Friday, January 15, 2010

Came up empty and got dissed

The great thing about the comments at Rabett Run, is Eli learns a lot. A lot of the time Eli is not paying attention so that is a good thing. For example the great GISS Email dump. Turns out that Judicial Watch was pulling a Mo on CEI, which played Curley's nose.

The obvious back story now that it gets pointed out is that CEI had three FOIA requests pending since 2007, one for anything having to do with the error uncovered by Steve McIntyre in how Goddard incorporated post 2000 USHCN data, one asking for all Emails about McIntyre 's correspondence with GISS about this, and one (still pending) asking for any emails mentioning Real Climate. It was these pending FOIA requests that CEI threatened to sue about in November 2009 at the height of the heavy breathing on the theft of the CRU emails.

The Email dump appeared quietly in December in the Goddard FOIA library and kind of sat there like a dead fish, because, as we said earlier, they reflect well on GISS, and poorly on McIntyre and his horde. No there there for CEI, which cut its losses, moving the bet to the third FOIA. They may be disappointed again.

However, there are all sorts of opportunists out there on the wingnut right, and Judicial Watch has a history of being slightly shifty. They found the response and put out a press release

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained internal documents from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA's handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States. According to multiple press reports, when NASA corrected the error, the new data apparently caused a reshuffling of NASA's rankings for the hottest years on record in the United States, with 1934 replacing 1998 at the top of the list.

As Hansen points out in Email specially linked to by Judicial Watch
a) the error only affected post 2000 data so it had nothing to do with data from 1934 and 1998
b) this was about US, not global temperature anomalies
c) the difference between GISSTEMP US temperatures for 1998 and 1934 was a meaninglessly small
d) as the analysis methods changed over time the difference moved around a bit, but again, not in a way that was significant.
This, of course, is the answer to carrot eater's question
Eli, they made a movie about you. Something about a gospel.

You should play a game. See if you can guess which email is going to be taken out of context as proof of ..something or other.
Eli has been thinking of packaging his essays together and selling it to Lubos and Judicial Watch as the book of Eli.

Of course, Judicial Watch was too stupid to figure out that the Emails showed GISS reacting promptly and carefully to correct the error. OK, they called McIntyre a clown, but, let's be honest here, comparing him to Judicial Watch is like comparing George W. Bush to Lyndon LaRouche.

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The GISS Email Dump

Judicial Watch has FOAed Emails from NASA/GISS about their interaction with Steve McIntyre and the correction to the USHCN data from August 2007. After reading the files, (available in the memory hole for now) allow Eli, a tax payer, to say that they reflect well on James, Hansen, Reto Ruedy, Makiko Sato, Gavin Schmidt and a number of reporters including Andy Revkin, Demian McClean from Bloomberg, Leticia Francisco Sorg from Editora Globo and others who, undoubtedly will be named elsewhere.

It is a fascinating look at both how GISS reacted, quickly to figure out the source of the problem, and responded to McIntyre and the news media. It is equally informative as to how good and bad reporting on science issues gets done.

Since it is always good to start at the start, Eli is going to reproduce most of an Email from the sysop who caught McIntyre's web crawler

On about May 16 at around 10:30 or 11:00 pm, as I was getting ready to leave GISS for the nights, I belatedly checked the error logs on the two web servers and discovered that there were several thousand errors in the log on Web2. On a normal day there would be about 500.
he continues
The identity of the computer making the requests was consistent, and as best I recall was something in the domain of Rogers Communications, a Canadian phone company and IPS

Plainly this activity was from an "automated" agent, which in rough parlance is usually called a "robot". Many robots have legitimate purposes, e.g. serach engines such as Google or Yahoo, but others do not (spambots), and others one just doesn't know.

As the robot on May 16 came from a generic ISP address rather than, say and academic address and further because it's "user agent" tag provided no further information about who was runing it, and also because the GISS websites have "robots.txt" files which instruct all well behaved web robots to stay out of the CGI directories, I cut off access to the ISP in question to the websites on Web2.

The next day I received e-mail from McIntyre asking what was up. He did not identify himself or on whose behalf he was acting.

