Who wouldn’t! Debates beat apathy. The Munk Debates is cool. The more so since climate change was the theme for the Fourth Munk Debates. Climate change, just like continental drift, has been around for a few billion years. It took geologists from 1915 to 1950 to slow down to continental drift and call it plate tectonics. So, it’s about time to debate climate change. Why not call it weather dynamics? I work with metrology, the science of measurement. I took a crack at testing whether or not annual temperatures at several locations in Canada have changed significantly as a function of time. The average temperature of 6.57 centigrade in 2007 at Ottawa International Airport was significantly higher than the average temperature of 4.79 centigrade in 1939. Similarly, the average temperature of 8.30 centigrade in 2007 at Toronto International Airport was significantly higher than the average temperature of 6.04 centigrade in 1939. Average temperatures didn’t change at international airports in Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria. Neither did the average temperature in Coral Harbour and Iqaluit change significantly during the test period under examination.
Some grasp of statistics is required to apply Fisher’s F-test and verify spatial dependence between annual temperatures in ordered sets. Weather dynamics do change from day to day, from week to week, and from month to month. Such short-term changes in temperatures do not merit a Munk Debates. What does merit a Munk Debates is the question whether or not geostatistics is a scientific fraud.
Here’s in a nutshell my take on the Fourth Munk Debates. Elizabeth May is Leader of the Green Party of Canada. She is a gifted and confident speaker. She knows a lot of environmental stuff. She doesn’t know much about temperatures recorded by Environment Canada. Given that the Leader of the Green Party does speak a lot in public, she should know where temperatures went up or down, since when, and by how much.
George Monbiot was her partner in the Fourth Munk Debates. He is a superb scribe with the Guardian newspaper where his penchant for hyperboles runs rampant. How to measure climate change as a function of space and time is far beyond his grasp. Monbiot says cool things such as, “Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every so often allows a band of Neanderthals to trample over it.” He doesn’t know Sir Ronald A Fisher ‘s work is trampled over by a tribe of statistically dysfunctional geoscientists bred in France, Great Britain, and elsewhere on this planet. The May/Monbiot side debated The Case For Climate Change.
Lord Nigel Lawson and Bjorn Lomborg debated The Case Against Climate Change. Lord Lawson is in a class apart when it comes to a life of public service in the United Kingdom of Great Britain. His work has done much to cool down global warming to climate change. He is the author of An Appeal to Reason, A Cool Look at Global Warming. He is the Chairman of Oxford Investment Partners, and of Central Europe Trust. As such, he knows all about mining conglomerates and mineral inventories in annual reports. He is bound to remember the Bre-X fraud. He may be unaware that geostatistical software converted Bre-X’s bogus grades and Busang’s barren rock into a huge phantom gold resource. Neither may Lord Lawson remember the cast of characters behind the Bre-X fraud.
Bjorn Lomborg’s claim to fame is based on The Skeptical Environmentalist and on Cool It. He is adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. He also set up the Copenhagen Consensus Center to bring together those who set priorities for the world. I had brought to his attention in August 2008 that junk statistics underpins Matheron’s new science of geostatistics. I wanted to know whether he applies geostatistical data analysis. Environment Canada points to geostatistical data analysis in its handbook for inspectors. The skeptical environmentalist did not respond to my message.
The Merks and Merks team wants to debate The Case Against Geostatistics. Dr Frits P Agterberg, Emeritus Scientist with Natural Resources Canada, and Dr Roussos Dimitrakopoulos, Professor with McGill University, are highly qualified to debate The Case For Geostatistics. Both are serving in key positions with IAMG (International Association for Mathematical Geosciences). Once upon a time, IAMG stood for International Association for Mathematical Geology. Nowadays, our world needs more mathematical statistics.