What have we learned from Climategate?

by Judith Curry

On this one year anniversary of the unauthorized release of the emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, there have been a number of articles reflecting on what the impact of this has been on both science and policy, and what we might have learned.

Here are some of the more interesting articles that I have come across:

So what do I think we’ve learned from Climategate?  Short answer: not nearly enough.  Efforts are underway to make the most important data sets more transparent, which is certainly moving in the right direction.  Who among the climate scientists or those associated with the IPCC seem to have learned something from Climategate?  IMO, Mike Hulme, Pachauri (and me); others?  Your thoughts?

725 responses to “What have we learned from Climategate?

  1. Short answer: That Dwight D. Eisenhower was exactly right when he warned us in his farewell address on 17 Jan 1961 that a federally-funded scientific-technological elite might one day seize control of public policy!

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    • sharper00,

      I read the transcript for the link that Prof Curry called a “good one”,


      and then added this postscript:

      PS – You are probably right: Climategate exposed the hidden agenda of a New World Order.

    • In the summer of 2005 I was lecturing about the overwhelming evidence for the Iron Sun – first in Russia and then in Portugal – when I first learned that a young computer engineer in California (Michael Mozina) had discovered this image of a solar flare being released from rigid, iron-rich structures on the Sun:


      The images might have ended the consensus SSM (Standard Solar Model) of a Hydrogen-filled Sun, but the Western scientific-technological elite already had the AGW scare going by that time. Al Gore, the UN’s IPCC and world leaders promoting AGW could not admit that their model was based on misinformation about the composition and internal workings of the Sun!

      Four years later, the Climategate e-mails confirmed in detail President Eisenhower’s 1961 prediction that public policy had become captive to a federal scientific-technological elite.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        How does the image prove that the flare is released from a rigid iron rich structure?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame:

        1. The images of the Sun’s iron-rich sub-surface were taken from the Trace satellite using a 171 Å filter sensitive to Fe (IX) and Fe (X) emissions. The movie shows a flare and mass ejection from the solar active region AR 9143 on 28 August 2000.

        2. This short video on the Iron Sun may be helpful, or

        3. This refereed article on the Iron Sun [“The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass”, Physics of Atomic Nuclei 69 (2006) 1847-1856] http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0609509v3

    • He was more right when he warned of the military industrial complex…

  2. Check this link and watch the video if you have time:

    • good one, i’ve added it to the main post

      • Did you actually read any of the transcript for the link you just called a “good one”? The large ad for the author’s book about The New World Order should be hint enough but the text contains the usual parade of the most ridiculous claims like “they openly discuss the complete lack of warming over the last decade” ,”The CRU was forced to admit they had thrown away most of the raw data that their global temperature calculations were based upon” and of course “They will once again act as if carbon dioxide is a vile poison and not one of the essential ingredients of life on this planet”.

        A good one? Really?

      • It has a thorough exposition of the events of the last year. At the end, it puts forward the author’s personal perspective. In the same way that the other articles put forth personal perspectives. To understand the impacts of climategate, don’t you think we should consider diverse perspectives on this?

      • “It has a thorough exposition of the events of the last year”

        It contains countless incorrect claims about what was in the emails uses them to support a view that climate science is a fraud being used to deceive the public.

        “At the end, it puts forward the author’s personal perspective. “

        Good look finding any paragraph that isn’t almost entirely the author’s personal perspective.

        “To understand the impacts of climategate, don’t you think we should consider diverse perspectives on this?”

        I understand that there are those who read the climategate emails, saw words like “trick” and will never accept it doesn’t mean exactly what they want it to mean.

        I also understand that there are people who think 9/11 was an inside job and a secret cabal of insiders are trying to rule the world through various means (like James Corbett).

        So certainly I do consider such viewpoints but I’d never classify them as “good one”s. If you want to mix Corbett in with Nature as “different perspectives” that’s your prerogative.

      • I understand that there are those who read the climategate emails, saw words like “trick” and will never accept it doesn’t mean exactly what they want it to mean.

        Are you joking? Most of us know exactly what “trick” means in the context within which it was used. The proofs are in the graphics!

        I also understand that there are people who think 9/11 was an inside job and a secret cabal of insiders are trying to rule the world through various means (like James Corbett).

        Why stop there? Why not go the whole hog and accuse us of being flat-earthers and creationists. You demonstrate the problem, right there. You’re too convinced of your own infallibility . There are plenty of cranks and loons in the Green movement too.

      • “Why stop there? Why not go the whole hog and accuse us of being flat-earthers and creationists. You demonstrate the problem, right there. You’re too convinced of your own infallibility . There are plenty of cranks and loons in the Green movement too.”

        James Corbett does believe those things and he’s the one speaking in the link Dr Curry described as a “good one”. How does discussing the viewpoints of a person under discussion indicate I’m convinced of my own infallibility and how is demonstrative of “the problem”?

        If you think the viewpoints of people on the fringe shouldn’t be mixed in with more reasonable ones then you’ll have to ask Dr Curry why she did exactly that.

      • a good one is one worth looking at. I personally find things to object to in each of the articles I provided links to (except Mike Hulme).

      • well this one isn’t about climategate, despite its title.

      • Romm’s thesis is that that the real story about Climategate was one of media distraction.

        Climategate appears to be a key reason “less than 10 percent of the news articles written about last year’s climate summit in Copenhagen dealt primarily with the science of climate change, a study showed on Monday.”

      • Joe Romm may well have been right about the 10%.

        Copenhagen was a political conference. Climatology may have been the backdrop, but the essence was politics. The science had been discussed for years beforehand – it was not news. What was news – and made good TV pictures – were the protesters, the politics and the Gods opinion of the whole global warming boondoggle…a huge snowfall.

        Why should Joe be surprised that a bunch of bearded guys with graphs shouting once again that ‘you’re all gonna die evil Big Oil funded deniers’ should have been broadcast when there was so much other good stuff to see?

      • If you think the viewpoints of people on the fringe shouldn’t be mixed in with more reasonable ones then you’ll have to ask Dr Curry why she did exactly that.

        I read James Dellingpole. When he discusses politics I consider him to be a bit of a loon. When he talks about Climate Change I listen to what he says. Why? Because I search out and am interested in writing that confirms my convictions and tend to avoid that which goes against them. We all do, even Scientists. It’s a well known psychological inclination.

        So in this instance when he talks about Climate Change I can listen, just as you can stomach the articles that get posted at ClimateProgress without feeling nauseous.

      • Don’t make any assumptions about my reading habits, Mr. Robinson. We are into “keeping an open brain” territory here.

      • That reply was to the wrong post. It was supposed to be on the end of sharper’s post above.

      • Brilliantly timed! Just as UCLA Berkeley show that there is a real psychological basis to climate fatigue, you post to a blog even more laden with doomsday and destruction than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding up Main Street.

        You can read the report form Berkeley here:


      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Yes, it’s good for climate scientists lik you to examine the blogosphere, but note this: much of JQ Public reading these ‘diverse opinions’ can’t distinguish fact from fantasy. So they digest what they read as gospel and act on it (dogma). Is this an appropriate way for the public to understand and comprehend the issues? Apparently your answer is yes, this ‘diversity’ is welcome and valuable.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Very true AEG. Al Gore and 90% of the MSM have a lot to answer for!

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Al Gore? Do you an authentic copy of the Al Gore voodoo doll complete with the convenient ice cube maker, pins sold separately?

      • AnyColourYouLike


        Merely echoing your point, “So they digest what they read as gospel and act on it (dogma). Is this an appropriate way for the public to understand and comprehend the issues” I guess in Al’s case it was more “what they see” but that’s a minor quibble. The Oscar and the Nobel probably didn’t dissuade Joe Public from “digesting the gospel” too much either.

      • Yep. People should listen only to you. Right.

      • “China and India won’t stop burning coal, so it is a non-issue. What is it that you don’t understand about this?”

        The same thing was said about the Freon ban. The long and short of it is that China and India were granted exceptions for a period, and now, before the exceptions run out China has stopped CFC production leaving just India.

        Same thing will happen with CO2 emission controls.

      • CFCs and energy are two very different animals. It was relatively easy to move from CFCs to something else, but unfortunately there is no viable alternative to coal, oil, and natural gas other than nuclear power. And nuclear power won’t supply liquid fuels. Coal and oil are both here to stay. China is building up its military power as well as their economy and standard of living. All that depends on a copious supply of energy. I’m sure they won’t let a little CO2 stand in their way.

      • Take a look at the KOL ETF, a synthetic stock made of coal company stocks. It is taking off, mainly due to China. It includes three Chinese coal companies:

        The top 10 holdings are:
        Peabody Energy Corporation Comm BTU 8.47
        01898 8.43
        Joy Global Inc. JOYG 8.13
        Alpha Natural Resources, inc. c ANR 8.07
        01088 7.66
        CONSOL Energy Inc. Common Stock CNX 6.55
        Bucyrus International, Inc. BUCY 4.90
        Alpha Natural Resources, inc. c ANR 4.64
        Walter Energy, Inc. Common Stoc WLT 4.56
        01171 4.31


      • As a full paid up life member of the JQ Public appreciation society, I find your arrogant dismissal of our reasoning skills to be bith patronising and plain wrong.

        JQ Public has a very finely tuned bullshit detector mechanism built into its DNA, and that detector was prodded into life (albeit slowly) by Climategate. Once the seed of doubt was sown, then the collapse in support for dramatic action about CAGW inevitably followed.

      • This site is for people who are prepared to look at new information and THINK about it. That is how learning occurs. The operative word is THINK.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Look at the educations of the people coming to this site (and they still get it wrong!). My point is the poorly educated public, at least in the US, don’t have the science background to ‘think’ about AGW, let alone detect the BS surrounding CG. They react, as posters here react, and are incapable of having a discussion about the science. My experience here has been the same as elsewhere: you post your citation and no one reads it. They simply react (‘it’s garbage’, you’re a ___, what a silly Q, Mann is evil, Gore is a schmuck, blah,blah blah, Hansen is political,capitalism is wonderful, ocean acidification is hooey, it’s the sun stupid, the data is faulty, GHGs do nothing, steady as we burn, its a conspiracy, scientists chase $ ).
        This is how this issue will aways be framed in the USA.

      • AnyColourYouLike


        ” They simply react (‘it’s garbage’, you’re a ___, what a silly Q, Mann is evil, Gore is a schmuck, blah,blah blah”

        That’s pretty rich coming from you my friend. You’re about the only one here who regularly namecalls people who disagree with you “liars”.

      • AEG – from a practical point of view, as I’ve said before, there is nothing the US can do about CO2 emissions. China and India won’t stop burning coal, so it is a non-issue. What is it that you don’t understand about this?

      • AEG –

        As one of the ‘poorly educated public’, I might not ‘have the science background to ‘think’ about AGW’, but I certainly can recognize when someone is trying to rifle through my wallet. One of the joys of a democracy is that when told to open my wallet, I have the right to ask why and expect an answer. That your response to those like me is to denigrate our intelligence, appeal to some gnostic hierarchy as the ultimate authority, toss out obvious ad hominems and even resort to slander has done your side no favours. If I didn’t know better, I’d guess you were a Marc Morano sockpuppet trying to irritate Joe Public into thinking that AGW must really be a scam because it is flogged by such bitter advocates as yourself?

        Your cause would be better served if you would actually contribute to the discussion without the anger, adherence to consensus ‘dogma’ and constant personal attacks.

      • The blogosphere is not limited to the USA and neither are its contributors. The ‘G’ in AGW stands for Global. You need to take a wider perspective.

      • @AEG

        Its a fairly good rule of ‘writing to persuade’ that if the piece does not have the desired impact, the fault lies with the author not being a good enough writer, or the case not being persuasive enough.

        It does not lie with the reader being too stupid to understand. And putting this as an opening remark is unlikely to cause many to read further. Bad mistake.

        As your entire history on this blog illustrates that

        a. You are dismissive of any other views than your own – based upon your own self-asserted (but not in any way demonstrated) greater intellect than the masses, and

        b. You resort to angry accusations about other people’s motives (including and not limited to accusing them of lying) at any disagreement with you

        then I fear you will never show the slightest ability to persuade anybody of anything. Do not apply for any jobs where contact with the general public are involved.

        Perhaps it is best if you are left to rage against the world all by yourself.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Judith says this where people come to think.
        After my assessment above , the valuable ‘diversity’of responses to me included this:
        I don’t understand, China and India will continue to burn coal.
        I’m a sock puppet.
        The issue has to do with emptying wallets.
        I’m angry.
        I’m bitter.
        I dismiss everyone’s point of view.
        I accused a poster of lying. (Actually, he did lie about the sources of SO2 which caused acid rain. I know what a disagreement is)
        I’m not persuasive (as though anyone here is desiring a persuasive scientific argument!)
        I’m arrogant.
        I’m ignorant.

        This is just more evidence that supports what I’ve been arguing all along: the science of AGW is unimportant, regardless of the multiple sources of evidence from the science lit. The important thing to do is to establish a list of enemies (Gore Mann Hansen etc.) and repeat BS. This is completely evident here.

      • So you believe India and China won’t continue to burn coal and other fossil fuels? Yes or no!

      • Listen AEG, if this is what you really believe then why waste your time here?

        You don’t actually contribute anything to the debate so why bother?

      • WOW! Your arrogance really profound, does it match your ignorance?

      • In that case it is normal to add a disclaimer, as in:

        ‘I think the person in this link makes some good points about X but goes overboard when discussing Y’. If you don’t the implication is that you approve of the entire content.

      • Come on sharperoo me old pal, me old mucker. This is a scientific blog.

        Surely you can do better than:

        ‘it contains countless incorrect claims about what was in the e-mails’.

        First – each claim is linked directly to the referenced e-mail so the watcher can assess whether it says what the commentator says it does. I did not see any where the direct quote from the e-mails differed from the commentary. Did you?

        And second, the whole thing is only 12 and a bit minutes long. Even with a short attention span, you could sit down and count all the claims made (I guess less than a hundred) and then write a wee critique of the ones you assert are untrue.

        Just asserting ‘countless incorrect claims’ says very little.

        The final part is undoubtedly an opinion piece. You may disagree with his opinion. But you would be foolish to ignore the documentary piece beforehand because you find it inconvenient.

      • To ‘use a trick to hide something’ does not speak to me of an overwhelming desire to make the argument unequivocally clear and immediately understandable.

        Quite the opposite. Arguing anything else is sophistry and/or self-delusion.

        And if the use of ‘tricks’ to ‘hide things’ in climate science is standard practice, that is not a defence of Jones, it is a further indictment of the whole rickety edifice of climatology.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        What was hidden?

      • Maybe it was the decline?

        I suspect you’re being coy (rather than stupid) however, you can bet your bottom dollar that none of the hockey team would ever use ‘Mike’s Natues trick’ to hide an incline?

      • I have answered this question for you, it should appear further down among the comments.

      • “To understand the impacts of climategate, don’t you think we should consider diverse perspectives on this?”

        Lunatic perspectives such as talking about a new world order in connection to climate science don’t need to be considered imho. What do we gain if we do consider them?

      • This particular article is getting quite a big play in the blogosphere. If we are to understand the impacts of climategate, we can retreat to our preferred echo chamber, or we can listen to what people across the spectrum have to say.

      • Judith,

        Hitler was bad, 9/11 was real, evolution happens, and I make very good hamburgers….

        People who disagree with some stuff are just wrong. You’re a scientist, let’s move away from this “all perspectives need to be heard and respected” jibberish.

      • Chris, I am not saying that all perspectives need to be heard. I am saying that thinking people consider other perspectives. If the shoe doesn’t fit . . .

      • Judith,

        “other” or “all” seems to be the only difference between your first and second sentence. It’s about the choices you make in considering perspectives that are so far out as to be ridiculous. Not sure if that’s a sign of being a “thinking person”, though of course, it is psychologically quite interesting to look at weird arguments.

      • In a subject with substantial political overtones, it is also useful to understand what other people think, especially if “communicating” is part of what you are trying to do.

      • The only thing to learn about communication from reading that article is that sometimes you are better off not wasting your time.

        There seems little prospect of influencing that particular echo-chamber of untruths.

      • Then too science has a great history of weird arguments, some of which have come true. Quantum theory is my candidate for the weirdest. But I study the logic of the climate debate and there are very few weird arguments. What we primarily have is a systematic probing of the weaknesses, assumptions and uncertainties in AGW. Given the economic stakes this is very sensible. It is however rare in science because usually nothing big turns on a proposed hypothesis. Reasonable doubt is not an issue in science, but it is in energy and economic policy.

      • Irrevocable truths?

        …”and I make very good hamburgers…”

        Thank you for deciding for the rest of us what a “good” hamburger is.

        It was indeed an appropriate example of how some determine what is “arguable”.

      • Even a fool can teach a genius something new every day, if the genius is listening.

      • If the genius has to listen to the fool every day, let’s hope he has good reasons to do so.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Fool on Park Bench: My mama says climate reconstruction is just like a box of chocolates; pick out the stuff you like and ignore the rest.

        Mann on park bench: I may be a genius and you a fool, but you’ve given me a great idea there! Let’s meet again tomorrow.

      • If Al Gore is a fool, John Hardy might be a genius:

      • To understand the impacts of climategate, don’t you think we should consider diverse perspectives on this?

        Some logical reasoning:

        If ‘climategate’ was an objective commodity, the diversity of perspectives would be inconsequential.

        Claiming that the diversity of perspectives is important infers that ‘climategate’ is strongly associated with subjective aspects.

        If climategate is a significant subjective occurrence, it would bode against the veracity of the ‘objective’ decision to dismiss climategate as insignificant.

      • Judith

        If you like censorship that would do credit to North Korea by all means visit some of the sites you mention. I have just been posting at one-I don’t want to embarrass the owner by naming them here-where it seems to be one set of rules for the ‘home’ team and another for anyone from the very unwelcome ‘away’ team.

        This all coupled with childish low level abuse and an apparent endless ability to take things out of context.

        I think one of your artcles on ‘censorship in science’ would be interesting. Courteous discussion and permitting the other person to put their considered views and evidence should be at the bedrock of science. Unfortunately some people have their minds completely shut and simply won’t listen to any other point of view. Refusing to read articles and abusing the messenger seem a favourite tactic from those who want to make an ideology of AGW.


  3. The real issue is the temperature data. It needs to be kept in the open and an audit of the adjustments completed and a statement of accuracy of the data published. With the error margin established i believe we will see that we are drawing fancy curves without adding an error band. Once regualtors and the public see the PLUS or Minus of the perdictions based on the data we will see them move on to other important issues

    • There are now many reconstructions of the global temperature data. They agree (woodfortrees is an excellent site to see this for yourself graphically). Several bloggers have actually rolled their own. They agree with GISS, Hadley, RSS, UAH, etc. Do you know something everyone else does not?

  4. “So what do I think we’ve learned from Climategate?” I dunno. According to the UK and US inquiries: “No problem …” The MSM goes along with that story. AFAIK, most climate scientists, you being the exception, remain silent on the matter. Perhaps you should ask them what they think.

      • A lot of cognitive dissonance in there from my reading. The lesson they seemed to have learned was to get better at “explaining” things to journalists, rather than to get better at actually doing science.

      • yes, they think they can “communicate” their way out of this. Better ways to communicate uncertainty (rather than actually trying to understand it, characterize it, and reason about it.)

      • Interesting. My impression from reading the response to Ward and Wihbey’s questions by members of “The Team” is that they are “ …arranging the wagons in a circle!”

        What lessons has the climate science community learned from the experiences of the past year or so?

        AJB: “The climate science community was reminded that the policy implications of climate science make it more than just an academic pursuit. As a consequence, higher profile climate scientists may find themselves subjected to a similar level of personal scrutiny as public figures receive.”

        PHG: “… there is an improved realization of how impossible it is to keep the climate science questions and debates separate from the political and ideological debates. And I hope we’ve learned the importance of communicating accurately and constantly. Being passive in the face of political repression, ideological misuse of science, and policy ignorance moves us in the wrong direction. I would like to think the community has learned that depending on the “honesty” and “impartiality” of journalism is not enough … that without strong input from climate scientists, the wrong stories get reported, with bad information, and ideological bias.”

        MO: “I imagine that my colleagues’ views on this are rather diverse, and those I hear from are not necessarily representative. But one conclusion that seems common is the realization that climate science and scientists operate in a fishbowl, whether they stick to basic research or venture into policy applications. Like it or not, we are always “on the record.”

        KAE; “I do not feel I have my “ear to the wall” enough to provide a meaningful answer to this question.”

        MKH: “A number of climate scientists have learned that simply trying to do a good, responsible, and honest job of climate research according to established standards of professional conduct can lead to their becoming objects of suspicion, derision, disdain, and even hate.”

        BDS: “In the past year, we have seen ample evidence of the activities of powerful “forces of unreason.” These forces of unreason seek to establish the scientific equivalent of what were once called “no-go” areas in Northern Ireland. Their actions send a clear warning to the scientific community: This is the new reality of climate science in the 21st century.”

        DJW: “We have learned that data access and archival of climate observation and modeling results needs to be better communicated and more transparent. This does not mean the scientists should have to provide every single piece of interim analysis products like the deniers are currently hassling the community for — that is aimed at harassment not science transparency.”