At some point Reto got involved in the communications, and he must have mentioned to Jim what was up. Later on Reto indicated to me that Jim had said to go ahead and re-grant McIntyre access to the material.

I do not know if at any point McIntyre actually asked Jim or Reto if it was possible to obtain the GISS copy of the station data in a single or small number of files. All I know is that my first contact with him came because he was blasting umpeen thousand requests at the webserver.

I have no idea how much traffic McIntyre's website gets, and I don't know that I have ever looked at it. His tone in his e-mail was on the arrogant side, so I had no desire to prolong communication with him and longer than was necessary
Oh yeah, the naughty bits, well, Hansen says
There are some desperate characters trying to make a mountain our of a mole hill.
and
Do we want to lower ourselves to debating with a court jester? Of course that's what he wants.

I don't have a strong preference as long as it is not taking a significant amount of my time.

I have not read the stuff you are referring to [McIntyre's whinge to Town Hall, more later], but as I recall, as soon as I was told about the matter, I said that he was welcome to the data
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Numberology

Remember Darwin Dearest? You know, how Willis Escherbach manipulated the data from Darwin Australia to make a warming trend into a cooling. Tim Lambert dealt with this in detail and Willis of course has a number of priors.



What Willis forgot to correct for according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was

A change in the type of thermometer shelter used at many Australian observation sites in the early 20th century resulted in a sudden drop in recorded temperatures which is entirely spurious. It is for this reason that these early data are currently not used for monitoring climate change. Other common changes at Australian sites over time include location moves, construction of buildings or growth of vegetation around the observation site and, more recently, the introduction of Automatic Weather Stations.

The impacts of these changes on the data are often comparable in size to real climate variations, so they need to be removed before long-term trends are investigated. Procedures to identify and adjust for non-climatic changes in historical climate data generally involve a combination of:

  • investigating historical information (metadata) about the observation site,
  • using statistical tests to compare records from nearby locations, and
  • using comparison data recorded simultaneously at old and new locations, or with old and new instrument types.
Well guess where the tortured numbers pop up again. Three points to the guy in the corner who said, gee, that's just the sort of thing that Joe D'Aleo would love and five to the lady in the black hat who said, that's so good it should be featured on the new KUSI blockbuster show we set our TIVO to capture when we went to the tea party. It would be nice to see a libel suit dropped on these clowns, but it's time to saddle up and point out that the icecap man is melting. Oh yeah, here is the "programming expert", please help undress him

There is more of the usual, the number of stations has fallen over the past thirty years, etc. Pushback will be needed.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Where's Roger


Ethon flew in rather dejected. He was all ready for a snack, he heard there were some excellent Pielke wing to chew over at the Buffalo Beast, but when he got there it was gone. So he went over to Alternet where the same article was posted (and got 206 comments). Nothing nourishing there. Finally, he found the chewy bits over at Tenny Naumers Climate Change: The Next Generation. Mike Roddy and Ian Murphy had written about some of the bastards responsible for subverting public understanding of climate change and there he was at number 14.

14) Roger Pielke Jr., Political Scientist

Misdeeds: It’s telling that Pielke thinks his poli sci degree entitles him to have an opinion about all aspects of climate science. Specifically, it’s telling us that he thinks we’re idiots. Pielke constantly parrots fallacious claims about ice, ocean temperature and warming rates from whacked out websites like wattsupwiththat.com. Roger has been dubbed the Most Debunked Science Writer in the Blogosphere by Climate Progress, yet still appears in the media as a contrarian “expert.”

Corporate teat: The Breakthrough Institute, whose founders, like Fox News, stress “balance.”

Most egregious lie: “In the ongoing battle between climate scientists and skeptics, there will be disproportionate carnage, because the climate scientists have so much more to lose.”

