Streetwise Professor

December 20, 2009

Well, If You Lived There You’d Cheer for Global Warming Too

Filed under: Climate Change,Politics — The Professor @ 4:52 pm

The attitude of many Russians, in government but especially in the scientific community, towards the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis (yes, it is a hypothesis) is quite fascinating.  Many respected Russian climatologists are clearly in the skeptic camp. And last week, the Moscow-based Institute for Economic Analysis called bullsh*t on the Hadley CRUT (yes, the same outfit embroiled in Climategate).  IEA points to another, completely different possible scientific sin committed by Phil Jones and the gang:

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.

On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations.

IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.

The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.

Global-temperature data will have to be modified if similar climate-date procedures have been used from other national data because the calculations used by COP15 analysts, including financial calculations, are based on HadCRUT research.

This allegation of cherry picking is extremely serious, if true.  Certainly, if the data/station selection procedure has a material impact on the results, the procedure should be made transparent (including release the code), and the underlying data should be made available so that others can devise alternative procedures and test the robustness of results to said procedures.  Given that (a) the CRUT procedure seems to produce the politically desired results, and (b) the emails that have been released colorably support the allegation that CRUT has an agenda, it is more than plausible that the discarding of the majority of Russian sites was not accidental, or driven by legitimate concerns regarding the quality of the sites and their records.  This skepticism would be bolstered if the IEA accusations that the omitted stations were better on crucial dimensions (notably, continuity of coverage and rural location unaffected by the effects of urbanization) are correct.  Omitting the stations that a priori would seem superior and getting “warmer” results would be highly, highly suspicious.

This is of course important for understanding the average global temperature data.  But AGT is merely a convenient summary statistic, and shouldn’t be given that much weight.  What is more important for the purpose of testing the implications of climate models is the spatial pattern of temperature changes–the “fingerprint” of global warming.  One implication of these models is that heating should be pronounced at northern latitudes, including in Siberia.  And indeed, this is one of the implications that advocates of the AGW hypothesis claim has been demonstrated empirically to support their call for draconian restrictions on carbon emissions.

But, what if this supposed empirical demonstration is based on data subject to a biased selection procedure?  If that’s true, one of the main empirical supports for the AGW hypothesis disappears.  Thus, the quality of the Russian data is a major, major issue that must be resolved in order to evaluate the empirical validity of climate models specifically, and the AGW hypothesis generally.  If the IEA is correct in its assertion that including the excluded stations would result in a lowering of the worldwide average temperature, the effect would be even more pronounced in northern latitudes, and CO2 would not have left the damning fingerprint that would convict it of a crime against Gaia.

The fingerprint evidence is already suspect.  Richard Lindzen of MIT has repeatedly emphasized that the tropical troposphere has not heated as predicted by the climate models.  That is a big empirical strike against the AGW hypothesis–but one that has not received sufficient attention.  If, in addition, the warming at northern latitudes is weaker than has been asserted heretofore based on censored/selected data, or does not exist at all, the empirical damage would be–or at least should be–fatal to the climate models (which emphasize the role of positive feedback effects to generate predictions of dramatic warming).

Thus, of all the fallout from the HadleyCRUT scandal, this could be the most important.  The full Russian record should be evaluated thoroughly, and stat, to understand what is truly happening in Siberia.

The American Thinker has a couple of interesting pieces on Climategate.  Definitely worth reading is this article by scientists David Douglass and John Christy about the blatant manipulation of the peer review process by AGW advocates masquerading as scientists.  I thought it was impossible for me to be more cynical about the peer review process than I already was based on almost 20 years of experience watching the sausage being made, and more than a few times through the grinder myself.  I was wrong.  This shorter article on the lengths to which AGW advocates will go to control more popular sources of information on climate change science is also quite illuminating.

That drip, drip, drip you hear isn’t rain.

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  1. “Warmists”

    – All the major National Academies of Sciences, NASA, NOAA, American Meteorological Society, EPA, American Geophysical Union, etc.


    – oil-company funded right wing think tanks, e.g. the aforementioned IEA founded by neocon nutjob Illarionov.

    Hmm, whom to trust, I wonder?

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — December 20, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  2. Appeal to authority + ad hominem. Very impressive. You really expect me to find that persuasive?