        RCJS: “The climate science community has learned that it is in the cross-hairs of a ruthless disinformation campaign. The campaign is run by economic, political, and ideological interests opposed to many proposed policies that might deal meaningfully with the threat of climate disruption. This disinformation campaign is professional, well-funded, and highly effective. Its purpose is to destroy the credibility of mainstream climate science.”

        JMW: “We’ve witnessed the lengths to which political activists will go in an effort to manipulate public opinion. Yet it seems to me that for all its notoriety, “climategate” has had only a very limited impact on public opinion. It may have served to widen the divide between climate change believers and naysayers, but it doesn’t seem to me that it has caused many believers to switch sides.”

        Nor was I very impressed by “The Team’s” response to these questions:
        What lessons should it learn?
        And is it moving effectively to put those lessons-learned into practice?

      • I was pleasantly surprised that my sceptical remarks in the comments section of this article survived their moderation intact and have seen the light of day.

        Maybe Yale still has some semblance of credibility left and has not been totally hijacked by the warmists. There is hope.

      • BTW, I thought that KAE’s comment was rather strange. I would think that he might “heard” something considering the fact that he served on Lord Oxburgh’s Scientific Assessment Panel that investigated UEA/CRU’s role in Climategate.

      • I am shocked and dismayed that so many scientists believe there is some sort of disinformation campaign that is having an effect on the stakeholders. There are certainly some passionate people who are probing the weaknesses of climate science, but that doesn’t imply some sort of conspiracy. What the scientists who believe this nonsense do not understand is that even though most people are not climate-related scientists or even just scientists, that we (all citizens of nations of the developed world) have a huge stake in the outcome of the climate regulations. This is why I am concerned about it. I have a son. I want him to have a future as a free individual, not a regulated serf of the all-powerful state. These scientists don’t ever seem to look at costs. Not all the costs are material, and these other costs are huge.

      • And I won’t stop looking over the shoulder of the climate science community until you pull the keyboard from my cold, dead hands!

  5. Judging by the letter in the current (Nov 18) issue of science signed by Michael Mann and other leading AGW exponents, not very much.
    The idea of a non partisan panel to advise policy makers on climate issues is a non starter imo after the Climategate disclosures. Who would be naive enough to trust any of these people? It will take a long time before any scientist’s recommendations are accepted at face value, whether about AGW or anything else for that matter.
    The lack of integrity of the leaders of the science community has ended their credibility on matters of public policy. They would be better advised trying to halt the accelerating erosion of any scientific understanding in the general population,
    exemplified by the continued advances of creation science and fundamentalism.

  6. Sadly, not enough has been learned. Some are still trying to influence behind the scene.

    Roger Pielke jr had some interesting post about it recently.


  7. Well as the blog that accidentally exposed the climategate files, what I learned may be pertinent.


    Again transparency is an absolute requirement, but the root of the problem is political and far deeper. We outsiders are still waiting GRL peer acceptance of a correction to thermometers in the Antarctic. A subject which should be entirely uncontentious, yet the answers aren’t preferred by the high priests.

    Climategate exposed the F word in climate science. Of course, tAV had already reported on ‘hide the decline’ back in 2008 – thanks in the greatest part to Steve McIntyre. Of course not many paid attention.

    Chopping disliked data without reason can only be described one way, the pretending of innocence will go down in history as a Galileo style moment of insanity. Climate science has learned nothing yet.

    • I have a feeling that the greatest impact has been occuring in between the ears of the current crop of undergrads (and some real “thinkers” in the post grad arena). It’s going to take a little while for them and their opinions to make it to the surface. At the moment they’re being molded by all this.

      ((I should add that I’ve been mighty wrong about the impact of other seismic shifts on these people. I can’t figure out what the difference is between my experience and everyone else’s since the 1960’s. We took everything a professor said with a pound of salt. Of course, we gave him what he wanted to “hear” on exams to keep moving on. We weren’t stupid;-))

      • I guess it only takes about 20 – 25 years for the Bright Young Things of Academe to become the Tired Old Farts of the Irrelevant Ivory Tower.

        Jones is rising 60, Schmidt is 50ish, Mann a year or two younger. Others are of the same era. They will soon be gone. And fresher, less indoctrinated and more open-minded people will rise to the surface of Climatology.

        Perhaps they will look around their field and start on the long and hard road back to Science and to credibility. There are serious problems galore: Lack of transparency, abyssmal data quality, reliance on models not observation, wishful thinking (by the barrel load), insularity, arrogance (by the container load) and a widespread belief that the Big Bad World is out there, conspiring evilly to ambush the Gallant Defenders of Mother Gaia and All Her Doings.

        Add to that growing political and influential hostility to the field and to the lack of humility shown by its practitioners, and the next leaders of Climatology have got a lot of serious work to do. It will take a generation at least. Are there such superwomen in their late twenties and early thirties already waiting in the wings ready to take on this challenge?

      • Well, the thing that i am concerned about (expressed in the open letter to graduate students) is the impact that all this will have on people selecting to enter this field. And of course, it will be females that save the world :)

      • D’accord. That is why I wrote of the superwomen needed to change the world.

        Nothing at all to do with my partner holding my feet near the burning coals and my hands in the freezer. My average temperature is OK tho’.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        A common critique of Tony Blair’s government here in the UK was that, at the heart of the decision making process was a small cabal of intellectually arrogant, hyper-competitive “boy-men” (we call this “laddishness” over here – the tv series “The Thick of It”, though a satire, will give you the flavour). Non-elected special advisors like Alistair Campbell and his acolytes thrashing out policy with Blair through expletive-riven, macho, posturing argument sessions, leading to dodgy-dossiers and dodgy legislation, which were then spun aggressively to the media.

        This has some parallels with Climategate. The overwhelming majority of personnel in the emails are men. As a sex we are undoubtedly more prone to tribalism, arrogance and testosterone-fuelled competitiveness. To me, Dr Curry is one of the calmest, most reasonable voices in this debate – it may not be a coincidence that she is female! So this point about women saving the world – or at least bringing some much needed coolness to this debate – may not be a trivial one. ;-)

        Of course Oreskes and Heidi (decline) Cullen are the exceptions which prove the rule. :-)

      • Dr C
        Have you forgotton Tenney ‘Head Vise’ Naumer and Anna ‘Tremors’ Haynes, Naomi ‘Tobacco’ Oreskes and Heidi ‘Decline’ Cullen?

        These females can cancel the saving of the world. :)

      • AnyColourYouLike


        I own the copyright on “Heidi ‘decline'”. This is plagiarism. I’m making an official complaint to Judith…

        …though I may be willing to drop the matter if you withdraw all your previous testimony from the record. ;-)

      • I’ve already claimed “Heidi-ho” :)

      • Fiona Fox and Franny Armstrong are dreadful warnings to us all – as were Tony’s Cronies – that over reliance on a single sex approach (whichever sex is involved) is no guarantee against collective insanity.

      • A climate science version of Lysistrata?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Ageism and sexism, all wrapped together in a tight, Euro-style bundle.

      • Any other ‘ism’s I missed? I could always do a second edition. Yu just list them and I’ll try to include them. Happy ot oblige.

        But please do not use the ‘E’ word. AGW is not the only thing I am secptical about.

  8. Repercussions, it has made some people sceptical enough and interested enough to start there own blogs.

    Would Climate Etc have come into existence without Climategate?

    As Judith has said in the past, drive by comments are not very effective.
    Even more importantly, if you have your own blog, you have an EDIT button so that you can fix all your typo’s ;)


    • yes, this whole thing has been a career changer for me (for better or worse)

      • Dr. Curry,

        I think we can all agree it changed your career, even if we don’t know the outcome. But I’d be interested to hear from you how it changed you, as a person and as a scientist.



      • Well actually, it did change me. We take so much for granted, we pick up things in our profession by osmosis. AGW and the IPCC has been part of our professional culture for decades, part of the wall paper that you don’t even notice, you just take for granted. We were too groupthinking, and the funding system with its calls for topical proposals and the reward system from the professional societies reinforced all this. All this has helped me rediscover the joys of being a scientist: challenging everything, debating, and thinking about things from new angles. And I am thrilled by my new blogospheric “friends” (much better than facebook!) who challenge me and provide me with new ideas and links. I have become more interested in the philosophy and sociology of science (and how this is being applied to climate science). The biggest change personally is the blog, anyone who blogs will understand what this can do to your time!

      • We’re all here to teach and learn. But… we won’t know till it’s all over (in the great beyond) if we learned more than we taught or taught more than we learned.

      • Dr Curry,
        In the immediate term, your career has surely been upended by your willingness to stand up for integrity in science, as well as by the admirable but onerous task of maintaining this excellent blog.
        All we can do is express our appreciation and support for your effort, along with our hope that it will be appropriately recognized.

      • Thank you. In terms of my peers, the jury is still out in terms of whether or not I have committed professional suicide (notoriety and publicity does not help your scientific reputation with your peers). I have probably taken myself out of consideration for awards from professional societies etc. So what, that is not what makes e tick.

      • Judy, what a relief there’s one climate scientist running on such different clockwork! I’ve been struggling to get into Climate Etc., not because it isn’t good but because you’ve prompted so much interaction, on such a wide range of subjects, from all sides, so quickly. For you to take up the guy who’d been looking into IG Farben and be willing to learn lessons of ideology avoidance from that was, for example, awesome. (I’d been thinking much about the same outfit in the context of the DDT story, as my last two blog entries relate.) There’s so much else to admire here. On behalf of many other busy lurkers, thank you.

      • “I have probably taken myself out of consideration for awards from professional societies etc.”

        Yeah, we get it. You love the idea of Judy as martyr.

        Self-composed eulogies before your death though, are a bit over-weening.

      • Michael Larkin


        Your rudeness is breathtaking. No matter what you say, on account of this you won’t be accorded respect or taken seriously.

  9. What have we learned from Climategate? The words which continue to renonate to me are:

    “You want trust? Do good science, and publicly insist that other climate scientists do good science as well. It’s that simple. …Once that is done, the rest will fall in line. And until then, I’m overjoyed that people don’t trust you. I see the lack of trust in mainstream climate science as a huge triumph for real science.”

    These days, global warming/change/disruption (or whatever) has no profile in the UK. Newspapers view it as a “circulation loser”.

    It still needs to be wrung out of the political agenda and personal capital invested.

    Rupert Soames (grandson of Winston Churchill and CEO of a global leader in the supply of emergency power generators, Aggreko) made a start on the remaining leg of the journey last week in Edinburgh.


    From the speech:

    “And in the meantime, a storm is brewing. The storm in the market is going to be caused by the fact by 2015, 25% of the world’s power stations will be over 40 years old. This means that, from Tokyo to Timbuktu, from Sao Paulo to Seattle, utilities are going to be buying new power generation and distribution. There seems to be the view in Government that there is an orderly queue of investors wanting to pour money into UK infrastructure. Wrong. International investors who specialise in Energy infrastructure are very experienced, measure risk and reward by country very carefully, and they have choice of where to invest their money. In my experience, if you want to borrow £200 million from a bank, you have to ask quite nicely, wear a tie, and have a good business plan. If, as Britain does, you want to raise £200 billion, you have to ask very nicely indeed, and have a very good plan; at the moment we as a nation are turning up to meetings with the bank manager wearing jeans and a tee-shirt that says “Jesus Loves You”.

    The great danger facing the UK’s Energy Policy is that the history of meddling with the markets; the persistence with which we re-iterate unachievable goals for emissions reduction; the wildly optimistic forecasts of the availability, cost and performance of new technology; all these leave the serious investors, the institutions who have the billions we need, shaking their heads. I think the UK is in danger of becoming unattractive as a place to build new infrastructure, and this at a time when we are going to lose around 30% of our generating capacity.”

    Listen to Mr Soames – he knows a thing or two about what he is talking about.

  10. In the Yale climate media forum, Ben Santer says:
    In the past year, we have seen ample evidence of the activities of powerful “forces of unreason.”
    Now, its a good question to ask whether that is one of the lessons of Climategate. For instance, just as it is unfair to club skeptics (the word loosely applied) as belonging to a “fossil fuel funded conspiracy” or the other side as the “RC brand of the community”, Ben Santer may be justified in his statement if the mystery of the purloined emails proves to have been due to a hack that could have possibly originated from powerful “forces of unreason” timed for Copenhagen that it most likely didn’t influence.

    • RB,
      The emails make the scientists look bad, not the leak.

      • Shrub,
        My point was not about whether or not scientists look bad as a result of the emails or a hack, but that proving that it was a hack and not a leak could support Santer’s proposition that the message of Climategate is that powerful forces, not really interested in the science, are still alive and strong.

    • Y’all’ll be blaming it on the Giant Lizards that rule the world in secret next!

      Darkly pregnant remarks about ‘forces of unreason’ are not persuasive without some evidence of who these ‘forces’ are led by and what exactly they are supposed to have been doing. No doubt they are the same guys as conspired to film the Moon Landings in Arizona so that the Aliens from Rockwell wouldn’t be offended.

      For a bunch of supposed ‘believers in scientific truth’, you fall pretty easily for any old crap that suits your conspiracy view of the world.

      And anyway, it wasn’t the lizards. It was the Dolphins and the Mice, until they left at the end of ‘So Long and Thanks For All the Fish’ (D Adams, H2g2 Publications, 1979 –>). Arthur Dent, contributor to this blog, will no doubt be able to confirm with personal testimony :-)

    • one thing they didnt learn was this:

      Do not lump all your critics in one basket.

      If you do you will misunderstand Mcintyre and Curry.

      They need to test their hypothesis that all critics are oil funded.

      I’m certainly not.

  11. David L. Hagen

    Note the very polarized difference between comments at # Yale Climate Medium Forum vs # Nature. Climategate remains a chasm over views regarding the validity of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW).

    Extracts from Harry Readme comments are fresh reminder of what Climategate was about. e.g.,

    *stop in 1940 to avoid; the decline.
    * Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have :-)
    * recent decline in tree-ring density has been ARTIFICIALLY’


  12. Climategate has been a definitive positive event for climate science.

    Climate science is now in upheaval. IPCC has at last been subjected to the criticism that we critics have forwarded for years, without any response. It would never have happened without Climategate. Suddenly we might have compulsory access to all data and methods for papers published in the journals.

    Knowledge must be first in science. We all depend on that.

    Personal prestige and politics must come last.

    I tried to make these points to Mr. Rasmus Benestad of Realclimate/Climategate fame in a discussion on a Norwegian website, but I received no response regarding the scientific benefits of Climategate.

    By the way – all due respect to Benestad for his willingness to engange with his critics. A rare trait among insiders.

    Maybe The Hockey Team at last realized that they have to play in order to win?

  13. Speaking as a software engineer, I think we’ve learned that the way data OUGHT to be handled is by professionals (mercenaries for hire, if need be.) The science folks ought to spell out precisely what they need to do and let the pros handle the actual doing. This idea that one is qualified to sling code merely due to the fact that said PhDs are expert in another field is silly; the owner of a restaurant may have a 170 IQ and an advanced degree in restaurant management but this doesn’t make him/her a chef.

    Not only would this speak to data and code transparency, it would also go a long way to making sure that the code actually does what it’s supposed to do and in an accessible (auditable) fashion. Don’t like software pros? No problem; for all I care the entire thing could be done in Mathematica per Lubos Motl or “r” per Steve McIntyre as long as it’s standardised. And this business of CRU having lost data… please.

    Overall, some professionalism in coding, data handling, storage and retention would go a long way.

    • Ah, another person arguing that CRU should have a vastly increased budget, so that it can actually do this stuff?

  14. Climategate is primarily a political phenomenon. It triggered (but did not cause) a wave of popular scientific skepticism that is still growing. It is far too soon to say what the overall effect will be.

    • I agree – Climategate didn’t cause any wave of skepticism. But it confirmed what many already knew to be true – that climate science had become an exclusive club, where loyalty was not to science or scientific honesty, but to the club itself and to protect the privileges it already had secured.

      Climategate caused the opening of this masonic box, and climate science, and perhaps science in general, should be very thankful for this.

      There is no drawback to the opening of science. If – in future – all scientific studies must provide all information necessary to replicate a previous study at the time it is published, then we would not have any of this mess.


      Climategate has been entirely beneficial for science.

      Theft or not.

      If it indeed was theft, let us rather call it necessary civil disobedience!

    • Yes! It’s a ‘wicked’ and ‘wild’ anthroprogenic thing. Way too soon to judge the impact. Far too complicated. Absolutely agree!

      And I really doubt it will be the last case. Seems to be cyclic.

  15. Climatesight offers one of the best “forest for the woods” type perspectives on what happened….very articulate, and accurate

    • The only thing missing in this fantasy for imbeciles is evil BigOilInc henchmen cleverly manipulating the rubes behind the curtains.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        “Oil companies and special interests spend millions to oppose climate legislation” ( J. Weiss, Sept 10).
        Clever, rich henchmen manipulating rubes. Nothing is missing.

      • Yep, the pro-CAGW scientists have to beg on street corners for their billions in funding.

      • What a crock!

        Who founded the CRU:

        Initial sponsors included British Petroleum, the Nuffield Foundation and Royal Dutch Shell.[6] The Rockefeller Foundation was another early benefactor, and the Wolfson Foundation gave the Unit its current building in 1986.[5]


        Where does the Rockefeller Foundation get its money from?

        Stock in the family’s oil companies is a major part of the foundation’s assets, beginning with Standard Oil and now with its corporate descendants, including Exxon Mobil.


        How about later did they cut ties to Big Oil?

        Mick Kelly and Aeree Kim (CRU, ENV) met with Robert Kleiburg (Shell International’s climate change team) on July 4th primarily to discuss access to Shell information as part of Aeree’s PhD study (our initiative) and broader collaboration through postgrad. student project placements (their initiative), but Robert was also interested in plans for the Tyndall Centre (TC). What ensued was necessarily a rather speculative discussion with the following points emerging.

        1. Shell International would give serious consideration to what I referred to in the meeting as a ‘strategic partnership’ with the TC, broadly equivalent to a ‘flagship alliance’ in the TC proposal. A strategic partnership would involve not only the provision of funding but some (limited but genuine) role in setting the research agenda etc.

        2. Shell’s interest is not in basic science. Any work they support must have a clear and immediate relevance to ‘real-world’ activities. They are particularly interested in emissions trading and CDM.

        3. Robert seemed to be more interested in supporting overseas (developing world) than home/EU studentships, presumably because of the credit abroad and their involvement in CDM. (It is just possible this impression was partially due to the focus on Aeree’s work in the overall discussion but I doubt it.) It seems likely that any support for studentships would be on a case by case basis according to the particular project in question.

        4. Finally, we agreed that we would propose a topic to this year’s MSc intake as a placement with Shell and see if any student expressed interest. If this comes off we can run it under the TC banner if it would help.

        I would suggest that Robert and his boss are invited to the TC launch at the very least (assuming it will be an invite type affair). Question is how can we and who should take this a step further. Maybe a meeting at Shell with business liaison person, Mike H if time and myself if time? I’d like to/am happy to stay involved through the next stage but then will probably have to back off.

        We didn’t cover the new renewable energy foundation.

        Mick Kelly
        11 September 2000


        So the answer is nope, matter of fact they letting Shell Oil have a say in their research agenda. However it wasn’t just Shell Oil they were hitting up but also:

        – Charlotte Grezo, BP Fuel Options (possibly on the Assessment Panel. She is also on the ESRC Research Priorities Board), but someone Tim can easily talk with. There are others in BP Tim knows too.

        Mr Keith Taylor, Chairman and CEO of Esso UK

        So there you go they are asking for money from 3 big oil companies (Esso is better known as EXXON)

        If that isn’t bad enough for ya how about the late Dr. Schneider and Stanford University tapping Exxon for $225 million over 10 years:

        The second largest such partnership is a 10-year, $225-million deal Stanford University signed with Exxon Mobil and other energy firms in 2002 to fund a Global Climate and Energy Project.

        but who was the largest partnership? Why are good buddied at BP:

        The alliance between the oil giant BP and the University of California, Berkeley, stands out because of its $500 million price tag, its commercial scope and the potential for BP to exert excessive influence over the academic research.


        So the only shills for big oil is the “consensus” scientists and their universities. This was something that you should have learned from Climategate.

      • What the CAGW supporters seem to have totally missed in their “big oil” meme is the actual behavior of big oil and big coal (note that these are very different interests).

        Big oil (why does that always come out as “big oik” when I first type it?) has been involved in supporting climate science from the early days and has also been significantly involved in alternative energy research. This is because big oil is close to the point where oil runs out, and alternatives have to feed into the mix. They do not have an interest in promoting dissent from the mainstream climate science, because they recognize that as oil winds down, they need to look for alternative investments. They see themselves primarily as transport energy and chemical feedstock suppliers. The source of the energy and the feedstock is less important than the distribution and retail infrastructure.

        Big coal, on the other hand, is far too busy digging up the coal and flogging it to the Chinese and Indians to even take any notice of the climate debate, except maybe the domestic political debate in the US. They do not have an interest in promoting dissent either (yet), because the Chinese and Indian governments are pretty much ignoring the issue. Remember the Chinese snub to Obama at Copenhagen?

        So where does the “well organized disinformation campaign (sic)” come from? Such as it is, I believe it comes from organizations that see such things as cap and trade or carbon taxes as yet another unjustified government encroachment on individual freedoms. In other words, broadly people of a libertarian persuasion. I don’t see commercial interests as having a great deal to do with it.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Sure, the API has had no hand in fighting C & T. Stop kidding yourself.

