Toxic Leak Swamps Denial-ville

February 15, 2012

It started when a small group of key journalists and investigators received a mysterious package in the mail.

It seems that an anonymous source opened a gmail account, dropped in a zipped file of internal documents from the leading vector of climate denial information, the Heartland Institute, closed the gmail account, and disappeared.

The contents quickly bounced around to a small group of astute observers, and the general consensus after close exam of  the files was that they were genuine – although Heartland now has a statement out claiming at least one of the files is a hoax.

See the Documents here

One of the first to receive the package was John Mashey, the relentless investigator who helped uncover the plagiarism and distortion that lead to the withdrawal of a key climate denial study last year.

At the present time numerous avenues are being pursued to establish the authenticity of the newly released documents.  In a statement, Heartland Institute has stated the following:

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

Mashey has used the release of the new documents to add a final flourish to his most recent investigations, which have now been released online. Mashey’s allegations, relating to Heartland and senior climate denialist scientist Fred Singer, include:

1. Climate denialist Fred Singer committed perjury in his tax filings to the IRS by claiming that Fred Seitz continued to chair Singer’s own tax-protected SEPP for two years after Seitz death in 2008.

2. Singer made other representations in his 990 tax filings that either skirted the rules or, at the very least, let him shelter his own investments from taxation.

3. Singer is a lobbyist, not a scientist (at least, he has not produced any significant work of science in several decades) and is therefore in violation of limits to undeclared lobbying activity.

4. The Heartland Institute has a long-established reputation as an organization dedicated to providing legitimacy to industries that want to confuse the public about science. For example, Heartland’s President Joe Bast has been a leading defender of such things as the “Joe Camel” campaign to encourage children to take up smoking – even while the tobacco industry was funding Heartland’s operations. This was corroborated by the Heartland budget documents which show that both Phillip Morris and Reynolds American continue as Heartland donors.

55 Responses to “Toxic Leak Swamps Denial-ville”

  1. Process data from the 70 percent of stations with those “artificial heating sources” to produce average temperature results.

    Then process data from the stations that *don’t* have “artificial heating sources” (as in those stations identified by WUWT as being the “best sited”).

    Do that, and you get virtually the same results, which demonstrates that those “artificial heating sources” are not biasing the results.

    Menne et al did it. And it’s not that hard — I’ve done it myself.

    Surveying stations is fine — but making claims about what impact of the siting problems *without analyzing the data first to see if those claims are correct* is not.

    BTW, I did not say that UHI was inconsequential in general; I said that UHI effects were inconsequential *for global-scale temperature averages*, and I *proved* it with the results that I posted here — i.e. results generated from GoogleEarth certified(tm) *rural* stations that showed the same warming as the official NASA land index results. Likewise, multiple research teams (including the privately-funded effort partially underwritten by the Koch brothers) demonstrated that UHI does not significantly impact global-temperature trend results.

    UHI will elevate temperatures, but the temperature elevation is typically constant in time (i.e. if 5 degree urban/rural offset remains that way from 1960-2010, then it is obviously not going to affect the 1960-2010 *trend*).

    This has been the continual pattern of deniers — make claims/objections about the surface temperature record and assume that they are true *without doing the necessary data analysis to verify those claims first*.

    It happened with UHI.

    It happened with the “dropped stations” issue.

    It happened with “raw vs. adjusted” data claims.

    BTW, I uploaded to a free file-sharing web-site all the data and code needed to compute global-average land temperature results that match NASA’s results quite closeluy; with minor changes to the code, *all* of the above claims can be fully tested. Those who insist on believing that the above claims are valid are invited to download the code/data and modify the code to test the claims themselves.

    For convenience, here’s the link again:

  2. daveburton Says:

    caerbannog666, do you know how many Class 1 (“best”) stations they’ve found? Twelve. Those are the stations that are sited according to the NCDC “specifications for siting” surface stations. Just Twelve.

    Add the Class 2 (“good”) stations, and there’re still only about 80 stations.

    Add the Class 3 (“fair”) stations, and there’re still less than 300 stations.

    With so few high-quality stations, drawing conclusions about temperature trends is a questionable exercise.

    There is no question that both UHI and siting issues bias temperature measurements, and the bias is almost never constant in time over century time scales. Even in a hypothetical and vanishingly rare community in which population remained constant for a century, there would still have been substantial changes in paving, foliage, structures, utilities infrastructure, HVAC, etc., which affect temperature measurements. Most (though not all) of those changes bias trend calculations upward.

    Don’t forget: near-century-long time scales are what the argument is all about: how much warming (if any) has the United States experienced in response to anthropogenic CO2 (i.e., over the last 65-70 years).

    Not long ago, NASA / Hansen was saying
    “it is clear that 1998 did not match the record warmth of 1934” in the 48 contiguous United States, and, “in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934.”

