Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Alarmists are the True Deniers.

Cartoons by Josh.
Six aspects of true denial – the denial of the Alarmists.

I’ve adopted the first four of  the “Six Aspects of Denial” from Sean B. Carroll’s book “The Making of the fittest”.

Who are the true deniers

Why those who deny that climate change is natural, that climate has changed since the beginning of time.

They are the IPCC and the ClimateGate/CRU.

Or, perhaps, they are fake deniers! They know that the Medieval warm period (MWP) happened. 

They know that there was a little ice age (LIA). But they try to suppress these natural events (deny these natural events?) to push their propaganda that the evil mankind is sending the planet to unnatural catastrophic global warming. 

I hope this framework helps people understand the flawed logic behind many of the arguments used by the true denial movement – ie the alarmist movement.
  1. Doubt the science –  Make stupid statements  based on flawed papers - like  MBH98; like the flawed 97% scientists agree paper; like the Lew paper; say that  increased CO2 causes warming instead of the factual warming causes increased CO2.
2.     Question the motives and integrity of scientists – This is the favourite tactic of the  alarmist movement. Constantly you hear about the financing of the sceptics by “Bigoil.”  Come on, Big Oil! We could use some of the money that you give to the alarmists.       Who gets the most money? The alarmists, of course.

3.    Magnify disagreements among scientists and cite gadflies – Again, one of the favourite tactics of the denial movement. A recent alarmist denier blog posted “The tiny percentage of actual scientists who express scepticism (Plimer, Lindzen) are dwarfed by the thousands of scientists who agree with the consensus that climate change is happening.” This alarmist was trying to prove this point, when the reverse (ISN’T IT ALWAYS?) is true. The 31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs would solidify agreement, not magnify disagreement. And how many pushed the alarmist proposition? 4000? Well, not quite. Would you believe 60 or less? (Link) 
       How many times have you heard or read words to the effect that 4000 scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) supported the claims about a significant human influence on climate?  I think  I've seen it on television, radio and the Internet and I know that politicians at national levels have quoted such figures. There's no question whatsoever.  It's utterly wrong. In fact, once the duplicated names are removed that number falls below 2,900 and if we only want those who explicitly supported the claims it falls to only about 60. 

4.     Exaggerate potential harm It is amazing that warm is good. Think of the advancements mankind made during the Medieval Warm Period. Magnificent buildings. In Asia think Angkor Wat, in Europe: (link)
Under these conditions, art, literature and even science were developing apace and we see the height of medieval civilisation. The most visible achievements of this period are undoubtedly the construction of the many cathedrals all over Europe. The good harvests had made Europe rich and the good weather freed people from the burden of the struggle against the elements. It created the wealth and labour force to build cathedrals. It was a golden period for European Architecture and art. And… Vikings reach Island and Greenland during the milder condition that prevailed during Medieval Warm Period.

 It is amazing that the Alarmists - the true deniers - continually pour out their false "science" and continue to call the real scientists "deniers," whilst they continuallt deny the real science.

AGW Law: New Zealand, Judgement day

AGW Law: New Zealand, Judgement day
by Anthony Cox
Solicitor and NCTCS Secretary
Image: John O'Sullivan
A court challenge to the validity of the New Zealand temperature record [NZTR] has concluded. The Judgement refused all 3 parts of the challenge to the NZTR.
The challenge had been initiated by a group of climate researchers called The New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust [the Trust] against the government funded scientific body which prepared the NZTR, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research LTD [NIWA].

The Trust issued a Statement of Claim [SOC] seeking:

A declaration that the New Zealand Temperature Record is not a full
and accurate record of changes in the average surface temperatures
recorded in New Zealand since 1900

The Trust supported this claim on the basis of a pronounced difference in the temperature trend from the raw temperature data at the 7 sites used to produce the NZTR and the trend after adjustment by NIWA. When enquiries were made to NIWA for an explanation the Trust was referred to a 1993 paper by Rhoades and Salinger [RS93], a leading statistician and climate researcher respectively, which provided criteria for adjusting raw temperature data.

When the Trust applied the criteria for adjusting temperature from RS93 they found the adjusted trend was still much less than the trend used by NIWA:

Trend (°C/century)
NIWA method
Rhoades & Salinger method

It should be noted that there are cogent reasons for adjusting raw temperature data. In an entertaining paper by Torak some of the reasons for adjusting were compiled and can be viewed at Table 2.2; they included the involvement of beer in the data collection process, unruly birds and other wildlife, inferior readings by women and a suspicion that readings were exaggerated because extra rations were given if the temperature went over 100F.

However, the challenge against the NZTR was not about the need for adjusting the temperature record but that the official criteria for adjusting the temperature was not followed by NIWA.