      • Citation? Who is J Weiss? Where published? Proof?

    • I would second Kate’s perspective at ClimateSight.

    • The Climatesight account is a purely partisan rendering of Climategate, little different from what one might hear from the Climategate scienists themselves.

      Likewise Climatesight is a purely partisan climate change blog. Skeptic comments are treated even more summarily than RealClimate.

      • Good job there’s no partisanship on display here.

      • andrew adams: There is partisanship and there is partisanship. Sure, most commenters on this blog have strong opinions, but mostly you can tell where they are coming from, so no harm, no foul.

        However, CC reports the Climatesight account as though it were an objective, accurate account and it simply is not. For instance, CS leads off with the frame of “stolen emails” when those emails could just as well have been leaked. The latter possibility seems more likely IMO because there seems to be a certain amount of selectivity, but I don’t claim to know either way and neither should CS, CC and anyone else concerned with this controversy.

        For a handy comparison of what a purely partisan climate change blog looks like, compare this topic from CS,
        http://climatesight.org/2009/04/12/the-schneider-quote/#comment-3748 , with Dr. Curry’s blog.

        As I say, there is partisanship and there is partisanship. Climatesight is purely partisan. It makes almost no effort at fairness or openness.

    • Good one, I’m adding this to the list.

      • ‘Kate’ Alexander is hard-working, young and she will be the scourge of the consensus one day.

        Her story today however belongs in fantasy-land

      • Perhaps I should have opened with a less informative post regarding Jones’ handling of requests for station data. My comment failed climatesight’s moderation. Little wonder it’s being received so positively by the advocacy crowd.

    • Your bias is obvious if at that link you can get pat the “denial” nonsense — exposing yourselfas a “useful idiot”

    • If you really believe that stuff you are a pitiful rube.

  16. We’ve learnt not to blindly trust people where money, power , prestige or ideology are concerned.

    Then again, we already knew that.

  17. Michael Larkin

    I’ll pass on this link I picked up from Richard Drake’s recent post at Bishop Hill:


    Terence Kealey gives a well-written and very cynical view of scientists in a historical context and shows how the climategate clique was just continuing a well-trodden path of advocacy in science.

    True it might be, but I’m hoping that we have learnt that issues like AGW have too many ramifications to allow scientists to continue to behave as they have been doing.

    On a personal note, I was always somewhat sceptical about politicians, but climategate also revealed to me the true depth of cynicism and misinformation in the MSM. I no longer watch news on TV or listen to it on radio – I can’t trust anything said about anything.

    The only useful source of news information is the Web, where one can investigate a wide variety of takes on a particular issue, not just those emanating from the MSM, and form one’s own opinion.

    The MSM should have, but probably hasn’t, learnt that it is fast becoming an endangered species. It has shot itself in the foot over climategate, and that is hastening its demise.

    Finally, I have learnt that no amount of evidence of disrepute will convince ardent AGW supporters that there can be the least problem with their favoured hypothesis. I’m not talking in terms of complete conversion to scepticism, but of admission of even an infinitesimal degree of doubt.

  18. The exaggerations of the evangelists of CAGW were FINALLY revealed and examined. Many people FINALLY became aware of the large uncertainties; it became safe for lukewarmers and skeptics to publicly express their opinions without fear of being labeled crackpots. Journalists and the media became aware that, in certain respects, they were being “hustled” by persons who may have had motives unrelated to scientific inquiry. The world was put on notice that the “science is [NOT] settled.”

  19. AnyColourYouLike

    What have we learned from Climategate? Well, Mike Mann doesn’t appear to have learned a whole lot, as his several blustering Op-Ed pieces of late and his raging at book-reviews indicate. Personally, I’ve learned what an immature, egotistical buffoon he is. Phil Jones seems to have learned how to sound humble and put-upon in interviews, and how to dissemble with vagueness, like some kid who’s just been caught smoking by his teacher. The British Establishment learned a long time ago that if you go through the motions of a review, and put some Lord at the head of it, you can whitewash almost anything and the MSM probably won’t challenge you on it. The American congress has learned to pay lip-service to scepticism by including a few token non-consensus scientists in it’s panels.

    We’ve learned that most mainstream science journalists are either lazy or made up their minds years ago to go with the consensus. We’ve learned that clear, written evidence of deception and scientific corruption, even if tattooed behind the eyelids, will merely induce in many intelligent people an impulse to rationalise and explain away. We’ve learned that Orwell’s double-think wasn’t a fantasy concept. Mike Hulme seems to have learned something. He seems rare, I think we’ve learned humility is not a common trait in climate science. Judging by “the great silence” from many in the field (Dr Curry and a few others accepted) courage doesn’t seem to be a big requirement either.

    • Judging by “the great silence” from many in the field (Dr Curry and a few others accepted) courage doesn’t seem to be a big requirement either.

      I don’t really think that’s a fair statement. What you might call courage others would call career suicide. This is particularly true for people early in their careers. I’m in a field that’s only loosely related to AGW, but even still, I don’t dare bring up that I’m a “lukewarmer” to the wrong people in fear of it costing me future employment. For higher ups, they likely fear loss of funding, etc due to backlash.

      One has to choose his/her battles, and just because you haven’t heard a voice yet doesn’t mean you won’t when the time is right.

      Just my thoughts,


      • AnyColourYouLike

        Fair enough Scott

        Sorry to sound bitter, but it’s hard not to feel that way sometimes.

        I take your point, but the fact that, as you state, “I’m in a field that’s only loosely related to AGW, but even still, I don’t dare bring up that I’m a “lukewarmer” to the wrong people in fear of it costing me future employment. For higher ups, they likely fear loss of funding, etc due to backlash.” still makes me feel pretty disgusted with the politics of Science as currently practiced in this area. I’m not particularly starry-eyed or idealistic, it’s just that I’ve come to realise how low the status of openness and truth has fallen in what should be a value-less quest for knowledge.

      • the career suicide is a very real issue, especially for young scientists. not that many are in a position to do what i have done, nor have the intestinal fortitude (or a screw loose, or whatever). We need to hear more voices. I hope the “climate” will change so that we will hear these voices. We have a number of academics posting anonymously at this site, which is good practice for finding their voices!

      • pseudonym: Definition from Answers.com
        “pseudonym ( ) n. A fictitious name, especially a pen name. [French pseudonyme , from Greek pseudōnumon , neuter of pseudōnumos , falsely named…”

        A fellow named Ben Franklin, knew him well, was an absolute master at this little device. How soon we forget.

      • If you’ve got principles, you stick to them. Otherwise you sell out. There isn’t any grey area, even if it costs you your job.

      • What if you decide to not voice up until a more opportune moment? I’m not saying that you agree to delete data or falsify experiments, but if it’s just your opinion on the conclusions from an experiment, is it wrong to hold back?

        I will say that I’m not in such a situation, but I’m wondering if there are some people out there that are…


  20. What we learned is that when scientists are confronted about their work, they take it as a personal attack against them “as an expert”.
    A monkey can count numbers or press bottons.

  21. Wow! What we have learned from Climategate: We will not even know for sure for a very long time. But we do know FOR SURE RIGHT NOW that there are some very famous people who call themselves “Climate Scientists” (whatever the hell that is) that are, at a minimum (words fail me), disgusting, dishonest, dishonorable, fraudulent, amoral, non-scientific, hypocritical, sleazy, stupid, selfish, self-serving, LIBERALS (any doubt about this one–if so, name an exception?) who have damaged true science and who, hopefully (but doubtfully) will have to rue their crimes against truth. But they WILL face justice in the longest term…

    • AnthropoceneEndGame


      • Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, Romm, for starters.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Without proof you’ve entered into that world of slander. Care to go deeper? Provide the detail, as though you had to go to court.

      • Not in court, AEG, and am most certainly not letting you set the terms of this discussion.
        Jones- his e-mails, until he actually answers for them in a real inquiry, speak for themselves. He is a liar, a conspirator and a fraud.
        Hansen- for claiming that Earth will become Venus-like unless we do what he says. And for his backing of criminal and terrorist actions to impose his will.
        Schmidt, for being a slimy sock puppet, and after the early days of climategate, we know he does it deliberately.
        Romm, for impersonating a scientist, and being the most shrill idiocratic fraud in promoting for profit his apocalyptic clap trap.
        And how did I forget Mann? The perennial student who found a way to torture and lie about data and sell it to willing fear mongers for his great benefit. All he had to do was learn how to make the past and present disappear. Orwell would have been impressed.
        Slander? lol@u, AEG.

      • Do you not think that you have to eat your own cooking first?

      • You forgot the youngest, meanest master of them all: Michael Mann.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Hansen, Jones, Mann, Schmidt and Romm. Any other evil doers?

      • I would exclude Joe Romm, he is not a scientist, and politician are entitled to their opinions without having to substantiate them.

      • More than enough. Your trolldom and implied academic standing gets you on a candidate list. How many academics will it turn out knew that CS was promoting bogus crap but stood by quietly because the AGW goals were so deserving?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        So 4 climate scientists essentially promoted bogus crap. They’re liars, frauds and co-conspirators. They’re criminals according to you. So am I. Four scientists, out of how many?, and that did it for you. And almost certainly you haven’t even read their published science. Who cares? Hang ’em.

      • You are (by your own admission) not a climate scientist.
        So you may be excused on grounds of being naive and gullible (easily led like Private Pike in Dad’s Army).

        The others, who are supposedly professional scientists, do not deserve such charity.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        This whole sub-topic seems way OTT to me, on both sides. Lets calm down guys, huh?!

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Yes, your worship, it’s best that you pass your charitable judgement in a matter that you’re ultimately qualified for.
        Sound of passing gas here—->____________

      • Not playing your game, AEG.
        The list is a start and I am busy and you are boring

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Your whole neurotic game of climate science conspiracy has been a bore. But at least you went public with your true feelings about individuals and their research, both of which you know nothing about. It is entertaining though.
        It’s best you stay busy w/ your blogging schedule.

      • AnyColourYouLike


        “Yes, your worship, it’s best that you pass your charitable judgement in a matter that you’re ultimately qualified for.”

        What??? Clarification?

  22. PolyisTCOandbanned

    It’s hard to say what “we” “learned” since there is still not agreement amongst the parties, still a lot of fighting to either label the episode as something awful or nothing at all. (And I’m not saying either party are right or wrong, or that it is in the middle.)

    I think in the end of the day, that some of what you are concerned with in terms of tribalism and defensiveness will be changed (grudgingly) to some extent by some of the parties. That’s some progress.

    Also the tendancy for haphazard “academic style” of record keeping and even work performed, will probably be improved a bit by funding agencies pushing for it. Doling out grants and not worrying (too much) about grad students quitting and lab notebooks getting lost may not matter as much in the experimental sciences. But for stuff like CRU data management and synthessis, we need something better than Harry (or whateve that was called). Similarly even openGISS is ending up being an improvement over GISS. And I tjhink even having to share their messy code, has prompted them to want to fix it. This is not to say there’s much wrong with it. So far it seems GISS results hold very true. But it’s human nature that academics don’t have the drivers for quality control that might best benefit some of this work (and yeah GISS was Federal, but still, same concept). People just naturally are more exacting when their work is more open to checking.

  23. Climategate exposed us to a great example of how true believers in AGW can rationalize as well as any other fanatic when it comes to ignoring the problems of their faith.
    From the confusion of of CO2 as a ghg as the sole issue of the validity of AGW, to ignoring the obvious calls for fraud and collusion in the e-mails released, to the steadfast year long effort to not investigate, the AGW community has entertained us for the past year.
    And it will fail.

  24. Well, it’s a year later, innit? I don’t think anybody learned anything. I think Climategate is a funhouse mirror reflecting back distorted images of our selves.

    The globe still warms at a gentle rate and we fight about whether the emails were hacked or leaked without any evidence for either proposition.

    There are two bloggers getting paid to write about climate–Joe Romm and Marc Morano, which says something in and of itself. The rest blog for free about the well-paid forces of evil on the other side. The well-paid forces on both sides have been as clumsy, obvious and useless as polar bears in a china shop.

    And the sea level rises, albeit at a gentle rate.

    Scientific papers are hijacked for political purposes the day they are released, with distorted claims immediately advanced by partisans.

    Five inquiries into Climategate neglected to ask Phil Jones if he a) asked anyone to delete their emails, b) deleted any emails himself or c) deleted any files containing data. Meanwhile, skeptics trot out the same arguments–look at Michaels and Lindzen using the same presentations they have been giving for years in front of Congress the other day–without any thought of the work that has gone on in the field since their last PowerPoint slide was set in stone.

    Climategate was a headline and an excuse to bloviate for far too many. It taught us nothing. It changed none of us. It gave Republicans an excuse to beat up on Democrats and it gave Democrats an excuse to complain about being beaten on.

    Phil Jones and his friends collaborated to hide the level of uncertainty inherent in a flimsy data series blow out of proportion for political effect. He and his friends acted abysmally. They are an embarrassment to climate science–to all of science.

    They didn’t change the climate–not of the atmosphere, not of the discussion surrounding it. They changed the weather.

    • Tom Fuller: I agree with most of your points, but I think some people were changed by Climategate.

      Many suspected that there was something pathological going on behind the scenes of climate science. Climategate confirmed it.

      Speaking for myself, after Climategate I flipped from being on the fence and willing at times to defend climate change, to being resolutely opposed to the climate change agenda.

      I think there is some validity to climate change, but until climate scientists do a much better job of policing themselves and civilly persuading the rest of us, I say not a dime or a law or a treaty for that agenda.

      I’d also like to see climate change research funding halved so we can see how many scientists are committed to climate change for the science as opposed to a gravy train for their careers, and so the scientists can get a clue that they need to raise their standards if they want our tax dollars.

      Judging in part by the midterm elections, I’m not alone on this. It will be an interesting IQ test to see how intelligently climate scientists adapt to their new environment. FWIW I continue to give Dr. Curry full marks, since she is adapting.

    • Tom,
      My bet is that Lindzen & co. will update their presentations when the AGW promoters actually respond to them.
      But you raise an interesting point:
      Except for intoning ‘things are worse than predicted’, what has the AGW community done new?

    • cagw_skeptic99

      Tom mentioned these: There are two bloggers getting paid to write about climate–Joe Romm and Marc Morano, which says something in and of itself. The rest blog for free about the well-paid forces of evil on the other side. The well-paid forces on both sides have been as clumsy, obvious and useless as polar bears in a china shop.”

      The Hockey Team posting at RC are being paid very well to blog there. I have also seen allegations that the blog itself is the product of a PR firm’s work, and if so then someone is likely paying for their work.

  25. In terms of alphabetical magnitude, I think it will end up somewhere between Billygate and debategate.


    We learnt that they were doing the following:

    1) Discussing to manipulate data:
    ‘It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”. ‘

    2) Refusing to give data:
    “I would not give them *anything*. I would not respond or even acknowledge receipt of their emails. There is no reason to give them any data, in my opinion, and I think we do so at our own peril!”

    3) Instruction to delete data:
    “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise.”

    4) Some were skeptic in private:
    “Be awkward if we went through a early 1940s type swing!”

    5) Questioning the IPCC process in private:
    “…the fact is that in doing so the rules of IPCC have been softened to the point that in this way the IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results”

    6) Discussing to interfere in the peer-review process:
    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !”

    20-NOV-2009 was the beginning of the end of the AGW movement. It was caught red handed.

    Here is the interpretation of the data by the IPCC of an accelerated warming:

    Here is the interpretation of the same data by a skeptic of an oscillating pattern:

    Which is the plausible interpretation?
    We will find out conclusively in about 5 years.

    However, the IPCC projections are already wrong as shown below:

    Compare the above with Feynamn’s thought on doing science:
    “It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid”
    Richard Feynman

    • Girma,
      You hit nail on head.
      It is a testament to how little AGW true believers rely on reality, and how much integrity they are willing to sacrifice, that the AGW community simply pretends those things were not stated.
      And any so-called ‘instigation’ that declined to explore those issues and the others raised- and that would be 100% of the ‘investigations’- would be a sham.

  27. I find the saddest part of all this is that the academic crowd remains so isolated from the real world that they can convince each other that there is a ‘well funded disinformation organization.’ That is pure conspiracy theory stuff. Those folks should be smart enough to realize that discovery of a large number of people with a common complaint does not imply a conspiracy. It can simply be that each of those people have their own personal reasons for expressing their complaint. Not realizing that has led the climate science community and their academic supporters to respond inappropriately. They are attempting to fight an asymmetric war.

    It is the climate scientists who are organized and well funded. Their opponents are primarily individuals and small, lightly funded groups. As the climate scientists attempt to fight a fictitious large foe, they consistently lose their battles.

    It should be obvious that there need be no war. Hiding behind walls of secrecy simply set Climate Scientists up for siege. They should be proud of their work and display all of it for everyone to admire. If there are questions, and even mistakes discovered, that is just part of the process. Nobody expects perfection, but honesty and openness is. Live in the real world where academic status is ignored. Correct and useful information is cherished, and the providers there of are admired.

    • Please can somebody pass on the address of the ‘well-funded disinformation organisation?’. I’m as sceptical as the next man and need the cash. Two years of reading and blogging and not a cent yet…..

      • Why would they pay for the cow when they can get the milk for free?

      • Yes, the true believers have, for free, ignored all pesky little aspects of climategate rather well.
        Sort of like Catholics still thinking the magisterium of the Church makes it OK that priests have pesky little habits irt kids.

      • So you are saying that skeptics are not paid because they are skeptical without being paid?

      • Run that one past me again. In English?

      • Sorry Lat,
        I was responding to Tertia above. I was just pointing a logical error in his statement.

  28. Well, I’m hardly connected to top policy or scientific circles, but I do consume a fair bit of media. My take is this:
    Things have changed less as a result of the emails than some avid climate blog-folks might think. Global warming is still taken for granted by a large segment of the population, who never did make much sense out of Climategate anyway. Climate scientists feel a little burned, and I imagine many of them are more sensitive and careful than they were a couple of years ago. Still, business as usual seems to be making a comeback (though with some added openness). I’m especially curious about what the IPCC will come up with, which remains an important player.
    Policy-wise, things remain a mess as domestic and international legislation keeps hitting hurdles. I don’t think Climategate has much to do with this, but it’s still part of the overall political picture. I’m sure New World Order theorists will keep finding reasons to sound the alarm, but political progress is likely to keep stalling in the near-term.
    Overall, the contrast between our current situation and that of three years ago remains fairly stark. Climategate contributed to this, but it’s hard to say to what degree. This part of the story never got much of a conclusion, so it looks like it’s just stringing along into the next chapter.

  29. I’ve learned lots of things since Climategate, but not a lot of things because of it. Mostly, Climategate and its fallout have confirmed a lot of things we already knew about human nature:

    Humans (including scientists) are tribal;

    Humans (including scientists) tend to distort evidence and rationalize to fit things into their pre-existing world view;

    Humans (including scientists) are often venal, corrupt, self-serving and biased;

    Humans (including scientists) have a great capacity to delude themselves that their motives are pure and their actions above reproach.

    • At least that’s something. Right? We really need to pinch ourselves more often to see if we’re awake, AND we should never trust anyone that even remotely sounds like a politician.

  30. There are three obvious conclusions that can be drawn from Climategate.

    1. All of your emails can be stolen and posted online without anyone ever going to jail.

    2. The news media (especially fox news) are totally gullible and will believe anything to be a conspiracy.

    3. Climate scientists are not particularly skillful in dealing with fools and idiots, or people that they perceive to be fools and idiots.

    • Andy,
      There is no need to provide a reference for number 3.

    • 4. Climate scientists are not particularly skillful in dealing with unexpected experimental observations like these:

    • Those would be three facts we knew before it happened, not conclusions drawn from the case.

    • 3a. Climate scientists do not believe that anyone outside their small coterie is even entitled to kiss the hem of their robes let alone question their authority on any matter they deem themselves to be expert in. (Refs: Colose, this blog, various, Schmidt, Real Climate 2004->, Dr P D Jones, Climategate e-mails pub.2009)

      3b. Climate scientists have contempt for the general public (same refs as 3a)

    • Which person had all of their e-mails stolen?
      The e-mails went quite a bit about how to avoid people they did not like, but who precisely were fools and idiots?
      A Lacis,
      You are only saying things that point to a big hole in your thinking skills.

  31. I Prefer.

    what haven’t we learned.

    • “what haven’t we learned. …” – Steve Mosher

      As a non-scientist, fervent observer:

      1. that there was no conspiracy
      2. that there was no conspiracy (I’m an oil and gas investor)
      3. that the data has always reliable enough, and can get better
      4. that models were not tuned to meet preconceived goals
      5. that climate science is a lot better than scientists outside the field give it credit for being
      6. that the theory of anthropogenic global warming is reality: it’s here; it’s happening
      7. that nasty personalities should never trump “what is the validity of what is being said?”
      8. that the blogs/internet are too fast for reasoned behavior; licking stamps is our speed there, and telephone call content, thankfully, vanished into the mist, which allows old men to claim “we never talked that way.” BS.
      9. that the skeptical side has failed to produce a body of work, and probably can’t – because reality ain’t leanin’ their way

      • You are an oil and gas investor.

