Heresy and the creation of monsters

by Judith Curry

I’m having another “Alice down the rabbit hole” moment, in response to the Scientific American article, the explication of the article by its author Michael Lemonick, Scientific American’s survey on whether I am a dupe or a peacemaker, and the numerous discussions in blogosphere.

My first such moment was in 2005 in response to the media attention associated with the hurricane wars, which was described in a Q&A with Keith Kloor at collide-a-scape.  While I really want to make this blog about the science and not about personalities (and especially not about me),  this article deserves a response.

The title of the article itself is rather astonishing.  The Wikipedia defines heresy as: “Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma.”  The definition of dogma is “Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from.”   Use of the word “heretic” by Lemonick implies general acceptance by the “insiders” of the IPCC as dogma.  If the IPCC is dogma, then count me in as a heretic.  The story should not be about me, but about how and why the IPCC became dogma.

And what exactly is the nature of my challenges to the dogma?  Lemonick made the following statement:  ““What I found out is that when [Curry] does raise valid points, they’re often points the climate-science community already agrees with — and many climate scientists are scratching their heads at the implication that she’s uncovered some dark secret.”   This statement implies that I am saying nothing new, nothing that climate scientists don’t already know.  Well that is mostly true (an exception being my recent blog series on uncertainty); I am mostly saying things that are blindingly obvious to everyone.  Sort of like in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”   A colleague of mine at Georgia Tech, a Chair from a different department, said something like this:  “I’ve been reading the media stories on the Georgia Tech Daily News Buzz that mention your statements.  Your statements seem really sensible.  But what I don’t understand is why such statements are regarded as news?”

Well that is a question that deserves an answer.  I lack the hubris to think that my statements should have any public importance.  The fact that they seem to be of some importance says a lot more about the culture of climate science and its perception by the public, than it says about me.

The narrative

Why am I being singled out here?  Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke Sr. have been making far more critical statements about the IPCC and climate science for a longer period than I have.  And both score higher than me in the academic pecking order  (in terms of number of publications and citations and external peer recognition).

The answer must be in the narrative of my transition from a “high priestess of global warming” to engagement with skeptics and a critic of the IPCC.  The “high priestess of global warming” narrative (I used to see this term fairly frequently in the blogosphere, can’t spot it now) arose from my association with the hurricane and global warming issue, which at the time was the most alarming issue associated with global warming.

The overall evolution of my thinking on global warming is described in the Q&A at collide-a-scape (the relevant statements are appended at the end of this post.) My thinking and evolution on this issue since 11/19/09 deserves further clarification.  When I first started reading the CRU emails, my reaction was a visceral one.  While my colleagues seemed focused on protecting the reputations of the scientists involved and assuring people that the “science hadn’t changed,” I immediately realized that this could bring down the IPCC.  I became concerned about the integrity of our entire field: both the actual integrity and its public perception.  When  I saw how the IPCC was responding and began investigating the broader allegations against the IPCC, I became critical of the IPCC and tried to make suggestions for improving the IPCC.  As glaring errors were uncovered (especially the Himalayan glaciers) and the IPCC failed to respond, I started to question whether it was possible to salvage the IPCC and whether it should be salvaged.   In the meantime, the establishment institutions in the U.S. and elsewhere were mostly silent on the topic.

In Autumn 2005, I had decided that the responsible thing to do in making public statements on the subject of global warming was to adopt the position of the IPCC.  My decision was based on two reasons: 1) the subject was very complex and I had personally investigated a relatively small subset of the topic; 2) I bought into the meme of “don’t trust what one scientists says, trust what thousands of IPCC scientists say.”  A big part of my visceral reaction to events unfolding after 11/19 was concern that I had been duped into supporting the IPCC, and substituting their judgment for my own in my public statements on the subject.  So that is the “dupe” part of all this, perhaps not what Lemonick had in mind.

If, how, and why I had been duped by the IPCC became an issue of overwhelming personal and professional concern.   I decided that there were two things that I could do: 1) speak out publicly and try to restore integrity to climate science by increasing transparency and engaging with skeptics; and 2) dig deeply into the broader aspects of the science and the IPCC’s arguments and try to assess the uncertainty.  The Royal Society Workshop on Handling Uncertainty in Science last March motivated me to take on #2 in a serious way.  I spent all summer working on a paper entitled “Climate Science and the Uncertainty Monster,”  which was submitted to a journal in August.  I have no idea what the eventual fate of this paper will be, but it has seeded the uncertainty series on Climate Etc. and its fate seems almost irrelevant at this point.

Monster creation

There are some parallels between the “McIntyre monster” and the “Curry monster.” The monster status derives from our challenges to the IPCC science and the issue of uncertainty.  While the McIntyre monster is far more prominent in the public debate, the Curry monster seems far more irksome to community insiders.  The CRU emails provide ample evidence of the McIntyre monster, and in the wake of the CRU emails I saw a discussion at RealClimate about the unbridled power of Steve McIntyre.  Evidence of the Curry monster is provided by this statement in Lemonick’s article: “What scientists worry is that such exposure means Curry has the power to do damage to a consensus on climate change that has been building for the past 20 years.”  This sense of McIntyre and myself as having “power” seems absurd to me (and probably to Steve), but it seems real to some people.

Well, who created these “monsters?”  Big oil and the right-wing ideologues?  Wrong.  It was the media, climate activists, and the RealClimate wing of the blogosphere (note, the relative importance of each is different for  McIntyre versus myself).   I wonder if the climate activists will ever learn, or if they will follow the pied piper of the merchants of doubt meme into oblivion.

A note to my critics in the climate science community

Let me preface my statement by saying that at this point,  I am pretty much immune to criticisms from my peers regarding my behavior and public outreach on this topic (I respond to any and all criticisms of my arguments that are specifically addressed to me.)   If you think that I am a big part of the cause of the problems you are facing, I suggest that you think about this more carefully.   I am doing my best to return some sanity to this situation and restore science to a higher position than the dogma of consensus.  You may not like it, and my actions may turn out to be ineffective, futile, or counterproductive in the short or long run, by whatever standards this whole episode ends up getting judged.  But this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.

Let me ask you this.  So how are things going for you lately?  A year ago, the climate establishment was on top of the world, masters of the universe.   Now we have a situation where there have been major challenges to the reputations of a number of a number of scientists, the IPCC, professional societies, and other institutions of science.  The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science.  The IPCC and the UNFCCC are regarded by many as impediments to sane and politically viable energy policies.  The enviro advocacy groups are abandoning the climate change issue for more promising narratives.  In the U.S., the prospect of the Republicans winning the House of Representatives raises the specter of hearings on the integrity of climate science and reductions in federal funding for climate research.

What happened?  Did the skeptics and the oil companies and the libertarian think tanks win?  No, you lost.  All in the name of supporting policies that I don’t think many of you fully understand.  What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life.  And because of the high relevance of our field, we need to figure out how to provide the best possible scientific information and assessment of uncertainties.  This means abandoning this religious adherence to consensus dogma.

Addendum: reproduced from my Q&A at collide-a-scape

” Circa 2003, I was concerned about the way climate research was treating uncertainty (see my little essay presented to the NRC Climate Research Committee).

I was considered somewhat quixotic but not really outside of the mainstream (p.s. the CRC didn’t pay any attention to my essay, they went off in a different direction that focused on communicating uncertainty and decisionmaking under uncertainty).  During this period,  I was comfortably ensconced in the ivory tower of academia, writing research papers, going to conferences, submitting grant proposals.  I was 80% oblivious to what was going on in terms of the public debate surrounding climate change.

This all changed on September 14, 2005, when I participated in a press conference on our forthcoming paper that described a substantial increase in the global number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes. The unplanned and uncanny timing of publication of this paper was three weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.  While global warming was mentioned only obliquely in the paper, the press focused on the global warming angle and a media furor followed. We were targeted as global warming alarmists, capitalizing on this tragedy to increase research funding and for personal publicity, a threat to capitalism and the American way of life, etc.

At the same time, we were treated like rock stars by the environmental movement.  Our 15 minutes stretched into days, weeks and months.  Hurricane Katrina became a national focusing event for the global warming debate. We were particularly stung by criticisms from fellow research scientists who claimed that we were doing this “for the money” and attacked our personal and scientific integrity.  We felt that one scientist in particular had crossed the line and committed a series of fouls, and this turned the scientific debate into academic guerrilla warfare between our team and the skeptics that was played out in the glare of the media.  This “war” culminated in an article published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, “Debate shatters the civility of weather science”  on Feb 2, 2006 . . .  This article became a catharsis for the hurricane research community, that engendered extensive email discussion among scientists on both sides of the public debate. We did an email version of a “group hug” and vowed to stop the guerilla warfare.

I had lost my bearings in all of this, and the Wall Street Journal article had the effect of a bucket of cold water being poured over my head.  I learned several important lessons from this experience: just because the other guy commits the first “foul” doesn’t give you the moral high ground in protracted academic guerilla warfare. Nothing in this crazy environment is worth sacrificing your personal or professional integrity.  After all, no one remembers who fired the first shot, all they see is unprofessional behavior.

I took a step back and tried to understand all this craziness and learn from it. I even wrote a journal article on this, “Mixing Politics and Science in Testing the Hypothesis that Greenhouse Warming is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity.”  This paper got quite a bit of play in the blogosphere upon its publication in Aug 2006, and at this time I made my first major foray into the blogosphere, checking in at all the blogs where the paper was being discussed.  See esp realclimate and climateaudit (but I can no longer find the original thread on climateaudit).

At climateaudit, the posters had some questions about statistics and wanted to see the raw data.  I was pretty impressed by the level of discussion, and wondered why I had not come across this blog before over at the realclimate blogroll.  Then I realized that I was on Steve McIntyre’s blog (I had sort of heard of his tiff with Mann, but wasn’t really up on all this at the time).  I was actually having much more fun over at climateaudit than at realclimate, and I thought it made much more sense to spend time at climateaudit rather than to preach to the converted at realclimate.    Back in 2006 spending time at climateaudit was pretty rough sport (it wasn’t really moderated at the time).  When I first started spending time over there, the warmist blogs thought it was really funny, and encouraged me to give ‘em hell.

I was continuing my overall thinking on how to better deal with skeptics and increase the credibility and integrity of science.  I gave an invited talk at Fall 2006 AGU meeting, entitled “Falling out of the ivory tower:  Reflections on mixing politics and climate science.” This is where I first started talking about circling the wagons, etc.  I don’t think this was quite what the convenors had in mind when they invited me to give this talk, but at the time I still had pretty solid status as a survivor of vicious political attacks during the hurricane wars and was a heroine for taking down Bill Gray.

When the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report was published in 2007, I joined the consensus in supporting this document as authoritative; I was convinced by the rigors of the process, etc etc.  While I didn’t personally agree with everything in the document (still nagging concerns about the treatment of uncertainty), I bought into the meme of “don’t trust what one scientist says, listen to the IPCC.”  During 2008 and 2009, I became increasingly concerned by the lack of “policy neutrality” by people involved in the IPCC and policies that didn’t make sense to me.  But after all, “don’t trust what one scientist says”, and I continued to substitute the IPCC assessment for my own personal judgment [in my public statements].

November 19, 2009: bucket of cold water #2.  When I first saw the climategate emails, I knew these were real, they confirmed concerns and suspicions that I already had.  After my first essay “On the credibility . . .” posted at climateaudit, I got some emails that asked me to be sensitive to the feelings of the scientists involved.  I said I was a whole lot more worried about the IPCC, in terms of whether it could be saved and whether it should be saved.  I had been willing to substitute the IPCC for my own personal judgment [in public statements], but after reading those emails, the IPCC lost the moral high ground in my opinion.  Not to say that the IPCC science was wrong, but I no longer felt obligated in substituting the IPCC for my own personal judgment.

So the Judith Curry ca 2010 is the same scientist as she was in 2003, but sadder and wiser as a result of the hurricane wars, a public spokesperson on the global warming issue owing to the media attention from the hurricane wars, more broadly knowledgeable about the global warming issue, much more concerned about the integrity of climate science, listening to skeptics, and a blogger (for better or for worse). . .  People really find it hard to believe that I don’t have a policy agenda about climate change/energy (believe me, Roger Pielke Jr has tried very hard to smoke me out as a “stealth advocate”).  Yes, I want clean green energy, economic development and “world peace”.  I have no idea how much climate change should be weighted in these kinds of policy decisions.  I lack the knowledge, wisdom and hubris to think that anything I say or do should be of any consequence to climate/carbon/energy policy.”

763 responses to “Heresy and the creation of monsters

    • i remember this one. RP Jr and I went at it. Interesting pieces of climate blogospheric history :) still haven’t spotted the thread I am thinking of tho

  1. and more interaction here.

    You can delete any of these comments if they don’t help.

    • With some offline help from jeez, we finally found the first thread that I posted on over at climateaudit, a real piece of climate blogospheric history :)

      • I will never forget the debate that bender and I arranged between you and lucia and Dr. Browning. That was great.

        For me the whole issue of “tribalism” became clear when we were discussing Kristin Byrnes.

        Eli as usual was berating a child to fix her chart. I admonished Her to fix her graph and I think you joined in as well. At some point you invited her to visit Georgia Tech before deciding on college. That one act of kindness spoke volumes Judy. And then some skeptic called you the “wicked witch of the west” and it all became clear.

        Certain people have become symbolic in this debate and its important for each side to turn key figures into memes. I saw that with Kirsten, Steve, Dr. Mann, and you. They need to stick you into a box :heretic or dupe. Nothing does the trick like a false dilemma

        I just always figured you were a kind and smart soul.

      • steve, that exchange was definitely fun. interesting that a lot of people have been linking to the old CA threads, some interesting stuff

      • We wont mention the one where I insulted one of your students. That was a class act on my part. Nice guy, very sharp and acerbic. writing had a definite european flavor, french I recall.

      • You guys gonna hug?

  2. Dr. Curry –

    I’d be interested in knowing to where you would refer a member of the general public for the best available overview of the state of the science regarding climate change. Despite the problems with the IPCC, my overall opinion based on my independent assessment is still the same as it was three years ago: “The Working Group 1 reports are quite good overall, and amount to the best available overview of the state of the science. They are generally reliable, but as a general rule I would suggest ratcheting down the certainties one notch or so.

    • John, the IPCC WGI report is a good summary of the overall state of the science, but it is not really understandable in this way unless the reader has a lot of context. So there are two elements here: helping a technically educated non-expert understand the science, and providing a summary assessment for policy makers. I don’t think that the IPCC WG1 scores very high on either element. Sounds like you need to write a book :)

      • It is an interesting side story that Dr. N-G was actually the first scientist accepted by the AGW community to poke a real hole in the IPCC, yet he is not (yet) declared heretic by the opinion leaders. Dr. Curry is declared heretic for simply voicing legitimate question and allowing discussion by the unwashed.
        I wonder how much of this disparate treatment has to do with outrage in the AGW community that a female would dare disturb the dogma?

    • David L. Hagen

      John N-G
      For the short “red team” version on climate change, see JoNova for
      The Skeptics Handbook
      For the long version, see:
      Climate Change Reconsidered, the 2009 report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change

    • Have you read the following viz.
      The Hockey Stick Illusion
      Climate Change Reconsidered
      The Climate Fix


      It seems to me that the IPCC have ignored/excluded a huge volume of peer-reviewed evidence which does not support AGW.
      Moreover, in some cases, they have actually misrepresented the work of authors they have cited e.g. Pielke Jr, Idso

    • John N-G

      My view differs diametrically from your view. Persistently, Working Group 1 fails to identify the statistical population by which the conclusions of Working Group 1 might be falsified. This places the speculations of Working Group I outside science.

  3. Hi Judith,

    Thank you for your courage and integrity. Like you, I had accepted the “concensus” at face value, until I started looking in detail behind the IPCC pronouncements (a few years ago).

    However, so far as I can see, the “man (woman) in the street” in Australia (where I am) is still accepting of that “concensus” – primarily because our media is solidly backing that point of view. The average citizen is totally unaware of the vigorous debate that has been going on since November 2009.

    In the meantime, other critical issues (global hunger, poverty, disease, and “real” pollution, etc) are deprived of the political attention, funding and research that could really make a difference to the lives (and deaths) of millions.

    And yes, Science has been the loser.

  4. Dr. Curry,

    No doubt, you’d be interested in the cognitive science aspects of governance, and the strong interests that corporations have in making science as ineffective as possible in the forming of public, and legislative opinion. I’m a little perturbed by your dismissal of the role of negative memes about science promulgated by corporate-funded 527 and 501 c4 non-profits.

    Thanks for your dedication. Please don’t return to your ivory tower of experimentation and theorizing without applying your no doubt formidable intellect to the gross problem of human misery caused by anti-science attitudes.

    Ormond Otvos, BS 1961 Molecular Physics

  5. “What scientists worry is that such exposure means Curry has the power to do damage to a consensus on climate change that has been building for the past 20 years.”

    Dr. Curry if you and Steve McIntyre can pull down a climate change consensus (which seems to me the scientific method) then it would fall down eventually. Science is not, and never should be, majority rule.

    • Yes, the consensus seems fragile indeed if they are threatened by the likes of myself and McIntyre

      • Erm, you are making an error of logic here.

        The consensus is not as fragile as you believe that it seems: the overwhelming majority of professional, expert scientists maintain exactly the position* on AGW that they always have. Your involvement and McIntyre’s does nothing to threaten the profession’s understanding.

        What “the likes of [your]self and McIntyre” do is to mislead and confuse the laity’s impression of the state of climatological science. In so doing the global community’s response to human-induced global warming is compromised, and this certainly “threatens” the professional body of scientists who constitute the “consensus”, because they – more than anyone – understand and appreciate the consequences of inaction or of insufficient action.

        It is entirely possible, and looking increasingly probably, that the actual scientific consensus will remain as stong as it has always been, and that it is the public’s understanding and the polity’s wills that are the fragile entities in this saga. This might serve the ideologues and the vested interests in the short-term, but in the long term is is an own-goal againsat the fragility of the global ecosystems upon which humans and countless other species rely.

        (*Your response to this might be a claim of “groupthink” or of “tribalism”, but perhaps Ockham’s razor is the best option – parsimony says that a collection of competitive people who employ the scientific method to all reach the same conclusion, do so not because they necessarily want to agree with each other but because impartial assessment of the data lead them to do so.)

  6. John N-G

    A number of our colleagues have concluded there are fundamental problems with the 2007 IPCC WG1 assessment. As one example, all of the authors of the article which wrote on this subect in EOS are Fellows of the AGU. In this article

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

    we wrote

    “Unfortunately, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    assessment did not sufficiently acknowledge the importance of these other human climate forcings in altering regional and global climate and their effects on predictability at the regional scale.”

    Do you disagree with this conclusion? If the above statement is accurate, than “the best available overview of the state of the science regarding climate change” is not WG1 of the 2007 IPCC reports.

    • Roger – I do not disagree. But “best available” does not equate to “best possible”. The WG1 is incomplete, but I haven’t seen anything else with as much solid information, as far as it goes.

      • When it comes to predictions of future warming, “best available” does not translate to “good enough.”

  7. Two comments – That the title of the article calls you a “heretic”does not mean the IPCC position is dogma, and nor is it evidence that it is. Rather, it is evidence that journalists use eye catching titles and headlines in order to draw you in to reading the article. Hardly news.

    Second, it appears to me that your story is that, having been unjustly accused on being ” … targeted as global warming alarmists, capitalizing on this tragedy to increase research funding and for personal publicity, a threat to capitalism and the American way of life, etc.”, you became willing to believe the same sort of accusations against other scientists by the same people on scant evidence.

    • Tom, not even close.

    • Tom,
      In reading about the actions of AGW promoters, and in reading the defenses of the AGW community, it is striking that time and time again religious concepts are invoked by those supporting AGW.
      Many observers of the AGW phenomenon have noticed the striking similarities in behavior between the AGW opinion leaders and defenders and religious movements.
      ‘Heretic’ was the best word available for Lemonick because that is the way he and his intended supportive audience view the situation.

    • I was unaware that Scientific American had a theology section. Can you explain why ‘heretic’ was used outside such a context?

  8. I really enjoyed this post, even if it’s not really about the science. I particularly liked the turn of phrase “…this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.”

    Just a small note, the second paragraph before the addendum seems to have a small error “ the reputations of a number of a number of scientists, the IPCC..”

  9. thomaswfuller

    The timing of your response is good. ‘Everybody’s searching for a brand new meme…’ If you have concrete proposals for work procedures (a la IAC) or WG directions, now’s the time to lay ’em out… Seriously, if you have ideas, get them in front of the world now, as opposed to next year, if you can.

    It’s nice to see someone move past their 15 minutes of fame and continue to contribute.

  10. thomaswfuller

    Umm, Mr. Curtis, are you blaming Dr. Curry for what was written about her or about something she has in fact written herself?

  11. Alex Heyworth

    Hi Judith, IMO the heat you are feeling from the establishment, and its intensity compared with that directed at other “heretics” such as Dick Lindzen, is mainly due to your being seen as an apostate, rather than merely a heretic. Some in the mainstream camp clearly feel betrayed.

  12. Judith,
    The word “insurgient” would also be appropriate. The science community feels betrayed and affended that their authority is challenged, when it is the work that is challenged and NOT the authority.

  13. “What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life. And because of the high relevance of our field, we need to figure out how to provide the best possible scientific information and assessment of uncertainties. ”

    Judith, thank you for your insider perspective. As an interested consulting scientist I have been following this issue since about 1995. Since then, it has only been in the last year that some real scientific studies have been getting some attention. There was 10 to 15 years where the “science” was settled and everything (almost) coming out was some way or another to confirm the settled “science”. Some real science is just now starting to get through the cracks, thanks to some of the so called sceptics not buying into the dogma. I am hopful it will continue. I think there are some great scientists out their, given the freedom to take the science where it leads them, will make some great discoveries to move the science forward.

    • Steven Sullivan

      “Some real science is just now starting to get through the cracks, thanks to some of the so called sceptics not buying into the dogma.”

      I call bullshit. What is this ‘real science’ that is ‘starting to get through the cracks’?

      And Dr. Curry, as someone who claims to believe that global warming is occuring, and that humans are significantly contributing to it, why do you continue to pounce mainly on claims from the ‘mainstream’ and let claims like the above go unchallenged?

      • Because statements like that don’t mean anything. And people ignore them. And I want to spend time on the interesting arguments that some people are making.
        On the technical threads, i keep it fairly tight. on an etc. thread like this, that kind of a comment is arguably fair game, if not particularly interesting or illuminating.

  14. Judy,
    Thank you for writing such an excellent, heartfelt essay.

  15. Here’s Freeman Dyson on scientific heresy:

    “I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies. Since I am a heretic, I am accustomed to being in the minority …” –Dyson, HERETICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND SOCIETY,

    I think you are in good company, Judith.

    “Among Dyson’s gifts is interpretive clarity, a penetrating ability to grasp the method and significance of what many kinds of scientists do. His thoughts about how science works appear in a series of lucid, elegant books for nonspecialists that have made him a trusted arbiter of ideas ranging far beyond physics.” — “The Civil Heretic ,” NY Times profile of Dyson,

    I’m looking for the bit where Dyson says he’s the wrong guy to be the Climate Change heretic-gadfly — he’s too old & doesn’t know the field that well. Looks to me like Dyson’s looking at you, Judith….

    “My objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have.” — “Freeman Dyson Takes on the Climate Establishment”,,

    Can you guess he’s one of my scientific heroes?

    Best wishes,
    Pete Tillman

  16. Historically, many of those branded as heretics more closely fit the definition of a reformer – challenging not the “faith”, but the actions of those in positions of leadership.

  17. One can recognize the extent to which climate science is dogma in the reaction of fear and anger when flaws are pointed out. All scientific work is flawed and the job of scientists is to improve it, little by little, data point by data point. but the idea that McIntyre has the power to pull down the climate edifice shows how brittle it is and how the normal mechanism of finding flaws and fixing them is broken.

  18. “I guess one thing I don’t want to do is to spend all my time arguing this business. I mean, I am not the person to do that. I have two great disadvantages. First of all, I am 85 years old. Obviously, I’m an old fuddy-duddy. So, I have no credibility.

    And, secondly, I am not an expert, and that’s not going to change. I am not going to make myself an expert. What I do think I have is a better judgment, maybe because I have lived a bit longer, and maybe because I’ve done other things. …”

    “it is definitely a tactical mistake to use somebody like me for that job, because I am so easily shot down. I’d much rather the job would be done by somebody who is young and a real expert. But unfortunately, those people don’t come forward.”
    — Dyson,

    –Cue Professor/Heretic Curry…

    • Mr.Tillman,
      The system does not allow free thinkers as the same bad science is being taught until it becomes tradition.
      “If it ain’t got math, it ain’t science”. Is the going theory.

      So are you an expert?
      Your probably more superior are your brain is not locked into bad science.

  19. I’ve only known and read you for a few months, so my impression of you is


    There can’t be dogma or heretics in science.

  20. “What the world needs is young heretics. I am hoping that one or two of the people who read this piece may fill that role.” — Dyson,

    Not to be pushy, or anything …. More reinforcing the path you’ve already chosen. If you haven’t read Dyson’s thoughts on heresy and climate change, well, you should.

    “I have studied the climate models and I know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in. The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models. ” –Dyson, op. cit.

  21. The Climate War being what it is, a bevy of posts and comments will shortly be written that decry Judy and her various transgressions of various norms of scientific conduct and moral behavior. Many of these will be amusing to read. Alas, I predict that few will foreswear strawmen, sarcasm, and hyperbole to grapple sincerely and intelligently with the core issues that Judy raised here.

    I hope that the best of the thought-provoking essays from the pro-AGW Consensus establishment get linked in this thread, and serve as the jumping-off point for productive and informed dialog.

  22. This is a very human and humane piece, by a woman of plainly high intelligence and convictions who became disappointed by where the “hang together” mantra led. It would be helpful, as a next step, for her to place herself in the spectrum of the policy discussion. She seems to be neither a skeptic nor a catastrophist. So what do we DO? There are lots of experts out there with ideas to assess. What, Dr. Curry, speaks best to you?

    • A fair question but then again NOT. In the area you ask about we are all experts and entitled to our own opinions of ‘solutions’ (or more precisely, how much we’re willing to pay;-), as I’m sure you agree. I’d really like to read less about what others think are the political ways to proceed. Seems that’s the venue that caused so much trouble for Climate Scientists –latching onto political positions and BIG global solutions to save us all from a fate worse than a mideval plague.

  23. Personal integrity and scientific honesty seem to have become rarer commodities in this world. Hopefully, your stand on these issues will be contagious.

    I can’t think of a better way to start restoring a balance in determining the genuine possible impact we may be creating in the world. Maybe, if the IPCC can also be convinced to honestly assess both the positive and the negative effects, we could move forward in taking whatever reasonable (and practical) action may be needed without the coercion currently engendered by the activist extremist elements.

    Thank you for having the courage to make this happen.

  24. (Just delete this comment if you think it detracts from the flow, but sometimes I find working from specific example to general end up helping the understanding of the big picture).

    Thanks for the link to “Mixing Politics and Science in Testing the Hypothesis that Greenhouse Warming is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity.”

    It seems like nature has showed her sense of humor with relatively low tropical cyclone activity over the last few years. At the same time, most people do believe that it is very reasonable to expect warming ocean temperatures to increase storm intensity and/or total activity.

    After a few more years of data and apparently having looked a bit at model uncertainties, are you more or less certain that the 3 step “central hypothesis” of

    “1) the frequency of the most intense hurricanes is increasing globally;
    2) average hurricane intensity increases with increasing tropical SST;
    3) global tropical SST is increasing as a result of
    greenhouse warming.
    The central hypothesis implies a causal chain 3 –> 2 –>1

  25. Writing as both a libertarian (a person whose political philosophy is guided by those principles of methodological individualism which lead to the primacy of individual human rights in both society and civil government) and a clinically experienced physician necessarily trained in the sciences, I have to observe that it is all but impossible for me to conceive of any intellectually honest and genuinely educated person not to be a libertarian, and not to have noted that the carbon dioxide forcing mechanism of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis had never passed the “sniff test” from the moment the notion first began to gain widespread currency in the 1980s.

    Even to an ex-Biology major and a practicing family doctor, the methods by which the blundering “climatologist” charlatans of the AGW fraud and the colluding politicians and bureaucrats of both the United Nations and the various levels of government in these United States had put before the public – by way of the complicit and unskeptical “if it bleeds, it leads” catastrophe-mongering media – highly suspect categorical statements about a realm of scientific investigation fraught with confounding factors long acknowledged to impose nonlinear responses on each other as well as upon the outcomes of their interactions….

    Well, hell. How could your personal bullpuckey detector not have been triggered, Dr. Curry?

    When so very many people known to practice duplicity for profit and power take up the cudgels and start bashing in the skulls of dissenters in this “settled science” suppressive fashion, advocating punitive taxation and invasive regulation to force upon the “common people” lives of constraint, sacrifice, and poverty while the Prominenten among the alarmists not only gathered in enormous wealth as the result of their fraudulences but also enjoyed the benefits of broad, deep “carbon footprint” quality in their daily lives, just what the hell escaped your notice about all this?

    As a scientist, can a malpractice lawsuit be brought against you for failure to have maintained that proper level of diligence required to diagnose the malignant criminality of the IPCC and the other parties complicit in the “man-made global warming” fraud long before you could no longer avoid the inescapable reality you found in that “” file last November?

    Hm. Probably not.

    I suppose that’s why a primary care grunt like me picked this up more than two decades before you did.

    • Tell us how you really feel!

      I suspect you still smoke, since the evidence against tobacco was not iron-clad…

      I’m not a libertarian, since religion isn’t my bag. Try reading a copy of “The dialectical necessity of morality” before you make any more foolish statements about individuals.

      • Rich Matarese

        Oh, of course you’re not a libertarian. Neither genuine moral nor intellectual integrity in you, obviously, and absolutely no idea whatsoever about the non-aggression principle and how it bears upon (for example) freedom from as well as freedom of religion.

        I wonder why all “environmentalist” authoritarians seem to be so reliably suckered by the notion that libertarianism – which is as replete with atheists like me as it is with anarchists (“It’s not the law, it’s just a good idea”) – is a manifestation of the religious right, and think it somehow witty to condemn the defense of individual human rights as if it were borne entirely of credence in some kind of ineffable Sky Pixie.

        Plain to see that you’re one of those wonderful people who know so much more than any of us who don’t share in your enlightened vision of what hoi polloi can be made to do if properly chained and whipped to the tasks chosen for us by our betters.

        And one of those whips, of course, will be in your hand, won’t it, Ormond?

        Just to comfort you in your welter of silly pointlessness and argumentum ad hominem (you never did do debate in high school or college, did you?), I’ve never been a smoker of any sort. As a child, I got the chance to review photomicrography of pulmonary histopathology induced by such suicidal practices (as well as a look at some gross specimens of chronic pulmonary emphysema) and came to what is obviously a more thoroughly studied and well-reasoned appreciation of “the evidence against tobacco” (and other inhalant irritants, carcinogens, and vasospasm-inducing substances) than you yourself are ever likely to attain.

        Must be some kind of warmist fixation on Dr. Lindzen, I suppose. You’ve got to give it to the psychosis of authoritarian environmentalism. It is most assuredly a mass delusion.

      • @ Ormond Otvos
        “I’m not a libertarian, since religion isn’t my bag.”
        Don’t believe in liberty and don’t know what you believe in?
        Then you are no-one and are welcome no-where.

  26. Thank you, Professor Curry, for having the courage and the integrity to put scientific principles ahead of the generous grants and awards that follow consensus opinions.

    Let me echo Peter D. Tillman’s comment: You and Professor Freeman Dyson are definitely on the right side!

    The problems you witnessed in climatology occurred in other popular areas of science in the past, as politicians moved public tax funds from:

    _a.) Nuclear science to
    _b.) Space science to
    _c.) Environmental sciences.

    Climatologists didn’t have a chance to figure out the causes of climate change because of the misinformation that they inherited about Earth’s heat source from nuclear and space scientists.

    President Eisenhower warned us of the approaching danger in his farewell address on 17 Jan 1961:

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

    “It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    • Mr. Manuel,
      This type of science ideology generated traditions being passed down through schools and not allowing any questioning. From one discovery, a blanket theory was put into many areas. Not to be questioned as funding had them the authority to the science.

      I question everything as I have found much of science is complacent with generality of science and not looking for absolute accuracy. An extremely complex system like the atmosphere and all it’s different interactions cannot be covered by individual areas of science that are arrogantly advocating their theory.
      Such a thing as working together for answers is out of the question.

      Except on some of the blogs that are interested in this area.

  27. Dr. Strangelove

    There are two uncertainties to consider. First, the cause and effect relationship between atmospheric CO2 and global temp. Second, global temp. data that shows global warming trend. I would share two of the best articles I’ve seen about these topics.

    CO2 and global temp.

    Global temp. data

  28. For the lack of anything profound or particularly eloquent to say, let me just say it simply:

    Thank you, Ms. Curry.

  29. Dr C
    I dont know whether this has been posted here before.

    From John Rennie’s blog – former Scientific American editor:

    Scientific American has now published an ‘editorial’ on its website – (with input from you?). In that they include all their propaganda they have published ever on global warming.

    Dr Curry, You and Keith Kloor popularized the notion of climate tribes. As an outsider, it seems to me that the whole climate establishment and its various arms, like Sci Am are much more tribal and deferential to its totem-pole and wellspring of community goodwill – the IPCC worldview, many times over.

    The Sci Am family contribution has now been a poll, a blog post by Lemonick, two posts by John Rennie, and now an editorial and with a global warming URL spam list.

    All of this in reaction to their own article and criticism which remains secret and was offered behind-the-scenes.

    One can surely be excused to thinking we are dealing with the mafia or some sort of a gang. Why can’t those who protested about Lemonick’s article come out in the open?

  30. When we obtained our results on condensation-induced dynamics, which did appear to us significant, we hurried to share them with people who, in our opinion, would be most excited — the meteorologists, the atmospheric scientists. At that time I did not know anybody in the field, such that the words Trenberth, Pielke, Curry, Holland, Emanuel etc. were just English words to me (my apologies to the real people). I contacted several people, but invariably the discussion faded soon with advice to contact someone else or with a phrase “I share X’s concerns and have nothing to add”. Sometimes people responded enthusiastically first, then there was silence.

    From the uniform reactions I was receiving and uniform behaviour I was observing, I got an surrealistic feeling that I am contacting one and the same person all the time. I called him the-very-well-respected-meteorologist. He disliked us and our results and was bothered by our existence. Sometimes he was very rude (it pertained anonymous reviews). But the key point that there was no lively interest from his side. No interest in science.

    There was one remarkable exception. Dr. Judy Curry. She was not afraid of discussing things and saying that she is not sure of one thing or another. She did not say that we already know everything in models, go away. She showed persistent interest in our work, true scientific interest.

    Scientists do science. When a result is obtained, it is in human nature to share it with others, it is a sincere move of human soul. Like a child when finds a flower shows it to his mum with affection and looking for emphathy. In the same way scientists need to share their results with their brethren. It is like breathing, it is an inherent component of scientific productivity. My colleagues and I are owing Dr. Curry the fact that we are now having an opportunity to breathe, after all.

    • Phillip Bratby

      Anastasia: Between you and Judith, you have encapsulated all that is wrong with the “climate science” mantra and groupthink. The circling of the wagons.

      We need more like you.

    • Michael Larkin


      A beautiful post – especially the last paragraph. Yes, it appears many in the climate science arena have stifled the natural human tendency to want to share – in both directions – what is, in its essence, our human joy of discovery.

      I believe that to be the source of all true and noble science and art. I get it from reading poetry and literature or listening to fine music as much as from coming to understand a new concept, or convey successfully a concept I understand to someone else.

      Shame on those who would not entertain you!

    • Anastassia,

      A wonderful and insightful post.

      “Scientists do science. When a result is obtained, it is in human nature to share it with others, it is a sincere move of human soul. Like a child when finds a flower shows it to his mum with affection and looking for empathy. In the same way scientists need to share their results with their brethren. It is like breathing, it is an inherent component of scientific productivity.”

      What you have written here is pure truth with the beauty of poetry.

      The politicization of climate science (shamefully prevalent in English-speaking countries and elsewhere) is nothing short of tragic when considered within the context of your post.

    • Everyone’s a “specialist” these days and so few really have the ability to discuss anything outside their own limited area of special interest. Time’s money! Money talks! Nobody walks! Run! Run! Run! (There really does need to be something above ‘PhD’ that identifies those with true genius among us –who once were but have moved beyond being “specialists”.)

  31. I wish there was some accurate polling company that could assess the pre/post climategate opinions of scientists and engineers.

