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InvisibleAutonomous
MysteriousStranger

Registered: 05/10/02
Posts: 901
Loc: U.S.S.A.
'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics
    #3432156 - 12/01/04 12:10 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

A prime piece of evidence linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.

From "Global Warming Bombshell"
an article posted on MIT's Technology Review
By Richard Muller (a University of California physicist)
October 15, 2004

(read the entire article at this link)

Some highlights:

"the ?hockey stick,? ...plot, published by University of Massachusetts geoscientist Michael Mann and colleagues... purports to show that we are now experiencing the warmest climate in a millennium, and that the earth, after remaining cool for centuries during the medieval era, suddenly began to heat up about 100 years ago--just at the time that the burning of coal and oil led to an increase in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide."

"But now a shock: Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce the hockey stick. In his original publications of the stick, Mann purported to use a standard method known as principal component analysis, or PCA, to find the dominant features in a set of more than 70 different climate records.

But it wasn?t so. McIntyre and McKitrick obtained part of the program that Mann used, and they found serious problems. Not only does the program not do conventional PCA, but it handles data normalization in a way that can only be described as mistaken.

Now comes the real shocker. This improper normalization procedure tends to emphasize any data that do have the hockey stick shape, and to suppress all data that do not. To demonstrate this effect, McIntyre and McKitrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This method of generating random data is called ?Monte Carlo? analysis, after the famous casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. When McIntyre and McKitrick fed these random data into the Mann procedure, out popped a hockey stick shape!"

"In standard PCA, each data set is normalized over its complete data period; for key climate data sets that Mann used to create his hockey stick graph, this was the interval 1400-1980. But the computer program Mann used did not do that. Instead, it forced each data set to have zero mean for the time period 1902-1980, and to match the historical records for this interval."

"McIntyre and McKitrick sent their detailed analysis to Nature magazine for publication, and it was extensively refereed. But their paper was finally rejected. In frustration, McIntyre and McKitrick put the entire record of their submission and the referee reports on a Web page for all to see. If you look, you?ll see that McIntyre and McKitrick have found numerous other problems with the Mann analysis.... Other and different criticisms of the hockey stick are emerging (see, for example, the paper by Hans von Storch and colleagues in the September 30 issue of Science)."

"How does this bombshell affect what we think about global warming?

It certainly does not negate the threat of a long-term global temperature increase. In fact, McIntyre and McKitrick are careful to point out that it is hard to draw conclusions from these data, even with their corrections. Did medieval global warming take place? Last month the consensus was that it did not; now the correct answer is that nobody really knows. Uncovering errors in the Mann analysis doesn?t settle the debate; it just reopens it. We now know less about the history of climate, and its natural fluctuations over century-scale time frames, than we thought we knew"

"A phony hockey stick is more dangerous than a broken one--if we know it is broken. It is our responsibility as scientists to look at the data in an unbiased way, and draw whatever conclusions follow. When we discover a mistake, we admit it, learn from it, and perhaps discover once again the value of caution."


--------------------
"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination."
-- Mark Twain


Edited by Autonomous (12/01/04 12:18 PM)


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OfflineTao
Village Genius

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 7,935
Loc: San Diego
Last seen: 1 year, 9 months
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathemat [Re: Autonomous]
    #3432286 - 12/01/04 12:43 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

It certainly does not negate the threat of a long-term global temperature increase. In fact, McIntyre and McKitrick are careful to point out that it is hard to draw conclusions from these data, even with their corrections.




oh and this has been posted several times.


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Magash's Grain Tek  + Tub-in-Tub Incubator + Magash's PMP + SBP Tek + Dunking = Practically all a newbie grower needs :thumbup:


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics [Re: Autonomous]
    #3432350 - 12/01/04 01:03 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Global Warming Bombshell Smells Fishy

Richard Muller artfully unveils McIntyre & McKitrick's undressing of Mann's landmark 1998 case for human-induced global warming. After doing my own unveiling of M&M's background, I'm inclined to be suspect of their work due to their lack of scientific backgrounds, their ties to right-wing think tanks, and business interests.
Joe Vassallo [JV Group] | POSTED: 10.23.04 @02:52

If true, M&M's discovery would stand a lot of other research (not to mention world government policy) on its head. On the other hand, I have read about repeated attempts to debunk the infamous hockey stick and each is eventually disproven and/or suspiciously linked to conservative think tanks or oil/power companies.

