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H1N1 and Climate Change


Keepitsimple

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Mutual fund people do that all the time, to explain a particular bad patch for a fund.
To be clear - there is nothing wrong with offering an explanation for adverse data. The problem is removing any evidence of that adverse data from the graph in order make the data look better than it is. That is deceptive.
Surely what you're talking about is pretty simple and straightforward, so I'll take a little time to look into this.
Yes it is simple. A group of scienctists sought to mislead people by removing adverse data from a graphic with the full knowledge that removing the data would make people think that the reconstruction was more reliable that it actually is. Scientists are human.

Here is a very good explanation for how they spliced the data series together to create a deceptive graphic.

Here are graphics that show what was left out.

Edited by Riverwind
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Ok, this report from the US National Research Council illustrated what the proxies are:

Because widespread, reliable instrumental records are available only for the last 150 years or so, scientists estimate climatic conditions in the more distant past by analyzing proxy evidence from sources such as tree rings, corals, ocean and lake sediments, cave deposits, ice cores, boreholes, glaciers, and documentary evidence.

And in the summary conclusions:

The instrumentally measured warming of about 0.6°C during the 20th century is also reflected in borehole temperature measurements, the retreat of glaciers, and other observational evidence, and can be simulated with climate models.

and

Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium. The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales

So they seem to quibble with the findings, but not disagree with them outright.

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To be clear - there is nothing wrong with offering an explanation for adverse data. The problem is removing any evidence of that adverse data from the graph in order make the data look better than it is. That is deceptive.

The difference between your analogy and the climate example is that there is no definitive reading for temperature prior to 1850, so we don't know for sure. After that time, we have several sources so we can use one or the other.

Yes it is simple. A group of scienctists sought to mislead people by removing adverse data from a graphic with the full knowledge that removing the data would make people think that the reconstruction was more reliable that it actually is. Scientists are human.

"Sought to mislead" ? You lose me when you jump past the discussion of the matter and hand and attribute motives to people.

We can discuss the science, and it's difficult but not as difficult as looking into the human heart.

Here is a very good explanation for how they spliced the data series together to create a deceptive graphic.

Here are graphics that show what was left out.

Right. But it was left out because it was wrong, so...

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After that time, we have several sources so we can use one or the other.
You are missing the entire point. The problem is those additional sources are telling us that the estimates of temperature prior to 1850 are likely bogus because tree rings do not really measure temperatures.
You lose me when you jump past the discussion of the matter and hand and attribute motives to people.
This is what they said:
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps

to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from

1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

The use of the phrase 'hide the decline' makes it pretty clear that the intent was to mislead. If they just wanted to leave the 'bad' data out they would trunacted the series and plotted the actual temps as a *seperate* line. Smoothing the two series together is dishonest and Mann himself agreed in 2004.

Right. But it was left out because it was wrong, so.
Good grief. We are talking about good scientific practice. You do NOT leave out data simply because it raises inconvenient questions. Drug companies that tried do that with a medical studies would be charged.

It really puzzles me why you are twisting yourself into knots trying to rationalize what these guys did. Why is so hard to accept that these particular scientists are bad apples that let their political agenda interfer with their science?

Edited by Riverwind
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You are missing the entire point. The problem is those additional sources are telling us that the estimates of temperature prior to 1850 are likely bogus because tree rings do not really measure temperatures.

Tree rings do give us a way to approximate temperatures, but they are not always accurate.

This is what they said:

The use of the phrase 'hide the decline' makes it pretty clear that the intent was to mislead. If they just wanted to leave the 'bad' data out they would trunacted the series and plotted the actual temps as a *seperate* line. Smoothing the two series together is dishonest and Mann himself agreed in 2004.

The phrase 'hide the decline' does not make it clear that the intent is to mislead, not by a longshot. It refers to disusing obviously bad data.

Provide the Mann quote from 2004, pls, I'm interested.

Good grief. We are talking about good scientific practice. You do NOT leave out data simply because it raises inconvenient questions. Drug companies that tried do that with a medical studies would be charged.

Yes you do. These are called outliers and it's perfectly valid. This practice makes sense to me if you have more reliable data that you can use instead.

After an election, you can find examples where exit polls were inaccurate, so what do you do ? Do you declare that the vote was a fraud ?

It really puzzles me why you are twisting yourself into knots trying to rationalize what these guys did. Why is so hard to accept that these particular scientists are bad apples that let their political agenda interfer with their science?

I'm not twisting myself into knots. What they're doing is complicated, and bears a minimal amount of analysis. Why jump to the conclusion that evil scientists have somehow taken control of an entire branch of science, especially when the debate is done in the open ?

I take the exact same tack when lefty conspiracists try to argue that a 'New World Order' is controlling the economy, plotting attacks against the west, etc. And those folks at least can claim that the conspiracy happens behind closed doors. They're still wrong.

