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  1. #61
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    Another Slapshot in Climate 'Hockey Stick' Faceoff - Capital Weather Gang

    A tale of tree rings, global warming and Fangorn's Ents

    Another Slapshot in Climate 'Hockey Stick' Faceoff

    * Full Forecast | Autumn Activities | Reasons to Love Fall *


    Hockey stick chart from the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report, showing Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures (departures from the 1961-1990 average, in degrees Celsius) of the past 1,000 years. Courtesy IPCC.

    An enduring dispute in the scientific community and the blogosphere over an iconic climate science graph, known as the "Hockey Stick," has boiled over yet again in the past two weeks, with climate skeptics touting a new analysis they say greatly weakens the evidence supporting the mainstream scientific view that recent warming of Earth's climate is highly unusual and largely due to human emissions of greenhouse gases.

    Others say the latest twist in the controversy boils down to baseless accusations of a scientific cover-up.

    The fact that this debate is playing out in the blogosphere, rather than peer-reviewed scientific journals, has raised questions about how scientific discourse is conducted in the age of the Internet.

    The Controversy

    The Hockey Stick chart reconstructs the planet's temperatures going back 1,000 years -- temperature estimates before approximately the mid-1800s are based largely on proxy data such as ice cores and tree rings -- and shows unprecedented warming in the latter half of the 20th century. The recent temperature spike resembles the blade of a hockey stick, which is how the chart earned its nickname. The chart became famous when it was featured in a 2001 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

    Subsequent studies have largely affirmed the main conclusion of the original hockey stick research -- that recent warming is extremely unusual at least in the past millenium -- but it continues to be a primary target of criticism from skeptics who question its methods.

    The blog Climate Audit, which is a project of Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre, has been investigating the hockey stick and other climate studies for several years. Spurred by the acquisition of new data, in the past few weeks McIntyre has written extensively about temperature reconstructions by a British dendroclimatologist, Keith Briffa, of the University of East Anglia. Briffa specializes in using tree-ring records to decipher Earth's climate history, and some of his work has been used to validate the findings of the original hockey stick study.

    The studies McIntyre has questioned are based on tree-ring measurements from the Yamal region of northern Russia, where Briffa has found the familiar hockey stick pattern, with a rapid rise in temperatures in the 20th century. According to his recent posts, McIntyre (after years of effort) obtained Briffa's raw data, and he found that Briffa used very few tree-ring chronologies when he reconstructed 20th-century temperatures. Suspecting that the small sample size influenced the results, McIntyre then performed his own analysis to determine whether the same hockey stick pattern would be evident if he replaced Briffa's tree-ring chronologies with others from the Yamal region.


    World map of tree-ring sites. Courtesy NOAA.

    Once he substituted the different tree-ring chronologies, McIntyre found that the rapid warming trend shown in Briffa's studies, and used to verify the broader Hockey Stick study, disappeared. A Climate Audit chart compares Briffa's and McIntyre's climate reconstructions, illustrating the dramatic difference.

    Allegations of a Cover-Up

    McIntyre's fans portray him as a sleuth, hot on the trail of climate science malfeasance. The data has been cooked, McIntyre and others allege, in favor of manmade climate change. The fact that it took about a decade for McIntyre to pry the original data from Briffa, which he needed in order to replicate and then modify his work, has heightened the sense among many climate skeptics that a conspiracy is afoot. Stories of disappearing climate data from other researchers have also raised eyebrows.

    McIntyre wrote that Briffa's work has been influential in the climate science community because it fits climatologists' preconceived notions. "... the resulting Yamal chronology with its enormous Hockey Stick blade was like crack cocaine for paleocliomatologists and got used in virtually every subsequent study," McIntyre wrote.

    On Sept. 30, Briffa issued a statement denying accusations of cherry-picking data. "The substantive implication of McIntyre's comment... is that the recent data that make up this chronology (i.e. the ring-width measurements from living trees) were purposely selected by me from among a larger available data set, specifically because they exhibited recent growth increases." (Such growth increases would indicate a warming climate).

    "This is not the case."

    Briffa also downplayed the importance of McIntyre's analysis, stating, "I do not believe that McIntyre's preliminary post provides sufficient evidence to doubt the reality of unusually high summer temperatures in the last decades of the 20th century."

