Thursday, December 3, 2009

Climate Conspiracy Explained by Iowahawk with Mathy Stuff

Ace, of Ace of Spades, has liberated a comment from Iowahawk who normally provides hysterical satire for our amusement (see link in this morning's post). Iowahawk explains the shenanigans behind the climate research scandal in East Anglia, complete with mathy explanations of linear regression. It is a bit of a tough read, but I recommend anyone who can follow read the article. Some highlights:

2. Next, Mann et al. regressed the 100 years or so of observed temperatures against the proxy variable principle components:

y = b0 + b1*PC1 + b2*PC2 + ... + bp*PCp + error

the regression coefficients (b's) estimated from recent data were then applied to the older proxy PCs to obtain retrospective "backcasts" or "hindcasts" of the temperatures in 1015, 1016,... 1850.

Voila! The Mann et al. statistical model resulted in the now infamous hockey stick, showing a radical increase in global temperatures in recent years versus the relatively flat milenial variation. This was in large part the basis for the IPCC report.


Now, if you've been following this, Mann's entire temperature reconstruction method rests on knowing (observing) recent periodic global temperatures, y. Quibbling about principle components aside, that's the dependent variable in the backcasts. But as is now becoming increasingly plain, y was constructed from an undocumented process that took raw ground station data and ran it through a black box that included smoothing, filtering, inference, manipulation, baling wire, glue and the juice of one whole lemon. This is what the CRU people are calling "valued added homogenized data." Or what normal people call "made up horseshit." It's also the temperature data that dozens, if not hundreds of AGW studies are based on.
This is in fact scandalous to good scientific process and the real scandal is not that some emails were compromised.

We should ask ourselves why we came to this end. I believe it is because we asked science to perform a task it will never be up to. Future predictions based on scientific method will always be imprecise and will necessarily not answer the question of what to do about the situation posed. Even if it were proved that man's carbon emissions are causing temperatures to rise, it is not clear what the best policy would be to deal with it. Our values, our ideology, economics, and yes, politics, all come into play in determining a way ahead. By putting all of the pressure on SCIENCE to answer the question of what to do about increased carbon dioxide in the air, we have shifted the political fight to the realm of science, where it does not belong. The result is science that is conducted like politics. As someone else said, science may be objective, but scientists clearly are not. Given the pressure to produce an answer that would result in more grant money, one can see the economic incentives that tempted climate researchers to fudge their data. This does not excuse their ethical lapses, but in fact shows that ethics matter most when the stakes are so high. Given the defensive nature of the "researchers," the skeptics necessarily became more aggressive and unapologetic in their criticisms, which provoked an even greater "circle the wagons response." In the compromised emails, we see the East Anglia team ever more fearful that the raw data would fall into the wrong hands.

Finally and most tragically I must state that AGW is not proved, nor is it disproved; and we may never know the truth because so much raw data has been lost. And that is a real crime, because, while science may not be able to answer policy questions, it should certainly be called upon to intelligently and dispassionately inform the debate.

I would like to end on a lighter note, so here is a nice youtube video explaining it all, to music. H/T again, to Ace.


  1. I think that before we engage in fascist economics on a planetary scale, we might want the basis for such a decision to rely on something more substantial than a bunch of cultists from East Anglia.

  2. Bdaddy quote, " and we may never know the truth because so much raw data has been lost” Going on to say that is the real crime is whitewashing the criminal act.

    Dude, the data wasn't lost, it was destroyed. There was conspiracy and premeditation by the very people who supply the data and claim consensus. They have been in collusion with the very eco faciasts who have our nuts in a sling with "CapnTrade, Kyoto, and Copenhagen.

    BwD refers to Occam's razor. This now applies to the fraud of AGW. All things being equal, we now need to throw out all data from East Anglia. What do we have left? NO AGW!

    Saying the data was lost is whitewashing the criminal act.

  3. 'Dawg,
    Don't want to quibble about my specific use of term loss, but it is not proved that it was malicious. Given other shenanigans, one cannot rule that out either. I am trying to strike a temperate tone in my blog, and stick to what I can reasonably demonstrate.

    Further, there is still evidence for AGW; but sorting the truth will now be more difficult. I also would like to think that we could solve the problems of good science by requiring open publication of raw data, explanation of sources and methods. This is a problem not just in climate research.

    Sorry about not giving you credit on the video; I can't find that email, perhaps it got lost, so I'm not sure what happened.

  4. I am perhaps harder on you with the use of language than I would be with anyone else. Perhaps it's not the proper tone either, maybe because your clinging to the small slender hope that the BU!!$H!T AGW MIGHT BE REAL!

    Did you read any of the CRU emails? If you are a person of science, there is no reason to discard, lose, manipulate or destroy data: therefore, of course, it’s MALICIOUS.

    Are you asking me to believe they were inept? NASA, the CRU? The media, maybe, but probably not.

    And where to you get there is still evidence for AGW once you throw out all the science that has been in collusion with the shenanigans? If it doesn't rely on any of the "manipulated, destroyed, lost, or suspect" data, I would look at it.

    If the gov'ment says it's true, and the media says it's so, I will lay odds it's a lie. Whatcha got left? A whole bunch of scientists that say “it ain't so”. But… you still have consensus on your side, so that's cool.

    And when is a blog the place for temperance? Have fun with it, don't mince your words or dance around the issue, you tree hugging hippie.

    Don't worry about the props on the video. I sent it to needle you. It aggrevates me that it didn’t get under your skin. But happy to see you still have a sense of humor about your diminished AGW religiosity.