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Tree rings do give us a way to approximate temperatures, but they are not always accurate.
No. That is an assumption that is only considered reasonable because the rings of *some* trees appear to be correleated with temperatures. If the correleation breaks down there is absolutely no reason to believe that the trees in question measure temperature at any time.
The phrase 'hide the decline' does not make it clear that the intent is to mislead, not by a longshot.
Then you obviously have you own version of the English language. The intent is obvious. People don't use the word hide unless deception is intended.
Provide the Mann quote from 2004, pls, I'm interested.
I already did - twice. Try clicking on the links I provide.
Yes you do. These are called outliers and it's perfectly valid. This practice makes sense to me if you have more reliable data that you can use instead.
Only IF you have solid reason to believe that they are outliers and not evidence that your entire hypothesis is wrong. In this case the deleted data is evidence that the hypothesis that tree rings measure temperatures is wrong.
What does that have to do with what I said. My complaint is you are twisting yourself into knots trying to convince yourself that these scientists did not act in a unprofessional manner. The discussion about what this says about the wider community is a seperate issue.
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.....another blow to IPCC credibility:

India forms new climate change body

The Indian government has established its own body to monitor the effects of global warming because it “cannot rely” on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the group headed by its own leading scientist Dr R.K Pachauri.

Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7157590/India-forms-new-climate-change-body.html

Or from the National Post: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2523938

Edited by Keepitsimple
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Then you obviously have you own version of the English language. The intent is obvious. People don't use the word hide unless deception is intended.

Hiding means concealing, but not necessarily deceiving. I hide the tags on my pajamas by tucking them in the collar.

I already did - twice. Try clicking on the links I provide.

The quote where he talks about the deception of blending data, I mean.

Only IF you have solid reason to believe that they are outliers and not evidence that your entire hypothesis is wrong. In this case the deleted data is evidence that the hypothesis that tree rings measure temperatures is wrong.

What does that have to do with what I said. My complaint is you are twisting yourself into knots trying to convince yourself that these scientists did not act in a unprofessional manner. The discussion about what this says about the wider community is a seperate issue.

Unprofessional and unethical are different things too. I'm not interested in a character study of people whom I will never meet, but rather a discussion of the facts of what the scientific community is saying about these issues.

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Hiding means concealing, but not necessarily deceiving.
It would be deception if those tags had evidence that you stole those pajamas. Hiding a decline in data is hiding evidence and is only done with an intent to deceive. It is one thing to give people the benefit of a doubt. It is another to twist words beyond any possible reasonable interpretation in order avoid having to acknowledge that they engaged in dishonest behavoir.
The quote where he talks about the deception of blending data, I mean.
You mean this quote:
No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum.
Of course you will likely try to parse the words and declare that he does not mean what is obvious to all readers.
Unprofessional and unethical are different things too.
I don't make distinction when unprofessional behavior leads to negative consequences for others (in this case, harmful government policies adopted based on false pretenses).
I'm not interested in a character study of people whom I will never meet, but rather a discussion of the facts of what the scientific community is saying about these issues.
The facts are that they removed adverse data from a graph because they knew it undermined the argument that they wanted to make. They try to rationalize that removal by claiming the data is wrong but they have no evidence to support that claim. I know they have no evidence because I have actually read the scientific paper with the claim and that probably makes me more informed that many of the 'scientists' expressing an opinion on the topic. Edited by Riverwind
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It would be deception if those tags had evidence that you stole those pajamas. Hiding a decline in data is hiding evidence and is only done with an intent to deceive. It is one thing to give people the benefit of a doubt. It is another to twist words beyond any possible reasonable interpretation in order avoid having to acknowledge that they engaged in dishonest behavoir.

But that data doesn't make or break the theory, from what I have read, so the analogy breaks down.

You mean this quote:

Of course you will likely try to parse the words and declare that he does not mean what is obvious to all readers.

I don't make distinction when unprofessional behavior leads to negative consequences for others (in this case, harmful government policies adopted based on false pretenses).

The facts are that they removed adverse data from a graph because they knew it undermined the argument that they wanted to make. They try to rationalize that removal by claiming the data is wrong but they have no evidence to support that claim. I know they have no evidence because I have actually read the scientific paper with the claim and that probably makes me more informed that many of the 'scientists' expressing an opinion on the topic.

If you leave out the tree ring data, you still have the recent period being anomalous over the past 1,300 years. So, leaving tree ring data out completely doesn't break the theory.

