Not that you would know it from the mainstream press, but the largest economic fraud in history, greatly dwarfing the housing bubble, has just been revealed. The press on this side of the Atlantic is carefully avoiding it, but in Britain, where there is still a free press, Climategate is big news. Thousands of Emails between prominent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change partisans were hacked from a university computer and posted online. They reveal a pervasive system of fraud, cover-ups, obstruction and conspiracy to conceal, and even destroy, contrary data, which has been held in secret for a decade.
Why would scientists do such a thing? Scientists have always enjoyed the trust of the public, but prior to the 1990’s, most people had only a vague idea of what a Climatologist was. They were the bottom of the academic totem pole, the guys who got wedgies from the Art History faculty. Suddenly, they are the rock stars of academia, with grant money flowing like the Spring floods, and world leaders hanging on their every word. It’s hard to admit they were wrong and sink back into obscurity.
This deception extends to every facet of the Anthropomorphic Global Warming argument, but for the purpose of illustration, I will comment on one portion, the corrupt defense of the Hockey Stick graph.
The Hockey Stick graph, proposed by IPCC “Scientist” Michael E. Mann, (If scientists as a group do not come forward to condemn this fraud, you will have to get used to seeing “Scientist” in quotes.) in 1999 shows global temperatures spiking upward during the 20th century, purportedly due to the burning of fossil fuels. From the beginning, the graph struck even lay people as odd. It went back only 900 years, conveniently ignoring the well documented Medieval Warm Period(WMP,) which was believed to be several degrees warmer than the present and ended 900 years ago. It was followed by an abnormally cold period, called the Little Ice Age, from about 1400 AD to 1850 AD. By starting the graph in an abnormally cold period, a simple return to normal looks like a dramatic rise.
Mann and his cohorts dismissed these objections by claiming the Medieval Warm Period was a local phenomenon affecting only Europe. In support of that argument, they published ‘proxy studies’ supporting the Hockey Stick which used physical evidence to establish past temperatures in regions where no records existed at the time the MWP was recorded in Europe.
But temperatures do not leave fossils to examine. How do you determine what the average temperature was in an uninhabited area 200, 400 or 1000 years ago? One of the main proxies used was tree ring measurements.Initially, measurements were made in Bristlecone Pines, but it has been shown that these trees respond strongly to CO2 fertilization, that is that increased CO2 has a larger effect on their growth than temperature.
So, proxies more narrowly affected by climate were sought. The idea is that in polar regions, long-lived trees like Larches would grow more if growing seasons were longer. Russian scientists had collected hundreds of tree ring cores from both living and long dead, carbon dated, Larches in Siberian river beds, so the base data was readily available. However, a lot of other factors affect the growth of an individual tree, such as crowding, nutrients, insects, fire and the like, so some trees might grow a great deal more in any given year than others only a short distance away. Trying to deduce a climate from those cores requires excluding those cores which do not match their contemporaries.
Steve McIntyre, a Canadian statistician and blogger (ClimateAudit.org), pointed out that by choosing which trees to exclude, you could make the data show anything you chose. So, he requested the original data used by Mann and his co-authors for independent analysis. It took almost a decade to get the data, and many of the hacked emails refer to the efforts to deny McIntyre and others access to that data. The sad saga of this obstruction can be read at the Bishop Hill Blog entry, the Yamal Implosion or, if you are a statistician or a masochist, at “Yamal, a “Divergence” Problem” but the gist is that the data was cherry picked to produce the desired result, and that when properly computed, there is no special temperature increase in the 20th century beyond the ongoing recovery from the Little Ice Age ending in the late 1800’s and that temperatures were indeed warmer during the MWP.
Mann and his cohorts refused almost a decade to release any data, and even now, have released only the minimum information, omitting what is known as Meta-data, that is the basis used in selecting individual trees for inclusion or rejection in their analysis. Emails revealed a conspiracy among IPCC to refuse to participate in peer review of that data and even to destroy data rather than turn it over under Freedom of Information requests.
This is not how science works. This is how politics works.