        You are in the pay of Big Oil.

        Your views are irrelevant and you will be cast into the fiery flames of hell for expressing them.

      • JCH,
        What list of bizarre counter factual beliefs.
        I hope you are not guiding any third party investments.

      • “I hope you are not guiding any third party investments. …”

        No, I row my own boat; got one score: mine.

      • how unsurprising.

      • Your fervency does not lie in observation, for sure

      • We’ll see, won’t we. Time will not be on both of our sides.

      • It certainly has been on the side of the Earth not being easily tipped over.

      • JCH you need to stop looking at the world in black and white. My comment on your post was – I think was not necessarily revelatory of my “side”. Each “side” has its own groupies who add only heat (warming?) but no light.

      • 9. that the skeptical side has failed to produce a body of work, and probably can’t – because reality ain’t leanin’ their way

        Fallacies galore in your list, but this one piqued my interest more than the others. We know from ClimateGate that it’s harder to get your work published if you’re against the paradigm than if you’re supporting it. Moreover, it’s harder to get funding if you’re against the paradigm than if you’re supporting it. This self-evidently leads us to the conclusion that yes, there will be an awful lot more “peer reviewed” research out there in favour than there is against.

      • Il might be easier to publish a paper destroying an inconvenient paradigm than to hack Real Climate’s website, nowadays.

      • You’ve provided a link to an article about strip bark standardisation. I don’t quite see what that’s got to do with hacking a website, or publishing a paper?

      • This comment is what started Climategate.

        Follow the link therein.

      • What’s your point?

      • Here is two points that can be made.

        The first one is unrelated to your comment, but relevant to this thread subject. It is quite simple, so simple as to wonder why it gets forgotten in all these discussions. Anyone who thinks that the server has not been hacked has to explain why “a miracle happened.” Unless you’re willing to believe that Gavin put himself the link on CA, we must admit that the whistleblower had a very intriguing sense of humour.


        The second point would be related to your comment to JCH:

        Anyone who thinks he can bust the “paradigm” can try it there:


        Anyone who thinks he can bust the “paradigm” can publish her work (paper, code and data) in a public repository.

        Anyone who thinks he can bust the “paradigm” can send her work by email to any bridge builder.

        Even if we admit that it’s tougher to get published in the mainstream leetchurtchur, trying to imply that this explains why the skeptik side have not produced the body of work sufficient to bust the paradigm is a non skweechur.

        Proferring a non skweechur is not something one should do when trying to comment on a “fallacies gallore.”

      • Well yes, but whether it was hacked or not, one wonders why the Police haven’t issued a statement on their investigation. It was timed to coincide with Copenhagen. Presumably it was the Chinese?

        Anyone who thinks he can bust the “paradigm” can try it there

        But even if it’s “busted”, the point is you people only accept “peer reviewed and published” papers. Not only that, but if you don’t agree with the peer reviewed paper, you’ll simply redefine what the peer-reviewed literature is, including refusing to publish in journals that are foolish enough to publish counter-claims, agitating to have editors who are sympathetic to counter-views removed and helping to get reviewers sympathetic to your views reviewing papers that aren’t. That is not to mention the usually cursory reviews of papers that support the paradigm, against holding those against up to a far higher standard.

        My point was that the system isn’t even handed, even though there is much that is uncertain.

      • Robinson,

        I do not know what “you people” means. I personally am all for changing the publishing process. By chance, I do not believe much in the “law of unintended consequences.” Free the data, free the code, free the debate!

        Your point does not contradict the fact that there is no body of skeptik literature to bust the AGW paradigm. So it still is a non sekweechur.

        We do not know if the “miracle-worker” was a hacker, a whistleblower, a little bit of both, or what-not. Saying that “all the evidence leads us to believe” one an only one thing makes no sense. Depending on the audience, what sounds plausible changes a lot.

        In any case, it still seems easier to get skeptik stuff published than to put an FOAI.zip file on Real Climate website.

        AGW still is the best explanation we have for now. If you think you can do better, try:


        I would be more than pleased to hear that dumping CO2 into the athmosphere is of no unintended consequence.

        Best of luck!

      • Robinson,
        Willard’s post doesn’t have a reply option (typical?) so I will address my response to you:
        Willard’s statement is interesting, in one sentence he says: “I personally am all for changing the publishing process”, why is he for that? Because the current system prevents skeptics from publishing peer reviewed papers, or at least makes it very difficult. So why does this not contradict the fact that there fewer peer reviewed skeptical papers?

        However, with the help of Climategate and human ingenuity the skeptics managed to published quite a few papers, see just one example: http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html
        I’m sure that Willard will have something to say about what the source is, or where the papers were published, but the other option is to let all scientists the same access to publications and not to refuse to see what this has to do with lack of published papers.

      • Gad Levin,

        You should ask questions instead of reading my mind. I am not for revising the publishing system

        > Because the current system prevents skeptics from publishing peer reviewed papers, or at least makes it very difficult.

        I am in favour of changing it because it’s basically an intellectual racketeering system. It’s waste of important funds for lots of universities.

        In my opinion, an Open Access system would be more fair:


        That does not prevent from having a handful of prestigious publications, with peer reviews, etc. That’s not the point. The point is that paywalls a stiffling knowledge.

        There are more important issues in academia than trying to budge into decade old personal vendettas.

      • Well Willlard, I don’t know about you, but over the holidays I intend to curl up with some of Richard Lindzen’s peer-reviewed publications and lullaby myself to sleep so I can dream about a deus ex machina and safely passing 10,000 ppm.

        Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
        If you’re young at heart

        You can go to extremes with impossible schemes
        you can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams

      • JCH,

        I for myself am more interested in “the best thriller” a certain M Yoxon has never read:


        A story of intrigues, miracle workers, and IPs.

        You might also be interested to note Steve has been advised to work for bomb disposal.

        May your fairy tales come true,


  32. It has been around 12 years for me since I discovered suppression and dogma in science (climate science being just one of many examples). Since then, I was convinced that only some kind of scandal (“gate”) can change things for better. I was waiting for something to happen so science can brake its chains and move forward.

    It seems like it’s happening now.

  33. My view of the Climategate e-mails has always been that it really did show “scientists being scientists”. This did however prick the bubble that existed whereby scientists had colluded with the public in placing themselves on a wholly undeserved pedestal.

    I am sure, and recent evidence from the stem-cell area has confirmed, that scientists in all disciplines do indeed act in this way (they are people folks and as Gavin himself has opined “we are not Mother Theresa”). Indeed in most of areas of scientific endeavour this behaviour is of little importance since the science being pursued is of much less significance than the scientists themselves would like to believe.

    However Climate Science is very, very different. The Team were incredibly naive not to have realised that if their endeavours were to be used to justify the complete re-ordering of the planetary economy and governance systems, the inter continental and power bloc transfer of billions of dollars and the expenditure of trillions of dollars world wide that they would come under considerable scrutiny.

    When this detailed scrutiny inevitably appeared the methodology of the scientists and particularly the underlying data was found severely wanting in a number of cases leading to the undermining of public trust in the whole disipline: Jones bases his evidence that UHI is not a significant issue on information (the Chinese station data) that cannot now be produced (if it ever existed), Mann bases his iconic graph on the use of “novel” statistical techniques that have been shown by all the statisticians who have subsequently examined them to be “inappropriate”, there appears to have been an attempt to deliberately obfuscate the significance of the divergence in tree ring date post 1960 which undermines all the paleoclimate tree ring observations and the IPPC appears to have deliberately retained the incorrerct glacier disappearance data in AR4 despite the error being pointed out during the review process.

    One can sympathise, a little, with Jones et.al. that “This doesn’t happen to other scientists” but that is not because other scientists don’t indulge in the same shenanigans, it’s because of the immediate and significant financial consequences arising from the climate science data.

    In conclusion, my take from Climategate is that scientists are also people and that just because a statement is made ex cathedra by a scientist does not mean that it is automatically true. As Bauer points out Science as in “text Book” science is pretty reliable having stood the test of time whereas “Frontier” science is anything but reliable and will be subject to constant revision and potentialy even refutation during its formative years whilst on its way to being ‘settled’

    • Nicely put Arthur.

    • Arthur Dent,
      One point: We have not seen all of anything. The cliamtegate files were selections made by the insiders at UEA. They are a tiny sample of what the self-declared ‘team’ was up to.
      We do not in fact know anything close to what all of the e-mails say. No one has bothered to find out if in fact the excuses and explanations offered by the ‘team’ for their hide the decline work, FOI conspiracy, data merging, true levels of doubt, what other industries they set out to shake down, manipulation of journals, peer review and the IPCC. We only have some nice hints, confessions, etc. The AGW community has worked hard to pretend this past year that the leaked docs are complete, private, and innocent. They in fact have proven not one of those claims.

  34. A thoughtful piece by Hulme, though I don’t fully agree.

    What struck me was Hulme’s more or less self evident point that there is more than science that influences policy making. But then he goes on to say that due to uncertainty in the science, there won’t be a global policy any time soon. Isn’t that in contradiction to what he had just said that contested values and ideals are also at stake?

    I think it’s not because of uncertainty in the science that the political process hampers, but mostly because of differences in values and circumstances, combined with the tragedy of the commons playing out on a global scale.

    See also

    • The uncertainty provides everyone across the political spectrum with strong scientific arguments to support their position. The myriad comments on this blog demonstrate this well: every argument has a good counter argument. This is a specific, rich form of uncertainty. The political process responds appropriately by doing nothing serious, as it is deadlocked.

      • David W,

        Everything in life is uncertain; would you advocate never doing anything? That uncertainty by itself is a reason to do nothing is a fallacy. You’re using uncertainty as a scapegoat to advocate for the policy direction that you prefer for reasons having more to do with values, risk assessment etc (as per Hulme’ s article amongst others).

      • Bart, what exactly is the fallacy? I think it is a sound principle that one not take strong action without good reason. In politics this means that a draw is a loss for those advocating strongl action. The scientific debate is a draw (per the comments on this blog, for example) and so is the policy debate. I see this as rational, but apparently you do not. How is it irrational or a fallacy?

      • You might also like to consider the law of unintended consequences during your deliberations.

      • After these deliberations, you might also like to consider an intended consequence of taking for granted the law of unintended consequences.

      • Interestingly, it’s the Greens who are “reactionary” in this context, seeking as they do to return to the status quo ante (or whatever utopian fantasia they perceive it to be). For your information, in the 5 general elections I’ve taken part in, I’ve voted twice for the right and three times for the left. But as Winston Churchill once said, “if you aren’t a liberal when you’re young, you have no heart. If you aren’t a Conservative when you’re older, you have no brain”.

        Either way, this debate is not about a political philosophy as far as I’m concerned. That you think it is is indicative of how you interpret environmentalist press releases, isn’t it?

      • The law of unintended consequences, or something like it, has already been used to argue for conservatism, e.g. by David Stove. It is one of the many, many ways to argue from ignorance. So appealing to this law explains why we’re into political philosophy out of a sudden.

      • The problem with your argument is that ignorance is rather a pejorative term. What you mean is “argument from lack of information”. That is to say you don’t understand well enough the consequences of your actions and therefore you are unable to predict with any certainty what the outcome of the mitigation you propose will be.

        Now given that one can argue the problem itself is defined with a great deal of uncertainty, what do you propose to be the normalising influence in your future predictions that will give you greater certainty? Why do you think that ignorance is absent from any proposal you might make? Aren’t you over-stating your case, or deliberately ignoring the uncertainty in it when rejecting the law of unintended consequences?

        The problem I have is what I’ve written above seems perfectly rational, reasonable and intelligible. But I don’t know what it is like to think like you, so I’m unable to see with any clarity why you would object to such a statement.

      • Robinson,

        I’m sorry if you believe that “ignorance” is a pejorative term. It really is the technical term that has currency in the fields under consideration now. The problem with conflating ignorance with “lack of information” is that knowledge is not the same thing as holding information. Denial, for instance, is a phenomenon where a person holds an information but ignores it, knowingly or not.

        Interestingly, we can point out that the term “law of unintended consequences” most of the times is formulated in a way to hide two symmetries.

        The first one is to insist on adverse consequences, and not on the beneficial ones. Unless I am mistaken, this is incidently why Merton was talking about a “law”, a law that has never really be well defined nor confirmed.

        The second one is to insist that action leads to more bad consequences than non-action. Since most of the interesting problems in policy-making belong to domains of partial information, this argues implicitely towards non-action. This is kinda irrational, as there is always a good reason to do something, unless you’re dead. If you’re not sure you’re machine ain’t broken, you might still wish to oil it from time to time.

        In any case, the most important matter that you are discussing is underlied by the expression “understanding not well enough.” It would be interesting to know how this gets decided, by whom, and for what reasons. Setting an ad hoc criteria as what counts as sufficient information certainly would look like cherry picking. This is not something one should do unless you’re a cherry-picker, of course.

      • David W,

        I find emitting gigatons of a known greenhouse gas into the atmosphere so its composition and radiative characteristics change beyond anything seen by humans quite a strong action, which we shouldn’t continue to engage in without considering its positive and negative effects carefully.

      • I agree we should consider it and that is why we have spent about $50 billion globally over the last 20 years investigating it. That is a lot of action, but it is inconclusive, which is why we are here today. But is strongly disagree that we should not continue our emissions, or should have somehow stopped 20 years ago, while we do this consideration. Fire is still the basis for our civilization and unresolved speculation is no reason to change that. This is precisely why nothing serious has happened beyond a huge amount of careful consideration. The human system is surprisingly rational.

      • Uncertainty or no, we all –eventually– are forced to take a stand on something, whether we want to or not, and the “reasons” we use to justify our position can be very, very unique and personal. People are strange little creatures.

      • Sorry but I do not consider myself a “strange little creature.” Nor do I see any reason to put “reasons” in quotes, suggesting that they are somehow not reasons, but rather something unspecified and irrational. The issue is public policy, not personal stands on public policy. Society does not have to act on every concern anyone has and in fact it only does when enough people are convinced. Uncertainty means you do not have the votes.

      • Uncertainty can also be used as information in developing robust policies that at least consider low probability high impact events, while not letting them dominate the policy. This is Part II of decision making under climate uncertainty (forthcoming I hope in a week).

      • I look forward to it. Generally speaking the rational policy for such events its to ignore them, there being far too many to take any action on them. Imagination is like that. It is important not to confuse this low probability case with the insurance case, where the probability of occurrence is actually very high and the only uncertainty is to whom they will occur.

      • Judith, have you read Talib’s “The Black Swan”? He has made a study of such events (related to economics).

      • My comment was relative to Bart’s comment to your last comment. Sought to add to the view, scope of what had already been said. Was not refuting either of you. My point, in a nutshell, was that people are extremely complicated and very hard to grasp. “Reasons” was an attempt to be vague, because people can (and do) justify anything with the most incredible logic. Sorry I wasn’t clear enough about what I was trying to say.

      • Bart,

        Conversely, using the precautionary principle inappropriately results in a loss of useful capital (intellectual, political, monetary, and otherwise.) Let’s assume (as I do) that the climate scientists are generally correct, that running an open ended experiment in CO2 emissions isn’t a great idea.

        This doesn’t mean that cap and trade or raising the price of gas to fund nonsense that doesn’t work (windmills, PV, etc.) is a good idea either. Not only do these solutions fail to solve anything, but they are 100% ineffective at addressing what the (e.g.) Chinese do. In that case doing NOTHING would be better; at least we’re not blowing capital for no effect.

        So sure, when given a choice between a) business as usual or b) wasting capital on that which can’t work, the only rational choice is (a) since at least there’s a chance that if the correct option set (c,d*) comes along later we can at least afford to do it.

        (*c) replacement of coal with nuclear, (d) embarking on solar from space capability, i.e. achievable things with scalable energy options.

  35. In a completely different area I came across this interesting piece


    I think what we have learnt is that too many climate scientists are in the “Get ahead” camp.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks to the link to an excellent (and wryly amusing) piece of clear thinking by Professor Hendry.

      And in case any warmists are scared of reading it, he is an economist and does not mention climate change or anything remotely connected with it at all. You can be seen accessing it without fear of retribution. Not even if you were to go down a dark alley with Mr Santer.

  36. What have we learned from Climategate?


  37. Some of the scientists in the Yale Forum article echo what I thought was the main lesson from “climategate”, namely that there are moneyed and/or ideological interests that will use any means possible to attack the scientists and institutions doing the science. We would have a more complete picture if we were able to identify the hacker(s) (and I use the term “hacker” because, at a minimum, the perpetrator(s) did get into the RC site).

    • And second lesson: most journalists will be unable to focus on the big picture while covering the “controversy” (like the horse race journalism we see during US Presidential race).

    • Please specifically identify these monyed/ideological interests.

      I want to apply to them for a big fat grant as my dog needs to eat tonight. And I rather fancy an AEP trip to Cancun. Maybe its still not too late to book.

      Surely the whole edifice of Climatology is based on sound verifiable experimental evidence and unshakeable theoretical proof (*), so simply coming up with a few names and addresses for people you guys have been shouting about for over a decade now should be well within your skill levels and the work of but a few moments?

      I thank you in advance.

      (*) For non Brit readers – irony/tongue in cheek. An oratorical construction commonly used in Britain. The writer means the opposite of what he says. See Monty Python eg.

    • When in doubt (or in pressing need of distraction), blaming the devil works well for the faithful and gullible.
      Until you can reconcile the FACT that climate science is receiving billions, a fawning press and near bullet proof political standing, the habit of AGW true believers to invoke the devil to explain resistance only leaves ht eon invoking the conspiratorial worry bead looking very feeble.

    • ” I use the term “hacker” because, at a minimum, the perpetrator(s) did get into the RC site…”

      Sure of that?

    • Deech56 Sheesh

    • If you’d removed your blinkers before posting, you’d have contemplated the role of Goldman Sachs in promoting carbon trading, as well as the billions of dollars given by Governments and NGO’s to promote the paradigm. This dwarfs (by several orders of magnitude) the money competing interests have put up to promote the counter-view. Indeed off the top of my head I can think of two US billionaire’s promoting AGW (Ted Turner and George Soros). I don’t know if Cameron and Gore are billionaires, but I’m pretty sure they’ve been promoting it too – and more than likely putting up their own cash to do so.

      It’s entirely down to your personal value system that you consider Soros’s money to be white (good), but Exxon’s money to be black (evil). So I think your posts is full of hypocritical piety; much like the guff I read in comments at RealClimate (hosted by Fenton Communications, a left-wing PR firm) or at ClimateProgress (George Soros funded).

  38. Disagree about Pachauri. He seems to have become indignant about the matter. I’ve only seen articles where he has defended those involved in climategate and repeated some of the comments Mann and jones have said. Maybe I’m missing things that you are aware of.

    I would say that the list of people whobhave learned something from it is unfortunately small. I would say that you were already coming to some important realizations before climategate occurrd and that it merely seems to have coworker things for you. Of course that’s merely my opinion.

    • “Disagree about Pachauri”.

      Well, to be fair, he has changed his “views” about “peer review”. Watch Pachauri’s mouth – as his feet march right into it:

      Nov. 9, 2009:

      “Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin.”

      Apr. 20, 2010:

      “AR4 cited approximately 18,000 peer-reviewed publications. It also included a limited amount of gray (or non-peer-reviewed) literature”

      May 14, 2010:

      [Pachauri] said the media and other sections of society had misunderstood the role of such information, labelling it grey literature, “as if it was some form of grey muddied water flowing down the drains”.

      Sources at:

  39. I prefer impact analysis rather than saying what “we” have learned, since “we” is hopelessly vague. On a population basis AGW is a political policy issue, not a scientific one. You don’t see millions of people debating string theory or water on mars. But it is not the skeptics that brought science into politics, that is the Environmentalist’s method and has been for full 50 years. They sowed the wind of alarm and now they are reaping the whirlwind of popular scientific skepticism.

    Climategate was the trigger, an isolated event that supported a blanket view which millions of people were struggling to articulate. Skepticism suddenly found a popular voice (much to its surprise).

    Given the vast political nature of the issue, I have no problem with people who know no science expressing AGW skepticism as best they can. That they may be technically wrong is irrelevant. The environmental movement played the science card to the masses, in conjunction with a well meaning vision for political domination of energy policy, so they deserve the mass reaction. As Mencken said, Democracy is the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

    • The French came up with a beautiful solution sometime ago to deal with opportunists such as we have seen of late. It ought to be rolled out of their National Museum’s Annex, placed on a ship, and put in up on The Mall in D.C.. Then we’ll really see some heads roll.

      • Would you care to specify who you would wish to use this apparatus upon?

        Surely you are not advocating the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? For that could get you into very serious trouble……from people with guns and things and a robust approach to threatmakers.

      • Those who would deceive! They who have their hands in our pockets! Them what would make the UN King, Judge, and Jury of us all! Physists what claim to be Climatists and only Climatists and nothing but Climatists! Climatists what claim to be evangelists! Thieves who claim to be Climatists! Come to think of it… that old French thing’s going to get quite a workout. We’re going to need a good PR outfit to make sure we cash in on all the potential this is going to have: TV, Momentos, Refreshments, Stadium Blankets, this is going to be BIG… hummmmmm… if we add currupt politicians to the climatists there’s no telling how much this might bring in. Think we may be able to pay off the US National Debt?

