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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CRU Climategate continues

The first thing everyone discussed was the content of the emails. It turns out that may not be the worst aspect of what has been discovered.

To review, we have enough from the emails to see that FOI requests were resisted to the point of rather destroying data than comply, emails related to FOI requests were deleted, scientific journals that did not follow the dogma were threatened and the overall claim that the science is settled is far from true. These actions are bad enough for the scientific method, where independent replication and falsification are central to the process. However, the zip file released to the internet contained more than just those emails.

While the emails revealed a great deal, the data that was freed also included programming code that was used to process the various temperature and proxy databases. Within that code were comments left by a programmer who worked for about three years attempting to fix the program.

Bishop Hill has a continuously updated list of the comments and summarizes them.

The code

Watts Up With That? has a post with all the comments in raw fashion.

Climategate: hide the decline – codified

One reason is quite clear as to why this climate team did not want to release its code. It is incredibly buggy as can be seen from the programmer’s frustration and confusion. The temperature databases being used are also very problematic.

With regard to the scientific process, the program used to create the temperature plots is needed by others to ensure that the methodology produces dependable and accurate results. It is sad enough that the program is so clearly sub par, but it appears this was well known, hence the hapless programmer having to try and fix it. Yet despite the known problems, the world at large was kept unaware of the issues and new temperature reconstructions were produced.

If this climate team had always been open with it’s data and programs, as it should have been, these problems could have been taken care of quite early. That is the scientific method after all.

Also hidden from the world were some of the scientists noting concerns with the data and some doubts in the certainty of the AGW conclusions in their emails. In fact, some of what they said echoed criticisms from ClimateAudit and other skeptics. But all we heard from the lamestream media and these climate study groups and various AGW proponents and evangelizers was that the science was settled.

Sadly, despite the many criticisms from global warming skeptics being affirmed, there may be too much pride and prestige at stake on the “science” side and too much political power at stake on the political side for the AGW proponents to stop themselves. With trillions of dollars of economic activity in numerous countries threatened because of the view that AGW is settled science, will they ever admit publicly that AGW can not be considered settled when it is based on such shoddy programming work and incomplete, undocumented databases?

That question remains to be answered. While we are waiting, another story is breaking about how AGW proponents/scientists may have treated the raw temperature data in New Zealand, conveniently showing rising temperatures where hardly any existed.

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century:

But analysis of the raw climate data from the same temperature stations has just turned up a very different result:

Gone is the relentless rising temperature trend, and instead there appears to have been a much smaller growth in warming, consistent with the warming up of the planet after the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850.

[…] (source, be sure to read it all for graphs and further commentary)

The AGW proponents and evangelizers claim skeptics are only pseudo or non-science. With more proof being revealed of improper methods, corrupt data, undermining of peer-review and other actions that completely ignore and contradict the scientific method, such critics would do well to pull the log out of their own eyes before imagining splinters in eyes of everyone that disagrees with them.


NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] has responded to the accusation of altering data. Unfortunately the explanation brings up more questions. They are still refusing to release data on all the stations, including only one with their justification for altering temperature data.

Reeling from claims that it has massaged data to show a 150 year warming trend where there isn't one, NIWA's chief climate scientist David Wratt, an IPCC vice-chair on the 2007 AR4 report, issued a news release stating adjustments had been made to compensate for changes in sensor locations over the years.

While such an adjustment is valid, it needs to be fully explained so other scientists can test the reasonableness of the adjustment.

Wratt is refusing to release data his organisation claims to have justifying adjustments on other weather stations, meaning the science cannot be reviewed. However, he has released information relating to Wellington temperature readings, and they make for interesting reading.

[…] (source, thanks to Ace’s blog)

Be sure to read it all to understand why the explanation leads to more questions.

A small snippet from Ace’s blog summarizes the NIWA’s response.

“I'm seeing a pattern here, and it's not so much a pattern of climate as of obfuscation”


Previous posts:

More CRU email analysis and other climate warming goodies
More on that CRU email and data hack
Climate Research Unit – What the hack?!
Mark My Words – Global Warming archive

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