Like a rapper’s retinue, climate change was always in the company of elements I found unpalatable. Hysteria, hyperbole, deception, and demonization. Though my always incomplete metamorphoses into a denier was on a languid arc until first being called one. Not that being the recipient of such an uninspired pejorative was a moving experience, but rather the unseriousness and desperation I associated with anyone so base as to earnestly deploy it.
Though I understand the temptation for those invested in the movement. The seeding of horror-terms to blunt criticism and shatter resistance is a mature industry in the West. No positions are more soberly advanced than through index fingers and accusations. And the Heatocaust was never meant for cross examination. Especially if being a denier could be cultivated to produce the same cash crop of career ruination as other staples. And when persuasion fails, fear is to follow.
Unfortunately though ‘denier!’ (well, that denier) could never quite find the same cultural traction as its more stately progenitors. As a result, the requisite combustion of shame and firings remained elusively unignited–though certainly not from a deficit of effort. And whatever vagaries conspired to deny market share to New Racist, I can’t help but imagine the series of unearthed chicanery was a major contributor.
The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever
When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.
Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming. This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record.
Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken. Yet these are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in “global warming”.
Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy.
One of the first examples of these “adjustments” was exposed in 2007 by the statistician Steve McIntyre, when he discovered a paper published in 1987 by James Hansen, the scientist (later turned fanatical climate activist) who for many years ran Giss. Hansen’s original graph showed temperatures in the Arctic as having been much higher around 1940 than at any time since. But as Homewood reveals in his blog post, “Temperature adjustments transform Arctic history”, Giss has turned this upside down. Arctic temperatures from that time have been lowered so much that that they are now dwarfed by those of the past 20 years.
Of much more serious significance, however, is the way this wholesale manipulation of the official temperature record – for reasons GHCN and Giss have never plausibly explained – has become the real elephant in the room of the greatest and most costly scare the world has known. This really does begin to look like one of the greatest scientific scandals of all time.
Perhaps those across-the-board temperature adjustments were warranted. We don’t know from reading, as the journalist is hardly inclined to grant much deference to alleged perpetrators–those who overtly denied the originally recorded temperatures. But we should be amenable to hearing the other side. Sometimes reality and our models of it do not align. When that occurs, reality requires modification.
And while I believe its more feral proponents have legitimately earned my mild mockery, the position of this blog is not one of Egyptian rivers. Perhaps there is some global warming change. And perhaps it portends dire results for whoever occupies the planet some generations hence. And wouldn’t it be a pleasantly sunny day if that were our most pressing concern. But it is not. Not remotely. And gnashing teeth over future sea ice and decimal points while displaying no ambition to even be present for their enjoyment seems to be a far graver misalignment than any obdurate thermometers. If my people and posterity are to be ushered off the planet, you’ll forgive our apathy toward conditions in our absence. And if you’re not inclined to that forgiveness, feel free to swim with the polar fishes.
Though for those honestly concerned for both the weather and its effect on an enduring Western civilization, one of this blog’s readers once articulated a disciplined stance.
“I want you and everyone associated with you as far from any respected public position as possible, and I want your entire pseudoscientific field wiped from our country. After your name is properly associated with both bureaucratic ineffectualism and insane apocalyptic visions that never materialize, and all of the original climate scientists are dead, then we may consider reopening the field, and trusting its results as the objective conclusions of those interested in the science. But you have consorted with and empowered far too many scoundrels and thieves in your lifetime for me to ever trust anything you say again.”