Friday, October 8, 2010

WaPo, WaPo, Wherefore Art Thou?
Press Sleeps While Climate Report Fraud Festers

4 PM Update: The WaPo has finally reacted to the story online in a post at 3:32 PM ET:
GMU investigating climate change skeptic cited by Cuccinelli
They still seem to think it's only a local story.

Original post:
Apparently the motto at the new, fashionably slim WaPo is, "Pulitzers, Pulitzers, we don't need no mo' stinkin' Pulitzers." Here's a little exercise in Googleology: Search "wegman washington post" and you get "Eighty-pound parmigiana cheese wheels from Italy . . . and 500 varieties of produce". Replace WaPo with "USA Today" and you get "University investigating prominent climate science critic".

Yes, Virginia, while your 17th-century AG was hunting witches in the UVa email archives from 2003, his alma mater George Mason University was sitting on a case of plagiarism and academic misconduct involving the author of the so-called "Wegman Report", upon which much of his witch hunt was based. From the USA Today online posting:
GMU spokesman Daniel Walsch confirms that the university, located in Fairfax, Va., is now investigating allegations that the Wegman report was partly plagiarized and contains fabrications. Last month, a 250-page report on the Deep Climate website written by computer scientist John Mashey of Portola Valley, Calif., raised some of these concerns. Mashey says his analysis shows that 35 of the 91 pages in the 2006 Wegman report are plagiarized (with some of the text taken from a book, Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary, by Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts) and contain erroneous citations of data, as well.
According to a letter to Prof. Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts dated July 28, the GMU committee to investigate the charges was evidently formed in April, and the work was expected to be completed by the end of last month.

Where is the fraud investigation, Mr. Cuccinelli, and where is the WaPo in reporting this?

Get the Politics Out of Science

5 PM Update: The Chronicle of Higher Education has an editorial also:
Ken Cuccinelli, Enemy of Freedom

Original post:
Climate scientist Michael E. Mann has an op-ed piece in Friday's WaPo:
Get the anti-science bent out of politics
Challenges to policy proposals for how to deal with this problem should be welcome -- indeed, a good-faith debate is essential for wise public policymaking.

But the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science.
(Tip of the rabbit ears to the Herr Hare.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NCDC/NOAA Confirms September Heat

As indicated by the large number of daily record high temperatures in September, the month averaged above normal for the U.S. overall. According to the preliminary monthly analysis posted by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center within the last hour, the September monthly average was 1.7°F above the climatological mean. This was the 14th warmest September in 116 years of records and the 4th consecutive month with temperatures warmer than average.

Only 5 states (North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin) averaged below normal, and no state was in the top 10 coolest Septembers. On the other hand, all New England states, except Vermont, had top-10 warmest Septembers. In addition, New Jersey, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona ranked in the top 10 of their respective temperature histories.

For the first 3 quarters of 2010 (January-September), the national average temperature was 1.0°F above the climatological mean. The Northeast region (Maryland northward through New England) had its warmest year-to-date on record at 3.3°F above average. On a statewide basis, all 6 of the New England states plus New Jersey had a record warm January-September. In addition, every other state from Virginia northeastward had a top-10 year-to-date. This included Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York. Despite the cool September, Michigan and Wisconsin also had top-10 warmest temperatures for the period. Texas (38th coolest) and Florida (22nd coolest) were the only 2 states to average below the long-term mean.

Images (click to enlarge): U.S. statewide average temperatures for September and 2010 year-to-date from National Climatic Data Center

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Virginia's Climate Follies 2.0: Cooch's Climate Crusade

The WaPo, which has been subjected to well-earned criticism for its coverage of climate science and policy, demonstrates in an editorial today that it does have at least some clue regarding the witch hunt currently being perpetrated by the Virginia Attorney General. Under the headline, "Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to embarrass Virginia", the editorial points out:
The attorney general's logic is so tenuous as to leave only one plausible explanation: that he is on a fishing expedition designed to intimidate and suppress honest research and the free exchange of ideas upon which science and academia both depend -- all because he does not like what science says about climate change.
This sums up the situation quite well as far as it goes, but the WaPo crew are missing a golden opportunity to expose the real fraud behind this abortion of a legal case. (BTW, isn't the Cooch vehemently opposed to abortion?) Leaving aside the issue of whether the "real journalists" should have done the heavy lifting, a meticulous dossier has already been assembled in the blogosphere regarding the fraudulent underpinnings of the Cooch's crusade. In a guest post at the Deep Climate blog, John Mashey summarizes his exhaustive 200+ page analysis of the questionable scholarship, including multiple instances of apparent outright plagiarism, behind the GMU-based Wegman Report, upon which much of the Virginia AG's case is based:
The report itself contains numerous cases of obvious bias, as do process, testimony and follow-on actions. Of 91 pages, 35 are mostly plagiarized text, but often injected with errors, bias and changes of meaning. Its Bibliography is mostly padding, 50% of the references uncited in the text. Many references are irrelevant or dubious. The team relied heavily on a long-obsolete sketch and very likely on various uncredited sources.
In addition to evidence of the apparent fraud being perpetrated on the campus of George Mason, it might also be useful to investigate the finances of a "non-profit" organization evidently operating out of an apartment at:

1600 South Eads Street, Suite #712-S
Arlington, VA 22202-2907
Tel/Fax 703-920-2744

Image (click to enlarge): Tom Toles cartoon, Oct. 6, 2010, from Washington Post

Monday, October 4, 2010

Endless Summer XII: September's Sweltering Summary

For related record temperature posts, see:
The recent all-time record high temperature at Los Angeles got all the press attention, but that event was just one of literally thousands of daily high temperature records set in the U.S. during September. This continues a trend of heat records which has prevailed for nearly all of 2010 so far.

Following the blistering first 3 weeks of August, in which heat records outpaced cold records by a 7:1 ratio nationwide, a cooler surge in the final week brought the final ratio to 3.5:1. This was still much above the 2:1 average of the previous decade.

In September, daily high temperature records numbered nearly 2400, roughly 1/3 above the previous monthly high for the year, which was slightly less than 1800 in April. With only 459 daily low temperature records, the ratio of heat records to cold records was 5.2:1, the highest for any month since April's 6.1:1 dominated the spring statistics. The year-to-date ratio has now risen to 2.6:1. Every month this year from March onward has had at least twice as many heat records as cold records, except for May, when the ratio was 1.4:1.

September also had a large number of record high minimum temperatures (1,286) vs. low maximums (557), a ratio of 2.3:1.

The analysis from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory shows that average temperatures in September were warmer than the 1968-1996 base period over nearly all of the U.S. (Green/yellow/orange areas are warmer than average, and blue/purple areas are cooler on the map.) The notable exception was over the extreme northern Plains and the immediate Pacific Coast. This was consistent with the pattern prevailing for the entire June-September period.

Images (click to enlarge):
- Total number of daily high and low temperature records set in the U.S. for spring 2010 (March-April-May) and monthly from June through September 2010, data from NOAA National Climatic Data Center, background image © Kevin Ambrose. Includes historical daily observations archived in NCDC's Cooperative Summary of the Day data set and preliminary reports from Cooperative Observers and First Order National Weather Service stations. All stations have a Period of Record of at least 30 years.
- U.S. surface temperature departure from average (°C) for Sept. 2010 and June-Sept. 2010 from Earth System Research Laboratory/NOAA

Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.