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But that data doesn't make or break the theory, from what I have read, so the analogy breaks down.
The data shows that the reconstruction used in the WMO and IPCC reports was most likely junk. They knew that and that is why they sought to hide it. It was a deliberate attempt to decieve.
If you leave out the tree ring data, you still have the recent period being anomalous over the past 1,300 years.
Actually, you don't know that. Leave out the tree ring data and some proxies show a MWP that is as least as warm as today but we cannot say for certain because the other proxies are not that reliable either. The only accurate thing we can say about the MWP is "we don't know but it could have been warmer than today". OTOH, it is not possible to justify any policies based on the assumption that the current warming is unusual because there is no evidence to support that assumption. Edited by Riverwind
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The data shows that the reconstruction used in the WMO and IPCC reports was most likely junk. They knew that and that is why they sought to hide it. It was a deliberate attempt to decieve.

Junk ? But without tree ring data, you still have the recent temperature records showing as a 1300 year anomaly.

Actually, you don't know that. Leave out the tree ring data and some proxies show a MWP that is as least as warm as today but we cannot say for certain because the other proxies are not that reliable either. The only accurate thing we can say about the MWP is "we don't know but it could have been warmer than today". OTOH, it is not possible to justify any policies based on the assumption that the current warming is unusual because there is no evidence to support that assumption.

If the other proxies aren't reliable then what are you using to determine that there was a medieval warming period ? And if the proxies all align with each other then why would that happen if it weren't for an increase in average temperature ?

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Junk ? But without tree ring data, you still have the recent temperature records showing as a 1300 year anomaly.
Excuse me? I know of no temperature records that show temperatures earlier than 1700 or so (the invention of the thermometer was a necessary prerequisite). There is no data prior to that point and no claim can be made about the temperatures prior to that point in time.
If the other proxies aren't reliable then what are you using to determine that there was a medieval warming period?
I am saying the data on the MWP is inconclusive. People who say there is no MWP are as wrong as people who say that there was one. The correct answer is 'we don't know' and there is no data available that can answer that question. All we can do I make a rough guess about a plausible range for MWP temps and that range is large enough to plausibly claim that MWP could have been warmer than today (but we don't know it).

One of the problems in climate science is people on both sides of the fence can't seem to accept that sometimes the 'we don't know' is the only answer that science can provide. More importantly, "we don't know" is not the same as "whatever I want it to be". This means the onus is on the people claiming that the current warming is unprecedented to prove their case. The onus is NOT on critics to prove the opposite.

Edited by Riverwind
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A couple of great pieces in the local press:

If the IPCC were a private-enterprise auto company, the class-action suits would have been piling up at the agency’s doors and the U.S. Congress would be parading the IPCC’s executives through a public humiliation.

National Post

And

“The global warming movement as we have known it is dead,” the brilliant analyst Walter Russell Mead says in his blog on The American Interest. It was done in by a combination of bad science and bad politics.

The Globe And Mail

Must reads. Unless you're waldo. Then you keep your eyes closed, and your head covered. Because nothing penetrates the faith of the true-believer. Not even facts.

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Do we know they are wrong? Trees measure local temperature - not global temperatures and the local temperature records in remote areas are spotty at best. It is quite possible that the trees are correctly measuring temperature for the region where they were found.

Tree rings are a very inadequate proxy for measuring past temperatures of any kind, whether it be local, global, etc. This is because there are many reasons that determine how much a tree will grow during any given year. Warm temperatures will make a tree grow more, but if the temp is too hot it will actually stunt the growth of some types of trees. One large determination of tree growth and the size of tree rings is the amount of precipitation in a given year, as obviously if its too dry a tree won't grow well, and lots of precipitation will make a tree grow more, but if there's too much precipitation it may stunt its growth.

Also, a tree will grow more if the tree next to it (that previously provided shade) falls down or is chopped down and the remaining tree is therefore exposed to more sunlight.

All of this is fairly logical. If you have a fat tree ring compared to other rings in the tree, the only thing you can conclude is that tree-growing conditions for that year in that local area were very good. Its impossible to know if it was warm temperature or lots of precipitation etc. that caused the good conditions, unless you use other proxies as well to confirm it, but even then its not certain.

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One of the problems in climate science is people on both sides of the fence can't seem to accept that sometimes the 'we don't know' is the only answer that science can provide. More importantly, "we don't know" is not the same as "whatever I want it to be". This means the onus is on the people claiming that the current warming is unprecedented to prove their case. The onus is NOT on critics to prove the opposite.

And they do so using proxy data. The idea that no proxies can be used is pretty unique - I don't think any of the skeptical climate scientists say that.

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And they do so using proxy data. The idea that no proxies can be used is pretty unique - I don't think any of the skeptical climate scientists say that.
There are 4 main troubles with proxies:

1) Noise that is larger than the "signal";

- Tree ring proxies have this problem so the scientists "mine" their data for the samples with the "right" signal.