The Defence filed by NIWA asserted that the NZTR was not a public or official record. The NZTR was only for research purposes. The Defence distinguished between the data from the official temperature sites which it admitted was a public resource and the NZTR record which it claimed was not a public resource.

In response to the Defence an amended SOC was filed. The amended SOC considered the 2010 review by NIWA of the then 7 official temperature sites and the replacement of those by a new 11 site based temperature record in 2009. The amended SOC noted at paragraph 41:

The data and calculations used in the Review Report, in particular
the adjustments made to the raw temperature data, differ markedly
from those utilised in producing the 7SS. Notwithstanding these
significant changes the NZT7 shows a coincidental, and for the
reasons set out below a scientifically untenable, century-long
warming trend similar to that shown in the 7SS.

In effect NIWA had replaced the old temperature network and employed a new and/or revised adjustment process and criteria and still found approximately the same temperature trend.

In his Judgement Venning, J. allowed the challenge in principle because NIWA was a Crown research Institute [CRI] and no other method of challenging it was available. In effect while Venning, J. agreed the NZTR was not a public record [paragraph 38] the Public had a right to challenge actions of NIWA such as producing a NZTR.

However Venning, J. dismissed that right to challenge on the basis of criteria outlined at paragraph 47 of his Judgement:
I consider that unless the Trust can point to some defect in NIWA’s decision-making process or show that the decision was clearly wrong in principle or in law, this Court will not intervene. This Court should not seek to determine or resolve scientific questions demanding the evaluation of contentious expert opinion.

The error “in principle or in law” which the Trust tried to establish was that NIWA did not adjust temperature according to its own criteria as described in RS93.

NIWA’s own expert witnesses admitted that they did not follow the RS93 criteria in a 2010 “Review” of the NZTR [paragraph 147] but had done so in forming the original NZTR which had been changed in 2009 from a 7 site network into an 11 site network which in turn was reviewed on the basis of other unspecified criteria for adjusting the raw data.

NIWA’s expert witnesses stated it did not matter what criteria they used to adjust the raw temperature data or from what sites they adjusted the data from because the temperature trend results were the same as the trend produced by the RS93 adjustment criteria [paragraphs 148-149].

To double check that the alternative method[s] of adjusting the raw temperature data produced the same temperature trend as the RS93 criteria for adjusting would have done if used in the 2010 “Review” NIWA’s experts did apply RS93 to the 2010 Review of the NZTR sites [paragraph 144]. The NIWA experts concluded that the Trust expert witnesses had been incorrect when they applied RS93 to the raw data and found a lesser trend then found by NIWA when it applied both RS93 and the other adjustment criteria.

This thoroughness by NIWA in checking its own adjustment procedures was approved by Venning, J. who concluded at paragraph 157:

I accept that NIWA could have recalculated the temperature adjustments in a different way yet still have arrived at a similar result which would strengthen the robustness and validity of the previous results.

Venning, J. could do nothing other than accept the statements of the NIWA experts because earlier he had dismissed the expertise of the Trust witnesses [paragraphs 49-54].

However, in accepting that NIWA could produce the official trend of 0.91C from different adjustment methods Venning, J. provided legal interpretation of two principles of the AGW debate.

The first is that experts working for government or ‘official’ scientific institutions [CRIs] are given greater evidentiary weight then witnesses not working for CRIs. On this basis the authority of the AGW science has been judicially endorsed.

Secondly, at paragraph 80, Venning J. elaborates on the issue of “officially recognised scientific opinion”. Venning J. recognises NIWA’s expert opinion that in respect of temperature adjusting and climate matters generally, there is no one “immutable” standard and indeed could not be.

NIWA’s adjustments of temperature are, therefore, essentially subjective in nature, and like the definition of “excellence” to which the Trust claimed was the standard to which NIWA should be held accountable, not “readily susceptible to judicial assessment” [paragraph 74]. What the courts will do, as Venning J’s judgement shows, is give considerable discretion to CRIs in their preparation of temperature networks and trends by adjusting raw data.

This discretion extends to subjective aspects of temperature adjustment where the institution can choose what method to adjust temperature data regardless of other methods and criteria; and in matters of fact where the institution has used or not used a method of adjustment of temperature data the institution is the preferred authority for concluding the fact of what it has done. On this basis the AGW science has been judicially settled.

New Zealand case law is not binding on other Commonwealth jurisdictions like Australia, but still persuasive.

In Australia the Bureau of Meteorology [BOM] compiles the Australian temperature network in a similar fashion to NIWA, by adjusting raw data. BOM has just replaced its old High Quality temperature network [HQ] with a new network, ACORN. BOM did this because it recognised problems with the HQ network which possibly made it inaccurate. ACORN has supposedly rectified those inaccuracies but has still produced a similar temperature trend to the HQ network. ACORN was peer reviewed by a panel of climate experts including NIWA representatives.

