Good Point

Glenn Reynolds, of Instapundit, sums up Matt Ridley’s last Wall Street Journal column nicely: “Science is about evidence, not consensus.


Something that has never impressed me about the global warming crowd is their under appreciation of the human’s ability to adapt — especially to relatively slow changing things like climate.

This shows a lack of depth in thinking about history and even modern day events.  For example, Detroit shrunk quickly as people left it in search of better opportunity.

I saw another example recently on a trip to New Orleans.  Where I live, advertising for local dry basement companies is typical.

The New Orleans equivalent seems to be elevation companies.  These companies will raise your home to keep it dry during floods.

Good Wednesday Reading

1.  Bonus column from Thomas Sowell today, Too Many Apologies.  In it, Sowell explores apologies made to people who are not owed apologies, by people who often don’t need to apologize.

This craze for aimless apologies is part of a general loss of a sense of personal responsibility in our time. We are supposed to feel guilty for what other people did but there are a thousand cop-outs for what we ourselves did to those we did it to.

2. Walter Williams gives us a Global Warming Update.  Professor Williams summarizes the significant evidence that has come to light over the last few months that should be reducing confidence about whether global warming is “settled science.”

3. John Stossel asks Whose Body Is It? Stossel makes some excellent points about how the FDA intervenes on our behalf, even if we disagree with it.

World May Not Be Warming?

You mean “widely accepted warming science” may not be correct? Read this from the Times in London.

A quote from a former leader author on the IPCC regarding temperature monitoring stations:

“The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”

For example:

One of the most infamous [temperature monitoring stations] shows a weather station next to a waste incinerator.

Some Meterologists Doubt Global Warm

I sent this e-mail this morning to Rick Montgomery, reporter at the Kansas City Star.

I enjoyed your article in the Star today, Climate change splits forecasters. I was disappointed that only a passing mention was made of the Climategate e-mails in your story. If people knew more of the facts around that, they may think the meteorologists featured in your article are onto something.

I would like to respond to two quotes you used in the article.  First, you included this quote from Keith Seitter of American Meteorological Society: “meteorologists tend to underestimate how much work the climate scientists do and care they take.”

What purpose does this serve in the article?  It’s one man’s unsubstantiated opinion and it says nothing about the actual accuracy of the work output from climate scientists. I believe it was inserted to cast suspicion on meteorologists opinions of climatology, but a careful reader should recognized it as irrelevant to the story.  I also wonder if Seitter’s opinion applies to the group of meteorologists who accept global warming or only to those who are skeptical.  That would have been a good follow-up question.

Second, you quoted Kris Wilson, a University of Texas researcher, as saying, “The models used for predicting weather are inherently volatile. The climate models are not like that. They’re inherently stable.”

I’m not sure what purpose this statement served.  I suspect that a reader not experienced with mathematical modeling may think that means that weather models are less accurate than climate models.  I also suspect Wilson did not intend to convey this meaning.  I believe he was stating a fact and that statement was used inappropriately.  If he did intend this statement to convey the comparative accuracy of the weather and climate models, then it is an inaccurate and irresponsible statement from a researcher.  A reader with math modeling experience would correctly interpret the statement as unrelated to your article.

The words volatile and stable say nothing about the accuracy of either type of model.  Wilson’s statement is like saying that the speed of your vehicle goes up and down more often when driving around town and varies less while driving on the highway.  While this is a true statement, it doesn’t there’s anything better or worse with either type of driving, just as Wilson’s statement doesn’t say that there’s anything better or worse with weather or climate modeling.

If you are thinking about ideas for future articles, I would recommend reporting on the Climategate e-mails and presenting the global warming science that is so “widely accepted” to let people judge for themselves.  Hopefully, the world is learning that scientists are people too and they are not immune to political motivations or to being wrong.

Global Warming

As weather forecasters predict more massive snowfall for the east coast, Newt Gingrich pokes, “the weather conditions prove that ‘global warming’ is a hoax” while “activists say that scientists are looking at longer-lasting weather patterns.”

With all due to respect to Mr. Gingrich and the activists,  I thought climate scientists have been telling us for the last two months that global warming is hoax.

I’m still waiting for a world leader to, at the very least, acknowledge that the information that has surfaced about climate scientists over the last couple of months should at least give us pause to consider that perhaps the science is not “settled” and that maybe we should open our minds a bit more and consider alternatives.

Not So Hot

And here’s the story of how raw data of one temperature monitoring station can be adjusted to make a cooling trend look like an alarming warming trend. I lifted the key graph.  I highly encourage you to read the whole thing and check out other posts on that blog.  Thanks to Anthony Watts and all the contributors to the Watts Up With That? blog.

The black line shows the adjustments added to this station’s actual temperature readings.  The actual temperature readings are shown in blue.  Add them together and you get the red line.

I will reprint the author, Willis Eschenbach’s disclosure:

Now, I want to be clear here. The blatantly bogus GHCN adjustment for this one station does NOT mean that the earth is not warming. It also does NOT mean that the three records (CRU, GISS, and GHCN) are generally wrong either. This may be an isolated incident, we don’t know. But every time the data gets revised and homogenized, the trends keep increasing. Now GISS does their own adjustments. However, as they keep telling us, they get the same answer as GHCN gets … which makes their numbers suspicious as well.

Disturbing Temperature Adjustments

Climategate? Climategate? Climategate?

According to this website, major network news has still not reported on climategate.

And this guy is asks people  “to just  say what they actually know.”  Fair request.  I’ll add that they should separate what they know from what they feel.

When a scientist says I know such-and-such is happening and he really means that he believes it’s happening, that’s irresponsible.  Others don’t pick on the scientist’s misuse of know.  Based on the studies I’ve seen of global warming, no scientist should be able to say they “know what’s happening.”  If you’ve seen study that would allow a scientist to correctly say “they know what’s happening”, please let me know.  I’d like to take a look at it.

Get Around It

In this column, Larry Elder writes about NPR’s treatment of the climategate story.  I enjoyed the column.  I especially enjoyed these two sentences:

One crosses the line from scientist to advocate when, if faced with conflicting or unexpected data, the scientist tries to get around it rather than to understand it. If data causes a re-examination of previously held assumptions, so be it.

Very well said.  We all need someone to keep us honest, even scientists.  Groupthink is a feedback problem that hides the truth.  The problems that led up to the deadly explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 was a result of groupthink among NASA scientists and engineers.   Hmmm…