Don’t ask me why, but I’ve started downloading and reading a selection of scientific papers on various aspects of the global warming science. I’ve lately been perusing papers that discuss the methods used to reconstruct historical temperature series. We do not obviously have thermometer readings from the past (more than 150 years ago) and so scientists must use temperature proxies to reconstruct the record. Simply put, a proxy is something that is very correlated with temperature changes, so if we can measure the changes in the proxies and date when they happened, and if we know the true relationship between this proxy and the temperature, we can get a pretty good idea for what temperatures were like way back in the past.
Disagreement about the reliability of these proxies is very much a part of the debate in climate science. Of course, anyone who questions whether the width of a tree ring from a single location embodies everything we need to know about the temperature record of the entire planet and that we can model out all of the other things that alter tree ring widths is again going to be painted a denier. The papers I read justify this in a variety of ways, read any climate science textbook for more details. All I would like to point out for today’s post is what almost made my eyes pop out of my head when I read it. I paste in a selection as an image taken directly from this paper:
Let me repeat that. The ability to pick and choose which samples to use is an advantage unique to dendroclimatology. That doesn’t sound exactly like the scientific method to me. Read the rest of the paper – I’ll buy a cup of coffee if readers can point to other instances of this kind of science being done.