Questions were raised from outside BOM about the reliability of the HQ network. Questions are again being raised about the reliability of ACORN.

However, based on the New Zealand temperature case, any questions raised from outside the government scientific institution, BOM, especially from sources which the court does not recognise as being “officially recognised scientific opinion”, is unlikely to have much credence given to it by judicial appraisal.

Alarmists' Arrogant Anger and the NIWA decision.

The ClimateGate emails showed the destruction of the process of peer review by the Climategate CRU. Many examples of mutual back scratching were revealed.

However one of the worst events to happen was the alarmist gang getting an editor of a peer review journal sacked.

Chris de Freitas. Image The University of Auckland.
As Anthony Watts wrote (link):
The emails will track how annoyance at the publication of a ‘contrary’ article in a journal develops into an attack on the editor, Chris de Freitas, an accomplished scientist. The attack includes a plot to see if they can get him sacked from his job at University of Auckland. Within the story, it is evident exactly what kind of ‘scientists’ the key authors are. The word scientist applied to these people has denigrated the meaning of the word.

Amongst those involved are Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Jim Salinger, Tom Wigley, Barrie Pittock, Mike Hulme + others. In addition Pachauri, the head of the IPCC is copied into many of the emails, meaning that he was fully aware that some of the key scientists in the IPCC were effectively out of control.
Chris de Freitas  is an Associate Professor at the Auckland University School of Environment (link). Chris de Freitas received his early education in Trinidad in the West Indies. He completed Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Toronto in Canada and a PhD at the University of Queensland in Australia as a Commonwealth Doctoral Scholar. Chris was an expert reviewer of the 1995 and the 2001 Scientific Assessment Reports of United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Well qualified in climatology. He has commented on the  non- competent NZ High Court's  decision in the NZ Herald (link):
Climate services of various countries provide clients with statistical information on climatic variables that is based on long-term observations at a collection of different weather stations. The importance of this statistical material stems from their widespread use as a major input for a large number of societal design and planning purposes, including setting greenhouse gas emissions policy and the economic consequences that follow. For these reasons it is important that climate services deliver the best estimates possible.

The NZCSET's lawyer summed it up when he told the court the trust was not asserting climate warming did not exist, "we're saying let's at least make sure that evidence of this for New Zealanders is accurate".

Despite the research work undertaken so far, there have been few attempts globally to reassess quantitatively the nature and reliability of homogeneity adjustments to complete national data sets. The High Court case highlights the situation in New Zealand where there have been no peer-reviewed science-based efforts to do this. A court ruling is no substitute.

Argument from authority has no place in science. This was the basis of NZCSET's case. Argument on the scientific facts and methods used in analyses must now take place. The question is: will it?

MWP and LIA in Yukon Territory: Peer Reviewed Paper

CO2 Science report on a paper in Quaternary Research 77: 355-367.

Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2012. Temperatures of the past 2000 years inferred from lake sediments, southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Quaternary Research 77: 355-367. 


Lake sediments from four sites in the southwest Yukon Territory, Canada, provided paleotemperature records for the past 2000 yr. An alpine and a forest site from the southeastern portion of the study area, near Kluane Lake, and another alpine-forest pair of lakes from the Donjek River area located to the northwest yielded chironomid records that were used to provide quantitative estimates of mean July air temperature. Prior to AD 800, the southwest Yukon was relatively cool whereas after AD 800 temperatures were more variable, with warmer conditions between ~ AD 1100 and 1400, cooler conditions during the Little Ice Age (~ AD 1400 to 1850), and warming thereafter. These records compare well with other paleoclimate evidence from the region.

What was learned
The two researchers state that their chironomid-inferred temperature estimates from the two lakes "compare well with one another and also with other paleoclimate evidence from the region," noting that their data suggest "relatively warm conditions during medieval times, centered on AD 1200, followed by a cool Little Ice Age, and warming temperatures over the past 100 years." More specifically, we estimate from the graphical representations of their data that the Medieval Warm Period at both lake sites extended from about AD 1100 to 1350. And we estimate that the most recent (AD 1990) of their temperature determinations were about 0.8°C cooler than the peak warmth of the Medieval Warm Period at Jenny Lake and approximately 0.5°C cooler at Upper Fly Lake.

What it means
These results now join the many other similar results, from all around the world, which we have archived in the databases of our Medieval Warm Period Project, where it can be seen that the Medieval Warm Period was not only a global phenomenon, but that its peak warmth was very likely greater than that of the Current Warm Period: see here and here.