      • Well revolutions are all right in their place, and they do strange things across the Channel in France. The last one didn’t really have a happy ending. And was only provoked by a bunch of uppity ‘radicals’ in the American Colonies ;-) . But very good business for knitting needle producers I believe.

        On balance I don’t recommend this course of action, tempting though it is :-(

      • I believe that this is an honest debate among rational people of good will, at both the scientific and policy levels. In fact it is one of the great debates of history. Advocacy is not deceit.

    • But it is not the skeptics that brought science into politics, that is the Environmentalist’s method and has been for full 50 years.

      This is a politically lodaded, partisan statement, no different than the partisanship evidenced in the “well funded denial lobby” silliness of your antipodal opposites. The public is and has been bombarded with very wrong “science” advocacy from all sides, e.g. nutritional opinion masquerading as scientific fact, the lipid (dietary fat) theory, and so on, which is now causing all manner of govermental intrusion (as if listing the grams of fat in an item has any meaning whatsoever.) The enviromentalist crowd isn’t unique; in fact, they at least seem honest in their advocacy (they believe!) as compared to the big money machinations behind the curtains that result in a population that is taking Lipitor.

      • “This is a politically loaded, partisan statement, no different than the partisanship evidenced in the “well funded denial lobby” silliness of your antipodal opposites.”

        Some might say that “politics is as the air we breath”, or part of all we do. Others might rightly argue that our ability to communicate is limited and we are often misunderstood. I, for one, find his point a good one and your’s weak. (As far as I’m given to understand by your choice of words.)

      • I, for one, find his point a good one and your’s weak.

        Well, of course you do — your posts indicate a similar ideology, which leans toward the notion that climate science is a leftist plot (or at least some of the scientists are plotting leftists.) Meanwhile poster anthropoceneendgame advances an ideology wherein skeptics = denialists = unthinking twits = dupes of a vast energy consortium conspiracy. These are ideological extremes, and neither can be fully correct.

        Meanwhile the claim that politicisation of science is the exclusive domain of environmentists is wrong. Do they do this? Yes, of course. Are they alone? No. Science is abused, subverted and twisted by corporate interests as well. Failure to acknowledge the reality of modern political abuse of science by ALL sides results in hardened ideologies indistingishable from the very dogma Dr Curry has been writing about.

      • Quite right G.L. I never meant to claim that the environmental movement is unique in this respect. But transitioning to a carbon free economy is quite a bit bigger than labeling food. I don’t know of any political movement in history that was both science based and this big, not even close. We have never seen anything like this before. Note too that there is no non-partisan way to talk about this situation, so calling what I say partisan is an empty criticism.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      “I have no problem with people who know no science expressing AGW skepticism as best as they can. That they may be technically wrong is irrelevant”.
      Why would you have a problem?
      You’ve summed up exactly the state of affairs here and throughout the rest of the blogosphere.

      • You love broad generalizations, don’t you AEG?

      • Except of course that the ignorance is symmetric on all sides. My point is that this is basically a public policy debate, not a scientific one. Everybody gets a say because everybody gets a vote. Quoting or attacking skeptics (or warmers) who get the science wrong completely misses the point.

      • So to return to the original issue, what Climategate did was to give the skeptical masses a voice, a way to express their skepticism. The AGW masses have had a voice for a long time: save the earth from global warming. It is the new balance of power that has taken everyone by surprise.

  40. ” Underwater Suspension Tunnels ” are all the planet needs to place our global temperatures back to pre-industrial revolution values.

  41. So what do I think we’ve learned from Climategate?

    Too much! Not enough!
    In the too much category – People are human, VERY human.
    In the not enough category – we don’t even know yet what we don’t know; every day is a new beginning.

    PS: Are we doomed? I don’t think so.

  42. Tempest. Tea pot.

  43. What have we learned?

    Faced with incomplete/inconsistent information people will fill the void with all sorts of ideas and always have.
    One need look no further then the recent ‘missile’ launch off of California controversy. Glen Beck is still blathering that we aren’t being told the truth.

    The lessons from Climategate should have been that if one isn’t working hard at being open and transparent folks will assign a reason as to why you are not being open and transparent.

    The reason folks assign is unlikely to be flattering.

    Unfortunately, for some prominent climate scientists, rather then assign ‘human nature’ as the reason people have concluded less then flattering motivations for a lack of openness and transparency, they themselves have fallen victim to the natural human tendency and concluded ‘it must be a conspiracy’.

    So what I have learned from Climate-gate, is that Humanity is supposed to make trillion dollar decisions based on the pronouncements of a group of climate scientists that believe in half baked conspiracy theories.

    I might as well make decisions based on whatever Rosy O’Donnell or Oliver Stone believes.

  44. “What have we learned from Climategate?”

    That there is no “we” and the large majority of AGW proponents are in denial about the whole affair.

    From a psychological standpoint this is understandable. From an ethics viewpoint it is a matter of concern, because the media and politicians are part of the big silence on the issue. Hurredly concluded ‘independendent inquiries’ which weren’t independent, and didn’t inquire very hard at all do little to reassure the public, who are rightly becoming more dismissive of science funding administrations which fail to police themselves properly.

    On the other hand, informed sceptics learned a lot from the released emails and files. As ell as the direct evidence contained they are a treasure trove for those interested in the social anthropology of science.

  45. ClimateGate at best was good entertainment, at worst embarrassment for few scientists; if only they can learn to take themselves less seriously, than science could move forward.
    I have no doubt that the climate science will be always more wrong than right, so lets accept with good grace whatever the nature has in stock for us and than make best out of it. ‘Climate engineering’ is a contemplation of an inferior intelligence.

  46. This one is interesting, from the Financial Times : “Top climate scientists share their outlook.”

    • Its a year old, of interest since the interviews are pre-Climategate.
      Note the article employs the hostile tenor of arrogant distain toward, and implied dismissal of, scepticism that was universal in the MSM prior to Climategate, and which abated only briefly and sporadically afterwards.

    • I thought Wunsch was interesting. He scared the holy crap out of me.

      Don’t have sex.

      “It’ll be catastrophic.” – Wunsch

    • From the above link:
      According to broad international agreement, a global warming increase beyond 2°C is unacceptable (1). Because of the physics of the climate system, we must ensure that global emissions of greenhouse gases peak and start to decline rapidly within a decade in order to have a reasonable chance of meeting the 2°C goal (2). Humankind has waffled and delayed for decades; further delay risks serious consequences for people and the ecosystems on which we rely.

      No need to do anything. The action has been taken already.

  47. I don’t care what you call it…trick or strategy or algorithm…my problem is not the word. My problem is appending a high-resolution temperature ensemble to a nonsensical mishmash of cherry-picked and filtered proxies–and pretending that is science. My problem is hiding or deleting or down-playing divergence problems in proxies without tossing out the rest of the proxy too. Only a progressive activist would throw out data because it is inconvenient or contradicts a beloved theory. It makes me angry.

    • Plain speaking is the only way to go really.

      I can only reason that Mann is such a crap ‘scientist’ he doesnt realise just how crap his ‘science’ is. Paleodendroclimatology is on a par with reading tea leaves in my opinion.

  48. Stephen Pruett

    I personally learned a lot from climategate. My father, probably typical of college educated John Q Public, asked if there was any truth to this hack revealing that global warming was bogus. My response to him was that there were thousands of people working on it who generally agreed and e-mails about a few couldn’t possibly counteract that. Then I read a nice selection of the e-mails. I was truly dismayed, and the more I learned, the worse it seemed.

    I think there are a very large number of people like me, who were transformed from complacent accepters of IPCC’s narrative to solid skeptics (personally, I like that descriptor). It makes sense for a number of reasons to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, but whenever someone tries to use climate disruption to support drastic economy-disrupting measures, there will be a large number of people who will not sit quietly while that happens-that is an important change caused by climategate.

    Interestingly enough, the response of climate scientists and some of the broader scientific community to climategate seemed designed to increase skepticism and confirm that something is deeply wrong in this field. Defending “the trick to hide the decline” (it’s indefensible no matter how trick or hide or decline are defined)? A “peer reviewed” paper in PNAS to “prove” that “our” scientists are better than “your” scientists and therefore must be right about carbon dioxide and warming? Editorials in Nature, Science, and other bastions of objective, dispassionate science that did little more than add to the name-calling tone of the debate? I don’t see a conspiracy here, just a number of people with no PR skills who seem unduly defensive and seem to be trying to maintain rigid conformity with regard to findings that are overflowing with uncertainty. If I had read a novel describing the events of the last few years, I would have found it all highly implausible (a movie supporting AGW in which children are blown up?); but that’s what keeps life interesting, isn’t it?

  49. What I’ve learned is that many can’t tell the difference between responsible journalism and science on the one hand, and smoke and mirrors on the other.

    For a younger and much wiser perspective than Judith Curry’s, you might try here. “This little tussle about the integrity of a few researchers could have consequences millennia from now – if we let it.”

    • Yep, only smart people like you can understand English.

    • Here’s some English it doesn’t take a PhD to understand:

      printf,1,’The data after 1960 should not be used. The tree-ring density’
      printf,1,’records tend to show a decline after 1960 relative to the summer’
      printf,1,’temperature in many high-latitude locations. In this data set’
      printf,1,’this “decline” has been artificially removed in an ad-hoc way, and’
      printf,1,’this means that data after 1960 no longer represent tree-ring
      printf,1,’density variations, but have been modified to look more like theprintf,1,’observed temperatures.

      There is a lot more there that is plainly understandable to the layman.


    • I think if we polled people in say October 1962 as to whether the little tussle between Khrushchev and Kennedy could have consequences a millennium from now the answer would have been NO, because humanity was lucky to have survived to November 1962.

    • Eric.

      The writer you cite, cited a comment my roommate CTM ( charles the moderator) made on Nov 19th at 116pm.

      She failed to research that quote. She failed to check the timeline. she failed to check what had already been published by the very few people who knew about the file before that time. The facts were all out there back in Jan 2009 about the events that led up to that quote. But, she didnt bother reading the background material. Before I ever wrote a single word about the mails i read them all. twice. Before I ever wrote the book I read the entire climate audit blog including all the comments. I read a good portion of RC. I read every science paper I commented on.

      if you read her first few paragraphs you will come away with the idea
      that CTM and others had alerted a vast army of people. That’s not the case:
      you can read my account of the first two days at climate audit, or in the book, or read CTMs account here:


      • Anthony Watts: “I sat down in Dulles airport, connected to WiFi, researched and wrote this article, called two people, CEI’s Chris Horner to check legality issues, and Marc Morano … to give him a heads up”

      • Good that some people are prepared to take risks to get the public informed.

      • Well, one thing charles and I did agree on was that CEI and heartland should not be the first to know. We have much more respect for Revkin.

      • yes. Done after I let the files out. not before.

        Kate used charles quote, written at 116pm on the 19th. Anthony posted AFTER charles wrote his comment to the hacker.and called people after charles made his comment. just prior to boarding the plane (prolly the 1:45pm). You see it would not make sense to write a comment at 116pm on the 19th saying ” we are looking at the matter” if Anthony’s post is already up. (aprox 137pm)

        If she wants to get the facts straight and the timeline correct I have no issue with an interpretation of those facts, but first get the timeline correct. On the 19th at 116pm charles did not know that anthony had called those guys.

        In anycase, if you want to make a case for conservative conspiracy its better if you get all the facts correct.

        I contacted the NYT first. my peeps. Anthony hangs with a different crowd. His peeps. Now truth be told the liberal press ignored it. But when charles wrote his comment he knew of only these people being contacted: mcintyre,fuller,lucia,jeffid,revkin,me.

        I prefer a completly accurate record. Its a much more interesting story.

    • Eric,
      I love the advice given on that blog for commenters:

      “Don’t smear someone’s reputation based on pure speculation. This includes, but is not limited to, climate scientists.”
      “Please refrain from personal attacks ”

      Pity they don’t take their own advice when writing editorial opinion about climategate ‘hackers’ (unproven) and ‘deniers’ (Ah, the holocaust again, how scientifically dispassionate).

      • It’s unproven that there were climategate hackers or that a climate denial movement exists? Are you serious?

      • Yep.

        Many of us with an IT background are reasonably convinced that it was a whistleblower working within UEA or an associated institution that legally had access to the e-mails who did the world a service by revealing the grubby underside of ‘climate science’. So far removed from the idealised form you seem to believe in.

        Over at Anthony, you can even read some well-argued speculation about that individual’s identity.

        You cannot ‘hack’ that which you are entitled to have anyway.

        As to a ‘climate denial movement’, such a thing has not manifested itself to me since I started researching AGW in response to ‘The Science is Settled’. If there is one, it keeps itself remarkably quiet – which surely rather misses the point.

        But you are convinced that it exists. Please present your evidence. The null hypothesis is that it doesn’t.

      • Chris is confused about the difference between some kind of organised ‘movement’, and a large number of people with disparate motivations, knowledge and interpretations who all see a yawning gulf between the uncertainty of the science and the 95% B.S. of the IPCC pronunciations.

      • It’s unproven that there were climategate hackers or that a climate denial movement exists? Are you serious?

        Rational Legal argument:

        The ‘Scientific Evidence’ is inadmissible because it obtained by illegal means.

        (Nature must obey man-made law)

  50. Brandon Shollenberger

    I don’t think Climategate showed anything of value in the overall debate. The sort of things it showed were already known. All Climategate did was make them more widely known.

    What I find far more telling is the response to Climategate. The reactions to Cliamtegate tell us far more than Climategate itself. For example, that ClimateSight article is complete rubbish, yet it is accepted and praised by many. I’m sure we could find plenty of other examples, but naming names isn’t worthwhile.

    The response to Climategate has shown us, quite clearly, nothing could possibly force climate science to clean up its act. We can no longer say, “Once people realize this is happening, things will get fixed.” Lies and misrepresentations will still be used to defend bad behavior, no matter what. This will allow bad behavior to continue, which will in turn undermine good faith efforts to get a handle on the global warming issue.

    There will be no silver bullet which fixes all that is wrong with climate science. All that is needed is some honest reflection, admittance of mistakes and effort to correct things. It won’t happen.

  51. An extract from an old but interesting essay here:
    “‘Shoddy science’ or ‘sloppy scholarship’ is a way of describing research work that does not measure up to a hypothetical set of ideal standards. ‘Shoddy science’ includes things such as poor experimental design, bungled statistics, incomplete data sheets, improperly tested hypotheses, inaccurate reference to previous work, uncorrected minor mistakes in computer programmes, failure to test alternative hypotheses, and conclusions that do not reflect the body of work. Shoddy science is widespread . Lots of it gets into scientific journals, and much more is rejected. But an occasional rejection is about the only penalty for poor work. More common is the reward of promotion for producing so much of it. The boundary between ‘shoddy science’ and what is sometimes called fraud is a fuzzy one. No scientist publishes all the raw data. The raw data must be assessed for quality (discrepant data are thrown out as being due to bad runs), and then suitably processed (transformed theoretically, smoothed, reorganised), and then filtered (only some data are selected to be shown) before publication. Appropriately done, this is standard practice. Inappropriately done (usually according to someone else’s assessment), this process can be called cooking, trimming, fiddling, fudging or forging the data.”

  52. Climatologists are never guilty of ‘poor experimental design’ . They have never designed any experiments at all.

    They avoid experiments like the plague since they might allow Mother Nature to speak directly to the people rather than via the High Priests who claim to be the only ones to know her mind. They use various secret and arcane techniques, known nowhere other than in Deep Climatology to supposedly reveal her secrets to the masses and to prophecy the End of the World if suitably enormous sacrifices aren’t made to Her.

    A real experiment..something like using the climate models to make a prediction that can be observed (or not) within a few years, rather then beyond any human lifetime, would be far too dangerous. They tried it with the ‘Hot Spot’, and the wheels fell off, so no chance of them trying another one unless the are totally forced to.

    PS: Judith promised a thread on the similarities between religious belief and AGW belief. Any news on a target date?

    • Per your PS.
      As Lindzen has observed, climatology was a very, very specialised and arcane backwater scientific community prior to the ‘global warming’ enviro/political crusade. It is the latter that had principally motivated and sustained recruitment. Climategate represents the greatest threat to the ?majority of the younger generation of researchers who have entrusted their ideological belief and career security on ‘dangerous’ AGW, less so on their political cheerleaders.

    • Sometime in the next few weeks I hope. actually the thread will be “religion, politics, and climate change.”

  53. What have we learnt from climate gate?

    Well it has allowed us to reconstruct in more detail some stories that were at one time rather opaque. Let’s take one little story, the Michaels and Mcitrick paper from 2007 which argued that local trends in the land surface record –as adjusted by the CRU for UHI effects – showed a remarkable relationship with a variety of socio-economic variables, suggesting that UHI was inadequately accounted for. We now know:
    1) that Phil Jones thought the paper was garbage and said that it would be kept out of the forthcoming IPCC review even if he had to redefine peer review
    2) that discussion of it in AR4 was only included after reviewer protest and that spurious reasons were given for ignoring its conclusion in AR4
    3) that Gavin Schmidt wrote a paper critical of M&M not in the journal where it was published, but in the International Journal of Climatology 2009 (one can’t help speculating that this was done to avoid M&M having a more or less automatic right of reply)

    5) the paper was very cursorily reviewed by Phil Jones, whose temperature series were being criticised, and his only substantive comment was

    “This paper is timely as it clearly shows that the results claimed in dML06 and MM07 are almost certainly spurious. It is important that such papers get written and the obvious statistical errors highlighted. Here the problem relates to the original belief that there were many more spatial degrees of freedom. This is a common mistake and it will be good to have another paper to refer to when reviewing any more papers like dML06 and MM07. There is really no excuse for these sorts of mistakes to be made, that lead to erroneous claims about problems with the surface temperature record.” See http://www.climate-gate.org/cru/documents/ schimdt.doc

    4) However the “common mistake” at least as applied to M&M is not a mistake at all. Schimdt 2009 claims that there is spatial autocorrelation in the dependent variable (the regional temperature trends) and possibly in some of the independent variables. But he ignores the only autocorrelation that really matters – that in the residuals of the fitted equation. A good reviewer who knew something about statistics would have asked for tests of the equation residuals for spatial autocorrelation (the answer was that there was little strong evidence for residual autocorrelation and none of the M&M conclusions were affected if spatial autocorrelation was accounted for using standard methods (and not the ad hoc degrees of adjustment formulation which seems popular in these areas of climate science). S/he would also have noted that the Schmidt confidence intervals actually showed that using models instead of observation did NOT explain the M&M correlations, quite the reverse in fact.
    5) Mckitrick’s reply to the journal was turned down on what seem to be completely inadequate grounds – though now in the process of being published elsewhere.

    What do I conclude? These things do happen all the time. But there seems to be a pattern of things like this happening in these areas of climatology and though I am a physics layman I am not a statistics layman and Jones and Schmidt do not seem to know what they are talking about in statistics. It did surprise me, but that’s how it looks to me. Combine that with over-egged “certainty” and arrogance and my trust has gone.

    • You are wrong about almost everything (but don’t let actual knowledge get in the way of your theorising).

      1) Phil Jones was correct.

      2) I don’t know who wrote the line in the IPCC report or why. But that too was correct.

      3) IJoC was chosen because that was where de Laat and Maurelis (2006) was published – which was the subject of half the paper. Given that I was criticising two papers (that and MM07, JGR) together (for obvious reasons), I fail to see how I could publish in two places at once.

      5) I had no input into the choice of reviewers. All reviews (over two rounds) were positive, and substantial additional work was done to satisfy them (which made the paper better).

      4) MM07 did not take into account spatial correlation, exactly as I stated. Indeed, in the latest variation on this rather tired theme, McKitrick actually admits this is the case (Mckitrick, 2010, Table 3), so I don’t understand why you are defending a point that Mckitrick has already conceded. Another test of this, is simply calculating the spatial auto-correlation (here). In retrospect, it would have been better to include this directly in Schmidt (2009), but since it can be calculated directly from the data provided, it should not be too important.

      4b) You misstate my argument completely. The tests for significance in MM07 are spurious (and this holds for McKitrick (2010) and the new upcoming paper). The null he takes is simply not related to the real world and so his rejection of that null is irrelevant to his thesis. (Remember that rejection of a null in classical statistics says nothing about the validity of any alternate hypotheses). The sign of the (spurious) correlations are irrelevant.

      5) McKitrick and Nierenberg’s ‘reply’ was submitted not as a comment on my paper, but as a stand-alone study and was rejected on very good grounds (i.e. it was mostly incorrect). I was not a reviewer (something that you might be troubled about given your concerns in point 1 – at least if you are in the least bit consistent). (see here).

      What should you conclude? That people who are determined to publish poor studies will find ways to do so (even if they have to go to obscure journals that have editors that don’t know anything about climate physics – and note I was not asked to review that paper either). Also, note that the influence any paper is something that occurs over time and is not simply a function of its initial publication. Despite Michaels’ attempt to resurrect this result, it will not stand any test of time, and it will be forgotten like all of his previous ‘bombshells’. This is not because anyone is personally picking on Michaels, but it is because doing science to further an agenda (instead of letting the results guide your conclusions) is a simply recipe for bad science.

      For fun, you might try actually doing the ‘correlation of socio-economic variables and temperature records’ that McKitrick keeps talking about (which is not what is in the papers by the way). In doing so, you will find that the correlation with UAH MSU-LT is actually much higher than it is with the CRU data (r2=0.49 with UAH vs r2=0.35). Does that mean that the satellite data are ‘contaminated’? I will patiently await your answer.

