Thursday, 18 March 2010

Dangerous people, dangerous times

The new “Climate crock of the week” shows the dangerous irrationality and ugly views that the denialosphere is now resorting to. As if lies and chicanery were not enough, have a look at Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Marc Morano in full flow (towards the end of the video). Also enjoy the Monty Python witch trial.  Remember that US Senator Inhofe has called for 17 top climate scientists to be prosecuted. Inhofe is shaping up very rapidly as a new Joseph McCarthy - infamous for witch hunt type trials in the fifties.

Here below is a more detailed look at another piece of misrepresentation by the denialosphere. They’ve been fond of claiming “it’s the sun, stupid” for ages because the idea is very plausible and misleading to the general public. A few months a move was made to change this to “it’s El Nino, stupid”. Uber-denier “scientist” Bob Carter was co-author of this (2009) paper which he and his fellows claim showed that the SOI (southern ocean oscillation index - El Nino etc) correlated very well with the variation in temperatures seen over periods of a few years. So far, so obvious so good. El Nino does have a big effect. However, by clever statistical manipulation, they had removed any temperature trends from the data used for their graphs (trends show any long term consistent warming or cooling) leaving only the variability, which then (unsurprisingly) correlated very well with the SOI. Where they went off the straight and narrow, and amazingly, the peer review process didn’t pick them up, was to go on to claim that:

According to one of its authors, Bob Carter, the paper found that the "close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions".

This is where they “jumped the shark” and where Carter ended up spouting the area of belief that he consistently does. The problem with the paper was the big fat “mistake” shown in this devastating criticism.

What the authors had done is similar to if you were examining the temperature of your house over a year and ignored the influence of spring, summer, autumn and winter on general temperatures by subtracting them from the household figures and only looked at temperature changes (variations) induced when you put the central heating on. Then they claimed that your house temperatures correlate very strongly with your central heating and there was “little room for any warming driven by” the influence of the seasons!


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