Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Global Warming? Maybe, Maybe Not 

Charles Martin at The American Thinker notes that the computer models used to "prove" that global warming exists and is anthropogenic from tree-ring data produce the infamous "hockey stick" graph even when applied to random ("red noise") data. A description of the study that produced these results is here, and is also linked in Martin's post.

Now, I'm no scientist or mathematician, but when random data produce the same conclusion as real-world data when input into a statistical model, it seems to me that maybe, just maybe, the statistical model might have a built-in bias toward producing that result.

I'm not saying that the scientists who developed the statistical climatic models engaged in intellectual fraud. I am saying that anything created by humans, especially a statistical model that purports to reconstruct and/or mimic a system as complex as the earth's climate, quite possibly may contain errors.

At the very least, this development suggests that qualified scientists should conduct a detailed review of the structure and process of the climactic models that produce the "hockey stick" pattern to make sure that the pattern is not an artifact of the models themselves. Until that happens, maybe it would be better to suspend expensive government-funded projects aimed at stopping global warming.

Credit Jeff Goldstein for the pointer.

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