Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Global Cooling (updated)

I am doing a bit more work now, so posting has been and will be light.

However there is bad news on the climate front. The world is not warming, to bring us into a new era of prosperity and plenty. It appears it is cooling, and we might be in for a tough time here at the mid-latitudes.

You might have heard of the infamous ‘hockey-stick’ graphs of Mann et al 1998. That paper has been at the core of climate alarm, and has been prominent in every IPCC report since and the graphic of the hockey-stick time/temperature graph prominent in global-warming propaganda. It has also been attacked for many years by a Canadian mathematician Steve McIntyre.

It will not surprise readers of this blog that Mann refused to release his data for McIntyre to confirm. Until recently he had managed to publish peer-reviewed articles without releasing the original data. How that can be correct peer-review even I as a humble science graduate with no post-graduate studies cannot grasp. It seems fundamental to me that in order to allow criticism of work (the core of science) the original data must be widely available.

However finally Mann’s collaborator, a Professor Briffa of the Hadley Centre for climate research in Exeter published in a journal that has not lost its balls (and I am pleased to say it is Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, a prestigious British publication) and insists on archiving raw data from any research published.

McIntyre has them. They had simply picked the data to show what they wanted. The oldest con in the in science. A perpetual worry at the back of the mind of any conscientious scientist, that they must not discard results just because they don’t fit, and if they discard one for sound reasons they must have an extra few that do fit to justify that decision.

No, for Mann and Biffa, taking 12 samples and leaving out 34 was fine, just so long as it shows warming.

So what do the data show if all of them are used in a graph? That is the down side to this story. The Earth is not warming, but it might well be cooling. Which is far, far worse, and if the CO2 that we’re pumping out now isn’t helping then we probably can’t do a lot about it!


Basically red line = Mann et al. hockey-stick curve, with the 12 specially-picked ‘good’ results, the black line is McIntyre’s assessment with all the results, including ‘naughty’ ones that refuse to agree with communists. Actually that red is a good colour choice.

Hat tips: Biased BBC, Icecap and Watts Up With That?

Update: The Register has a very readable article.

Update: it seems that my post is a massive over-simplification of an intriguing, truly scandalous story. The Register article has a link to Bishop Hill Blog which goes into all the dishonest, anti-scientific details of this con.

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