Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On Blogs, Bad Data, and Boiling Seas

A blogger with a clearly identified dog in the global warming race declares proof(!) that those dirty global warming alarmists(!) are cooking the books.  Cue expression of skepticism.
Upon further examination, however, one must be compelled to acknowledge that while this is no stop-the-presses moment, it's not trivial, either.  An NOAA partner organization has an automated program displaying obviously false data (600° F water temperatures in Lake Michigan are a wee bit questionable.)  The system that collects this data is also used to collect data for climate models.  The obvious question: was this data used in climate models?  I find the lack of immediate and vehement denial to be a pretty clear admission-by-omission.
So, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I must conclude that in the most charitable analysis, a massive array of data points being fed into our climate models is fantastically erroneous.  If this can go completely unnoticed until now, where else?  And to what scale?  What this is proof of, to my mind, is that we're proposing dramatic changes in our lifestyle based on data so sloppy it wouldn't pass muster in a 100-level chem lab.

Random tangent: How well, one wonders, do the data sets "people who took the Earth Science instead of a real lab science in high school" and "people who 'know' there is a consensus about AGW" correlate?

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