Ok. Thanks to all commentators (Josh, Kristy, Annie, and Lora Lee) for encouraging me to continue writing for a while longer. A day doing hands-on "approach to critical experiments" with highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the famed Superblock facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has given me some inspiration to find something to write about. For those that don't know (no offense, but I am pretty that is almost anyone that is not a nuclear geek or anti-nuclear protester), Superblock is LLNL's plutonium research facility. Here are some pictures from previous classes (if you look closely, you can see the cute little PU [plutonium] skunk on the lab coats). They have been taking pictures during the class, so eventually my class will make onto that site.
So, it took me about 10 minutes of web surfing to find something that really ticked me off. To me, it also proved that government science is not what it once was. On August 4th, Anthony Watts posted a story about a negative trend in the carbon dioxide level as measured at the Mauna Loa observatory for the first time since the measurements began. On August 5th, Anthony decided to check the data again. Amazingly, the data has CHANGED less than 24 hours after his post. Anthony has a very nice blink comparator of the changes to the data that occurred.
What's the big deal? Well, for one thing, the increasing trend in the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is one of the driving forces behind "Cap and Trade" legislation for energy producers and huge carbon taxes on individuals. If the trend was started to go negative despite increased energy production in such places as China and India, it would conclusively show that humanity has little effect on the already trace amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In any case, I couldn't find a statement of the NOAA website that either explained why the data had been changed (or even that it had changed). There is a disclaimer on the site that says it is "subject to change." We are talking about a measurement with an instrument. If my data from experiments (like those today) were "subject to change," no one would ever have confidence in me as a nuclear scientist and my ethics would be called into question (especially if all my changes favored my hypotheses). It is truly astonishing the amount of change that is tolerated in the name of climate science.
Anthony was a little more industrious (you can see how if you read his post) and got an answer that satisfied him. A commentator on Watt's Up With That summarized my entire problem with this adjustment:
- "The changes go all the way back to 1974 (for those who haven’t seen the other thread). I sometimes theorize that NOAA & GISS must have time machines that allow them to get new readings 34+ years after the fact. I can imagine no other reason that policy makers base decisions worth hundreds of billions on an ever-shifting chimera of data."
We are being asked to support further research on global warming by people that are not only adjusting temperature data on a monthly basis, but they are also now adjusting carbon dioxide measurements (not model calculations) that go back over 30 years. To me, this requires faith in both the time travel abilities of these teams and a high confidence in their ethical standards. I just don't have either. And until James Hanson or Pieter Tans (the latest data adjuster) walk on water, I never will.
AND, I will continue to believe that the whole man-made global warming thing is a big grab for governmental control of our lives.