housing bubble.” (Story)
    The wizardry was his models. Greenspan likely believes he absolved himself from any blame or responsibility by his statement that it was the model’s fault - I am not responsible or accountable. As the blog site, “Naked Capitalism” puts it, “Being an objectivist means never having to take responsibility for your actions. Greenspan has now decided to pin the financial market crisis on models.” The cliché about models is garbage in garbage out (GIGO), but the issues are who put the garbage in and who decided what happened to the garbage while it was in the model and then how was the garbage used once it was out?
    Ironically, to a certain extent, Greenspan is correct. The models are the problem. Models are useful tools as long as they are used for simple readily measured situations. However, even there they can be wrong. Consider the failures that occur with constructions. The bridge in Minneapolis is a good example. When complexity increases, particularly through interactions between various segments, their use becomes extremely questionable. They depend upon the amount and accuracy of the data on which they are built and in most cases this is less than adequate. They assume an ability to quantify every variable, but this is not possible. Even the largest computers cannot include all variables. Which ones do you leave out? How would you quantify Greenspan’s irrational exuberance? Indeed, how do you quantify human behavior? Greenspan failed to quantify human reaction to policies he formulated based on his model output and in his testimony he admitted he did not anticipate what happened. This is a typical academic response and why the phrase “it is purely academic” means it is irrelevant to the real world. What is remarkable is his naivete and belief in his model and his lack of understanding of human nature. Unfortunately he is not alone in an implicit belief in models and their ability to simulate the complexity of real world conditions. He is not alone in the application of the model outputs as the basis for major public policies. They are the bane of society wherever they are used.
    Models range in form from hardware models, which are simply scale reductions such as a model airplane, to purely abstract models that replace individual components with symbols. These, in the simplest model usually are letters of the alphabet to represent a variable. Everyone is familiar with Einstein’s famous model symbolized in the mathematical formula e = mc2. represents energy, m is for mass and c is for the speed of light. Almost all models in science or social science are mathematical.
    Modeling became dominant in every discipline with the advent of the computer. This allowed for inclusion of vast amounts of data on which complex calculations could be performed. Unfortunately, this gave them a credibility that they didn’t deserve. As Pierre Gallois said, “If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out of it but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and no one dares criticize it.” Working with models in a laboratory or academic environment only requires logic, rigorous method and adherence to scientific standards. Too often today even these are not being met, but they only do damage within academia. However, once you use the output of your models for policy then a social and political responsibility is required and as we see more and more often it is not being met. Greenspan and his model are a disastrous example.
    Economics is a discipline within the general area of the social sciences. The term implies that somehow you can apply the scientific method to individual and group behavior within a society. However, there is a fundamental difference between science and social science and that is the ability to predict. A simple definition of science is the ability to predict. The scientific prediction does not trigger a response or a change, but remains measurable. Social science predictions inevitably produce a response and triggers change that jeopardizes the prediction. For example, if an economist studies a community and produces a predictive report that leaders and innovators in the community react by changing their behavior and thus that of the community. This results in invalidating the original predictive report. Obviously, this is what happened when Greenspan applied his predictive model output to the US economy.
    Greenspan’s model was the basis for US financial policy for the entire time he was Chairman of the Reserve Board after his appointment in 1987. It was also the basis for world economies as the reverberations of the collapse demonstrate. However, it is not the only flawed model influencing global policy and driving it in the wrong direction. The IPCC climate model is the sole source of evidence that human CO2 is causing climate change yet it is being used to create completely unnecessary taxes, policies and hardships.
    The IPCC models are also the source of predictions about threatening future climates. This despite their own warning in their first Report (Climate Change 1992) “Scenarios are not predictions of the future and should not be used as such.” While the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios says; “Scenarios are images of the future or alternative futures. They are neither predictions nor forecasts. By Climate Change 2001 they were saying; “The possibility that any single in emissions path will occur as described in this scenario is highly uncertain.” They later say, “No judgment is offered in this report as to the preference for any of the scenarios and they are not assigned probabilities of recurrence, neither must they be interpreted as policy recommendations” The hypocrisy of these words is provided by the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) they produce.
    Some argue climate models are better than economic models because they are based on physics. If this was true then their predictions would be accurate but they are not. It’s not surprising because they are not validated. This is a standard test in which a model attempts to recreate previous known conditions. Everyone is aware they cannot provide accurate weather forecasts beyond 5 days so it is unreasonable to claim they make accurate climate forecast for 50 and 100 years. The argument that weather forecasts are different than climate forecasts is not upheld because climate is an average of the weather. They are only as accurate as our knowledge of the weather and its mechanisms. At a recent conference on climate modeling in Reading England, Tim Palmer, a leading climate modeler at the European Centre for Medium - Range Weather Forecasts said “I don’t want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.”
    A paper by Demetris Koutsoyiannis et al argues that climate models have no predictive value.
    Failure of the IPCC models is not surprising. They are built on the theory of warming/climate change, which uses the fundamental assumption that an increase in CO2 will cause an increase in temperature. In every record of any duration for any time period in the Earth’s history temperature increases before CO2. However, a major problem is the models focus on human causes as their mandate dictates. As Roy Spencer said in his testimony before the US Senate EPW Committee “And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research.”
    The IPCC and their totally inadequate and incomplete climate models exploit peoples fears and lack of understanding while driving politicians to completely wrong policy. They present scenarios and warn against using them as predictions yet produce a Summary for Policymakers. Individual IPCC members actively encourage policies.
    Greenspan’s bland and unapologetic statement that his model failed is frightening. It is even more frightening that the solutions do not deal with the fundamental flaws that allowed it to exist. Spending more than you earn is a problem from the individual through to government. He encouraged credit and then chastised the irrational exuberance with which it was adopted. Now those who provided and often exploited the credit shock him.
    The same is true of climate models. They are grossly flawed being built on at least one critically false assumption, on inadequate data, and omit major mechanisms while consistently making inaccurate predictions. The damage of energy and environmental policies based on their output is already extensive and will get worse as politicians plan massive CO2 reductions. The question is how did Greenspan get away with it? Why wasn’t he challenged? How are the IPCC getting away with their deceptions and failed models? Bartholomew and Goode provide the answer succinctly in this paragraph on mass hysteria.
    Many factors contribute to the formation and spread of collective delusions and hysterical illness: the mass media; rumors; extraordinary anxiety or excitement; cultural beliefs and stereotypes; the social and political context; and reinforcing actions by authorities such as politicians, or institutions of social control such as the police or military. Episodes are also distinguishable by the redefinition of mundane objects, events, and circumstances and reflect a rapidly spreading folk belief which contributes to an emerging definition of the situation. (They should add academia as a reinforcing authority.) (Link)
    The “redefinition of mundane objects” applies to weather events and climate change. These natural events have been redefined as unnatural and therefore problematic. They are then wrapped in the larger environmental hysteria.
    It also appears George Orwell was correct when he wrote, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”