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The Fudge Factor

Eric S. Raymond is a software developer and advocate of the open source software movement. He wrote a seminal paper called The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which explained why open processes are more effective than top down ones. He has been studying the code used by the scientists at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, whose work raised serious questions about the quality of the research being used to underpin the proposed $1 trillion Cap'n Trade bill stalled in Congress. Here's what Eric found in the computer code:


From the CRU code file osborn-tree6/briffa_sep98_d.pro , used to prepare a graph purported to be of Northern Hemisphere temperatures and reconstructions.

;
; Apply a VERY ARTIFICAL correction for decline!!
;
yrloc=[1400,findgen(19)*5.+1904]
valadj=[0.,0.,0.,0.,0.,-0.1,-0.25,-0.3,0.,- 0.1,0.3,0.8,1.2,1.7,2.5,2.6,2.6,$
2.6,2.6,2.6]*0.75 ; fudge factor
if n_elements(yrloc) ne n_elements(valadj) then message,'Oooops!'
;
yearlyadj=interpol(valadj,yrloc,timey)

This, people, is blatant data-cooking, with no pretense otherwise. It flattens a period of warm temperatures in the 1940s -- see those negative coefficients? Then, later on, it applies a positive multiplier so you get a nice dramatic hockey stick at the end of the century.

All you apologists weakly protesting that this is research business as usual and there are plausible explanations for everything in the emails? Sackcloth and ashes time for you. This isn't just a smoking gun, it's a siege cannon with the barrel still hot.

My emphasis added at the end. This is going to get much worse for the scientists who have been discovered manipulating data to achieve the desired results.

Meanwhile a well respected economist at George Mason University, Robin D. Hanson, says it's not so unusual for scientists to try to exclude others from their playground:

Joel Achenbach comments:
This is not a scandal so much as a window on real scientists working on a politicized issue. ... "Gravity isn't a useful theory because Newton was a nice person." I agree. But isn't it also true that Newtons antipathy towards Hooke and his use of his position in control of the Royal Society, ensured that the concept of an achromatic lens for a telescope ... had to wait until after [Newton's] death.
Yup, this behavior has long been typical when academics form competing groups, whether the public hears about such groups or not. If you knew how academia worked, this news would not surprise you nor change your opinions on global warming. I've never done this stuff, and I'd like to think I wouldn't, but that is cheap talk since I haven't had the opportunity. This works as a "scandal" only because of academia's overly idealistic public image.

It is a shame that academia works this way, and an academia where this stuff didn't happen would probably be more accurate. But even our flawed academic consensus is usually more accurate than its contrarians, and it is hard to find reliable cheap indicators saying when contrarians are more likely to be right.

If you don't like this state of affairs join me in trying to develop a more reliable consensus mechanism on such topics: prediction markets. It just takes time or money. Prefer instead to act shocked, just shocked, when the other side is shown to do this stuff, while reserving your side's ability to do the same? Then I have little respect for you.


Prediction markets require people to put their money on the most likely outcome of an event, such as the chance of passing health care reform before 12/31/2009, now sitting at 2%. If you are so damn sure the earth is warming, put your money into the technology that will resolve the issues. If you're not, then shut up. Unless you're AlGore, in which case just shut up.


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Comments (41)

Apply THIS level and type o... (Below threshold)

Apply THIS level and type of "cooking the books" to ANY other human endeavor and you would have lonnnnng prison sentences, or summary executions being considered!

But most of the MSM is actively ignoring this...because, I believe, most of them already KNEW IT!

It has never been about science...it has ALWAYS been about power!!

But it is fascinating to re... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

But it is fascinating to read how Paul Ehrlich and his supporters have always dismissed the bet with Julian Simon (and some have claimed that it was a fluke and were the bet to be repeated, Ehrlich would have won).

But then, as others have noted in the blogosphere today, this is an administration that has the lowest percentage of people from the private sector since at least World War II, if not earlier. So, these are folks who have no idea what it's like to use their own money.

We have another issue here ... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

We have another issue here for the liberal asshats that comment here to come down on the wrong side of again.

Steve Greenbush care to com... (Below threshold)
914:

Steve Greenbush care to comment?