    My very non representative sampling suggests that most physicists and engineers opinions of AGW theory fell drastically with the revelations of the climategate letters and the disturbing truth of how much scientific process had been corrupted.

    Since then, I find comment after comment about how the climate scientists at RC are their own worse enemy, in terms of their bullying, in terms of their defensiveness at all costs.

    Still, I think the most amazing aspects are their insistence of how they are correct, their refusal to actually investigate the science, and their spinning that as corroboration of the science.

    Best wishes Ms. Curry. And thank you.

    • Jerry,

      Interesting poll. I am an engineer and didn’t give my thought to Global Warming pre-Climategate – I thought of it as the Al Gore thing and figured he was make a mess of it but that there was a consensus of qualified, hard-working scientists of great integrity and character working on the problem and eventually everything would be fine.

      Then Climategate and everything has changed for me. I now consider the argument that man-made CO2 is irreversibly heating the planet borderline ridiculous considering the paucity of evidence and the fallibility of GCM computer models. Perhaps man-made CO2 is a problem – so far I see nothing that proves it to the point of certainty that a scientific consensus can be declared.

  32. Dr. Curry,
    I don’t post too often ( I enjoy reading the discourse between those who do), but I am compelled to this time. It is scientists like you that we need A LOT MORE of. In all fields of science, and much more in climate science.

    I learned about you from postings at WUWT. I admit, I thought of you as a ‘warmist’ but was interested to listen to what you had to say, because of the ‘civility’ in the discussions . When you started this site, I was interested in learning more about what you had to say, including from all those who comments on your postings (and if you recall, I replied to the ‘No consensus on consensus’ post, with my ‘learning journey’ I had been doing concerning CO2 after the 2007 IPCC report ).

    I have greatly enjoyed your postings so far, and your efforts to honestly evaluate the IPCC reports and the latest happenings in the climate science community. I look forward to more.

    And it now doesn’t matter whether you might believe strongly in ‘CO2 increases are a serious problem’ or not; your posts and discussions have shown me the integrity you have in wanting to arrive at ‘scientific conclusions’ regarding CO2. Whatever that might be, if we ever definitively reach that point . . .

    You have gained my respect ten fold.

    Martin Clauss
    (. . just a mechanical/aeronautical engineer who enjoys learning more about climate science . . .)

  33. Judith,

    Amen. I could write a similar kind of statement, that showed acceptance of the orthodoxy until a moment where, for good reason, I needed to look closely at it. And then my critical faculties, honed by years of reading applications for funding, rose up and said, Hey!…’

    Keep going.

  34. When you say, “The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science” you hit the nail squarely on the head.

    I will not presume to render judgment on the science, but rather comment upon the politics involved. And anyone who denies that politics are part of this debate is simply deluded.

    The problem, as I see it, is not conclusions of objective science, it’s how those conclusions are injected into the sociopolitical affairs of man.

    I don’t think it’s going too far to say that the perception, if not the reality of the corrupting influence of money upon the science of AGW, is what drives popular skepticism. It’s not so much science saying “here is the data that supports the objective conclusion of X” it’s the political narrative that flows from that statement.

    I’ve been an “environmentalist” since I was a boy, and I still clearly remember the overheated rhetoric of the “greenhouse effect” climate alarmists way back in the 60s and 70s. I remember the hysteria about “peak oil” and the claims that we would run out of oil by…well…a decade ago. And yet every time someone predicts peak oil and the end of civilization as we know it from the oil running out, some oil company discovers an as-yet undiscovered reservoir of oil that rivals that found in Saudi Arabia, usually somewhere on the narrow margins of the 70 percent of the planet that has NOT been explored for oil. And this doesn’t even address the theory that oil is not a “fossil fuel” but that it is actually a renewable resource that’s created by chemistry far underground, as indicated by the occasional refilling of depleted oil reservoirs.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Suffice it to say that many of my generation twigged to the hysterical “Chicken Little” prognostications of climate alarmists decades ago, so we no longer give them any credence when they reappear with new dire predictions of our imminent demise as a species.

    It is the co-opting of legitimate climate science by politicians, and the extreme measures they propose to inflict on the people of this planet without the slightest idea what they are actually doing that particular infuriates me, and causes a backlash reaction against the science that is often MIS-used to support the political agendas and power-mongering that’s going on using AGW science as the excuse for consolidating Progressive power and elite, one-world government rule.

    One of the things that induces me to disbelieve the science, as it’s presented not by the scientists, but by the media and the politicians (which includes the IPCC, which is a politically-controlled body, not a scientific one), is the complete lack of any coherent plan to ADAPT to changing climate conditions, rather than the utterly useless notion of beggaring the world economy and driving us all back to grubbing for roots with pointed sticks while living in wattle-and-daub huts as a rational solution to AGW.

    As a climate scientist, surely you know that the climate has been substantially warmer in the recent geologic past than it is now, and that life managed to flourish and survive. Life did not do this by the wringing of hands and pointing of fingers about who’s to blame or by lamenting times gone by and attempting to turn back the clock of time (to the last ice age in this case…not exactly what I would call a good idea), but rather life survived by adapting to change.

    This is the universal rule of evolution: Adapt or Die.

    And yet I see almost no argument or suggestions forthcoming about how we, as human beings, need to adapt to the existing increases in CO2 in the atmosphere that, according to climatologists, will be with us for a century or more no matter what we do. All I see are political plans to make money for the intelligentsia and the elite, like Al Gore and the other owners of the Chicago Climate Exchange, who will reap hundreds of billions of dollars as a result of the politically-imposed wrong-headed reactions to the findings of science.

    Where are the committees dedicated to relocating the poor of Bangladesh and other low-lying areas that will be inundated? Where are the engineering plans for the sea-walls and dikes outside of New York City, London or any other seaboard city that will preserve the infrastructure from sea-level rises? Where are the plans to take advantage of climate warming to increase food production using the fertile and newly-unfrozen muskeg of Canada and Russia? Where are the regulatory bodies prohibiting the building of new infrastructure and buildings in areas that will be flooded if the ice caps melt?

    Where is the PLANNING? All I see is panic reaction and attempts to reverse course, rather than attempts to steer the vessel through the shoals to a safe harbor, albeit a new one.

    Humanity is not immortal, nor are cities entitled to perpetual existence. The Minoan civilization appears to have been all but wiped out by a single catastrophic geological event; the eruption of Santorini. Why do we assume that London or New York has any “right” to survive climate change, particularly one that takes place slowly, over decades or centuries, if no one is willing to plan for the unthinkable in order to save it?

    This, I think, is what drives most of the opposition to the science involved. Politics, and money, not science is what’s driving the AGW industry, and as it turns out, we, the People, are not quite as stupid as the Progressive elite would like to think we are, and we see through the political charade. But what we see behind the curtain appears to be, and sometimes is, the duplicity, mendacity and cupidity of global warming science that, to our eyes, is complicit with the political agenda of world political and economic domination by the political and economic elite, like, for example, George Soros and Al Gore. By lying down with swine, science has acquired the stink of politics and money. That’s most unfortunate.

    Thus, it is the debasement of the objectivity and independence of the climatological scientific community that is evident in their cooperation with the forces of Progressive politics, and the evident pandering for government funding that is obvious to those of us standing outside the pale, that drives much of the skepticism.

    For climate science to regain any credibility, first it must wean itself off the teat of government funding, because government funding is never provided without strings attached, and in the case of AGW, the primary hawser is that the science be massaged so that it fits the pre-determined political agenda of power and control.

    That, I believe, is why you are a Pariah, because your candor and your skepticism threaten not the scientific community, but rather it threatens the power of the political and economic elite who are attempting to twist the science to their own ends.

    And not to put too fine a point on it, but when you threaten the power elite, things will go badly for you, sometimes very, very badly. So be careful, because there is nothing quite as dangerous as a banker or a politician threatened with a loss of money or power. They will, in general, do anything to preserve their own privilege and position, and those who have invested in the AGW “fraud” have invested enormous amounts of political and economic capital, and they will not be balked without at the very least extracting some measure of revenge.

    This is Progressive/Alinsky policy in fact, so your position as anathema to science is entirely predictable.

    But, keep up the good fight anyway, and know that there are people out here in the darkness of ignorance who actually do understand what you’re trying to tell us. As a result of skepticism such as yours, my mantra has become “adapt or die,” and I believe that adaptation is where we need to focus our attention, since the time we have to adapt is far less than the time it will take to reverse the effects of AGW, if it exists, and if it’s even possible to do so without causing a worse catastrophe for the human species in the process.


    As a post-script, I would appreciate an answer to this question: One scientific figure that I never hear quoted is how the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by all of humanity compares to the greenhouse gasses emitted by volcanic eruptions? Would one or more major eruptions wipe out all the reductions that we could achieve by beggaring our economy and reducing CO2 emissions to zero in the next century? Do you know what the impacts of volcanism are in this regard? In other words, is there any real point in trying to reduce our CO2 emissions if all we can possibly do will amount to a drop in the ocean, and one that might be rendered completely worthless by a volcanic eruption?

    • Seth Volcanic eruptions? That one I know.

      Volcanoes 242 million tons a year. Us 29 billion tons a year. We put out more than 100x what volcanoes can. So much that even the huge Pinatubo eruption made barely a blip in the CO2 graph. The aerosols made an obvious difference to temperature, but you need a magnifying glass to see the effect on the CO2 levels.

    • David L. Hagen

      Recommend you reexamine the issue of resource depletion – aka “peak oil” or “plateauing oil”. See data at the Oilwatch Monthly where crude oil production plateaued in 2004. This drove up the price of oil, and precipitated the world’s worst oil driven economic crunch.

      The issue is not “running out” but “rate of supply” with the necessity of converting coal, bitumen and shale “oil” to liquid transport fuels.
      For a reality check, see Robert Hirsch “The Impending World Energy Mess”.

      For details, see the detailed 745 p thesis by Steve Mohr:

      Fossil fuel production projections indicate that the overwhelming majority of IPCC scenarios for fossil fuel use are overly optimistic and highly unlikely to be possible, given supply constraints. Fossil fuel production is vital to our economies and to sustain the human population. As this production is projected to peak within 20 years, it is imperative that action be taken by all people to mitigate the effects.

      More important is the rapid drop of light oil exports.
      Now how did you plan to get to work?

      • David L. Hagen

        Oil Watch Monthly e.g. for August 2010 especially chart 6 world crude oil production.

      • “Rate of supply” and logistical problems with transport are mere technical issues that are resolved by the free market. The actual problem is political, not physical.

        In the United States, for example, no substantial new oil refineries have been built in decades because of the oppressive regulatory political atmosphere and bans on domestic drilling, particularly offshore.

        The same applies to nuclear power.

        Given the political will to increase production, delivery, exploration and research into fuels conversion, all will increase in direct proportion to the market demand for fuel. Government need only get out of the way of technology.

        The ban on drilling after the Deepwater Horizon accident is a classic example of bureaucratic obstruction intended to stifle domestic oil production, and it was imposed for political, not technological reasons.

      • 1. A “plateau” in oil production is not necessarily causally related to exhaustion of the resource. Most often, oil production levels are part of a complex geopolitical and economic matrix of supply and demand.

        As I said, new discoveries of oil are made every day, and I see no credible evidence that the supply of oil is going to run out any time soon.

        2. With all due respect to Mr. Mohr, there is no emergency going on that requires intemperate, hasty, panicked reaction. Not only are we not in any immediate danger of running out of oil, there are several other existing and potential fuel sources available, some of which remain essentially unexploited, specifically methane hydrate ice nodules on the sea floor.

        The markets will bring those alternative petrochemical resources to the fore in a natural, timely manner as the technology improves and the need develops.

        In other words, there is no “20 year imperative” at all. Such alarmism only feeds the panic and prevents ADAPTATION to changing circumstances, usually for political reasons having nothing whatever to do with either science or the availability of resources.

    • Further to David L. Hagen’s posts, “environmentalist” Seth might assuage his disdain about being fooled about peak oil by looking at these data.

      As an aside, the claim that oil is created abiotically in a way that will ensure that it never runs out is rendered a fallacy by US oil production over time.

      • Funny, the data table you provided shows a steady increase in oil production from 1960 to 2009, from 20 to 72 bbl. How does this lend credence to the notion that we have discovered and depleted all the oil resources on the planet?

        As for abiotic recharge, I didn’t suggest that it would provide substantial recharge in the near term, merely that the theory suggests that biotic processes may not be the only source for oil, which suggests that oil may be found in places where biotic production would not be expected.

        Further, the existence of methane hydrate slush on the sea-bed awaits only appropriate recovery technology, and, as I understand it, is sufficient in quantity to serve the fuel needs of the planet for some time to come.

        Again, all the data presented here does not suggest that we have reached “peak oil,” much less that the demise of civilization due to exhaustion of petrochemical fuel resources is imminent.

        This provides rather a lot more time to deal with adapting to climate change, and a lot more fuel with which to do it.

        The primary complaint that I have with the political side of the AGW issue is the strident urgency for half-baked, ill-considered, ineffective POLITICAL “solutions” that have little or nothing to do with actually dealing with global warming.

        For example, there is absolutely no imminent disaster going on that requires the imposition of cap-and-trade economic regulations in the US, as proposed by the Progressives. If such things are even necessary, which is doubtful, there is a century or more during which we can make careful, thoughtful, economically-sustainable plans and decisions about how to shift our world energy sources to renewable sources.

        The big hurry, and all the IPCC and other hysteria about AGW are politically motivated, and are based in the desire of Progressives to ram through whatever they can while they are in power, in order to consolidate power and control, create global governance, and provide massive profits to people like George Soros and Al Gore by using the force of law to directly benefit organizations like the Chicago Climate Exchange.

        Science, and scientists should be ashamed of the way their efforts have been co-opted by the radical Progressive left in its quest to consolidate Progressive power and ideology. If AGW is indeed a problem, nothing we do in the next year, or two years, or ten years will have any real effect, positive or negative, on the existing trends.

        Therefore, there is adequate time available for careful consideration and planning to achieve economically realistic goals that will not, as the current rush to judgment will, enrich the political alarmists and one-world-government advocates at the expense of wealthy nations, specifically the United States.

        You see, AGW is being used as a Progressive/Socialist stalking-horse in its quest to destroy America to benefit 2nd and 3rd world nations, which the Socialists and Progressives feel are entitled to redistribution of the wealth of America, because they feel America is a bad place that owes the rest of the planet compensation for being prosperous.

        And that, my friend, is politics, not science.

      • Funny, the data table you provided shows a steady increase in oil production from 1960 to 2009, from 20 to 72 bbl. How does this lend credence to the notion that we have discovered and depleted all the oil resources on the planet?

        Please reread my previous post. You are badly misrepresenting me, because I did not say that all oil resources had been discovered, nor did I say that they had all been depleted. What I did do was to guide you to data that show that production appears to be peaking.

        No more, no less.

        And by all appearances it is peaking. Despite your claim of a “steady increase in oil production from 1960 to 2009, from 20 to 72 bbl [sic], an actual graph of the data indicates what is essentially a plateau for the last six years, and this is despite the taking over of Iraqi oil fields by the US and its allies in the illegal Gulf war.

        One can easily pick on the graph the previous periods in history when embargoes and earlier Gulf wars affected production, but today, with greater demand that ever, more wells that ever, “better” technology than ever, and more Western control of Middle East oil fields than ever, that graph just stubbornly refuses to go up. And to top it off, if memory serves me correctly current annual global consumption is around 82 million barrels per day, so what does this mean when compared to the production figure…?

        Again, all the data presented here does not suggest that we have reached “peak oil”…

        Erm, just look at the graph, if you can’t deconstruct a table. Exactly when would you predict that the curve would reach 80 million barrels per year? And how long do you predict that it will remain above this volume?

        On what analytical basis do you make any such statements?

        …the existence of methane hydrate slush on the sea-bed awaits only appropriate recovery technology…

        Far more likely than the development of “appropriate recovery technology” is the likelihood that warming oceans will cause large-scale dehydration of clathrates, with a resultant addition of a huge bolus of methane to the atmosphere.

        There are many CO2-is-a-“greenhouse”-gas denialists here, but only an idiot would claim that methane is not a greenhouse gas. Those here who also deny that the atmosphere and the oceans are currently warming might be able to smugly ignore the phenomenon, but if and when the undersea clathrates are tipped past their current solid phase, there will be little cover under which to hide…

        You see, AGW is being used as a Progressive/Socialist stalking-horse in its quest to destroy America to benefit 2nd and 3rd world nations, which the Socialists and Progressives feel are entitled to redistribution of the wealth of America, because they feel America is a bad place that owes the rest of the planet compensation for being prosperous.

        And that, my friend, is politics, not science.

        I rather think that it is ill-information, or even paranoia, more than it is politics.

      • Peak oil puts an end to the speculated effects 100 years from now:

      • Rational Debate

        2004 report on USA shale oil – states that N. American oil from shale & Canada’s tar sands is greater than the current known oil reserves worldwide… that the USA shale oil is sufficient to cover all of our projected needs for the next 100 years and at comparable prices…. that the technology for recovering it is largely proven, including near commercial scale working plants….

        That was, I believe, before the massive natural gas find in the eastern USA….

        Then of course there’s nuclear, which could easily remove some of the strain on fossil fuel use…

        Somehow I just can’t get myself too worked up over peak oil as a actual physical supply threat. Political problem that could have huge fallout on all of us? Sure – the way our policies are and have been, its not terribly promising. And why do I suspect very little will change in that regard until after there’s another major price or supply FUBAR? Not to mention the problem with lack of newer refineries….

        Strategic Significance of America’s Oil Shale Resource

        Volume I Assessment of Strategic Issues
        March 2004 Final Report

        Prepared for:
        Office of Deputy Assistant Secretary
        for Petroleum Reserves

        Office of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves
        U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.

        It is generally agreed that worldwide petroleum supply will eventually reach its productive limit,
        peak, and begin a long-term decline. What should the United States do to prepare for this event?
        An objective look at the alternatives points to the Nation’s untapped oil shale as a strategically
        located, long-term source of reliable, affordable, and secure oil.

        The vast extent of U.S. oil shale resources, amounting to more than 2 trillion barrels, has been
        known for a century. In 1912, The President, by Executive Order, established the Naval Petro-
        leum and Oil Shale Reserves (NPOSR). This office has overseen the U.S. strategic interests in
        oil shale since that time. The huge resource base has stimulated several prior commercial at-
        tempts to produce oil from oil shale, but these attempts have failed primarily because of the his-
        torically modest cost of petroleum with which it competed. With the expected future decline in
        petroleum production historic market forces are poised to change and this change will improve
        the economic viability of oil shale.

        It has been nearly two decades since meaningful federal oil shale policy initiatives were taken. In
        that time technology has advanced, global economic, political, and market conditions have
        changed, and the regulatory landscape has matured. As America considers its homeland security
        posture, including its desired access to diverse, secure and abundant sources of liquid fuels, it is
        both necessary and prudent to reconsider the potential of oil shale in the nation’s energy and
        natural resource portfolio.

        Commercializing the vast oil shale resources would complement the mission of the Strategic Pe-
        troleum Reserve (SPR), by measurably adding to the country’s energy resource base. Addition of
        shale oil to the country’s proved oil reserves could occur in a manner similar to the addition of
        175 billion barrels of oil from Alberta tar sand to Canada’s proved oil reserves. As a result of the
        commercial success oil from tar sand, production now exceeds 1 million barrels per day. U.S. oil
        shale, which is as rich as tar sand, could similarly be developed and become a vital component in
        America’s future energy security.

      • Oil shale and tars sands are to Middle Eastern crude what cow dung is to old-growth timber.

      • Rational Debate

        A drop is US oil production is pretty meaningless with regard to the abiotic question. Functioning wells have been capped off, and production has been a matter of economics, public policy, and the effect of regulations.

      • A drop is US oil production is rather germane with regard to the abiotic question.

        If there was any significant abiotic source of oil recharge, the need for the US to “cap off” its wells would be moot.

        The reality is that no-one has ever identified a recharging source of oil, and the need for the US to husband its domestic supplies is far, far from moot.

      • Rational Debate

        I’m neither an abiotic skeptic or believer – I don’t know enough about it and was only mentioning that its an existing theory.

        The point I was making is that oil production in the US has not been a function of availability – far from it. Its been a function of regulations putting the majority of areas that could provide oil off limits.

        As to capping off wells – its my understanding that there are wells off the coast of California (and perhaps elsewhere, I don’t know one way or the other) that were capped off not because they were no longer producing or even no longer producing at competitive rates/costs, but because of regulatory changes forcing them to shut down. Those wells could supposedly be reopened and producing again in just a few years, if desired and, of course, the regulations allowed it. Other wells that were capped because the oil worth recovering at the time was pretty much used up, could now be productive wells again because of advanced technology that allows far more recovery of oil.

        These factors apparently have everything to do with why oil production has peaked in the USA – and that peak has little to do with any lack of supply.

      • Jere Krischel

        Let’s start more simply – can methane be produced abiotically?

        The “discredited” part of abiotic oil, as I understand it, is an argument that although the process *can* happen, they doubt that it can happen at any significant rate. It seems like a promising area of research (determining the rate and significance), however, I’m unaware of any current studies or research in progress – as an ironic flip of the coin, abiotic oil skeptics control the terms of debate here :)

      • To see the parameters within which oil is formed look up the “oil window” then you will see that abiotic oil can’t happen.

        Since carbonate rocks get subducted it is not unreasonable that small carbon compounds like methane accumulates inside subduction zone areas. But there is no evidence from any Precambrian rocks of any kind of oil or other higher carbon molecules forming.

        Plus, kerogen, the precursor for oil, has very close chemical compositions to that of animal lipids.

        Plus, almost every single oil field has a source formation. Identified by the unique chemical compounds in oil.

        Plus, there is no way for oil to penetrate shale formations, such as the Bakken field, which is far too tight for the oil to seep into. It’s considered in situ oil formation sitting in the originating rock.

      • Jere Krischel

        You’re applying rigorous skepticism to the concept of abiotic oil, which is great. However, you need to be more specific about *what* falsifiable hypothesis you’re trying to attack – if the question is whether or not abiotic oil is *possible*, nothing you’ve stated renders that assertion incorrect (“almost every single oil field” isn’t *every* oil field, for example). You may have a point about whether or not abiotic oil is *common*, but you’ve got the same difficult path AGW skeptics have – you simply cannot prove a negative.

        All that being said, I wonder – what evidence would convince you that abiotic oil was the source of a specific formation? If it lacked specific unique chemical compounds? If it was extraterrestrial on a planet we know did not support life?

        Understanding what would change our mind on a given topic gives us greater insight as to whether or not we’re doing science or religion.

      • Of course all theories have the potential to be falsified. Should an oil field be found that is definitively not from a biological source rock that would do it, say found in Precambrian rock of Archean age (not one). I see a potential of possible locations in posts below. But proving a non-biological origin would be most difficult. How one would prove that an oil deposit on another planet is not biological would be even more difficult.

        Just because the Deccan Traps might have oil does not mean it is not biological. Subsequent tectonic events may have obliterated the source. If it wasn’t for a meteorite impact the Cantarell field may have never formed oil from its biological source rock.

        There is one great hindrance to getting the information and that is oil companies are not keen on making their discoveries public because of competition. It’s sad because they have made some great and interesting discoveries that rarely get public.

      • Rational Debate

        I know very little about the subject, but do think its interesting. If one goes to google scholar, puts in:

        natural abiotic hydrocarbon production

        then using the advance search options limits to the selections that include enviro science, chemistry, & physics/planetary science, further limit to articles only, and only those since 2000…. you get just over 7K returns. I’m certain many of them not relevant to this discussion. I only looked at a few of the first returns on the first couple of pages, and who’s summary looked possibly related. One was the following, and note it states both “…a handful of sites convincingly suggest that abiotic organic synthesis occurs within the geosphere.” and “…currently there is no foolproof approach to distinguishing abiotic versus biotic organic synthesis.” So it certainly sounds as if they have decided that naturally occurring abiotic production of hydrocarbons is possible:

        Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology
        2010, Part 3, 215-231, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-77587-4_14

        Abiogenic Hydrocarbon Production at the Geosphere-Biosphere Interface via Serpentinization Reactions

        G. Proskurowski

        The production of hydrocarbons via mechanisms not associated with biological processes has far reaching implications to the fields of petroleum geochemistry, astrobiology, and the study of early life and life in extreme environments. Despite an intense focus on discovering abiotic hydrocarbon sources in natural settings, only a handful of sites convincingly suggest that abiotic organic synthesis occurs within the geosphere. Although experimental studies in aqueous settings clearly demonstrate the potential for abiotic synthesis, the scope of abiotic hydrocarbon production in natural settings has yet to be defined. As theoretical and experimental studies indicate that abiotic hydrocarbon synthesis is maximized in highly reducing environments, it is not surprising that the strongest evidence for abiotic organic synthesis in natural settings is associated with the alteration (serpentinization) of reduced mantle rocks. The crux of this topic is that currently there is no foolproof approach to distinguishing abiotic versus biotic organic synthesis. Thus, it is especially important to be cognizant of the possibilities and limitations of abiotic hydrocarbon production when considering a deep subsurface biosphere where the organic matter may be synthesized by both abiotic and biotic processes.

        Another was:

        CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 98, NO. 6, 25 MARCH 2010
        J. Marvin Herndon is in the Transdyne Corporation, 11044 Red Rock
        Drive, San Diego, CA 92131 USA. e-mail:
        Impact of recent discoveries on petroleum and
        natural gas exploration: emphasis on India
        J. Marvin Herndon
        Two recent discoveries have greatly impacted understanding relevant to the origination and
        emplacement of petroleum and natural gas deposits. One discovery, pertaining to hydrocarbon
        formation from methane broadens significantly potential regions where abiotic petroleum and natural
        gas deposits might be found. The other, discovery of the physical impossibility of Earth-mantle con-
        vection, restricts the range and domain of geodynamic behaviour, and leads to new insights into the
        formation of petroleum and natural gas deposits. This article highlights the impact and implica-
        tions of those discoveries, especially as they relate to petroleum and natural gas exploration in
        India and throughout the world. From the reasoning developed here, the generality of the consid-
        erations involved, the understanding developed with respect to the East African Rift System, and the
        experience garnered from the larger and older Siberian Traps, the prognosis and potential for the
        region beneath the Deccan Traps of India to eventually become a major source of petroleum and
        natural gas seems quite favourable.

        I don’t know if a link this way will work for a google scholar search, but assuming it does & for your convenience, here’s the search I used:

      • Rational Debate

        Published in 2008, already has at least 70 citations:
        Science 1 February 2008:
        Vol. 319. no. 5863, pp. 604 – 607
        DOI: 10.1126/science.1151194

        Prev | Table of Contents | Next
        Abiogenic Hydrocarbon Production at Lost City Hydrothermal Field
        Giora Proskurowski,1,2* Marvin D. Lilley,1 Jeffery S. Seewald,2 Gretchen L. Früh-Green,3 Eric J. Olson,1 John E. Lupton,4 Sean P. Sylva,2 Deborah S. Kelley1

        Low-molecular-weight hydrocarbons in natural hydrothermal fluids have been attributed to abiogenic production by Fischer-Tropsch type (FTT) reactions, although clear evidence for such a process has been elusive. Here, we present concentration, and stable and radiocarbon isotope, data from hydrocarbons dissolved in hydrogen-rich fluids venting at the ultramafic-hosted Lost City Hydrothermal Field. A distinct “inverse” trend in the stable carbon and hydrogen isotopic composition of C1 to C4 hydrocarbons is compatible with FTT genesis. Radiocarbon evidence rules out seawater bicarbonate as the carbon source for FTT reactions, suggesting that a mantle-derived inorganic carbon source is leached from the host rocks. Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water, and moderate amounts of heat.

        1 School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
        2 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.
        3 Department of Earth Sciences, ETH-Zentrum, Zurich, Switzerland.
        4 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Newport, OR 97365, USA.

  35. Judith,
    Agree totally with Martin and Don-the-Aussie(?) above. It is easy to accept dogma/orthodoxy and exceeding difficult to challenge it. I know of no “establishment” that actually welcomes an iconoclast, no matter how much they need them…
    Love your work, a fine article and one that I can only hope your detractors will actually spend the time to read before criticizing it.

  36. Prof Curry,

    Welcome to the dark side.

    It seems that in climate science one must endorse the entire doctrine to be a respected member of the community. If anyone dares challenge any part of that doctrine, even when it was proven wrong, for example the Himalayan glaciers, they are automatically banned from respectability. The fall is even harder for the people that were considered as being insiders of the movement.

    Roger Pielke jr makes a very good argument that there are other reasons to decarbonize the economy, he endorses the IPCC report but the simple fact, that he dared challenge model projection and pointed out the obvious flaws of cap and trade, has put him on the bad side of Joe Romm and realclimate who seems to believe that they must annihilates anyone who don’t agree with them through slander and mud fight.

    After all, as Al Gore as pointed out, the science is settle. There is nothing that we can learn that could change the IPCC conclusion. Even Gavin Schmidt suggested that the working fine. If the science is settle and the model are working fine, the hockey sticks is holding etc. Maybe it is time that the government stop funding climate science and start funding other science that are not settled. I’m not sure Gavin would agree, even though he is not in it for the money.

  37. Sturm und Drang are not the authors of a paper redefining climate sensitivity….
    In the Scientific American link above, McKitrick is quoted as warning us that we are all non-expert in climate change. The field is broad and our own knowledge is so narrow. I feel that particularly since I teach a class called Climate Science and Policy. I keep looking for the Achilles’ heel in the IPCC argument because the conclusions are truly inconvenient, but I do not believe that I found it on this blog or on Spencer’s or on Watts’ or on … I found that if I wanted to be sure that I was not misleading students that it was useful to troll the blogs for leads to papers that would address the current disputes. But the blogs themselves never provided anything that actually upset any scientific apple carts. No one discredited the temperature trends or upset the water feedback or accounted for the warming with internal variability or galactic cosmic rays. And whats more, they never provided pointers to papers that achieved these feats. What else is there? Dr. Curry says “Not to say that the IPCC science was wrong, ……” Wait a minute. Isn’t that the only question?

    Many who believe that climate is warming, that humans are causing a significant part of that warming and that it can be mitigated want to steer policy in that direction. When they act on this desire they step into an environment where lots of people disbelieve in evolution, think that the earth is 10000 years old, and believe the President to be a native of Kenya and a Muslim. The climate activists have been pretty badly beat up, but mostly by invective. How many solid punches have been landed on Working Group I of AR4? Have the temperature trends been turned into a cooling? Certainly not on Roy Spencer’s blog. Has the link between CO2 and temperature been broken? Certainly not in Lindzen’s papers. In the recent ‘debate’, Professor Lindzen seemed to allow up to 0.8C in climate sensitivity. I am waiting for his promised rewrite of the energy balance paper just like I waited for Dr. Curry’s final estimate on the certainty that most of the recent warming was anthropogenic. Experience tells me that neither will require me to shred the syllabus. You know, the first law, sigmattothefourth, olwr, albedo etc etc. And particles.

    Of course the science is not settled. IPCC gives us climate sensitivity ranging from 2C to 4.5 C for a doubling of CO2. How the hell settled is that? Policy makers have indigestion over that range. Lindzen seems to be sneaking up on the lower end. Certainly Schwartz got there. So is Lindzen’s rewritten paper (the earlier one took some heavy hits in the literature, he said and is being revised to address them – did I hear that right?) likely to take sensitivity close enough to zero so that CO2 emissions are not an isssue? He claimed to have done that in the E&E paper of 2007, but that did not carry the day. Up to 30% of recent warming was traceable to CO2 he allowed – but even that sensitivity matters. Will the PDO and AMO and whatever else turn into the Spencer et al. paper that finally lays the need to mitigate to rest? I will read it in the literature when it is published and tell the students about it. Will the Curry reanalysis expand the error bars to include zero sensitivity to CO2? And if it did, would that overcome the recent published findings in the studies of the energy balance? You know the first law without models (Murphy et al 2009, JGR)….. I do not think so. I think that even if IPCC AR4 went out on a limb on attribution, that the revised satellite radiation data and revised ocean heat content data show us that CO2 is the real monster. And that our real challenge is dealing with the longlivedness of CO2 and the uncertainty in sensitivity. It will require adulthood out of people who have become accustomed to succeeding in debunking climate change by pointing out that 2008 was the warmest year.

    The refereed literature is the best place to play out the arguments. I have followed the Trolls for years on dotearth and know that they are a persistent lot – maybe even heroic in their resistance to fact. The Republicans may win and may defund climate science. Certainly money disappeared in 2005 from CMDL’s agreed upon budget in conference. (Mooney would like to get the emails on that, I bet.) But that does not change the fact that the science has been done in the literature for a long time and progress has been made for a long time and has been ignored by lots of people for a long time. The blogs have not changed that.

    If climate science is wrong and CO2-driven warming is not a threat, then a bunch of pointy headed academics have historic egg on their face and will die in deserved obscurity. If climate science is right and hundreds of millions of our posterity are at risk for increased water stress, then there is no shame in losing while saying so.

    • Chuck,

      Could you accept the proposition that the science is inadequate?

      • Don,
        I actually do inadequate science for a living. It seems to be a condition of my existence. I work very hard to make measurements and they are not accurate enough, not representative enough or not complete enough to answer the questions that I want to answer. So, in the literature, I answer the questions that I can answer. Because I experience this discipline on a day-to-day basis, I appreciate the role of refereed publishing in disciplining the discourse.

        So yes, it occurs to me all the time that the science may be inadequate. Accepting it requires that it be demonstrated. And I go to meetings (AGU, Gordon Conferences), read papers and troll the blogs looking for that demonstration. Dr. Curry linked to Dr. Spencer in an earlier post. A few years ago, Dr. Spencer showed the temporal relationship between the PDO and the AMO (I think) and the 20th century bumps in global mean temperature. I do not believe that these correlations have made it into the literature as purported causes of that warming. When it does, I will read it carefully. Until then, “Nice graphs, Roy.”


    • “If climate science is wrong and CO2-driven warming is not a threat, then a bunch of pointy headed academics have historic egg on their face and will die in deserved obscurity.”

      If the climate science is wrong but carries the day politically, the lives and livelihoods of billions are at risk. That is what is driving the humane political opposition. I suspect you have a dozen other non-climate related policy positions that would lead you to contradict that statement, but your unwillingness to concede the existence of that argument suggests a political affinity for the cure to which AGW is the disease.

      • Kasmir,
        Actually I am not unwilling to acknowledge that possibility. I teach it a couple of times a year. If we pull money out of the global economy and stunt economic growth, then the consequent losses in food and medicine will lead to hardship and death.

        So dueling economists get their due (Nordhaus projects 30 trillion in climate damages but finds that it is only efficient to mitigate 14 trillion). We are all market economists now. The wall came down and blew away the planned economies. Even SO2 is controlled in the US with cap and trade and not best-available-technology regulation. Carbon tax, cap and trade are market based strategies.

        The real ideologues here are the so-called free market folks who accept, in principle, the existence of externalities, but who refuse to acknowledge that any actually exist because they do not want to justify the obvious remedy (regulation).


    • Chuck: Perhaps, then, you could point out the exact place in AR4, WGI, Ch. 9 — the attribution chapter, the only relevant section of the entire report — where there is any actual evidence whatever that the 1975–98 warming was due to CO2. I’ve read it twice (the style is horrible) and can only find wordy paraphrases of Dr. Jones’ “Well, if it’s not CO2, I can’t think what else it could be.” After two decades and tens of billions of research dollars, do you honestly expect the world to dismantle industrial civilization on such a feeble basis?

      [Dr. C, another excellent essay. Welcome to what is actually the light side. The climate dogma has badly damaged science, but with goodwill and intellectual integrity it may recover.]

      • the assumption craig, is that the mitigation of climate change is equivalent to dismantling industrial civilization. I strongly doubt that. Costs of low-carbon alternatives are coming down and energy storage is a serious development project in lots of places. I know an entrepreneur who thinks that climate change is a crock but is developing a storage medium with the energy density of gasoline. If that works, a lot of your worries disappear.

        There is real money to be made here. Get out there and invent! Of course, if your 401K is invested in tar sands, you won’t like that either. Diversify, diversify.


      • Opps, I forgot the feeble basis.

        The basis is actually the First Law of Thermodynamics. It is implicit in the climate models, they do a good job on radiation heat transfer. I thought some years ago that Dr. Lindzen had the Achilles heal when he blogged that the outgoing longwave radiation from the models did not match the satellite measurements. It did not turn into a paper because the satellite retrievals were revised (as often happens in satellite science) and the newer values were much more confirming of the models (more grist for the conspiracy mill here). His latest paper involves an energy balance in the tropics – First Law again.

