Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stage II


You may recall some time ago I posted the 4 stages of climate change denial. To repeat:

1. Global warming isn't happening.

2. Global warming is happening but humans aren't responsible for it.

3. Global warming is happening, humans are largely responsible for it, but there isn't anything we can do about it.

4. Global warming is happening, humans are largely responsible for it, there is something we can do about, but the costs of mitigation would exceed the costs of warming.

Now it looks like with the pending peer review and subsequent publishing of Robert Muller's BEST study, denialistas will be breaking camp and moving on to stage 2. Back in April of this year I posted an article and comment on Dr. Muller's testimony before Representative Robert Hall's (R-Tx) congressional kangaroo court on climate science: a forum designed from the start to cast doubt on the science behind the theory of AGW. Dr. Muller had been called to testify simply because he had been recognized for years as a skeptic. But, low and behold, after honestly reviewing the data, Dr. Muller in sworn testimony, confirmed the existence of global warming - not only that, but the credibility of the "hockey stick". Thus, his testimony posed an embarrassment - not only for Robert Hall, but the denialist community at large - which immediately ramped up and started trying to discredit the BEST methodology.

During that episode I was most amused by the idiotic dilettante, Tony Watts. Prior to release of Dr. Muller's findings, Mr. Watts had more or less promised on his blog to abide by whatever the BEST team concluded. Yet, as soon as it became obvious the findings conflicted with his own personal dogma, he instantly back tracked and fell in with the chorus of BEST critics.

I failed to mention in that earlier post why the Watts reversal has been so exquisitely ironic. It was Mr. Watts himself who virtually pioneered the organized criticism of surface temperature records - and the computer models which are based on them. The effort culminated in the "paper", "Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?" - - the original copy of which was as goofy a piece of flat Earth flim flam as any which has come down the pike in years. As it originally appeared, it was little more than a paste up of unsorted calumnies from a host of dubious sources. In the intervening months, Mr. Watts has painstakingly removed the most comical errors - but the paper just keeps getting flimmier and flammier. Now comes the BEST study, a thorough, well financed project which honestly pursues the objectives which Mr. Watts has been dishonestly pursuing for years. And not surprisingly, the results directly contradict the saucer of weak tea Tony Watts has been trying to pass off as genuine research.

Probably the most damning aspect of the BEST study, for Tony Watts at least, is the devastating take-down of his most cherished conspiracy theory. Namely, that the American NOAA and NASA, along with the British Hadley Centre, are purposely conspiring to drop from their data bases the temperature recording sites which give "colder" readings, while retaining sites which give "warmer" readings. You yourself made note of this in a post of your's last year. As originally conceived, the whole theory was based on Mr. Watts' total ignorance of temperature anomalies. Climate change predictions are based on anomalies at each site, as opposed to Mr. Watts' naive assumption that the readings from all sites are merely averaged: a preposterous method in which "throwing out" colder readings would have some effect.

One of the things the BEST study did was "add back" the readings from all the stations which the NOAA had dropped from the system to see if their inclusion would make any difference in the historical record.

It didn't.

As a matter of fact, the record is almost identical to that which is currently computed without the dropped stations. This should come as no surprise. For some time now, the NOAA has been trying to explain the station selection process to anyone who cares to listen. Furthermore, since all the data is freely available from the NOAA, the BEST review which incorporates dropped stations had already been performed earlier by at least one blogger - with the same results. I need hardly add that Anthony Watts himself, if he is indeed the meticulous researcher he claims to be, could have performed this same exercise with any ordinary home computer before making his profoundly dishonest accusations.

Here's the whole point of this post, Steve:

With the publication of the BEST study, the very existence of global warming is no longer in doubt. Yet, having lost their credibility as climate experts, are we supposed to believe the same pseudo-scientists who spread lies and disinformation, and promoted childish conspiracy theories about the temperature record, will now suddenly morph into experts in chemistry, oceanography, geology and physics, and then explain to us why evidence from these fields as well do not prove global warming is the product of human activity?

Steve, there isn't any conspiracy to alter the historical temperature record! There never was. Yet, now that this particular conspiracy theory has gone up in smoke, we're going to be asked to believe that scientists in fields as diverse as atmospheric chemistry and hydrology are conspiring, in an ever widening circle, to game the system and create false evidence for anthropocentric global warming. And what's more, were going to be asked to believe this by the same people who lied to us about the record of global temperature.

Pfaah! Isn't it about time we start paying attention to what real scientists are telling us about climate change? A whole bunch of them spent countless hours without remuneration to prepare AR-4, the IPCC's seminal report on climate change. Why not take a moment to visit the IPCC website, where you can review the IPCC's reports and credentials of the team members who write them. The whole process is fully transparent and backed by tons of online documentation.



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