Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ronald Bailey Remember His Conversion to Global Warming

Quite a while back, Ronald Bailey at Reason Mag, wrote an article "We're All Global Warmers, Now."

We thought we'd see what Bailey wrote about the Climate-Gate emails, etc...

For comparison, read a selection of analysis and commentary...

ClimateGate III: The Mystery of the Missing Data

Just read Bailey's wording very closely. He's not convinced, even if the emails show what it appears the emails show, he's not convinced otherwise than his conversion article, "We're All Global Warmers, Now."

The Scientific Tragedy of Climategate
Can climate change science recover from the damage done by leaked emails?
Ronald Bailey | December 1, 2009

...It is reassuring to think that even if the CRU data are shown to be distorted (either wittingly or unwittingly) other independent sources of data are at hand. But that belief may not be entirely accurate. Besides the CRU temperature data, there are two other leading sources used by the IPCC, one created by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), and the other by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

While it is true that the scientific groups are independent, as University of Colorado climatologist Roger Pielke Sr. (father of Pielke Jr.) observes, the temperature data sets are not all that independent. Pielke cites the 2006 U.S. Climate Change Science Program report, which noted, "Since the three chosen data sets utilize many of the same raw observations, there is a degree of interdependence." The report further observed, "While there are fundamental differences in the methodology used to create the surface data sets, the differing techniques with the same data produce almost the same results." In 2007, Pielke and his colleagues reported, "The raw surface temperature data from which all of the different global surface temperature trend analyses are derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has been reported is that 90–95 percent of the raw data in each of the analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication, 2003). That the analyses produce similar trends should therefore come as no surprise."

One of the leaked emails from CRU’s Phil Jones appears to confirm this data interdependence: "Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same as in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) archive used by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center." Given this interdependence, Jones’ appeal to correlation with other data sets to support the validity of the CRU data is less convincing than one would hope. To the contrary, the fact that the three data sets correlate so well may instead provoke concerns about the validity of all three.

In an email to University of Alabama climatologist John Christy I asked, "Is there a possibility that the teams that compile temperature data could all be making the same set of errors which would result in them finding similar (and perhaps) spurious trends?" Christy replied that he believed this was possible and cited some recent work he had done on temperature trends in East Africa as evidence. In that article he found that using both the maximum and minimum temperature rather than the mean temperature (TMean) used by the three official data sets gives a better indication of actual temperature trends in the region.

Christy found that the maximum temperature (TMax) trend has been essentially zero since 1900 while the minimum temperature (TMin) trend has been increasing. In his email to me, Christy explained, "As it turns out, TMin warms significantly due to factors other than the greenhouse effect, so TMean, because it is affected by TMin, is a poor proxy for understanding the greenhouse effect of 'global warming'." Or as his journal article puts it, "There appears to be little change in East Africa’s TMax, and if TMax is a suitable proxy for climate changes affecting the deep atmosphere, there has been little impact in the past half-century." So if Christy’s analysis is correct, much of the global warming in East Africa reported by the three official data sets is exaggerated. Christy has found similar effects on temperature trend reporting for other regions of the world.

Roger Pielke Jr. notes, "If it turns out that the choices made by CRU, GISS, NOAA fall on the 'maximize historical trends' end of the scale that will not help their perceived credibility for obvious reasons." On the other hand, Pielke Jr. adds that Climategate could dissipate if probing by outside researchers finds that CRU, GISS, and NOAA researchers made temperature data adjustments "in the middle of the range or even low end, then this will enhance their credibility." The good news is that a truly independent set of temperature data has been produced over the past thirty years by NOAA satellites. In general, the global satellite temperature trends tend to be on the low end of the climate computer model projections.

The more benign interpretation of what has been going on in climate change science is that as the man-made global warming narrative took hold among climatologists, research that confirmed the dominant paradigm had a much easier time getting through the peer review process. Meanwhile research that contradicted the paradigm was subject to much greater scrutiny and thus had a harder time making it through the peer review sieve. Scientists are human too and not free from confirmation bias.

But for now, regardless of the motivations of the researchers, damage has been done. How can the world of climate science recover?...

"Climategate" -- Forget the Emails: What Will the Hacked Documents Tell Us?
Ronald Bailey | November 25, 2009

Last week thousands of emails and documents were hacked from the British Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. The emails revealed a lot of scientific nastiness and some efforts to suppress climate research with which CRU leaders disagreed.

But I've been wondering what insights about how climate data is put together by CRU researchers the hacked documents and models might hold?

It's Not Exactly "Climategate" But ....
Ronald Bailey | November 23, 2009

December 1, 2009
‘Reason’ on the Real Tragedy of Climategate
Posted by Lew Rockwell on December 1, 2009 11:30 PM
According to Reason magazine’s head science writer Ronald Bailey, in his December 1 lead story, “the real tragedy of the Climategate scandal is that a lack of confidence in climate data will seriously impair mankind’s ability to assess and react properly to a potentially huge problem.”


No Hole in the Blogosphere: Tracking Climate-Gate
By Daniel Foster

Update: 12/2 11:18 A.M.: Reason magazine's science correspondent Ronald Bailey provides a sober, even-handed assessment of the facts of the ClimateGate case that is great for anybody just catching up. In the second half of the piece, Bailey suggests steps that must be taken to reform the way climate science is practiced.

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