Sunday, December 06, 2009

Climate Change UNraveling?

While the AP fact checked every aspect of Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue, we have yet to see any fact checking of a mere 100-page account supporting man-made global warming.

That's not surprising since it appears the mainstream media has yet to latch onto any full reporting on:

The Canadians who changed the climate debate

Canadians Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have discovered faulty calculations in some of the key scientific studies behind the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As Richard Foot reports, that's made them pretty unpopular in some circles.

By Richard Foot, Canwest News ServiceDecember 5, 2009

...The "Climategate" e-mails have sparked a scandal -- just ahead of next week's global warming summit in Copenhagen -- for suggesting climatologists may have manipulated data to exaggerate the threat of global warming and conspired to keep contrary points of view out of the scientific journals. But the e-mails are also conspicuous for their repeated, nasty references to two Canadians -- McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick -- who have become a serious thorn in the side of climatologists and others who say the planet is under serious threat from man-made global warming.

Although little-known in Canada, McIntyre and McKitrick -- or M and M as they're called in climate change circles -- have since 2003 put forward evidence of faulty calculations in some of the key scientific studies behind the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Their work has drawn attention from the U.S. Congress, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Wall Street Journal, which last month called them "the climate change gang's most dangerous apostates."

McIntyre, a Toronto mining analyst and speculator, became intrigued by the climate change issue when the Kyoto Protocol was up for debate in 2002.

He was skeptical of a key piece of science in the IPCC reports of the time -- a graph, based on research by U.S. climatologist Michael Mann, that showed Earth's temperatures had remained relatively stable over the past thousand years then began rising suddenly in the 20th century.

The graph, shaped like a sideways hockey stick, became one of the most convincing illustrations in Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which rallied millions to the cause of global warming. But it reminded McIntyre of the promotional graphs and statistics commonly used by mining promoters in search of investors.

He said he decided -- purely out of curiosity and not because he wanted to shake up the global warming debate -- to carry out some due diligence on the numbers.

Replicating the arcane calculations of climate modelling science would be an impossible task for most people. But McIntyre had been a math prizewinner in high school, had studied pure mathematics at the University of Toronto and had won, but turned down, a mathematics scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, choosing a business career instead.

"I read Mann's paper and thought, 'What this looks to me is like really overblown and high falutin' language for fairly simple linear regressions and matrix algebra. I figured it would be like doing a big crossword puzzle, so I went at it," he said. "I had no particular expectations that it would be wrong, I just thought it would be interesting. It sounds bizarre in retrospect, but I take up odd interests from time to time."

McIntyre contacted Ross Mc-Kitrick, a University of Guelph statistical economist who was also analyzing the science behind the IPCC reports. Together they unearthed evidence that Mann's calculations were predisposed to producing a hockey stick-shaped graph, with sharply rising temperatures in the 20th century.

They also showed that Mann's calculations ignored the data showing a major warming trend in the 15th century, much like the warming of the 20th century.

"That discovery hit me like a bombshell," wrote one scientist in the MIT Technology Review in 2004. "Suddenly the 'hockey stick,' the poster child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics."

M and M's findings sparked hearings on the science of global warming by the U.S. Congress, and an investigation by the National Academy of Sciences. Their report concluded that while the wider science behind 20th century global warming remains valid, the hockey stick graph and other long-term temperature models were fraught with "uncertainties" and that Mann's calculations "tended to bias the shape of (hockey stick) reconstructions."

Mann was required to publish a retraction about some of his statistical methods in the science journal Nature...

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