To a non-scientist like me the information provided sounds compelling, but there are always two sides to every coin. When confronted with content that is out of my area of expertise, I will often try to evaluate the source of the information. One should be highly suspect of information that comes from someone who may have an ulterior motive or bias.

A bit of goggling reveals that Stephen McIntyre isn't a practicing scientist. In fact he is President of a Canadian Mining Company It does make you wonder if he has the scientific background to be making his claims.

Ross McKitrick is Associate Professor of Economics and a senior fellow at the right-wing Fraser Institute in Vancouver. Apparantly the Fraser Institute is so conservative, 5 public school principals refused up to $3k grants from the organization. Not suprisingly, he claims to be a policy advisor to US and Canadian governments. Not exactly the non-partisan scientific pedigree I was hoping to find.

M&M didn't get any grants to do the research; that's how they can claim independence. They sure seem to be cleaning up now - McKitrick has put out the book Taken by Storm and they're regular paid guests at conservative think tanks like the George C. Marshall Institute.

Who funds the George C. Marshall Institute? wealthy, conservative oil company heirs

A little more web research reveals that Energy & Environment, the magazine M&M's research was published in, should be really called Energy "over" Environment as it is a scientific journal that despite it's name appears dedicated to promoting research that refutes the theory that Global Warming is due to human influence.

Okay, so even if the research is great, I'm not liking what I'm smelling here. All this background information doesn't invalidate the research, but it does make it smell fishy.

During all this googling I came across another person who also recently refuted the hockey stick/global warming theory - Hans von Storch. He actually passes my internet background checks and does not appear to have the inherent conflicts of interest that M&M have in trying to make his case. He is a widely respected and published German scientist. His basic theory, published in the Sept. 30, 2004 issue of Science, is that climate may have varied much more in the past than popular reconstructions from tree-rings and ice-cores suggest, and he built an elaborate computer model that proves it (at least to him and a growing list of colleagues). In fairness to Mann, he says he is aware of von Storch's points and already takes them in adequately into account. ...and the debate goes on...

http://www.alwayson-network.com/comments.php?id=P6609_0_5_0_C


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InvisibleAutonomous
MysteriousStranger

Registered: 05/10/02
Posts: 901
Loc: U.S.S.A.
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathemat [Re: Tao]
    #3432409 - 12/01/04 01:19 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

We can also say that it certainly does not negate the threat of a long-term global temperature decrease, as the data provides nothing ruling this out either. What we are left with are no conclusions that can be backed up with credible evidence. Sloppy science such as this works against developing prudent policies to address real threats to the environment and human health and only serves the opponents of environmental lobbies by helping to paint environmentalists as deceitful extremist crackpots willing to falsify studies to advance a misanthropic agenda.


--------------------
"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination."
-- Mark Twain


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InvisibleAutonomous
MysteriousStranger

Registered: 05/10/02
Posts: 901
Loc: U.S.S.A.
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathemat [Re: Xlea321]
    #3432438 - 12/01/04 01:27 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

The history or backing of those who discovered these flaws is irrelevant to determining the validity of the mathematical calculations used. Can you address the math instead of using character assassination? Please read and respond to the referee reports on this web page to help make a valid case.


--------------------
"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination."
-- Mark Twain


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InvisibleGijith
Daisy Chain Eater

Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 2,400
Loc: New York
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathemat [Re: Autonomous]
    #3432470 - 12/01/04 01:37 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I can't say it enough: there will never be 'proof' of global climate change by humans.

Anybody who claims to have 'proof' or 'evidence', or anybody who slams the notion of global warming simply because there is no proof, needs to take another look at the science.


--------------------
what's with neocons and the word 'ilk'?


Edited by Gijith (12/01/04 02:34 PM)


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Invisiblesilversoul7
Chill the FuckOut!
 User Gallery

Registered: 10/10/02
Posts: 27,301
Loc: mndfreeze's puppet army
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathemat [Re: Gijith]
    #3432661 - 12/01/04 02:31 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Seems to me that a lot of the causes of global warming are also causes of air pollution, so with or without global warming, I think a lot of the same measures probably need to be taken.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathemat [Re: Autonomous]
    #3435764 - 12/02/04 02:30 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

The history or backing of those who discovered these flaws is irrelevant

You sure about that?

