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High Sticking: The Flaws of the IPCC and the Hockey Stick Model

Posted By Nicolas Loris On April 5, 2010 @ 3:17 pm In Energy | Comments Disabled

Rajendra Pachauri , chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), responded to the errors exposed in the IPCC report saying that “Scientists are demonised because of one error in 3000 pages of evidence.” Truth be told, there were several errors uncovered in the report including questionable sources in the assessment of mountain ice reduction in the Andes, Alps and Africa as well as acknowledged overstating crop loss in Africa, Amazon rain forest depletion, sea level increases in the Netherlands. But Pachauri only acknowledges that the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 or sooner was speculative at best. The reality is the IPCC reports have significant flaws; they simply aren’t picked up by the mainstream media.

Take the hockey stick theory, for instance. The theory is best explained by a graph [1]that shows a time-series of global temperatures with current and future temperatures increasing at such rapid rates that it resembles the blade of a hockey stick. The graph [1]appeared six times in the IPCC’s 2001 report. Andrew Montford’s new book, The Hockey Stick Illusion, reveals that the problems with the hockey stick theory go back much further than Climategate. In a review of the book, the Prospect Magazine’s Matt Ridley writes [2]:

“The emails that were leaked from the University of East Anglia late last year [3] are not proof of this; they are merely the icing on the lake, proof that some of the scientists closest to the hockey stick knew all along that it was problematic. Andrew Montford’s book, despite its subtitle, is not about the emails, which are tagged on as a last chapter. It is instead built around the long, lonely struggle of one man— Stephen McIntyre—to understand how the hockey stick was made, with what data and what programs. A retired mining entrepreneur with a mathematical bent, McIntyre asked the senior author of the hockey stick graph, Michael Mann, for the data and the programs in 2003, so he could check it himself. This was five years after the graph had been published, but Mann had never been asked for them before. McIntyre quickly found errors: mislocated series, infilled gaps, truncated records, old data extrapolated forwards where new was available, and so on.

Not all the data showed a 20th century uptick either. In fact just 20 series out of 159 did, and these were nearly all based on tree rings. In some cases, the same tree ring sets had been used in different series. In the end the entire graph got its shape from a few bristlecone and foxtail pines in the western United States; a messy tree-ring data set from the Gaspé Peninsula in Canada; another Canadian set that had been truncated 17 years too early called, splendidly, Twisted Tree Heartrot Hill; and a superseded series from Siberian larch trees. There were problems with all these series: for example, the bristlecone pines were probably growing faster in the 20th century because of more carbon dioxide in the air, or recovery after “strip bark” damage, not because of temperature change.

This was bad enough; worse was to come. Mann soon stopped cooperating, yet, after a long struggle, McIntyre found out enough about Mann’s programs to work out what he had done. The result was shocking. He had standardised the data by “short-centering” them—essentially subtracting them from a 20th century average rather than an average of the whole period. This meant that the principal component analysis “mined” the data for anything with a 20th century uptick, and gave it vastly more weight than data indicating, say, a medieval warm spell.”

Ridley’s book isn’t the only evidence. Fred Singer recently published an 800 page report entitled, “Climate Change Reconsidered [4]” that questions and debunks many of the conclusions found by the IPCC report. An article written last year by Kesten C. Green, J. Scott Armstrong and scientist Willie Soon write that scientists in many respects are being paid to make, at best, guesses or projections of how climate change actually works and what temperatures will be like in the future. They say [5], “The models employed by James Hansen and the IPCC are not based on scientific forecasting principles. There is no empirical evidence that they provide long-term forecasts that are as accurate as forecasting that global average temperatures won’t change. Hansen’s, and the IPCC’s, forecasts, and the recommendations based on them, should be ignored.”

This especially includes costly regulations on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases our government is willing to impose because the IPCC recommends CO2 is a threat to our health and environment.


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/04/05/high-sticking-the-flaws-of-the-ipcc-and-the-hockey-stick-model/

URLs in this post:

[1] graph : http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_gLv0n3B4neg/SXPGuKiXflI/AAAAAAAAF1c/W8dVYzVAIWs/s400/Hockey_stick_chart_ipcc_large.jpg

[2] writes: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/03/the-case-against-the-hockey-stick/

[3] eaked from the University of East Anglia late last year: http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/02/too-hot-to-handle/

[4] Climate Change Reconsidered: http://www.nipccreport.org/

[5] say: http://rationalargumentator.com/issue230/forecastsuseless.html

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