This claim to communication... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

This claim to communication privacy is absurd. This data is being used to attempt to visit ruin upon this country- to allow Democrats to take control over prety much every aspect of our lives.

NOTHING about this information should be priviledged. It all should be public- every last bit. It's not as though we're talking about Sunday brunch or the rugby game.

We're talking about data that is being used to create national policies. It should all see sunlight.

Murder has happen in the pa... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Murder has happen in the past also. It doesn't make it right. What Newton did to Hooke was wrong. There is such a thing as precedents such as Presidents flying their family on Air Force one that make it legit but if many Presidents use the Secret Service to kidnap and rape women it still would be wrong.

The end story is these so call scientist conduct were extremely wrong.

The problem of putting your money were your mouth is you have snake oil salesman like Gore who will make a mint off of selling these B.S. Also you will have the government forcing people to buy the snake oil.

I'm sure the left will be a... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm sure the left will be able to come up with rationalizations. Lies are no longer lies when it comes to protecting Mother Gaia.

The truth never mattered ve... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

The truth never mattered very much to the left anyway. It will be no different now.

The gullible mainstream people who swallowed the whole AGW meme hook, line, and sinker from the very start are far too invested in the mantra now to ever admit they were hoodwinked.

Fox' Stuart Varney just had Ed Begley, Jr. (because who better to discuss science than a third-rate actor, right?) on discussing AGW, and poor Ed reverted to his learned lines about "peer reviewed journals." Never mind the fraudsters were actively working behind the scenes to block publication of anything which might expose their errors.

Yes, the more AGW is debunked, the tighter the moron left and their soft-headed converts will hold onto the myth.

The reason for this section... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

The reason for this section of code depends on what they are modeling and why.

Labeling the code routine "VERY ARTIFICAL" suggests they weren't trying to hide anything.

Do you kids still watch cartoons or what?

Steve Green:Label... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Steve Green:
Labeling the code routine "VERY ARTIFICAL" suggests they weren't trying to hide anything.

...except for the VERY MAJOR problem that they didn't release the source code. Instead, they resisted every effort to do so, and tried to keep it hidden.

If it wasn't for the leak of the CRU files, you'd never have heard about this, and wouldn't have to make the effort to pretend that it's something other than what it really is.

"Your Honor, my client's note to 'HIDE THE BODY' suggests that he wasn't trying to conceal anything..."

Steve Green is not capable ... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft IIIz:

Steve Green is not capable of logical thinking. This conclusion was made evident by his above post. Should Steve actually do a little research, he would find the information he is trying to defend, indefensable. These men who put the data together at CRU were motley at best. Motley CRU.

"Labeling the code routi... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Labeling the code routine "VERY ARTIFICAL" suggests they weren't trying to hide anything."

The problem with the 'science' behind AGW, Steve, is that EVERYTHING but their results have been hidden as much as possible. That's not how science is supposed to operate - you put out your data, you put out your methods, and you see if it stands up. If it doesn't, you fix what's wrong or revise your theories, or abandon them altogether.

You DON'T 'adjust' raw data to fit the models. That's not science - that's working a scam.

With AGW, we're told "It's a problem, trust us, but we're not going to show you anything." On their unsubstantiated word we've prepared to cripple the world economy - and they don't even have the raw data available any more so their 'findings' can be replicated!

Look at it another way - you're making a good bit of money, and you're trusting an accountant to manage it for you.

You go to the accountant one day and ask to look at the books. The accountant tells you that you've got $X in the bank. You think you should have more than that, so you ask to look at the records - and the accountant stalls you off, saying it'll take a day or two to get everything together.

That night, damn! Someone broke in and stole his computer and torches the office. The records are gone, but he maintains you've still got $X in the bank. The bank confirms that amount, but when you ask they tell you your accountant's put a hold on letting you see your banking records.

Are you starting to smell something wrong yet? Is your level of trust in the accountant going up or down at this point?

For me, it was troublesome when they were refusing to open up their data and code to people who wanted to see how they got their results. That Al Gore was working both sides of the street (pounding the dangers of Global Warming AND selling carbon credits) didn't make me think it was legit - and neither does putting out code that massages the numbers well away from reality.

