Monday, February 6, 2017

Climate Change Science: So Convincing It's Unreal

My views on climate change have been influenced by Christopher Monckton, who does not take the stance of refuting overall climate change or even of global warming, but of pointing out the flaws of the mainstream "consensus". He is not a climate change denier, as they like to say, but certainly a climate hype denier.

One of the positions put forth by Monckton is that not only are measurements of warming falling significantly short of predictions (and he takes some issues with the measurements themselves) but that there has been an 18-year pause in measured warming. Dubbed the Global Warming Hiatus, it has been attributed by many as the result of a particular faulty data set. The hiatus really came under scrutiny with a recent infographic of NOAA data that has been going around on social media showing a very clear pervasive warming trend right up to the current year. This seemed to refute the hiatus. I found myself wondering if Monckton was succumbing to his own biases and cherry-picking his data. It would seem to lower his overall credibility on the issue.

Now a climate scientist is blowing the whistle that NOAA has been manipulating it's results. The organization was under great pressure to deliver results that underscored the case for dramatic global warming, and to do so before the Paris climate conventions of 2015. (You know the one where all the Hollywood liberals flew private jets across the ocean so they could lecture about carbon emissions.) Does this vindicate Monckton? Well it doesn't prove he doesn't cherry pick data. But when the evidence used to discredit someone is shown to be fraudulent, well there is certainly some level of vindication to the accused. Further you can't prove someone doesn't cherry pick their data, although you can provide strong evidence that they do.

At a larger scope, this serves to invalidate all results that have come for the NOAA for some time. We know that (1) pressure exists in their organization to prefer certain results, and (2) they have caved to that pressure at least once. When a judge is shown to be similarly biased all their relevant rulings are thrown out, and this should be no different. This is a massive blow to climate change advocates, and a major boon to the skeptics. The blow is much greater to their organization and the political causes than the data would have been a benefit. And a large benefit it was, as even I was questioning the skeptics and I'm very skeptical about the climate change situation.

This is not the first climate scandal of recent times. (Witness Climategates 1 & 2). The biggest complaint we on the right have is not with science, as alleged by the left, but with the scientists. We don't believe they are doing purely objective science. The left invariably responds by reminding us about the vast consensus of climate scientists that proves we are wrong. But does this not cut to the core of scientific inquiry? "Don't trust me, observe for yourself.  My results are reproducible," says every true scientist everywhere. "Consensus" is not a scientific argument. "You're anti-science" isn't even an argument at all. If scientific inquiry meant believing what the academy told us was true, then we'd still be stuck at a heliocentric view of the cosmos.

We allege that there is strong bias within the climate research community. Not just of the researchers themselves (there is strong selection pressure within academia for liberal viewpoints) but more importantly, of the funding of the research. Most research is funded by the federal government. We're told we're being naive and just grasping at straws to invalidate conclusions that contradict our political stances. And yet we now have 3 scandals in recent times that all point to manipulation of research towards the warming conclusion being advocated by the left. Once should have been evidence enough; three indicates an epidemic of political bias in the supposedly sober and impartial field of climate research. At this point it is not unreasonable to question all research whose conclusions support the so-called scientific consensus.

It's Not Even Science

Just a reminder that climate science is not really science. Science consists of four steps.
Model → Prediction → Test → Analysis
The model is our representation of reality. We make predictions within the model, we perform tests in the real world, and we use the results to analyze how well our model corresponds to reality.

In climate change there is no reality to test against. All we have are computer simulations and other models. The climate change predictions are not being made against the real world, but against other models, which are prone to the biases of the implementer. The most notorious example of this was the hockey stick controversy, where plugging in the real-world data yielded such a sharp rise in the rate of global warming that it was said to resemble a hockey stick. The controversy was that any data input to the model yielded a similar result. It would be like a Wall Street broker relying on modeling data that always predicted a bear market. Such a model would not last real-world scrutiny for very long. But climate research is heavily insulated from real-world scrutiny.

Some predictions actually are tested against the actual climate, but we need to be very careful here. Climate is a chaotic system. We can't predict how it will act at any given time, only give probabilities for it. This is no different than standard weather forecasts. If they call for rain tomorrow and it's sunny, it doesn't invalidate meteorology. If we look at large numbers of forecasts / outcomes we'll see they tend to get it right. With the climate we don't have the same advantage. We only have one global climate, and it varies on processes that can take millennia to cycle through.

If a field makes predictions that can't be tested against the real world, is it really a science? Perhaps we should call it climate studies instead. Then what of their practitioners? Are they really scientists? They may be smart and very technically capable people, but I don't see how we can give the label scientist to someone who does not fully engage in the scientific process.

If anyone calls you a science denier for being a climate changed skeptic, the best response is to the effect of: I'm a science advocate which is why I questions outcomes from the field of Climate Studies when they've been repeatedly shown to be politically biased to the point of outright fraud.

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