I am an empirically minded guy who thinks math is the only important and necessary field of study. In my free time I like to work math puzzles and learn machine languages. That’s not to say all the other stuff is unimportant or useless, but I put it into the leisure activity category. Western society took off with Calculus, not the Canterbury Tales.
That said, a healthy skepticism with science is warranted. Science, in the abstract is pure, but we don’t live in the abstract; we live in the real. In the real world science is financed by men and practiced by men. That means all the stupidity, vice and bias that is a part of the human animal will find its way into the lab. There’s no greater example of that phenomenon than the global warming hoax.
When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.
Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.
This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record.
Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken. Yet these are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in “global warming”.
A basic rule of science is that data, data collection methods and data normalization methods are always exposed to scrutiny. Heck, it’s true in hedge funds and big data shops. No one takes anyone’s word for it. It has to be right so the data, collection methods and adjustments are checked, rechecked and monitored by multiple people. It’s simply prudent.
In climate science, the opposite is often true. Michael Mann, for example, refuses to expose his raw data to public scrutiny. The “adjustments” are rarely explained and often hidden. The models these guys rely upon are black boxes where even the inputs are not entirely clear.
One of the first examples of these “adjustments” was exposed in 2007 by the statistician Steve McIntyre, when he discovered a paper published in 1987 by James Hansen, the scientist (later turned fanatical climate activist) who for many years ran Giss. Hansen’s original graph showed temperatures in the Arctic as having been much higher around 1940 than at any time since. But as Homewood reveals in his blog post, “Temperature adjustments transform Arctic history”, Giss has turned this upside down. Arctic temperatures from that time have been lowered so much that that they are now dwarfed by those of the past 20 years.
Homewood’s interest in the Arctic is partly because the “vanishing” of its polar ice (and the polar bears) has become such a poster-child for those trying to persuade us that we are threatened by runaway warming. But he chose that particular stretch of the Arctic because it is where ice is affected by warmer water brought in by cyclical shifts in a major Atlantic current – this last peaked at just the time 75 years ago when Arctic ice retreated even further than it has done recently. The ice-melt is not caused by rising global temperatures at all.
The other old rule of science and of life, is that if you have nothing to hide you have no reason to hide. These guys keep trying to trick the public for a reason and the only plausible reasons are not good. Worse yet, they diminish the people’s trust in science, giving space for lunatics like the anti-vaccine nuts make their claims.