James Hansen, NASA climate scientist and lead singer in the climate apocalypse choir, responded to his temperature data revisions a week ago:
What we have here is a case of dogged contrarians who
present results in ways intended to deceive the public into believing
that the changes have greater significance than reality. They aim to
make a mountain out of a mole hill. I believe that these people are not
stupid, instead they seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in
the climate change story. They seem to know exactly what they are doing
and believe they can get away with it, because the public does not have
the time, inclination, and training to discern what is a significant
change with regard to the global warming issue.
The proclamations of the contrarians are a deceit
Um, whatever. Remember, this is the man who had large errors in his data set, used by nearly every climate scientist in the world, for years, and which were only recently discovered by Steven McIntyre (whom Hansen refuses to even name in his letter). These errors persisted for years because Mr. Hansen refuses to allow the software and algorithms he uses to "correct" and adjust the data to be scrutinized by anyone else. He keeps critical methodologies that are paid for by we taxpayers a secret. But it is his critics who are deceitful?
In particular, he is bent out of shape that critics' first presented the new data as a revised ranking of the hottest years rather than as a revised line graph. But it was Hansen and his folks who made a big deal in the press that 1998 was the hottest year in history. It was he that originally went for this sound byte rather than the more meaningful and data-rich graph when communicating with the press. But then he calls foul when his critics mimic his actions? (Oh, and by the way, I showed it both ways).
Hansen has completely ignored the important lessons from this experience, while focusing like a laser on the trivial. I explained in detail why this event mattered, and it was not mainly because of the new numbers. In short, finding this mistake was pure accident -- it was a bit like inferring that the furniture in a house is uncomfortable solely by watching the posture of visitors leaving the house. That's quite an deductive achievement, but how much more would you learn if the homeowners would actually let you in the house to inspect the furniture. Maybe its ugly too.
So why does Hansen feel he should be able to shield himself from scrutiny and keep the details of his database adjustments and aggregation methodology a secret? Because he thinks he is the king. Just read his letter:
The contrarians will be remembered as court jesters. There is no point
to joust with court jesters. "¦ Court jesters serve as a distraction, a
distraction from usufruct. Usufruct is the matter that the captains
wish to deny, the matter that they do not want their children to know
Why do we allow this kind of secrecy and spurning of scrutiny in science? Is it tolerated in any other discipline?
Steve McIntyre has his response here. McIntyre still has my favorite comment ever about Hansen and his gang:
While acolytes may call these guys "professionals", the process of
data adjustment is really a matter of statistics and even accounting.
In these fields, Hansen and Mann are not "professionals" - Mann
admitted this to the NAS panel explaining that he was "not a
statistician". As someone who has read their works closely, I do not
regard any of these people as "professional". Much of their reluctance
to provide source code for their methodology arises, in my opinion,
because the methods are essentially trivial and they derive a certain
satisfaction out of making things appear more complicated than they
are, a little like the Wizard of Oz. And like the Wizard of Oz, they
are not necessarily bad men, just not very good wizards.
Update: If you have a minute, read Hansen's letter, and then ask yourself: Does this sound like what I would expect of scientific discourse? Does he sound more like a politician or a scientist?