Comeuppance: Having been denied access to a newly-green Siberia by the Russian Army, vultures circle Pielke as he roams aimlessly in search of food and water. Hyenas, an invasive species from drought stricken Africa, track his every move in anticipation. Too weak to continue, he collapses. As the scavengers close in, Pielke finally realizes the irony of the above quote and cries, “I get it now!” The hyenas laugh and rip him to shreds.
It sure looks like the Climate McCarthy's won here. Think what you like about Roger Pielke, Mike Roddy and Eli don't think much of him, and Roger thinks the world of himself, the attacks by Shellenberger and Nordhaus and Roger's whining, sure are the best McCartheyite work seen in a long time.

Now imagine, just imagine, that say Michael Mann, or let's say Phil Jones complained to various editors about some papers that appeared, let's say in JGR. What do you think that Roger would say? What do you think they would have said if the juicy bits were, let us say, cut out of the Klotzbach.

I think we can get past the lie -- and it was a lie -- that these activist political scientists, in the words of Michael Shellenberger, "are not taking a political stand." They are indeed taking a political stand and they are doing so in stealth fashion using the authority of their Institute as cover to do so. This group of activist scientists are firmly entrenched in the major institutions of the INTERNET, such as the Alternet and on speed dial from every reporter.

So Pielke and his friends Nordhaus and Shellenberger in order to short circuit the ability of their political opponents to cherry pick and blow out of proportion things that these activists policy types do not agree with, they saw a convenient short cut: Simply reshape the editorial system such that those discomforting paragraphs don't ever appear or go unmentioned.

The problem with this strategy, of course, is that many climate scientists (and presumably others inside and outside of the scientific establishment like Eli) are unwilling to cede ownership of the "truth" to a small clique of policy types.

The clique of activists sees absolutely nothing wrong in what they are doing -- they are after all justifying their actions in terms of "truth" in support of the greater good.

The Buffalo Beast and AlterNet editors blew it

Can you help Ethon find Roger?

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snark attractant


As a celebration of the CRU hacking, Eli is going to publish some of the better Emails he has received. In his INBOX, good snark is a valued commodity and respect for administrators somewhat lacking. Let the tutt tutting begin.

I. Gell-Mann established the Santa Fe Institute to examine emergent patterns from seeming chaos. Emergence probably includes biological behaviors that establish themselves and get repeated in various differing branches of the collection of all life on the planet.

II. I got to see Denali National Park in Alaska at the very end of fall. I got within 5 foot of a momma grizzly with two cubs. Grizzly bears hibernate to survive the intense cold of the interior Alaska winter. This is one impressive species of life. One that will have its way to the detriment of all other life forms.

III. Bears are not incredibly intelligent and hold no patents or intellectual property. They produce nothing much beyond more bears and a lot of dung. They are big, however, and cannot be easily stopped when they set their mind to something.

IV. While not overly intelligent, they can sense the onset of a long cold spell. When winter is near, these bears will become "hyperphagic" and will go on impressive feeding frenzies that make sharks seem picky. This, of course, is an emergent behavior allowing the bears to survive the cold winter at the expense of any other useful but weaker life forms.

V. The economic climate is going into a deep freeze, and Grizzly Deans are getting hyperphagic. Run, Faculty. Run!

VI. Its time to write a paper on emergent Grizzly Dean biomemetic behavior for the Santa Fe Institute.

VII. We will be famous. That is, if not eaten by a dean first
This explains much. Audit starts on Friday.
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Friday, January 08, 2010

The Mikes have the Willies

Eli don't know what it is about the Mikes, but they certainly appear to have the Willies. Rabett Run now houses Mike Powell's take on Willie Soon's OISM front piece. Suffice it to say that Mike don't think much of it. Today Eli ran across a rather longer fisking aka comment, by another Mike, Michael MacCracken, hosted on Climate Science Watch. Now just as there are multiple versions of the various Baliunas, Soon and assoted Robinsons fish wrap, MacCracken provides multiple takedowns. His summary of the JPANDs version which Sallie was too shy to join in on (Little Bunnies, you do remember JPANDS, Journal of the American Physicians, Surgeons and Wingnuts, don't you?)