    Meanwhile, McIntyre's critics are accusing him of having a politically driven agenda, and challenging him to prove his claims in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

    Last week, the blog RealClimate, which is run by climate scientists including the lead author of the original hockey stick study, posted a rebuttal to McIntyre's work that satirized his emphasis on the Yamal temperature reconstruction.

    "Apparently everything we've done in our entire careers is a 'MASSIVE lie' (sic) because all of radiative physics, climate history, the instrumental record, modeling and satellite observations turn out to be based on 12 trees in an obscure part of Siberia. Who knew?" RealClimate's scientists wrote in a group post.

    The RealClimate scienitsts also question the validity of what they call "Blog Science" as compared with peer-reviewed science.

    "There is nothing wrong with people putting together new chronologies of tree rings or testing the robustness of previous results to updated data or new methodologies. Or even thinking about what would happen if it was all wrong," RealClimate stated. "What is objectionable is the conflation of technical criticism with unsupported, unjustified and unverified accusations of scientific misconduct. Steve McIntyre keeps insisting that he should be treated like a professional. But how professional is it to continue to slander scientists with vague insinuations and spin made-up tales of perfidy out of the whole cloth instead of submitting his work for peer-review?

    "Peer-review is nothing sinister and not part of some global conspiracy, but instead it is the process by which people are forced to match their rhetoric to their actual results."

  2. #62
    Senior Member LEGERdeMAIN's Avatar
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    It's a proven scientific fact(100% of scientists agree) that climate change is always occurring.
    “Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I’m here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…”


  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaybeLogic View Post
    It's a proven scientific fact(100% of scientists agree) that climate change is always occurring.
    Yay, we agree .

  4. #64
    Senior Member Kangol's Avatar
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    Since Risen isn't interested in debate, I guess I'm addressing the rest of the people in here.

    1) Science accepts plausibility of claims after a period of peer-reviews and cross examinations. A handful of new findings does not instantly change the accepted paradigms related to the issue; instead, it encourages further research by providing new evidence for things potentially beneficial for understanding phenomena.

    2) The last article Risen gave featured a guy named McIntyre who challenged scientists' findings by conducting his own research for his blog. It's important to read the last part of the article, which emphasizes that it's difficult to take his claims seriously without submission to peer-review.

    3) The point of the global warming warning is to prevent the possibility that the climate could change to levels elevated enough to cause harm to our ways of life. There was evidence enough to suggest a consensus that it was a possibility, and therefore the responsible thing to do was to present the findings to the public and political leaders so that the situation could be prevented before it became a problem.

    When you take the flu shot and end up not getting sick, the doctor didn't lie to you that "You'll definitely catch the flu without this", the doctor was trying to protect you from potential harm. You ended up paying for the visit and the shot, you may have had the flu before and survived, and you may have even gotten sick after the shot anyway, but the point was that the doctor had the ability to reduce its potential to kill you (influenza is potentially fatal). I know a lot of people are against the idea of vaccination (for some reason), and in regard to global warming the similar argument would be that the costs of promoting Green movements outweighs the potential that disaster may occur. However, when considering the enormous population of the earth, it seems more ethical to promote disaster-prevention than to not do so.

  5. #65
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kangol View Post
    Since Risen isn't interested in debate, I guess I'm addressing the rest of the people in here.

    1) Science accepts plausibility of claims after a period of peer-reviews and cross examinations. A handful of new findings does not instantly change the accepted paradigms related to the issue; instead, it encourages further research by providing new evidence for things potentially beneficial for understanding phenomena.

    2) The last article Risen gave featured a guy named McIntyre who challenged scientists' findings by conducting his own research for his blog. It's important to read the last part of the article, which emphasizes that it's difficult to take his claims seriously without submission to peer-review.

    3) The point of the global warming warning is to prevent the possibility that the climate could change to levels elevated enough to cause harm to our ways of life. There was evidence enough to suggest a consensus that it was a possibility, and therefore the responsible thing to do was to present the findings to the public and political leaders so that the situation could be prevented before it became a problem.