"...except for the VERY ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"...except for the VERY MAJOR problem that they didn't release the source code. Instead, they resisted every effort to do so, and tried to keep it hidden. "

Just saying - someone who is running a scam usually doesn't leave tracks as obvious as this.

"Just saying - someone who ... (Below threshold)
914:

"Just saying - someone who is running a scam usually doesn't leave tracks as obvious as this."

They do if they are intellectual idiots like Gore, Obama and his ilk.

You ever hear of Ponzi sche... (Below threshold)
Lurking Observer:

You ever hear of Ponzi schemes? Just how opaque do you think those are?

Why do you think there was such outrage over Enron? It wasn't b/c those guys had gone to enormous lengths to hide their actions (for that matter, neither did Bernie Madoff---you gonna excuse him, too?). Rather, it was that they were able to bamboozle the auditors and the oversight folks w/ sometimes the most transparent of excuses.

But if you were gettin' rich off Enron, or Madoff, you didn't care to look too close. And if you liked where Mann and company were going, you're probably not lookin' too close at their books, either.

But if you think about it, stacking the peer reviewers w/ your own people is a GREAT way to hide things---arguably MORE difficult to penetrate than what JLawson is describing. B/c the cops/auditors are part of the problem.

Steve Green is really reach... (Below threshold)

Steve Green is really reaching, if he thinks that the evidence of malfeasance is proof of innocence.someone who is running a scam usually doesn't leave tracks as obvious as this. How can you even think that, much less prove your ignorance by writing it. They were trying to hide it. It was only exposed when someone leaked it.

You can bet establishment s... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

You can bet establishment scientists will work hard to spin all of this into meaning nothing and they'll have the help of many politicians who are true believers in AGW, or at least the goals the AGW scam is intended to achieve. We're not going to get anywhere arguing over the meaning of a few email excerpts or snippets of code, but there is a way to get to the truth.

Climategate raises enough doubt that there should be enough political clout to open a full review of the science underpinning the IPCC's recent assessment. New rules, however, require complete public disclosure of all data and methods used in every study the IPCC included in their assessment. If either the data or methods (including computer code) can't be produced, then the study is thrown out. Also, everyone who's study or data was rejected either by the IPCC or by a journal for peer review will be allowed to make a case for their data to be included as long as they can produce all of the data and methods they used.

If the science behind AGW is sound, then it will withstand such a review. If there's been any scientific fraud, it will be exposed or at least removed from the revised IPCC assessment. Obviously, the review needs to be done by different people than those in positions of authority within the IPCC and all information submitted and all decisions made must be posted on the internet for public review and comment.

Establishment scientists and their allies will baulk at this and say it's a delaying tactic, but the fact is, no agreement is going to be reached in Copenhagen this year anyway. On the other hand, if such a review supports AGW, it will go a long way in achieving a true political consensus to cut back our carbon emissions.

Being Obama has called for transparency in government and being the IPCC is a government entity, he'll pay a large political price if he sides with establishment scientists in preventing such a review. Such obstruction will also mean a growing and active opposition against the promoters of AGW, and that means there never will be an effective carbon reduction treaty.

Spin it Stevie, spin it.</p... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Spin it Stevie, spin it.

OK by me if these climate s... (Below threshold)
Victory is Mao's:

OK by me if these climate scientists get away with fraud. The end justifies the means. I'm sure their intentions were good. It's really no big deal, everyone does it.

Besides, George W. Bush was bad. Really bad. Terrible. I don't remember what he did that was so bad but I heard so many times how bad he was that I know it must be true.

Peace.

"Steve Green is really r... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"Steve Green is really reaching, if he thinks that the evidence of malfeasance is proof of innocence."

And you're really reaching by suggesting I've stated an opinion about guilt or innocence.

What I said was that labeling the section of code with "VERY ARTIFICIAL correction" demonstrates the guy wasn't hiding his tracks.

Most criminals do.

Li'l Stevie tried to put a ... (Below threshold)
apb:

Li'l Stevie tried to put a game face on and tried to think - epic fail.

