Saturday, July 15, 2006

Broken hockey stick

A link on Jerry Pournelle's mail page leads to a report delivered
to the House committee on Energy and commerce on the study
by Mann et al that purported to show that the 1990's were the
hottest decade in the last 1000 years, and created that 'hockey
stick' graph that is generally used as a prop when they are shouting
"haliburton, oil, global warming, bushhitler"

This report by emminent statisticians (who will now be accused of
being in the pay of oil companies) seems to say that the original paper
is a load of bunk, and was only peer-reviewed in the sense that
a small group of scientists with similar beliefs used the same datasets
over and over to confirm what each of them were saying.

Mann et al., misused certain statistical methods in their studies, which inappropriately produce hockey stick shapes in the temperature history. Wegman’s analysis concludes that Mann’s work cannot support claim that the1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium.

Report: “Our committee believes that the assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade in a millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year in a millennium cannot be supported by the MBH98/99 analysis. As mentioned earlier in our background section, tree ring proxies are typically calibrated to remove low frequency variations. The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age that was widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim. However, the methodology of MBH98/99 suppresses this low frequency information. The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.”

I don't think this totally disproves global warming or climate change, because
from personal experience I remember it being colder when I was younger.
New Years eve in New Orleans in the 70's was cold and frozen to watch the
neighbors shoot off their spare money on fireworks. Now it hasn't frozen in
New Orleans since the early 90's. So to me it seems warmer.

Also, Mann's pick of 1998 as the hottest year ever agreed with my experience
because I was working in a job that required me to be outside every day
starting in May 1998 and going through 1999. I'd come back into the office,
covered in sweat and salt streaked, send out a few emails then trudge off to
a bar, and I learned that if you want to get really twisted, work yourself to
heat exhaustion then drink a 6 pack of 16 oz beers. bam. cheap drunk,
but it was really hot.

I work in the oil industry, so you might think that I'm obviously in the pay
of the great oil/hal/militaryindustrialbushchimphitler circlejerk. But in reality
I'd like to know the truth. We should be spending our money on studying
what is really happening now, and what might happen. Is my anecdotal
heating just due to heat island effect in the cities that I've lived in? maybe,
but I don't know and I don't think the experts do either.

If it really is getting hotter, but just one or two degrees, then I agree with
bjorn lomberg, there are bigger problems out there that we should spend money
on instead of countries wasting money on Kyoto.


Blogger scooterd said...

"I remember it being cooler..." Ah science! Try facts, bro Texan.

8:23 PM  
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