      • Gavin,

        2) I don’t know who wrote the line in the IPCC report or why. But that too was correct.

        could you cite the literature than backs up the line? I’ve been unable to locate it.

        In general I think MM is mistaken ( for other reasons) but I can find no support in the literature for the claim that Jones/trenberth made.

        This issue could be fixed by

        1. adding the citation
        2. withdrawing the sentence.

        Its not that big of a deal, but it should be done correctly.

      • Gavin,
        I fail to see where I am wrong. Let’s take this in bite-sized chunks. Do you agree that what matters in an M&M type regression is whether or not there is autocorrelation in the regression RESIDUALS? Autocorrelation in the dependent variable is a feature of what is to be explained. So if the independent variables do a good job they will be able to explain what is going and leave a “nicely behaved” residual. It’s if the residual is not nicely behaved that problems arise. In particular autocorrelation shows there is some systematic influence on the dependent variable that the independent variables are not picking up. Your article did not make this distinction between autocorrelation in the residuals and elsewhere. Can we agree so far?

      • What did you not understand about the statement that the residuals can be seen here (Hint. Try clicking on the link!).

        Or did you not read Table 3 in McKitrick (2010)?

        So, yes, I do accept that autocorrelations in the residuals are important. And indeed they are there. As I said above, I was remiss in not adding this to the original paper, but my conclusion stands.

        This is not to agree that an MM-type of calculation is useful or interesting though, but rather that under their own assumptions, it fails this very obvious test. The real issue is how they specify their null hypothesis.

    • “one can’t help speculating that this was done to avoid M&M having a more or less automatic right of reply”

      Sort of like, Mann et al’s comment about SB03 appeared not in Climate Research, but the AGU in-house Eos.

  54. Basically, I view Climategate as a tempest in a teapot – but nevertheless a very deliberate attempt on the part of somebody to intimidate, distract, and/or embarrass a targeted group of climate scientists, and to sow doubt, mistrust, and confusion within the minds of the general public with respect to global warming and global climate change.

    This attempt at intimidation has failed to convict or identify anyone of scientific misconduct, it has not resulted in a single paper on climate science to be withdrawn from publication, nor has it changed any scientific conclusion about global warming, or any other aspect of climate science.

    So long as climate scientists stick to the basic facts and physics, maintaining that reliable course will eventually prove the climate science case. With each year of additional data, the statistical basis for global warming becomes stronger and stronger. With each scientific publication on climate change, the understanding of the physical processes that drive global climate change also becomes clearer and more compelling.

    Nature operates according to the laws of physics, and that is the only sensible approach to be studying the global warming problem. Opinions that are not in accord with the laws of physics, are just that – opinions, for whatever else they may be worth.

    Climategate hysteria was never about the laws of physics, or how these laws of physics are applied and used in studying climate, hence there is no lasting impact of Climategate on anything that is truly important or significant.

    • You are correct that not one paper has been withdrawn.

      What has been withdrawn, however, is a great deal of respect and trust among the “general public”. What is truly disheartening is that the incident has tarnished not only those whose involved, but the many more who have defended them.

      If you find that insignificant, oh well.

      • Those who have so ineptly tried to defend the indefensible were not ‘tarnished by the incident’. It was self-tarnishment.

        They had the choice to maintain their integrity and speak against the misbehaviour. As Judith Curry did, to her great credit. Or to turn a blind eye and pretend that nothing untoward had happened. Even to support the wrongdoers in public.

        I don’t doubt that in the incestuous world of Climatological politics and career progression etc that to take the honest and right view required a certain amount of courage. Judith has written eloquently about the difficulties she encountered.

        But difficult choices have sometimes to be made. Explicitly choosing to support the perpetrators was the soft option, lacking moral courage. If those who did so find their reputations have been stained – so be it. They could have chosen otherwise.

    • ‘a very deliberate attempt on the part of somebody to intimidate, distract, and/or embarrass a targeted group of climate scientists, and to sow doubt, mistrust, and confusion within the minds of the general public with respect to global warming and global climate change’ …….

      which has succeeded spectacularly well by doing no more than publishing those ‘scientists’ own writings (unabridged), and allowing the public at large to see what had gone on behind closed doors.

      If that indeed has embarrassed the scientists, and sowed doubt, mistrust and confusion, then they really have nobody to blame but themselves. As is so well put in a different context ‘if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime’.

    • “Nature operates according to the laws of physics”

      No, this is upside down. The laws of physics more or less reflect the way Nature operates, though every now and then they turn out to be inadequate to the task when newly observed natural phenomena defy them.

      • Further thoughts:
        Andy Lacis:
        “Nature operates according to the laws of physics, and that is the only sensible approach to be studying the global warming problem. Opinions that are not in accord with the laws of physics, are just that – opinions, for whatever else they may be worth. “

        Often too, it turns out we have misappplied the laws of physics, or failed to take account of not so obvious variables.

        The hubris is breathtaking. This is why we get Kevin Trenberth saying:

        “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
        travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”

        Notice the order of assumptions here: The data must be wrong, therefore our observing system must be inadequate. I’m sure our observing system is less than perfect, but did it really not occur to Kevin that maybe, just maybe, the empirical results were showing him that the current co2 global warming theory is up the spout?

        In science, “experimentum summas judex” as Einstein said. You can have many observations which support a theory, but just one conflicting observation can falsify it. But in climate science, it appears that theory trumps experiment, and reality itself.

        Climate scientists could clearly benefit from some historical perspective and a course in philosophy of science.

      • tallbloke, have you read Trenberth’s paper in which he discusses the lack of good observations to close the energy budget?

      • I haven’t, do you have a link?
        I’ve studied some papers from Southampton University’s oceanology dept on the same subject however, and they make very interesting reading.

        I don’t think it’s just an observational problem anyway. Energy doesn’t always move around as heat. There are changes in ocean kinetics which we are unlikely to be able to observe meaningfully on a global basis to consider too.

      • Tallbloke, Trenberth’s paper An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy is a must-read if you want to understand his “travesty” comment.

      • Thanks! I’ll read and report back tomorrow.

      • “The net imbalance is
        estimated to be ~0.5 PW (0.9 W m^2, 0.4%) owing to
        the responses of the climate system (Figure 4). These
        values are small enough to yet be directly measured from
        space, but their consequences can be seen and measured,
        at least in principle”


        There are a lot of glaringly unsupported assumptions in that paper, and some other sins of commission and omission, some numerical, some semantic. I’ll deconstruct it on my blog at this thread which is progress:

      • Why did he say the CERES data was ‘adjusted’ for CO2 forcing? Why would the CERES data need to be adjusted for any reason other than the ones necessary to get correct data?

      • Because they have a habit of adjusting everything in line with their assumptions. Which in this case is that ~1.6 W/m^2 is getting buried ‘somewhere’ in the climate system and will jump out to bite our collective a$$es when we least expect it. Hence the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the missing heat. I suspect it left the building via an unsecured window some time ago.

      • Based on your interactions with SoD, I’ll take his evidence that Kiehl and Trenberth are correct, and you’re wrong.

      • Spoken like a true partisan. S.o.D doesn’t present any evidence that K&T are correct, he just invites you to intuitively draw the inference by association with the correctness of his simple model.

        And you fell for it.

      • Seeing as how you won’t accept that SoD’s simple model is correct, getting to Kiehl and Trenberth will be impossible for you.

      • Excuse me?
        which part of
        “as my comment on your previous thread makes clear, I have no problem with the basic theoretical physics. What I’m trying to establish is the applicability of the basic physics to Keihl and Trenberth’s radiation budget diagram.”

        Do you not understand?

  55. Climategate, first and foremost, taught me that climate scientists are no longer free to communicate their findings without the threats of character assassinations, or even physical threat, in the face of people who have motives that extend well beyond the institutions of science. To be sure, anti-science in the climate arena had been round before this– my first exposure to this was probably the “Great Global Warming Swindle” documentary, but I have not before seen such a coordinated effort to sow confusion or create public doubt– not by attacking the physical science– but by illegally hacking and posting private communications and then distorting their meaning. As Kate said well, “This was not the work of a computer-savvy teenager that liked to hack security systems for fun. Whoever the thief was, they knew what they were looking for. They knew how valuable the emails could be in the hands of the climate change denial movement.”

    In the end, Dr. Andy Lacis is spot on. Scientists are concerned physical reality, and how the world operates, which is confined to the laws of physics and is most clearly exposed to us in the form of people who spend their lives collecting data on countless variables, or building sophisticated models which represent our best knowledge of the climate system. Who you vote for, who is nice to who, or might spin stories out of context etc have no place in this great endeavor. A large disservice was not done just to the personal lives of people in the emails, but also it prevented them (for some time at least) to engage their full time pursuing scientific truths, something which the denial movement has no interest in whatsoever.

    In the end, nothing about the laws of physics, how climate change operates within the confined of our best working understanding, etc was changed. Scientists and others who have turned to “climategate” to sow confusion or stray away from research have only worked to move us away from a world of rational thought and truth.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Chris Colose, can you tell what you think was distorted? Can you also tell us if any of the criticisms were justified? I’m curious, because you seem to be acting as though nothing serious was in those e-mails, yet that is obviously untrue. Here’s one example I’d like to hear your thoughts on.

      There was communication discussing the chapter IPCC chapter on paleoclimatology which led to the final report being altered. This communication was in violation of IPCC rules. David Holland submitted an FOI request which covered the e-mails in this communication. Two days later Phil Jones sent his infamous e-mail in which he asked people to “delete any emails” they had exchanged with Keith Briffa in regards to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

      Do you dispute any of these statements? Do you think they are just distortions? Do you think the behavior discussed which was perfectly acceptable? Or do you perhaps agree they show egregious behavior which is completely unacceptable?

      I mostly ask because as far as I know, nobody on your “side” has admitted to the basic facts around the e-mails, yet you keep talking about distortions. It seems hypocritical.

    • Chris, you say:

      “Scientists are concerned physical reality, and how the world operates, which is confined to the laws of physics and is most clearly exposed to us in the form of people who spend their lives collecting data on countless variables, or building sophisticated models which represent our best knowledge of the climate system. ”

      Chris, you seem to retreat, not quite unlike Bart V, behind this idealized view of scientists.

      What we have to contend with however, is fact, especially historical fact.

      It does not match your view, as with Kate’s storytelling as well.

    • @CC

      ‘Scientists are concerned physical reality, and how the world operates, which is confined to the laws of physics and is most clearly exposed to us in the form of people who spend their lives collecting data on countless variables, or building sophisticated models which represent our best knowledge of the climate system. Who you vote for, who is nice to who, or might spin stories out of context etc have no place in this great endeavor. A large disservice was not done just to the personal lives of people in the emails, but also it prevented them (for some time at least) to engage their full time pursuing scientific truths’….

      Pass me the sick bucket somebody.

      This is truly a vomit worthy idealisation of the work of Climatologists, written by one with enormous self-regard and ignoring the fact that the things that caused the public outcry were other Climatologists own writings.

      And those writings told a very very different story from the one Chris would have us believe. It was the contrast between the idealised version that they had worked so hard to promote and the grubby reality of their actions that provided the shock. And removed the rose-coloured spectacles from your despised JQ Public’s eyes when he looks at Climatology in the future.

      Sorry Chris – your Team got caught playing fast and loose. The illusion you promoted was shattered into a million pieces and can never be reconstructed. You cannot assert things that we have seen to be untrue and expect anyone to believe you any more.

      At least Gavin Schmidt was honest enough to admit that he had never tried to be Mother Teresa. You should try a dose of reality too.

      • At least Gavin Schmidt was honest enough to admit that he had never tried to be Mother Teresa. You should try a dose of reality too.

        Agreed. Schmidt does NOT claim to be modest. He’s going for the Papal bull.

      • You are right.

        When I think of Mr Schmidt, modesty is not the first quality that springs to mind. Nor even in the top twenty.

      • Okay, I’ll take your bet. Here’s a dose of reality for you, Latimer, and you, Gene, and the rest of you who relish in this mindless tail-chasing re: ClimateGate.
        Here’s your dose…ready? Any of you are welcome to comment on the reports of acidification of the oceans, the loss of coral reefs, loss of biodiversity, loss of 40% of the ocean’s phytoplankton…I could go on. Please. Any of you deniers, and that’s *exactly* what you are…please, prove your case that the excess CO2 in our atmosphere, caused by our burning of fossil fuels, is *NOT* causing these conditions and anomalies.
        To Dr. Curry: Have you no shame, ma’am? Have you no common decency left? You allow this drivel to continue on your blog, and you claim to be a scientist interested in the science, yet you encourage the continuance of long-ago debunked denier memes as if they are new news. Shame on you!

        Enough of this nonsense! Get back to the science, I challenge you! ALL of you! Hell, I DARE you!

      • Any of you are welcome to comment on the reports of acidification of the oceans, the loss of coral reefs, loss of biodiversity, loss of 40% of the ocean’s phytoplankton…

        Remember the phrase “The king is dead. Long live the king!” ? The hidden assumption is the interregnum.

        Extinctions happen all the time. You describe it as if it were an unforgivable catastrophe.

        I believe that biological process is robust with regard to explosive spurts of ecological opportunity, … that humanity is natural and a big participant evolution’s greatest accomplishment to date.

        It will be interesting to see what the seachange brings. …

        “Full fathom five thy father lies,
        Of his bones are coral made,
        Those are pearls that were his eyes,
        Nothing of him that doth fade,
        But doth suffer a sea-change,
        into something rich and strange,
        Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
        Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.”

      • Puzzling.

        According to NASA:
        ‘Some phytoplankton are bacteria, some are protists, and most are single-celled plants. Among the common kinds are cyanobacteria, silica-encased diatoms, dinoflagellates, green algae, and chalk-coated coccolithophores.
        Like land plants, phytoplankton have chlorophyll to capture sunlight, and they use photosynthesis to turn it into chemical energy. They consume carbon dioxide, and release oxygen. All phytoplankton photosynthesize, but some get additional energy by consuming other organisms.
        Phytoplankton growth depends on the availability of carbon dioxide, sunlight, and nutrients. Phytoplankton, like land plants, require nutrients such as nitrate, phosphate, silicate, and calcium at various levels depending on the species. Some phytoplankton can fix nitrogen and can grow in areas where nitrate concentrations are low. They also require trace amounts of iron which limits phytoplankton growth in large areas of the ocean because iron concentrations are very low. Other factors influence phytoplankton growth rates, including water temperature and salinity, water depth, wind, and what kinds of predators are grazing on them.’

        I note that through most of Phanerozoic geological time, CO2 levels have exceeded present levels, and that, for example, in the Upper Cretaceous, they were between 2 and 3 times as high. And in the Upper Cretaceous, Chalk formations, hundreds of feet thick, were deposited over a wide expanse, composed primarily of the calcareous debris of coccolith tests, which clearly prospered in flood proportions.


      • Challenge accepted.

        Provide me with the link to an available paper (ie. no paywall or subscription needed – I am a private individual with limited funds) that shows experimentally (not just by modes) a loss of 40% of phytoplankton and demonstrates with experimental evidence (not models), that the loss is unequivocally due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere, and I’ll happily dig out my old W.J Moore and PW Atkins Physical Chemistry textbooks and discuss these things with you. Its a long time since I studied the properties of buffered solutions, but I seem to remember some experimental work in my undergraduate 3rd year.

        FYI – I will be away from the Internet from Monday lunchtime (UK time) until Friday morning, but before and after those times, fire away. I look forward to an interesting debate.

      • @Robert

        I accepted your challenge about 12 hours ago, and I’m waiting for you to reply. You have my schedule to hand. Please reply soon otherwise the opportunity for our interesting debate will pass by.

        As Dickens nearly said: ‘Latimer is Willing’

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        None of this BS about lacking funds or your personal parameters of discussion, go to a decent library:
        ‘Global phytoplankton decline over the past century’ (Nature Jan ’10)

      • The nearest library likely to have a copy of Nature is 20 miles away. It is 23:25 on Sunday evening. How do you propose I shluld proceed?

      • Latimer – The paper AEG refers to is available online for free. Not hard to find.

        For some reason, I am doubting the sincerity of your claims to be interested in the science, but perhaps I’m mistaken. In any case, I recommend the review article by Doney et al.

      • Thanks. I followed the earlier citation to Nature directly and it was behind a paywall. Her;s my first remarks …I will try to get a chance to read it in more detail later this morning.

        But at first glance, I note that the whole kit and caboodle relies on combining two different ways of measuring the phytoplankton intensity. the old shipborne transparency method and the more direct measurements. It is clear that the two methods give very different results. Even within the same years one is showing a positive increase the other a decrease.

        Climatologists should have realised by now that combining two different methods of measuring an entity – especially when they differ, is fraught with danger. The divergence problem remains unsolved, no matter how much handwaving has been done.

        And I was kind of expecting this decline to be linked to CO2 in some way – and/or the ocean becoming slightly less alkaline. The paper (disappointingly) makes no such claim. Just some discussion of sea surface temperature anomalies, and how they are influenced by natural variabilities.

        But I am left with one question, which is not addressed. Given that sea surface temperatures vary so much over the globe, how does an individual area of phytoplankton know that it should live or die according to the anomaly of the sea temperature, rather than its absolute value.

        Example: I am a colony of phytoplankton living happily in SST 283K. I thrive. My brother phyto is also in SST 283K 1000 miles away. But his colony dies. And he dies (apparently) because 100 years ago the temperature where he is was only 282K. At the poles other colonies quite happily live in 273K or at the equator in 298K.

        I’d love to know a physical mechanism for that. And rather than high level statistical work, it should be quite possible in a lab to grow colonies of phytos and show (or not) that under unchanged other conditions, temperature anomalies are the driving force on colony life or death.

        Feel free to point out where I am wrong. Ciao

      • Latimer –

        “Climatologists should have realised by now…”. Yes indeed. Perhaps reading more of the primary literature would disabuse you of the idea that climatologists are so naive.

        Now it’s time for you to do your own homework; the answers to many of your questions await you in the literature. Start with the Doney et al review paper linked above. Check out the several pages of references. Lots of experiments, even. You can learn much more than you would hanging around here.

      • PS – the hypothesis is that CO2 is causing these effects.

        It is down to the proposer of the proposition to prove that it is true, not for the opposer to prove that it is not. Mother Nature is innocent until proved guilty.

        You have to prove prove your case is right. I do not have to do anything. That’s how the scientific process works.

      • I like people who use this word – “meme”.

        Robert, can you tell me why the ‘oceans’ fail to absorb the same fraction of CO2 every year? Just curious.

        -A denier

      • There are a variety of reasons coral reefs are under stress. Cyanide fishing, dynamite fishing, and pollution are three big ones. Comparing the current ocean ph with endangered reefs does not show a correlation as far as I can see. I suspect buying a new fish for a salt water tank does much more to endanger the coral reefs then I do when driving to the store to not buy one.

      • Robert,

        As a layman, I have neither the time, nor the training to challenge the science. In fact, you won’t find a post where I have (on this site or any other). The only time I’ve ever addressed the science was to acknowledge that I do not dispute the basics (CO2 as a GHG, warming trend in the temperature record, etc).

        My area of interest is policy – policy that the science must inform. Credibility of those providing that information is key. The integrity of those providing their analysis is key. So, when I see evidence of someone behaving in an unprofessional manner, acting defensively, resisting scrutiny and inciting the violation of law, I become concerned. When I see their colleagues defending that, I become very concerned.

      • David L. Hagen

        On “Ocean acidification”, recommend starting by looking at the magnitude of natural carbon dioxide/carbonate buffers in the ocean and consider the maximum impact of anthropogenic CO2 on the ocean.
        Orthodox perspective:
        NOAA on “Ocean Acidification”

        Contrast Tom Segalstad on the magnitude of ocean buffers:
        CO2 Web
        4. Chemical Laws for Distribution of CO2 in Nature

        An increase in atmospheric CO2 will namely increase the buffer capacity of ocean water, and thereby strengthen the ocean’s capacity to moderate an increase of atmospheric CO2; maximum buffer capacity for the system CO2 – H2O is reached at 2.5 to 6 times the present atmospheric partial pressure of CO2, depending on temperature and alkalinity (Butler, 1982). According to Maier-Reimer & Hasselmann (1987) the borate system also increases the ocean storage capacity for CO2 by more than 20% over an ocean with the carbonate-system alone.
        . . . The geochemical equilibrium system anorthite CaAl2Si2O8 – kaolinite Al2Si2O5(OH)4 has by the pH of ocean water a buffer capacity which is thousand times larger than a 0.001 M carbonate solution (Stumm & Morgan, 1970). In addition we have clay mineral buffers, and a calcium silicate + CO2 calcium carbonate + SiO2 buffer (MacIntyre, 1970; Krauskopf, 1979). These buffers all act as a “security net” under the most important buffer: CO2 (g) HCO3- (aq) CaCO3 (s). All together these buffers give in principle an infinite buffer capacity (Stumm & Morgan, 1970).

        See also Climate presentation
        Global Climate Change
        e.g. Average CO2 life time of 5 years.

        See Segalstad’s page
        Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma.

        Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

        PS Robert – We heartily agree on the importance of addressing the Science. So lay off the ad hominem attacks. Per your rant against “deniers” see Drapela on:
        Global Warming Cracked Open: A Peek Inside – Fear and Propaganda

    • As Kate said well, “This was not the work of a computer-savvy teenager that liked to hack security systems for fun. Whoever the thief was, they knew what they were looking for. They knew how valuable the emails could be in the hands of the climate change denial movement.”

      Actually, they didnt have a very good grasp of the issues, given their commentary on one of the mails. If you read the comment they made when posting the link you would understand that. The collection bears the marks of an automated collection that used a keyword list ( like a glossary drawn from Climate audit ) The files were not selected by a human. That is very evident to anyone who has read the files. Figured that out in the first few hours.

    • In the end, Dr. Andy Lacis is spot on. Scientists are concerned physical reality, and how the world operates, which is confined to the laws of physics

      You as well Chris Colose! This view seems to be endemic among climate scientists, and explains a lot.

      Let me tell you the news, it has been discovered that nature has been following it’s own laws far longer than Homo Sapiens has been around to try to divine them by winnowing through observations and playing with numbers and algebra.

      Our efforts are as shadows on the cave wall cast by the light of our mobile phone screens. Step out into the bright light of the sun and breathe the sharp cold air of reality. The laws of physics are our best effort to generalise the phenomena nature displays, and are subject tothe possibility of being overturned the next time some bright spark discovers a principle which explains (for example) anomalously high redshifts and gravitational lensing in a less unlikely way than we do now. Don’t go down the path of believing nature must have got it wrong as it gets colder while co2 increases.

      Revisit your theory, and get ready to redraft a couple of the fundamental laws of AGW climate science.

    • Chris Colose
      General public and most of the sceptics would not give a twopence for your emails, if it was not for the insistence that something has to be done; politicians got on the act, introduced green taxes (in UK there are number of them) carbon market, research sponsorships etc.
      Hit taxpayer’s pocket and you’ll get what you asked for.
      History could teach you a lesson or two when commercial interests get involved, here is a nice example:

  56. “A large disservice was not done just to the personal lives of people in the emails, but also it prevented them (for some time at least) to engage their full time pursuing scientific truths, . . .” ?

    Really? Their full time pursuit of scientific truths?

    Does this match the activities of folks in the e-mail messages?

  57. According to Gavin ,

    “Things have clearly calmed down over the last year (despite a bit of a media meltdown in February), but as we predicted, no inquiries found anyone guilty of misconduct, no science was changed and no papers retracted. In the meantime we’ve had one of the hottest years on record, scientists continue to do science, and politicians…. well, they continue to do what politicians do”.

    Oh well …

    • According to Hans von Storch, Professor of Climatology, 2 August 2010 (Interview with Daniel Lingenhöhl, Handelsblatt, 2 August 2010. As quoted in the leader of Andrew Montford’s Climategate Inquiries Review, Sept 2010)

      ‘We have to take a self-critical view of what happened. Nothing ought to be swept under the carpet. Some of the inquiries – like in the UK – did exactly the latter. They blew an opportunity to restore trust.’

  58. AnthropoceneEndGame

    “Meanwhile poster AEG advances an ideology wherein skeptics=denialists=unthinking twits=dupes of a vast energy consortium conspiracy”
    Not quite. The evidence in the US is that deniers typically end up on the right side of the political spectrum, and there’s excellent evidence of that, at least based on the policy positions of our elected reps. Dr Curry’s hearing was a perfect example.
    Second, I think the position of deniers is partially influenced by the miserable state of science education in the US, which is undeniable and easily supported by the stats. IMO deniers only become ‘twits’ when they fail to acknowledge their own limitations in understanding climate science, and gleefully jump on the bandwagon of ‘fraud’, ‘conspiracy’, etc., which is far easier than reading the science. The energy cartels don’t necessarily have a hand in the creations of all ‘dupes’, but the hand is definitely their, if you want to kiss it.
    The evidence for millions being pumped into the anti-AGW campaign by the global energy mafia is undeniable.
    Finally, energy policy has already been determined in the US with the guiding and slapping hand of the energy mafia, so, much of the discussion here about uncertainty in climate science is useless. We already have a dinosaur energy policy in place; it will not be modified, come freezing hell or high water. We will pay in a multitude of ways.
    I predict high water.

    • @AEG

      ‘The evidence for millions being pumped into the anti-AGW campaign by the global energy mafia is undeniable’

      OK. You obviously have studied it in detail and find it compelling. Please share it with the rest of us who haven’t found so much, or don’t find it compelling. Another way to describe this remark is ‘put up or shut up’.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        I’ll post this as along as you itemize precisely what you mean by ‘the rest of us’, okay?
        Start with www/sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Exxon_Mobil

      • Exxon can fund whomever they like. So what??? I’m sure George Soros funds all sorts of liberal causes. Get a grip already. All kinds of rich peop0le and organizations fund all sorts of politically oriented organizations. The Federal government funds all sorts of liberal NGOs. It funds NPR! You don’t really have any point here.

      • Nothing to itemise. ‘Please share with the rest of us’ is a common construction in the English language, meaning everyone who are not convinced that the opposing argument is true.

        But in this case about 99.8% (my estimate) of the global population. The rest of us. Not you who are already convinced.

        I followed your link and found quite a few articles about Exxon Mobil. Was there one in particular that you wanted me to focus on? Because otherwise reading a random sample of them I learnt no more than that Exxon Mobil is an energy company. Which I kind of knew already.

        I did not see any apparent evidence for ‘millions being pumped into the anti-AGW campaign by the global energy mafia’. Maybe it was well hidden. Please guide me to it more directly.

        And for non-US readers, please explain what ‘Sourcewatch’ is. It may be obvious in the US , but looks to me like some sort of consumer lobbyist organisation?? Please explain for the rest of us. i.e. those of us outside US…about 98% of global population.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        The Sourcewatch.org homepage ‘explains’ for the rest of you what sourcewatch. Read it.
        I easily located the section “Exxon’s funding of climate skeptics” under ‘Exxon’ at sourcewatch. It includes dollar totals. You can do the same for BP, etc., at sourcewatch.

      • I did read it. It listed a whole set of funding sources which meant absolutely nothing to me (not being from the USA), and a whole set of people as founders and the like. Their names did not mean anything to me either. I could not tell from this what ‘source watch’s’ agenda is, nor why it chooses to do these things.

        I sort of hoped that in your effort to make your case you might wish to explain these things simply to me. But clearly not.

        I located the document you found by searching with ‘exxon-skeptic’ with the hyphen, not ‘denier’ or ‘sceptic’. Please confirm that this is the link you wished me to read.


        It says that in 2002 Exxon donated $5.6 million (3 million quid) to ‘public policy organizations which share its agenda, either on climate change denial or general extreme free market advocacy’

        And it then, as you indicate, provides details of the donations (again to a set of institutions that I do not recognise), with dollar amounts.

        Unfortunately the list does not add up. Instead of $5.6 million, the total is only $1,483,000. – just over $4000 (£2500) per day.There is no indication where the other $4,117,000 went. This is poor accounting – even if good enough for Climatology. And not exactly cutting-edge up-to-the -minute news.

        I think the key here lies in the author’s use of the ‘D’ word. It clearly sets their agenda as being to somehow big up the numbers (which they do by false accounting) and so to frighten the horses.

        But they fail. $4,000 per day does not buy you an awful lot of climate scepticism, nor likely to bring down the hordes of institutes promoting the opposite view. And even the author (environmental activist John Stauber)has to admit that some part of that $4,000 per day goes to ‘extreme free market advocacy’ rather than to ‘climate change denial’.

        A rather pathetic piece of evidence IMHO. Babies still sleep easy in their beds, horses remain unfrightened and the sun is still rising in the east. You will have to do better than this.

      • Latimer: “Instead of $5.6 million, the total is only $1,483,000. – just over $4000 (£2500) per day.There is no indication where the other $4,117,000 went. This is poor accounting – even if good enough for Climatology.”

        It looks like a case of amplification by positve feedback in an echo chamber specially designed to support predictions of catastrophe.

        Some climatologists have a habit of invoking postive feedback to magnify things. Other climatologists have a habit of failing to insist demonstration that the system is an “active system” (one that has an independent energy source to supply energy needed for amplifiction). The rest of us are dismissed as not being entitled to ask the question because we are not climatologists.

      • Ilm being forced to the conclusion that, though climatologists may have lots of degrees and stuff – a few even in proper grown up ‘hard science’ subjects – they are not actually very bright in the ‘living in the real world’ sense.

        It took me less than five minutes to realise that there were serious errors in the scourcewtach article. I did not even need a calculator…I could do the sums in my head. And yet it seems to have been taken as the primary reference for ‘ the global denying mafia’ by the gullible for at least two years (last time it was changed).

        Phil Jones thought he had played a trump by saying ‘can’t show the data – its confidential’, and then was highly surprised and indignant when people said ‘Show Me the agreements, then’ and was left with egg all over his face. Very few believe his highly unlikely story of the disappearing Chinaman and his disappearing data – a plot device also used by the conspirators in Agatha Christie’s The Adventure of the Western Star, and exposed very early by Poirot as a complete sham.

        These are elementary howlers. Most savvy thirteen year olds would see through them straight away. At grammar school I learnt early that ‘the dog ate my homework’ did not go down well with my ferocious history master. Especially when I had no easy answer to ‘what sort of dog is it and what is its name’,

        I know that climatologists have a deep sense of intellectual superiority (see Schmidt and Colose on this blog for examples) and inbuilt arrogant contempt for Joe Public’s abilities.

        But, really guys. If you are going to pull the wool over our eyes, at least try to do it properly and professionally. Come up with stories and excuses and references that have at least some basic plausibility. Not just your normal pile of third rate mendacity.

        Surely we deserve that amount of respect? We do pay your wages.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You were the one who said saw no evidence of millions being pumped into the anti AGW campaign. After examining sourcewatch, you’ve revised that to, Exxon and Koch didn’t spend as many millions as Greenpeace. Of course, Exxon and Koch don’t make up the entire energy mafia.

      • That’s true, they don’t. But anyway, given that Fenton Communications publishes realclimate and George Soros ClimageProgress, I’m not too sure what the point of this discussion is. Are there proponents of the thesis that either aren’t paid by government or NGO’s that have a dog in the race? I mean apart from the mentally ill…..

      • And your point is?

      • Jordan | November 21, 2010 at 5:24 am said :

        Some climatologists have a habit of invoking postive feedback to magnify things.

        Some climatologists have a better handle on it.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        So I’ll have to do better? I guess Exxon’s contributions are small potatoes. You must be a big spender.
        Okay, this is old news, but check out the funding totals here (includes links):
        ‘Report: Koch Industries Outspends Exxon Mobil on Climate Denial’ by Brad Johnson, March 2010

      • Exxon’s contributions (if all of the $1,400,000 were spent on climate issues and none on the free market side of their interests) would pay for about three fulltime mid-level researchers and a couple of admin staff based in Central London.

        Not negligible. but hardly in the same league as, for example, the 10:10 guys who brought you the stunning success that was the No Pressure film. Though they have now removed the staff list, when I laast looked they had at least ten fulltime staff based in Central London and big resources to act effectively as a PR company.

        The Koch Industries report still doesn’t add up. It claims that Koch has paid $24M in 2005-2008 (four calendar years @ $6M per year), but can only account for about $9M. Leaving a gap of somewhere north of $14M that it calims was spent, but can’t say how. (I don’t know what the IRS are like on your country, but HMRC would laugh in my face if I claimed these figures were anything approaching accurate).

        And even so, $6M per year is still not big potatoes. $16,000 per day buys you maybe a staff of ten to fifteen with administrative backup and a swish office in SW1.

        Greenpeace’s latest annual accounts show an overall income of just shy of 200,000,000 Euros. We’ll call it about $145,000,000 at today’s exchange rate.

        This is approximately 25 times that claimed to have been spent by Koch Industries per year, or 65 times what the report you referenced could actually account for.

        Since Climate Change activism is a core part of Greenpeace’s activities, should you not be worried about an unelected multinational spending 65 times more than those who may disagree with them? Is this not a case of a ‘global warmist activist mafia’ attempting to subvert the political process?

        Ref: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/about/reports/

        Try again.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        “Try again”.
        You win.
        It’s pretty clear the objective of the energy mafia is not to debate the science, but to influence policy and your average Joe/Jane, with whatever means mafia money can buy. And it appears in the US, the energy cartels have won the propaganda wars; if you’re right, they’ve done done so on a shoe-string budget.

      • Thanks.

        I’m glad we have got all the stuff about ‘well-funded global Big Oil mafia denier conspiracies’ out of the way. It was extraneous fictional rubbish and prevented proper debate about the real issues shown up by Climategate.

      • Does the phrase “pushing at an open door” come to mind?

      • Forgot ot mention. I assume that Koch Industries are the recognised bogeyman of the ‘evil deniers’ and so spend the greatest amount of money. They are certainly the name that every greenie goes to sleep worrying about.

        But while I discussed Greenpeace above, I did not even touch on the expenditure of other organisations with substantial pro-AGW budgets. FoE, Oxfam, WWF all spring to mind. The total is probably north of $500M per annum. Which puts Koch Industries into some sort of perspective.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        ” I’m glad we have got that stuff about well funded global Big Oil mafia conspiracies out of the way. It was extraneous fictional garbage and prevented proper debate about the real issue shown up by CG”

        Yes, let’s talk about such a non-issue. I’m sure Exxon is also pleased that you agree that their efforts are extraneous and fictional, and the focus on the anti-AGW funds they’ve spent prevent a debate about the ‘real issue’, whatever THAT ‘flavor of the week’ is for deniers.
        But just as a reminder, here’s a memo from Exxon in ’98 when their ‘shoe-string’ efforts began in earnest:
        “Victory on blocking climate change legislation will be achieved when uncertainties in climate science become part of the conventional wisdom for average citizens and the media”.

        No uncertain victory achieved, indeed.

      • 1998? That’s even before the hockey stick. Which even Mikey Mann thinks is past its sell by date. Yawn.

        And you don’t seem to have attributed it very well. In fact not at all. No name, no context. Not as well documented as every aspect of the Climategate files.

        Considering they spent so little, and their sworn opponent so much, could their ‘victory’ have had anything to do with the underlying weakness of the AGW case? Or was it just good luck or Fate?

      • The total is probably north of $500M per annum.

        Mere peanuts when considering the portentous foreboding of it all …

        The U.S. National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has paid out $2.1 billion/statistics_report.htm to date.

        +40% of those claims were probably in regard to autism and linked to the MMR vaccine controversy. Of 5,407 unspecified claims (mostly autism) filed to date, 4 have been compensated and 833 have been dismissed. Guess who were ‘paid’ regardless ? :-D

        As for the ‘science’ ?

        From CBC news, February 2, 2010

        A medical journal in Britain has retracted a controversial study it published in 1998 that linked the use of a vaccine in children to autism.

        The study retracted on Tuesday looked at 12 children suffering from colitis, a gastrointestinal disease. …

        ‘Callous disregard’

        A disciplinary panel of Britain’s General Medical Council ruled last week that Wakefield had presented his research in an “irresponsible and dishonest” way and shown a “callous disregard” for the suffering of the children he studied.

        It also ruled he had brought the medical profession “into disrepute.”

        Wakefield and the two colleagues who have not renounced the study face being stripped of their right to practise medicine in Britain.

  59. FYI, Climate Etc. has had about 6,000 hits so far today. Of the articles that I provided links to, here is the # of clicks so far today:

    yaleclimatemediaforum.org/ 100
    climategate.tv/2010/11/19/climategate-is-still-the-issue 90
    climatesight.org/ 76
    Mike Hulme 63
    americanthinker.com 58
    nature.com/ 55

  60. The Nature article:

    Gavin Schmidt said: I think this editorial is seeing the scientific discussion of peer review through some rather tinted glasses. …

    Peer review is not a ‘gold standard’, it is merely the first stage filter of ideas and results. It is necessary, but in no way sufficient. …

    (Inference: Appeal to higher authority. The gatekeeper of peer review is insufficient. )

    Does this mean that the learned and professional societies, need to occasionally wade in and reset the course of nature by the right of divine infallibility?

    When the peer review process fails to do it’s job, the Supreme Court of Dogma must be called into session.

    (More about the Nature article to follow … )

    • The end of Gavin’s quote is: “It may well be that the public holds these ideas quite strongly (and perhaps some journalists do to), but that is unfortunately part and parcel of the overall lack of appreciation of what it is that scientists actually do. ”
      There isn’t anything there about dogma, and what happens after the “first stage” is left out – but the implication is that it is a more thorough form of scientific review. I think the public can be forgiven for missing this fact judging by how peer-review has been previously cited as a legitimating line in this and other debates.

      • What it is that scientists actually do.”

        In my experience ‘scientists’ behave as ordinary human beings, They are no better, nor any worse. To imagine them as being otherwise invites disappointment.

        Somewhere along way, scientists came up with this stirring fanciful dream that ‘scientists’ were better than others, that scientists more objective and rational than others, that scientists held themselves to higher standards than others.

        Here is how the reality is regarding science and it’s practitioners:

        Scientists are just as subjective, competitive, proud, insecure, human and ordinary as everyone else. The notion that the practice of science is superior, different or more truthful because of ‘peer review’ or guidance from self-governing societies is self-deluding, cross-validating crap.

        One thing saves science from succumbing to terminal-imbecility-by-way-of-subjective-tunnel-vision. Nature is deaf, blind, stupid mindless and does what it shall heedless.

        The objectivity resides in nature itself.

        Nature provides the guidance and coaxes honesty upon scientists.

        It’s not the other way round as some human scientists would wish one to believe.

      • Very well put.

        I especially like

        ‘Nature is deaf, blind, stupid mindless and does what it shall heedless.’

        Nature does not come with inbuilt morality, nor the superiority of one world view over another. It cares not about grants of rounding or Gavin Schmidt or Pat Michaels or Latimer Alder. Like litmus paper turning blue in seawater – to demonstrate that it an alkali (base), not an acid – it just carries on doing what it does, irrespective of who asks the questions.

        A long long time ago, people were taught that the way to understand nature was to read what the Ancients had written about it, and to listen to their Authority. Which was popular and easy, but didn’t really advance knowledge very much further. Roger Bacon, round about 1250 showed that a much better way was to do experiments, as they actually showed what nature does, not what somebody else thought it might do. Via the Renaissance and the Enlightenment we arrived at a science based firmly on experiment…and this led to fantastic advances in physics, chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, engineering and all the other stuff that was developed over the last three or four hundred years.

        And now we have Climatology. Which delights in collecting data badly, torturing it with ‘unusual and cruel’ methods, or adjusting it to fit the Authority of the latest model. And it avoids experiments like the plague..I suspect in case the experiments show the model is wrong.

        The las four hundred years of science have used a method that has shown stunning results – accurate and verifiable. Climatology has chosen to revert to the Appeal to Authority method instead.

        I don’t know what Aristotle wrote about climate change, but it would not surprise me to see him cited in the next IPCC report as an expert witness. Such is ‘progress’, climatology-style.

      • As ‘Members-In-Good-Standing’, people –as individuals
        and a group–are frequently observed being ‘deaf, blind, stupid mindless and do what they shall heedless.’ There seems to be an irradic frequency. I’ve been told by many that we’re in a townturn at the moment.

      • Should I wait for the film? Will it have subtitles? Or just be dubbed into English?

      • Thanks Raving. You gave me all the help as I was expecting from you. :-)

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        “Nature is deaf blind stupid and mindless and does what it shall heedless”
        “Very well put”

        Humans ARE ‘nature’ too, unless you’re both suggesting evolution never occurred. But I do agree many natural born humans involved in the issue of CC appear to be blind, stupid and mindless when it comes to the science. Pronouncements like ‘Climatology has chosen to revert to the Appeal to Authority method instead” are good examples of this mindlessness.

      • “Nature is deaf blind stupid and mindless and does what it shall heedless”
        “Very well put”

        Humans ARE ‘nature’ too, unless you’re both suggesting evolution never occurred. …

        Yes agreed. That is the peculiar weakness of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection. Everything mostly hangs upon deaf blind stupid and mindless going along for the ride and accepting consequences that ensue regardless, after the fact and without heed to subjective guidance.

        An intensely physical and extremely “unbiological” mechanism is used to describe causality for the fundamental biological process. That doesn’t make any sense because the biological paradigm is not fundamentally nor macroscopically convergent to the sort of law-of-large-number statistics used to typically describe physical process.

        The theory of natural selection wrongly directs emphasis towards the insignificant feature of biological ‘workings’. It targets the ‘nonbiological’ aspect of biological activity.

        Pronouncements like ‘Climatology has chosen to revert to the Appeal to Authority method instead” are good examples of this mindlessness.

        As in at some point losing patience with the idiot deniers and restoring to telling them how it is type of ‘Appeal to Authority’ type method?

        Sort of like? …

        “Like it or lump it denier. I’ve run out of patience. Goodbye.”

        Yes I fully agree with you. It couldn’t be more mindless, nor more condescending.

    • Raving

      Took a break from studying (differential equations, multivariate integrals; eugh!) long enough to notice this thread.

      Inference: Appeal to higher authority. The gatekeeper of peer review is..

      What we are certain of:

      Peer review is a choke point. It’s a throttle. It’s the narrow part of the funnel.

