2011-04-17 04:08:29retitled: Playing Games with Global Warming... 859 words
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
166.166.213.241

Formerly known as:

"Mann's "hockey stick graph" and McIntyre et al. examined"

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I figured I didn't need to clutter up this thread with this ancient draft version any longer.

The below has been submitted and accepted by the Four Corners Free Press a small regional monthly. . . . .

Which I am updating to reflect the excellent editing by Gail Binkly over at the Four Corners Free Press.

This article appears in their June 2011 issue, though I retain all rights - thus I can keep hoping that perhaps someone else may see value in printing it {no not here, I appreciate it isn't SkS material.}, just saying.

In any event, thank you for the input Neal, little things can make a big difference and I thank you John for the opportunity to post/share here.

Peter Miesler

2011-05-13 15:13:49new and improved... and finished
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
166.183.203.58

3 June 2011   {859 words}

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Perhaps the most enduring argument AGW “skeptics” use against the scientific consensus regarding manmade global warming is attacking something called the “Mann hockey stick graph.”

What’s a hockey stick got to do with understanding global warming? Well, it goes back to the 1980s and 90s. Following a flood of new atmospheric and Earth Observation data scientists began to search for ways of discovering past climate changes in order to put the new information into historical perspective.

Scientists realized there were many natural “proxies” that recorded climate conditions as they grew. Trees, glaciers, all kinds of geologic depositions. They reasoned that it should be possible to learn how to tease out climate information from such proxies.

Michael Mann and a team of fellow researchers focused on tree-ring proxy studies. In 1998 they released a graph reflecting the tree-ring data they had been working on for years. In 1999 their graph was extended back to cover a thousand years.

It didn’t actually look like a hockey stick, it was a bunch of waves with a radical uptick at the end.The “hockey stick” appears when one draws an average-line through the main body of past small and medium fluctuations before getting to the recent steep increase.

Basically, the graph underscored the profound influence our energy consuming society is having. Thus it became a target of scorn for all who wanted to deny responsibility in climate change.

Republicans, such as Senator Inhofe (R-Okla.), really got carried away proclaiming that the science was doctored in a broad scientific plot to unduly alarm the public about the seriousness of us injecting over a couple billion tons of greenhouse gases into our thin atmosphere month after month.

They claimed it was part of a conspiracy to hobble growth of our consumer/industrial/military/oil complex. Some even claimed: scientists wanted to promote a one world government. Sounds a bit silly, but so long as the Republican mass media machine focuses on such distractions, it leaves no time for considering the real issues facing all of us.

Into this PR effort stepped a Canadian mining engineer, investment promoter, statistician Stephen McIntyre, who went over the team’s work with a fine toothed comb. McIntyre did find some minor flaws in how Mann et al. processed their calculations.

One  might think no problem, a further refinement, considering that McIntyre’s work altered the look of the graph by less than 1%. This was science after all; one of its cornerstones is finding and correcting mistakes. Although it should be noted, even this tiny correction is in dispute.

Yet the denier echo-chamber, and McIntyre himself, presented his tiny adjustment as somehow overturning the whole field of climatology ~ stuff that’s pure political propaganda far removed from real facts.

Such denialism ignores the fact that since 2000 dozens of independent teams worldwide have been studying many different proxies and without exception the basic “hockey stick shape” emerges from the data. That shape is telling us that our world is on a trajectory of warming not seen since deep geologic time. And we are the ones propelling the change.

A key part of the hockey stick myth is that it’s hiding a Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. But, it doesn’t, they are reflected in the graph. More importantly, those events were regional and driven by a combination of factors scientists have come to understand: vulcanism; solar activity; ocean current oscillations among others.

We should be clear that these factors are playing a role in today’s situation. Volcanoes have been adding their cooling aerosols; our sun is at a historic minimum, and ocean oscillations continue to exert their regional influence.

What’s so different about today’s situation is that before industrialization, CO2 levels hovered around 280 ppm for over 400,000 years, giving our biosphere the stability to develop into this cornucopia  we have learned to exploit so well.

But with industrialization atmospheric CO2 broke free from the historic trend and started going uphill, driven by our society’s increasing consumption of coal, oil, gasoline and other carbon based energy sources. Currently, our atmosphere has surpassed 390 ppm, a level unexperienced on Earth in over 10 million years.

Today all but the most committed quacks agree that CO2 is indeed a potent greenhouse gas and a significant regulator of our planet’s temperature. While there isn’t, and can never be, absolute agreement on the exact amount of warming, those arguments are over fine details!