    Gotta work a little harder than that. You know, like, I dunno, actually maybe engaging the substance of the issues. Do you have facts that contradict the IEA assertion that Hadley excluded a large number of sites that are a priori superior to those included? I’m all ears. Do you disagree with the potential ramifications for the empirical validity of AGW hypothesis if, in fact, it is demonstrated that high latitude warming has been vastly overstated due to biased selection of Russian weather stations for inclusion/exclusion from the analysis? Do you condone the opacity of the process for transforming the raw data? Do you condone the combination of skulduggery and thuggery by which Jones et al attempted to–and succeeded, with the connivance of a journal editor–the peer review process?

    Do tell.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 20, 2009 @ 6:23 pm

  3. AGW or not, pumping less crap into the atmosphere can only be a good thing.

    Comment by So? — December 21, 2009 @ 2:12 am

  4. +++pumping less crap into the atmosphere can only be a good thing.+++

    That is absolutely undeniable statement. The differences begin after that. Like, the methods to achieve and such.

    Comment by LL — December 21, 2009 @ 6:59 am

  5. “AGW or not, pumping less crap into the atmosphere can only be a good thing.”

    Life as we know it could not exist on this planet without the presence of CO2. Accordingly, CO2 could hardly be considered crap. Additionally, failure or each and every living person to pump this “crap” into the atmosphere on a constant basis would quickly lead to the earthly demise of each and every living person.

    Pumping less of this “crap” into the atmosphere would have direct costs. Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on regulating the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would, in a world of finite financial resources, have direct effects on our ability provide educational opportunities, clean water availability, food for hungry peoples, efforts to eradicate disease, basic scientific research or many other things that have been shown to improve the quality of life on our planet.

    Not only are you wrong in asserting that “pumping less crap into the atmosphere can only be a good thing.” In fact, the costs associated with “pumping less crap” into the atmosphere could cost lives. Hence, the need for a true and honest debate on the costs and benefits of pumping less “crap” into the atmosphere is a quite serious issue. Sadly, what we are getting is badly flawed science, driven by personal and political agendas and a shameless grab for money by self serving individuals.

    At the end of the day, some of us are still unconvinced that the best way to improve the lives of individuals is to reduce economic output and then throw hundreds of billions of dollars at Al Gore and U.N. bureaucrats for them to waste on pointless attempts to change the forces of nature.

    Comment by Charles — December 21, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  6. It’s all the *other* stuff emitted by CO2 emitters that concerns me.

    Comment by So? — December 21, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

  7. More questions than can be (reasonably) answered in a reply to a post, SWP.

    Feel free to believe whatever you want to believe. Meanwhile, I plan to start up a Collapse Party to prepare for the coming peak oil & runaway AGW apocalypse.

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — December 21, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  8. Im in Toronto now professor and I am already cenjoying global warming :D. Looks like I brought Houston weather to Toronto. This year has been the first since 150 years of keeping records to have no snow fall in Oct and Nov.
    On an unrelated note, the army is punishing getting pregnant with court martial! So they are really desperate to stem the tide of people finding excuses to avoid deployment. I guess thats pretty much what they thought about Major Nidal Hasan too. Not sure when they would bring in conscription. Our S/O dude might get caught even 😀

    Comment by Surya — December 21, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

  9. Assuming you’re serious.

    The US would be rather stupid to reinstate the draft. All the likeliest “hot wars” now (Iran, N. Korea, Taiwan) will be primarily aeronaval on the part of the US.

    The only purpose for a draft would be to get more boots to occupy Afghanistan, which will be real popular with Americans, especially young ones, and will result in Obama getting reelected with a whopping victory.

    And if against all odds (probably 5%-) there really is a draft and I get the card, they can have my finger (unless they pay me extremely big sums of money for my services on a commercial, free-market basis, of course).

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — December 21, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

  10. James Randi FTW:

    Comment by So? — December 26, 2009 @ 2:51 am

  11. S/O–is your “draft” comment directed at the right post? Nobody else mentioned the draft.

    BTW, I am an ardent supporter of the volunteer military–as is most of the military establishment (not to go all appeal-to-authority on you:) I have been so since reading Milton Friedman’s work on the subject, and being in Sherwin Rosen’s labor econ class (Rosen, a great economist, may he RIP, was fascinated with military manpower issues.)

    After all, don’t want potential malcontents in the ranks (not naming names:)

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — December 26, 2009 @ 10:00 am

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