2) Poor time resolution

- Proxies that can only average climate over 50-100 years would filter out peaks like the current warm period.

3) Poor dating

- Proxies that cannot be associated with a specific date make it hard to compare to other proxies.

4) Regional

- Ice cores provide the most relable proxies but they can only be found in Greenland and Antarctica.

Any reconstruction will be criticized for one of those reasons if the reconstruction does not produce the critic's desired view of reality. Tree rings are preferred by alarmists because all of the noise causes the samples to average to zero in the past which is their desired result. They get the hockeystick by picking only those samples which correlate with modern temperatures - a correlation that could easily be a coincidence.

Edited by Riverwind
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Any reconstruction will be criticized for one of those reasons if the reconstruction does not produce the critic's desired view of reality. Tree rings are preferred by alarmists because all of the noise causes the samples to average to zero in the past which is their desired result. They get the hockeystick by picking only those samples which correlate with modern temperatures - a correlation that could easily be a coincidence.

Again, climate science accepts the use of proxies.

The tree ring example really doesn't make a difference. As we said, if you reject tree rings outright then you go from a 1700- year anomaly to a 1300- year anomaly.

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Again, climate science accepts the use of proxies.
If you actually read the back and forth on the various proxies you will find that climate science accepts all of the issues I noted as legitimate issues which undermine the usefulness of the proxies. The debate occurs because different groups choose to ignore the deficiencies in their preferred proxies while using the other deficiencies to criticize those with different reconstructions.

In any case, I don't really give a damn what the alarmists think about their proxies because I have worked enough with the statistics involved to know they are either ignorant buffoons or liars because their methods are bogus and don't do anything other than mine the data for the signal they want to see.

The tree ring example really doesn't make a difference. As we said, if you reject tree rings outright then you go from a 1700- year anomaly to a 1300- year anomaly.
I don't have a clue what you are talking about. Did you write that properly? All we really know for sure is the planet has warmed a bit in the last 200-400 years. That is not a particularly interesting fact. Edited by Riverwind
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In any case, I don't really give a damn what the alarmists think about their proxies because I have worked enough with the statistics involved to know they are either ignorant buffoons or liars because their methods are bogus and don't do anything other than mine the data for the signal they want to see.

You have worked ? You're doing your own research here ? Are you using proxies in your models ?

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You have worked ? You're doing your own research here ? Are you using proxies in your models ?
Statistics is used to solve many problems in other disciplines. I have uses similar statistics before I even looked into the climate issue. What it means is I don't need to decide which authority I trust - I read the arguments and counter arguments and make my own decision on who is got the better scientific case. In this case, it is clear to me that the alarmist scientists are picking proxies and/or algorithms that will give them the result they want to see and that the data they are using appears to be mostly noise with no coherent 'climate signal'. If I want to be charitable I ascribe their actions to confirmation bias - i.e. they are so convinced that they "know" what the answer is supposed to be that they unconsciously discard any algorithm that does not give them the expected answer.
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If I want to be charitable I ascribe their actions to confirmation bias - i.e. they are so convinced that they "know" what the answer is supposed to be that they unconsciously discard any algorithm that does not give them the expected answer.

And you know better than the entire field of climate science, including their skeptical scientists ?

Sorry, but you've lost me on this. I'm not going to start citing your research here. Proxies are valid.

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And you know better than the entire field of climate science, including their skeptical scientists ?
Gee. Why don't you provide some evidence that "sceptical scientists" disagree with me instead of simply assuming they do. You will find that many actual scientists have a nuanced view which is similar to mine when they actually write things down in scientific paper. When they use proxies with a strong MWP they are using them to refute the claim that "we know modern temperatures are unusual". They are not making the counter claim that we know the MWP is warmer than today.

Here is a good summary of the issues.

Here is the most popular sceptical paper.

If you read it you will find that they do not actually compare the MWP to current period because they feel that splicing a temperature record onto the end of the proxy reconstruction is misleading because there is no way to calculate the correct scale and offset. They also state that the individual 'wiggles' are not meaningful. The only claim they make is the proxies show that the average temperature can change by 1 degC without any anthropogenic forcing and it is therefore false to claim that the recent 0.7 degC rise must be due to human influence.

Edited by Riverwind
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Here is a good summary of the issues.

Here is the most popular sceptical paper.

I've read the McIntyre one before but in reading it again, it is the "tone" of the critique that is most refreshing. It is rational, professional and thorough. It does not have the air of "dismissiveness" that is so apparent with AGW proponents. Regardless of all the statistics and proxies, common sense dictates that it was comparatively warm back in the MWP - explorers discovered and settled in Greenland and Newfoundland, among other places. It was warm enough - and then it got cold - so they left. That's the largest "proxy" that I can think of.

Edited by Keepitsimple
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