Friday, November 27, 2009

Code Green

I'm watching the unfolding scandal from the East Anglia CRU carefully, because what we're learning is huge. Charlie Martin, a computer programmer by trade, has taken a look at the notes of "Harry," the computer programmer who had the unfortunate job of trying to turn the climate data into something useful. His entire synopsis is definitely worth reading.

The computer code is crucial to understanding what's happened. The data from the East Anglia CRU have formed the very backbone of much of the science behind global warming/global climate change/AGW/whatever they're calling it these days. Martin identifies the key passage, in which they discover that they can't run the program on the existing data, which cannot be replicated because it's been through so many gyrations already. "Harry's" comments are italicized:

This is not good — the existing program produces a serious error when it’s run on what is supposed to be the old, working data. Harry presses on, finding a solution to that bug, going through many more issues as he tried to recreate the results of these runs for the data from 1901 to 1995. Finally he gives up. He has spoken to someone about what should be done:

AGREED APPROACH for cloud (5 Oct 06).
For 1901 to 1995 – stay with published data. No clear way to replicate process as undocumented. For 1996 to 2002:
1. convert sun database to pseudo-cloud using the f77 programs;
2. anomalise wrt 96-00 with anomdtb.f;
3. grid using (which will use 6190 norms);
4. calculate (mean9600 – mean6190) for monthly grids, using the published cru_ts_2.0 cloud data;
5. add to gridded data from step 3.
This should approximate the correction needed.

Catch that? They couldn’t recreate the results, so they’re going back to their published data for the first 95 years of the 20th century. Only …

Next problem — which database to use? The one with the normals included is not appropriate (the conversion progs do not look for that line so obviously are not intended to be used on +norm databases).

They still don’t know what to use for the next several years. Harry gives up; it’s easier to write new codes.

22. Right, time to stop pussyfooting around the niceties of Tim’s labyrinthine software suites – let’s have a go at producing CRU TS 3.0! since failing to do that will be the definitive failure of the entire project.

Again, I ask the question: would you remake the entire world economy and impose a gigantic regulatory scheme of the sort envisioned by the luminaries who will gather in Copenhagen in December? Are you confident that the matter is settled?

I'm not. And I'm not willing to accept the blithe assurances of those people who are trying to stampede us into action.

Just a guess -- Al Gore makes Bernie Madoff look like a piker. There's a lot more and I'll be talking about it in the coming days.

1 comment:

CousinDan54915 said...

If Al Gore goes to jail that would be sweet justice. Hell, his having to testify would be fun to watch. What would he tell his Kleiner Perkins partners--"uh, well, when I created the Internet I failed to reload the database and I got busy with the campaign and there apparently is not warming of the oceans." The KP guys will sue him to claw back his earnings.