Monday, August 11, 2008

The hockey-stick and the Jesus Paper: a tale of deception

Oh dear fucking god. No, seriously.

Bishop Hill has pieced together the full story of the hockey-stick graph and it is, in the opinion of your humble Devil, fucking dynamite.
There has been the most extraordinary series of postings at Climate Audit over the last week. As is usual at CA, there is a heavy mathematics burden for the casual reader, which, with a bit of research I think I can now just about follow. The story is a remarkable indictment of the corruption and cyncism that is rife among climate scientists, and I'm going to try to tell it in layman's language so that the average blog reader can understand it. As far as I know it's the first time the whole story has been set out in a single posting. It's a long tale - and the longest posting I think I've ever written and piecing it together from the individual CA postings has been a long, hard but fascinating struggle. You may want to get a long drink before starting, and those who suffer from heart disorders may wish to take their beta blockers first.

Against the advice of my cardiologist, I read this post. And it is long. And vaguely technical (although not as technical as the originating posts).

And it is very, very important.
With this new, and pretty much entirely arbitrary hurdle in place, Wahl and Amman were able to reject several of the runs which stood between the hockey stick and what they saw as its rightful place as the gold standard for climate reconstructions. That the statistical foundations on which they had built this paleoclimate castle were a swamp of misrepresentation, deceit and malfeasance was, to Wahl and Amman, an irrelevance. For political and public consumption, the hockey stick still lived, ready to guide political decision-making for years to come.

This post destroys the idea of scientific impartiality, and consequently the value of peer-review, the hockey-stick graph and the idea that we are being told, in any way, the truth.

It absolutely must be read, absorbed and understood; it is the story of how a certain section of the scientific community deliberately set out to deceive the people and politicians who encountered them. It is the story of how this same set of the scientific community obfuscated data, refused to allow replication of experiments, falsified conclusions and lied, repeatedly, to force a particular point of view.

So, take the advice; get a drink, take your beta blockers and sit down and absorb this story...

1 comment:

TheFatBigot said...

I take my beta blocker in the morning, so I settled for a cold wet towel slapped around the balding plump pate.

Nice work on the part of the Bish, much more sensible than the bearded Welsh raffia muncher.

The difficulty with all debunking of AGW hogwash is how difficult it is to get the fanatics to acknowledge even the slightest possibility that their conclusions are not supported by the material they rely on.

I find the work of Anthony Watts particularly fascinating in this regard. For those who don't know, he is examining the land-based weather stations around America to see whether the measuring devices are sited properly. He has found a huge number sited on concrete or asphalt surfaces (which absorb heat and make the air above them hotter as the air above a cooker is heated when a hotplate is on) or close to air conditioning vents (which pump out hot air).

These examples are of particularly bad sitings, but there is a more general problem of measurements being taken in urban surroundings because buildings and passing cars and all the other physical hubbub of a town or city raises the air temperature.

It is simply impossible to make adjustments to take account of the defective siting because there is no way of knowing how far the readings are skewed in each case. In essence these readings are useless as a guide to average surface temperatures around the globe, yet they form much of the evidence relied upon by the IPCC to say that temperatures have risen dramatically over the last 50 or so years.

I suspect Mr Watts' work will prove the single most effective debunk in the whole affair because the problem he is identifying is readily understandable to everyone and does not rest on complicated mathematical formulae or impenetrable computer models.

Interesting times ahead.