Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scientific takedown

Five years ago, it took the skeptic community years and years to demolish bad science from the Climate Science Establishment.  Three years ago with Climategate it took the skeptic community months and months to demolish bad science from the Climate Science Establishment.  As short a time ago as last year, it took the skeptic community days and days to demolish bad science from the Climate Science Establishment.

This week it's taken the skeptic community hours to demolish Dr. Richard Muller's BEST [sic] climate database.  Even the New York Times' Andy Revkin isn't buying it, but the big guns in the skeptic camp are simply brutal, and eviscerate the  (non peer-reviewed) new "climate bombshell":
Last October, I advanced a number of (sophisticated!) criticisms of BEST’s “sophisticated” methods (here and here). At least some of the study authors know of these criticisms: I emailed Muller, Charlotte Wickham, and Judy Curry, but only received a reply from Curry (on her blog).

As far as I can tell, none of the criticisms I made, nor any of the criticisms advanced by D.J. Keenan, have been answered satisfactorily; indeed, they have not been answered at all. I must admit that in politics, it is sometimes best not to acknowledge your critics. In this sense, Muller may be wise.

Muller has two op eds out today, a double whammy meant to influence politics. Well, this blog is meant to influence politics, so there’s noting in the world wrong with that. But just you count how many people, in support of Muller’s position, will call his pieces “science” and not polemic; whereas the opposite labels will be applied to Muller’s critics.
Oh, and the snarky comment on "sophisticated" statistical methods?  That's from William Briggs, a statistician.  A statistician who seemingly offered criticisms to improve the paper during the review process, and whose criticisms went unanswered.  Science!

But the most brutal take down comes from Christopher Monckton in a piece hosted many places, including at Briggs':  Dr. Muller is ignorant of history:
Yes, the world has warmed since 1750. However, even if one accepts Dr. Müller’s estimate of 1.5 Co warming since then, that rate is indeed well within the natural variability of the climate. Indeed, in the 40 years from 1695 to 1735, Central England (not a bad proxy for global temperature change) warmed naturally at 0.4 Co per decade, seven times faster than the 0.057 Co per decade he finds in the 262 years during which we are supposed to have influenced the weather.

Natural variability, therefore, is sufficient to explain all of the warming since 1750. No other explanation is necessary. Accordingly, it is not legitimate to claim, as the Berkeley team claim, that in the absence of any other explanation the warming must be attributed to CO2. That claim is an instance of the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fundamental logical fallacy of argument from ignorance. It is not sound science.
There's a lot more there, but this pretty much leaves the whole theory gutshot.  We have undenied evidence that past climate variability considerably exceeded current variability.  This argument is quite simply never addressed by the Climate Science Establishment.  In fact, this historical approach to the question is one that I myself laid out in some detail.  Oddly, the Climate Science Establishment seems never to address the questions.  I recommend that you RTWT here.

But back to the science.  Judith Curry - who believes that CO2 emissions are indeed causing the planet to warm - is scathing:
Muller bases his ‘conversion’ on the results of their recent paper. So, how convincing is the analysis in Rohde et al.’s  new paper A new estimate of the average surface land temperature spanning 1753-2011?   Their analysis is based upon curve fits to volcanic forcing and the logarithm of the CO2 forcing (addition of solar forcing did not improve the curve fit.)

I have made public statements that I am unconvinced by their analysis.  I do not see any justification in their argument for making a stronger attribution statement than has been made by the IPCC AR4.    I have written MANY posts that critique the IPCC’s attribution analysis.  Here I try to give a sense of the challenges in attributing climate change to causal factors.
Muller seemingly invited Curry to be an author of the paper; she seemingly refused.  He seemingly ignored her comments during peer-review.  Her post seemingly is her reply.

Add in that Muller's paper has not been published - i.e. it fails what we've been told for the last several years is the sine qua non test of Authorized™ Science®, this is very weak beer.  Add in the splash of an introduction not via Science or Nature or Geophysical Research Letters, and the whole "scientific" stage appears to be nothing but a story told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

And all in the space of a day.  That's some righteous Science® right there.

Oops, got to go - it's those darn Deniers, back on my lawn ...