Midnight repost: The absolute uncertainty of climate science


The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost adds more weight to yesterday’s about the uncertainty of any model predicting global warming. Rather than look at the giant gaps in our knowledge, this essay, posted on January 28, 2019, looked at the data tampering that government scientists are doing to their global temperature databases in order to make the past appear cooler and the present appear warmer.

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The absolute uncertainty of climate science

Even as the United States is being plunged right now into an epic cold spell (something that has been happening repeatedly for almost all the winters of the past decade), and politicians continue to rant about the coming doom due to global warming, none of the data allows anyone the right to make any claims about the future global climate, in any direction.

Why do I feel so certain I can make this claim of uncertainty? Because the data simply isn’t there. And where we do have it, it has been tampered with so badly it is no longer very trustworthy. This very well documented post by Tony Heller proves this reality, quite thoroughly.

First, until the late 20th century, we simply do not have good reliable climate data for the southern hemisphere. Any statement by anyone claiming to know with certainty what the global temperature was prior to 1978 (when the first Nimbus climate satellite was launched) should be treated with some skepticism. Take a look at all the graphs Heller posts, all from reputable science sources, all confirming my own essay on this subject from 2015. The only regions where temperatures were thoroughly measured prior to satellite data was in the United States, Europe, and Japan. There are scattered data points elsewhere, but not many, with none in the southern oceans. And while we do have a great deal of proxy data that provides some guidance as to the global temperature prior to the space age, strongly suggesting there was a global warm period around the year 1000 AD, and a global cold period around 1600 AD, this data also has a lot of uncertainty, so it is entirely reasonable to express some skepticism about it.

Second, the data in those well-covered regions have been tampered with extensively, and always in a manner that reinforces the theory of global warming. Actual temperature readings have been adjusted everywhere, always to cool the past and warm the present. As Heller notes,

No legitimate scientist would alter data like this. If they have theories about possible issues with the data, the correct way to handle it is to put error bars on the graph – not alter the data and present it as if it is the actual thermometer data. That is fraud, not science. Between 1999 and 2016, NASA completely altered the shape of the US temperature graph to turn seventy years of cooling into warming.

NOAA has done the same, as have most other databases.

Because of observational uncertainties, it is not unreasonable to accept some adjustments to these temperature databases. What is totally unreasonable however is for all the adjustments to always go in one direction. That is impossible, unless these scientists are committing conscious fraud, or are amazingly unaware of their confirmation biases. That the scientists doing these adjustments have never adequately explained their criteria for doing so further makes their actions suspect.

Worse, there is evidence, from their own words, that they intended to tamper with the data. When it was decided in the 1990s, for political reasons, that global warming was the doom for the future, climate scientists then decided that they needed to hide the cooling in the 1940s to 1970s, cooling that was so well accepted at that time that many scientists then considered it solid evidence that we were about to enter an ice age. (Heller’s post documents this historical record, which is extensive and pronounced. I also remember this ice age fear-mongering from the 1960s and 1970s.)

And we know scientists in the 1990s decided to do this data tampering because they said so, repeatedly, in the climategate emails, which Heller also quotes. (I have read those climategate emails extensively myself, so I know that Heller is not cherry-picking his quotes. All he is doing is giving one good example, from a plethora of examples.) To make their global warming models work, they somehow had to make the post 1940s cooling go away. Their unjustified adjustments have accomplished this.

Finally, the ice age fear-mongering from the 1960s, based on the weak data available then, compares well with the global warming fear-mongering since the 1990s. In both cases, the fear-mongering shows the untrustworthiness of the predictions of the climate science community. It isn’t so much that they get their predictions wrong, but that they are prone to making predictions that they simply can’t back up with data. They didn’t have the data in the 1970s to determine what was going to happen, and they don’t now. And they have clearly demonstrated a willingness to fake data to back up these weak claims.

So, the next time someone tries to slander you by calling you a “climate denier” because you are simply being a reasonable skeptic, show them this post, and tell them it is time they got their head out of the sand and started learning something, with the most important lesson being: Science is skepticism. Civilization is skepticism.

And true knowledge only comes from skepticism. When you are absolutely certain, without facts, you are only certain of one thing, and that is of being wrong.

One comment

  • R7 Rocket

    Before the ClimateGate emails exposed climate academics as frauds and liars, the only thing that indicated fishyness was their opposition to nuclear power, vague unfalsifiable claims, and the advocacy of the same restrictions for different environmental scares.

    Their claims were vague and unfalsifiable, but they were plausible.

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