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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Trying to sweep it under the rug...

I've been trying to keep on top of things while running around and preparing for Christmas, among other things.  The news is full of stories about COP15 in Copenhagen, most mindlessly spouting AGW dogma.  The National Post is one of the few papers that's actually calling a spade a spade and pointing out a lot of the hypocrisy of the conference, as well as countering false claims with fact.

As much as many in the warmist camp have been trying, "climategate" isn't going away.  Since it's not going away by ignoring it, a few papers and columnists are trying a different tactic: write about it, but try to sweep it under the rug as being meaningless.

Today, Lyn Cockburn wrote a particularly disgusting column in her attempt to make light of the leaked/hacked documents.  I won't bother touching her attempt to redicule climategate with ridiculous "comparisons" to child abuse scandals, infanticide and WMD's.  I'll just cover some of her closing remarks.

The scientific body of climate research conducted by tens of thousands of scientists from many nations is not in question.
 This is one of the more amusing claims.  The number is always changing, too.  First is was 2000 or 2500 scientists, in reference to the IPCC contributors.  Never mind that the contributers didn't all agree, were specialists in a variety of fields and wrote only on their specialties, that the actual number of scientists putting all these contributions together was about 53 (it wasn't the same number for every report) and the final say was for even fewer people on the IPCC panel who weren't contributors at all, but bureaucrats.  Al Gore recently claimed 4000 scientists, and one commentor defending the "science" of global warming actually said "hundreds of thousands."

To begin with, there aren't that many climate scientests.  I've heard as many as 250 people worldwide are dedicated climate scientists, and that only 8 could be truly considered experts.  There are, of course, many more fields related to climate either directly (ie: meteorology, and specialists studying hurricanes, tornados and the like) or indirectly (ie: geologists, marine biologists, etc.).  Some are in completely different, but useful fields.  Computer modellers, statisticians, economists, etc. all have valuable contributions to make.

The reality is that there are not thousands of scientists conducting climate research (unless you use a very loose definition of what climate research includes), and there has never been a concensus even among those that believe in AGW.  It's also a fallacy to say their research is not in question, because the scientific method itself is based on the questioning of research.  Questioning is the foundation of scientific research, and scientists continue to question even the most basic assumptions, like the laws of physics.  That's what science is supposed to be all about.

In regards to the climategate emails and computer codes, however, it does call to question the work of so-called scientists all over the world, not just inside the CRU.  The CRU data is used by other researchers, so if the foundational data is corrupt, any conclusions drawn from that data is questionable.  As for the other sources, HADCRUT has actually been one of the places that had the least extreme results.  When monthly averages get released, NOAA frequently shows warming greater than HADCRUT.  GISS stations are a serious problem to the point that the raw data suspect, even before homogenization, smoothing, etc. is applied.

Global warming is a reality.

A play on wording that I find irritating.  Of course global warming is a reality.  We're not, however, talking about global warming.  We're talking about anthropogenic global warming.  This is where the controversy reigns.

The danger of greenhouse gas emissions is a reality.
This is one of the more silly claims.  Dispite the EPA trying to have GHG's ruled as dangerous to humanity, this claim is pure BS.  Which greenhouse gas?  Water vapour?  Of course not, but water vapour makes up as much as 95% of GHGs.  Water vapour usually doesn't even rate a mention when GHGs are discussed.  CO2? CO2, which makes up from 2 - 5% of GHG's, has a very limited role in warming.  The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the less effect it has on warming, not more. We've had CO2 levels far higher than they are now, without any negative effect. If anything, we can be viewed as being in a CO2 famine, as rates have rarely been as low as they are now.

How about nitrous oxide? N2O is also known as laughing gas and is frequently used medically.  While potentially dangerous in concentrations as high as are used in operating rooms, atmospheric concentrations are too low to be a concern.

Methane is found in concentrations far lower than CO2, but has many times the effect of CO2.  So it must be a problem, right?  Oops... not quite.  First off, it doesn't stay long in the atmosphere, so any effect it has is short lived.  There's a bit of a mystery, though.  Methane is apparently being released into the atmosphere in far greater amounts - but the atmospheric levels aren't increasing.  They had been steadily increasing for years, but then the numbers stabilized, and have actually started to drop slightly.  Why?  No one really knows.  Either way, it doesn't seem to be having much effect on global climate, one way or another.

Check out the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, which has just released data from more than 1,300 weather stations around the world showing that the globe is getting warmer.

This is probably the most laughable claim.  Did anyone expect them NOT to claim the world is getting warmer? Or that it isn't warming even faster than expected?  Never mind that the last couple of years have seen record cold temperature around the world.  Of course, looking at the code revealed by climategate, we know exactly why they can make those claims.  Their software is designed to do nothing else.

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