There’s been lots of excitement over the re-stating of NASA temperature data. I think it’s cool (haha!) that this puts a big hole in one of the primary planks of the AGW crew, but I have to agree with morbo who writes
The real story is that GISS data was obviously wrong but had gone unchecked before Steve’s work, firstly because the IPCC choirboys never bother to check their own data (see also the MBH98 hockey stick), and secondly because it was hard to check because the GISS software and algorithms are kept secret (despite being paid for by public money). This makes it virtually impossible to replicate and check. Replication is a cornerstone of the scientific method; its not just bad science, its not really even science at all.
Exactly so. It’s not science. Even among the endless signs that the concern about AGW is highly suspect, this one stands out.
that highlights one of the great travesties of climate science. Government scientists using taxpayer money to develop the GISS temperature data base at taxpayer expense refuse to publicly release their temperature adjustment algorithms or software (In much the same way Michael Mann refused to release the details for scrutiny of his methodology behind the hockey stick). Using the data, though, McIntyre made a compelling case that the GISS data base had systematic discontinuities that bore all the hallmarks of a software bug.
The idea that the details of government sponsored research on an important topic like this is kept secret is mind boggling to me. For what possible reason should any detail be withheld from the public, except to conceal problems?
And this isn’t the first time a critical element of the AGW analysis has turned out to have not only have serious errors but also errors undected for extended periods because the authors refused to release their data and algorithm so that the results could be replicated (no replication → not science). I refer of course to the infamous ‘Hockey Stick’ model which turned out to be caused by data and algorithm errors1, concealed for years by refusal to share data.
The bottom line for me is I’ll be willing to consider the AGW is real case when central proponents stop trying to bury their errors behind a wall of secrecy and obsfucation.
P.S. The person responsible for this data and its secrecy, James E. Hansen, also says
in determing responsibility for climate change, the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on climate is not determined by current emissions, but by accumulated emissions over the lifetime of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. By this measure the U.S. will be the largest single cause of climate change even after its current emissions are surpassed by China and other developing countries.
I.e., the point of dealing with climate change is to punish the transgressors, not to improve the situation. If actually dealing with the problem were the top priority, then going after the largest emitter would be important. But instead we should remain focused on the worst historical offender, even though nothing we do now will change what happened in the past. And for some reason this leads me to not trust his other statements on the subject very much.
1 There’s an attempted re-bunking here but I find it unpersuasive because it