You put your hope in a Chicago corrupto-crat, and faith in the biggest swindle (AGW) in history. At least TRY to feel bad for being such a chump.

Steve, that is a com... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Steve,
that is a comment in the pre-compiled source code for the program, which is probably thousands of lines long. Once it is compiled the internal comments aren't seen by anyone. They are there to help the programmers understand what is going on inside the program.

The very fact that they fought so hard to keep anyone outside of their group from seeing the source code suggests that they had something to hide.

Answer this Steve Green,

What does this quote from Phil Jones the head of the CRU suggest to you?

The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone.

Now consider this, that quote was from 2005. In 2009, Roger Pielke submitted a FOIA request for that very same station data.

He was told by the same Phil Jones:

Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e. quality controlled and homogenized) data.

In other words we don't have the raw data anymore it has been deleted.

In 2005 he bragged that he would delete the data before he would give it up to a FOIA request. In 2009, following a FOIA request the CRU claims the raw data has been deleted. A reasonable person would infer that the data was intentionally deleted to subvert FOIA requests. This seems sufficient cause for a criminal investigation.

By the way Steve Green, tha... (Below threshold)
Eric:

By the way Steve Green, that was not a rhetorical question.

I would like you to answer, what does this quote suggest to you?

The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone.
Wonder what SG thinks about... (Below threshold)
epador:

Wonder what SG thinks about Rosemary Woods' heavy foot?

Eric - post the link where ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Eric - post the link where that quote appears on a non-wingbatty source and it might be worth analyzing.

As it is - there is no source and no context.

Here - <a href="http://onli... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Here - I found this, Eric:

'The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the U.K., I think I'll delete the file rather than send to anyone. . . . We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind."

So apparently wrote Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and one of the world's leading climate scientists, in a 2005 email to "Mike." Judging by the email thread, this refers to Michael Mann, director of the Pennsylvania State University's Earth System Science Center. We found this nugget among the more than 3,000 emails and documents released last week after CRU's servers were hacked and messages among some of the world's most influential climatologists were published on the Internet.

The "two MMs" are almost certainly Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, two Canadians who have devoted years to seeking the raw data and codes used in climate graphs and models, then fact-checking the published conclusions--a painstaking task that strikes us as a public and scientific service. Mr. Jones did not return requests for comment and the university said it could not confirm that all the emails were authentic, though it acknowledged its servers were hacked.

and here is the conclusion drawn in the same article I linked:

Yet all of these nonresponses manage to underscore what may be the most revealing truth: That these scientists feel the public doesn't have a right to know the basis for their climate-change predictions, even as their governments prepare staggeringly expensive legislation in response to them.

I agree with that conclusion. That appears to be the case.

And here's what the suppose... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

And here's what the supposed 'fudgers' have to say

Three leading scientists who on Tuesday released a report documenting the accelerating pace of climate change said the scandal that erupted last week over hacked emails from climate scientists is nothing more than a "smear campaign" aimed at sabotaging December climate talks in Copenhagen.

"We're facing an effort by special interests who are trying to confuse the public," said Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a lead author of the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

Dissenters see action to slow global warming as "a threat," he said.

The comments were made in a conference call for reporters.

The scientists--Somerville, Michael Mann of Penn State and Eric Steig of University of Washington--were supposed to be discussing their new report, the Copenhagen Diagnosis, a dismal update of the UN IPCC's 2007 climate data by 26 scientists from eight nations.

They say it is a smear campaign, and hopefully they will have lots of time and opportunity to prove that.

"Peer reviewed studies?... (Below threshold)
Marc:

"Peer reviewed studies?" "Peer reviewed studies?" "Peer reviewed studies?" "Peer reviewed studies?" "Peer reviewed studies?" "Peer reviewed studies?" "Peer reviewed studies?" Ed Begley Jr.

Not sure how his good looking wife puts up with this nutcase. He must have a schlong the size of a stallion.

s green "They say it i... (Below threshold)
Marc:

s green "They say it is a smear campaign, and hopefully they will have lots of time and opportunity to prove that."

Yeah, "smeared" with their own words via their own leaked emails.

The logic train has left the station, fell alone on the platform don't you?

