In my last post I discussed what seems to me a very odd fact, namely that the proponents of the diet-heart hypothesis in the field of nutrition somehow massively carried the day against their opponents despite huge amounts of contrary evidence that would seem to completely refute the hypothesis. Thus the diet-heart hypothesis really started to get traction in the 1950s following the six- and seven-country studies by Ancel Keys, purporting to show a neat and direct correlation between dietary fat and heart disease in the populations of seven countries -- Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, the Netherlands, Japan and the United States. Yet even at the time Keys published his studies, it was widely known that data from other countries (for example, France, Switzerland and Mexico) would contradict this seemingly neat pattern and refute the hypothesis. Keys just ignored these other countries.
Maybe Keys could be forgiven for doing early studies much less lavishly funded than what we would expect today? Well, consider that as late as 2007 one Dr. Daniel Steinberg -- a long-time promoter of the diet-heart hypothesis, leader of the so-called LRC study in the 70s and 80s, and main author of the 1984 "consensus statement" recommending the low fat diet to all -- wrote a book called "The Cholesterol Wars." In that book, Steinberg cites the Keys studies as a principal proof of the link between diet and heart disease; and Steinberg discusses the Keys studies without mentioning the existence of the multiple other countries where the data do not support, and indeed would refute, the hypothesis. And then he confidently asserts that the hypothesis is proved. (The subtitle of the book is "The Skeptics vs the Preponderance of the Evidence"). Hey, it's easy to prove your hypothesis if you get to pretend that the adverse evidence does not exist!
So now in the field of world atmospheric temperatures (sometimes known as GAST -- global average surface temperature) and whether they are increasing, we were treated a couple of days ago to the big release from NOAA declaring 2015 to be the "warmest year on record"; and, by the way, "by a wide margin"!!!!! The NOAA release is confidently assertive and admits of no ambiguity:
The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for 2015 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880. During the final month, the December combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the highest on record for any month in the 136-year record.
Of course, everybody who follows this knows that there are three independent data sources that attempt to track GAST -- one based on a ground-based thermometer network that is the source of the NOAA series (with the same or substantially-overlapping networks of ground-based thermometers also used by other agencies like NASA and the UK's CRU); a second based on satellites, with the data processed independently by two entities known as UAH and RSS; and a third based on radiosondes (balloons). Everybody who follows this also knows that the ground-based thermometer records have been greatly "adjusted" by the people who publish them, and that all or nearly all of the increase in temperatures in recent years is in the adjustments and not present in the raw data.
So wouldn't you think that NOAA in its release would at the minimum acknowledge the existence of the other contrary data and attempt somehow to deal with the contradictions? Well, take a look at that release; and, if you will, follow the link through to their full end-of-2015 Report. You will not find the slightest mention that the satellite or balloon data even exist. And of course that also means that you will not find any attempt to explain the discrepancies between and among data sets, or to justify why one is better than others.
And then there are the lapdog environmental-crusader journalists. Don't they have some responsibility to their readers to give some kind of fair picture of the evidence? Check out the New York Times article by crusader Justin Gillis that appeared in the number one position at the upper right of yesterday's print edition, "2015 Far Eclipsed 2014 As World's Hottest Year, Climate Scientists Say." It's all just parroting and promotion of the NOAA (and NASA) line, without the slightest questioning. There's a chart of the NASA data series right there on page 1, with a scrunched vertical scale to make the temperatures appear to zoom up over the past several years. Then there's this quote from Gavin Schmidt of NASA/GISS, also on the front page:
“Is there any evidence for a pause in the long-term global warming rate?” said Gavin A. Schmidt, head of NASA’s climate-science unit, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in Manhattan. “The answer is no. That was true before last year, but it’s much more obvious now.”
Huh? Everybody who knows anything knows that the satellite and balloon data sets directly contradict this statement. Does he really think we are this uninformed? The two main satellite-based data sets, UAH and RSS, both show a pause exceeding 18 years, and neither shows 2015 as the warmest or second-warmest year (although 2015 is one of the warmer years in both sets, as would be expected in the presence of a strong El Nino).
At Breitbart a few days ago, James Delingpole points to a new video by climate super-alarmist Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann and others (Mann is the climate equivalent of Steinberg and Keys) attempting to discredit the satellite data. OK, they are entitled to make their points, however flimsy. But John Christy of UAH immediately produced this chart showing the extremely close agreement between the satellite and balloon data sets, even though the methods of producing the two are completely unrelated:
I can only think that the idea is if you just present your own cooked data loudly enough and prominently enough and often enough, and just completely ignore all contrary evidence and pretend that it does not exist, then eventually you will carry the day by sheer force of will. That certainly was the game plan of the diet-heart promoters, and it seemed to be working for a very long time. But recently the contrary evidence has become just too overwhelming.
Will that happen for the global warming hypothesis? Probably when the next big La Nina kicks in. Will they really be able to make enough data adjustments to make that go away?