Leakegate scandal gets bigger

The Leakegate scandal keeps getting worse. Jonathan Leake, already in trouble for his habit of deliberately concealing facts that contradicted the story he wanted to spin is back with a story that reads like it was ghost written by Mark Morano. Leake wants to spin a tale that the world isn’t really warming, so he trots out the usual collection of discredited papers.

Leake first cites John Christy:

“The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”

For which, see Bonfils, Duffy and Lobell in the Journal of Climate:

the interpretation that irrigation explains the rise in nighttime temperature does not seem supportable. Neither the results from gridded or meteorological station datasets nor the seasonality of the trends can support this hypothesis. According to the observational datasets used here, the rise in minimum temperatures has occurred across the entire state (although it is not significant everywhere), affected all elevations (Fig. 1 ), and accelerated during the second half of the twentieth century, which suggests a large-scale influence on California climate.

Second, Leake cites Ross McKitrick:

“We concluded, with overwhelming statistical significance, that the IPCC’s climate data are contaminated with surface effects from industrialisation and data quality problems. These add up to a large warming bias,” he said.

If only McKitrick hadn’t confused degrees with radians, his results might be worth something.

Third, Leake cites Anthony Watts:

His study, which has not been peer reviewed, is illustrated with photographs of weather stations in locations where their readings are distorted by heat-generating equipment.

Leake, of course, doesn’t mention Menne et al which was peer-reviewed. Menne analyzed Watt’s data and found that poorly sited stations produced a cooling bias.

Fourth:

Terry Mills, professor of applied statistics and econometrics at Loughborough University, looked at the same data as the IPCC. He found that the warming trend it reported over the past 30 years or so was just as likely to be due to random fluctuations as to the impacts of greenhouse gases.

Looks like Leake ran out of people he could present as saying that it wasn’t warming. Even if Mills is correct he is not saying that it isn’t warming.

Comments

  1. #1 Lars Karlsson
    February 14, 2010

    Ironically, Leake’s description of Watts’s report – “illustrated with photographs” – is a pretty good summary of what Watts has accomplished. He has collected photographs.

  2. #2 jr
    February 14, 2010

    Is he talking about this Terry Mills paper?

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/4l71047t3175826h/

  3. #3 guthrie
    February 14, 2010

    Thanks jr – that explains why I couldnt’ find anything by searching for “terry mills”. Whoops.

    The only slight flaw with the Times article is therefore that the abstract of said paper does not support what the Times is saying it does. I’ve now had a look at the paper and indeed it supports the IPCC etc.

  4. #4 toby
    February 14, 2010

    Read this article today & groaned to myself. It looked to me like quote-mining & that has been proced correct.

    The Sunday Times (like all Murdoch publications) seems to be so anti-science, it is not funny anymore.

  5. #5 andersand
    February 14, 2010

    Paul Sheehan is quick to pick this kind of thing up. [Life's a bitumen nightmare as cities get hotter than hell](http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/lifes-a-bitumen-nightmare-as-cities-get-hotter-than-hell-20100214-nzb6.html). They must have all received the latest memo from denial central.

  6. #6 el gordo
    February 14, 2010

    Observatory Hill is only a stone’s throw from the Hungry Mile and there is 4 degrees difference in temperature. This is not UHI and has more to do with the lack of a sea breeze, the HM is on the western side of the Rocks area and would naturally be warmer.

  7. #7 Stu
    February 14, 2010

    andersand,

    apart from it going off track by quoting the McKitrick 50% figure discredited by Tim and others earlier, I have a question about that article.

    The thermal imaging measures surface temperature rather than, say 1.5m or 2m temperature, yes? That would be expected to amplify the warming signal, as there can be degrees difference between the surface and the air above on a warm sunny day. Conversely, at night the surface would be cooler (maybe not asphalt in a city though – not sure). So to be aware, we may not be comparing apples with apples.

  8. #8 Daniel J. Andrews
    February 14, 2010

    Does Mills’ comment contradict other statisticians’ work? For example, didn’t four independent statisticians in a blind study work on the data and conclude the trend was up and statistically significant even though they weren’t aware of what the data set represented. Did Mills and the other stat folks have different data sets to work with? e.g. longer term?
    –dan

  9. #9 Nick
    February 14, 2010

    Can anyone put a date and source to the Christy quotes? Is this Leake recycling unattributed elderly content again,or has he indeed spoken to Christy for this article?

  10. #10 jakerman
    February 16, 2010

    >*four independent statisticians in a blind study work on the data and conclude the trend was up and statistically significant even though they weren’t aware of what the data set represented*

    That sounds interesting! Please link back if you can recolate that.

  11. #11 t_p_hamilton
    February 16, 2010

    The study of the blind statistical analysis was done for AP reporter Seth Borenstein. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33482750/

  12. #12 Tristram shandy
    February 19, 2010

    “If only McKitrick hadn’t confused degrees with radians, his results might be worth something.”

    FRAUD Tim.

    1. McKitrick fixed that error
    2. The paper he is referring to is a later paper. That paper may be wrong for
    several reasons but the error you note is not one of them.
    3. the 2004 paper was I believed discussed by jones in the IPCC report. The reasons
    for doubting its conclusion were not reported in peer reviewed literature, but that didnt stop Jones from just making something up.

    Please retract. retract. retract.

  13. #13 Tristram shandy
    February 19, 2010

    “If only McKitrick hadn’t confused degrees with radians, his results might be worth something.”

    FRAUD Tim.

    1. McKitrick fixed that error
    2. The paper he is referring to is a later paper. That paper may be wrong for
    several reasons but the error you note is not one of them.
    3. the 2004 paper was I believed discussed by jones in the IPCC report. The reasons
    for doubting its conclusion were not reported in peer reviewed literature, but that didnt stop Jones from just making something up.

    Please retract. retract. retract.

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