Hush Andy, There’s Nothing to See Here
Posted by Jeff Id on December 7, 2009
I received an email which prompted me to drag myself over to the RC blog again. I must be their most avid reader lately. While I agree with the article that it’s good to talk to the scientists, Dr. Steig still does not recognize the recently exposed bias of that particular group. Since we have the comment by Michael Schlesinger which gave a second and final warning yesterday to Andy Revkin, it’s clear what the point of this post was. It’s a public warning to Andy Revkin and the rest of the media, that if they want to keep his insider status, skeptical comments from scientists who don’t agree, will not be tolerated.
We appreciate that Revkin may be trying to use voices that will appear ‘centrist’ to most of his audience. But Pielke’s answers, while they sound very reasonable, are wrong.
Last warning Andy. Are you listening yet?
If they are willing to publicly abuse an independent reporter for talking to a skeptic, can you imagine the pressure inside their circle to agree with the consensus? Michael Mann doesn’t mind wielding his power privately, it seems that Eric Steig doesn’t mind doing it publicly.
Without exaggeration, I’m again struck by the apparent lack of confidence in the science consensus. There is no argument on the merits of why a particular comment is wrong, just that it is wrong and you better shut up Andy. It’s like he’s hoping we don’t notice that there are hundreds of scientists under the thumb of the consensus. Dr. Steig does not seem like that kind of individual in email exchanges I’ve had, I wonder if he’s signing his name for others. You wonder now why meteorologists don’t tend to fall in line with climatologists? You wonder why 30,000 technical individuals outside of climatology signed a petition pointing out the bad science being done? Are you guys figuring it out?
Consensus is not a natural state for humans…It is unnatural and occurs through force. Kim Jong Il was elected with 100% of the vote in North Korea too. You couldn’t get that if there was only one name on the ballot in the US.
That’s not to say that there is no science referenced in the Real Climate post, and one of my goals is to help people interpret the science. So let’s look at what Dr. Steig has to say:
Obviously, radical changes to the long term trend in the surface temperature record would require re-evaluation of our understanding of climate sensitivity, but such radical changes are almost impossible to envision happening. This is so because: 1) independent assessments of the surface temperature data (such as by the Japanese Meteorological Agency) agree extremely well with one another, and 2) independent evidence from borehole temperatures fully validate the long term surface trend (and actually suggest it is larger than, for example, indicated by proxy temperature constructions).
Dr. Steig is right. When CRU redoes the data we will see the same trend and Real Climate will stomp around saying, look we told you it made no difference. Ha, stop listening to skeptics and deniers. We already know that will be the media response too. But the media is missing the point again (in the future hehe). The point will be that the surface stations chosen are biased for a number of reasons including urban warming. We will finally see the list of sites and maybe even the data used to create the very likely exaggerated trend. Ya see, despite CRU’s horsecrap statements about not being allowed to show the data (which we know now was discarded), they could still have revealed to the world the list of stations in the data.
So Dr. Steig uses the ‘independent’ construction of data, IOW, the consensus of the data to demonstrate there is no disagreement. However, these independent surface temperature datasets all use the same GHCN source data, the corrected, homogenized, already mashed thermometer series. They are as independent as Michael Mann , Phil Jones and Gavin Schmidt, not only are discussions held between the groups, but they use a huge percentage of overlapping data. And guess what, the satellite temperature data – does not agree….
In an unusual second point, Dr. Steig quotes borehole proxy data. Boreholes used to be one of my favorite proxies, because they made sense. You measure the ground temperature inside the earth and try to extract air temperature over time from it. However, it turns out that in reality, dry boreholes are not used. They are full of groundwater, so I wonder, does any non-climatologist think that a 400 year old temperature signal can be measured in an area with flowing groundwater? In addition the math used is shall we say — suspect. So when Dr. Steig says – look it’s confirmed by boreholes and it’s worse than we thought. Take it from a skeptic, this point is complete crap.
And in case you’re wondering, it’s not just skeptics who have concerns with temperature data. Climatologists do too, although they will never say it publicly.
>> At 04:34 PM 4/18/00 -0400, Ed Cook wrote:
>> >Dear Juerg,
[snip – off topic]
However, I must admit to having doubts about
>> >the quality of the early instrumental records despite the great efforts
>> >made to homogenize and correct them. This is especially the case with
>> >regards to low-frequency variability, but can also extend to individual
>> >values as well. I talked with Phil Jones about one suspect datum in the
>> >early portion of his extended NAO record that largely destroys any
>> >correlation with proxy-based NAO estimates (the sign of the instrumental
>> >index appears to be wrong to me). Yet, Phil is convinced that that datum is
>> >good and he may very well be right. Either way, more robust methods of
>> >association between series may be jusitified to guard anomalous values.
And it’s to do with low frequency variability not as Dr. Steig states here:
The only conceivable changes to the record of surface temperatures are in the short term variability, which provide very little constraint on the climate sensitivity. (See e.g. Wigley et al. (1997), and Knutti and Hegerl’s 2008 review of research on climate sensitivity).
Low frequency, is trend short term high frequency is weather. What’s so amazing about all of this posturing and attempts to keep the press in line is that it all could have been avoided if Phil Jones and others had simply provided the data and the code.
Are you listening to our voices climate science? I hope so because we’re not going away.