Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Global Warming and Lost Documentation - Or, Change Happens: Deal With It

"Nothing endures but change."
(Heraclitus, 540 BC - 480 BC)

Global warming is as big now as the communist menace was, in the "good old days" when I was growing up.

The ominous, imminent threat of global warming isn't pushed by the same sort that had the House Committee on Un-American Activities looking for commies in Hollywood. But I see the same sort of sincere, intense, irrational fear at work.

I'd better admit to a bias, before writing anything more in this post.

I accept the idea that things change.

I don't expect to live in a world where crocodiles gallop along verdant rivers of the Sahara.

I'm not at all surprised when cookbooks have no recipes calling for fresh trilobite.

I've watched a lake, here in central Minnesota, turn into a few ponds surrounded by marsh. And, although I haven't gotten close enough to check, I think some of the marsh is in turn becoming meadows.

Change happens.

"Climategate: Follow the Money"
OPINION: GLOBAL VIEW, The Wall Street Journal (December 1, 2009)
"Climate change researchers must believe in the reality of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God."

"Last year, ExxonMobil donated $7 million to a grab-bag of public policy institutes, including the Aspen Institute, the Asia Society and Transparency International. It also gave a combined $125,000 to the Heritage Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis, two conservative think tanks that have offered dissenting views on what until recently was called—without irony—the climate change 'consensus.'

"To read some of the press accounts of these gifts—amounting to about 0.00027% of Exxon's 2008 profits of $45 billion—you might think you'd hit upon the scandal of the age. But thanks to what now goes by the name of climategate, it turns out the real scandal lies elsewhere.

"Climategate, as readers of these pages know, concerns some of the world's leading climate scientists working in tandem to block freedom of information requests, blackball dissenting scientists, manipulate the peer-review process, and obscure, destroy or massage inconvenient temperature data—facts that were laid bare by last week's disclosure of thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, or CRU.

"But the deeper question is why the scientists behaved this way to begin with, especially since the science behind man-made global warming is said to be firmly settled...."

Yes, that blogger has a bias, one which may be close to mine. Like me, he seems to prefer to form opinions on the basis of facts. Preferably, facts which aren't on documents that get lost as soon as someone wants to take a look.

Which leads into this news item:
"CRU data loss account in dispute"
Examiner, Minneapolis (December 1, 2009)

"The accounts of the accidental or willful loss of weather-station data by the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU) came into fresh dispute yesterday, after The Sunday Times (London) published their article saying that most of the data that form the basis of their climate-change models had been lost or discarded during a move to new quarters.

"Times Environment Editor Jonathan Leake published his report on Sunday (November 29), and cited past statements on the CRU's own website to support his report...."

True enough, it's (barely) possible that an organization could, while moving from one location to another, lose the documentation that's the foundation for one of their claims.

But likely? I don't think so. How often do you hear about a business that moves from one office to the other - and loses all its contracts and accounts-receivable books in the process?

Sure, 'it's not the same thing.'

On the one hand are stalwart scientists bravely telling us that Earth is warming up too much - based on data they just happened to lose, now that people want to take a look at the documentation.

On the other hand, let's say a company has been under investigation for swindling its stockholders: and just happens to lose its records before they're subpoenaed. How many people wouldn't think that was an odd coincidence, at best?

"Climate science's PR disaster"
Opinions, The Globe and Mail (undated, probably posted late November, 2009, or December 1, 2009)
" 'Climategate' brings a long-running and bitter battle into the open"

"Steve McIntyre is a mild-mannered Toronto businessman who dabbles in statistics as a hobby. But to some climate scientists, he's Public Enemy No.1. They mention him often in their e-mails and try to make sure his criticisms of their work aren't published. 'They're really showing a siege mentality,' he says.

"Mr. McIntyre is a bit player in a scandal that has swept the world of climate science like a mighty hurricane. It features leading scientists who, to the conspiratorially minded, seem to be colluding to manipulate data, withhold information, delete records and stifle dissent. 'The worst scientific scandal of our generation,' declared one opinion writer in the Telegraph. Not quite. But the so-called 'Climategate' affair – thousands of hacked e-mails made public on the eve of the Copenhagen convention – gives a pile of ammunition to those who believe global warming is a giant boondoggle.

"The damaging e-mails were hacked from the servers of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England. Its temperature databases provide much of the case for global warming. Some of them appear pretty damning. One says, 'The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't.' Another refers to a 'trick' that can be used to 'hide the decline' in temperature. One from Phil Jones, the centre's director, says, 'I will be e-mailing the journal to tell them I'm having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.'..."

"PR Disaster"? Yeah, You Could Put it That Way

- - - Just like creating the Hollywood blacklist and letting Senator Joseph McCarthy establish "McCarthyism" a word meaning "unscrupulously accusing people of disloyalty (as by saying they were Communists)" was a PR disaster for commie-hunters. (definition from Princeton's WordNet)

Me? I'm a heretic, academically speaking. For one thing, I don't think that global warming is caused by big, bad, imperialistic, capitalistic plutocrats; or - ah, belching - cows; or human beings, somehow.

If the oppressor classes, flatulent bovines, or generally icky humans are to "blame" for the current state of change, then how come climates are changing on other planets in the solar system, too? (September 26, 2009)

Oh, right: we're not supposed to ask questions like that.

Related posts: Background:
  • "Prehistoric Time Line"
    Science and Space, National Geographic
  • "Ice Age Explanation"
    Scott "Welcome to the world of Ice Age Paleoecology!" Elias, Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research Site
    • It's only fair to warn you: some of the ice age information is heretical
  • "Ice Ages"
    Canadian Museum of Nature
    • Mentions four of the seven major ice ages:
      • about 2 million years ago to the present—the Quaternary Ice Age
      • 350 to 250 million years ago—the Karoo Ice Age
      • 800 to 600 million years ago—the Cryogenian (or Sturtian-Varangian) Ice Age
      • 2400 to 2100 million years ago—the Huronian Ice Age

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle online store

Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts

Today's News! Some of it, anyway

Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Who Follows the Lemming?


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory