Climategate: The Sequel

I was asked to look at the CRU source code to see if the comments looked reasonable to me, so I've gotten myself a bit familiar with this whole "Climategate" bru-ha-ha. I've read a few (knowledgeable) people saying it's nothing, and a few saying it's terrible. If you're thinking of wading in on this, I will say, confidently, that there is little to no chance that you can figure out which camp is right unless you are a professional working in this area. (Which I'm not!)

Nevertheless, many, many amateurs will post on the web extremely strong opinions on this matter. And the funny thing is, in nearly every single case, their opinion will line up exactly with just what they thought about AGW before Climategate! What a remarkable coincidence.


  1. Hang on a second, Gene. The two actual climate scientists I personally know--one skeptic, one not--both told me they didn't think Climategate told them anything new.

    And now your point here is, "Right! But it's the amateurs who don't know jack about this that are being inconsistent in thinking it either is or is not a big deal!"

    But doesn't this just prove embarrassing to the people who believe "we need to do something quickly" about climate change? In other words, surely you don't expect the people who have been saying, "I am not a high falutin' scientist, but I just don't trust these pointy-heads at CRU" to now say, "Hmm, maybe I was too suspicious all these years."

    Do you see what I'm saying Gene? You seem to think that the amateurishness amplifies the confirmation bias of those who are getting excited about Climategate, but that is perfectly sensible: The amateurs need to rely on these guys being honest about the science, and they have clearly not been so.

    In contrast, the actual climate scientists--both skeptic and not--never needed to rely on the good faith of their colleagues, because they could evaluate the claims themselves.

    An analogy: Suppose we had emails of Paul Krugman saying, "OK in my column next Sunday I'm gonna do some liquidity trap hocus pocus to hide the GDP decline."

    Are you saying it would be very revealing if the people who have criticized Krugman all along, didn't suddenly say, "This really should give us no information about what the Keynesian models tell us"?

  2. Anonymous1:05 AM

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  3. Is it even worth pointing out the 'professionals working in this area' are precisely the people allegedly conning the public? So, unless they admit they did it, no one can be accused? Those that are mining the data for evidence are those that actually think there is good reason to believe these people are lying. I wonder why you think the point of your last paragraph even worth mentioning- how many people in the climate related industry are going to dump their funding/paychecks and admit it's a con?

    Here's a professional programmer on the code:

    He's not 'working in this area' but his reputation for capability and integrity far outweigh anyone in the sandbox that is climate research.

  4. What's CRU? What's AGW? OK, I'll go look up Maybe that'll help.

  5. OK, I looked up What's CRU? What's AGW? What's gmu?

  6. Wabulon,

    It's a code you have to crack!

    CRU = Climate Research Unit

    AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming, i.e. man's emissions and land-use practices are causing greenhouse gas concentrations to rise in the atmosphere, and this is leading to higher global temperature

    GMU = George Mason University, though I'm not sure why that is relevant here. Is there a climate GMU?

  7. Wabulon, in case you don't have any context, a bunch of private emails and computer code from the CRU at East Anglia University were either hacked or released by a whistleblower a couple weeks ago. There is some really awkward stuff in them. Gene is right, the people who were previously saying "Al Gore is an idiot" are saying "Climategate" spells the end of the fraudulent theory, while the people who previously were saying, "Driving SUVs will kill your grandkids" are now saying, "This so-called scandal has no bearing on the science."

    If you want further details just google "climategate."

  8. Anonymous3:48 PM

    There is significance here, and you don't need to be an expert scientist to see it. C02 levels have risen in the past 11 years, but temps have held steady, and even fell in 2007. Failure to predict is a problem in scientific models in physical sciences.

    Over the past 11 years solar activity has dropped off and the Pacific Decadal Oscilation has moved into a cooling phase. The IPCC crowd has been squirming over these facts for several years now, and Climategate shows just how much.

    These pronlems are not new, as most of modern global warming is pre 1940 and most man-made C02 is post 1940. So the case for AGW was never proven. There is ambiguity- the affects of solar activity may be direct and indirect, and the PDO is not fully understood. There are also issues with ocean currents beyond the PDO and El Nino-La Nina things.

    The bottom line is that the IPCC crowd has staked everything on the proposition that there is a stable relationship between CO2/methane and global temps. The climate system is actually much more complex, there are multiple factors involved.

    Scientists still have not figured out how C02 interacts with other greenhouse gases, especially water vapor. Global temps have fluctuated for as long as we have data, the odds of uninterupted warming were never greater than zero- the 1945-1975 cooling phase is proof of that.

    The Had-Crut-IPCC crowd got a new lease on life this year: there has been an El Nino for the past several months. This may or may not break the 1998 record for world temps. One thing is clear, this El Nino will peter out soon, at which time temps will drop back towards 2007 level, perhaps even further. Given A) negative forcing of the current PDO B) the deepest solar minimum in 100 years in 2008/2009 C. there wont be another El-Nino in 2-5 years we are unlikley to see any global warming any time soon.

    Public and professional opinion has already shifted in the past three years. My guess is that the AGW movement will die out over the next few years. If the projections of POD/solar activity that I have seen are correct, there won't be another warming phase globally until around 2040. Al Gore and the IPCC will be old and forgotten jokes by then.

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