Friday, June 23, 2006

Yes, the climate is changing

There's a house finch singing outside my window, and up until a year or two ago I don't recall there being house finches in Nevada City.
Interesting - its song sounds, well, abnormal. Perhaps it's an outlier in more than geography.
(or perhaps it's just young and inexperienced)

Excellent Boston Globe article putting yesterday's National Academy of Sciences report on global warming into meaningful context:
...A graph of the data has become an icon of global warming and is often referred to as "the hockey stick" because of its shape: A shaft that shows a long period of relatively little change in Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures, and then a spike upward during the last 100 years or so that resembles the blade.
...
Since the first version of it was published in a scientific journal in 1998, environmentalists have seized on the graph as powerful evidence of human-induced climate change, while some critics have called it alarmist, questioning its methodology and the accuracy of its temperature data.
...
During a Washington press conference yesterday, other members of the panel said that they had a high level of confidence -- 90 percent to 95 percent -- that the planet is in its warmest period in 400 years and that the odds are "2 to 1" that this is probably the warmest period stretching back 1,000 years, as the original study concluded.


And what did The Union title their version of yesterday's AP story about the report? (Earth’s temperature highest in 400 years, or 2000, or a "a slight fever")?
They didn't print it.


BTW, we're told that George Rebane is currently working on a Disclosure page for the Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation.

11 comments:

michael r. kesti said...

There were probably a great many AP stories that The Union did not publish on Thursday. What's your point, Anna?

Bruce said...

Please. If you can't see the point, it would be a waste of time to exlain it.

Anna said...

Michael, in response to your previous comment I asked you if you had a blog yet and what its URL was. (You didn't answer.) Debra can show you how to get started; please provide the URL when you register with Blogger, and then, when I delete your comments in future, interested readers can go to your blog to read what you had to say (assuming you reposted it there).
(With respect to the priority-focusing question "what's the most important thing I could be doing and why aren't I doing it?" - dealing with you is pretty far down the list. I'm not willing to devote the time.)
(I expect you have more important things to do with your time too)

oh and Bruce, when (in this thread) I was spouting the "what's the most important thing" quote and the "...letting them live rent free inside your head..." one - I've since realized that other apropos sayings are the "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results" one and "don't get mad, get even"
(which I prefer to rephrase as "don't complain about the problem, find or create a solution")

So we have a fine array of pearls to choose from.

(p.s. orientation for new readers: Michael Kesti and I have been coworkers off and on for many years)

Bruce said...

Anna, thanks for the suggested pearls. I'll file them away in my head, but for now I'm so tired of the bs and ignorance that's espoused that I'll make the time to call it when I see it. If you wish to have it called somewhere else, no problem. It's our apathy and tendancy to keep quiet and polite that has gotton us to where we are. And it's where the present powers that be wish to keep us. Sorry, I've had enough.

Russ Steele said...

Anna:

Read the rest of the Bostong Globe Story:

"The panelists had far less confidence in the reliability of temperature data from longer than 1,000 years ago; the initial study did not look that far back. And they said that because it was difficult to reconstruct exact temperatures for specific years, they were unable to support the study's contention that the 1990s were the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, at the time of the study , in the past 1,000 years."

People read the study! They said the temps shown by Mann were "plausible." 2:1 is only 66%, that leave a big window of doubt. The report also said that a;; stastical analysis should meet specific criteria. What they failed to say in the report was that Mann's study failed to meet the criteria. The panel recommends the use of a Durbin-Watson statistic for calibration, but do not report the failure of the various models under this statistic, even though they were aware of this failure. They left that to the reader to figure out. Guess what the reporters were not smart enough to see what the panel failed to say directly. Also the panel admitted to a Little Ice Age, which does not show up in the hockey stick. We have been coming out of that LIA for 400 years.

I also highly recommend you all listen to the news conference MP3 and you will hear the panel dancing when asked specific questions. My read is they were trying real hard to spare Mann, with out damaging their reputations. Not only that but they failed to answer the Congresman's questions. Please go to Climate Audit http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=715 for details. As for the USA Today article, see my comment here: http://ncwatch.typepad.com/media/2006/06/the_nas_climate.html

Anna said...

Bruce, I know that I tend to fall into complaining mode rather than 'constructive activity' mode, so it's a reminder to me too, that after a certain point, documenting additional instances of the same misbehaviors provides less and less value relative to other activities.

Russ, you're sounding like an engineer. Scientists hedge their bets, verbally; it's how communication is done in that culture, it's not like engineering. (For another, related cultural difference, see The Salem Hypothesis)
The best way to understand "science talk" is to request & get odds, as your colleague George Rebane pointed out in a post on your weblog awhile back, and as was done in the Globe article (which is in large part what made it such a good article).

In my comment (from early yesterday morning) on the Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation site, I asked George "What is your position on the reality and importance of human-caused global warming?"

He hasn't responded to the comment; do you know whether he's in agreement with you on this issue?

(BTW Russ, I agree with you 100% that if anyone is undecided about human-caused global warming, they should read the rest of the Boston Globe story.)

Anna said...

The first comment in this thread ("There were probably a great many AP stories that The Union did not publish on Thursday. What's your point, Anna?") has been chewing on me. I'm 95% sure that Bruce and I read the commenter's tone accurately, but - if we were wrong and he was asking because he sincerely didn't understand - here's an answer (and a request):

My argument - with steps #1, 3 and 4 left as exercises for the reader - was that
1. if we take as an axiom that the mission of the newsroom is to report the news that is most important to the paper's readers
then
2. the failure to report a news item
that
3. is of momentous importance
would
4. constitute dereliction of duty.

Based on previous discussions with this commenter, I'm pretty sure he doesn't accept #1 or #3, and so would not conclude #4. He and I have already been over this ground, so I assumed that his question stemmed not from from lack of understanding but from disagreement, and so - by trying to steer me into an engagement whose only 'produce' would be more conflict - was meant antagonistically.

Michael, if I was wrong about this, and you really were asking because you didn't understand, and you were asking from curiousity, not antagonism - then
a) I'm appalled at my misjudgment and I apologize,
and
b) could you say so please, to help me recalibrate.


and by the p.s., what I meant was when you know someone over a long period of time you develop considerable confidence in your ability to judge their emotional tone in certain discussions.

perhaps too much confidence.

jackson said...

sorry, just curious - anyone know wht happened to kady over at the union?

Russ Steele said...

Jackson

Kady the Web Editor and Paul the Web Coordinator have both disapeared from the list of Union employess on their web site. Kady is still listed in the blog, but others have been listed before and never posted. Pathetic is a kind term for the Union Blogs.

Anna said...

Vestigial.

Anna said...

And Kady, wherever you are, I'm sorry you left (though I imagine you're not) - you seemed like a voice of sanity at that paper.

should you ever be tempted to find yourself a pseudonym and join the conversation here, please do not resist.
(and please extend this invitation to others who'd be welcome)


and hey, maybe someday the paper will change for the better...