Please read and respond

Follow the link I posted in my previous post and you will find manns rebuttal.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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InvisibleAutonomous
MysteriousStranger

Registered: 05/10/02
Posts: 901
Loc: U.S.S.A.
Re: 'Evidence' linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathemat [Re: Xlea321]
    #3437294 - 12/02/04 02:26 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

"You sure about that?"
Yes I am, it is simple basic logic. Arguments can stand or fall on their own merits, what your author has done is nothing more than present an argumentum ad hominem at the beginning of his article. Again, it is irrelevant to determining the validity of the mathematical calculations used.

"Follow the link I posted in my previous post and you will find manns rebuttal."
So we've established that you refuse to read the referee reports and only care to cite one side. I have looked over the rebuttal and it doesn't seem sound. Have you read about Dr. Hans von Storch? He seems immune to ad hominem argmuments, so maybe you'll be open minded enough to read his work. In an article in Science (October 22, 2004) he stated, "The main conclusion of this study is that many reconstruction methods that are based on linear regression considerably underestimate the centennial and decadal past temperature variations. When applied to the model data these methods return an estimate of past model temperatures that hardly resemble the true model temperatures. Also, the associated error bars from the reconstruction methods are inaccurate." (The full article can be downloaded here)

In a discussion including Dr von Storch about the ethical implications of the premature acceptance of the "hockey stick" by the scientific community, the following statements were made:

"...so far, the community of climate scientists has not acknowledged the dilemmas involved. Instead it tends to reiterate the claim that anthropogenic climate change is real, and needs public and policy attention ? assertions which are frequently dramatized and even exaggerated. The concern for the ?good? and ?just? case of avoiding further dangerous human interference with the climate system has created a peculiar self-censorship among many climate scientists. Judgments of solid scientific findings are often not made with respect to their immanent quality but on the basis of their alleged or real potential as a weapon by ?skeptics? in a struggle for dominance in public and policy discourse.

When we recently established that the method behind the so-called ?hockey-stick? curve of Northern Hemisphere temperature is flawed, this result was not so much attacked as scientifically flawed but was seen both in private conversations and public discourse as outright dangerous, because it could be instrumentalized and undermine the success of the IPCC process. Similarly, the suggestion that hitherto excluded research and policy discussions devoted to adaptive measures ought to be undertaken in order to pursue a much more balanced strategy of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change is seen as undermining the Kyoto process.

The situation of climate science is neither unique nor new; similar developments have been observed in other recent cases, such as second-hand smoking, mad-cow disease, and nuclear power generation. Indeed, the process echoes the discussion between the little monk and Galileo in Brecht?s drama ?Galileo Galilei? ? is the public really mature enough to not only deal with the truth but with the full truth which is uncertain. We are convinced, along with Brecht?s Galileo, that the public is capable of dealing with the complex details and the unavoidable uncertainty...

Climate science needs to reach a new self-understanding of its own culture and how it resonates with its public image. This is a matter of values; not a matter of true and false, but a matter of good and bad. Our personal advice is:
  • We need to deal with the issue of anthropogenic climate change in a sustainable manner. The all too common practices of overselling and of even exaggerating adverse events by some must be strongly discouraged. Examples are the unfalsifiable, and thus useless, claims that current extreme events are, if not proof, strong indications of anthropogenic climate change. Sustainability requires that we tell the full truth as currently understood, irrespective if it fits into the politically correct agenda of the purportedly good case. People make all sorts of decisions under uncertainty ? buying insurance, investing in the stock market, often with the advice of supposed financial experts, tolerating genetically modified foods ? and there is no reason that uncertainty pertaining to climate change should be disabling.

  • We need to respond openly to the agenda-driven advocates, not only skeptics but also alarmists, who misuse their standing as scientists to pursue their private value-driven agendas. This is a tragedy of the commons, namely that the short term gains (in terms of public attention; success of specific political agendas; possible funding) of a few are paid for on the long term by the scientific credibility of the whole discipline. Instead, sustainability requires that the discipline of climate science to provide the public with options of policy responses to the challenge of climate change, and not to prescriptively focus on only one such option (i.e., maximum reduction of GHG emissions).

  • Finally we need to accept that climate science (as any other sciences) is a social process. Social and cultural scientists should be invited to analyze this process, to identify hidden limitations and conventions rooted in social and cultural backgrounds of the scientific actors, and to reduce the role of group dynamics on the practice of science. "


--------------------
"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination."
-- Mark Twain


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