All Over the Place

More apologies. We are still busier than ever, which makes blogging difficult. We will be back up to speed in about three weeks. Meanwhile, here are a few things to check out.

Alexander Cockburn and George Monbiot have been battling it out for a while now over at Znet, and there’s a cameo from Micheal Mann, the creator of the ‘Hockey Stick‘, in there as well. And very entertaining it all is, too. It’s refreshing to see a figure from the left arguing with such passion against global warming orthodoxy.

It’s pitched as a debate, but it ends up as an eloquent slanging match, in which each side competes to prove that the other’s sources are more corrupt than their own. Monbiot’s efforts to distinguish between good and bad science by fishing around for links on the Internet that hint at conspiracies between energy companies, right wing think tanks and fundamentalist Christians are by far the most desperate.

Elsewhere, following some detective work by Anthony Watts, Steve McIntyre and Roger Pielke Sr have been doing some quality control on weather station data. It turns out that many climate monitoring installations are situated in the middle of car parks, next to buildings, heat-generating appliances such as air-conditioners, and even a barbecue – none of which were there when the stations were installed. The problem is that development around the devices since their installation can significantly alter the temperature – as anyone who has walked in the late evening from a non built up to a built up area during summertime will know. This rather fundamental problem throws into some doubt the instrument record of the northern hemisphere – the basis for arguments that humans are influencing the climate. To paraphrase a comment that we can’t find just now in one of those posts, it could turn out that the recorded temperature rise since the 1980s is even more anthropogenic than anyone suspected.

Finally, Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator has said that he’s not sure that global warming is a problem. Critics are already suggesting that Griffin was installed because of his views on global warming by the Bush administration. That may well be true. But this kind of argument – like George Monbiot’s – cuts both ways. If we want scientists to make statements to support political causes, we should not be upset when they don’t say what we want them to say.

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