        Professor Lindzen published in 2007 in Energy and Environment that human impact on climate in the period you mention is limited to 30% of the change. In 2001 he doubted that the warming was established (wsj editorial – inspite of signing an National Academy of Sciences report that affirmed the summaries of the IPCC third assessment.) Now he finds that the evidence of a warming and the contribution of humans to it to be ‘trivial.’ If the most renowned skeptical scientist finds that up to 30% of the 1960 to 2000 warming is caused by agw, then your use of the word feeble is a too flip.

        If you want to wade into a non-climate model first law analysis, read Murphy et al 2009 in JGR. they provide plenty of energy – starting with CO2 to accomplish the warming.


      • Dr. Strangelove


        Please read the two studies I posted above and tell me if this is the Achilles’ heel you’re looking for? If not, see these two papers below.

        On the 1st law of thermodynamics and Stefan-Boltzmann law of radiation, read Dr. Gerlich

        On global temp. data showing warming trend, read this CRU paper

        See page 21 bottom chart. It shows the global temp. anomaly from 1850 to 2005. Note that given the margins of error, one cannot conclude a definite warming trend until 1990 to 2005. How can anyone attribute a cause such as anthropogenic CO2 when the effect itself (global warming) is uncertain?

        Btw, Dr. Richard Alley also postulated the possibility of global cooling in the National Geographic program “Big Freeze.” He also said that the present stable climate is odd compared to the wildly fluctuating temp. changes in the past in short periods of 20-30 yrs. Apparently nature is capable of drastic climate change in short periods of time without man’s help.

      • James C. Wilson

        Thanks for the references. I kept a copy of a few of these for use in class. However, none of them pass muster for a Achilles’ Heal for Climate Change Science.
        1. Watts is classic Watts. His objections have been disposed of in the refereed literature (see the NOAA paper on the stations). And he quotes UAH to debunk warming when UAH data clearly show warming.
        2. The Gerlich and Ts… paper was such hash that I really wonder about the journal in which it was published. They started with a proof that CO2 could not change the thermal conductivity or diffusivity of air which is uncontested and unimportant. They moved on to an analysis of greenhouses (the kind you grow plants in) which is also completely irrelevant to climate. Then they completely misstate the argument that the atmosphere is responsible for 33C warming (true) because of greenhouse effect. They get so much wrong that I doubted that it was really published where they said it was and I moved on. I would check that the article was really published.
        3. I do not understand your interpretation of the figure on page 21 of the HadCrut3 paper. They clearly show that their data and their estimates of errors support the conclusion of warming. I think you may have misunderstood the bottom graph. It shows the difference between the land and ocean data, not the overall trend.
        4. Please see Dr. Alley’s 2009 Bjerknes presentation at AGU where he argued that CO2 was very important throughout the paleoclimate record. “The Bigest Control Knob”

        I am afraid that the stuff you cite does not show what you think that it shows. I recommend that you look at The National Academy of Sciences Climate Choices series.

        Chuck Wilson

      • Dr. Strangelove


        I understand the bottom chart is land and sea data. If you look at the top and middle charts for land and sea, they also show definite positive anomaly starting 1985-90 onwards. There is warming based on median values but the error range must be above the zero anomaly bar to remove the uncertainty.

        I also thought Dr. Gerlich argument against atmospheric greenhouse effect is quite weak. I think the strong points of the paper are the inadequacy of climate models and the inaccuracy in computing global temp. averages.

        Thanks for the link to Dr. Alley’s lecture. I’ve already seen it last year. I think Dr. Patrick Frank’s article on climate models is pretty strong.

        I think all these show climate is quite unpredictable even if we have a good theory and accurate past data. We still don’t have a set of equations that link global temp. and CO2 to make accurate forecasts. What we have is a correlation with a large error.


      • Dr. Strangelove


        Btw, I disagree with Dr. Alley. I think there are 3 control knobs: cloud, water vapor, ocean. Compared to these 3 giants, CO2 is miniscule. It took 250 yrs. of dumping anthropogenic CO2 in the air to produce a radiative forcing of 1.7 W/m^2. Clouds can produce the same radiative forcing by a mere 1% decrease in cloud cover. 250 yrs. of anthropogenic CO2 increased atmospheric CO2 from 280 ppm to 384 ppm. Water vapor, the most abundant greenhouse gas, can put the same amount of H2O molecules in the air by a mere 1% increase in humidity.

        100 yrs. of anthropogenic CO2 increased global temp. by 0.6 C. The oceans have enormous heat capacity that it can produce the same air temp. change by heat transfer equivalent to 0.0006 C change in ocean temp. This is so small, it’s probably undetectable. The influence of oceans may be significant to the atmosphere yet undetectable in the ocean.

        Given the uncertainties in global temp. data, even with 6,000 thermometers spread all over the world since 1850, we still cannot ascertain global warming at least until 1990 onwards. Therefore, all arguments for or against AGW using limited regional proxy data such as ice cores, tree rings, fossil records, historical accounts, etc. are speculative. They do not pass as hard evidence in the burden of proof required in physical science.

    • Thanks for that, Chuck. I keep looking for papers that undercut, overturn or at least ameliorate what the already published science tells me.

      I’ve even accepted the repeated assertion that sensitivity is in the 2 to 4.5 degree range. Then, every now and again, I have a bit of a brain choke.
      2 degrees, 4 degrees! Are you mad? The LIA was only 1 degree below the long term average – what on earth are we thinking.

      And then I just keep trudging on, hoping for a sign of better things. I wish, how I wish, someone would offer some real, hard facts or some brand new science to change the big bad picture. All I find is invitations to ‘debate’ or ‘discussion’ or ‘another point of view’ when I’m really looking for data or graphs or analysis or a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g concrete to justify a different conclusion.

    • I’m always troubled by First Law questions that maybe others see more clearly than I do.

      The greenhouse effect produces heat, not temperature rise.

      Temperature rise is a result of and proxy for heat production.

      But so too are atmosphereic chemical energy, air pressure, energy in lightning, wind speed, structural change in the atmosphere, state change in precipitation and surface or subsurface ice to water, biochemical energy increase, ocean current speed and volume, wave height and intensity, ocean acidity, and equilibrium shifts in all of the above, and probably more.

      Does the energy of all of these quibbling little nuissances add up to a significant portion of the energy of air temperature rise? I’d believed at one point that the energy of the sum of all non-temperature changes must approach the energy of temperature changes in a closed system, but then it’s been a long time since I could pretend to be conversant in the topic.

      Do the temperature sensitivity calculations include these non-temperature effects, or are they as a net unimportant?

      I’m just wondering whether I’m supposed to be looking for 2C-4C, or 1C-2C plus more high pressure cells, faster winds, altered pH in water and soil, shrinking polar caps, retreating glaciers, more frequent and dangerous lightning strikes, more energy radiated to space from lightning (whatever wavelength that is), thinner atmosphere but more of it, and so forth too?

      • Bart, people think I am crazy when i say it is not obvious how the 4 W m-2 actually translates into a surface temperature increase. And then the cite the simple formula which is an algebraic relationship between the net radiative flux at the top of the atmopshere and surface temperature. Not convincing at all. Then they cite the results of a general circulation model run in perpetual January mode (a month where there is virtually no snow melt because of the asymmetries of the northern and southern hemispheres. I regard this as a basic issue, and whenever I make this point it is used to demonstrate that my brain has become addled by talking to skeptics.

      • People are clearly wrong.

        I was at least this addled long before talking to any skeptic. ;)

        At most 2 W m-2 can translate into surface temperature increase on a 4 w m-2 heat increase without violating the Thermomechanical Principle, if I understand crazyese.

        This is not good news, as the temperature half is the more nearly benign one, in crazy talk.

      • Dr. Strangelove

        Judith, it is not obvious how 4 w/m^2 IMMEDIATELY translates into a surface temp. increase. But eventually in the long run, it would be obvious bec. the specific heats of water in the oceans, air in the atmosphere and land on solid earth are fairly constant. I don’t know how long, maybe decades. Where will earth put all that solar energy if not radiated into space? Mechanical energy? Stronger winds and ocean currents? Eventually it would show up in surface temp.

        But conversely , it is possible for surface temp. to increase even without net radiation flux by heat conversion and transfer in earth’s energy system. Is there an upper limit to surface temp. increase via this mechanism? So we will know if global warming is caused by net radiation flux or not.

      • Dr. Strangelove

        Let me answer my own questions. How long will it take to raise temp. by 1C with 4 w/m^2 ?
        Atmosphere = 1 month
        Land = 2.5 months
        Oceans = 84 yrs!

        If this energy is converted to kinetic energy, how much stronger winds and ocean currents?
        Wind = 550 kph
        Current = 35 kph

        If heat is transferred from oceans and land to atmosphere, how much increase in air temp.?
        1C from land = 2.5C air
        0.01C from oceans = 10C air

        So it’s plausible to have global warming without net radiation flux.

      • Alexander Harvey


        First, we are not going to find out the stabilisation temperature increase for any amount of forcing is, stabilisation occurs on a centenial/millenial timescale, so who cares.

        Of more interest is the temperature trajectory and that is initially governed by the abilities of the systems to increase their stored energy and that does I think include all systems, as the temperature rises disipation into space will become more significant and eventually (sometime never) at stabilization it is the forcing/disipation balance that determines the temperature.

        Regarding the trajectory some guestimation can and has been done and that can be represented in the form of an impulse response function and likely candidates are known, but as far as I am aware they are guestimates and you will see them in some old papers where they exhibit the long tail (stabilisation slower than exponential approach) and in some CO2 instant doubling model runs, (again long tail).

        I am increasingly puzzled as to why such emphasis is put on stabilisation temperatures, they are neither calculable with any accuracy, nor observable in any timescale, hence somewhat unscientific. The trajectory is of interest and you are I think correct to suspect that all the methods whereby heat can be stored are in play.


  38. When you started this blog I wrote: “I have a good feeling about this one”.
    I hope more of your colleagues will put AGW again on the test test-stand and re-evaluate the knowledge gained thus far, and modify assessments accordingly. It’s field where findings keep popping up almost daily.
    That process applies for both sides.

  39. It’s because the pro-CAGW scientists has stopped being scientists and instead become activists. They believe that man must change his evil ways or perish, and hence a lot has come to believe that the goal is more important than science. When that happens they stop being scientists, because this is not compatible with what science is, with scientific principles. However they still hide behind the cloak of science.

    If this was about the science, any criticism would be welcome because it advances our knowledge. But knowledge is no longer the issue, no longer the holy grail for climate science. Only science (no matter how flawed) that support the dogma is welcomed.

    I hate to write this, but when I look at the IPCC and CAGW, it has more and more in common with religion. Stigmatizing heretics and former believers is quite known for religious groups. Thou should not question the dogma, being that god created man or the modern version: man causes his own destruction by his materialistic ways.

    And this is why you’re on the receiving end more than Steve McIntyre – he has never belonged to the believers, whereas you have.

    Rgds. Troels

  40. Hello Alice, welcome to Wonderland.

    I can sympathise with you Judith. My scepticism is mainly surrounding the policy choices being made by politicians with the encouragement of certain scientists pushing a social agenda. That worries me for a number of reasons, not least the lack of protection against unexpected climatic shifts given that we are talking about a chaotic system. I have tried to discuss what a climate-robust society looks like (i.e. a society which can cope with climate change in all directions – warmer, colder, wetter, drier etc) but even this prompts howls of derision as it goes against the narrative being pushed.

    Regardless of whether there is a serious problem (and I suspect its considerably smaller than being promoted by the IPCC), policy has to be effective and socially-cohesive especially given the uncertainties. This picks up another of your points in your essay. Like you, I don’t believe that the scientists advocating a specific policy platform have the understanding of what consequences arise from implementing them. I agree with Roger Pielke Jr that there’s a lot of magical thinking in current policy and this is being championed by activist-scientists.

    For me, scientist-approved policy decisions is almost equivalent to those health adverts which preach morals using children acting sad. Its a cynical political gesture which allows politicians to abdicate their responsibilities by appeals to authority and guilt. If you want a disentanglement of science from policy then there needs to be a renegotiation of the relationship between science and politics and that’s going to be painful and difficult however it occurs.

    Its a difficult road you have placed yourself on Judith and I appreciate your honesty in this blog. And your mentioning of the ‘power of McIntyre’ and the ‘power of Curry’ leaves me with an entertaining image of Max von Sydow crying “the power of McIntyre compels you; the power of Curry compels you”. Perhaps this can be seen as the start of an exorcism…

  41. My own troubles are nothing to Dr. Curry’s, though an apostasy in my long ago past gives me a sense of empathy with her current adventures in Wonderland, and I’d like to share it.
    I made myself tremendously unpopular with some students of History at a small university (well, actually the tavern adjacent) one evening, when I imprudently said, “there is no such thing as a historical movement.”
    ‘Historical movements,’ I argued, were perceptions of events linked by projections of a historian’s beliefs, as likely as not to have no objective connection, more likely to be a mere convenience, or a proxy for a hidden agenda of the historian.
    Formalized by my opining further that proper History has neither synthesis (else it would be fiction) nor analysis (making it anthropology) so was more like a college technical study than a university subject, perfected my historical heresy and would have had me excommunicated from the gathering were it not for the history professor at the bar looking over to speak up and agree with me. (I believe he was giddilly drunk.)
    I did still find myself closely grilled on details of the War of 1812 by a grad student in an attempt to prove my ignorance, so I could be dismissed as a know-nothing (hardly difficult, as History is not my field), but at least no one gave me cause to worry they would destroy my career, nor threatened my income.
    Historians, from the sounds of it, have a lot to learn from Scientists in that regard. Or possibly, undergrads a lot to learn from professors.

    The blogosphere is rife with opportunity to balance so many weaknesses within academia.
    More important than fixing the credibility of science, or intrinsic to that work, I think is building a community of contributors setting an example, blog-mentoring in method, presentation, style, logic, formalism, experimentalism, critical thinking, and those thousand other elements that are the real hidden treasure kept by cliques and secured behind firewalls of closed ranks.
    I know I need instruction and guidance in these areas.
    This blog provides by flaunting peer-review, for example, an excellent set of lessons in what one may need to know to be publishable by peer review.
    I expect that those who have struggled through the process have more empathy with those who struggle, and a better sense of the value of it too.
    I don’t expect to have a paper published, but I’m all about seeing someone else’s point of view.
    By enlarging the community of discourse, extending it, improving it and giving willing participants the tools to improve their own contributions, maybe this blog will elevate the debate.
    You wouldn’t believe how much I learned about the War of 1812 that night. Most of it probably wasn’t even fiction.

  42. Richard S Courtney

    Dr Curry:

    I write to thank you for your honest and sincere post in the article which heads this thread.

    You remain convinced that AGW is a real problem and I remain convinced that it is not. The real world will reveal to what degrees each of us is right and wrong. But that reality is separate from the disparagement you can expect from zealots on both sides of the ‘climate war’.

    As a ‘heretic’ you can expect treatment similar to that which has been given to ‘unbelievers’ like me for years. And that treatment is why so very many people who have tried to put their ‘heads above the parapet’ have rapidly climbed down.

    Science is about seeking the best ‘truth’ we can uncover about the world. It is not about defending a position, but requires the gleaning of new data and assessing the variety of possible interpretations of all available data.

    Unfortunately, much of science – especially climate science – has become subservient to political and monetary influences. And, sadly, this has induced a few climate scientists to abandon any attempt at assessing the variety of possible interpretations of all available data. Instead, that minority (who pretend to be a majority) of scientists have attempted to force acceptance of a single view. And, as the ‘Climategate’ emails prove, they have often used nefarious means to force that acceptance; i.e. subverting the peer review process, attacking journals and journal editors, manipulating which research findings will or will not be included in IPCC reports, etc..

    It is easy to see this as being a corruption of science, but I do not think it is.

    There has always been a minority of scientists who have behaved improperly. Indeed, some of the best scientists have behaved improperly in attempts to advocate their view (e.g. Michael Faraday fabricated data). But that does not mean the generality of scientists or the bulk of the practice of science is corrupt.

    As I see it, the problem with climate science is two-fold.
    Politicians have seen the AGW hypothesis as a useful tool so established the IPCC to promote that hypothesis while throwing money at research which supports the hypothesis. But climate science which is independent of the hypothesis has received little or no funding.
    The mass media have a need for good ‘stories’ and assertions of impending doom are good ‘stories’ so worst case scenarios are presented to the public as being probable outcomes with resulting public concern.

    Politicians respond to public concern so these two effects provide positive feedback to each other.

    In your article you say:
    “When I first started reading the CRU emails, my reaction was a visceral one. While my colleagues seemed focused on protecting the reputations of the scientists involved and assuring people that the “science hadn’t changed,” I immediately realized that this could bring down the IPCC. I became concerned about the integrity of our entire field: both the actual integrity and its public perception.”

    I reached the same conclusion long before then. I addressed a side-meeting organised by Fred Singer at an IPCC Meeting I attended in London in 2001. In that address I said;
    “When ‘the chickens come home to roost’ the politicians and the media won’t say, “It was all our fault”. They will say, “It was the scientists’ fault”, and that’s me, and I object”.


  43. Dr Curry,
    It is heartening to read the piece above and one can only hope that more scientists ‘come out’ the way you did.

    As Richard above, i am currently convinced that cAGW is a none-issue, or more accuratley i am not convinced that it IS an issue, however i couldn’t care less who ends up being right (from an ideological/political etc view). I just want to learn more about the climate.

    I’m a relatively ‘young’ scientist, with only ten + years experience, but it still amazes me that many of the entrenched ‘expert’ scientists seem to have abandoned all pretence of scientific method in order to support their positions; specifically, shutting out contrary views. It ‘almost’ made me question my career choice, politics should be kept at arms length.
    All i and (i hope) many others are interested in is learning more. I take the attitude that if i’m ‘proven’ wrong then great! I’ve learnt something let’s move on and find out more. Until recently i was of the belief i was increasingly alone in this view of the scientific process. It would appear not. Thank you.

    I think i would see these articles against you (and you have exactly the right attitude by the way) as signs that you are doing something right. It matters not whether your work proves/disproves cAGW, but only that you and others, manage to shatter this consensue attitude that blocks out free discussion and with it any hope of scientific progress. Only then can we, in my opinion, make any progress in this issue.

    Hopefully the signs are already there of change, but we shall see.

    • You are the sign of change. You and your generation will “settle” this issue (not the science) and many more, I’m sure.

      PS: You will also have your own “AGW-issue” one day, beware!

  44. Dr. Curry,

    I really applaud your bravery and willingness to use your own common sense – and I do wish more people in the climate science field would start remembering they are _scientists_ rather than policymakers.

    (I’m just a passing reader of the various climate blogs after I had my eyes opened fully by AW Montford’s book – no scientific credentials on my behalf, just a skeptical member of the general public)

  45. The survey was very leading in it’s expected responses, but the results are interesting and may have suprised the Scientific American.

    1. Should climate scientists discuss scientific uncertainty in mainstream forums?
    73% Yes, it would help engage the citizenry

    2. Judith Curry is:
    42.1% a peacemaker
    9.0 % a dupe
    7.2 % both
    41.7% never heard of her

    Fred Pearce – The Guardian has drawn very similar criticism to Judith Curry (ie because he is an consensus, environmental journalist media insider..)

    Like the Scientific American’s author who has drawn this criticism:

    “Simply by giving Judith Curry’s views a respectful airing, I’ve already drawn accusations of being irresponsible — and it’s valid to raise the question of whether giving her any sort of platform is a bad idea.”

    Fred Pearce (all journaklist that allow question) was also accused of being
    irresponsible at the Guardian Climategate debate. Interestingly by, Fiona Fox, the Director of the Science and Media Centre (UK).

    Fred Pearce response: “compared to how reporting MP’s expenses was referred as attacking democarcy initially, but long term better for democarcy (cf climate science)”

    (Their was huge expense scandal in the UK, which brought ALL UK politicians into disrepute, the media parallel is intersting.

    As the MP’s response was do NOT read the stolen/hacked expenses, nothing to see.. (this tactic seems to have worked in the MSM media for the climategate emails) The media made hay with it for nearly 2 years. The publics views of UK politicians was at an all time low because of it.. ( a very large number did not seek re-election because of it, many lost their seats)

  46. Laws of Nature

    Dear Judith,
    I have to confess that when I read your first entry at CA I was repulsed and thinking that the climate scientists should stay away from the sceptic pages and stop obstructing the truth finding process . . (not that I acutally disagreed with what you wrote)
    Well at least I came a far way from there and not only your recent analysis of the IPCC-science finding process is unique and essential for the next step.
    Regardless if the scientists continue to ignore the sceptics or not, they will have to think about the points your raised in your article leading to a better awareness of what is known and not.
    Anyhow I just wanted to tell you that you move people on both sides of the fence and people like you, while being a rare species, are the only way to get rid of the barrier between science driven sceptics and scientists.
    And like the posters before me I am looking forward to more essays from you and about you . .

    • Phillip Bratby

      “the barrier between science driven sceptics and scientists.”

      I think you will find that many of the sceptics are scientists, who understand the scientific methodology far better than the “consensus scientists”.

      So the barrier is between two sets of scientists.

  47. Chuck Wilson — if you were to have a peek at Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s site you might find that his simple question regarding temperature precision ought to give you something to think about. You haven’t found anything to upset the IPCC’s position; Dr. Pournelle hasn’t found anything that substantiates IPCC claims of 0.01 degree precision. To wit: how do we know the temp of the earth in say 1876 or 1927 to a hundredth of a degree when measurement devices of the day were accurate to a degree or less? This is a deceptively simple question, and it’s not been adequately answered.

    Meanwhile a number of people want to base future policy on a claimed 0.8 degree change in the intervening time period. This is less than the resolution of the devices used to take the measurements. I think by now we all are aware of various proxies and approximations, but Dr. Pournelle’s observation “the map isn’t the territory” is insightful. One could easily conclude that in reality, no, we do NOT know the temperature of the earth in any given prior year to the degree of precision claimed.

    When they act on this desire they step into an environment where lots of people disbelieve in evolution… [snip]

    Seriously? Is this sort of comparison now a required obligation, similar to gratuitous nudity in films?

    • G.L.
      I actually teach Mechanical Engineering Laboratory I and II. I know something about precision, accuracy, calibration and temperature sensors. I am confident that IPCC authors of the trends sections do as well. And apparently we know pretty well the trends in temperature. If you want to claim that the whole ball of wax is goofy because your thermometer is not good to 0.01 C, then you ought to read up on how the instrumental record was compiled and what claims are being made for it. Dr. Pournelle does not appear to be a reliable informant. Try IPCC, or Hansen (GISTEMP), or NOAA, or the Japanese Meteorological Service or HadCrut. You could look at Roy Spencer’s blog for the satellite trends. Although he is a skeptic, you won’t find any support for your position there. Dr. Spencer sees warming.
      Anti-science beliefs are not the only threat to the quality of the discussion.
      Lack of preparation is another one.
      Chuck Wilson
      P.S. I left my shirt on while typing this reply.

      • Rich Matarese

        It’s been about thirty-five years since last I spoke with Dr. Pournelle, and I’m not familiar with the subject in which he took his undergraduate degree, but his two Master’s of Science (M.S.) degrees were awarded in experimental statistics and in systems engineering, after which he went on to a Ph.D. in psychology and another doctorate in political science.

        So, yeah, I suspect he’s got a pretty robust grounding as a “reliable” reviewer of how limits of instrumental accuracy work, especially with regard to the compounding of error in the process of statistical interpretation.

        What Dr. Pournelle had written on the limits of accuracy in the global temperature database entries centered upon

        …the specific question of how one justifies tenth of a degree accuracies in charting global warming — it is after all about one degree rise from 1880 to 2000 that is shown on a chart with error bars larger than a degree for each year — when the primary measurements cannot possibly be accurate to better than a degree, and it requires credulity to give them a degree accuracy. I’ve seen sailors read thermometers, and I have seen the Santa Monica airport weather station and pictures of the same location when it was first established in a bean field. I do not believe those numbers are comparable. I do not know how one confidently acts on one tenth of a degree changes when there doesn’t seem to be any justified measurements to a tenth of a degree. I also ask about heat transfer from the interior of the Earth to the biosphere and I seem to be given assumptions but few measurements. I do not know why I am supposed to read the physics report, which appears to mix theory and observation in ways that are fairly complex. It seems to me that those who want us to consent to trillions of dollars investment in combating AGW deserve explanations. Real ones, not the stuff of “An Inconvenient Truth” which does not seem to be so thoroughly based on science as it claims to be, and which was not denounced by the Believers when it first came out; the flaws were admitted only when found by others. That does not give me great confidence.

        I find it altogether remarkable that someone who teaches mechanical engineering should express confidence in the IPCC processes and outputs when so dreadfully much error has been repeatedly demonstrated in that body’s inputs and utterances.

        Mr. Wilson’s tolerance for inaccuracy must produce the kinds of engineers who are finding employment only in the growing service economy.

        Flipping burgers and not designing or building anything upon which people’s lives depend.

      • James C. Wilson

        Burger flipping indeed. I will have to make sure that I do not teach anyone about buildings.

        Repeating Pournelle’s arguments under his degrees does not make them true. I suggest that you read the HADCRUT3 paper recommended to me by Strangelove above. Then you will know how they deal with it. Then you can move on the NASA GISS. Their website provided copies of the key papers which explain how they deal with their uncertainties. It is interesting that groups using different approaches arrive at similar results.
        A little reading will show you that Pournelle’s objections are not correct.
        Try it.

      • Mr. Wilson, you had impugned Dr. Pournelle on no basis other than your unsupported assertion that “Dr. Pournelle does not appear to be a reliable informant.

        I simply cited information freely available online (i.e., to which you had ready access at the time you posted your obviously thoughtless dismissal of the man’s qualification to hold an opinion, apparently for no reason other than the fact that said opinion confounds your personal fantasies) to attest to Dr. Pournelle’s academic qualifications.

        But even had Dr. Pournelle no such qualifications, your vague endorsement of warmist-dominated sources which have been shown throughout the past year and more to be suspect (and I use the word “suspect” in undeserved charity) does nothing to vitiate your failure to address the man’s argument itself, which I had taken the trouble to quote to you and to support with an active link to the specific Web site.

        Were you to fulfill the duty of an honest disputant, whether Dr. Pournelle has a postgraduate degree in experimental statistics or not would not matter in the least. He has raised a point and you have deliberately refused to offer anything at all in the way of logical rebuttal.

        The reliable conclusion to be gotten here is that you do not have any reasoned or supported counter to offer, and that Dr. Pournelle is correct in his appreciation.

        Thanks ever so much.

  48. Thank you for speaking up in this way. If what you are saying is obvious to insiders, then I think it needs to be made obvious to the rest of us as well. Alarmist statements seem endlessly repeated by activists, politicians and worst of all scientists doubling as activists. Neutral outsiders – especially those with solid scientific backgrounds – who have tried to understand the issues are bound to end up thinking that something very odd has been happening for there to be such a strong disconnect between the statements of obvious experts like Lindzen or Pielke and typical media and institutional statements. It is easy to sympathise with a desire to get back to doing science, but I think at the moment it is important that far more experts working in the field do speak up with their own viewpoints. An obvious and public distance needs to be created between doing science and doing activism. Until this happens, I think there is a valid concern that sensible moderate environmental policies – those that actually help people – will continue to be sidelined.

  49. Roddy Campbell

    Judy, thank you very much for this piece.

    It’s always interesting the extent to which we are ‘duped’, using your somewhat unfair terminology. As Dawkins has said in his assaults on parents ‘indoctrinating’ religion, we are programmed as children to believe what we are told, obviously, and that continues, with gullible people carrying on longer and tricky awkward people refusing to ever take anything at face value.

    There are in general three reasons why we continue to accept things as true:

    a) they possibly are
    b) herd instinct
    c) kicking against the pricks is hard work and makes us unpopular

    Point c) is very important – it’s harder work than it looks. Take, as a family example, the infantilising of children, the over-protection against imaginary (in my view) dangers. We advise them against picking berries and eating them unwashed, it’s dangerous, we don’t let them bicycle to school, it’s dangerous, and so on – even objecting to the over-application of these untruths makes one unpopular, with one’s wife and one’s peers. So we take the easy road.

    (As an aside we should value tricky awkward customers VERY highly – it doesn’t make them happy or rich, we may disagree with their convictions, style, or politics, but they do such a great job, the McIntyres, the left-wing journalists, the Amnesty people, yes, the Rainbow Warriors – right or wrong they are fabulous testers of received wisdom.)

  50. Ian Blanchard

    Dr Curry

    Thank you for another thoughtful article. I think it is obvious who is attempting to do real science and who is a stonewall advocate (on both the warmist and skeptic sides of the argument).

    I have a question regarding your 2005 hurricaine paper and more specifically the media coverage, which I hope I can articulate reasonably.

    In my experience of University science, I never remember a journal paper being published with a press release and a news conference, and I’m sure your experience up to that time had been reasonably similar. I accept that publishing a paper suggesting a link between increasing hurricaine intensity and the observed warming trend a few weeks after the catastrophe that was Katrina would attract more media interest than say a paper on why there are no significant precious metal deposits in Devon and Cornwall (my PhD topic), but my question is really how do you get from your journal article to a press release and press conference? How much involvement did you and your co-authors have in this, how much involvement did your University(s) have and how much was there an external party (e.g. PR company) involved?

  51. You no longer have a scientific problem when Wall Street invents a solution.

  52. Sean Houlihane

    I’m not sure if there was a question to be answered by this post, but I see 3 rough classes of sceptic (regardless of their degree of warmness, they are the ones who question the consensus).
    Most hardline are the politically ideological, an example would be Jeff Id – he seems to feel his entitlement to drive an SUV is at risk, and this drives his analytical work.
    In the middle ground are those who looked at the arguments and posturing, and found them lacking in substance (e.g. Steve McIntyre). Maybe combined with some disregard for the ideology that came with the original message, but basically unconvinced by the evidence.
    At the other end of the spectrum are those who believed the original message (for various reasons) and have over time come to question it. Even without a need to have a position on the past 10 years warming, they may now feel they have been mislead. This seems to be a much harder position to reach (since it involves at least a private admission of a mistake), but is a much more difficult position for the believers to argue against.
    I guess the significance of this tale is that as people see it is possible to question the dogma, more of the believers will start to become at least a little sceptical in their own way. I am not sure if this will ‘help’.

    • I think it will.

      If you can’t openly question your own position/motives, what hope do you have of questioning someone elses?

      In science it’s OKAY to be wrong, there’s no shame/stigma to it, or at least there shouldn’t be.

    • My take on Jeff ID is that he sees weakness in the CAWG argument and goes after it. Isn’t that how science is supposed to work?

    • Your attempt to marginalize Jeff Id via the SUV reference speaks volumes about your own open-mindedness. How shall we classify you, and with what perjorative label?

      • I am not marginalising him, he choses to disclose his political ideologies through his blog. My point is that he appears to have become interested in the issue through a specific desire to find faults. I have great respect for his technical posts, much less for some of the other things he makes states. He can still be correct, but his stance makes it easier for some people to dismiss his opinions.
        My point is not about how science is ‘supposed’ to work, it is about the different emphasis that different personalities bring to the discussion – and most specifically how they are likely to influence others. I think Jeff ID only really gains the attention of the believers (that it’s a con), wheras an ex-believer is maybe (so my theory goes) more likely to prompt other believers to question what’s going on. (leaving aside the question as to our host here fits that label)

      • I repeat, the SUV reference is perjorative and marginalizing in the extreme. But if you must be right, as opposed to doing the right thing, carry on.

      • Rational Debate

        I’m a little speachless at your implication here…. Science is all about finding fault. Any decent scientist ought to be rigorously trying to punch holes in their own assumptions, their own work. They also ought to be welcoming attempts, honest, hard attempts, by others to find flaws with their work. Everyone likes it when they turn out to be correct, so they may not like it when flaws are found, but if they don’t welcome that attempt and aren’t grateful when actual flaws are found, then they’re not functioning as a scientist. The sooner any problems are found, the quicker one can incorporate that new knowledge, reformulate the hypothesis, and begin testing again. Its how knowledge is moved forward, its the very basis of science, to test that hypothesis, look for flaws, look for any and all possible confounding factors, etc.

        So I don’t know what to make of the implication that someone becoming interested or looking at someone else’s research specifically to find flaws is somehow a problem, or bad, or not as admirable as someone who came to it differently?? It seems to me that if someone comes to it looking for possible errors, it ought to be ‘have at it, see what you can find, do your best!’

      • I agree. If your paper is important, people should and will try to punch holes in it. It is only by surviving such attacks that a hypothesis can be elevated to a theory. And if there is a mistake or a better way to do something, a scientist should welcome the contribution. I agree that the quicker all this proceeds, the greater the scientific progress. The internet has the potential to massively speed all of this up.

    • There is another category of sceptic. One who has cause to be suspicious of do-gooders who want to change other people’s lives.

  53. “They’re often points the climate-science community already agrees with” but of which the public, the media and politicians were, and still largely are, totally unaware.

    Even if members of the public don’t know much about climate science, many have the underlying feeling that they’re not being told the whole story and of course they’re right. Those presenting the science would claim that they are just simplifying things, leaving out unimportant details so as not to confuse the low intellect masses they have to convince. The public won’t understand probabilities or risk assessment, they say. In less charitable terms it’s called lying by omission.

    Of course, as with any glossy ad campaign once the public realise that the inconvenient truths have been left out they begin to wonder where the reality starts and stops. I’m not sure anyone knows. That’s the real danger to climate science. If people feel that you only tell the truth when it suits you, they can actually assume that you’re lying or exaggerating when you’re not. Eventually they treat everything you say with distrust.

    The attitude to you Dr Curry is a bit like pagan superstition, if you name a thing you bring it into being. By pointing out the uncertainty they feel you create uncertainty. Of course it was always there and if not you, then someone else. Climate change is not some dodgy product or politician that can be peddled onto the public, those things have a limited lifespan. If CO2 is a genuine problem then it’s for life. The public have to trust the science and those creating it implicitly. It has to stand the test of time and not jerk along in a series bloopers and revelations that shock people into rebellion against it.

    But climate scientists are human, of course they are, they can’t be expected to be perfect. Well neither can pharmaceutical companies or chemical businesses or builders so how do they operate? By being subject to regulatory bodies, inspections and standards. Yeah, horrible and largely a waste of time but sadly necessary.

    Ideally climate science wouldn’t need those things. Voluntary standards are always more sensible and less arbitrary, but they’ve got to be realistic. Insiders invariably know where the bodies are, far better than an inspector who can only randomly dig. So it’s better to surrender the dead before outsiders start to look for them.

    So Dr Curry you’re doing the right thing, drilling into the bad tooth hoping to save it. The question is, will the rest of climate science realise it’s got to suffer short term pain for long term success?

  54. Judith, along with everyone else, thank you for your article. However, I have a different point of view from most other comments. What I am afraid of, affects my wallet, and I desperately want to see out politicians completely disregarding anything to do with CAGW. So what I want to see is the IPCC, RealClimate, etc being brought down, and thoroughly discredited. How best to accomplish this?

    One way is to have people like yourself to “come over to the dark side”. If you could be persuaded to not just distrust what the IPCC has written, but to activley say that it is just plain wrong, then this would keep the process of completely destroying CAGW, going, and even accelerating.

    So let me try once again on the subject of models. There is absolutely no uncertainly about the models used to support CAGW. They are a vastely, completely, overwhelmingly, etc. simplistic representation of our chaotic atmosphere. The outputs are, and always will be, just plain wrong. If only we skeptics could get you to see that this is true, I think it would be an enormous step forward in bringing down the house of cards that is CAGW.

    Dont underestimate what your influence is. Hal Lewis has done this, and the MSM has ignored it. If you do it, and others like you, sooner or later the MSM will not be able to ignore what is happening. And when the MSM takes notice, our politicians will not be far behind.

    But again, a great big THANK YOU, for this article.

  55. Everyone, thank you so much for your comments. Traffic at the blog is very heavy the last few days, and I am tied up most of today, i look forward to catching up with all of your posts later today.

    • Dr. Strangelove

      Please read the two studies I posted. They are the best. Keep up the good work! Thanks.

  56. Thank you Dr Curry, for this site and particularly this post. The IPCC can never find out the truth, if any, about AGW, because it was founded on the belief that it was all true. They have lost the debate, because they were never prepared to debate, only attack and isolate anyone who dared question. Pachuri’s voodoo science remark being a good example.

    The job description “climate scientist” is set to become a term of ridicule, but all science is going to suffer the backlash, by way of mistrust and loss of funding.

    If the top job at the IPCC becomes vacant, would you….?

    Perhaps someone could post a link to some of Josh’s cartoons of you, which seem to get more prophetic by the day.

  57. Judith

    “But this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.”

    I am a science graduate. I learned science meant the truth. Stick to the truth and objective reality will prove you right.

    Thanks a million Judith.

