Ted Cruz’s claims about satellite temperature data are dismissed by the scientist in charge of producing the data in question. I hereby make a DARING PREDICTION. I predict that Ted Cruz will completely ignore the fact that Dr. Mears thinks he is misinterpreting his data. Because Ted Cruz.
Pwn /pōn/ (verb, slang): to appropriate or to conquer to gain ownership. The term implies domination or humiliation of a rival, used primarily in the Internet-based video game culture to taunt an opponent who has just been soundly defeated (e.g., “You just got pwned!”).
Last month, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) held a joint hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (chaired by Smith) and the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness (run by Cruz). During the hearing, Senator Cruz pounded on his favorite climate-related theme: the SATELLITE data show “no significant warming” for 18 YEARS!!!! SATELLITE data!!!! This had previously been brought up by one of the witnesses for the Republicans, Prof. John Christy (University of Alabama, Huntsville).
This resulted in an interesting exchange between Cruz and the sole witness for the Democrats, former Navy rear Admiral David Titley. (Titley was the chief oceanographer for the U.S. Navy, and now is Professor of Meteorology at Penn State.) Admiral Titley first mentioned that Cruz’s interpretation of the data was dependent on statistical cherry-picking (i.e., starting the analysis that just happens to be during a massive El Niño event), and later mentioned some general problems with satellite temperature readings, in general. (For instance, it’s hard to completely separate out microwave radiation coming to the satellite from the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere nearest the ground that has been warming, and the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere, which has been cooling.) He went on to mention that Prof. Christy, who is head of a unit that collects one set of satellite temperature data, had botched his interpretation of the satellite data something like four times in the past, and had to revise his temperature trend estimates upward every time. But Cruz had an answer for that! The data he was using was not Prof. Christy’s. In fact, it was the satellite temperature data put out by Remote Sensing Systems. You can watch the entire exchange here.
Well, Peter Sinclair from the Yale Climate Forum, just produced a video called “How Reliable are Satellite Temperatures?”, in which a number of well known climatologists explain why satellite temperature data isn’t really the “gold standard” that everything else needs to be compared with. One of those scientists was Carl Mears, Ph.D., who is in charge of producing the RSS data set. Apparently, Ted Cruz never had anyone on his staff give Dr. Mears a call to see what he thought of his own data. Check out the video here:
This is reminiscent of “L’Affaire Pinker”, in which Tim Lambert caught Lord Christopher Monckton badly misinterpreting data he got from one Dr. Rachel Pinker. Lambert had actually bothered to ask Dr. Pinker what she thought of Monckton’s interpretations, and was able to confront Monckton with her response during a live debate.
I hereby make a DARING PREDICTION. I predict that Ted Cruz will completely ignore the fact that Dr. Mears thinks he is misinterpreting his data. Because Ted Cruz.