Expanding on a paper first presented ten years ago, the authors present a summary of climate change science that finds fault with nearly all of the internationally peer-reviewed findings contained in the comprehensive scientific assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In particular, the authors find fault with IPCC’s conclusions relating to human activities being the primary cause of recent global warming, claiming, contrary to significant evidence that they tend to ignore, that the comparatively small influences of natural changes in solar radiation are dominating the influences of the much larger effects of changes in the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations on the global energy balance. After many scientific misstatements and much criticism of IPCC science, the authors conclude with a section on the environment and energy that argues for construction of 500 additional nuclear reactors to provide the inexpensive energy needed for the US to prosper and to end importation of hydrocarbon fuels (particularly petroleum). Taking this step, along with the beneficial effects of the rising CO2 concentration, will, they argue in complete contrast to the prevailing scientific views, create a “lush environment of plants and animals” that our children can enjoy.
Of course, when Sallie was joined in things were not much better. MacCrackens comments on “Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” by A. R. Robinson, S. L. Baliunas, W. Soon, and Z. W. Robinson are, perhaps, slightly stronger
This paper is filled with distortions, errors, and one-sided interpretations of the science and blithely presumes that because we have survived to the present, the future will bring no problems as the population rises, energy use rises, atmospheric composition changes, and the earth’s natural systems are seriously and rapidly altered by human activities. While it is true that we do not know all, or maybe even most, answers to questions about the future, the international scientific community has come to the conclusion that virtually all the evidence is pointing in one direction and these authors, ignoring that literature and the international conclusions, pick and select and come to the exact opposite conclusion. Theirs is truly the style of argument of a defense attorney with a very weak case--the first line of defense is that man is not causing any change; their second is that man is certainly not causing an exaggerated set of changes they attribute to the other side; their third is that if changes do occur, all of the impacts will be positive and easy to deal with (but here they leave out whole categories of impacts from consideration); and their fourth line of defense is that even if adverse changes do occur, what is happening is for the long-term greater good of society whether society likes it or not. All of these lines of defense have been considered by the international scientific community in great detail and then their analyses have been reviewed broadly by experts and governments--and all of these supposed lines of defense fail. With unanimity, the cautiously stated summary for consideration by policymakers is that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate” and that “the probability is very low that these correspondences could occur by chance as a result of natural internal variability only. The vertical patterns of change are also inconsistent with those expected for solar and volcanic forcing.” These conclusions stand unrefuted by this work.
No disrespect to Mike Powell, but among other things Mike MacCracken was atmospheric and geophysical sciences division leader at Lawrence Livermore, senior scientist at the Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, coordinated US review of the IPCC FAR, and president of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS). In other words, one of the few persons policy types should go to who wanted to know about climate science. It is true that MacCracken has not taken the vow of pablum required of all lily liver Honest Brokers, and lacks the ability to take fools gladly. That is a feature.

Between the two Mikes you might even be able to educate 30,000 ......... Oh well, hope springs eternal.
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cockburning

There are, dear Bunnies, more whackos under heaven and earth than even Eli could shake a stick at. While in the case of climate change denialism it often appears that these are from the out the window right, to be fair, some are on the left and others, well, they are simply commuters from Mars. This makes for very strange bedrooms. A prominent example from the left is Alexander Cockburn,

John Farley, has a Monthly Review article taking this apart. Rabett recommends. To give a taste (two tastes per customer), John's take on two incessant denial-o-whines are worth cutting out and putting in our wallets. That the European Warm Period is not there in the MBH reconstructions is a golden oldie. After pointing out that the warming was a) not synchronous globally and b) not global, at least synchronously the article gets to the root of the thing

Those who believe that the Medieval Warm Period is very important are making the assumption that there is only one factor determining the climate. If you make that assumption, and if the sole factor is burning of fossil fuels, then our understanding of global warming would be challenged, because of course massive burning of fossil fuels did not happen in medieval times. Some six decades ago, many scientists in fact assumed that only one factor influences climate, although they couldn't agree on what factor, and global climate change was thus not understood. Today we know better: a number of factors influence global climate, including the intensity of the sun, aerosols, the greenhouse effect, Milankovich cycles (changes in the Earth's orbital motion), volcanic eruptions, and other factors.
Second, Eli understands that several WUWT readers have had Kenneth Trenberth's comment
The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't.
tattooed on the same parts of their body as the Christmas fairy tried to light. Farley brings the context (Eli knows that's unfair)
What climate scientists do not fully understand are the short-term fluctuations above and below the long-term trend. As part of those fluctuations, energy is transferred between different parts of the earth's climate system: glaciers, polar ice, the deep ocean, etc. Trenberth asks why the January 2008 temperature was unusually low. "Was it because a lot of heat went into melting Arctic sea ice or parts of Greenland and Antarctica, and other glaciers?" Currently we just can't say.
Oh yeah, Cockburn doesn't understand the second law of thermodynamics. John does.

