Monday, 15 February 2010

Recommended reading

Phil Jones Interview
For the first time since the CRU-hack last autumn Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia answered to questions about the affair and some of the claims made by climate sceptics in a written interview with the BBC : Q&A with Professor Phil Jones
I noticed that instead of linking to the direct source many climate sceptics prefer linking to the distorted version by Jonathan Leake in Times Online. Deltoid’s Tim Lambert takes a closer look at some of the problems with Leake’s version of the facts : Leakegate scandal gets bigger.
UPDATE There's even more : Leakegate, the case for fraud
Don’t hesitate also to compare the original version with what has been made out of it on Watts Up With Watts. The original piece isn’t quite the bombshell sceptics want to make out of it, isn’t it ?

Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick
Part of the CRU-mails involve the climate sceptical work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.
Even though i think everyone who reads it can see it doesn't give the impression, many climate sceptics claim the Wegman-report is and an independent review on the Hockey stick affair. Deep Climate takes a closer look at the Wegman-report and finds that indeed is nowhere close to being independent. Very interesting reading : Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 1: In the beginning and Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel

FOI : Harassment ?
One of the things Phil Jones was most criticised for was his response towards the many requests he received under the freedom of information act and the fact the high number of FOI-requests started to feel like an harassment. The impression is even higher because many of the request were about data which CRU only processed while the raw data were available elsewhere and should be requested from the original source. Because of this, it isn’t always that easy to fulfil such a request as cthulhu explains.
Contrary to the naïve believe i read all over the internet, fulfilling a FOI can be much more work than just taking the data out of the drawer. From my own experience i can say that it can incredibly time-consuming to collect historic data. For a project at my previous job i needed to find as much interesting data as we had in our archives.
The only way to do so was literally digging in the archive and sieving out the data i could use. After i gave up looking any further, my best estimate is in two weeks i managed to collect 70-80 % of all the data available. Before you go all crazy : It does not mean the other data is missing, it just means it would have been too great an effort to find them. Some of them are hidden in metres and metres of papers and reports, other are in an old database that has been out of order for years, etc.
For the younger generation : the prehistoric thing the girl on the picture is holding in her left hand is called a floppy. It was like a USB-stick but in the times before the DVD, the CD-ROM and the 3½-floppy. They were used in the early 1990’s.
Anyway, all this just to say fulfilling a FOI-request can take an awful lot of time and it looks like indeed the FOI’s were being used to harass scientists and keep them from doing their job. Eli Rabett, Bart Verheggen and Susan of the promising new blog The Policy Lass have more to say about this.

Tim Lambert debating Christopher Monckton
It’s often hard to debate a science-sceptic (it’s not just true for climate-sceptics) as they will often try to throw as much dirt as possible as they know the opponent isn’t able to address all of it in into the time-amount of a debate, which often will give the wrong impression what they said was correct or even that they won the debate. I’ve long been planning to write a more extensive post about this actually.
Even though knowing this, Deltoid’s Tim Lambert did debate Viscount Monckton. From the parts i heard Tim Lambert did reasonably well and the McLuhan moment is an instant classic. The debate isn’t online (at least as far as i know) but you can watch a part of the final summing up

Real Climate on IPCC errors : facts and spin

edit : adding the "two weeks part" which fell off in the original post (or why the sentence was so weird)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

How the media can manipulate our viewpoint

What a brilliant illustration of what cherry-picking can do to a message

How the media can manipulate our viewpoint

Saturday, 13 February 2010

The inconsistency in the response of the Klimatosoof’s Theo Richel to the Open Letter of 55 Dutch Scientists

Theo Richel Klimatosoof Lord Monckton global warming nonsense statement
Theo Richel and Christopher Monckton
On the Klimatosoof-website DGR’s Theo Richel complains that the “55 Dutch scientists open letter” published on SENSE contains a lot of “non-climate scientists” like biologists. He writes a whole paragraph to say he thinks biologists aren’t able to understand the complex physical processes of climate science. He also wonders about the fact there are economists, politicologists, mathematicians on the list. He concludes :
On the grounds of their education only a minority of all signers is able to judge whether IPCC’s claims on anthropogenic climate change are true.
According to a comment of Bart Verheggen (link in Dutch) most of the names he recognizes actually do work in a domain related with climate research
But given Richel’s argumentation it might be fun to have a little closer look at the people who wrote (or were interviewed) on the Klimatosoof website the past half a year or so :
  • Bas Van Geel is a biologist
  • Theo Richel himself is a man who apparently has no education after high school
  • Hans Labohm is an economist
  • Benny Peiser is an anthropologist
  • Lord Monckton is a man with no scientific training whatsoever
  • Arthur Rörsch was a professor teaching genetics
And of course in the entire advisory board of the Klimatosoof there’s no-one who ever worked in a field even remotely close to climate science.
I think Theo Richel just disqualified his entire website :)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Open brief Nederlandse onderzoekers over IPCC en over fouten in Klimaatrapport 2007