  58. I’d also like to add my thanks to you for speaking up!

    Reading about climate science has lead me to wonder how many areas of science have been infected by a peculiar malaise in which science has become about doing what the boss requires and keeping “on message”, rather than discovery. Although I could give examples, I won’t side-track the debate. Certainly talking with two scientist friends of mine, I was amazed how readily they added further examples!

    It is a long time since I did actual science research, but in those days, it was accepted that some research groups were exceptionally weak, but that the man in charge (invariably a man) had good connections or was particularly successful at obtaining grant funding. I left science as such as a post doc because I took incontrovertible evidence that the apparatus we were using, was picking up stray signals, and had other faults. The response was to do nothing because several students were still collecting data for their PhD’s!

    Such people (and the groups they ran) were nearly untouchable, but nobody cared that much – they ‘merely’ drained away a little research money. I wonder if groups of this sort have gradually spread and become frighteningly good at politics!

    I also feel that the ready availability of computers has sadly encouraged an attitude in which no data set is too polluted that it cannot be cleaned up and used to ‘prove’ something. Thus, the sorry state of land temperature data could be ‘fixed’ by simply adding some extra data processing – nothing to worry about!

    Computers have also brought about a situation in which people can effortlessly try any number of statistical tests on their data, recording only the one that produces the ‘right answer’!

    Another problem seems to be that ‘science’ is supposed to study a problem and come up with definite answers in a timely fashion. Uncertain answers aren’t acceptable, and politicians will turn to others who claim to offer certainty! This locks scientists into supporting conclusions even when they no longer seem valid.

    • “Computers have also brought about a situation in which people can effortlessly try any number of statistical tests on their data, recording only the one that produces the ‘right answer’!” – this is the one of my objections to referring to models as “experiments”, with or without qualifiers. The discarded runs you refer to would surely count as “data” in any true experiment. That is not to say that any number of true experiments may not be used to design the model, just that neither the model that emerges, nor any number of runs of it, can be an “experiment”, however qualified.

  59. David Holland

    I want also to congratulate you on this piece and thank you for having the courage to be a real scientist in what has become an ideological battle. More particularly I want to thank you for the private support you gave me when Russell Review refused to publish my evidence submission which explained what one of the issues at the epicentre of Climategate was all about.

    I also want to remind all readers that at 09:20 UK time tomorrow (27 October) Sir Muir Russell, Professors Edward Acton and Trevor Davies are due to appear before the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, which is looking into the Climategate enquiries.

    A live feed will be here:
    An archive feed will be available later.


  60. Dr Curry wrote:
    The enviro advocacy groups are abandoning the climate change issue for more promising narratives.

    and Peter Pond wrote:
    In the meantime, other critical issues (global hunger, poverty, disease, and “real” pollution, etc) are deprived of the political attention, funding and research that could really make a difference to the lives (and deaths) of millions.

    Here is a major problem. If those espousing a particular scientific view are prepared to use bullying, lies, ganging up, suppression of contradictory papers and facts, and elevations of non-facts to iconic status, then all science is dirtied and reduced. Any bad science is an affront to all scientists and diminishes them all.

    The drift in MSM is away from the horrifying thought of a .8 deg C/50 yrs increase in global temperature and towards species extinction, forthcoming ecological collapse, a loss of the planet’s ability to sustain us. Well, yes, but are these the same people who told me a few years ago that by now the streets would be flooded and hurricanes would be devastating the east coasts of major land masses, that the Gulf Stream would slow down and we would freeze in the dark? And if they aren’t the same, why did they watch bad science and say nothing? And if they are the same, why should I trust them again?

    Ecological damage is, to me, a far more worrying scenario than anything proposed by climate science, but unless that is tested rigorously by people of integrity then the chance of making people take anything else seriously is dangerously diminished. For the good of science, AGW theory must be questioned by those eminent in the field — one is tempted to use the phrase ‘think of the grandchildren’ — because later generations will have to live with the consequences if bad science is allowed to slip past unquestioned.

    Anastassia Makarieva wrote
    Like a child when finds a flower shows it to his mum with affection and looking for empathy. In the same way scientists need to share their results with their brethren. It is like breathing, it is an inherent component of scientific productivity.

    Dr Makarieva, that metaphor gives me hope: as long as there are scientists who see such joy in truth-seeking then all is not lost.

    (BTW, Chuck Wilson, the best place to rehearse your above arguments is probably Lucia’s The Blackboard. She is methodically (ha!) working through predictions and how they are panning out.)

  61. Dr Curry-

    I am a second year science student in Wellington NZ and I cannot tell you how much I admire your position of truth seeking and integrity in all of this.

    If hope that I can become even a shadow the scientist you are.

  62. Thanks a lot, Judith, for your courage and for this excellent blog.
    Rid the world of the IPPC – it has now gone down with man and mouse already (read the book “The Hockey Stick Illusion”) byA.W. Montford, and you see why. I was taught meteorology by Dr Carl Ludvig Godske, in 1966 – 1969, and he was the last of the big ones from the famous “Bergen School” of Wilhelm Bjerknes, in Bergen. They made up modern weather forecasting by analysing Dynamic Meteorology, just before WWII. I am sure that if the professional statistician Carl L. Godske had been alive today, he would possibly have been able to prevent the hockey stick to happen in the first place.

    However, what do we need instead of the IPPC? – It has all to do with the Earth’s vital environment and does not have to do so much with climate change. There is no way that we can simulate the future climate development anyway, we are in control of too few of the necessary parameters. Whereas Mother Nature has perhaps several hundred essential parameters to play with in Her climate change toolbox, our numerical models only rule over 20 or 30 or so…

    Many of us think that the carbon cycle and the water cycle and albedo changes are the most important parameters in the heat budgets of the Earth. But then we forget that the real Master of our planetary heat-engine is the Pacific Ocean and whatever lurks underneath its fragile oceanic crust, at an average depth of over 3.6 km. Have any of you heard about the Ring of Fire, and the biggest discovery of the last century, when Lonsdale et al., dove on the East Pacific Rise, to find and document the very first hot vent. – It is a Balck Smoker type, sulfide chimney, where superhot seawater comes gushing out of the seafloor, after having been in contact with the top of the mantle only 8 km down… Well, this is where the main heat of our planet is lurking, and we do not yet have any idea of how it links to the upper portion of the ocean, which is in constant contact with the atmosphere…

    I suggest we exchange the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change with the IPPA: Intergovernmental Panel for Planet Assessment, which would aim at restituating faith in the natural sciences, and which would only hand out money to scientists and projects that had passed through a rigorous peer review system of independent scientists. Perhaps we could then get somewhere when it comes to finding out more about, for example the methane budget in the atmosphere, the interaction between seawater and mantle, and what effect not only aerial volcanoes have on the atmosphere, but also undersea volcanoes, of which there are about 800.000, below the waves of the 72 % of the planet covered by water…

    • I know your heart is in the ‘right’ place, but I really hope that members of the UN never again make the terrible mistake they made with the IPCC and go on to form more of these worthless panels. It’s only natural to assume that such would help, but –alas– the truth is very different from the perception. Much of the problem we have today with the “issue” and “science” of climate is the result of the this pathetic and counterproductive, good-faith, bone-headed, “political” panel. UN panels are just like Washington, London, Peking, Tokyo, and Moscow government panels, a lot of hot air and a huge waste of time and money.

  63. Lonnie Schubert

    You will probably recall that I don’t much agree with you, but I do appreciate your efforts. Thank you.

    • C.W. Schoneveld

      Here we have virtually the only comment that is in disagreement with the others in this thread, but sadly it happens also to be virtually the only one without providing an argument of any kind. Is this a coincidence?

  64. I am afraid there is a lot more conformity in science than scientists recognize. Government grant programs often have an agenda and if you don’t sound suitably enthusiastic about that agenda you won’t get funding. No funding, no tenure. I think when there was no gov $ and less mass media and no internet so that scientists were a little more isolated it was easier to be independent, just by chance.
    The extreme reaction to criticism in climate science also reminds me of the reaction to criticism of gender studies or post-modernism–since the arguments are arbitrary they are not robust to criticism.

  65. You are on the right path. An open discussion of the science is exactly what is required. Imagine a doctor that didn’t relate to you the uncertainties and differential diagnoses. Would you trust that doctor? If the doctor told you a test means one thing and you found a paper written by that doctor that stated it may mean something completely different. Would you trust that doctor then? If the doctors told you to leave the room because they had important things to discuss and you could never possibly hope to understand them. How would you feel about your doctors then? Once the climate scientists came up with conclusions that will affect our lives in significant ways they became our doctors. So far every action they have taken has been inviting a malpractice lawsuit. I do not consider you a heroine for taking the right path. I do consider those that attack you for doing so as villians. Do not lose your confidence or your patience Dr Curry. It sounds like you may have trying days ahead.

  66. As an Engineer who has keep nuclear power plants running, (including sophisticated fracture mechanics analysis, use of state of the art mathematics to model stress fields in large bodies…stress intensity factors, stochastic modeling of random flaw distributions, etc.), I find “Dr.” Curry’s opinion of herself …alas…way to elevated.

    Despite this encouraging shift in attitude, it should be remembered by all these folks feeding at the public trough, that they are “observers” not “makers”. They are consumers not creators.

    In point of fact, if they all DISAPPEARED tomorrow, life would go on.

    I defy everyone to TURN OUT THEIR LIGHTS, flatten their auto tyres, and use no gas for domestic heating this week…and see if “life goes on”.
    In many cases, as food spoiled, supplies were not delivered, and sanitation failed, LIFE WOULD NOT GO ON.

    The threatening part of all of this is that as resources and funding ARE drained from the productive to the non-productive, indeed the things that make “life go on” can and will be “threatened”. Their is a local mental health clinic that boasts aid for those plauged with “worry and ‘what if’ thinking”.

    It used to be a good thing, but then the CRU over ran the clinic with new patients. Sad, really sad…

    Sorry, that’s reality.

  67. The greatest asset a scientist can possess – and the hardest one to hang on to – is an open mind. Bravo, Dr. Curry.

  68. I would worry if “Religious American” would call me a heretic. The term is meaningless in science.

    • True the word ‘heretic’ is meaningless in science. But in this debate about AGW dogma it is in context as Dr. Curry describes in the opening paragraph.

      The original term “Global Warming” was a properly formed name for a scientific hypothesis. The new term “Global Climate Disruption” is aptly named for religious dogma; as in climate disruption is due to the hand of God. No experiment could be designed to invalidate that dogma.

      Dr. Curry is right to fight against the consensus because consensus is meaningless in science.

      • Sure. Lemonick used that word (not tongue-in-cheek) and “Scientific” American decided to print it. That disqualifies both as serious commenters on scientific matters.

  69. Personal and professional integrity is everything.Congratulations on an excellent essay. Discussion and dispute is what science is about and in the end the data will decide.
    None of this would matter except the politicians in the ‘Western’ world are embarking on economically suicidal policies.Statements you make about ‘uncertainty’ may make them think again.
    Conflating AGWH with more general environmental concerns is common but mistaken. Anthony Watts sets a very good environmental example for instance.

  70. How much does this apply?

    “Black-sheep effect refers to the the tendency for members to evaluate a disliked ingroup member who performs an offensive behavior more harshly than an outgroup member who performs the same offense. ”


  71. Mervyn Sullivan

    The IPCC and the “Church of Man-Made Global Warming” have committed themselves to the consensus, saying “Yes… besides, the science is settled”!

    ‘Skeptics’, on the other hand, have acted cautiously, saying “No… the science is not settled, the consensus is not right, and the issue is extremely far more complex…”

    Judith Curry, well done. It is always better to err on the side of caution.

  72. Dr. Curry
    I’ve criticised some of your articles in the past because I felt you were often creating a ‘debate’ when it seemed blindingly obvious there wasn’t one. Alluding to your “Emperors clothes” analogy, I couldn’t understand why you would make a debate about whether there were in fact any clothes or not – when it seemed bloody obvious the Emperor was stark raving naked. There was just shoddy science and intellectual obfuscation supporting a flawed ideology …… which you pandered to in the name of creating a debate.

    However, here, I finally sense that the gloves have come off. You are calling a spade a spade and its absolutely bloody brilliant. The Emperor is indeed naked and its great that someone with your intellectual authority is saying so – and in such blunt and brutal terms. Absolutely bloody brilliant.

  73. Judith, the great shock for me when I became a sceptic was that I never realised how much I relied on the integrity of people talking about science. I had after all spent a great deal of time talking about global warming without once actually checking the original papers and facts and figures as my scientific training told me to do.

    People like Mann used people like me to spread their malicious lies (about the certainty of climate/man-made change) and until I read your own piece regarding the need for proper debate, there was not a hope in hell of me ever trusting another climate “scientist”.

    If there is a real disaster out there regarding the climate (and that’s a big if, given the abysmal instrumentational record and the “group-think” that has prevailed in the climate-arts), but if there is a real disaster then someone like you is a million times more likely to be listened to, than an idiot like those we saw scheming away in the climategate emails.

    • Thank you, Mike, for your message. You will be in for a much greater shock if you realize that the corruption of science extends far beyond the boarders of climatology:

      Almost every well-funded astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, nuclear and solar scientist repeats the SSM line [Standard Solar Model] as gospel, ignores experimental observations that directly falsify the SSM [1,2], and accepts the federal research funds that NAS directs to NASA, DOE, NSF, etc. for their services.

      As mentioned earlier, President Eisenhower warned of this development in 1961: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

      1. “Scientific Genesis: The origin of the Solar System”

      2. “Solar abundances of the elements from neutron-capture cross sections”

      • Oliver, your point about all science being “corrupt” is an interesting one. I used to think that the reason that scientific discovery had petered out in recent years (in most subjects), was a natural limit in the sense that there were a few major progressions in the 19th century that enabled science to explore some areas, and now that the areas freed up by unblocking these fundamental conceptual blocks have been largely explored, there will naturally be a lessening of the rate of new discoveries.

        However, following the climategate expose and the way the scientific “elite” simply backed the “status quo” even though it was patently obviously absurd to do so, I think it is just possible that the reason scientific exploration has so diminished is the closed mind of the “elite”. Could it be that so much of scientific “orthodoxy” is just a load of bull and that the public and science community are being forced to accept the “status quo” in order to protect the scientific elite from accepting they can be wrong. And is the result that many potential avenues of exploration are being closed down to maintain the “orthodoxy”?

        Obviously you can’t just say that all science needs re-examination, but even in my own small way, I’m still not convinced by some things I was told in University physics were the “gospel truth” – they just don’t ring true and I can see much better ways to put the same concepts.

      • Mike, I do not know nor claim that ALL science is “corrupt.”

        I know that the Galileo probe entered Jupiter’s atmosphere in 1995 and observed excess Xe-136 there, as had been predicted in a controversial paper [“Solar abundance of the elements”, Meteoritics 18, 209-222 (1983)]:

        The data were finally released in 1998, in response to a request directed to NASA Administrator (Dr. Dan Goldin) when he was being interviewed by C-SPAN.

        Isotope data from the Galileo probe confirmed that the Sun is not a ball of Hydrogen [“Isotopic ratios in Jupiter confirm intra-solar diffusion”, Meteoritics and Planetary Science 33, A97, abstract 5011 (1998)]:

        I also know that experimental measurements had directly falsified three popular models of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear, solar and space sciences before the 32nd Annual Lunar Science Conference in March 2001:

        a) Formation of the Solar System from an interstellar cloud,
        b) The Standard Solar Model of a Hydrogen-filled Sun, and
        c.) H-fusion as the source of solar energy.

        See: “The Sun’s origin, composition and source of energy,” Lunar and Planetary Science XXXII, Abstract 1041, available as 1041-pdf from Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, TX (CD-ROM, 2001)

        Physical Review Letters received a manuscript three months later, on 18 June 2001 and published it on 25 July 2001 by one hundred and seventy-eight (178) coauthors, “Measurement of the Rate of νe+d→p+p+e- Interactions Produced by 8B Solar Neutrinos at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory” [Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 071301 (2001)]:

        Many science news reports claimed that the solar neutrino puzzle had been solved and the SSM (Standard Solar Model) verified by the above measurements at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory.

        I personally doubt solar neutrino oscillations, but it will be as difficult for government research agencies to admit that mistake as it will be for them to admit that CO2 did not induce global warming.

        Again, Mike, I thank you for your question.

        You are right: Much scientific “orthodoxy” is a load of bull that the public was forced to accept in order to protect the inflated egos of the scientific elite.

        Thanks to the kindness of Fate, I managed to survive and enjoy 50 years (1960-2010) of joyful discovery! Thanks to the Climategate scandal, the next generation may be able to break free of the tyranny of government science.

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

        astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, nuclear and solar scientist

  74. Re: creation of monsters. In certain areas of physics it is very hard to test an idea experimentally. Areas such as dark matter, string theory, singularity theory (black holes), and the big bang are very problematic, with opposing camps. These opposing camps have strong views, but they don’t demonize opponents (maybe they call them crack pots…). Why? Because they are working as hard as they can to make their theories testable, and because there is no political movement that cares about dark matter. Heretics and monsters are only needed when you mix in religion and/or politics (and in the climate debate we get both). Getting the “wrong” answer or questioning the consensus then makes you a “bad” person, as bad as asking if little boys and girls might actually be different.

  75. Please Dr. Curry keep up your integrity, just because you refused the Kool-aid doesn’t make your voice any less worthy.

  76. David A. Evans

    Ma’am, you have my deep and sincere respect.

    I first heard of CO2 caused AGW way back, (I think in the early ’80s), as an engineer, I dismissed it as an idea that wouldn’t fly. (How wrong can you be?)

    I came back to it in mid to late ’08. I do disagree with you if you think it’s an issue but at least you recognise that refusing to talk to sceptics and hiding of data and methods is hardly the way to gain trust and confidence.

    There are many things wrong with the science, not least of which is an adherence to the idea that atmospheric temperature is even relevant. RP Sr recognises that OHC, (I prefer OEC as heat is in my view a verb,) is a more relevant metric. We simply don’t have enough data on that and even if we did, if it warms slightly, back-radiation from CO2 is an unlikely candidate.


  77. Michael Cejnar

    Dear Prof Curry
    You are neither on the light or the dark side – you are the very model of a true scientist. Thank you for being the light on the hill.
    Politically, the warmists should be very very careful how they treat you. Public can’t tell science, but they can tell when a pack turns onto one of their own and draw the obvious conclusion.

  78. Judith,

    This is an interesting article to me because of your description of the Ivory Tower. I think a lot of people have a difficult idea understanding the pace of life in academia. After I graduated I worked in R&D in industry for 11 years before going back and visiting. When I spoke to the professors in the field I am in they were still locked into the papers and the journals, but had no idea what the industry was actually doing.

    There are a variety of blinders that have developed in academia. It takes a certain courage to stick your neck out like you have. It is a difficult path for one used to being part of the group to step out and go it alone. For being willing to do you should be commended.

    I have enjoyed reading some of your views on the AMO. I have learned a bit about it from you. I do appreciate the step you have taken.

    John Kehr
    The Inconvenient Skeptic

  79. Judith, the paradox of climate “science” is that it largely hasn’t been controlled or run by the “scientists” for yonks (a scientific term!)

    As you have found out, the agenda has been controlled by the media’s lust for alarmist stories and the environmental lobby groups desire to tell everyone how badly we are treating the environment. I’m sure people like Phil Jones always intended to be good scientists, but somehow they just got caught up with the needs of the “global warming movement” which cared not a jot for scientific integrity (come on, half of them believe in holistic medicine, paganism and withcraft!)

    I too was part of that “group think” in that I went along with the “consensus” because I assumed that people better than me had done the basic science and that what I was telling people was therefore based on sound science – and I even believed that anyone who questioned the “science” must be in the pay of the massively hugely funded oil-lobbying anti-science lot.

    What I finally learned was that far from there being a massive well funded group trying to thwart real science, the situation was that the real scientists were keeping quiet and the whole “consensus” was the fabrication of the enviro-politicos. Moreover, the propaganda push was entirely the other way: far from the oil industry massively funding the anti-science lot, I’ve yet to find anyone except the green groups who are being funded by the oil industry. This has really been a David and Goliath struggle, except Goliath was pretending that he was the underdog struggling against a massive David!

    The result was that we had in effect, this was a one-party state, pretending that there were two parties, and worse, that it was the minority party struggling to have it voice heard against the virtual bogeyman opposition that only existed in any meaningful way in the minds of the single-state elite.

    Like all one-party politics, there was no debate, anyone who even dared to question the orthodoxy was labelled as “in the pay of the bogeymen” and now the people have revolted, the one-party Berlin wall has been knocked down and now scientists like you and people like me are able to move freely back and forth across the wall without some big-brother idiot trying to force us to belong to the one “true” camp or go join the “heretics”.

    • mike, that sums it up quite well. For saying things like this, that is why people think i am a “dupe”, that i have been totally brainwashed by talking to skeptics that are in the pay of big oil.

      • For saying things like what? “the real scientists were keeping quiet and the whole “consensus” was the fabrication of the enviro-politicos?” that “the propaganda push was entirely the other way… green groups who are being funded by the oil industry?”

        You’re obviously well within your rights to embrace this narrative, but it would be helpful if you made it clear whether you did or didn’t, rather than cautiously vague responses to blog comments.

  80. Truly an amazing story. Except for the CRU emails we would have been taxed back to the pre-industrial status, all in the name of saving the planet.

    What Real $cience hasn’t yet realized is that Real Money has moved on. China has rapidly moved into first place ahead of the US as the largest producer of CO2. With this the political opportuity has been lost. Goldman et al have bailed, sold the CCX and moved on to the next Big Opportunity.

  81. The tragedy of this thing is that if it turns out to be true, that CO2 is really dangerous, and is driving the climate out of control and safe limits, then the ones who will be most responsible for it not being believed in time will be the ultras.

    Mann, Jones, RC, Tamino, Stoat, Rabbett, Ladbury, all those guys with their hysterical rages and spin and attempts to suppress any questioning, and their endless personal attacks, paradoxically, these guys are doing more to promote general cynicism and disbelief than any sceptics like Watts and McIntyre could possibly do.

    Any way you look at it, right or wrong, these guys are not helping. Isn’t it funny that people who supposedly are so devoted to a cause should be the main ones undermining it? But its happening.

    • If you are thinking of those making McCarthyesque attacks on people willing to speak up –attacks on people like Judith — please don’t leave Joe Romm’s name off the list of Joe McCarthy wannabees!

    • Thanks to Dr. Curry for the courage and integrity to publish this posting.

      I second Michel’s opinion that the real tragedy of the current situation is that the response from the community will “promote general cynicism and disbelief than any sceptics”. As a result we are not debating what can be done to develop a long-term energy policy that includes de-carbonization but does not affect the economy.

      Although I am not a climatologist I am a member of the American Meteorological Society and I also hope that Dr. Curry’s post spurs action in the Society to: ” figure out how to provide the best possible scientific information and assessment of uncertainties”. Furthermore I think that a code of ethics to insure that members follow the guidelines is necessary.

      Roger Caiazza
      BS, MS Meteorology
      Certified Consulting Meteorologist

      • yes, the debate is unfortunately occurring over the minutia of the science such as tree rings, rather than over what can be done to develop a robust energy policy. the science has become a proxy for what should be a political/policy debate

  82. The reason Big Oil is supporting the CO2 tax is two fold:
    1) Taxing CO2 makes oil/natural gas more attractive for primary power production, because oil/gas emits less CO2 per BTU than coal.
    2) CO2 is routinely pumped underground to recover oil. A tax on CO2 would pay oil companies to do this.
    Both these would make oil production more profitable.

    • Ge0050 – isn’t it much simpler! Big oil only care if taxes discriminate against their company and taxing everyone only has the effect of putting up the price for everyone without making any one oil company less attractive.

      But, if you can make 1% on a $1 barrel of oil, or 1% on a $100 barrel of oil, which do you think they would prefer? You can easily hide a $1 increase in a barrel to cover “administration costs” but you can’t do the same on $1 barrel, and wouldn’t you much prefer to cream off the profits on a few very expensive barrels of oil, than do all the hard work to supply a much larger quantity of oil and a much reduced price & so profit/barrel?

      To be frank, I know oil companies love the idea of carbon taxes because they rake in a hell of a lot more money without having to sell so much oil … more money for doing less, why on earth wouldn’t they like Carbon taxes?

      … so is it any wonder that some of the biggest investors in the renewable energy scam and the lobbyists who promote global warming are oil companies?

  83. Global mean temperature trend for 120 years is shown below:

    Is it hard to predict what the trend will be for the next 20 years?

    • Actually it is hard to predict.

      I started my professional career in forecasting for a telephone company. The data we had was of high quality and every sudden change or outlier in the data series was well documented and understood. But we still couldn’t predict the future with any more accuracy than plus/minus 10% (not a very high quality forecast given the quality of the input data).

      There are many laws of forecasting, such as: – if you don’t forecast well, forecast often; – (s)he who lives by the crystal ball, soon learns to eat ground glass; – given them a date or give them a number, never give both.

      The point being, forecasting appears to be easy until you try it yourself.

  84. Dear Professor Curry:

    The fact is that it seems that everybody has chosen not to know, not even to ask for the most simple issues on climate. Though it has been demonstrated by another UN’s organism, as the FAO organization:
    Where it is shown the close relation between LOD and climate, and while this study is practically applied succesfully by fishermen all over the world.
    While it has been shown an effective correlation between Magnetic fields and temperatures:
    “Warmologists” keep on playing, like kids, with the latest of their Wee-like models.
    This has reached so far, as to provoke Prof.Khabibulo Abdusamaton, the head of the Pulkovo Observatory, to opine in their respect: “That’s Hollywood science”.
    It is a fact fields are related, and ignoring it won’t change reality:

  85. I am doing my best to return some sanity to this situation and restore science to a higher position than the dogma of consensus. You may not like it, and my actions may turn out to be ineffective, futile, or counterproductive in the short or long run, by whatever standards this whole episode ends up getting judged. But this is my carefully considered choice on what it means to be a scientist and to behave with personal and professional integrity.


    [clap clap clap]

  86. It is disastrous for science. Every one is implicated in looking the other way: fellow climate scientists, journals, the media and the politicians. It is extremely hard to retreat form the certainty of man made global warming. The only face saving route is to embrace uncertainty. Welcome to uncertainty and precaution, not the “science is in”

    • No, Girma, it WAS disastrous for science until the Climategate scandal exposed widespread corruption in the once proud scientific establishment of the “Free West.”

      We are now beginning to see that the corruption extends far beyond the boarders of climatology and includes astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear, particle, solar and space sciences. As President Eisenhower warned in 1961:

      “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”

  87. Dr. Curry,

    There are only a few people that have the courage that you have in honestly discussing one of the most important issues of our time.

    I still am not sure why honesty is such a rare commodity among environmental scientists – I suspect it’s the amount of money available to anyone who can attribute a species dying out, or other phenomenon to global warming. A suggestion that Dr. Lindzen made at an MIT forum.

    • The reward for espousing disaster is not money in most cases but smugness: “I know more than you and I am more virtuous”

    • Tom, I suspect that honesty is no more rare among environmental scientists than it is among scientists of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear, particle, space and solar science.

      Computer memory, the internet, and e-mail helped expose the “Big Brother” that computer memory, the internet and e-mail used to control and corrupt science.

      • I agree that this is not only pertains to environmental scientists – but I think what happened here was that the amount of money involved for research in what was a relatively obscure field accelerated exponentially and a lot of otherwise honest people lost perspectiveand inadvertantly(put the blinders on, don’t look a gift hores in the mouth etc.) subscribed to a dogma that was more religion than science.

        It takes a person (Judith C. Dr. Lindzen, Steve M. etc.)with high integrity to ignore large sums of money especially given the competition for research money.

      • Ian Blanchard

        Craig, Tom

        A further consideration is that many of the students who have gone into Environmental Science (as a general term) over the last 20 years or so have tended to already be quite ‘activist’ anyway, so start from the premise that humanity is doing significant damage to the environment. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that most results confirm this opinion.

        Because of this, it is likely that the intellectual challenges to the Global Warming theory are likely to come from parallel fields that don’t have the same political (small p) bias – so areas like meteorology, geology (or more specifically geochemistry and biogeochemistry), physics and chemistry.

  88. @Robert | October 26, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Kudos Robert

  89. Dear Judith Curry

    Thank you very much for this post.
    You are a true scientist :-)

    Best regards from Iceland

  90. The work “heretic” is only used in the headline, and headlines usually are not written by the same people who write the articles. They are designed to be catchy, and as such the headline works if you take the word “heretic” figuratively. A similar headline could be used for any scientist questioning some established truth in science. I think you make far too much out of it.

  91. Dear Dr. Curry: When I wrote this essay in August I had you and others in mind. Like all these things the definitions are more important then the words used. If the truth be spoken and we would all want that right? None of this is about science. It is about ego, money and power.

    What is a Scientist?

    What does that title Scientist mean anyway? Many call themselves scientists and many are called scientists but just what does that name or title imply. We have touched on this in several other essays. Here I would like to focus in on that specific topic. Let’s look at me for example. I have graduated from a recognized university, having majored in Geology. I have been employed for over 45 years as a geologist or in some management capacity that is directly related to the earth sciences and the science of them. I have been a full Member or Fellow of several geoscience associations. I am a Registered Professional Geologist (P. Geol.) or Geoscientist (P. Geo.) with three provincial registration associations, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

    I assume I can call myself a scientist and that others would also call me a scientist. I checked a dictionary and found: scientist |ˈsīəntist| noun, a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.

    Wikipedia says:

    “A scientist in a broad sense is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist is an individual who uses the scientific method. The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science… Until the late 19th or early 20th century, those who pursued science were called “natural philosophers” or “men of science”.

    I qualify. That said, for me to pronounce as a scientist, on any subject not related to Geology or Earth Science, would be questionable. That does not mean I have no opinion. It means my opinions must be separated from the facts, so others can take it for what it appears to be worth.

    In a previous essay I mentioned this natural philosopher name and my personal preference for it. That preference is greatly related to my avocation to explore the Philosophy of Science, in addition to my chosen discipline, to my fondness for several historical geoscience figures of the past, that called themselves natural philosophers and frankly it just sounds better. Alias this is the 21st Century and I am a modern man, in all but my imagination. My vanity will need be set aside.

    When anyone says or writes that “scientists say” or some other such generalization, my personal B.S. dictator rings an alarm. Who is this person? What is his or her claim of title? What exactly was said, not some interpretation of it? In what capacity was the speaker or writer conversing? Is this opinion, interpretation or fact? What is being left out? Does the speaker/writer have an agenda and if so what is it? It goes further of course. In other essays I have complained about authors saying things in press releases that are not conclusions drawn from the paper or study being referenced. To my mind this in poor behavior and if I were king……however, I am only a scientist, pseudo philosopher and blogger.

    It is clear that if one wishes to be known as a scientist he should have some credentials behind that desire. If otherwise, that person is a pseudo scientist just as I am a pseudo philosopher. While I have studied formally and informally, though about, read widely and deeply about, the Philosophy of Science and Philosophy in general, except for this blog I have never written or published on the subject. I may be a lover of wisdom or seeker of knowledge i.e. a philosopher in general terms, I am not qualified to use the tittle Philosopher, which suggests some academic expertise in the subject.

    In this I envision myself as someone not unlike Eric Hoffer, who refereed to himself as a longshoreman and by some other authors as “longshoreman philosopher”. Society has granted the title Philosopher to Hoffer in recognition of his work’s quality. We differ, in that he wrote 10 books and a newspaper column. Unlike him, my voracious reading is somewhat less so and split between earth science, science in general and everything else. He tended to spend much more time on the everything else. I have not read all 10 of his book either. It would be self dilution of the highest order, to class myself in Hoffer’s league. I do not do so.

    Hoffer penned many wonderful quotations I will use two here: “The fanatic is not really a stickler to principle. He embraces a cause not primarily because of its justness or holiness but because of his desperate need for something to hold onto.” and “We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.”

    Now the true philosopher and the true scientist, both seekers of knowledge, can never be a fanatic or an absolutist. By definition these behaviors are incompatible with that seeking and logically inconsistent. I pointed out in the essays: “When Scientists act like Politicians do Politicians act like scientists?” and “Expert Credibility”, when this happens they should forfeit the nobel title. Don’t hold your breath, it hasn’t happened yet.

    When any person of science, in speaking or writing about that science, becomes fanatical, dogmatic or absolute, he forfeits the rights to that title. To paraphrase from the essay, “Man At the Center, Not Man In the Center”, a scientist may be at the center of some research topic or another, he is not the center of it. The philosopher in me will say, we scientists do not understand and do not know, far more then we do know and understand. The only person qualified to use the title Scientist is the one who will admit this fact, to himself and to everyone else.

    Dr. Curry, by my definition you more then quality you show us how.

  92. Noblesse Oblige

    My son, the academic social psychologist in the family, has taught me much about the dynamics of cognitive dissonance. Most people, scientist or not, react to new information that contradicts a deeply held paradigm by rejecting it, ignoring it, or finding a way to discredit it. In this case the paradigm is strong AGW, and we have had many opportunities to observe this dynamic. It is rare that someone considers that the paradigm might be wrong or incomplete, and indeed the typical trajectory is for believers to become more strident, more convinced they are right, and to prosletyze more aggressively (see the work of Leon Festinger who developed the concept and did a great deal of research on it). It is rare for an individual to actually challenge his or her deeply held paradigm, and perhaps it was not held that deeply to begin with. In any case, THIS is why you are considered more threatening than people such as Lindzen or Pielke Sr.

  93. Crispin in Waterloo

    Just dropping over from WUWT.
    Great read.
    Reasonable discussion that doesn’t always confirm my prejudices. A great day is one when going to bed you know something you didn’t know when waking.
    Card carrying heretic, though not an apostate (the punishment is the same!)

  94. Dr. Curry,

    I’d like to suggest that in the future, when considering response to an expected increase in CO2, that we no longer use the two choice model of “Stop or limit human generated CO2 production” vs “Do Nothing. This is not a rational set of choices for real human endeavors. There are very few problems presented to us that have only binary decision choices.

    The should always be at least a three way set of choices: “Limit CO2 production”, “Do Nothing”, “Adapt to change.” Failing to express this range of choices when discussing the implications of a scientific presentation feeds into a polarized set of interpretations by people outside the field of climate science.

    Of course, not all discussions of climate science end up lead into debate about what impact it has on human endeavors, but when they do, don’t accept “Fix it or Die” vs “Sit on our hands” as rational choices for dealing with weather. Climate is merely weather averaged over time. We pull out our umbrellas when it rains, not because the local climate is described as having an average of one meter of rain per year.

    Your blog is probably a good place for the an open discussions of adaptation to probable ranges of climate shifts based upon realistic climate science, not rather wild worst case scenarios.

    • The should always be at least a three way set of choices: “Limit CO2 production”, “Do Nothing”, “Adapt to change.”

      This sounds good, but there is a significant disconnect in the last option, namely: adapt to what change? Some would say there will be no change. Others disagree about the magnitude of the change, and there is very little agreement about the specific changes that will happen in specific places. This is the reason why “climate disruption” is gaining increasing currency: the result of adding energy to a dynamical system is very difficult to predict with specificity.

      Absent any information about what will change, the “adapt” option could be roughly analogized to waiting for the rain to start before deciding whether or not to buy an umbrella.

      • David L. Hagen

        Adapt to WHATEVER change – warming or cooling – migrate to “Green”land, grow grapes in England, or ice skate around fairs held on the frozen Thames.

        The practical challenge in “adapting” is to develop alternative renewable liquid fuels cheaper than conventional petroleum.

      • Is there such a thing? Say more.

      • That’s not adaptation. That’s just reaction, which will obviously happen in any case, which means that “adapt to change” is precisely equal to “do nothing.”

      • It sure is convenient to move the goalposts from a requirement of ‘global warming’ to a requirement of simple ‘climate disruption’. Of course, odd weather events hardly ever happen and this really clarifies the issue with respect to attribution.

        I find this whole shift in strategy to ‘disruption’ absolutely hilarious. Colder than usual? Climate disruption. Warmer than usual? Climate disruption. What a fantastic catch-all now that it appears possible we’re moving into a cooling period.

      • Since there is no reason to believe the climate is changing or will change at a markedly greater rate than in the past, why not rely on mankind’s proven capacity to adapt, and stop fretting about it?

      • If what we call “rain” were something that no living person –nor anyone in recorded history in fact– had ever experienced, we might have a suitable analogy for “Climate Change”. Now we have some people running around saying it’s going to be catistrophic and we need to make major changes in “everything”; and other people running around saying it’s not going to be too bad and we don’t need to do anything; and others saying to anyone who’ll listen that we just don’t know yet what rain is and what’s going to happen.

