Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yes, Climategate DOES discredit climate research

The files and e-mail exchanges from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia are damning in several respects. What's readily apparent to anyone reading objectively is that CRU systematically engaged in a practice to stifle peer review of their work. This is a fact and not subject to dispute, and by itself ought to be sufficient to summarily dismiss any reports or recommendations coming from CRU.

Also readily apparent is advocacy for a specific outcome of their work. Take it away, AoSHQ:
> >From: Phil Jones []
> >Sent: 05 January 2009 16:18
> >To: Johns, Tim; Folland, Chris
> >Cc: Smith, Doug; Johns, Tim
> >Subject: Re: FW: Temperatures in 2009
> >
> >
> > Tim, Chris,
> > I hope you're not right about the lack of warming lasting
> > till about 2020. I'd rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office
> > press release with Doug's paper that said something like -
> > half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on
> > record, 1998!
> > Still a way to go before 2014.
> >
> > I seem to be getting an email a week from skeptics saying
> > where's the warming gone. I know the warming is on the decadal
> > scale, but it would be nice to wear their smug grins away.
Dammit...curse this global cooling! I want to wipe some "smug grins" off people's faces! Oh, and never mind the fact that 1998 was NOT the hottest year on record. That was 1934, but that hardly fits the anthropogenic global warming narrative. This reveals an emotional investment in a desired conclusion which is incompatible with objective, honest scientific inquiry.

As for CRU researchers deliberately manipulating data to fit their needs, it certainly appears that happened, but the evidence is - for now - less than conclusive. But what may be even worse than fudging the data is that...CRU evidently has no idea what their datasets represent.

First, a few things about that Fortran source code you've probably heard about. For the uninitiated, "source code" is the program code that a programmer actually types into a computer. It might look funny to someone who's not a programmer, but it's still readable by humans. The source code is then run through a compiler which converts the source code to machine-readable form for execution.

Fortran is a programming language whose name comes from "FORmula TRANslator". It's been around for a long time (I did a little bit of Fortran work in the mid-1980s back in my programming days when I had to do some complex life insurance rate calculations), and it's still commonly used by scientists in number-crunching applications. Unlike other programming languages, Fortran source code can be pretty cryptic, even to an experienced programmer. For this reason, it's common practice to extensively comment the source code (comments are ignored by the compiler) so that someone coming along later to make changes to the code can understand what the hell's going on. This is why the Fortran source code from CRU has those long-running comments sections. Like this one:
7. Removed 4-line header from a couple of .glo files and loaded them into Matlab. Reshaped to 360r x 720c and plotted; looks OK for global temp (anomalies) data. Deduce that .glo files, after the header, contain data taken row-by-row starting with the Northernmost, and presented as '8E12.4'. The grid is from -180 to +180 rather than 0 to 360. This should allow us to deduce the meaning of the co-ordinate pairs used to
describe each cell in a .grim file (we know the first number is the lon or column, the second the lat or row - but which way up are the latitudes? And where do the longitudes break? There is another problem: the values are anomalies, wheras the 'public' .grim files are actual values. So Tim's explanations (in _READ_ME.txt) are incorrect..

8. Had a hunt and found an identically-named temperature database file which did include normals lines at the start of every station. How handy - naming two different files with exactly the same name and relying on their location to differentiate! Aaarrgghh!! Re-ran anomdtb:
It doesn't take a programmer to read this and realize that the guy writing the code was faced with a bunch of climate data files, the structure of which was unknown. Picture opening up an Excel spreadsheet with column after column of numbers, and no column headers telling you what each column contains.

Think about all this as President Obama jets off to Copenhagen to discuss a global climate change treaty with other world leaders, and think about what Obama's climate czar, Carol Browner, had to say about the appalling evidence coming out of CRU:
Ms. Browner initially shrugged when asked about the e-mails, saying she didn't have a reaction. But when a reporter followed up, she said she will stick with the consensus of the 2,500 climate scientists on the International Panel on Climate Change who concluded global warming is happening and is most likely being pushed by human actions.
Wow. I'm sure glad that science is being returned to its rightful place in this administration.

Update: I can't believe I forgot to mention the conspiracy to circumvent FOIA requests.

Hot Air links. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

nice work dude...

princetrumpet said...

We, the great unwashed, owe you folks that go to the trouble of finding this material a debt of gratitude. I appreciate it.

Zachary The First said...

Keep it up--it's very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These people are CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!! Thank God for the truth which always was my gut reaction to all this crap that they have been trying to cram down our throats. None of it every made sense to me and apparently to alot of other people too. It is very clear what their agenda was all along, to take our hard earned money. That is exactly what they intend to do with this 6 trillion crap sandwich of a health care bill. Just a bunch of thieves and con men/ woman. Keep up the great work!

Eric said...

Thanks for the comments! It's good to see that the climate shenanigans are starting finally see the light of day.

Odysseus said...

I've been a corporate computer programmer for twenty years. As I read the emails from the programmer, I thought that if I was in the same situation in the corporate world, I would tell my employer that the data was completely unreliable and they should under no circumstances make any business decisions based on information gleaned from that data. If they proceeded to do so, I would write an email to my supervisor and copy his boss registering my objection. That way, when the whole thing blew up, I would have covered my backside.

LifeTrek said...

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.

"Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” (emphasis added) President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address

Every Liberal remembers Eisenhower warning against the, "military-industrial complex" but few if any know his second stated warming in that same farewell message, his warning against the, "scientific-technological elite"!

This speech could have been made last week, read the whole thing.

Войска ПВО said...

"Fortran source code can be pretty cryptic, even to an experienced programmer."

One of the waggish observations about Fortran is, "A good Fortran progrmmer can program Fortran in any language." A corollary is that there are NO good Fortran programmers.

Technically speaking, Fortran is often NOT written as a block-structured language and consequently is coded in a grab-ass, disorganized fashion resulting in unreadable and unmaintainable code.

While a subjective opinion (although based on 40 years as a software programmer), I find that typically, scientists are all about getting results from data through hacked, ad hoc, and carelessly prepared routines..

..again, from the standpoint of maintainability. And, unmaintainable and poorly written code is not the best foundation to write modifications or enhancements. This can lead to even more erroneous and faulty logic.

I have only begun to look at the source code and methods in this CRU charley foxtrot, but I see nothing that leads me to doubt my suppositions.

Put another way, from a business IT perspective, I can tell you I would NOT want to vouch for the accuracy of accounting reports or paychecks generated by software written by the clowns who did this stuff.

Charles said...

I like this line from open source guru Eric Raymond

any eco-related scare for which the prescription would result in a massive transfer of power to the political class is bogus

He also says they hard coded the hockey stick.

Ayrdale said...

Whatever the outcome of Copenhagen, whatever stitched up shonky deal is made, the verdict of history and of science will remain the same; climate alarmists are frauds, and their stooges within the science establishments and in the media are guilty of collusion, lies and deceit. The information is now released, and the stink and shame of corruption will follow those who wilfully choose to ignore it...

“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell, 1984.

Anonymous said...

All we can do is fight fight fight.. they will have to answer in court for their fraud..