Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Don't write to me asking me to support your crusade against global warming science

I've received yet another email indicating that the author thinks I don't believe man is responsible for global warming. This comes about because of an insidious sort of tribalism that has turned conversations about climate change into a "you're either with us or against us" situation.

For the record, my reading of the scientific literature and my own reproductions of Met Office data convince me that (a) the world is warming and (b) the most likely reason for this is man.

Much of the 'debate' about climate change reminds me of the pro-choice/pro-life non-debates in the US. Once you split down what look suspiciously like faith lines you're no longer doing science at all. Many people seem to mistake my criticism of the quality of source code used by UEA's CRU as indication of some underlying belief on my part.


To be clear, I think the code I saw from CRU was woeful and had many easily identified bugs. I also think that source code used for scientific papers should be routinely be made available. And, yes, I did find errors in Met Office software. People who discuss those errors often seem to omit the fact that correcting them reduces the error range for global temperatures thus increasing the confidence that the temperature trend is up since the 1970s.

I find it very sad that I can't criticize the one area of climate change science I know something about (software) without suddenly being thought of as 'on the side of the skeptics/deniers'. I'm not on anyone's side. I'll call it like I see it.


If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy my travel book for people interested in science and technology: The Geek Atlas. Signed copies of The Geek Atlas are available.


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