        But think about it, if we go and get some stupid politicians worried about it (or anything really) what do you think is going to happen? You guessed it! It’s going to cost a bundle to put a roof made of pure gold (it don’t rust) over every town and village on the planet.

      • Perhaps you are looking at this too narrowly. My spin is this: if you claim there will be a damaging change in climate in some area, provide a description of what the effort and cost might be to adapt to the change. Using that as a basis, compare the effort and cost of preventing that climate change.

        The point of this as an exercise is to try to bring perspective to those who truly believe potential warming will be harmful. The old saw “A stitch in time saves nine” does not always apply to the real world. If adapting to a climate problem costs $1 and ten minutes worth of work but prevention costs $10 and a lifetime of work, most of us would chose adapting. Further more, if that climate change doesn’t actually occur, all of the $10 cost and that lifetime of work would be avoided.

        This approach, of course, will not change many “Believers” minds about AGW but at least it might help get the argument out of the “we are good because we want to save the planet; you are bad because you want to do nothing” mode. :-)

      • My spin is this: if you claim there will be a damaging change in climate in some area, provide a description of what the effort and cost might be to adapt to the change.

        Right. And this “spin” is exactly what I replied to. We don’t know what the exact consequences may be: what “damaging change” will occur in what area, and in what duration. You could prepare for drought in an area that then experiences torrential rains, for example.

        The idea is not that we should stop monkeying with the climate because we know for sure what will happen. It’s exactly the opposite.

    • I agree, its an impossible choice. this will be the topic of the next series of posts.

      • Judith, not for the first time I wonder what a recently-retired actuary with career experience in climate related risk would have to say about these questions.

  95. Re: Chuck Wilson
    I take issue with several things in your post but I would like to get your opinion on just one. If CO2 is the primary driver of global temperatures why have temperatures not spiralled out of control when CO2 levels were 10 times what they are today?

    • Mike,
      See Richard B. Alley’s Bjerknes Lecture at the 2009 AGU meeting for an entertaining and compelling look at “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History” He is at the Pennsylvania State University.

      I am sure it is available somewhere on the web. It was videoed.

      I do not know what spiralled out of control means. The largest negative feedback for any warming is emission of thermal radiation by the warming body. As the earth/atmosphere/ocean warms, more radiation escapes to space since bodies radiate proportionally to the 4th power of their absolute temperature. So if you warm a body, its heat loss by thermal radiation goes up. In the case of the Earth and CO2, when CO2 is increased, outgoing radiation is reduced because it is “trapped” by the CO2 and radiated both downwards and upwards. And (for the moment) incoming radiation exceeds outgoing and the system warms. As it warms, it radiates more until the balance is restored. So eventually a new, warmer equilibrium is restored.

      Chuck Wilson

  96. Dr Curry,
    An excellent article

  97. Judith,
    When I argue at the pub for an unpopular point of view, the backlash against me is pretty mild and forgotten by the next pint. That’s why I appreciate the courage it takes for someone prominent to argue what they truly believe when the stakes are much higher. I don’t always agree with you but your commitment to honesty and integrity is most respectable.

    Dave A

  98. “This means abandoning this religious adherence to consensus dogma.”

    EXCELLENT POST! About bloody time someone spoke up and faced the music. The longer the establishment ignores you and this return to sanity the worse it will get for them down the road.

  99. Global mean temperature trend for 120 years is shown below:

    Is it hard to predict what the trend will be for the next 20 years?


    That’s average temperature. Means NOTHING! What is causing the average to increase? CO2? No. The winters are becoming less cold, summers are cooling. That’s what is driving the average up. The yearly range of temperatures is narrowing. Since they are converging, at some point in the future that must change and the two start to diverge to colder winters and warmer summers. That 120 year “trend” is just a portion of a longer, quite normal, cycle.

    • summers are cooling

      No. They’re not.

      • Yes they are:

        We have 1/3 fewer days above 30C today than we did in the 1920s. This paper confirms that summers have not warmed

        That link of yours shows the monthly AVERAGES not the daily highs and lows. Download the daily data and plot what happens with TMax since 1900. It’s dropping.

      • Um.

        It makes me uncomfortable to be the one to have to explain this to you, but Canada is not the whole world. I can only assume this is news to you, as you attempted to refute a statement about global temperature using only Canadian temperature data.

        It is a scary world out here, but I believe we have better bacon.


        Check the daily high and lows in other places in the world, if you can find the data. If Canada is cooling in the summer, I can bet so is the rest of the temporate world. What mechanism of AGW would allow Canada’s summers to cool? Only in Canada? Not the upper US that boarders us? Please explain it.

      • Will it hurt your feelings if I point out that Canada + one observatory in Northern Ireland + some portion of Australia ≠ “the world?”

        You asserted “The winters are becoming less cold, summers are cooling. That’s what is driving the average up.” I understand that this is hard for you to grasp, but you can’t refute global data that shows summers are getting warmer merely by cherry-picking local data sets. I’m sorry, these are not my rules, just elementary logic.

      • Where does that data of “summers are getting warmer” come from? Measurements of what?

      • You could have followed the link yourself. GHCN plus sea surface temperatures from HadISST1 to 1981 and Reynolds/NOAA OI.v2 thereafter.

  100. Judy,

    I think part of the problem (and, frankly, the retrenchment among some scientists) is how monochromatic climate science has been cast. You are either a warmest or denier; you either believe every word of the IPCC or believe all of climate science is a scam. Any flaw or criticism gets trumpeted as “bringing down the house of cards” or “driving the final nail in the coffin of AGW”, and this tends to create an environment poisonous to good skeptical science. These strawmen do not reflect the way the majority of scientists think (or people in general, I would hope), but tend to be overwhelmingly present in blog discussions.

    Its quite possible to criticize parts of the IPCC (hello working group III…) or how uncertainties have been systematically understated by media reports and advocacy groups while still being concerned by the facts that doubling CO2 would increase radiative forcing by ~3.7 watts per meter squared and that the vast majority of evidence we have collected to date suggests that climate sensitivity is positive.

    The lack of a basic foundation of agreement to argue upon has the unfortunate effect of making many blog discussions something of an exercise in futility.

    • Alexander Harvey


      Just out of interest:

      “… and that the vast majority of evidence we have collected to date suggests that climate sensitivity is positive. ”

      Should one seriously question whether it be positive?


      • Alex,

        Of course its a serious question, just one that we have a number of lines of evidence for (paleo evidence, physics-based modeling, etc.) that suggests that the Earth’s climate responds strongly to (relatively) small perturbations in external forcings. Its rather difficult to explain ice ages without positive sensitivity, for example. That said, there is plenty of uncertainty as to how positive it is, and whether the base 1.2 C per doubling of CO2 ends up being magnified to 1.5 C, 3C, or 4.5C. It could even end up being negative, though that would be somewhat difficult to reconcile with the evidence to date.

      • Alexander Harvey


        “It could even end up being negative, though that would be somewhat difficult to reconcile with the evidence to date.”

        Negative? Are you sure you mean climate sensitivity? Would not a negative value, imply instability?

        Or do you mean that the feedbacks could be negative.


      • Zeke (& Alex):

        Zeke, I think it would be worth your while to do a review of Climate Sensitivity for your Yale review site. From my informed-outsider viewpoint, it does seem that the IPCC (et al.) have likely overstated the likely range. For sure they have, empirically, from the recent historical record. It’s a critical question.

        Obviously, in the very long (geologic) term, the feedbacks have to be negative, or we’d be Venus. Then again, in the (we hope) long term, we’ll all be dead… ;-]

        I always learn something from your Yale pieces. Thanks & keep up the good work..

        Cheers — Pete Tillman
        Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

    • Agreed. My relative small criticisms have been amplified into heresy, which is driving me towards apostasy. This is an insane situation. The consensus seems fragile indeed if I am deemed a threat.

      • Other than Lemonick, who has spoken in such terms? You talk about “dogma” and McIntyre makes dark references to “fatwas.” Is there a serious voice who is saying “Curry has the power to do damage to a consensus on climate change?”

      • Richard S Courtney


        You ask:
        “Is there a serious voice who is saying “Curry has the power to do damage to a consensus on climate change?”

        Answer, of course not. No “serious voice” could possibly make such an assertion.

        Either “the consensus” is right or it is not. Reality will demonstrate the matter with the passage of time. And the words of any person or group of people cannot affect that.

        But Dr Curry has called for a return to integrity and honest dealing by the self-named Team. All who value science will applaud that whatever views they have of AGW.


      • No “serious voice” could possibly make such an assertion.

        Dr. Curry seems to be saying that someone has. Is she wrong?

        the self-named Team

        Self-named?” Do you seriously mean to state that the “Hockey Team” epithet was invented by the scientists themselves?

      • yes.. Afraid so.. they don’t use it much these days.

      • Evidence of this?

      • climategate e-amils.
        sorry but it is so.

      • read much?

        MJ: Your hockey stick has come under heavy attack in the last few months.

        MM: Yes. The contrarians have tried to make it seem that there’s just one reconstruction and have attempted to narrowly define the debate on the premise that if they can debunk this dataset, the whole warming theory would come into question … But that’s ridiculous. These days, scientists in the field prefer not to talk about the “hockey stick” anymore because of the sheer number of corroborating reconstructions; we now talk in terms of the “hockey team”.

        The reference to the “team,” for those of you with short attention spans, refers to the number of different reconstructions that all converge on the same result, not the people.

        But nice try. I like that animation too, I’m so stealing it.

      • hockey sticks do not make a team. The Manniac formed their team to keep the hockey stick illusion alive.
        That true believers have to belabor every single point, no matter how obtuse and contorted they must become to do it is amazing.

      • Earle Williams

        I’m sorry PDA, I missed something. I assumed you were wondering as to the origination of the term, “The Team.” Heaven forbid someone other than Dr. Mann use the same term to apply to the originators of those sticks rather than the sticks themselves.

        What’s your question again?

      • “the self-named Team.”

      • Hmmmm….. read RC, for starters.
        They attack in no uncertain terms Dr. Curry for challenging the consensus.
        You are not going to succeed at what you are trying to do.

      • As RP Jr points out, he’s careful not to name names.

        earning Curry epithets from her colleagues ranging from “naive” to “bizarre” to “nasty” to worse. Which colleagues? Nobody but Lemonick knows.

        Curry’s charges are misleading, her critics say. “We’ve seen a lot of strawmen from Judy lately,” Schneider said. “It is frankly shocking to see such a good scientist take that kind of a turn to sloppy thinking. I have no explanation for it.” Oh, I guess he did name a name…of someone who is recently deceased!

        What scientists worry is that such exposure means Curry has the power to do damage to a consensus on climate change that has been building for the past 20 years. Which scientists? Again, only Lemonick knows…

        This is a classic hatchet job. “Some people say…” “I’m just asking questions…” All the insiders can maintain plausible deniability, and doubt is successfully sewn against the apostate’s credibility. No politics to see here, this is Scientific American, move along folks, move along.

      • Brilliant summary :)

      • I meant Judith’s comment:

        “Agreed. My relative small criticisms have been amplified into heresy, which is driving me towards apostasy. This is an insane situation. The consensus seems fragile indeed if I am deemed a threat.”

  101. Ron Pittenger, Heretic

    BRAVO!!!!!!!!! Without integrity, none of the rest matters. Ron P.

  102. Another remarkable post, and a fascinating story.
    It should be compulsory reading for “the team”, but they probably have their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears.
    You are absolutely right that they lost.
    Will they ever learn? I think not. I told some of them about two years ago that they were their own worst enemies and yet they continue to behave in the same way (groupthink, defending the indefensible, attacking anyone who doesn’t follow the line, etc).

  103. I haven’t commented here before because although I’ve worked on global-warming for decades, I’m not a climate scientist. However, I suspect there’s a core failing.

    It concerns ‘aerosol cooling’. Kiehl argues AGW is buried in ‘aerosol noise’ but in time it’ll emerge: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L22710, doi:10.1029/2007GL031383, 2007 . AR4 shows the correction is 75% of the ‘signal’.

    The direct effect is proven but NASA funded work to find why the cloud part isn’t: . So, the incorporation in AR4 of the latter must have been justified because Twomey proved it for thin clouds and there is credible theory predicting it for thick clouds.

    Intuitively, when all photons lose geometrical information, as many must exit the top of a cloud as the base yet real clouds can have albedo >>0.5. NASA extends Twomey’s idea to thick clouds by claiming more surface area increases reflection: . But there’s no such physics.

    The models apparently use eq. 19: , a zero absorption form of Sagan and Pollack’s ‘two stream’ model. However, you can’t use this semi-empirical relationship to predict albedo without proof it works, and I can’t find any.

    I believe the only way to explain albedo>0.5 is a second optical process. A thick, non-absorbing slab cloud, 0.7 albedo, transmits 30% diffuse energy; the same is emitted as diffuse albedo; the remaining 40% retains directional information hence the observed directionality of albedo, inconsistent with Lambert’s law for diffuse emitters.

    The maths is hideous but it’s easy to show the second effect is strongly dependent on droplet size. So, real ‘cloud albedo effect’ may be heating, another firm of AGW. That means present predicted AGW should be reduced by >= a factor of 3, i.e. no water-cycle amplification, and much further if part or all the temperature ‘signal’ is from another process.

    Also, an upper bound calculation predicts that if you reduce droplet diameter from 15 to 5 microns, a cloud initially with 0.7 albedo would transmit 60% more energy. Has much recent AGW has been from increased light transmission by tropical clouds over oceans due to the ‘Asian Brown Cloud’ and has the cessation since 2003 of ocean heating been because this AGW is self limiting- thick cloud albedo asymptotes at 0.5?

    • In theory, clouds can be characterized by albedos close to 100 percent, although not under circumstances in which they exert a cooling effect. The basis for this conclusion resides in the fact that depending on droplet size, scattering can be strongly forward peaked. Under this circumstances, light from the sun at a zenith angle close to pi/2 (i.e., very close to the horizon) will be directed by a cloud at some altitude above the Earth’s surface in a direction mainly parallel to the surface, so that most of it escapes to space.

      • Agreed.

        However, what I am referring to is a sharply peaked extra contribution to albedo from large droplets/unpolluted, thick clouds which in effect shields the interior. It’s why rain clouds are dark.

        Measure the transmitted energy and you get high apparent tau but it’s an artefact. The Hansen-Lacis formulation used apparently in all the models predicts an increase in albedo on polluting thick clouds when the reverse is the case.

        Therefore ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling correction in AR4 is mythical and CO2-AGW is wildly exaggerated, possibly completely absent with the real AGW being from the clouds, self-limiting and reversible if aerosol pollution in Asia is cleaned up.

        Why does NASA put out a false scientific explanation of the extra reflectivity of polluted clouds? Is it that the true physics is known but has been kept under wraps otherwise it would destroy the CO2-AGW hypothesis?

        Climate scientists have apparently fallen for this. Hansen is an expert on Mie scattering so must know ‘reflection is very wrong physics.

      • Richard S Courtney


        You say:

        “Why does NASA put out a false scientific explanation of the extra reflectivity of polluted clouds? Is it that the true physics is known but has been kept under wraps otherwise it would destroy the CO2-AGW hypothesis?

        Climate scientists have apparently fallen for this. Hansen is an expert on Mie scattering so must know ‘reflection is very wrong physics.”

        No, it is simpler than “false scientific explanation of the extra reflectivity of polluted clouds”.

        The microbehaviour of clouds is far, far too small a scale for it to be modelled in the GCMs so emulations of assumed cloud behaviour are input. And the emulations do not work.

        Ron Miller and Gavin Schmidt, both of NASA GISS, provide an evaluation of the leading US GCM. They are U.S. climate modelers who use the NASA GISS GCM and they strongly promote the AGW hypothesis. Their paper tiltled ‘Ocean & Climate Modeling: Evaluating the NASA GISS GCM’ was updated on 2005-01-10 and the last time I looked it was still available at

        Its abstract says:
        “This preliminary investigation evaluated the performance of three versions of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies’ recently updated General Circulation Model E (GCM). This effort became necessary when certain Fortran code was rewritten to speed up processing and to better represent some of the interactions (feedbacks) of climate variables in the model. For example, the representation of clouds in the model was made to agree more with the satellite observational data thus affecting the albedo feedback mechanism. The versions of the GCM studied vary in their treatments of the ocean. In the first version, the Fixed-SST, the sea surface temperatures are prescribed from the obsevered seasonal cycle and the atmospheric response is calculated by the model. The second, the Q-Flux model, computes the SST and its response to atmospheric changes, but assumes the transport of heat by ocean currents is constant. The third treatment, called a coupled GCM (CGCM) is a version where an ocean model is used to simulate the entire ocean state including SST and ocean currents, and their interaction with the atmosphere. Various datasets were obtained from satellite, ground-based and sea observations. Observed and simulated climatologies of surface air temperature sea level pressure (SLP) total cloud cover (TCC), precipitation (mm/day), and others were produced. These were analyzed for general global patterns and for regional discrepancies when compared to each other. In addition, difference maps of observed climatologies compared to simulated climatologies (model minus observed) and for different versions of the model (model version minus other model version) were prepared to better focus on discrepant areas and regions. T-tests were utilized to reveal significant differences found between the different treatments of the model. It was found that the model represented global patterns well (e.g. ITCZ, mid-latitude storm tracks, and seasonal monsoons). Divergence in the model from observations increased with the introduction of more feedbacks (fewer prescribed variables) progressing from the Fixed–SST, to the coupled model. The model had problems representing variables in geographic areas of sea ice, thick vegetation, low clouds and high relief. It was hypothesized that these problems arose from the way the model calculates the effects of vegetation, sea ice and cloud cover. The problem with relief stems from the model’s coarse resolution. These results have implications for modeling climate change based on global warming scenarios. The model will lead to better understanding of climate change and the further development of predictive capability. As a direct result of this research, the representation of cloud cover in the model has been brought into agreement with the satellite observations by using radiance measured at a particular wavelength instead of saturation.”
        This abstract was written by strong proponents of AGW but admits that the NASA GISS GCM has “problems representing variables in geographic areas of sea ice, thick vegetation, low clouds and high relief.”

        These are severe problems.

        For example, clouds reflect solar heat and a mere 2% increase to cloud cover would more than compensate for the maximum possible predicted warming due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the air. Good records of cloud cover are very short because cloud cover is measured by satellites that were not launched until the mid 1980s. But it appears that cloudiness decreased markedly between the mid 1980s and late 1990s. Over that period, the Earth’s reflectivity decreased to the extent that if there were a constant solar irradiance then the reduced cloudiness provided an extra surface warming of 5 to 10 Watts/sq metre. This is a lot of warming. It is between two and four times the entire warming estimated to have been caused by the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. (The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that since the industrial revolution, the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has had a warming effect of only 2.4 W/sq metre).

        So, the fact that the NASA GISS GCM has problems representing clouds must call into question the entire performance of the GCM.

        Importantly, the abstract says; “the representation of cloud cover in the model has been brought into agreement with the satellite observations by using radiance measured at a particular wavelength instead of saturation” but this adjustment is a ‘fiddle factor’ because BOTH the radiance AND the saturation must be correct if the effect of the clouds is to be correct.

        There is no reason to suppose that the adjustment will not induce the model to diverge from reality if other changes – e.g. alterations to GHG concentration in the atmosphere – are introduced into the model. Indeed, this problem of erroneous representation of low level clouds could be expected to induce the model to provide incorrect indication of effects of changes to atmospheric GHGs because changes to clouds have much greater effect on climate than changes to GHGs.


      • Dr. Strangelove

        “a mere 2% increase to cloud cover would more than compensate for the maximum possible predicted warming due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the air. ”

        That’s a very interesting hypothesis. Can you cite a scientific paper that supports it? What’s the radiative forcing of doubling CO2? What’s the variability and radiative forcing of cloud cover?


      • This may be what you are looking for – IPCC report AR4 1.5.2 : “Clouds, which cover about 60% of the Earth’s surface, are responsible for up to twothirds of the planetary albedo, which is about 30%. An albedo decrease of only 1%, bringing the Earth’s albedo from 30% to 29%, would cause an increase in the black-body radiative equilibrium temperature of about 1°C, a highly signifi cant value, roughly equivalent to the direct radiative effect of a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration.“.

      • Dr. Strangelove

        Thanks so much. I looked the radiative forcings at IPCC AR4 FAQ 2.1 Curiously there is no mention of cloud cover and overall water vapor (humidity). These two give the highest radiative forcing and hence greatest impact on global temp.

        The effect of doubling CO2 is equivalent to a mere 2% decrease in cloud cover or a 3% increase in humidity (considering there are 30x more H2o molecules than CO2 in the air). It seems IPCC attributed global warming to CO2 by simply ignoring the two most likely candidates.

  104. Billy Ruff’n

    While discussion of the state of science and the integrity of scientists is enormously worthwhile (and I applaud Dr. Curry’s contribution to it), let us not lose sight of the fact that the AGW movement is ultimately not about science — it’s about politics! It is about the acquisition and application of political power in a grand attempt to alter the course of human history. Society can recover from a temporary abuse of the scientific method, but I fear the impact on human liberty of losing the political battle is of much greater consequence.

    • There is always the ‘Solution of Last Resort’. Wipe the blackboard clean with sponge with water, let dry, and start all over.

      PS: Water seems to be involved in everything and we call this place “Earth”. Hummmmm…

  105. Without a blush:

    Realclimate are discussing archiving and availability of climate code.
    On the whole a sensible article with the issues discuused quirte sensibly in the comments..

    Climate code archiving: an open and shut case?
    Filed under: Climate Science— eric @ 26 October 2010
    Gavin Schmidt and Eric Steig

    So positive progress.

    If Michael mann had done this how many years ago now, and P Jones, what would have occured

    • good signs!

    • Then we would have seen the problems with Mann, realized there is not a hockey stick shaped crisis, and moved on to actually helping people.
      And Mann may have been able to build a career that will not serve as an example of how not to do science.

    • That’s a start, but they fail to see why code should be consistently archived. It is for the same reason mathematicians provide proofs. If the code is public, it can be perused for validity. Other people can still apply other algorithms to check the results, but an examination of the code should be the first step towards validation of a result involving computer code.

  106. Yes, Judith.

    Sooner or later, on this subject, if the mind is still independently functional we all come to the “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment.

  107. Judith, my take, which suggests that a third storyline is responsible for enduring interest:

  108. Judith,

    Widespread use of phraseology like “religious adherence to consensus dogma” is not going to put you in a place where you can play the mediator role you want. And the fact that virtually all of your commenters are far more critical of AGW and the IPCC than you shows that if you want to play the role of mediator, you have not succeeded. I posted here and ended up debating somebody who ended up saying that there is absolutely no proof at all of AGW, a response that resulted in my not wasting time here any more, until I saw something about this post elsewhere. Those who are members are your proclaimed consensus dogma are avoiding this place. I leave it to others to debate whether that is fair to you or not.

    And in case you haven’t figured it out, my guess is that your “heresy” has more to do with calling other scientists religious dogmatists more than it has to do with your published work. Like it or not, you’ve staked out your terrain, and it isn’t in the middle.

    • Dean, you are seeing monster creation in action. I have never referred to other climate scientists in the context of dogma until this statement. I started out voicing concern for the integrity of science and worry that the IPCC was taking a hit from this. The reaction from the climate scientist activist wing of the climate science community is pretty clear from Lemonick’s article and follow up explanation. And the complete silence from them. Note, a very small percentage of climate scientists spend any time at all on the blogs (a few of them are spending time here, you may not recognize their names). I have given up trying to play mediator with the activist wing of the climate science community. I am more interested in seeing climate science get back on course. The activist wing has created the heretic, and if this gets much worse, apostate.

      • “The reaction from the climate scientist activist wing of the climate science community is pretty clear from Lemonick’s article and follow up explanation.”

        I only see one other scientist quoted in Lemonick’s article. How does it therefore represent any viewpoint of the “climate scientist activist wing of the climate science community” much less do so “clearly”?

        “And the complete silence from them. “

        Why is any scientist supposed to be commenting on your interview? Offhand I can’t think of any instance where I’ve seen science based blogs post about someone being interviewed.

        “The activist wing has created the heretic, and if this gets much worse, apostate.”

        I was under the impression your stated motivations were with regard to communicating science, I don’t understand where the actions of this unnamed “activist wing” fits into that or how they can modify your judgement on scientific topics.

      • Of course they don’t modify my judgment on scientific topics. They may modify the extent to which i engage in any way with the IPCC.

      • The reaction from the climate scientist activist wing of the climate science community is pretty clear from Lemonick’s article

        Come on now. He’s a minor blogger, how do you figure Lemonick is the go-to for the entire “climate scientist activist wing,” whatever that is?

      • he seems reasonably well connected with the climate activist wing, the people that think policy first and science second.

      • There’s an old saying in science, and a few other disciplines I’m told: “It’s not what you know but who you know that counts.”

      • What does “reasonably well-connected” mean? To whom is he connected, and how do you know this?

        Dr. Curry, if people thought you were a heretic, don’t you think you’d have been called that by now? Especially by the pseudonymous bloggers?

        I’m genuinely sympathetic to the real discomfort you must feel at times. You’ve become a lightning rod for a lot of hostility on the internet, and personal abuse which I find unforgivable. I do honestly think, though, that you’re veering awfully close to a persecution complex here.

      • I don’t feel persecuted at all. At the moment I feel a bit overwhelmed with the Sci Am article appearing (I knew it was coming at some point but had no idea when), an obligation to respond with a huge spike in blog traffic, in the midst of what is a very busy week for me in terms of my day job. But your second question raises an interesting point. Other than Roger Pielke Sr., I haven’t seen other climate scientists or other pro AGW bloggers defend me from this label (the closest was Joe Romm, who said that Sci Am should apologize to me over the survey question over whether I was a dupe or peacemaker.) In the overall scheme of things, this isn’t very important, but the article illuminates some very weird thinking, and it can’t be totally Lemonicks imagination or this wouldn’t have gotten published by the Sci Am.

        Once this kerfuffle dies down (they rarely last more than a week), I can get back to what I have been doing. On last weekends post “state of the blog”, i felt that things were going very well.

        p.s. I have have had many disagreements with Michael Mann, but i spoke out publicly against the Cuccinelli witch hunts, in an interview with Tom Fuller.

      • It may be the first time you’ve used that specific language, but I’ve seen posts from you elsewhere that I felt strayed into that region of discourse. Maybe it would be better if everybody involved had thicker skin, but they don’t.

        And blaming this division on climate activists when many of the commenters on your own blog either don’t think that CO2 can even cause warming or doubt other well-established aspects of the science that you accept, strikes me as a rather strong bias on your part.

        If your goal is to get climate science back on track from however it has come off, I would suggest that at this point this blog probably doesn’t have a role to play. Blogs can play a role in explaining somebody’s point of view, but I don’t think they play any role in resolving disputes in science. Maybe you should do a post about detecting a rational signal in blogs – that’s the hardest signal to find (but it does exist!).

  109. I will be my usual pain in the ass but I have yet to find any Creditable experimental evidence that the “greenhouse gas effect exists”. Experimental data is necessary to prove a hypotheses! This is the Scientific Method. Having referenced physicists from Angstrom,R.W.Wood, to Gerlich and Tscheuschner, to Dr. Charles Anderson and many others that have looked at the physics. There will never be any experimental data that “proves that the ghg effect exist” it is a fairy-tale. This is the biggest Scam in the history of the world yet. Why the Climate alarmists continues to show their ignorance must mean that they prefer to keep stealing from the public coffers rather that admit that they have been fouled by a bunch of politicians and corrupt scientists!
    Dr. Curry you have started to open the door just a crack, but its time to open the door all the way and a lot of heads will roll When the people realize that “billions if not trillions of dollars, E U’s and Pesos” have been flushed down a rat hole, by the whole green movement!
    The group at would be happy to have you on the “right side” rather than trying to be a “peace maker” when one side is so wrong that it is a crime.
    It is a shame that Anastassia Makarieva has done a great job of identify an area of weather information only to spoil it by implying that CO2 has anything to do with the weather.
    It’s time that real scientists get out there and begin reeducating the politicians , the Supreme Court Justices, and the public that have been lied to for the last 30 to 40 years by the IPCC,the Al Gore’s the Jim Hansan’s and the Joe Romm’s.
    Lets look at facts with true documents instead of the fairy-tales.

    • Cleanwater.

      If you require an elegant and simple demonstration of the infrared absorption capacity of carbon dioxide you should consider the implications of Iain Stewart’s video.

      “Greenhouse” is a misnomer, but the “effect” is real.

  110. I am laughing through this so far. I am to this:

    Why am I being singled out here? Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke Sr. have been making far more critical statements about the IPCC and climate science for a longer period than I have.

    We all remember Benedict Arnold’s name much more than the names of the British generals, too… LOL

    Evidence of the Curry monster is provided by this statement in Lemonick’s article: “What scientists worry is that such exposure means Curry has the power to do damage to a consensus on climate change that has been building for the past 20 years.”

    I reiterate: The consensus was NOT built. It was unilaterally declared 20 years ago. Once declared, people were beat over the head with it. And, like you, Judith, they were “duped” by the idea of “don’t trust what one scientists says, trust what thousands of IPCC scientists say.” Those who didn’t know enough about it accepted that those “on the inside” of the issue were being honorable and noble in their leadership.

    Judith, you are going through some of the same steps that many of us “skeptics” went through, those who didn’t start out as skeptics. And I believe that would include Steve McIntyre and perhaps John Pielke Sr. Richard Lindzen was knowledgeable to oppose it from the beginning.

    Hahaha – you probably would have a helluva discussion with him right about now.

  111. Good for you for taking a balanced approach. I do not read the article as strongly as you did–i just thought they wanted to sensationalize the issue by personalizing it somewhat. Unlike some scientific issues, this issue has serious political and economic issues involved. I see a cost benefit approach as the only reasonable solution with serious steps like conservation and efficiency likely the most effective first steps. Keep speaking out to add rationality to the debate.

  112. One more thing…
    Judith: “This sense of McIntyre and myself as having “power” seems absurd to me (and probably to Steve), but it seems real to some people.”

    It is INFLUENCE, not power, they are addressing.

    They have had all the influence for 20 years, and they are jealous of that influence. They feel it being threatened. Steve M made them feel threatened, simply because he called them on some of the things they didn’t do well. For them to have been brought up short about their handling of statistics – that was NEW to them. They’d had a monopoly on pontifications. All of a sudden, they had a chink in their armor.

    And now you come along, after Nov 19,2009, and threaten the beginning of a tide of others. That tide WILL have begun with one or two. They are trying to stem that tide, before it becomes a tidal bore.

    Since Nov 19, everything they’ve done is disaster mitigation. Their forward progress has been thwarted. Their mojo is lost. You foretell of a catastrophe for them.

    It would not be so, not if the science was solid, and not if they had not let hubris puff out their chests. They honestly did not think they would have to produce their data and methodologies, especially not because some retired stat man audited what they did.

    But now one of their own is lost to them, driven out by their own actions and words.

    Of COURSE they are scared.

    Lemonick is just a soft-pedaling hit man/junk yard dog – trying to look civilized while savaging, killing you softly with his song… While trying to appear even-handed, the innuendo you recognize is designed to NOT LOSE ANYONE ELSE.

    But all of the actions depicted in the Nov 19 files were for that reason, too. They keep shooting themselves in the collective foot.

    It ain’t personal,” they say, as they slip the sheave a bit deeper…

  113. Dr Curry,

    I hestitate to post this link but hopefully it takes you directly to your comment.

  114. Julienne Stroeve

    Let me ask you this. So how are things going for you lately?

    I find that to be a strange question. As a climate scientist I find it difficult to relate to much of what was stated in your post. I have never felt pressured to conform to any consensus regarding climate change, nor in my publications or my grant work. I understand that a considerable amount of uncertainty remains in climate science and a lot of our work focuses on trying to reduce that uncertainty and better understand the processes behind the changes we are observing, like the Arctic sea ice cover in my case. I regularly engage with climate skeptics on blogs, trying to answer their questions.

    So as for me, things are going well. I am happy with my research and the outreach work I engage in. It’s not about politics, but about improving our understanding of our planet’s processes and it’s about education. I certainly don’t feel betrayed because you don’t feel the IPCC process worked the way you feel it should have. It is unfortunate that mistakes were made, but I believe the IPCC can learn from their mistakes and do a better job summarizing our understanding of climate in the future, an understanding that continually evolves as more information is gathered.

    • Since the compliments/criticisms concerning the various approaches scientists use I’d like to point out Julienne Stroeve’s is one I very much favour.

      I mentioned on the water vapor thread I’m nowhere near skillful enough to evaluate that paper so I rely instead on the back-and-forth between experts. The same was true of arctic ice conditions so when began running weekly updates I had to wait for an expert to engage the specifics and lead me to a greater understanding of what was going on. Certainly I could see many flaws and irregularities in what was being posted each week but recognizing a flawed argument through logical inference is nothing like having them exposed with actual knowledge of the topic.

      I hope Dr Stroeve’s efforts are replicated by other scientists. The literature of climate science is large and foreboding so when various claims are being made it’s at least nice to have some pointers on where to start on forming a judgement.

    • Hi Julienne, I’m glad to hear that things are going well for you. If you aren’t one of the people thinking that I have been duped or that I am damaging the IPCC consensus, then that note wasn’t intended to mean anything to you.

      • Julienne Stroeve

        No, I certainly don’t feel that way, and I haven’t heard talk of it among my peers either. In fact it’s only in the skeptic blogosphere that I’m hearing of it at all. That’s not to say that it’s not happening, but I don’t get the feeling, at least in the Arctic science community, that you are regarded as a heretic.

      • Julienne, I am delighted that this has not pervaded the arctic community. I have heard this a lot, including scientists that have personally contacted me. Their argument is that i am damaging the consensus which is essential for the preferred policies, and because of the policy impact, I can only have been duped by big oil or the libertarians. Insane, I know, but there is alot of this going around. A little in the blogosphere, but more from the people that move “in higher circles.”

        The most bizarre one was a visitor to Georgia Tech who found out after he had arrived that Steve McIntyre had been invited to give a seminar here. This person (a member of the NAS but not part of the IPCC to my knowledge) was so incensed that he said he would not have come to GT if he knew that we were the sort of place that would have Steve McIntyre for a seminar. This was at a dinner party reception, and he kept haranguing me about this for several hours. Had I lost my mind, did I realize how I was misleading the students, how damaging and traitorous this was to the entire climate community, etc.

        This is the kind of craziness that I encounter all the time, so if my reaction seemed an overreaction to you, I’m glad to hear that you are not exposed to this craziness!

      • Were his/her initials (appropriately) BS perhaps?

      • Nope, but no more guesses :)

  115. Dr Curry,
    Great article. You were made welcome into the cult of AGW probably without your knowing it even happened and not until it was too late. But with membership comes obligations. I am afraid your article clearly shows that you are not meeting them. So when a person of high stature within a hierarchy questions the established dogma, and when they follow up by questioning the structure and authority of the hierarchy itself, they place themselves at great risk of being accused of being an apostate and of being ostracized as a result. Being excluded from the cult can have very real and personal implications. I urge you to be very careful with the way you proceed. You may not be aware of this but you are rapidly approaching apostate status. If you would publicly repent and turn back from your wicked ways then you *might* be able to retain your position in the AGW hierarchy. If you repent, then there would be some loss of your current prestige, privilege and power as punishment for your obviously temporary and misguided heretical ideas but the AGW cult will find a way to help you back into the fold so that you don’t feel as though you’ve had to compromise too much and so that the hierarchy can save face. However, if you do NOT repent then you will feel the full force of being ostracized from the AGW community. You will lose all of your current privileges, power and prestige. Your road back into the fold will be made even more loathsome than if you had simply repented now. As an apostate, your ability to communicate and associate with AGW proponents will be made so difficult as to be considered impossible. Those that you once called your friends will become your enemies such that your former friends will recoil in your presence and they will accuse you of gross wrongdoing. They will claim that you willingly associate with the enemies of the cult and you will suffer the consequences of guilt by association. Your status as a willing and unrepentant sinner will make you abhorrent to your former friends. Are you sure you want to continue down this path of self destruction? Are you ready to be shunned by those that you once called your friends?

    I applaud your courage to question and also, do I detect some soul searching regarding your induction into the fold post Katrina? I hope that the AGW cult has less power than it appears to have. I truly hope that you and your family prosper and do well as you step into the uncertain future.

    • Chicken or the Egg

      Upon reading your passive – aggressive peace (intended), for some odd reason the “No Pressure” video began playing in my minds eye.

  116. Judy – At this point nearly 200 comments down in the thread, I don’t know how much attention additional commentary will receive, but I’ll offer a few thoughts.