We should find no comfort in that uncertainty, since Earth observations are showing our planet changing much faster than scientific forecasts predicted. Yes, this is cause for alarm.

While Republican’s have turned this into a parlor game of who can best manipulate the political debate ~ the harsh real down to Earth consequences are already being felt across the planet and they promise only to get worse as Republican statesmen and business leaders with their media machine continue their contemptuous political game of manufacturing willful ignorance.

When are we the people going to demand of our business leaders, politicians, media and we ourselves to stop allowing faith-based pipe-dreams to trump down to Earth realities?

2011-05-13 17:14:09
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.40.61

I don't think Mann was a team-leader for the hockey-stick effort: He was a graduate student at the time.

2011-05-14 04:21:48
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
32.176.139.165

nealjking,

Oh wow, thanks for mentioning that.  How's that work?

"Mann, Bradley and Hughes 1998," {Mann et al.}  I assumed the first name belongs to the team leader.

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How about that claim the McIntyre's corrects amounted to <1% change in the shape of the graph?

That I'm a bit concerned about since there seem two competing versions with the echo-chamber implying it was more.

 

2011-05-14 04:35:58
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.40.61

You should look at the discussion at RealClimate: They have a lot of information on this.

2011-05-14 16:21:58signed confounded ;-)
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
166.128.176.86

boy, oh boy Neal, Thanks for suggesting RealClimate (not that I don't look in on them a lot anyways) - but...

This stuff does gets overwhelming sometimes.  Everytime I think I got a handle on a situation, then look deeper only to find, or rediscover blindspots and new layers of complexity.

I didn't find anything on my lead author... team leader question... but it was easy to fix that.   More troubling is my take away message is that I'm giving McIntyre way more credit than he deserves.   Puts me in a pickle, since what I've written comes off so nice and diplomatic:

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"Into this PR effort stepped a Canadian mining engineer, investment promoter, statistician Stephen McIntyre, who went over the team’s work with a fine toothed comb. McIntyre did indeed find some minor flaws in how Mann et al. did their calculations.

One would think no problem, a further refinement, considering that McIntyre’s corrections altered the look of the graph by less than 1%. This was science after all, one of its cornerstones is finding and correcting mistakes made in the collection of information."

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Guess my <1% came from what I've read about Von Storch et al  - but I see his analysis is questionable in itself.

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Would anyone care to offer a suggestion - are my above lines unacceptable for presenting to a lay public? 

In a way it seems counter productive, considering my audience, to change this to McIntyre is crap, crap, crap all the way down... even if that may be the cold blooded fact.

. . . any offerings?

2011-05-14 17:21:48
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.34.134

The problem is that there is a WHOLE LOT of history on this one, and it has been discussed from lots of angles over the last 10 years. If you're going to add to this pile, I think you're obligated to become familiar with it.

2011-05-15 03:42:13
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
32.176.66.73

No doubt and I do try.  And it has been discussed to death, but the damn thing doesn't seem to die, leaving a wide open invitation to try adding a little more to the pile.  I also know that no matter how much reading I do on a topic, there's more that I'm missing and more that could be learned. Thus I'm appreciative of further reading suggestions and actually do take the time to read most of what I'm offered.

{this past half year+ of being able to really focus full time on this has been humbling indeed, I'm in ever greater awe of what some of you folks produce.  I appreciate I can't hold a candle to it.  But that doesn't mean I should shut down either.} 

But, that still leaves me with a dilemna - do I leave what I've written for simplicity sake - though it offers more credit to McIntyre than he deserves - since I am writing for a lay public here, most of whom, don't know what Mann's hockey stick is let alone any of the science behind it... and are religous and right wing toboot.  Or do I chop it out and try to write around it.  I fear the right thing to do, that is adding the more nuanced details, doesn't seem an option for this crowd or essay.

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???

"Into this PR effort stepped a Canadian mining engineer, investment promoter, statistician Stephen McIntyre, who went over the team’s work with a fine toothed comb. McIntyre did indeed find some minor flaws in how Mann et al. processed their calculations.


One would think no problem, a further refinement, considering that McIntyre’s work altered the look of the graph by way less than 1%. This was science after all, one of its cornerstones is finding and correcting mistakes made in the collection and processing of information. Although it should be added, even this tiny correction is disputed by some."

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maybe this is the way to go...

Thanks for the heads up and conversation Neal