Friday, December 11, 2009

ClimateGate: Two Canadians Stickhandle Corrupt UK Scientists

The optics on "ClimateGate" are very, very bad for climate scientists, and for science: One bad apple rots the entire barrel. However, on the up side, the increased scrutiny and fact checking may restore high standards of blind, peer review and bring new integrity to the scientific method and publishing process: Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

From the 13th issue of the 15th Volume of the Weekly Standard, "Scientists Behaving Badly: A corrupt cabal of global warming alarmists are exposed by a massive document leak", by Steven Hayward: "What they reveal is something problematic for the scientific community as a whole, namely, the tendency of scientists to cross the line from being disinterested investigators after the truth to advocates for a preconceived conclusion about the issues at hand." Hayward is clear in that the CRU documents / emails do not in and of themselves reveal that catastrophic climate change scenarios are a hoax or without any foundation. However, the text of over 1000 documents and emails "expose scandalously unprofessional behavior" by trusted paleoclimatology scientists who built their careers on the notion of human caused global warming.

The entire article is worth a read. My favorite part is about "'two mild-mannered Canadians, retired engineer Stephen McIntyre and University of Guelph economist Ross McKitrick, [who, in 2003,] began making noises about serious problems with the by-then iconic hockey stick graph". As a result of McIntyre and McKitrick's persistent questions about the "hockey stick graph depicting rising temperatures", an investigation was conducted by NAS, and part of their conclusion was about sharing data: "Our view is that all research benefits from full and open access to published datasets and that a clear explanation of analytical methods is mandatory. Peers should have access to the information needed to reproduce published results, so that increased confidence in the outcome of the study can be generated inside and outside the scientific community."

More damning than the letters is the shoddy state of the data set that is about to be shared. "the climate policy process contemplates trillions of dollars in costs to economies around the world based partially on this incompetent work".

So, in Hayward's words, there are a "lot of unbiased scientists trying to do important and valuable work" who will be overshadowed and damned along with the rotten apples, the "utterly politicized scientists such as Jones, Mann, and NASA's James Hansen".

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