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A Pickax Against Climatology (Beware Of Your Friends!)

It is funny to notice how, bit by bit, excuse-prone scientists are unwittingly destroying climate science.

For example now we know that decade-long temperature trends are irrelevant (if they cannot be used to show a cooling, or a stability in temperatures, obviously they cannot be used to show an increase either).

We also know that the number of strong Atlantic hurricanes is irrelevant (if the fact that there have been very few of late, cannot be used to invalidate AGW, then even if they return in large numbers, that won’t be suitable to demonstrate AGW either).

In other parts of the blogosphere, we are now learning that past reconstructions are irrelevant too (even if they’re wrong, it doesn’t matter to future warming).

And of course, the IPCC itself has declared in 2007 that attribution of a particular weather event to AGW may as well be impossible. Based on that logic, no mention of “global warming” or “global cooling” or pretty much anything else climate-related, makes any sense when talking about weather (trouble is, somehow all that irrelevant weather magically transmogrifies itself into “climate” over 30 years).

At this rate, climatology will soon remain as a bunch of pure “irrelevants”.

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About Yamal

Non-casual readers already know I do not like to dwell into topics covered in great depth elsewhere. I will make a very short exception to that “policy”, simply because the McIntyre/Briffa story is too big.

Too big, that is, not to warrant some huge dose of skepticism before getting carried away with it.

We have a saying in Italian, “if they’re roses, they’ll bloom”. AKA “time will tell”.

As much as I admire McIntyre’s relentless quest to go always back to the original data, I am sure I am not the first one that has seen apparently-straight forward things turn around all of a sudden. There’s no reason to celebrate… if the Briffa reconstruction will implode, it will implode anyway.

Now we have a blog on the topic, by Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate, and a brief note by Briffa himself.

Gavin is his usual self, the worst enemy of AGW that is, with a blog post choked by its own sarcasm. Through the deep, rather undignified fog, one can get a glimpse of what appears to be a potentially strong riposte to Steve McIntyre (but with Schmidt’s emotions running so raw, I am afraid McIntyre will always have the upper hand).

Briffa is very calm and measured, therefore making his decision not to share the data sooner even more puzzling

Right now, it looks like there will be a “war of words” with claims and counterclaims. On that, I have no interest whatsoever. And too many people already are “jumping in” in ways that can only dent their credibility.

I might come back to the story after the battle. For now, this is my comment at RC:

Kudos to Briffa for having decided to “review the details of [McIntyre’s] work”.

Is it too much to state that most of what has happened, would not have happened had the data been made available upon (first) request?

On that topic, I believe that NASA changed its policy regarding space probes a decade ago or more, in order to avoid (crackpot) accusations of being in the business of airbrushing aliens out of the photos. That is why mission websites like MER’s _prominently_ show the just-received “raw images”, especially in the first days of the mission (please correct me if I am wrong).

Wouldn’t it therefore make sense to apply the same rules to all just-published papers, i.e. presenting the “raw data” to the visitor, rather than simply leaving it “available for anyone who cares to look”? Especially in a field such as climate change, where any accusation/finding is bound to elicit plenty of reaction.