    When you take the flu shot and end up not getting sick, the doctor didn't lie to you that "You'll definitely catch the flu without this", the doctor was trying to protect you from potential harm. You ended up paying for the visit and the shot, you may have had the flu before and survived, and you may have even gotten sick after the shot anyway, but the point was that the doctor had the ability to reduce its potential to kill you (influenza is potentially fatal). I know a lot of people are against the idea of vaccination (for some reason), and in regard to global warming the similar argument would be that the costs of promoting Green movements outweighs the potential that disaster may occur. However, when considering the enormous population of the earth, it seems more ethical to promote disaster-prevention than to not do so.
    Peoples' animosity is directed toward the environmental religious/political movement, not environmental science. You're defending a position that hasn't been attacked.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  6. #66
    Senior Member Kangol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Peoples' animosity is directed toward the environmental religious/political movement, not environmental science. You're defending a position that hasn't been attacked.
    Then I've clearly I've misinterpreted the thread title, "Global Warming Is Over". I took it to mean that Risen et al believe the science behind the warning has not only been discredited, but evidence that they were right all along.

    Also, from what I've seen both in and beyond this thread, a lot of the people with animosity toward the movement make arguments based on facts in appeal to scientific findings, such as the ever-popular fact that the globe goes through periods of cooling and warming. Attacking the validity of the infamous hockey-stick graph is often the other popular attack against the warning. Both arguments are dependent upon scientific claims and reasoning, so I think my defense is warranted.

    Even so, I didn't mean it so much as a defense as it is a reminder to anyone who's reading this thread that my points ought to be remembered before jumping the gun to angry conclusions, if they are at all interested in maintaining a scientific perspective about it.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kangol View Post
    Then I've clearly I've misinterpreted the thread title, "Global Warming Is Over". I took it to mean that Risen et al believe the science behind the warning has not only been discredited, but evidence that they were right all along.
    Why is it right if none of them predicted that there would be cooling or that sunspots would have an effect and strong correlation with temperatures? In order to be right about something you have to be able to predict it before the fact, don't you?

  8. #68
    Senior Member Soar337's Avatar
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    We're still destroying the ozone layer, aren't we?
    <3

  9. #69
    Senior Member Kangol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Why is it right if none of them predicted that there would be cooling or that sunspots would have an effect and strong correlation with temperatures? In order to be right about something you have to be able to predict it before the fact, don't you?
    When new, unpredicted findings occur, you shouldn't say "Oh, we were wrong all along, let's forget all the other things we've learned." Instead, you should say something like "Oh, there's something interesting, let's look into it further."

    The findings that the earth is under a cooling period does, if true, mean that we won't need to worry about warming in the near future. However, as the first article states, this does not mean that global warming may not exist and affect us in the future. The article then states the concern of being able to trust scientific findings at all, if this new contrary evidence suggests that current science doesn't fully understand the effects of warming.

    I'd say if scientists truly had a motive to lie to the public, they wouldn't have admitted to these faults, and surely not the guy who's been a leading researcher for the global warming cause. He's protecting his integrity as a scientist by admitting that he and his group have found new evidence that's giving further insight into the science of it. This is the way science progresses, finding new evidence and making a better model that fits reality. It would be terribly unwise to assume that because science cannot predict the future, it is not trustworthy.

  10. #70
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kangol View Post
    Then I've clearly I've misinterpreted the thread title, "Global Warming Is Over". I took it to mean that Risen et al believe the science behind the warning has not only been discredited, but evidence that they were right all along.
    Whether he believes the conclusions of climate scientists is a different issue. The animosity comes from his dislike of the environmental political movement.

    Also, from what I've seen both in and beyond this thread, a lot of the people with animosity toward the movement make arguments based on facts in appeal to scientific findings, such as the ever-popular fact that the globe goes through periods of cooling and warming. Attacking the validity of the infamous hockey-stick graph is often the other popular attack against the warning. Both arguments are dependent upon scientific claims and reasoning, so I think my defense is warranted.

    Even so, I didn't mean it so much as a defense as it is a reminder to anyone who's reading this thread that my points ought to be remembered before jumping the gun to angry conclusions, if they are at all interested in maintaining a scientific perspective about it.
    If it was only climate science, and there was no political arm, people wouldn't have the same reaction.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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