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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Climate Of Conservative Thought

Ever since the alleged "bombshell" dropped recently where emails allegedly showed that global warming was a "hoax", conservatives haven't been able to wipe clean all the drool that is literally pouring from their ever gaping maws. The only problem is that the emails that these same conservatives are having such fun referencing lack context. And as we all should know by now, conservatives context context.

Since the reported theft of emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, conservative media figures have aggressively claimed that those emails undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are causing climate change, dubbing the supposed scandal "Climategate." But these critics have largely rested their claims on outlandish distortions and misrepresentations of the contents of the stolen emails, greatly undermining their dubious smears.




It's people like Laura Ingraham who think that they can speak from a scientific perspective. And as glaringly obvious as her ignorance is, the fringe conservatives that have placed all their bets against the reality of global warming/climate change are willing to have their information spoon-fed to them by the likes of Ingraham

And this abject ignorance is seen readily through my attempts to converse with some of the more reactionary lot on Twitter.



The site reference by @FightTheSmears ( a rabidly twitchy Palin fanatic ) is so poorly put together that all chronology within the hacked/stolen emails is lost.

Rather than showing the true timeline of the stolen/hacked emails, one can search by keyword ( though doing that often relies on the opinions of the creators of the website ) where you are literally dropped into a sea of sentences that lack any sort of relevance without the data/information that is often referenced within.

Here's a good example:

If I click on the lying tag, there are 118 individual emails that are referenced from 1996 until 2009, often with lengthy spans of time between each email. Here's where the context part comes in.

This email is contained within the "lying" section:

From: Mike Hulme
To: "Iain Brown (UKCIP)"
Subject: Re: temporal interpolation for UKCIP scenarios
Date: Wed Sep 11 12:39:26 2002
Cc: geoff.jenkins@xxxxxxxxx.xxx,x.lu,j.turnpenny

Iain (and Geoff),
Definitive explanations are always dangerous! The reasoning behind this is as follows:
- the report only analysed and pictured seasonal and annual data (DJF,MAM, etc.) [in fact,
nearly all published maps of climate model outputs show changes in seasonal - 3-month -
averages]. This applying a uniform filter over 90 or 360 days.
- the requested datasets are at monthly time-steps. The default option for this is in
effect applying a uniform 30-day filter. [one might also conceive of weekly or daily
time-step files - e.g. changes in Week 13 for the 2050s for precip. for Medium-High or
changes for Julian day number 256 for the 2080s for Tmin for Low].
- these are all arbitrary choices of course, dictated by convention. But the important
point it seems to me is again a signal to noise issue - the shorter the time-averaging
period, the weaker the S/N ratio [i.e., we have more confidence that averaged over a year,
Tmin in the UK will increase by, say, 2.7degC for certain scenario, than that for the same
scenarios Tmin on 13 June will increase - on average - by 2.6degC and on 14 June only by
2.3degC - is this difference between 2.6 on 13 June and 2.3 on 14 June really meaningful?
No - it is most likely due to noise - natural variability].
- this reasoning suggests that as the time-averaging period decreases, one should pay less
attention to small differences between adjacent time-averaged periods, e.g. if June precip.
goes down by 10%, is the fact that July precip. goes down by 20% and August by 5% really
meaningful?
-
At 10:13 11/09/02 +0100, Iain Brown (UKCIP) wrote:

Mike,
For the UKCIP Scenarios datasets - both 98 and 02 - temporal interpolation
was applied to the raw model data in the form of a 1-2-1 filter. This had
the effect of smoothing out monthly values so that there are not as abrupt
transitions between adjacent months.
Can you provide us with the definitive explanation for the interpolation?
Some users (eg. in the recent London study) have noted that there are
differences between the maps they have derived from the data and the maps in
the UKCIP02 report.
best wishes,
Iain
-----------------------------------
Dr. Iain Brown
UK Climate Impacts Programme
12 St. Michael's St.
Oxford
OX1 2DU


From a rational perspective, it's easy to see that this discussion is dealing with complex data/maps ( neither of which are shown in the email ) that is being used as part of the study. So, I wondering exactly how many conservatives that are using these emails feel so confident that email exchanges such as this one are conclusive proof that this is all an elaborate hoax that has been perpetrated upon the entire world.

For starters, it's likely the selective nature in which conservatives are viewing the hacked/stolen email. Whereas most people will read the entire email exchange and attempt to get the facts, a conservative is likely to only read the first sentence - "Definitive explanations are always dangerous". It's an involuntary editing process within the brain of the reactionary fringe that creates the illusion that what is there isn't and what isn't there is.

And why is it that no conservatives are troubled by the very real fact that these emails were hacked/stolen? One of the loudest voices of the modern conservative movement once had a serious problem with this.

Hacking e-mail is a federal crime. A TV anchor who broke into his colleague’s e-mail account recently pleaded guilty and faces a maximum five years in prison.

The law will catch up to the hackers, but what about the lowlifes who are now gleefully splashing the alleged contents of Palin’s private e-mail account all over the Internet?


Oh, that's right. Back then it was bad because it was Palin's account that was hacked. It's alright now because it's NOT Palin.

By and large, this faux controversy is a non-starter for anyone with even a marginally functioning frontal lobe. However, the very real fact that the bulk of news networks aren't covering this story is allowing people like Fox"News" to claim that they have uncovered this grand plot and that everyone else is asleep at the switch or is somehow in on the scheme.

The conspiratorial nature of the modern conservative is truly something to marvel at.

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