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Bunny's got a new puzzler

At Rabett Run Lodge where all the Rabetts went for the holidays, the girls wouldn't let the guys watch football, so Eli spent New Years on the couch looking at this. No accounting for nerds. According to the Beeb

Scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock from EADS Astrium visits the Royal Institution’s new Young Scientist Centre to carry out a simple experiment that shows how CO2 traps heat. -BBC


Watch the video (opens in new window)

Skeptical Rabett says, technically true, but it's not a demonstration of the Greenhouse Effect, only part of it. Since the annonomice are batting the New Years Puzzler about pretty well, let's see how they do on this one

Clue on the flip side:

Alexander Graham Bell would have figured this out.
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Monday, January 04, 2010

Getting there first

Since some of the known guilty have taken to putting up Eli's comments as posts, the Bunny was thinking he gotta get there first to grab the hits.

We start with something at our changing climate, where Bart is being instructed by Tom Fuller about deference due denialists:

6. Tom: Say a fond but firm farewell to those who have served you poorly in the struggle to gain public support. Al Gore. Joe Romm. (Not Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt.) Michael Mann. Phil Jones.

Bart: Scapegoating is not the answer.

From which you gather that there are about 9 more points worth reading. Bart's answer was nowhere near strong enough. Eli's take on this nonsense is

You know, it is a common tactic of our friends on the out the window right, to demand that everyone else disown those on our side who are effective. Eli would be a hell of a lot more impressed if they first tossed their friends like, oh, lets say Morano and Inhofe on the political side and just for arguments sake, Gerlich and Chilingar on the science fantasy beat.

Bart, if you even let closeted denialists like Fuller get away with that by being quiet, you are playing right into their tactic because its part of their strategy to get rid of anyone who is effective. Take a look at the push back on Gavin and now Wm. Connolley

Interested mice can go over there and read the entire thing, and also the advice to denialists that Bart points to from James Hrynyshyn which points to more advice to denialists from Daniel Loxton at Skepticblog

For our second little liver bit, we go to a comment, so trenchant that even the mild mannered Michael Tobis gagged on it, arising from a scrum comment section (all the dirty work happens in the scrum which explains why one of Eli's ears have those cute little nibble marks that Ms. Rabett adores) during which much trash was being thrown over the transom and batted back. MT asked
Wow, this Nazis are left-wingers meme has been quite thoroughly spread around in some circles. Talk about revisionism! It certainly goes a long way to explaining the bizarre Obama with Hitler mustache posters we saw during the health care debate.

It's really off topic for this blog, but this amazing piece of propaganda needs to see the light of day somewhere. Has anybody sane remarked on it?
and Eli pointed out that
Oh yeah, the Nazi thing. The point is not to call liberals Nazis, the point is to devalue the use of the analogy when the wingnuts and corporatists get called on their behavior. The Nazis were not socialists in either their economic or social policy, they were definitely corportists economically like the AEI Republicans and nativists socially, like the Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs Republicans.

The point of the Goldberg variation is to take a useful stick away from their opponents.
Language wise, denialist is the term of choice because it is correct, pithy and works. Anytime someone starts whining bout how mean that is of you, tell them how you might discuss it with them if they tossed Morano, Inhofe, Watts and the rest of the crew under the bus. Till then they are denialists.

The bunnies may have noticed the push towards "warmist". If this were the dozens, that would not even rate a pair. Not very effective, still let's push back on it with the correct term to describe our position: realist.

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