    First, reviewing what has already appeared suggests to me that many commentators perceive what you have written as a useful weapon in their own battles against adversaries, and are spinning your perspective for purposes that may not be identical to yours. That is probably inevitable, but it might be useful for you occasionally to remind readers of what you think, as opposed to what others claim you think. “Others” includes me, and I might be wrong in my perception, which is that you accept most of the basic principles underlying the conclusion that we are probably warming the planet, and that this may portend significant adverse consequences. Your emphasis on the need to acknowledge the uncertainty surrounding these conclusions is salutary, and I have no quarrel with it, although my own assessment of the evidence – which is as independent of IPCC groupthink as is yours – leads me to assign a high probability to the reality of significant anthropogenic warmng. This point has been reargued too often already to belabor it again here, and I won’t try.

    I’ve read the SciAm article, and I find it to reflect well on your judgment an integrity. You deserve the praise you’re enjoying here. I do, however, feel troubled by two words associated with the article – one chosen by the author or editors, and one attributed to you. If your intent is not to demolish the edifice of climate science, but to preserve it by replacing weaknesses with elements less vulnerable to attack, you are a “critic”, and perhaps a severe one, but not a “heretic”. I believe the article clarifies that point, but it may get lost amid discussions of the title.

    You conclude, I believe, that the IPCC can be characterized as insular, arrogant, biased, and resistant to criticism, and those characterizations can easily be defended. The word that troubled me, however, was “corrupt”, which implies something worse and more nefarious than the other adjectives. That term, in association with your stature, will surely be used by those intent on destroying the edifice, and so I wonder whether it is the most accurate word choice. If the IPCC, as an institution, is corrupt, in addition to all those other flaws, that charge should be thoroughly documented. Can it be? If so, I believe you should offer specific evidence. If not, I wonder whether you would want to qualify your description, so that it is not misused for destructive ends that you don’t wish to see transpire.

    • Fred, there was a discussion somewhere in the blogosphere on my use of the word corrupt in the context of IPCC, probably at collide-a-scape, it was discussed ad nauseum if i recall. The word corruption has many many meanings and nuances. It was used in the context of corruption of the IPCC process (violations of their rules of procedures). It can used in the sense of changing the meaning, in the sense of broken down, to degrade with unsound principles. In terms of the IPCC corrupting the science, the intended meaning is to degrade with unsound principles by focusing too much on single line of research that presupposes a substantial global warming with substantial impacts. The connotation also of corruption with criminality is unfortunate and not an intended use of the word here. Better words to use, I’m sure. But that is the meaning, and I certainly won’t throw that word around loosely any more. Note that interview occurred last May.

  117. Stephen Brown

    Dr. Curry,
    Thank you very much for some lucid thought on this much-tangled subject.
    You have shown that the “deniers”, or “climate outsiders” as Lemonick has called us, are not ravening, two-headed monsters leaking coal-smoke and oil wherever we might venture.
    I firmly believe that this planet’s meteorological systems have never been in a state of stasis; they are always changing. I also am of the belief that there is very, very little that mankind can do to alter the march of our ever-changing climate.
    That you have had the courage to speak out and express your own mind makes you, to date, unique. The “sceptics” need a sceptic of their own; you bring to the discussion a much-needed tempering attitude which is backed by the respect, grudging or otherwise, which you so richly deserve.
    Bravo for being so brave!

  118. Judith says

    ‘curryja | October 25, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Reply With some offline help from jeez, we finally found the first thread that I posted on over at climateaudit, a real piece of climate blogospheric history’

    Well, this is another.

  119. Climatology is not a ‘monster’, just a giant octopus with many tentacles, irradiance, clouds, albedo, UV, GCRs, jet-streams, methane, CO2.
    Most of these tentacles in one way or another propel this giant forward, but none of them is in charge, but it is his two eyes
    one in the North Atlantic ( NAP )
    and the other in the Pacific ( PDO-G ). .
    Understanding these two is the ‘Alexandrian solution’ of the climate.
    Ignoring these two is yet another failure at the Phrygian puzzle.

  120. Michael Larkin

    “The activist wing has created the heretic, and if this gets much worse, apostate.”

    I wonder if you could clarify, Dr. Curry. Does this mean that the activist wing has LABELLED you heretic, and may go on to label you apostate, OR, that it has actually CAUSED YOU TO BECOME a heretic and may go on to cause you to become an apostate?

    • Well actually this whole thing is silly. If people insist that the IPCC is dogma than I want no part of that. The label heretic was provided by Mr. Lemonick. This is all in the eyes of people who think the IPCC should be dogma. I prefer to ignore the whole silliness and get on with science and challenging and assessing it, which i plan on doing tomorrow.

      • This is, indeed, silly. Who is “insist[ing] that the IPCC is dogma?” I mean, isn’t this a straw man?

      • no. this was discussed on another thread in the context of hassles that Jim Hansen had received in 2000 in response to a paper that suggested managing other trace greenhouse gases and black carbon, rather than CO2. This incensed the cognoscenti who viewed this as distracting from CO2 mitigation policies (editorials in nature and science, etc). I ran into this also back in 2005 when i was getting exposed in those circles. And I heard it again last fall prior to Copenhagen.

        And yes this whole situation is silly but that doesn’t make it less real.

      • doskonaleszare

        this was discussed on another thread

        Dr. Curry, can you point me to this thread please? I couldn’t find any discussion on Hansen 2000 on your blog.

        “This incensed the cognoscenti who viewed this as distracting from CO2 mitigation policies (editorials in nature and science, etc)

        Again, could you point me to these editiorials in Nature and Science? Thank you.

      • I will try, i think it was on state of the blog thread, the discussion involved Michael Tobis. I will try to come back to this. So many comments, I am also having problems finding things.

      • Correct – massive strawman.

        Judith has taken a word out of this headline, and then made massive leaps of logic to suggest that the IPCC is some sort of dogma.

        I’d suggest a heavy dose of perspective when assessing what journalists write.

      • Rubbish. Just as the church is not bricks and mortar, it is the faithful congregation within, so the very behaviour of your consensus scientists and their reaction to those whose words threaten the advancement of policies actively promoted by that loose consensus, exposes the IPCC dogma for what it is.

      • That was a very pretty speech, but you’re still running from the question. Who is “insist[ing] that the IPCC is dogma?

      • Are you and I again about to embark on a lengthy sequence of point and counterpoint? I think others tire of that.

        Running from? I haven’t addressed the question of “who is insisting that the IPCC is dogma”. I am observing that the behaviour of IPCC scientists is consistent with the behaviour of fundamentalist defenders of ideologies. I am observing that that behaviour is both entirely consistent with and strongly indicative of the existence of such dogma. Whether the cry is “heretic”, “witch”, “anti-science”, “big oil shill” or “in league with the devil”; whether the call is to disassociate, to “ignore the Fraudit” or “burn ’em at the stake”, the behaviour of far too many in the “consensus” is wholly religious in tone, fanatical in some quarters, and expressly for the purpose of suppressing or ex-communicating those in dissension.

      • Michael Larkin

        Thank you for your reply, Dr.Curry. I agree, it’s all very silly, but I think you need to be mindful how your words might be interpreted – there will be people who wish to cast them in the worst possible light!

        I’m not sure I’m any wiser what you really meant. I’d hazard a guess that you are saying, disregarding any labels applied by them, that others (possibly including some climatologists?) are adopting a dogmatic approach. You want nothing to do with that, and the more dogmatic they become, the more that will alienate you.

  121. David A. Evans

    Actually, I’m sick of this whole thing.

    Let’s assume a cold world, no CO2, just O2 & N2. Yes we still have the oceans but here’s the start.

    Anyone who can say the oceans won’t warm under insolation is a fool! From there come the greatest ‘greenhouse’ gas we know

    You may or may not subscribe to GHG theory, I don’t give a toss! Why are extra <b<insulative layers of glazing more effective than IR mirroring technologies?

    Surface IR losses have long been overrated.


  122. Dr Curry,

    You talk about “loss of public trust in climate science” but surely you should level most blame at the skeptics.

    Download and read the NIPCC report for example. That and other things skeptics regularly publish (including blog posts) are positively dripping in public trust destroying junk. This stuff is spread over the internet, some of it even makes it into the media. It deserves the strongest condemnation if you are interested in restoring the credibility of science.

    It makes me wonder why the skeptics haven’t policed their own output themselves. I know skeptics such as Roy Spencer have done some excellent work trying to correct misconceptions regarding the greenhouse effect and engelbeen with the cause of recent co2 rise. But they aren’t my concern. They are actual skeptics. What I am more concerned about is the bulk of the group referred to as “skeptics” who I think are feigning concern about the science while in fact they don’t want it to be credible so long as it’s results aren’t what they want to hear.

    As for the other side – the scientific community. It’s not perfect but it’s nothing near as misinforming as the skeptics. AR4 is not perfect is it, but it does contain a good overview of climate science as of about 2007. Possibly it’s the best overview that exists on the subject. Certainly I doubt many other fields could boast such a quality report.

    Yet skeptics will tell us that AR4 is junk. As if it’s completely worthless because of a major error about glaciers in 2035, a conclusion that’s possibly wrong about the amazon, a mistake about sea level of the netherlands and the financial background of the chairman of the IPCC.

    Yet how is it that none of those things make me lose credibility in the report, yet skeptics on the otherhand conclude it is therefore total toss?

    Who is right? Or perhaps I should say – who is more right? Me. By far. And that’s why I know the problem is the skeptics.

    The loss of credibility of science is a self-fulfilling prophesy of the skeptics. They warn about it as they gleefully wave it on.

    • There is a chicken and egg problem here. Who struck the first blow, and how it all accelerated from there. The consensus trying to marginalize scientists like Roy Spencer motivated much more militant and widespread skepticism. The loss of credibility is not just a self fulfilling prophecy of the skeptics, but also owing to the attempts to establish and enforce a consensus by marginalizing dissenting voices.

      • Steven Sullivan

        Oh, come off it, Dr. Curry. The skeptisphere you laud didn’t exist in a vacuum consisting only of itself and climate scientists. Grow up and realize that forces are in play here that *want* to obstruct. It wasn’t just because someone on RealClimate called Spencer a crank, or just because Al Gore made a movie.

      • Yes, the next fallacious appeal is always to the big oil and the Koch family conspiracy.

      • way way before RC and Al Gore came on the scene.

      • This debate should not be about ‘forces in play’, but about scientific standards. Let’s just take one example. The IPCC claimed that the Himalayas would lose their glaciers by 2035. Since all the IPCC assertions are based on refereed papers, it should have been easy for someone to check when this claim was questioned. It actually took several attempts before the IPCC admitted that this claim was a ‘mistake’ – based on no refereed papers whatsoever!

        Can such a thing really be a mistake? Can someone assess and re-assess a claim, and not notice that there actually isn’t any supporting evidence?

        Does it make any sense to call the IPCC a scientific organisation if it can behave like this?

    • Bzzzt, wrong.
      I was a believer in AGW until I started noticing the similarity between leading AG opinion leaders and televangelists, unscrupulous salesmen, politicians and others of low character.
      The blame is entirely on the promoters of AGW/global climate disruption for taking a science of climate and turning it into a sales tool claiming we are facing a dangerous tipping point that will spin our climate out of control into a Venusian hell. It was the promoters that rigged Hansen’s debut playing the the thermostat in the hearing room. It was Schneider who rationalized the ends-justifies-the-means tactics. It was cliamte scientists who wrote the CRU e-mails.
      Who cares if someone who doesn’t understand the physics of CO2 claims AGW is wrong? The problem is that people who claim to understand CO2 and should no better claim we are facing a climate crisis and have a supine press unwilling to ask tough questions because selling the next apocalypse is great for business.

    • “Who is right? Or perhaps I should say – who is more right? Me. By far. And that’s why I know the problem is the skeptics.”

      That doesnt sound very humble. Just because you have chosen a ‘side’ doesnt mean either you or the papers and blogposts written by your ‘side’ are right. If many claims of the consensus (like the future warming or climate sensitivity) cannot be verified using the scientific method yet people shout something “will happen” and “is proven”, it should alarm a bell.

      On top of that, if critisism is being suppressed that usually means the consensus isnt robust on critisism.

      If you are a true skeptic, then you will carefully look on Roy Spencer’s work, for example. And there are many other recent papers troublesome on the so called ‘consensus’ as well.

      Surely, there are many skeptic which write a lot of rubbish. But same works in opposite direction aswell, good examples are Joe Romm or Al Gore. Neithers claims have any kind of scientific scrutiny.

    • Cthulhu: There is a broad range of skeptic opinions. Some of them I find outlandish too.

      Count me as a person who defended AGW until Climategate became public last year. You are deluding yourself if you believe that it is just the skeptics that have eroded the credibility of climate scientists.

    • David L. Hagen

      For the serious “Climate realists” perspective see “Climate Change Reconsidered” which summarizes published science ignored by IPCC or since AR4. Read and compare!

    • cthulhu – Also, it could be because climate scientists don’t stand up and denounce all the loony stuff attributed to global warming by other scientists and journalists. I just don’t hear a peep out of them on this nonsense.

      There are about 700 “live” articles on this link attributed to global warming. After all that, the AWG scientists continually challenge skeptics to show where they predicted catastrophe, all the while maintaining silence on this garbage. They are to blame for their own fate in this and the many other ways highlighted on this blog. Give me a break already!

    • All the AR4 authors were nominated by the various Government Depts of Climate Change from people in full time employment by University Depts of Climate Change to write a document that justifies the existence of all these departments which are all government funded. AR4 is not a balanced review of the state of climate science. The IAC report commissioned by the IPCC lists all these problems and more. The IPCC has decided not to make any meaningful changes based upon the report, so AR5 will be the same useless compilation of enormous conflict of interest.

    • The problem with the IPCC is that it is a political organization that is first dedicated to its own survival and expansion of influence. The powerful left-bias of climate scientists regularly misses the corrupting influence of government.

      Glaciers were not the lesson, errors here and there were not the lesson, regular bias to the high end of the extreme is the lesson of the IPCC. Preferred “more extreme” scientists are given the front page for political reasons, but again the left leaning climate community doesn’t consider that a bad thing. It is absolutely a political left-right issue that has corrupted the science. Individually you don’t see it, but how many conservatives do you really find in your community. Unfortunately, I doubt that most climate scientists know what that means well enough to identify one.

      AR4 was junk, but only because of the blatant bias, and you can rest assured AR5 will be junk too — and I believe in global warming. (I hate that I have to add the obligatory AGW prayer).

      • Jeff, you’re referring to what Dr. Jerry Pournelle (psychology and political science) has termed “The Iron Law of Bureaucracy,” which states that

        “…in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.”

        Sounds about right for the IPCC and the United Nations as a whole, I opine.

    • cthulu, you are completely wrong. The reason for the distrust in climate science and rising levels of skepticism is because of the widespread exaggeration, distortion and overstated claims made by some of the loudest climate scientists. As Judith puts it very succinctly, ‘they lost’. If they had not done this, the skeptic movement would be very much smaller.

    • Yep! It’s that “Old Diversion” all over again. Doesn’t matter who’s telling the truth, who’s right, who’s more humane to who, who’s the good good guys and/or who’s the bad guys, it all boils down to who’s the winner and, as we all know, that’s what matters most. Life’s a war of sorts. On second thought, ain’t no sorts about it, life’s war! Sometimes there’s battles where everyone fights fair and sometimes there’s battles when nothings fair. Science is about truth. But not much else in life regards it as a very important ingredient. (Men are not Angels!) Of course, when life’s all over, truth seems to count for an awful lot –or so I’m told. Guess St. Peter was into ‘science’ (fishermen are funny people) and he, apparently, still thinks it really matters when he weighs our poor souls.

  123. I am re-posting a comment initially made over at Bishop Hill’s on Aug 4 when the discussion was over Judith Curry on Collide-a-Scape. The discussion then was very similar to the one occurring now and loosely paraphrased was “Does JC deserve a medal for standing up to the consensus opinion more than McIntyre”

    I still think the comments are relevant now, and although it is possibly poor blog etiquette to re-post comments, I do so because at least now I know that the subject of the post will have read the piece.

    “My take on Judith Curry is that she does not yet deserve a place in the Pantheon along side McIntyre. Her claim appears based on her publicly standing aside from the Establishment to defend the scientific principal of open, honest discussion of ideas. What troubles me is that as a tenured academic, a departmental head and ostensibly secure in her career why has she and so many people like her taken so long to stand up and defend the scientific method. Why is she receiving credit for doing something so late in the game and something she should have been defending in the first place?

    The climate science debate is a symptom of a much larger sickness infecting the academic industrial complex. Why have there been so few junior scientists unwilling to make a name for themselves asking difficult questions? Is their silence from fear for future advancement, is it a lazy pursuit of easy funding, or is it the politicization of science?

    If Judith Curry is to be important it will be as a representative of the open science side of the debate. Against her as the totem of the Establishment are the Manns and Schmidts, who at present define the public path to success for junior scientists – post-docs spawned from an incestuous family of researchers, bred to attack any perceived threat to your bosses and science fiefdoms. To be raised in time to a tenured den, safe with groomed publications and fattened by citations, ready to only reproduce the next generation of like-minded scientists. Such an opposition will continue to argue from authority, to petition for closed access and to restrict data to self selected experts.

    The debate has now moved beyond the shouting over the actual science of paleoclimate reconstructions – it has become a much larger question of how science will be permitted to evolve into the future. How science results are published, the review process, how data is made available are some of the many questions before us. The internet age has smashed existing industries of publishing, retailing, and communication – why should science be removed from the revolution? The academe has featured prominently in the climate science debate and to date it has not come out well. I hope Professor Curry accepts the mantle of academic science reform before her, for if successful her contributions could have a far greater and lasting significance that the skirmish decisively won by Stephen McIntyre.”

    • nvw “… spawned … incestuous … fiefdoms. …den, …groomed … fattened ..”

      I find this a bit intemperate, some might say offensive. I often read a couple of medical research blogs – this sounds very much like the themes of the anti-vaccination and pro-homeopathy brigades. The constant referring to research being biased “against” certain things, when in fact those things have been tested and either included in some way or entirely excluded on the basis of particular experiments or because the proposal violates known evidence. It’s a pretty accurate parallel.

      *All* scholarship is based on the work of earlier scholars. In the case of the sciences, new observations and evidence requires revisiting or revising earlier work – as does unearthing long-lost documents in library basements for historians. “Junior scientists” have to earn their stripes just like new entrants in any other field. An opera singer may break through almost overnight (after 10-15 years of training) because of the beauty and power of the voice. For scientists, lawyers, joiners, doctors, this option is pretty well off the table – they’re not performing artists or sportspeople. All these occupations require qualifications, training and varying versions of apprenticeship – it’s possible to show aptitude early, it’s much more difficult to demonstrate mastery early.

      • Are you saying Steve McIntyre is an opera singer? :)

      • Good grief, no. I’m talking about the kind of spectacular thing that can *only* be done in sport or performance.

        If we want to run this opera singer analogy all the way through, someone would have to have been lead author on 2 and co-author on at least 3 every year for more than 2 years to make an equivalent scientific splash. A huge, totally unforgettable, contribution to that world.

        (Remember Joan Sutherland just died, she did that spectacular thing in the opera field. My hero!)

  124. I have wandered through these posts and responses and find a universe which is quite different from the one I inhabit. This page is full of fulminations against the fixers who have lied and made a mockery of science and reduced the honor and utility of climate science to zero.

    It reminds me to register for the fall meeting of the AGU. Around 16000 scientists will gather in San Francisco where the vigorous give and take that is the practice of actual science occurs for all to see. It is a vibrant, energetic meeting where the discourse is scientific, the argument is intense and the grim, totalitarian atmosphere implied by a great deal of what is written above is no where in evidence. How could that be? the largest section of the American Geophysical Union is the Atmospheric Science Section (I think). And according the the narrative here, they are all zombies out to munch Dr. Curry’s brains on the orders of of the evil IPCC (which must be run from North Korea or somewhere according to the prevailing meme above).
    It will be interesting to see how many have read this blog or even have an opinion concerning Dr. Curry’s writings. Of course, my sample will be small – I can only devote a little time to such things since there is so much to be learned and so much pleasure to be taken from the scientific interactions (that the writers here deny are occurring).


    • Chuck, the last few days have been unusual at Climate Etc. Already today have 12,000 hits (typical day is 3,000), I’m getting a lot of people checking in whose main source of climate info is climatedepot. so checking out the more technical threads gives a better overall picture of the things that go on here. The climate scientists with a public face probably number something like 50, and it is not a typical sample.

    • David L. Hagen

      AGU per your description is exemplary. In the other universe, obtaining information is like pulling hens’ teeth and engaging scientific “discourse” with the “other” side is rare. e.g., See ClimateAudit, especially Hockey Stick Studies. For another AGU participant, see Don Easterbrook

      • David,
        The information is in the refereed literature and in the presentations and in the questions and answers. Based on arguments I have read elsewhere, I will make a guess at what you are getting at and respond to that guess. When I make measurements of aerosol for NASA, I post my final data on NASA’s public access website ( When I have something to report, I write papers for the refereed literature. If I am successful, they are published and read. That is the custom in our universe. I do not provide my raw data which consists of particle detection events and pulse heights and voltages output by the pressure sensors, flow sensors and temperature sensors. I do not provide that information because it would be meaningless to any reader who has not spent many weeks understanding the data reduction programs. Nor do I provide the data reduction programs. (In my case I am using a language that is so long out of date that most would find it incomprehensible – I am an old guy.)
        If I were do make that core dump public, people would waste huge amounts of their and my time in trying to make sense of it. “How do we know you are not lying or in error?” you might ask. “Maybe you used 3.14 for pi instead of 3.14159!” Actually, the way to know that my numbers are not in error is to compare them with data of others who measure the same thing in the same places. This is called independent replication, and it is the strongest form of validation/invalidation. Often we publish papers together so that the comparison is easy. It is even better if the other measurements are done with different methods. So lets compare measurements made from satellites and airplanes with different techniques. All of that is in the literature.
        The current roar for the raw data and the data reduction code is misplaced. It imposes a weak form of validation when independent replication is a strong form. In my opinion, that conclusion is so obvious, that it is difficult to see these requests as being anything other than harassment (except possibly in some special cases).

        Chuck Wilson

      • David,
        This post is full of reports of people excoriating Dr. Curry and calling for her scalp for heresy. I actually think it is overblown. There aren’t many climate scientists engaging in this behavior. And the criticisms leveled against climate science and climate scientists as a group on this blog seem to be pretty extreme and non-discriminate. You are making claims about scientists refusing to engage in discourse with the ‘other side.’ Of the thousands of geophysical researchers attending AGU, how many know what Dr. Curry has written or said that is supposed to be heresy? Of the thousands, how many think it is heresy? Of the thousands, how many refuse to participate in discourse with the ‘other side’?
        I think that you completely under estimate the scale and and overestimate the homogeneity of the enterprise. There will be thousands of atmospheric scientists at AGU who understand that CO2 is heating climate and that it is a matter of some concern. There will be tens who are aware of the Dr. Curry flap (we do not read Scientific American or the Pielke blog a lot – its about the real work going on). Ok, maybe there will be dozens. Very few will have formed an opinion of Dr. Curry apart from the opinion they hold based on her papers. According to reports, that opinion will be favorable.
        As an example of discoursing across chasms of disagreement,
        I have seen S. Fred Singer at AGU in discourse with well known scientists who understand that CFC emissions drive ozone loss. Maybe Fred got a senior discount or something. Maybe you could as well.
        So, take a walk on the wild side and pay the registration fee, hang out in the hall and button hole the scientists and ask them questions. Go to the sessions and note the level of civil disputation (opposite of group think).

        Some advice: Do not believe everything you think.
        Chuck Wilson

    • We all live somewhere.

  125. Cthulhu: You blame sceptics, but when Gore and others claimed 20 feet of sea level rise and Hansen and others talk about the end of life on earth, that isn’t in the IPCC report but all the advocates seem ok with it–are you?

  126. Are people here really OK with having a poster use terms like “charlatans” and “fraud”? Perhaps expectations of what constitutes civil dialog were a little high.

    • Actually this post was borderline feisty, but the post was long and generally well written, doesn’t technically violate blog rules. Also this thread is a rather exceptional one, most of the “regulars” are spending time on the technical threads.

    • As I’d mentioned in that post, I’m a physician. We get people in the pharmaceuticals and medical devices industries lying to us for a living, and as a result we keep our bullshit detectors tuned on “high” all the time. I learned more than thirty years ago that Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 202 (21 CFR 202) does not guarantee that what we get from the pharma manufactures is ever going to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

      I suspect you’d like to think that your physician is a conscientious “skeptic” about everything pertinent to your medical care and that of your family members. We try like hell to be, NPR and ProPublica propaganda to the contrary, and to the extent possible in the diagnostic and therapeutic arts (’cause we’re not inductive logic scientists but rather deductive logic clinicians) we do a pretty good job of it.

      In spite of the health “insurance” bureaucrats, the federal and state politicians, and the plaintiff’s bar.

      I do not characterize as anything but a “charlatan” someone who alleges credentialed authority to speak on his research while denying such access to his observational data and methodologies as proves eventually – with particular reference to the Climategate information package which was composed preponderantly of data files and computer climate modeling code – that he had so deviated from standards of professional conduct in his work as to render the presumption of deliberate duplicity absolutely inescapable.

      I’m very much reminded of Merck’s suppression of rofecoxib (Vioxx) safety data in their VIGOR clinical trial (said mendaciously redacted information reported – much to the favor of this “blockbuster” selling drug – in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2001), which mendacious ablation came to light with a bang in 2004.

      I don’t think that the word “charlatan” is too strong to apply to the corporate suits at Merck. Do you, Deech?

      Nor is the word “fraud” when it comes to the submission of grant applications for the allocation of funds mulcted from the taxpayers to conduct “climate change research” predicated upon the presumption that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere comprise the primary forcing mechanism for global climate warming (or do you prefer “change” in spite of the fact that it’s a greenhouse gas induced warming which is the supposed means by which such man-made CO2 allegedly affects the world’s climate?) when even the most basic knowledge of atmospheric physics, oceanography, astrophysics, and allied disciplines requires the honest acknowledgment of those multivariant “confounding factors” I’d mentioned in the post to which you take such particular exception.

      To seek public funds on the basis of information deliberately left either incomplete or known to be false seems to fall within the definition of “fraud,” doesn’t it? Theft of value by way of deception.

      Or would “peculation” fit as well?

      As for matters “civil,” shall we discuss tort actions aimed at recovering from these charlatans both compensatory and punitive damages?

      Might as well put the members of the plaintiff’s bar to some proper use.

      • Rich, you completely missed my point, which was more about the lack of any discouraging words from the host or the posters here.

        So is medicine practiced the same way it was 100 years ago? No – medical science marches on, and those medical researchers are no different from those who research climate for a living, yet (I hope) you use the results from one field of study in your work but reject another field of study and insult its practitioners.

      • Deech, “ the lack of any discouraging words from the host or the posters here” regarding my studied and wholly justified use of the words “charlatans” and “fraud” in the post to which you have objected might have any number of reasons, but chief among them – I strongly suspect – is that even the “True Believers” in the AGW fraud have been forced to acknowledge that this staggering bogosity is precisely what scientist Hal Lewis had recently characterized as:

        “…the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. “

        And, yeah, medicine ispracticed the same way it was 100 years ago,” particularly in that the methodologies of differential diagnosis and treatment remain very much the same as had been established by valiant, principled, and intellectually honest men like Dr. Semmelweiss.

        (You fling a phrase like “100 years ago” at somebody who was obliged to take and pass a course in History of Medicine and you’re in a helluva lot of trouble, Deech. )

        It is emphatically not that “the science marches on” but rather that the technology does. The art of medicine can (and often must) be practiced on the proverbial flat rock in the jungle with nothing but the doctor’s bare hands and whatever he can improvise.

        As we say in the profession, “A good physician never gives up.”

        As for our propensity to “reject another field of study and insult its practitioners,” Deech, have you ever sat in with doctors in clinical disciplines ranging from neonatology to geriatrics when we’re speaking frankly our opinions of psychiatrists?

      • Rich, you don’t prescribe antibiotics for infections? I do know a bit about medical research, having done so myself for big pharma and biotech companies.

        One point that could be made is that despite the complexity of the human body and limitations of animal models, we have learned enough about how things work to some up with useful treatments and certainly enough to advance public health.

        Glad to see others chiming in.

      • Rich Matarese

        Sure, I prescribe antimicrobial agents for infectious disorders. Sometimes I even manage to hit the bug with something to which it’s sensitive right off the bat.

        But if I were to wait for the culture and sensitivity (or retroviral genotyping) studies to come back before starting chemotherapy, all other things being equal the patient’s condition is going to get a helluva lot worse before it gets better.

        And better it might damn well not get if there’s too much delay.

        This means that doctors commonly have to act on the basis of imperfect knowledge, and we tend therefore to reason into each particular case on the basis of general knowledge of precedent cases and prevailing epidemiology.

        Deductive reasoning, not inductive. You “horseback” a helluva lot, which is why when I refer patients to secondary specialists I pick guys who have a lot of wear and tear on ’em. Ceteris paribus, the more they’ve seen and done, the better they’ll be at making the correct diagnosis before they start the high-tech workup to confirm same (and rule out other stuff), and the more likely it’ll be that they will apply the correct mitigatory measures before the pathology grinds along past the point of remediation.

        But throughout the past thirty-mumble years I’ve found that there are specific situations where the antibiotics don’t work. The bugs prove resistant to the latest gosh-wow miracle drug. And to what was “gosh-wow” five years ago. And ten years ago.

        And I’m looking through my antique 1948 edition of Christopher’s Textbook of Surgery at long-abandoned pre-antibiotic era approaches to grisly infections and wondering to what effect I can adapt this or that trick of my old med school preceptors to handle something that today’s cutting-edge technology can’t address.

        So you “know a bit about medical research, having done so myself for big pharma and biotech companies,” eh? Great. No irony at all here. I’ve done some of that myself, entirely in Phase III and Phase IV, but its in the daily grind, playing musical exam rooms and juggling patients’ calls, and getting buttonholed in the supermarket for an Aisle 12 consultation about a neighbor’s trick knee that honest-to-Hippocrates clinical medicine gets practiced.

        Its all very, very, basic when you get right down to it. When you think about it, in the real world (which sure as hell isn’t the world of pharma and biotech research, as any CRA or clinical investigator will tell you if you can get his/her confidence), the high tech is precisely worthless if the front-line “health care provider” doesn’t pick up the pathology with eyes and ears and the proverbial high clinical index of suspicion.

        Y’know, I still make house calls. Something I’ve found for more than three decades is that whenever I arrive in somebody’s home late at night and diagnose an acute infectious disorder, I can always find antibiotics in the medicine cabinet to initiate treatment.

        Lots of antibiotics, of various spectra of activity, in all sorts of dosing forms, you name it. Never fails.

        Now, as somebody who understands at least something about pharmacology, Deech, I’m sure you know that the SOP with all antibiotic prescriptions is “Take ’em until they’re all gone.”

        Nobody does that, of course.

        And so I can always find remnants (pretty substantial remnants) of old antibiotic prescriptions in the medicine cabinet. And why should anybody ever throw ’em away? Except for the tetracyclines, all they can do is lose a bit of potency.

        So how does high technology in medicine – all this “dazzle ’em with science” stuff – ensure that a patient prescribed for one of your bang-zoom bleeding-edge antibiotics will either fill the prescription in the first place or take the stuff as instructed once he’s gotten it home?

        Little though I wanted to believe it when I was going through med school, it really is an art, not a science. We’ve gotta keep tightening up the wiggle room in every aspect of clinical practice, and that’s going to continue.

        But until our Mombasa Messiah and his co-conspirators make it utterly impossible for human beings to function voluntarily as either patients or physicians (and they’re sure as hell working on it), the necessary and beneficial element of art is going to be present in the interaction.

      • or do you prefer “change” in spite of the fact that it’s a greenhouse gas induced warming which is the supposed means by which such man-made CO2 allegedly affects the world’s climate?

        You’re a little out of touch; we’re in a post-change world. It’s now known as Climate Disruption. As for everything else, I wish I could articulate my rants with such aplomb :p.

      • I quote libertarian economist Walter Block’s reminiscences of the late Murray Rothbard:

        When asked what was the source of his prodigious scholarly and popular output, he would reply: “Hatred is my muse.” He would read something, say by a Marxist, Keynesian, or Chicagoite, become infused with disgust, and swear a mighty oath that this particular bit of idiocy would no longer stand, at least without a reaction from him.

        Let the fascisti flip their descriptors however they might, “this particular bit of idiocy” will not stand.

      • Dr. Curry, my grandfather fled Italy to escape the fascists. I find this reference offensive.

        I feel like anyone who referred to the skeptic side as fascists would have been immediately smacked down, but perhaps I’m mistaken. If you find this level of snarling invective improves the quality of debate around here, I remove my objection.

      • Thanks for spotting this. I agree this needs to be toned down,

      • Rich Matarese

        My own grandfathers left il Mezzogiorno to avoid starving to death. The fascisti came down from the socialist north about two decades after my antecedents had departed for greener – and freer – pastures, and my grandfathers were already settled and raising their families here in these United States.

        You find that “offensive,” too, ragazzo?

      • non darmi fastidio, stronzo. questa polemica non me ne frega un cazzo.

      • Rich Matarese

        Ah, wonderful. We’ve got reason now for this “PDA” specimen to get hammered with an outright ban.

        He whines about my use of the word “fascisti” and then responds with terms which are – when translated into common American vernacular – obscenities customarily forbidden in all such fora.

        Dr. Curry, do you intend to respond to this violation of your rules of comportment, or does sympathy with the obvious political inclination of this zoticone go without your consideration?

      • MODERATION NOTE: PDA, i don’t understand italian, but this doesn’t sound good. Sounds like the pots are both calling the kettles black, this isn’t helping. Both you and Rick please tone it down

      • MODERATION NOTE: Rich, words such as fascist are out of bounds, they add nothing to the dialogue.

      • Rich Matarese

        Point taken, Dr. Curry. It’s your “house.”

        Though avoiding precise taxonomy does nothing to alter factual reality.

      • Rich,
        I contest your descriptions of climate science. I contest your description of the fraudulent and charlatanous behavior of climate scientists. You have the facts wrong, and your interpretations are in error. For proof, I refer you to the real world.

        Fortunately for you, you did not stray into the realm of radiation heat transfer. It can be dealt with efficiently.

        We find the socialists, Nazis and Libertarians all called into play in a scrum on a website devoted to the science of climate change. How funny.

        Political Economic Ideologies arose from the same impulse that led to science – the desire to understand. Fortunately for science, it wed itself to repeatable observations of the natural world. Unfortunately for ideologies, they are doomed to fail. They can not accurately describe a social economic scene having far too many variables for the average ideologue to handle – that number exceeds 3. (The Great Greenspan told us that he never thought that the companies would fail to manage risk. Imagine that, Rand.)
        Ideologies try to limit the domain of science to findings that are not harmful to the party line. When observations carry scientists to truths that contravene the ideological apriories, heads role in totalitarian states and insults are hurled in more liberal settings. (Although the rage of the ideologues leaves little doubt about the construction of mental guillotines – )

        Groucho Marx should have asked when the duck came down
        “Is there a split hairs difference between Leninism, Maoism and Rushlimbauism?” the answer is “Yes, the Libertarians are more genteel.”

        We are all free marketeers, Rich. The carbon tax and even cap and trade utilize virtues of competitive markets. However, you will never have to deal with these modest intrusions if you can successfully deny the externalities associated with carbon emissions. Unfortunately here we return to radiation heat transfer. And to replicable observations. Where you lose.

        That rub explains most of the rage against a progressing science practiced by many, many more humans that can be named and slandered on this blog.

        Chuck Wilson

      • Tsk. Dr. Curry permits this unsubstantiated screed of Chuck’s to stand without either condemnation or admonition to moderate his venom, and removes what I had posted in the way of response.

        Permit me to observe – if Dr. Curry will allow – that in the final paragraph of his rambling fumble we see Mr. Wilson write of “…a progressing science practiced by many, many more humans that can be named and slandered on this blog” thereby to demonstrate yet another fallacy of formal logic, this one commonly called “bandwagon” or argumentum ad populum.

        This is obviously what is to be expected in lieu of reasoned argument from someone peddling the agenda of the authoritarian environmentalist left. There is no evidence of any other inclination on the part of people like Mr. Wilson, who claims of his co-religionists that “We are all free marketeers” (hoo, boy!) and then instantly goes on to allege that the armed extortion of “The carbon tax and even cap and trade [will somehow] utilize virtues of competitive markets.”

        Markets? A market is a venue of voluntary – which is to say uncoerced – exchange. The levying of punitive taxation (for the overt purpose of any “carbon tax” is not to raise revenue but to punish people for certain behaviors and thereby constrain those activities) is a market activity precisely…how?