Actually probably not, Ed Begley is standing next to you.

"The logic train has lef... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"The logic train has left the station, fell alone on the platform don't you?"

Apparently the grammar bus has left the Greyhound Depot as well. Still hanging out in bus station bathrooms?

I've heard of the grammer p... (Below threshold)
Victory is Mao's:

I've heard of the grammer police but I have to say Steve, you're an idiot.

Steve Green is the blinding light that reveals the filth that is Wizbang. Go get um, Steve!

You're all filth! Filth I say!

What happened to my strike ... (Below threshold)
Victory is Mao's:

What happened to my strike tag? Dammit! I can't work under these conditions. I quit. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll.

That's all you have?<... (Below threshold)
Marc:

That's all you have?

No explanation how you can be "smeared" with one's own words?

Not to worry, you're just following the same line of reasoning used by certain commie sympathizers/blatant nutcases that have been asked/forced to leave the obama admin.

And BTW, that's not a gramm... (Below threshold)
Marc:

And BTW, that's not a grammar error, i.e. "fell," as opposed to "feel" but a spelling error.

Hardly surprising you can't even get that right.

Not answering the question ... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Not answering the question about bathrooms eh?

Well then, Guilty as charged - You aren't denying it!!!!

(that's Marc lojic for you)

Happy Thanksgiving to all - even Marc.

Steve - Re your post #26<bl... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Steve - Re your post #26

Yet all of these nonresponses manage to underscore what may be the most revealing truth: That these scientists feel the public doesn't have a right to know the basis for their climate-change predictions, even as their governments prepare staggeringly expensive legislation in response to them.
I agree with that conclusion. That appears to be the case.
Yes it does - they felt their info was completely proprietary, and weren't going to let it go for anything.

You know what I'm finding bizzare about the whole mess? That even THEY didn't have any real idea what was going on. They didn't have the original data, they didn't know why things were cooling, they were twisting the numbers as hard and fast as they could - but they were still pushing the warming idea as hard as they could while fighting any release of any of their info.

Trillions of dollars on the line, and they wouldn't be honest. The future of the WORLD on the line - and it was more important to push an idea that wasn't supported by their models.

For those who believe AGW i... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

For those who believe AGW is real you have to realize that the public will not support cap and trade or any other expensive legislation as long as there's even a whiff of scientific fraud associated with AGW. You can see from the above exchanges that no amount of "explaining" is going to convince the growing number of skeptics that the leaked emails and computer code are anything but proof of corruption, obstruction and fraud on the part of establishment climate scientists. There's only one way out of this, and that's to support a complete review of the IPCC's last assessment such as I described in post #17. If you really believe AGW is real then you have nothing to fear and everything to gain.

No explanation how... (Below threshold)
No explanation how you can be "smeared" with one's own words?

That's because to a left-winger like Steve Green, "smeared" means being quoted accurately and in context.

It may be a seige cannon wi... (Below threshold)
Ron:

It may be a seige cannon wiht the barrel still hot but it is firing blanks. Makes a lot of noise, makes you turn your head to look.

It may be a seige ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
It may be a seige cannon wiht the barrel still hot but it is firing blanks. Makes a lot of noise, makes you turn your head to look.

And look you should. It should be apparent to anyone who's been paying attention that the AGW proponents have been losing the battle in the public opinion arena. What the hacked emails and computer code does is create even more doubt that the science underpinning AGW is accurate or even honest. Without popular support Congress is simply not going to enact cap and trade nor any other legislation to reduce our carbon footprint if it puts a burden on our economy. The same is true to some extent in other nations.

Along with India and China, the U.S. should be calling for a complete review of the IPCC's last assessment and require that the data and methods for every included study be made public. That's the only thing that will silence the siege cannon. Of course, if establishment scientists have been cooking the books, they will object, but then their studies won't be included and the revised IPCC results could show global temperatures have been in decline for the last decade.

A more thorough look throug... (Below threshold)
Occupant Author Profile Page:

A more thorough look through some of the .pro files made me puke a little. This may well be the sloppiest software I've seen in decades.

And to think - it's only influencing global policy.




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