    But now those same folks are saying that those statements were untrue. What changed? Not the raw temperature data! It was the adjustments, corrections, and averaging & interpolation & extrapolation methodologies that changed.

    Given the severe quality problems with the data, and (perhaps worse!) the propensity of the very people making those adjustments/corrections/etc. to deny the obvious significance of those quality problems, it would be unreasonable to not question the reliability of all the conclusions which depend on those measurements.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      the “1934” stuff is pure rush limbaugh misdirection Dave.
      surely you can do better.

      • daveburton Says:

        I quoted NASA / Hansen saying that 1934 was the warmest year on record in the USA, and gave you links to two different NASA GISS documents proving it. But you call that “Rush Limbaugh misdirection?”

        Why do Climate Movement types dismiss indisputable ironclad proof when it doesn’t fit their preconceptions, but accept the flimsiest speculation as gospel when it does fit their preconceptions?

        • greenman3610 Says:

          well, because, I was under the impression you were bright enough to understand the difference between global and US temps.
          you’re proving me wrong.

          • daveburton Says:

            Nobody was talking about global temps. What part of “in the 48 contiguous United States” and “in the USA” is unclear?

          • greenman3610 Says:

            apparently you are confused on this issue.
            btw, Watts has been so completely discredited, you do yourself no service by associating your arguments with his.

          • daveburton Says:

            Watts hasn’t been discredited at all. Even the IPCC doesn’t think that, which is presumably why they accepted him as an AR5 WG1 FOD Expert Reviewer. He (and his huge team of volunteers) have done incredible work.

            But who said anything about Watts, anyhow? I quoted NASA / Hansen saying that the warmest year on record in the 48 contiguous United States was 1934, and I gave links to two different NASA GISS articles to prove it.

            Admittedly, Hansen (unlike Watts) has a credibility problem, but there’s no disputing the fact that his name is on those NASA GISS documents stating that 1934 was clearly the warmest year on record in the USA, and that the 1930s were the warmest decade.


  3. Not long ago, NASA / Hansen was saying
    “it is clear that 1998 did not match the record warmth of 1934″ in the 48 contiguous United States, and, “in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934.”

    The peak 1930’s temperature vs the peak 1990’s temperature was a *statistical tie* before *and* after the adjustments. Hansen has long made that clear.
    Anyone obtuse enough to keep pushing this argument isn’t worth wasting time arguing with.

    • daveburton Says:

      If you want to waste your time, take up your argument with they guys that said it:

      “… it is clear that 1998 did not match the record warmth of 1934, which occurred during the Dust Bowl era…
      Please address all inquiries regarding GISS surface temperature trends analysis to James E. Hansen. Other GISS scientists involved in this research are Reto A. Ruedy, Makiko Sato, and Jay Glascoe.”

  4. OK, so I know that I’m wasting my time here, but here’s a little statistics 1A lesson, courtesy of James Hansen:

    The data processing flaw did not alter the ordering of the warmest years on record and the global ranks were unaffected. In the contiguous 48 states, the statistical tie among 1934, 1998 and 2005 as the warmest year(s) was unchanged. In the current analysis, in the flawed analysis, and in the published GISS analysis, 1934 is the warmest year in the contiguous states (but not globally) by an amount (magnitude of the order of 0.01°C) that is an order of magnitude smaller than the certainty.


    • daveburton Says:

      That’s what they said in 2008. It’s not what they were saying 8 or 10 years earlier.

      8-10 years earlier, when talking about the same temperature record, they said that 1998 was clearly cooler than 1934. Back then, it was “clear that 1998 did not match the record warmth of 1934,” and that “in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934.”

      In 1999, the graph looked like this:

      As you can see, in NASA’s graph, 1934 was much warmer than 1998, and the 1930s were much warmer than the 1990s.

      So, what changed?

      Don’t feel bad if you can’t answer that question. That’s a shorter version of a question that I asked the CSRRT, and they couldn’t answer it, either.

  5. What do average US temperatures have to do with average global temperatures?
    Very little.
    US temperatures have little to do with global warming. That’s why WUWT is pointless. While your at it, please explain why Muller and Spencer and Michaels have all confirmed that the earth is warming. Muller even confirmed the hockey stick.

    • daveburton Says:

      Christopher, U.S. measurements matter. A large percentage of what are supposedly the best climate-related measurement systems (surface temperature, radiosonde, sea level, etc.) are in the USA. If those measurements are not trustworthy, then, most likely, neither are measurements elsewhere in the world. if “global warming” doesn’t warm the USA, then, at the very least, it’s not “global.” If U.S. sea level measurements show no acceleration in response to CO2, then sea level rise is not accelerating.

      BTW, even Muller’s (thus far preliminary) BEST results have confirmed that the globe ceased warming during the Clinton administration, and there’s no evidence, thus far, that the warming has resumed, or is about to resume. The plateau in temperatures might be just a fluctuation, but, if so, it is by far the longest such pause since temperatures began increasing in the 1970s.

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