        What’s the exchange here, Mr. Wilson? What are you offering the people of America? Ever-reduced access to energy and other resources, ever-increasing poverty, hunger, and other suffering, never-ending reduction in the average person’s quality of life, and for this we get in “free” exchange precisely…what?

        Let us presume that the individual human being has rights, based first upon the right to a property in his own person, then to his productive action, and finally to the goods and services he creates or otherwise acquires without violating the equal rights of other human beings, largely by way of voluntarily exchanging his labor for the material products and purposeful efforts of other people.

        To get voluntary cooperation from these human beings, they must be persuaded by means of appeal to their reasoning capacity or their emotions.

        Persuasion is the vehicle by which “free marketeers” achieve their objectives.

        Coercion is not.

        Clearly, in America an increasing majority of human beings – who conceive themselves to have rights to their own lives, to their liberties, and to their alienable properties – are no longer moved either by “scientific” arguments in support of the man-made climate change hypothesis or by the emotional “Chicken Little” appeals alleging oncoming catastrophe to give up their immediate and prospective material well-being as Mr. Wilson fervently wants them to do.

        So, Mr. Wilson, having failed of persuasion, your drive now is to put your fellow human beings under compulsion – by means of “The carbon tax and even cap and trade” – in order to achieve your objectives. In so doing, you are emphatically not any sort of “free marketeer,” and it takes a peculiar sort of critter to try to pass himself off as such under these circumstances.

        Not so? Well, let’s see if Dr. Curry will let this response to Mr. Wilson’s incoherency pass to the eyes of other readers.

      • Rich,
        Thanks for the “authoritarian, environmental left” characterization. It is clear that anyone who struggles for years with the implications of the First Law of Thermodynamics and the emission of long-lived greenhouse gases and concludes that the signal of the Anthroprocene has emerged from the noise between 1960 and present must be some kind of leftist.
        The real irony here is that I was trained by conservative voting, church going engineers who worked with the EPA to characterize the airborne particulate that was ultimately reduced under the Clean Air Act. The result of that, as you surely know, was a measurable increase in the longevity of Americans. Look at the Six Cities Study and follow-ons and you see that airborne particulate shortens lives and cleaning the air has lengthened them. This life-lengthening was surely an act of the government, which you characterize as coercion. An act that has been reviewed by the Supreme Court and found to be constitutional. “Promote the General Welfare” is the phrase (from the preamble of the US Constitution).
        The wild-eyed rejection of the Clean Air Act and other science-based government actions by the ascendant (in the media anyway) right wing has led to the irony that I referred to. When I was young, engineering departments were largely staffed by conservatively inclined, Republican voters. Now they are staffed by conservatively inclined voters who can not bring themselves to pull the lever for the tancredos and the odonnels and the pauls who abandon science for ideology. So the media cries the the universities are liberal – well the Republicans have embraced dogma and ideology with such fervor that the empirical-minded in the institutes of technology have been left behind and can no longer vote for the GOP. Some odd kind of leftists these nerds make.
        The Montreal Protocol is doubtless another act of coercion in your mind. Mandating reductions in emissions of CFCs was coercion in your mind when the proper action would be to convince the public to put them down. Well, Ronald Reagan disagreed and provided conscious global leadership in actions which his Council of Economic Advisors concluded would save 5,000,000 american lives and 10 trillion greenbacks in the long run (I think the analysis ran out to 2165). Another tyrannical application of the Welfare Clause of the preamble of the constitution, eh Rich.
        When the dust settles, I think that the prudent promotion of the general welfare will extend to protecting climate. The Libertarian Encyclopedia defines externality. The restrictions on smoking, pollution (and, soon I hope, on actions that alter climate) are straight forward exercises in dealing with those externalities which caused the markets to be inefficient. That is why the doctrinaire Libertarians are forced to deny that the First Law applies to the atmosphere. If they could see the science, they would see the need for more governmental regulation. Its a tough corner for someone who loves their dogma. Maybe there is a 12-step program for that.


  127. I just took the SciAm poll on Dr. Curry.

    I must say that it was simply the worst, the most biased poll I have ever seen. The choices were mostly “Yes, I believe in climate change” or “Yes, I am a mindless climate change denier.” There was never a “None of the above” option for this complex subject.

    That SciAm would allow such a terrible poll to represent SciAm and climate science to the public is as vivid a testament as one could need as to how much the climate change agenda has debased science in our time.

    I held my nose and checked all the “Yes, I am a mindless denier” options. When I looked at the survey results, I realized that SciAm has a nasty surprise coming — the mindless deniers are winning by a large margin. Serves SciAm right.

    • yes, its unbelievable, sci am has lost its bearings, at least uncertainty is getting a lot of votes! It seems they are getting a lot of heat for that article, which then needed to be justified by a 900 word essay, and then bolstered by the survey. The dupe narrative isn’t doing too well.

      • Dr. Curry,
        If you assume that the poll was intended to gauge the opinion of the public then yes indeed the SA has lost their bearings.

        If you assume that the poll was intended to show that people who think you are a peacemaker are a bunch of mindless skeptics holding the most extreme views then the poll was well conceived and will be effective.

        When I see intelligent people doing something stupid I assume they are running a hidden agenda.

    • $ciAm is $ciAm. Follow the money.

    • Tomas Milanovic


      I held my nose and checked all the “Yes, I am a mindless denier” options. When I looked at the survey results, I realized that SciAm has a nasty surprise coming — the mindless deniers are winning by a large margin. Serves SciAm right.

      So did I.
      This poll is so mindbogglingly stupid that I am at a loss how to characterize it.
      Are such people real? One wonders.
      Never read SciAm but this tabloid seems to be at the scientific level of an oyster.

  128. AnyColourYouLike

    Wow! Just clocked on to see all these positive comments! I think we have a “consensus” Judy: you’re an oasis of hope in a desert of non-communication, advocacy in place of science, and deafening silence from too many climatologists who lack the courage or the principles to speak out. Thank you for your integrity and willingness to step back and say “wait a minute” (in public) in a way that you must have guessed would bring you personal and professional derision.

    I can only re-visit my first post on Climate etc of a few weeks ago to echo the sentiments here.
    Dr Curry

    Congratulations on the obvious success of your new, balanced and informative Climate blog. Having followed many of your postings on other forums for the past couple of years, I have always found your contributions unfailingly polite, informative and free from the sort of ill-mannered snark, impatient mud-slinging, and automatic gain-saying of “the other side” that marks so much of what goes on in the Climate blogosphere. Your rebuttals are uniformly pertinent, without malice and delivered with reference to facts or citations, even in response to those who seem intent on baiting you into some sort of emotional faux pas (which actually would probably be quite justified, given some of the vilification to which you have been subjected). Neither do you flaunt your experience or obvious academic credentials in the field, in response to some of the more ardent ranters, hinting (not so subtly) as they often do, of relevant experience and superior intellect, glittering academic achievement and arcane knowledge of the science (though rarely telling us straight what they actually do for a living!)

    For all these reasons, I believe the setting up of your site is certainly the most important thing that has happened on the blogosphere this year, and I thank you for finding the time (how do you do it?) to contribute so regularly and thoughtfully whilst also pursuing a full-time academic career. You are an inspiration, and give me hope that some common sense will prevail in this debate!

  129. Of course everyone — whether convinced or not about the existence of man made global warming — has his or her own reasons for belief. Personally, if I had to point to the factor most important in ending my acceptance of AGW and moving me firmly into the sceptic camp, it would be the analysis done by E. M. Smith on the software and data selection choices made by GISS to calculate global temperatures and trends.
    It is difficult to ascribe the actions of GISS to dispassionate scientific judgement.

  130. larry weitzman

    Judith, Perhaps this H.L. Mencken quote best sums up the entire issue: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule the world.”

    There is another quote by Eric Hoffer that also fits the bill regarding the politics of global warming. “The readiness for self-sacrifice is contingent on an imperviousness to the realities of life…All active mass movements strive, therefore to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth, no certitude outside it…To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason. It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible.”


  131. Your “monster” status derives from your obvious honesty and integrity, that’s why many see you as a danger. You say what you think and ask difficult questions, that makes you unpredictable and beyond their control.

    Although I may disagree with many some of your conclusions and the tortuous way that you reach them, I trust both you and your motives . There are not many in the climate debate I could say that of.

  132. Hello, Judith. Here’s a question, in case you’d like to take a five-minute break from the kerfuffle: Wwhat is the most intriguing science question in climate science today? In other words, if you had a long uninterrupted week to do nothing but read and think, what climate science issue would you choose for your week’s focus?

    Sorry for the OT excursion but you may need a breather.


  133. While I not not support the hypothesis of human CO2 emissions causing significant climate problems, I have a lot of respect for the way in which Judith Curry has gone about addressing the issue as described in the article above. De-politicizing the issue is the motivation behind our Climate Scientists’ Register as well – see so, philosphically, we are on base with Dr. Curry, even if we are not scientifically.

    Tom Harris
    Executive Director – International Climate Science Coalition
    Ottawa, Canada

  134. Alexander Harvey

    Can someone clear up something for me.

    The term “climate scientist” is used but seems ill-defined, to me at least.

    There seem to be very few people with the role of professor of climate science. I can only find about a dozen or so. A couple in the UK and the rest mostly in the USofA.

    There are much larger numbers of professorships in Atmospheric Sciences, Meteorology, Oceanography and some Climatologists, plus other specialities.

    It may only be a small point of personal interest, but when someone is described or self-described as a climate scientist, what interpretation am I to put on that?

    Is it symptomatic of anything? I mean, is it a hat that some choose to put on, where others doing the same general work would not?

    Is it job, a self-description, or media tag?

    Would people say things like: “Well he/she calls his/herself a climate scientist but really is just a jumped up …”. Do some, so described, think: “I wish they wouldn’t call me that?”

    Sorry to be a bit unknowledgable, but I am not sure what I am meant to understand by the term. Which is a bit fundamental really.


    • This has been addressed before, and will no doubt be again. Climate science is an umbrella term for scientists working on climate-related matters. Typical degrees include geography, atmospheric sciences, physics, oceanography, but could also be biologists, environmental scientists and others. Climatology degree programs are actually quite rare.

    • Alex, I think it’s something that may just ‘grow like Topsy’ when a scientist working in a particular discipline finds that their area of interest is affected in some way.
      I suppose glaciologists and other people involved in cryology would be a prime example. As would agriculture scientists and hydrology experts. Entomologists, forestry experts, meteorologists ….. you get the picture.

      In the end, they’re all scientists. Climate is not just about physicists and models, it’s about observations and data from all the physical and biological sciences. If there’s a “pure” climate scientist, it’s likely to be either a physicist or a meteorologist, but it’s a broad church encompassing a host of other disciplines.

    • An excellent question. Not only is ‘climate’ a vast domain, but almost all of those who have status in it hold their PhDs, or whatever their background is, in something else altogether: physics, chemistry, geology, meteorology, statistics — you name it. As a university field leading to a degree, climate science is very new indeed. Others besides me have argued that there is no accepted body of theory and no ancient luminaries of consequence.

      To me ‘climate science’ is rather like most of the social sciences: at the moment it resembles a quarry which people mine using whatever tools they are happy with and know how to apply. It is not strange that they often disagree with each other.

      • Rich Matarese

        Hmph. I’m reminded of David M. Hoffer’s “The Physicist and the Climatologist” (see, one of Mr. Hoffer’s humorous takes on the co-optive gathering power of the extremely lucrative anthropogenic global warming fraud, a hypothetical exchange in which the conscientious Physicist blandly dismisses each and every argument voiced by the Climatologist to support the nonsense notion of man-made CO2 emissions causing climate change until:

        Climatologist: Blasphemer! Unbeliever! The temperature has to rise! I have reports! I have measurements! I have computer simulations! I have committees! United Nations committees! Grant money! Billions and billions and billions! I can’t be wrong, I will never explain it! Billions! And the carbon trading! Trillions in carbon trading!

        Physicist: Gasp! How much grant money?

        Climatologist: Billions. Want some?

        Physicist: Uhm…

        Climatologist: BILLIONS.

        Climatologist: Hi. I used to be a physicist. When I started to understand the danger the world was in, though, I decided to do the right thing and become a climatologist. Let me explain the greenhouse effect to you…. ”

        That’s kinda how it happened, isn’t it, Don?

    • Not seeing a few key disciplines mentioned above yet I can’t help but add mathematics, paleontology, meteorology, computer science. In reality “climatology” is a truly cross-disciplinary subject. I am skeptical of the idea that such a thing as a “climatologist” exists without expertise in at least several of the fields named in these replies. By “expertise” I mean something deeper than exposure to an introductory course — perhaps something more like a pre-master’s education plus some field experience. This may be why some “climate amateurs” come across as better informed than some “climate professionals” — general knowledge and genuine interest goes farther in this “field” than sanitary book-larnin’ too specialized to see the forest for the one tree at which it stares.

    • Alexander Harvey

      My thanks to Zajko, adelady, Don Aitkin and R. Craigen.

      I think I can comprehend all that. I understand that the field is very broad and it seems that Climate Science itself has not really developed a core.

      If that be the case, does it make structures such as the IPCC vital in order to get an informed overview. This is not a totally trivial question. If it is the case then the statements by individuals can be preceived as viewpoints of which one should be wary, unless they address their area of excellence.

      Perhaps it would have be better not to developed the climate scientist tag altogether. As a matter of interest can anyone recall where the came from, the media, the IPCC, or a particular group or individual scientist?


      • I’m really not sure where the term first originated, and I would be grateful to anyone who could trace it’s early use as well. Because of the disunity of climate science, I think there is a good argument for a body or process such as the IPCC to attempt tie it all together. Whether the IPCC does a good job of this is another question.

    • Roger Caiazza

      On a related note one of the recurrent points for the consensus is the thousands of people involved in climate science. As part of the American Meteorological Society annual renewal process there is a survey form that asks members for three areas of expertise. I asked the AMS if they could tell me how many members claim the following categories as specializations: Climate Variations; and Global Change; Paleoclimatology; for the climate expertise and Atmospheric and climate dynamics; and Numerical analysis and prediction for the meteorological modeling expertise.

      A total of 7,360 members indicated one or more areas of expertise. The numbers of members who listed climate expertise related to global warming were 919 members for Climate Variations; 340 for Global Change; and 87 chose Paleoclimatology. The numbers for the modelers were 692 for Atmospheric and climate dynamics and 740 for Numerical analysis and prediction. None of the members who selected either of the modeling areas chose the global warming areas of expertise.

      While this is admittedly unscientific there are a couple of points. There aren’t thousands of meteorologists in this field. I also find it a little unsettling that the experts in modeling don’t claim any expertise in the global warming categories.

  135. I read the article and thought it did you a disservice. Years ago I remember lay person “knowledge” being defined as realty that is taken for granted until further notice. Scientific knowledge was taken for granted as reality once it was proved the particular recipe worked, repeatedly. And philosophers and skeptics are professionally obligated to take nothing for granted–apparently this uncertainty–I know that I don’t know– is no longer appreciated.

  136. Cheers Judith, I’ll be uncharacteristically brief.

    You have respect among us “skeptics” because of your candor and honesty. Few (but a growing number) on the AGW side are ready for collegial discussion. You’re not merely one of these, you are the very epitome, a model for all of us. Really, “skeptic” is not the best word, I also prefer “heretic”, which would land me in your court, though our heresies differ significantly.

    I don’t have the hubris to put myself in your class in terms of climate-specific background, though as a scientist I claim some expertise in judging scientific matters of a general nature: “colloquium-level” material. It is my view that MOST contemporary policy proposals can be weighed intelligently by reasonably literate non-scientists who can read a graph and follow a logical argument consisting of two or more syllogisms, if the information comes to them unspun. This conviction alone is all I need to understand that the educated fools at RealClimate are full of hot air. You, on the other hand, are neither dismissive, censorious, propagandous nor patronizing and you respect the common sense approach of talented amateurs. Ergo you’re worth listening to.

    Sorry, that was longer than I intended. Hang in there, a lot of us are rooting for you!

  137. Climate science, like many other sciences, involves scientists from many of the major disciplines.

    Chemists, geologists and physicists were major players in the study of meteorites, lunar, solar and planetary samples. There were even a few astronomers and astrophysicists like Don Clayton of Rice and the late Harvard Professor A. G. W. Cameron.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  138. Can you spot the flaw in the opinion?

    “It is my view that MOST contemporary policy proposals can be weighed intelligently by reasonably literate non-scientists who can read a graph and follow a logical argument consisting of two or more syllogisms, if the information comes to them unspun.”

    Who decides what’s spin?

  139. Ms. Curry,
    Along with many people my age, I grew up almost worshipping NASA as the epitome of can do scientists in action. As a voter I would have supported any budget request NASA made – whatever NASA said was gospel. That kind of loyalty is hard earned and super rare. However, the political activism of current NASA scientists and climate scientists in general has destroyed my trust in them, in NASA, and in scientists of all stripes. I am exactly the kind of citizen who would normally be most supportive of government funded science, but because of the activism of so many climate scientists I will never again support government funded science to the same degree. Your colleagues seem to have no idea how much damage they have done to the reputation of science. I assume you see something they don’t and you are concerned – as well you should be. At this point I would happily see most of government science defunded because of the abuse of trust I have witnessed. Good luck in bridge building – you will get no appreciation from your colleagues for your peacemaking efforts; whose jobs would all disappear if I had the say in the matter. Words can hardly describe how disgusted I am with the actions of so many rent seeking scientists and I should be their natural ally – I am a secondary level math teacher. You probably can’t even imagine what my friend the iron worker has to say about “those lyin guvmint scientists” and he votes in every election.

    Bill Powell

    • Yes – I felt exactly the same about NASA, and indeed science in general. Organisations such as the UK CRU, which managed to investigate the climategate emails without ever addressing the real issues, will ultimately pay a heavy price for their loss of honesty.

  140. Somehow I missed the relevance and experthood of Judy Curry in all this blogofying. Arguing over public relations and personalities is pointless but apparently satisfying to some. Data will accumulate, hypotheses will be erected and demolished. Eventually the paradigm(s) will shift. If people are honest and rigorous in their work, don’t engage in data winnowing, and do attempt to falsify their hypotheses, all will be well in the science world. How that affects the socio-politico-economico-ecologico system dynamics will take some time to know and too much time to respond to. Big problems occur from the multiplicative effect of ignored little problems. (There’s willful ignorance and “science doesn’t know this” ignorance.) The creation of big problems is exponential, with a long, slow, barely apparent development at the beginning, and then the hellzapoppin’ finale.

    Now we’re trying to reverse engineer the causes of global climate change with an imperfect set of data and a poor understanding of the mechanics. Everyone should chill and get used to it.

  141. Congratulation Judith!

    88% of voters support you!

    Do what you think is right!

    • There, you see. I knew that would be the result. Once the blogosphere (particularly the sceptic blogosphere) gets hold of a poll like this, it really doesn’t stand much of a chance. Remember the Science Museum poll? Or the many “best blog” polls with Watts and CA involved?

      Apart from RC and the Guardian, the only other place I see Alarmists exhibit flocking behaviour is on slashdot.

  142. As one of the other posters said, apostacy is the worst possible advertisement for any cause. In Islam, the punishment for apostacy is death. A great deal of effort has gone into marginalizing people like Pielke, Lindzen, and Spencer. The problem with people like you is that you come off as much too middle of the road. It’s hard to argue with someone who’s position is, “Let’s talk to each other and try to do good science”. As the SA article points out very clearly, they want to engender a sense of emergency – not a moment to loose – etc. So on the one hand SA gives you credit for having arguments that are valid, on the other they don’t want us to listen because it might remove that sense of emergency. But then if some of your arguments are true, and if some of the skeptics other arguments are true, then there is no emergency. For SA it is a big disappointment that the glaciers are not going to melt in 30 years because it reduces the pressure on the sense of emergency.

  143. I admire your courage, fortitude, and integrity – you can’t buy those; however they do make you golden. Don’t let them sear or even so much as scorch you in that fiery furnace you’ve been thrown into.

  144. The most insane thing is the questionnaire and the preamble to it.

    My goodness, is this the level to which the Scientific American has fallen? There was a time when scientists would read it to inform themselves of developments outside their field of specialty and expect to get an informed systematic account. I was aware of its deterioration, but to find it is employing such intellectual zeros, and publishing such complete vacuities as this, its quite shocking.

    The more you read of this stuff, the more you feel that the real puzzle about AGW is a social one. How did it happen that a scientific hypothesis which is at bottom a very simple one, turning on a couple of propositions, ever get itself associated with this level of feeling, and with this huge heap of political and social attitudes which are in any logical sense irrelevant to it.

    After all, the hypothesis turns on the issue of climate sensitivity. This is a problem we should surely be able to find the answer to? If the high end estimates are right, we have a real problem. Never mind big oil, the Tea Party, the Hockey Stick, Climategate, all that stuff. This is the core of the problem. You don’t have to have the IPCC write thousands of pages of irrelevancies to address this. Hurricanes and extreme weather events and the Polar Bears are irrelevant to that.

    What I see is people who have bought into a collection of beliefs and attitudes which they associate together, but which have little or nothing now to do with the real scientific question.

    It reminds me a bit of the question of inheritance versus environment. There was a time when any suggestion of inheritance playing any role in human ability differences was to mark oneself as a eugenicist neo-fascist. Yet the evidence is that genetics are important to many human abilities and characteristics, to some more than others, and it became clear later that to oppose that on a knee jerk basis actually achieved the reverse of the goals people allegedly had.

    You did not, in the end, improve regard for humanity by pretending that there are no inherited differences between populations, when the evidence is so plainly that there are. You improved regard for humanity by making the sound argument that these inherited differences, though real, were immaterial to how we should value them. The reason was, you simply brought the scientific field into disrepute, and that left people to continue believing the wildest and most racist fantasies.

    Its rather similar with AGW. The fierce denials of the evidence against the IPCC, and the continued hysterical assertions of certainty about scale and probability of disaster do us an enormous disservice. It is possible that CO2 emissions are damaging. The degree to which they are, if they are, is very important to what action if any we should be taking. Its also important to those of us who value the environment, because it determines how we should prioritize our efforts and our spend.

    The refusal to have a skeptical discussion of these kinds of issues is in the end going to destroy regard for the environment. Its also, as I said above, going to destroy any chance of a sensible program to deal with any climate change that is being caused by CO2 emissions. If you cannot discuss how bad it really is, and what combination of lowering emissions and mitigation of warming effects is cost effective, you will end up scrapping the whole thing and putting it down to hysteria.

    But, there may actually be a real problem, if only the advocates would permit proper discussion of how serious it is.

  145. Dr. Curry,

    Long, long ago, when I was in high school and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we read selections from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ in English class. I was particularly impressed by, “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” I’m grateful that you’re following Polonius’ advice.

    You are performing a great service to science, to America, and to the free peoples of the entire world. God bless you, and give you the strength you need to persevere in the midst of adversity.

  146. The problem is, if you make acceptance of a particular set of scientific hypotheses associate with particular political prescriptions, you’ll turn acceptance or skepticism into a political issue too.

    So if we had separated the two, and conducted the debate in two parts, one is anything alarming happening, and two, if so what should we do about it if anything, we’d have avoided all this.

    As it is, the advocates moved instantly to a total program of belief and particular prescriptions for action. Those to whom the prescriptions were objectionable then moved to disbelief.

    The result is, Republicans are mainly skeptics, Democrats mainly believers, and the struggle is about carbon limitation. In fact, what should be happening is two debates, one is whether its happening at all, and how badly, and the other is whether carbon limitation, and if so on what scale, and combined with other action programs, is the right thing.

    It is perfectly rational to think cap and trade is idiotic, and that windmills are not an effective source of energy, and also to believe CO2 emissions are a threat and produce warming. But in the present climate, you cannot get a hearing for this perfectly logical point of view.

    What its turning into is, the ultras have lost the Republican Party, when they did not have to. Its a bit like 50 years ago, when you were either for the Kuomintang, or if in any way critical of it, you were for Communism. In fact however, it was the supporters of Chiang who really ‘lost’ China.

    The question we should be asking now is how on earth Hanson and so on lost the Republican Party.

    • Ian Blanchard

      At least in the US you get a choice based on politics. In the UK, the issue is entirely non-political as all the mainstream parties are committed to the low carbon policies already introduced as part of the Climate Change Bill (passed into legislation in 2008 on the first October day to have laying snow in London for over 80 years – not science, but definitely irony). What are the policies?
      Conversion to non-emitting power generation sufficient to lead to a 50% cut in CO2 emissions by 2050 (partly by renewal and increasing capacity of nuclear [no Government funding currently] and by development of major wind farms mostly off-shore [with heavy Government subsidy])

      Introduction of a ‘carbon levy’ on big business – initially this was to be used to promote low carbon technologies, by most big companies paying in to a centralised pot and then getting paid back bonuses for improved performance wrt CO2 emission cuts, but as part of the recent spending review this levy is now going in to the Government coffers.

    • Rich Matarese

      The result is, Republicans are mainly skeptics, Democrats mainly believers, and the struggle is about carbon limitation. In fact, what should be happening is two debates, one is whether its happening at all, and how badly, and the other is whether carbon limitation, and if so on what scale, and combined with other action programs, is the right thing.

      It being understood that I look upon the two factions of the big, permanently incumbent Boot-On-Your-Neck Party in much the same way that I regard cholera and metastatic bowel cancer – which is to say, as two different types of pathology causing death, one a bit more subject to remediation than the other – I have to observe that the Republicans differ from their nominal opponents on the matter of the anthropogenic global warming fraud principally in that most of them have not yet found ways in which to exploit this “Cargo Cult Science” for the sorts of promotion, pillage, power, and publicity as have what we’ll call the “Democrats.”

      (Their “screw you” response to the majority of their constituents in their states and districts on the matter of Obamacare – to which that majority of the U.S. population was and continues to be vociferously and angrily opposed – proves that there is no longer even the illusion of “Democratic” about them.)

      There are plenty of nominal Republicans (supposedly fiscal and constitutional “conservatives,” though in truth the Republican Party has never embraced such restraint in all its history) who have latched onto the AGW fraud with great enthusiasm, and have found ways in which to achieve personal and political gain by supporting the perfidies of their more explicitly socialistic brethren across the aisle in this regard.

      The majority of the Red Party thugs, of course, have since Climategate seen an opportunity both to differentiate themselves from their Blue Party rivals and to engage the enraged hatred of those Americans who have correctly discerned the great “global warming” fraud as what it truly is: a pretense to tax the end consumer of all goods and services (’cause all such economic activity results, in one way or another, in the release of CO2 into the atmosphere) into poverty.

      As with the “Tea Party” movement, it is not that the Republicans are (or have ever been) truly skeptical of man-made global climate change and the wonderfully bogus greenhouse gas forcing mechanism of the AGW hypothesis, but rather that they have perceived a tide on the flood which promises to drown those against whom they are competing for opportunities to screw the private citizenry of this nation.

      And this year’s campaign is rather more of a “Surf’s up!” phenomenon for America’s party of the political right.

    • Michel ” So if we had separated the two, and conducted the debate in two parts, one is anything alarming happening, and two, if so what should we do about it if anything, we’d have avoided all this.” I’d have restated this another way.

      The first part contains the possibility that the alarm is unwarranted. So the second part should be reframed along the lines of “What technological, economic, political steps should we take that would benefit us in *both* cases?” Looked at that way a few actions become high value. Energy efficiency has got to be a boon no matter what. Good public transport is also a win/win. Getting started on a program of introducing renewables into the energy mix gives us a head start for all 3 reasons. (Because positioning yourself as an innovative supplier boosts economic activity at home and gives you the chance to get some kudos in the developing world if you can supply distributed generation equipment in difficult terrain / circumstances. ) And both courses of action would have given us the basis for faster, further action when evidence of damage and danger became evident.

      If we’d embarked on this sensible path 20ish years ago, and some time discovered the need to step up the pace, the prospect of carbon taxes or somesuch would be much less daunting. We’d already have the technology and the programs in place ready for expansion and further development. Climbing a mountain is a great deal easier if you’ve trained for it for a while and you’ve got well-tested equipment already on hand.

  147. Judith:
    The Character Harold Hill sez:

    No wide-eyed, eager, wholesome innocent Sunday school teacher for me.
    That kinda girl spins webs no spider ever–
    Listen, boy–
    A girl who trades on all that purity merely wants to trade my independence for her security.
    The only affirmative she will file refers to marching down the aisle.
    No golden, glorious, gleaming pristine goddess–
    No sir!

    For no Diana do I play faun.
    I can tell you that right now.
    I snarl, I hiss: How can ignorance be compared to bliss?
    I spark, I fizz for the lady who knows what time it is.
    I cheer, I rave for the virtue I’m too late to save
    A sadder nut wiser girl for me !

    From Music Man (1962)

    • thomaswfuller

      Real pity that when Oscar time rolled around there was a wee bit of competition for The Music Man–something about airplanes vs. fish was involved, IIRC…

  148. Judith – I have at last put aside the time to read this post. I haven’t been able to read all the comments, but I hope that you have at least paid attention to the excellent comments by Richard S Courtney. I echo his statements “.. thank you for your honest and sincere post ..“, and “Science is about seeking the best ‘truth’ we can uncover about the world. It is not about defending a position ..“.

    Regarding some of the specific statements in your post :

    jc: “The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science.“.

    Back in August 2008, I wrote an article for a local paper entitled “Global Warming – Just another scare campaign” in which I pointed out that this was not the first climate scare, and that the case for this one was very weak. There were then some vitriolic and intimidating letters to the editor, citing the Holocaust, tobacco companies and flat earthers, and castigating the editor for having published a letter critical of the consensus position. My reply to these letters ended with “My greatest fear, in this climate debate, is that if the AGW case collapses from the weight of contrary scientific evidence, then there is a huge risk that all the excellent environmental and energy initiatives will collapse too, because they are being promoted as ways of cutting CO2 emissions. And if that happens then there is the risk in future that when scientists try to warn the world of a genuine hazard, no-one will listen because of the way that incorrect climate science was pushed so hard today.
    We need to allow an open climate debate, and see where the scientific evidence takes us.
    “. Not a lot has changed in the 2 years since then, but I do welcome your attempt to open up the debate (even if I don’t always agree with you).

    jc: “In the U.S., the prospect of the Republicans winning the House of Representatives raises the specter of hearings on the integrity of climate science and reductions in federal funding for climate research.

    Is it really such a spectre? Maybe it is the only way of getting some sanity.

    jc: “What I want is for the climate science community to shift gears and get back to doing science, and return to an environment where debate over the science is the spice of academic life.” and “I was continuing my overall thinking on how to better deal with skeptics and increase the credibility and integrity of science.

    The way to increase the credibility and integrity of science is indeed to get back to doing science. Probably the best way to start would be to throw the entire IPCC report open to review and analysis, with absolutely nothing in the report being accepted until it had truly passed such review and – most importantly – been substantiated by actual testing.

    jc: “Yes, I want clean green energy, economic development and “world peace”.

    So do we all, but let’s first get this straight : “clean” must actually mean “clean”, that is, absolutely nothing to do with the presence or absence of CO2. Now, once you have got “clean” right, what does “green” mean? Does it mean “clean”, or does it mean “renewable”, or does it mean “ideologically correct”. Whatever it means, there is a price above which it is non-viable. And then “economic development” really must mean just that, so that it includes all energy sources at the right price. Pushing ideologically-driven “economic development” will be destructive – as per Bastiat’s Window.

  149. Dr. Gerhard Loebert

    The Close Correlation between Earth’s Surface Temperature and its Rotational Velocity as well as the Close Correlation between the Planetary Orbital Periods and the Periods of the Solar Cycles Prove that Climate Changes are Driven by Galactic Gravitational Waves

    Dr. Gerhard Löbert. Munich. September 24, 2009.
    Physicist. Recipient of the Needle of Honor of German Aeronautics

    Abstract: In a previous Note (see Ref.) it was shown that climate change is driven by solar activity which in turn is caused by the action of galactic vacuum density waves on the core of the Sun. Irrefutable proof of the existence of these super-Einsteinian waves is given by the extremely close correlation between the changes in the mean global surface temperature and the small changes in the rotational velocity of the Earth – two physically unrelated geophysical quantities – in the past 150 years (see Fig. 2.2 of or Ref.). In the present Note it is shown that the orbital periods of the planets of the Solar System provide further evidence. All periods are very close to integer fractions and multiples of the periods of the Hale and the Gleissberg solar cycles.

    In an excellent paper by the late Dr. Theodor Landscheidt (see it was shown that the Sun’s Gleissberg activity cycle is closely correlated with the oscillations of the Sun around the center of mass of the solar system. The first and second space derivatives of the gravitational potential of the planets in the vicinity of the Sun are, however, so minute that it cannot be envisaged how the extremely slow motion of the Sun about the center of mass of the solar system could physically influence the processes within the Sun. It is much more likely that a common external agent is driving both the Gleissberg cycle and the related oscillatory barycentric motion of the Sun.

    The small motion of the Sun is, of course, determined, almost entirely, by the motion of the large planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune that revolve around the Sun with periods of 11.87, 29.63, 84.67, and 165.49 years respectively. Note that the sunspot cycle (Hale cycle) has a mean period of 22.14 years (see T. Niroma in and in my previous Note “A Compilation of the Arguments that Irrefutably Prove that Climate Change is driven by Solar Activity and not by CO2 Emission” of March 6, 2008 (see Ref.), I pointed out that in the past 150 years the mean surface temperature of the Earth changed in a quasi-periodic manner with a mean period of 70 years, approximately, in accordance with the Gleissberg cycle. If one considers all of the documented sunspot cycles, the mean Gleissberg cycle length is 78.5 years (see T. Niroma). If we stipulate for the moment that there exists – in addition to the 78.5-years wave – a galactic vacuum density wave of 22.14 years period that is driving the Hale cycle, then the addition of both waves leads to a periodic amplitude modulation with a period of 2/(1/22.14 – 1/78.5) = 61.68 years.

    If two galactic gravitational wave trains of 22.14 and 78.5 years period were to pass through the solar system, the gravitational action of these waves on the revolving planets would slowly relocate these celestial bodies until the orbital periods were close to 22.14, 61.68, and 78.5 years (the periods given by the combined wave train) or integer fractions and multiples of these values. The orbital periods of Jupiter and Saturn are 1% higher, and 4% lower than one-half of 22.14 and 61.68 years, respectively. The orbital period of Uranus is 8% higher than the period of the Gleissberg cycle. The orbital period of Neptune is 5% larger than 2 times the mean Gleissberg period and that of Pluto is 7% larger than 3 times Gleissberg.

    Note that if the period of the long-term Gleissberg cycle were 7% higher, the three basic periods would be 22.14, 60.13, and 84.0 years and the orbital periods of all outer planets would agree with integer fractions and multiples of these basic periods to an accuracy of 1.5% or less.

    Now to the remaining planets. The following table shows the ratio of the mean Schwabe sunspot cycle period of 11.07 years to the planet orbital period.

    Mars = 6 – 0.11 Earth = 11 + 0.07
    Venus = 18 – 0.01 Mercury = 46 – 0.04

    With an average error of 6% of an orbital period, the orbital periods are whole-number fractions of the mean Schwabe sunspot cycle period.

    As can be seen, the 22.14 years and the 78.5 – 84 years galactic wave trains have brought good order into the Solar System.

    In my opinion, the orbital periods of the planets provide — in addition to the extremely close temperature-rotation-correlation — further evidence for the existence of galactic vacuum density waves with mean long-term periods of 22.14 and 78.5 – 84 years.


    • David L. Hagen

      Gerhard. Your position is supported by Nicola Scafetta, Empirical evidence for a celestial origin of the climate oscillations and its implications, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (2010),doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2010.04.015

      See post at: Scafetta on 60 year climate oscillations

    • If you include the periods of the lunar declinational atmospheric tidal effects on the global circulation you will have an alternate explanation for the patterns of long term and short term global temperature changes that needs very little input from CO2.

      This is the null hypothesis of natural variability that is responsible for the 179 year patterns of heat peaks as seen in the period from 1993 to 2008, with the synod conjunction of Neptune with Uranus in 1993 with the Earth passing them occurred in NH late spring, by 1998 NH midsummer, peaking the heating effects of the ENSO driven by lunar declination, then as the lunar declination angle at culmination peaked in 2005, there by giving rise to the surge in global hurricane production, as a result of the global circulation turbulence at the turning of the atmospheric tide, as the polar jets came back toward the equator, the hurricane and severe weather patterns have decreased considerably.

      Now in 2010 the earth’s synod conjunction with Uranus and Neptune are occurring in fall about 30 days apart, the effect is causing more intense fall type weather patterns, in a few more years the peak precipitation will be in the form of heavy winter snows in the NH. The peak heat effects will no longer come at midsummer, and the “CAGW” “Hansen modified” GISS temperature signal will disappear, although the plant food CO2 levels will increase, thanks to China and India helping to support the growing global population.