UPDATE : There's also an english version of the Open letter by Netherland scientists on IPPC and errors in climate change 2007 report
Een aantal Nederlandse hoogleraren is de overtrokken reacties in Nederland op de recentste ontwikkelingen omtrent het AR4 rapport beu alsmede de foutieve beeldvorming dat er ook maar iets aan de fundamenten van de klimaatwetenschap geraakt zou zijn. Daarom schreven ze volgende open brief :
Open brief Nederlandse onderzoekers ver klimaatverandering en IPCC - 10 februari 2010
Fouten in het IPCC klimaatrapport worden thans door sommigen aangegrepen om de hele klimaatwetenschap in diskrediet te brengen. In de Tweede Kamer zijn klimaatwetenschappers onlangs zelfs neergezet als 'bedriegers' en 'klimaatmaffia'. Zulke kwalificaties missen grond in de feiten en zijn daarom misplaatst.

Dat het IPCC niet onfeilbaar is, maakt haar hoofdconclusies nog niet onwaar of gekleurd. Wel zou het IPCC grootmoediger moeten worden in het snel en openlijk erkennen en corrigeren van fouten.

Met deze open brief vanuit de wetenschap beogen wij het ontstane beeld bij te stellen. Wij vragen om de discussie dichter bij de feiten te houden.
Lees de Open brief

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Inhofe 700 erratum on Belgian climatologist Luc Debontridder

In the end of 2008 i wrote a blog post to show that a misrepresentation of a Belgian climatologist in a Belgian newspaper somehow ended up in the Inhofe 650 report.

It’s been out a while already but i only discovered now that the March 16, 2009 update (aka Inhofe 700) of the Inhofe report acknowledges that Debontridder’s views and his report at the Belgian Royal Weather Institute were incorrectly represented.

These extra lines were added to the original text (my emphasis):

[Note: Though Debontridder dampened climate fears with such quotes as “There's no need either to needlessly frighten the public. Bruges will not be on the coastline by 2050,” he reportedly claims he and his report were not translated correctly in media reports from 2007. (LINK) ]

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Marc Morano, author of the Inhofe minority report, took my blog as a source for his erratum :

  1. Morano ends with a link to a Babelfish translation just like the one that appears in the second comment below my original post
  2. The part between parentheses is a word-by-word copy of a sentence i wrote. (while the exact Babelfish translation is : “we must people also do not boom on the corsage to hunt. It is not this way that Brugge is due within fifty years to the range”)

Should I be happy now that Morano at least used a reliable source (hear hear) to write his erratum ?

Well, i am not.

Unlike what the placing of Morano’s parentheses suggest the quote he gives actually is the second part of a sentence. Which normally requires you to quote it in this format : “(…) xxx yyy zzzz”

The reason why Morano didn’t insert the first part of the sentence is pretty clear if you look again at the full translation which i already gave in my previous post of December 2008 :

"we cannot go on, following a business as usual policy like this, but there's no need either to needlessly frighten the public. Bruges will not be on the coastline by 2050."

While Morano want to suggest between the lines that Debontridder minimalises the consequences of global warming, truth is that in the VERY SAME SENTENCE Morano quoted Luc Debontridder warns it’s necessary to take actions !

I’m not entirely sure the Debontridder-erratum in the Inhofe 700-list is such an improvement.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

A cold winter in a warming climate

There’s no doubt that the present winter in the Benelux countries is a pretty cold one with much more snow than usual. I did make lots of people wondering about global warming.

Those people will might find it surprising, but January 2010 was THE warmest January month in the records, as the satellite data from UAH show.

Do also notice that this record is reached while at present we only have a moderate El Nino (compared to the “super El Nino” in 1998) and solar activity for the moment is very low.

UAH_LT_1979_thru_Jan_10This probably will make many people wonder how winter can be so cold while data say earth is warm. While I’m pretty sure some people will yell ‘fraud’ in fact it’s not that difficult to understand : the fact it is cold in warm place does not mean it’s cold everywhere.

UAH’s Roy Spencer writes :

The global-average lower troposphere temperature anomaly soared to +0.72 deg. C in January, 2010. This is the warmest January in the 32-year satellite-based data record.

The tropics and Northern and Southern Hemispheres were all well above normal, especially the tropics where El Nino conditions persist. Note the global-average warmth is approaching the warmth reached during the 1997-98 El Nino, which peaked in April of 1998.

Indeed in many places on earth it has been much warmer than average as the image below clearly shows


The cold winter in Europe and parts of the US is nothing more than a local phenomena and isn’t representative for the globe. The difference between weather and climate.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Vervalste klimaatgegevens zijn opgezet spel van sceptici

I'm still on holidays but nevertheless i would like to drawthe attention of the Dutch speaking readers to this excellent article in the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws which adresses some of the quotemined emails of the CRU-hack : Vervalste klimaatgegevens zijn opgezet spel van sceptici

The article relies heavily on this article in the English newspaper The Guardian : How the 'climategate' scandal is bogus and based on climate sceptics' lies

It's nice to see for once a newspaper CAN get things right.