  150. Thank you for this eloquent response. I am not a published scientist, just a computer programmer who once did a small stint at the BoM. I bought into the consensus until the email leaks. The content was fairly shocking by itself, but what convinced me there was something seriously fishy was the response, the blatant coverup by the concerned parties. The clincher was visiting the various blogs to discuss the issues. Only the so-called deniers were engaging in real debate and not just screaming into an echo chamber.

    I’m still a commited environmentalist, but I’m now optimistic about the next hundred years, confident that humanity and all life will thrive as it empirically has, not collapse like disingenious computer models designed to predict disaster and the doomsayers proselytizing with them would have me believe.

    Thanks again for engaging in honest debate, and best of luck for the future.

  151. This just gets weirder.

    So Judith thought she was one of the “masters of the universe” until discovering that having public spats with fellow scientists wasn’t very clever.

    As penance, she decides to engage in ‘kumbaya’ dialogue with people who wish to deny basic physics.

    A correction to the former was probably in order, but why is it that people often jump from one extreme to another. And in this case, very probably a most unhelpful one. Well informed scientists yelling at each other is at least likely to generate some insight.

    And equating the IPCC as “dogma” and posing as a victim just because a journalist chooses the word “heretic” in a headline (and a note of warning here – the article itself never uses such wording, strongly suggesting it was thrown in by an editor) says absolutely nothing about the “insiders”, only about journalists. Looks to me very much like someone’s getting a little too keen to make themsleves the story.

    “then count me in as a heretic” – what self-indulgent nonsense.

    • Wow. So many ad homs, misleading assertions, omissions of fact and demonstrations of ignorance in one post. Great going, Michael.

      • Claims of ‘ad hom’ are rapidly becoming one of the greatest misuses of logic on the intertubes.

        Criticism does not equal ‘ad hom’.

      • Rich Matarese

        Between the nuns in high school (who decreed that I would be on the debate team, like it or not) and the Jesuits in college (where, science major notwithstanding, I had to minor in philosophy and theology), I got hefty and recurring doses of formal logic, particularly as it is to be employed in structured “points-taken-off-for-screwing-up” public discourse.

        Argumentum ad hominem is concept familiar to anyone with such education and experience, and you’re quite correct that it has nothing to do with “Criticism” – or contumely, or insult, or the deployment of pejoratives (whether truthful or not).

        Argumentum ad hominem constitutes failure to address the subject under discussion, substituting for substantive disputation a focus upon the person of the opposing speaker. Whether the approach is nasty (“You suck, and your grandmother smells of elderberries!”) or nice (“I’m so sorry to hear about your cirrhosis, buddy, and I hope your esophageal hemorrhage wasn’t too bad”), it’s an evasion of responsibility to stay to hellangone on topic.

        Frankly, I like incidental insult. Most of the moral degenerates and intellectual wastoids whom I regard as worthy of such accurate characterization don’t have opinions I consider valid, and therefore their sputtering substitutes for responsory fulmination amount to nothing more than a Fourth of July backyard sparkler next to the flamethrower I happily turn upon them.

        And I stay on-topic while I’m amusing myself upon them, too. Couldn’t do that in front of the good Sisters during my debate team days, more’s the pity.

      • Ahhh, ever so much better than s simple-minded and shallow two-word rejoinder. Pity they won’t quite realize what you just said. I’m with you all the way!

      • Rich, with your background I think you will find Climate Etc. really interesting and you can be a significant contributor, but pls keep your focus on the arguments and not the person, and snark and insults aren’t appreciated here.

    • I have a feeling that what frightens you and the inhabitants of the planet that you are from more than anything, is that we can understand you but that you cannot understand us. Yes?

    • Please show me where the question of comparing current temperatures to the paleo record has anything to do with physics. Also, physics does not show how to solve the problem of characterizing clouds properly (and how do you test your cloud parameterization scheme)? This notion that the models are basic physics is an attempt to give the GCMs unwarranted infallibility. We could equally say modeling earthquakes is “just” physics, so where are the accurate earthquake predictions? Heterogeneity confounds simple physics.

      • Have a read of this thread Craig.

        Co2 doesn’t cause warming, Venus isn’t warmer than earth due to GHGs etc are here, as usual.

        The S/N is so low that applying a Wegmanian analysis would conclude that the Hockey Stick of ‘Skepticism’ (ie. that there may be an incease in useful skepticism on this blog) is an illusion


    The theory of man made global warming states that human emission of CO2 causes global warming.

    The relationship that has to be verified is between human emission of CO2 and mean global temperature. The data for the first variable is not required as it is obvious that human emission of CO2 has been increasing as we use fossil fuels to protect us from freezing in winter, from sweltering in summer, from the pitch black darkness at night, to visit our loved ones, to earn our living and support our family, and to supply us with all the pleasures of modern life in contrast to the life of the cave man.

    The second variable is the mean global temperature and one dataset exists at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. These data shows the following trends for 120-years from 1880 to 2000:

    These data shows the globe is warming at an overall rate of 0.5 deg C per century (shown by the overall trend line).

    In addition to this overall warming, there is an alternative global cooling and warming phases as follows:

    For 30-years from 1880 to 1910=> global cooling
    For 30-years from 1910 to 1940=> global warming at a rate 0.15 deg C per decade
    For 30-years from 1940 to 1970=> global cooling
    For 30-years from 1970 to 2000=> global warming at a rate 0.15 deg C per decade

    If these pattern, that was valid for 120 years is assumed to be valid for the next 20 years, it is reasonable to predict

    For 30-years from 2000 to 2030=> global cooling

    This data clearly shows the global mean temperature has a pattern. Because of this pattern, in the 120 years data, there is no evidence for the effect of human emission of CO2 on global mean temperature.

    In summary, man made global warming is not supported by the data.

  153. Hi Judith
    I’m a bit confused about your views against the scientific AGW consensus. As far as I see it there is a consensus that:
    carbon dioxide is an excellent absorber of longwave radiation;
    atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have increased over the past few decades, largely driven by human activities, and that this must have had a warming effect;
    the earth has warmed;
    climate sensitivity must be higher than 2C;
    future warming is likely to lead to negative consequences for life on earth.

    Why is any of this controversial?

    You ask why can’t we go back to discussing science. Well, we do. There is vigorous debate about a whole load of issues around the timing, magnitude and effects of impacts. The idea that we scientists are just cosily enjoying the consensus, spending grant money and not debating the science is just ludicrous.

    You don’t really believe that, do you?

    • Monty, I regard the following statement to be controversial:
      Climate sensitivity must be higher than 2C
      Any climate variations (warm, cold) undoubtedly lead to negative consequences for someone, “danger” has not been well defined or convincingly argued for.

      Individual climate scientists are working very hard. It is how the whole thing gets framed into a consensus that concerns me, and how activists (some climate scientists, people from advocacy groups, etc) are using this in ways that hurt the science and the reputation of the science and the scientists. There is insufficient debate about some of the very broad issues, and there is too much focus on embellishing the IPCC narrative.

      My shtick has been about inadequate characterization of uncertainty by the IPCC. How this became translated into Curry is a heretic sort of speaks for itself as to what the problem is.

      • As a retired scientist/engineer with a professional interest in climate matters, I’ve approached the palaeo issue from a different approach.

        The evidence for CO2-AGW is extremely weak because aerosol ‘global dimming’ in AR4 is 75% of median net AGW yet the main part, from clouds, ranges by 6. Insiders cross their fingers and hope the CO2 signal will rise. So, the paleo argument is all they really have but to counter it you have to provide an alternative forcing. I think it comes from thick clouds.

        The story is interesting. In the ’60s, various physicists tried to explain why albedo from aerosols/liquid sols was higher than the 0.5 you would intuitively expect for a non-absorbing medium with high optical depth. In Holland Van de Hout was the man. In the US it was Sagan. The latter clearly influenced Hansen through what happened to Venus.

        What they did was to lump parameters, Mie asymmetry factor, optical depth, and fitted to data. The relationship looks impressive but it’s just a curve fit with fancy Greek letters to impress. Been there, got the tee-shirt. Put radiometers under clouds, plug in tau and g and by definition you get albedo. The problem is that the curve cannot predict the effect of pollution because for thick clouds a second optical process can dominate.

        So, originating in the 1974 paper by Hansen and Lacis, ‘cloud albedo effect’ prediction in the models is probably very wrong. NASA claims polluted clouds have enhanced ‘reflection’ from droplet surfaces: fake physics.

        The real process is probably stronger geometrical backscattering from larger droplets as directional information is lost: assume two processes with symmetrical diffuse scattering and you don’t go far wrong.

        So, aerosol pollution decreases cloud albedo and there may be no need for CO2 [Miskolczi]. As the planet wakes up from an ice age, vegetation etc. gives more aerosols. The leverage is very substantial. I suspect we’ve seen it with Asian industrialisation, the fast rise in ocean heat content from the 1980s to the early 2000s. This AGW saturates though. Of course, I could be completely wrong but as there has been there has been an attempt to drown my views, I think I may be onto something…….

      • Regarding the Venus greenhouse effect, see my question to Judith and the link she gave in reply.

        Essentially, the temperature in Venus’ atmosphere corresponding to 1 Atmosphere pressure, is only modestly higher than on Earth – which you would expect since it is closer to the sun – the real problem is that the temperature goes on increasing as you continue down to a pressure of 90+ atmospheres!

      • Yes, it’s just the lapse rate, not global warming.

        I think the optical physics’ mistake in the models has to have been noticed by others because it’s so obvious: all you need is the right physics’ knowledge and to just look at clouds for a while. However, you also have to have an open mind and if you were taught the works of Sagan, you don’t dispute them easily.

        If I am right, the mistake may have been hidden to save face. If so, that would be the biggest scientific confidence trick since Piltdown Man.

    • “… As far as I see it there is a consensus that:
      carbon dioxide is an excellent absorber of longwave radiation;
      atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have increased over the past few decades, largely driven by human activities, and that this must have had a warming effect; …”

      The warming effect is insignificant if you look at it with energy magnitude in mind. How much long wave radiation that CO2 can absorb in the 390ppm concentration? CO2 also dissipates energy mostly to the space. Can 0.04% CO2 change 0.996% air temperature at all?

  154. Thanks for your reply Judith.

    You know as well as I do that the vast majority of observational, modelling and (most importantly) palaeoclimate reconstructions shows that low sensitivity is highly unlikely. How would you explain glaciations if climate sensitivity was low?

    Of course there will be winners and losers with continued warming. But are you arguing that rapid climate change with associated impacts will be beneficial for most people/ecosystems? If you are, most scientists I know would disagree with you. Of course it’s not easy to define ‘dangerous CC’…what would be dangerous for one person might not be for another. But the impacts, some likely irreversible, will surely rise as T rises. The palaeo record is quite clear that very rapid change has occurred in the past.

    Is this not a consensus position? Do you agree or disagree with it?

    As for uncertainty….well a lot of my colleagues spend their entire working lives assessing and trying to understand uncertainty in models and projections. You’re surely not trying to claim that this is somehow neglected by scientists!

    Finally, a quick read through the comments on this post shows many of the usual mad sceptic talking points (no warming, CO2 has little effect etc). Why aren’t you debunking these?

    • Consensus on a complex subject like climate change is political, not scientific. There is too much uncertainty in most aspects for there to be a meaningful scientific consensus with high confidence levels. I think the community, and esp the modeling community, hasn’t done a very good job in characterizing uncertainty and accounting for it in its experimental design, especially the attribution experiments where each group picks the forcing data they like best (and adjust the really uncertain ones like aerosol), without any systematic investigation of how the uncertainty in forcing influences the attribution argument. This is just one example that was discussed at length in Part II of the detection and attribution series.

      On technical threads, we keep close to the topic and argue against weak points. On threads that are more open like this one, everyone can have their say as long as they don’t violate blog rules. I have a limited amount of time to deal with blog traffic that has been particularly high this last week. Debunking a broad range of skeptical talking points is not what I do here; that is done at other blogs.

      • “Consensus on a complex subject like climate change is political, not scientific. “

        I rather think that depends on the question you’re asking.

        The question “Is it necessary to reduce fossil fuel emissions?” is surely a question which is political and outside the remit of science even if there existed a consensus among scientists as to the answer.

        The question “Is C02 a greenhouse gas?” is a scientific question for which there exists a scientific consensus. You may say “But nobody says that it isn’t” and on that note I’d direct you to Dr Roy Spencer’s blog

        There are other posts on which run to hundreds of comments debating the existence of the greenhouse effect.

        I think when you make statements like “Consensus […] is political, not scientific.” you need to tread carefully lest you find yourself being quoted in support of positions you do not hold.

      • Challenging consensus is one of the engines propelling science forward. To paraphrase my old prof. Leventhal: ‘science is built on reasoning of an individual’.
        p.s. My comment on WUWT
        “Occasionally I read Dr. Curry’s comments on her blog.
        She may be thinking of going to Damascus but ain’t on the road yet.
        But let’s be generous, it takes time.”

      • @vukcevic

        “Challenging consensus is one of the engines propelling science forward.”

        I agree. The consensus is simply (or should simply be) “This is what the majority of experts in the field think based on the available evidence”.

        New evidence will of course lead to new theories which overturn the previous ones.

        However “challenging consensus” is not in itself inherently noble or desirable. For example challenges on the consensus on vaccines has served only to damage human health while attacks on the consensus concerning biological evolution have been deeply worrying in their implications for scientific progress.

        Challenges should seek to provide better explanations and expand knowledge not simply be “is not”. I don’t think those who try to argue that the greenhouse effect is thermodynamically impossible are doing very well on this metric.

      • Shapiro, yes, I have a better alternative to CO2, and physics of it is far more sound, but academia is not yet ready even to look at let alone consider it.
        Well there is always a hope, even Dr. JC may one day wander ‘what are the data this bloke is plotting?’; on the other hand she rather not, that would be really serious heresy.

    • Monty @ 10:09am —

      the vast majority of observational, modelling and (most importantly) palaeoclimate reconstructions shows that low sensitivity is highly unlikely. How would you explain glaciations if climate sensitivity was low?

      If one is to hand, could you cite a recent review that expands on this point (what interglacial/glacial transitions teach about climate sensitivity)?

      You’re surely not trying to claim that [uncertainty] is somehow neglected by scientists!

      The strong form of the argument (“neglected”) is surely untrue. Even watered down, the concern is still very important — given the public policy implications of AGW science. This has been discussed in detail in prior threads.

      Why aren’t you debunking these?


      • Hi AMac
        For the palaeo argument, you could try Annan and Hargreaves 2006 in GRL.

      • Thanks Monty. A draft of Annan & Hargreaves, “Using multiple observationally-based constraints to estimate climate sensitivity,” GRL 33 (2006) is available on James Annan’s homepage. The paper was also discussed at on RealClimate and Annan’s blog.

      • “For the palaeo argument, you could try Annan and Hargreaves 2006 in GRL.”

        Interstering paper. I am a bit confused as to the statement :
        “If, for example, we were to broaden the
        volcanic and LGM likelihoods to the point at which they are equivalent to the 20th century
        warming constraint (ie cube this gamma distribution), then we obtain the pdf indicated by
        the thin red dashed line. Even in this case, the probability of climate sensitivity exceeding
        6C is still below 4%. In order to justify such a wide likelihood for the volcanic constraint,
        we would have to claim either that a climate sensitivity of 10C allows a rapid recovery of
        the surface temperature following a volcanic eruption (contrary to all the evidence from a
        range of models), or that natural variability has happened to strongly oppose (and never
        augment) the forced response for numerous individual eruptions.”

        It appears to my untrained eye that they are trying to further constrain the upper limit of climate sensitivity by going through an exercise which they do not believe to be true. Yet it is this exercise that is used to justify the lower boundry of climate sensitivity in their graph at about 2C. The 3 boundry range shows the lower range of sensitivity to be about 1.5C but this appears to be constrained by volcanic forcing studies. I find this rather odd since in the text it gives the lower boundry from these studies as 0.3C – 1.8C. I’m not a scientist but how did they go from volcanic forcing studies giving a lower constraint of 0.3-1.8C to what appears in their graph where it is the bracketing factor at approximately 1.5C?

      • I’m a bit confused as to your reasoning…..maybe you can clarify. There’s quite a lot of new research out which uses geological data that suggests that climate sensitivity is higher than 3C. See Lunt et al. 2010 (Nature Geoscience), Pagani et al 2010 (Nature Geoscience), Hansen et al 2007 (Open Atmospheric Science Journal) and of course Dave Stainforth’s high estimates in Nature (2005). I don’t believe the latter, but the high estimates from the previous authors seem credible.

      • I’m not sure what confuses you so it would be rather difficult to elaborate unless you get more specific. As far as other studies that show a higher climate sensitivity based on geological records, yes I’m sure there is. Could you perhaps find some empirical evidence from the modern era which is based on the best data available. They have yet to disprove any of the extinction hypotheses because the data is so poor it is virtually impossible to disprove anything. Since the quality of data dealing with climate must be of the same quality I don’t place a high degree of confidence in paleoclimate data nor would I ever consider it a convincing counter argument to current data.

      • Well, for obvious reasons you can’t use the current amount of warming in response to CO2 concentrations as evidence for climate sensitivity so the palaeo record is extremely valuable. Sceptics always dismiss the palaeo record as it’s always rather inconvenient for them! I’d be intrigued if you can explain how we had repeated glaciations throughout the Quaternary in conjunction with low (ie below 2C or so) sensitivity.

      • Why exactly couldn’t you use the current warming to determine the climate sensitivity? Lag time from the oceans? If the oceans have stopped warming then the lag time must be rather short. If the lag time is long, say 30 years as I have often seen cited, then either all the forcing of the early 20th century was around 1910 or there was still an equilibrium to be achieved after mid century to the previous forcing. Can you specify what may have happened on or around 1910 that produced the warming for the next 30 years? If not how much of the warming of the 2nd half of the 20th century can be attributed to the forcing from the first half finally reaching equilibrium?

        As far as paleo data goes, I’ll be happy to argue that with you when you can show me the paper that tells me the case of the dying dinosaurs has been settled once and for all and everyone agrees. In the meantime, since you seem to have an interest in paleoclimatology, I have been searching for a paper that takes into account the irrigation that would occur as the world left glaciation. Happen to know of one?

      • Why not? Because you don’t know that something that might be a cycle is over till it’s over. Paleo’s the only resource (however weak or faded it may be) to look at events that we can observe as having started, progressed and finished.

        Current warming. Are we at the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? We don’t know.

        As a matter of fact _we_ will never know how current events fill out the picture of climate. Our grand-children’s grand-children probably will.

  155. Dear Dr. Curry,

    Kudos on your ‘conversion’ to open-mindedness. (I’m sorry if that seems harsh or a misrepresentation—hear me out and you’ll see why I describe you that way: we met in the late 1990’s at NASA GSFC.)

    Dr. Curry, I agree with you that this discussion, and particularly your post here, is not about you and should not be. For me it is about critical thinking, something to which I’m an ardent, even evangelical, advocate. We must never believe we ‘know the truth’. We must always take personal responsibility for assessing the ever-evolving stream of evidence and the related stream of fellow colleagues’ opinions based on their critically-thought-out interpretations of the evidence (and our assessment of whether they’ve remained diligently open-minded or have sunk into ‘group-think’.)

    I agree with you that a majority of the IPCC ‘powers that be’ and adherents seem to have begun to accept their own findings as dogma, and I agree that the danger lies in what people, even responsible scientists, do when they forget to continue to evolve their thinking.

    Now … my perspective on your ‘conversion’: I am now retired, formerly a Research Meteorologist who worked at NASA/GSFC. My main area of expertise was one that put me in frequent contact with Pielke, Sr.—modeling the interaction of the land surface with the lower atmosphere, and developing parameterizations of those processes for climate models. In the late 1990’s I was working on a result that my model found, which I rather dramatically dubbed ‘The Icehouse Effect’. My work never went to a peer reviewed journal because I couldn’t convince myself that there was enough good quality climate-time-scale high-vertical-resolution near-surface temperature data to test the results that clearly show up in my model. A summary paper is still on the web at

    There was an occasion when you were visiting NASA GSFC in the late 90’s, and you were kind enough to agree to come to my office to talk. I presented you with the results of this ongoing research into an Arctic counter-feedback effect to global warming. I don’t expect you to remember this meeting – it was just another of those typical sit-and-chat sessions that visiting scientists ‘endure’ as they make the rounds of the institution being visited. And perhaps it was a bad day. But my reaction to our meeting was that I had been talking to a ‘brick wall’ (sorry). I had hoped for some feedback, even if critical, because I knew of your interest and expertise in the area, but I didn’t even get that. I felt as though my ‘crackpot’ ideas had been dismissed out-of-hand simply because they were superficially contrarian to the standard position on Arctic warming. (Indeed, the continuing depletion of Arctic sea ice—something which is not incompatible [in fact is expected] with the ‘Icehouse Effect’ theory I describe in my paper—made any theory of a secondary cooling mechanism seem dubious, at least without delving into the physics of the mechanism being proposed.)
    So … I came out of that meeting with the *impression* that you were one of the closed-minded dogmatic ‘toe the party line’ IPCC scientists. Thus my perception of a conversion on my part – a delightful and most welcome one, may I add.

    Dr. Curry, I fully support your efforts to clear away the crust of dogma that has begun to solidify around this important issue … on both sides. As you say, the outcome of all this is far from certain. I hope it results in a revitalization of the IPCC, a return to its original reflective mission, and an advancement in public understanding of the climate trends we are experiencing. All of my TV meteorologist friends are global warming skeptics. If I may say so, I think it is hard for them to recognize the difference between the weather that is their daily fodder, and climate. The general public is strongly of the belief that global warming, if it exists at all, is either of no consequence and/or not man’s doing. I don’t fret too much about this state of affairs, because, as you hint, there may be other socio-political and economic factors that present a greater immediate danger to society. And when climate change mixes in with those other factors, it’s hard to deconstruct cause and effect.

    Someday things may get serious. But at present the climate impact on humanity is analogous to the old ‘frog in the frying pan’. It could be too late before we try to jump out.

    • You weren’t addressing me, but I was in the same room and you knew it, therefore — I enjoyed everything you said! Re: your closing comment, from one old frog to another, we may not be able to jump when we feel the heat but the kids will; not to worry, they’ll be fine. And, judging from what you’ve said, I don’t get the feeling that you’re as concerned for them as you are about the kitchen. I wouldn’t worry about the kitchen, they can build their own. It will probably be better than ours anyway. You know, it is a little warmer today.

      • Well, thank you for responding. I have a feeling that Dr. Curry is rather overwhelmed with the attention at the moment, so, though I was addressing her, it’s nice to have your feedback.

      • Dr. Wetzel, have you thought of doing a guest post on this topic over at WUWT? I have a feeling that Anthony would give it a go.

  156. Slightly OT here but,

    Dr C
    How is it that ‘coherence’ of ideas – a apparent observation that many things apparently fit together well – serves to strengthen the hand of the consensus


    flaws in the very things that supposedly fit well together, cannot detract from the consensus?

    How is that, in regular peer-review, reviewers have significant vetoing power and decision-making abilities,


    in the IPCC version of ‘peer-review’, authors get to do what they want with reviewer comments and get to decide what goes into a chapter?

    Why is the system inverted?

  157. Heresy and the creation of monsters
    Nothing more heretical than TRUTH!….so, as the great George Carlin said:
    Pack your sh**s folks….we are leaving!

  158. You have made very proper comments on the need for professionalism in climate science that will resonate throughout the wider scientific community. Congratulations.

    I have produced medical devices that have to undergo regulatory approval before they can be used. The level of documentation is absolutely mind blowing – everything has to be documented in extraordinary detail, including the make of ink used to sign off documents. Computer programs have to be verified by static and dynamic analysis and a hostile code walk through by sceptical regulators. This is OK, medical devices should be shown to be well designed and as safe as one can make them. Similar regulation is applied to new drugs.

    Anyone who has been through this process can only be amazed by the total shambles underlying various “gold standard” temperature records such as NASA and CRU. They are adjusted. How? We can’t tell you -we’ve lost the programs and this is already described in a footnote in our 1997 paper……. How does the adjusted data compare with the original? We don’t don’t know because we destroyed the original data. What are the likely effects of adjustment on the overall temperature record? An improvement!

    You are absolutely right in your statement about rediscovering professionalism. Keeping accurate experimental records and being able to defend one’s analysis might be a good place to start.

    Keep on going – You are absolutely correct in what you are saying.

    • In the modern world there are two BIG computer issues: one is SPEED, the other is STORAGE. There is a third “BIG” that is NOT often discussed in polite company. It is reported to have something to do with being able to SECURE every bit from man-made and natural disasters (the ‘on’ and ‘off’ planet kind). One school seems to think we need to build a giant pyramid or three and store a record of everything humans ever measured, thought, did, or knew inside big, safe, secret compartments. Wonder how much that will cost?

  159. MODERATION NOTE: some of these conversations are getting too heated. Because of very high blog traffic it is difficult to keep up. Please check the blog rules.

    Most of the Climate Etc. regulars have probably abandoned this thread by now. I hope to have a new thread up tomorrow to focus discussion in a more useful way.

    And if i miss something that is objectionable, please send me an email.

    • Dr. Curry — the regulars may have abandoned this thread, but the SciAm article is attracting a new generation of ‘regulars’, including myself. Evolution proponent Richard Dawkins touts his web site as a ‘Clear thinking Oasis.’ In the area of Climate change, I believe this blog has the potential to serve the same function.

      • Rich Matarese

        With regard to a “Clear thinking Oasis” in the area of climate change, there’s already a Web site that has been serving the purpose admirably.

        It’s called “Watts Up With That?” and it aggregates not only scrupulously skeptical science on the subject but has also been maintained in a manner open to the comments and even the contributions of those who persist in pushing the utterly untenable AGW fraud.

        Much of the focus in the warmist camp seems to be on purely political sites like Marc Morano’s Climate Depot (which is presently pushing the daylights out of this Web log of Dr. Curry’s) while avoiding acknowledging or even visiting those virtual venues where the scientific and technologically literate critics of the global warming scam gather to present information and comment upon matters pertinent to the study of climatology.

        I suppose that the religious True Believer types on the “watermelon” environmentalist left have to do what they can to avoid confronting lucid appreciation of their delusions.

      • WUWT pays homage to the adage that you can open your mind so much it falls out. It doesn’t educate people, it’s like a teacher in a classroom telling the kids there is no right answer. 2+2 can equal whatever they want. Hence it does nothing to convey the certainties in the science.

        That and it just copies, pastes and misinterprets scientific news which you could get more accurately from

        WUWT is one of the places that Judith Curry should be attacking. Along with Climate Depot. And The whole stinking lot are a festering source of misinformation.

      • I would suggest that you are wildly out of touch with the actual situation at WUWT.
        I would say that you are so misinformed as to be from a different reality.
        I wonder if you represent the quality of thinking that goes into falling for the AGW extremist position or if you have helped form it?

      • Rich Matarese

        From what I understand, Dr. Curry’s scientifically literate colleagues and regulars tend to ask for supporting citations when assertions of fact are advanced, and so – just for the heck of it – let’s see if this “Cthulu” critter has any real examples of what he claims to be glaring defects in the items presented on Mr. Watts’ site.

        PPR, as the acronym goes, or….

        Meanwhile, I have to wonder what you might use in lieu of a reasoned opinion of physicist Jeffery D. Kooistra, who had also arrived at a considered skeptical opinion of the flagrant fraud to which you’ve plighted your frothing little troth. It was one of his columns in Analog (“Lessons from the Lab,” November 2009) that introduced to me Mr. Watts’ work on the Surface Stations Project and sent me thence to regular review of Mr. Watts’ Watts Up With That? Web log.

        That column came considerably in advance of the wonderful Climategate information release, and predicated on nothing much beyond the instrumental unreliability of the global temperature datasets imposed by factors as straightforward as a change in the paint used upon the Stevenson Screen thermometer shelters (not to mention the location of the very best of these thermometers in places next to obvious artificial heat sources), concluded:

        I have long wondered why most of my fellow physicists haven’t been as skeptical of global warming alarmism as I have been. I think one reason, perhaps even more important than their politics affecting their judgment, is that they naturally assume other scientists are as careful in how they obtain data as physicists are. I’ve been a global warming skeptic for some time now, and it didn’t even occur to me that most of the time the thermometers would be “sited next to a lamp.” What’s really ironic is that, if someone claims to see a flying saucer, which hurts no one and costs nothing, debunkers come out in force. But let a former vice-president claim environmental apocalypse is upon us, and suddenly we’re appropriating billions and changing our lifestyles.


        Surprise me, Cthulu. Tell me that you have any training or experience whatsoever in the principles of instrumental analysis and limits of accuracy in scientific observation.

      • Those who are so emotional about shutting up opposition have something to hide. If AGW is so strong it should survive any criticisms, if it has the evidence. Only those who dogmatically hold on to AGW for non-scientific reasons object to counter arguments.

  160. Judith,

    When you title the section ‘A note to my critics in the climate science community’ are you referring only to criticism of the actual existence of your outreach? Or to broader criticisms of your statements about scientific matters. This isn’t so clear from the text. I would characterize myself as a scientist that disagrees with you on scientific issues. For instance, in your post on doubt you assigned a relatively low level of scientific evidence that GHG forcing would dominate global temperature changes in the 21st C. This, to my mind, implies that you believe in a low value of climate sensitivity. I believe there is ample evidence, excluding models, to place such low values of climate sensitivity in the unlikely range.

    Can you also clarify some statements made in the post:

    “This means abandoning this religious adherence to consensus dogma.”

    Can you explain specifically who (n.b. this is in a section addressed to climate scientists that criticize you) has taken a religious position adhering to consensus dogma. Judith, you have addressed this to ‘you’ given the rather inflammatory nature of this statement it would be best to be specific rather than painting all your critics with this brush. As noted I have specific disagreements with your scientific position that have nothing to do with dogma and everything to do with evidence. Discussions with colleagues regarding your position also lead me to believe they hold similar positions to my own based on evidence and not dogma.

    “I am doing my best to return some sanity to this situation and restore science to a higher position than the dogma of consensus.”

    Again, more references to dogma, please clarify who ‘you’ is and what you mean by ‘you’.

    “All in the name of supporting policies that I don’t think many of you fully understand. ”

    Can you explain who has been supporting policies? Jim Hansen, for instance, has been publicly vocal about pursing policies to reduce coal consumption, but has he been a critic of yours, do you refer to ‘you’ when you mean Hansen, or do you have other climate scientists in mind?

    I’m interested who you can classify as being a religious adherent to consensus dogma, a critic of yourself (unspecified on what subject), and someone who has openly supported policies on energy. Think of a Ven diagram with each clause above being a different circle, who can you place in the middle in each circle?

    I have another unrelated query. You have made reference to the ‘Merchants of Doubt Meme’. Can you elaborate on what you mean by this. From the context in sentences you appear to disagree with the meme, but what do you specifically mean by name? Monied interests spreading doubt? Finally, given that it shares the title of a recent book are you referring to the book in some way?

    • thomaswfuller

      PaulH, I can quickly point to two people who fit within your Venn diagram–Michael Tobis and Joe Romm, both of whom classify themselves as climate scientists, both of whom promote policy, both of whom have not only swallowed consensus dogma but have become vigorous disseminators of it.

      They also have adopted as their pet chore the sliming of Dr. Curry, and have been gleefully pursuing said chore since long before Dr. Curry started this blog.

      • thomas,

        Romm is classed as a ‘climate expert’ according to wikipedia. According to Web of Knowledge Romm has published 5 peer reviewed articles regarding energy policy and no articles on actual climate scientist. I don’t think this classifies him as a climate scientist unless you’re using an un-specified and very broad definition.

        Michael Tobis has made various criticisms of Judith and is a climate scientist. From my limited reading of his blog these criticisms are limited to various substantive issues that Judith discusses on Climate Etc. If you’re aware of any posts Michael has made where he claims that Judith is a “big part of the cause of the problems [he is] facing” I’d re-assess my position.

    • Paul, i was going to declare myself finished with replying to questions about my heresy post; I am consumed with playing blog cop and trying to prepare my next post. but you ask good questions, so here is a quick reply.

      In the note to the climate science community that is criticizing me, they know who they are, these are people who look at the scientific evidence and the discourse in terms of what it means for their preferred energy policy. The dupe part comes in where the assume that i can only be criticizing the science and the IPCC because I have been duped by oil companies or ideologues (this is the merchants of doubt meme). Any deviation from the IPCC consensus and the preferred policy option is greeted by subtle or not so subtle pressure from these people.

      Note, i do NOT include Jim Hansen here. He thinks for himself, and has not criticized me to my knowledge for thinking for myself.

      • I can understand that you’re very busy and realize that you may not have a chance to respond. With respect, I do find it slightly bizarre that you would write a note to anonymous critics especially as it was only clear to me after reading the passage that you were referring to a specific kind of critical scientist i.e. one who is a scientist that disagrees with your public engagement on climate science and disclosure of uncertainty rather than a scientist that simply disagrees with some of your opinions on scientific matters. I am aware of scientists in the latter category but I need further poking with a clue stick as to the identities of the former.

        I’m not sure it is a good idea to label some of your critics criticisms as Merchants of Doubt memes i.e. (as you characterize it) the criticisms being that you’ve associated with ideologues or oil shills. I say this simply because the book ‘Merchants of Doubt’ actually presents a very persuasive case that several prominent and influential conservative leaning scientists abused their position of authority to influence policy on scientific issues. I wouldn’t want to characterize an argument of a critic, that I believe to be specious, as something that is analogous to being well argued. Also, Merchants of Doubt alleges the scientists in question favored certain policy decisions because of their own ideology rather for their associations or for money. As a response to critics, I would stick with unfounded and wrong and possibly ad hominem depending on whether the cart is coming before the horse.

        I think the disclosure of uncertainty in the debate is very important and can serve to highlight the difference between scientists and policy advocates. For instance, I recommend a recent debate between Andrew Dessler and Richard Lindzen in which Andrew Dessler highlights the importance of uncertainty and its presence in the science he presents. Andrew, imo, makes good use of this in his criticism of Lindzen since Lindzen virtually excludes any reasonable discussion of uncertainty from his conclusions.

        I’m not sure if this is true but perhaps the more policy minded advocates at the various levels of the debate in the pro-camp are wary of uncertainty because it weakens their rhetorical tools such as “the debate/science is settled”, and because in the past uncertainty has been egregiously abused in a unidirectional manner by skeptical ideologically driven advocates of do-nothing policies (and, yes, I urge you to read Merchants of Doubt, as Fred Singer is exposed doing this in his role in the acid rain battles). So, some legitimate and illegitimate concerns there to mull on.

    • Paul H – you say “This, to my mind, implies that you believe in a low value of climate sensitivity. I believe there is ample evidence, excluding models, to place such low values of climate sensitivity in the unlikely range.

      Subject to your definition of “low values of climate sensitivity” (see next para), I would like to see such evidence. From everything I have seen thus far, including the IPCC report, the arguments in favour of a higher climate sensitivity seem to be based on the assumption that selected observed temperature changes have been caused by CO2, with other possible causes being ignored or dismissed. In other words, a formal argument from ignorance.

      I have seen papers (Schwartz, Hansen, eg.) putting climate sensitivity at around 1.2, and others putting it lower but none higher without added guesswork (IPCC, eg.). I am surmising that you consider <=1.2 as "low", and therefore that you think there is evidence that climate sensitivity is higher. If I surmise correctly, then I would like to see your evidence.

  161. Dr. Curry, my husband and I are both engineers, and therefore are skeptical about nearly everything (it’s an engineer thing). One of the sayings we have coined is “The error bars on our knowledge are much larger than our knowledge.” We question everything, and have complex conversations about very trivial subjects, as an attempt to get at root causes and true signals. I am sorry, but it sounds like you might be on the road to becoming an engineer.

  162. MODERATION NOTE: some of these conversations are getting too heated. Because of very high blog traffic it is difficult to keep up. Please check the blog rules.

    It seems impossible to discuss climatology on a pure scientific base between peers and scientific collegues and proves once more that climatology is not a science anymore, it’s scientology.

    Advise for Dr.Curry; from this moment on do NOT explain or, worse, excuse your moves anymore. It will only contribute to more discussions with the usual and unusual suspects. Quotes will be used selectively and out of context. Waste of time, brain cells and peace of mind.

    Ignore the flak, just follow your scientific heart and concentrate on science, science, science.

    • H.P. I’m afraid the days of discussing climate science without political influence are long gone. When climate scientists decided to let the United Nations sponsor the definitive international scientific treatise on AGW (the IPCC reports), climate science became intimately intertwined with world politics. This situation will not be easily undone, even if there is a will by the climate scientists to do so. I believe this was a huge mistake by this area of science to professionally marry itself to the most powerful international political organization.