      What we are confident of:

      I can think of no one who has ever called their PEER reviewers ‘higher authority’ ( nor has called the process of being peer reviewed exactly ‘appealing’. ;) ).

      What we think reasonably likely:

      Is peer review a gate? No.

      If it were so, it needs a major property of gatekeeping, which is control of access. There is no peer review that is the only game in town.

      Even in single publications, aren’t there sometimes multiple somewhat independent editorial voices directing the peer reviews?

      Generally any editor would have multiple peer reviewers to choose among who as individuals are distanced from the seat of power, aren’t they?

      There are multiple publications in Climatology, and multiple outside the field that will publish peer reviewed papers, no?

      Did Climategate show peer review gatekeeping in action? Opinions vary, but there is some indication of an attitude of exclusion; however even in the contents of the hacked emails — which are widely condemned by scientists as not reflecting the spirit of scientific inquiry — the intent is ambiguous and the effect well-known to have backfired.


      We cannot show that peer review is a gatekeeping effect, based on current evidence nor likely to be proven based on available course of inquiry.

      The overwhelming natural effects of really shoddy work failing peer review for shoddiness inject far too much noise into the data to find a gatekeeping signal.

      Could you comment on the above technique? Have I employed it meaningfully and correctly?


      • Bart R, an official (or ex-officio) “gate keeper” of the research treasury speaks out. …

        I stand as corrected. You are undoubtedly a more appropriate gate-keeper in all this business of research.

        The notion of ‘peer review’ as a gate keeping process is implied by the context with which Gavin Schmidt spoke.

        Peer review is not a ‘gold standard’, it is merely the first stage filter of ideas and results. It is necessary, but in no way sufficient. …

        Schmidt’s usage indicates the implicit need for a higher ‘diamond standard’ for the evaluation of merit and guidance. (referring to the but in no way sufficient comment)

        Each job has it’s own perspective. For Schmidt who seems to indicate that inexpert opinion is incredulous, ‘peer review’ means ‘gate keeper’ which filters out noise from riffraff.

        For yourself who serves as a very real ‘gate-keeper’ of research funding, the activity of ‘gate keeping’ acts as a choke point. Peer review is one of multiple inputs to the throttling process.

        Interestingly, you point out …

        nor has called the process of being peer reviewed exactly ‘appealing’

        Way back when I was writing papers for publication and submitting applications for scholarship, I did not consider ‘peer review’ as unpleasant or threatening.

        I felt that doing the peer review thing was like playing a game whose prize was entrance, acceptance and financial reward in a social club called ‘science’. Sycophancy was everything. It was a meaningless unsatisfying charade.

        My father was chairman of a university department in an age that chairpersons served for the duration of their tenure and and were more fully involved as gate keepers. It was in that context, that I grew up seeing research being strongly motivated and shaped for the winning acceptance.

        As time progressed and funding shifted from departmental to granting agency to goal based research. During that evolution, science has appeared to get further and further away from what used to be idealized as ‘basic research’.

        I never completed my PhD. The prospect of occupying my life doing the ‘grantsmanship’ thing seemed frivolous. The competition to get a job in research was more intense than for any other profession. Attaining the objective, meant devoting myself to grantsmanship, administration and teaching. I lacked the patience for something which felt overwhelmingly onerous.

        Hence I sit lonely, unemployed, old and posting to blogs.

      • Did I fail as a scientist?

        From my own perspective I have yet to accomplish something which I had intended to do or consider to be worthwhile. Then again I don’t envy many of those who society considers to be successful scientists.

        To be fair those who I don’t envy have made substantive and extensive accomplishment with skills and ability that I myself lack. It’s just that it’s hard for me to see the purpose for bother in all that industry.

        A sense of purposefulness achieved by gainful employment in an industry whose participation is measured by peer review is almost more of a ‘social’ measure than a ‘rational’ measure.

        I prefer to care more about the ideas and the science than the belonging to a group and the recognition which comes with it, even if that works against my own best interest.

      • Bart,

        Earlier you asked a question. In close association to that you wrote [Large grin. I am catching on to your drift here]

        Clarity doesn’t come from assuming what the other guy means.

        It comes from establishing what the other guy means.

        Latimer goes on to suggest that the two of you do a recursion of context, ‘turtles all the way down’ style. … … which the two of you proceed to engage upon for several more iterations.

        DEEBEE comments on the Amazing intellectual cul-de-sacs you guys end up in. You conclude with In Statistics, this is the difference between the dead-end and the on-ramp to the freeway.
        You asked me to clarify … There is ‘uncertainty’ and there is ‘unknown’. In this case the ‘unknown’ is knowable and has reasonable confidence.

        Partial answer: See my posting here. In particular see the paper referred to by the link R. A. Fisher on Bayes and Bayes’ Theorem.

        Until last night I was not aware how direct and simple it all is.

        Science/logic has been cast in the direction from weaker truth to greater truth. Another way of saying it is that progress in science means making the undecidable more decided.

        To echo your earlier statement …

        Clarity comes from establishing what ‘probability’ means.

        For current science that means progressing from weaker truth to stronger truth.

        What does ‘Inverse probability’ (Bayesian inference) mean?

        Evolution of understanding (knowledge) means progressing from uncertainty to unknown. It has an open ended connotation. It represents the non-autistic perspective.

        (To be continued again :-) )

        With regards,

        Bart B.

  61. The lasting result of the Email theft from the CRU and the hacking of Real Climate has been to make it absolutely clear to scientists that they cannot sit this one out in their labs. The lesson that they have not yet learned is that people who attack them in the Wall Street Journal cannot be their friends at AGU.

    • circle those wagons.

      That strategy necessitates two things:

      1. discipline within the group. punish those who stray from the party line.
      ( like Judith, or editors… collect files on them)
      2. characterize ALL opponents as oil shills.

      You might see that as the result of climategate. I see it as the cause. You see, some person who has suffered from the internal discipline, always has the option of blowing the whistle.

    • Sounds like a ‘Feud’ –one of those Hatfield and McCoy things.

    • “Circling the wagons”

      Somehow this reminds Eli of the standard propaganda strategy of accusing others of what you are doing. When attacked one responds. When propagandists go after your colleagues you support them. Otherwise you are next. Hi Judy. It has been an expensive lesson that scientists have had to learn

  62. Steve Fitzpatrick

    ” Who among the climate scientists or those associated with the IPCC seem to have learned something from Climategate? IMO, Mike Hulme, Pachauri (and me); others? ”

    You: for sure.
    Mike Hulme: for sure.
    Pachauri: I’m not so sure.

    Some others may have learned to be more careful about what they write in email messages. But will they be a lot more above-board in their dealings on climate science? Once again, I’m not so sure.

    I do believe that the UEA email scandal has started (just a little) a separation of climate science from energy policy. This is a separation which should have been present 15+ years ago, but better late than never. If that separation continues and grows wider, then this will be good for both science and energy policy. I expect that the IPCC will go on (after all, bureaucracies never die!), but their roll will be enormously diminished, and mostly restricted to science instead of energy policy.

    • Climate science, more precisely the results of climate science are one of the inputs to energy policy. Necessarily. Climate science has never been the only input as anyone with any familiarity with DOE and the US Congress (fill in your local equivalents) can tell you.

      Oh yes, who funded the recent proposition 23 and 26 in CA, so please don’t tell Eli that the oil companies were innocent bystanders.

      • Why shouldn’t the oil companies fund an effort to get rid of bad laws?

      • As innocent as the big green groups that funded against the props.
        Eli has not only a disturbing way of talking about Eli, but Eli has a cynical and transparently hypocritical way of pretending those who oppose Eli are corrupt.
        California is now considering criminalizing skeptical climate claims. I am sure Eli will like that.

      • No such thing. The discussion about propositions 23 and 26 was occurring in a vacuum, with no information. Eli posted a link which showed the major contributors on both sides. Eli didn’t say anything about whether these contributions would be good or bad. Somehow Hunter prefers not knowing. Eli is shocked.

        Jim’s comment is more to the real point. It is discussable. Opinions will differ on whether the laws or the propositions were good ones, or whether incorporated companies should be able to contribute to political campaigns.

      • Jim believes that companies should not be taxed at all and should not be allowed to lobby at all. If they have something to say to Congress, they can do it in a public hearing.

      • Both get tied up in the concept of limited liability which is a large bon bon thrown to the corporations.

      • And who funded the opposition? Not the much hated corporate interests

  63. Steve Fitzpatrick

    One other thought: I found the Nature Editorial simply depressing. THEY have indeed learned nothing in the last year. Quite sad.

    • I like the Nature piece’s take on peer-review, even if I don’t agree with everything else. Peer-review has so often been held up as an incorrigible gold standard that a visible display of anything less (in this case substantially less) was bound to look scandalous. Just because something is normal or common doesn’t make it right, but it becomes especially dangerous if the flaws have been repeatedly airbrushed out of the public presentation.
      The rest does read as a bit of an excuse job.

  64. Steve Fitzpatrick

    I do not respond to people who speak of themselves in the third person, unless they are the Queen of England.

    • Richard S Courtney

      Steve Fitzpatrick:

      It is clear that Halpern’s writings presented as being from “Eli” are not intended to obtain responses. They only serve to engender laughter, and they do that very well.

      You are not against having a good belly-laugh, are you?


  65. What did we learn from Climategate? As a geologist I started to have some doubts when all of the alarmism started up. This got me curious, and I started following Climate Audit, RC, and Watts for the last 2 years. Sadly, this entire episode has had a profound personal impact on my belief in the integrity of the scientific process. In particular, I am amazed that the climate change community doe not have a better understanding of uncertainty (or are unwilling to face it). They don’t seem to have rigorous processes to deal with uncertainty even though their science obviously has a huge amount. In my business (oil and gas) we deal with very large ranges of uncertainty that have huge $ impact. We get to test our ideas and do look-backs to see how well we have done in estimating our risk/uncertainty. We have a rigorous peer review process that keeps people in line; in particular, we focus on people not being realistic on their confidence levels by using P10/P90 (10% and 90% probability) confidence levels. Nearly all, if not all, geologists that go through our training programs are WAY too confident in estimating risk/uncertainty. Here is a little test on your ability to measure uncertainty; Estimate how many gallons of oil are consume annually in the U.S. Write down 2 numbers the 1st being the low estimate (you are 90% confident it won’t be lower than this estimate) and 2nd high estimate (you are 90% confident it won’t be higher). Find the answer at http://maps.unomaha.edu/peterson/funda/sidebar/oilconsumption.html
    (there are 42 gallons/barrel).
    Did the actual # fall between your two estimates? It might be fun for Dr. Curry to run a test on the community for some other estimate and let us know how well we did as a group.
    Thank you, Dr Curry for addressing some of these issues.

    • AEG knows without a doubt that you are funded by Exxon. Right.

      • You hit the nail on the head. I’m sure there are a lot of people that think any scientist that works in the oil industry is contaminated. Good science comes from all corners and stands on it’s on merits.

      • Most of the people complaining about the oil companies don’t say a word about Soros, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Federation, and the list is almost endless. They are hypocrites.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        This is what the oil industry wants and will pay for:
        ‘Myron Cook’s Global Warming Presentation’, Sept 22. 2010.

        Good science, or smear campaign? You decide.

      • The presentation you reference is one I did entirely on my own. I was not paid to do any research or do the presentation (actually I have presented it a few times). Just so you know in a nutshell where I stand. I think that we are likely contributing some to warming but that it is very likely to be quite small. The most important point that I would make is that it is unknowable due to all the uncertainty involved.

      • Yet AEG had no problem falsely implying you are a paid schill of big oil.
        How typical of our AGW community:
        Slander instead of engage. Dissemble and distract rather than deal with issues.
        And then they have the gall to accuse skeptics of being in bad faith.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Fact: I said the industry will pay for opinions like Byron’s. No knowledge of IF he’s getting paid for his opinion, but he’s already being paid by the oil industry. Focus on the presentation though. So skeptic, a thorough presentation of ‘the issues’?

      • @AEG

        Do you have any evidence that ‘the industry will pay for opinions like Byron’s’? A payment advice against Byron’s invoice perhaps?

        I think your understanding of the ways in which corporations work is more fed by fanciful notions of ‘shadowy figures with links to shady characters’, beloved of Hollywood and the green party, and less by the mundane reality of corporate life. I worked in one for many years. It had nothing to do with energy or oil or anything like that, before you accuse me of dreadful crimes.

        I can conceive of no circumstances where any corporation would pay a private individual for a presentation he had just put together in his own time. If they wanted such a prezzie, they would go to a proper media company for it. Not necessarily because they would do a better job of the content, but it would come out slicker and glossier and with all the legalities and IP issues and copyrights and speaking rights and distribution sorted out. And probably tailored for the different national audiences which it was intending to address. A prezzie about AGW to a Californian audience would be a very different beast to one delivered in China or India as I’m sure you would agree.

        All this would be well beyond any one man hobbyist, however talented and knowledgeable.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        “I think your understanding of the way corporations work is more fed by fanciful notions of shadowy figures with links to shady characters”.
        Such innocence. I completely lost it with your statement! You don’t get it. There’s nothing in the shadows anymore. It’s all out there, ready for you to discover: Big Energy’s contribution to an AGW disinformation campaign (we talked about Koch and Exxon, but there are plenty more), why the US went to war in Iraq, how the oil mafia is negotiating in that country (Did Big Oil Win the War in Iraq? by A. Juhasz) etc , etc.

        Did you wear a proper, gray flannel suit during your mundane days with corporate?

      • I think you are agreeing with me again.

        We talked about Koch and Exxon, because they were the ones you chose to bring to my attention. Had you wished to discuss others, you were at liberty to do so.

        And we discovered that the amount spent on climate change related information by these entities was at least ten times less than that spent by their opponents in Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF etc.

        You provide no citations about ‘why the US went to war in Iraq’, so I’ll assume that you have an opinion but nothing to back it up. And I can’t say that I find it very shocking that a country with few natural resources decided to negotiate to sell its oil to the only entities capable of buying it. The Iraqi government cannot economically sell a gallon of petrol directly to your local service station. The oil has to go through all the boring but essential stuff that intermediaries do of refining it and distributing it and buying and selling it and getting it to the wide spectrum of eventual users. Such networks are not built overnight, so the choice for Iraq is to either keep the oil in the ground and get no revenue – possibly for decades, or to sell it to those who can buy it. Those choices are the same ones they had prior to the war. If you know of a third way, I’m sure that they would be delighted to hear it.

        The projects I worked on in the corporate world were far from mundane. But they didn’t involve sitting in boardrooms plotting the downfall of foreign governments. More like a lot of hard intellectual and practical work trying to figure out how to integrate a whole set of disparate old and new IT systems across the world so that we could end up with global systems like the Internet and the facilities that we come to take for granted from it.

        As to dress code, we operated on the basis that one’s dress should be appropriate for the situation and not detract or distract from the work. Just as it would be inappropriate in UK to wear Bermuda Shorts and Sandals to a funeral, it would have been silly to wear a full dinner suit for time spent on the shop floor of a manufacturing company. So I had a suit (blue pinstripe, not grey flannel) for occasions when it was the right dress, and other ensembles for other times.

        What do you wear to work? Do you wear it because you want to be seen to fit in with your co-workers? Or do you have so little to contribute that you have to make your statement solely with your dress?

      • The only thing I have ever been paid for is to search the world over for oil and gas. I am sure this causes some in the community great consternation. Regarding my presentation, it isn’t meant to cover all of the topics and, without the audio, you have no idea what was really covered.

      • Does anyone know what I have to do to get funded by Exxon?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame


  66. Brandon Shollenberger

    I have a follow up comment to what I said before. There is an extremely important lesson to be learned from the reactions to Climategate, one which I don’t see discussed often. That lesson is when people can pick-and-choose what they respond to, their responses tend to lose meaning.

    Of course, to some extent people have to choose to only respond to certain things. It would be impossible for someone like Judith Curry to respond to everything people say about/ask her. On the other hand, we have of blogs which use moderation to shape discussions. If one side of the exchange is edited/deleted, how trustworthy is the exchange? More importantly, how can anything be resolved if one side refuses to engage with the other? There are two examples I’d like to discuss. The first is severe, the second not.

    Defenders of climate scientists like to talk about how there have been half a dozen investigations due to Climategate, and all of these exonerated the scientists. Of course, most people here already know these “investigations” were investigations in name only. They intentionally avoided examining issues which would require them issue condemnations. This was extremely dishonest, and it means they were nothing more than a whitewash. However, as a whitewash, they provided ammunition in the petty back-and-forths.

    As for the other issue, it is much more minor. However, it is also much more prevalent. It is the issue of people on one side making claims, then refusing to discuss them with people who disagree. This is akin to “drive-by commenting.” We see it here and here, where Chris Colose and Eric Steig both promote the ClimateSight article (Colose laughingly calls it accurate). In both cases, neither returned to engage with people pointing out the article is bad.

    We see it again here, where Chris Colose makes a post boldly defending climate scientists and dismissing criticisms of them. Despite me asking pointed questions only twenty minutes after his post, he never returns to engage on what he said. However, he did post two hours later, where he mocked those who disagreed with him.

    Eli Rabett also make posts where he seeks to defend the consensus, yet he doesn’t chime in on the most pointed question in the topic. Nobody seems interested in discussing a simple, factual issue, but they are happy to try to “score points.” There isn’t any effort to engage on issues, to seek resolution of disputes. Instead, defenders of climate scientists refuse to discuss the issues.

    And that is the real problem. As long as people aren’t talking to each other, nothing will get fixed.

    • Mr. Schollenberger, what on Earth makes you think people like Colose want to have any sort of a dialogue?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Presumably there are people who genuinely want to resolve dilemmas, settle disputes, etc. Constant battles over trifling matters causes stagnation. Petty quibbling based upon dishonesty and delusions serves no legitimate point.

        I don’t presume to know individuals’ motivations or desires, so I will refrain from commenting specifically on Chris Colose. However, we do have two clear options with two obvious results. One is respectable; the other deserves nothing but derision. The fact I am not devoid of any and all hope leads me to believe there are people who wish for the former.

        As a side note, there is no “c” in my name.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        And the insanity continues. Chris Colose has now said:

        I am not going to dwell on and on about who has the better interpretation of an email exchange, or whether someone deleted an email, or whether someone was a meany to SteveM.

        This is exactly what I am talking about. Chris Colose was more than happy to say which interpretation was better. He just won’t “dwell” on it. In other words, he will shout out his opinion as fact, but he won’t discuss it if anyone disagrees with him.

        It’s despicable.

      • Brandon Shollenberger,

        I’m not sure where exactly Colose “shouted is opinion as fact”: do you mind providing a quote for that? Not full posts, only the relevant shouts. Or do you mean that the quote you just provided was an instance of Chris Colose shouting his opinion as fact?

        As far as I can tell, Colose would be delighted to discuss the physics. He does not want to indulge into email philology. Why do you find this “despicable”? Sometimes, it’s just better to agree to disagree.

        I will note a problem with the main jest of your editorial. (I disagree with your interpretation that this is a smaller point your first one about the inquiries.) You say that “defenders of the climate scientists”, whatever that means, do not “chime in on the most pointed question in the topic.” This claim raises lots of questions.

        Here are some questions:

        – Must every “defender” chime in on every question?

        – What happens when a “defender” gets the same question over and over and over again?

        – Who decides what question is “most pointed”?

        – What happens when every thread converges toward the same mostly irrelevant arguments over and over again (e.g. yes, but RC moderation)?

        – Why would a defender think that this kind of pattern shows a willingness to discuss anything?

        – When do we agree to disagree?

        – Why are we presuming that this “despicable” behavior can only be ascribed to defenders?

        – What are the reasons that we’re discussing factual matters?

        I am sure there are many more questions that one can ask. This would be of some interest, as your argument has been repeated over and over and over again by the “attackers” of climate scientists, if we may extend your terminology. Nevertheless, I am afraid that the left margin will soon crush our comments.

        The most important matter, for now, is to recognize that the most pointed questions are usually not of facts, but of interpretation of facts, and oftentimes here of moral interpretations of them.

        Discussing moral opprobrium is not always discussing.

      • Why don’t you bring something of substance up instead of asking other people what I want? A number of people have expressed ideas which aren’t inherently conspiratorial, and I have generally always been patient in discussing things with them. I of course, like most people, have my own areas of interest and background, and the private dialogues of scientists do not happen to be on that list…I would much rather discuss the physical science and its implications with specifics. I also have limited patience with people without background in climate science who declare with absolute confident and authority why it is all bogus. Instead, if people without familiarity of the physics posed questions, and expressed an actual intent to learn and not argue, people might actually become interested in “dialogue.”

        On the other hand, there are people who believe everyone is on a grand conspiracy, and several independent investigations that show this wasn’t the case must be a “whitewash.” It’s absolutely pointless to discuss anything with these people or to even pursue those topics further. What do we gain from it?

        Once again, I’m not looking for approval on niceness or whether you like my support of climtesight, and I’m certainly not interested in random people’s opinions about what Phil Jones said. If you had something of physical substance regarding the nature of climate science it would have been made by now. Einstein didn’t revolutionize physics by going through the “classical experts” mails their wife sent them, posting the content in the local newspaper, and declaring everyone a fraud– and frankly, no, I have no interest in pursuing that course of dialogue.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Chris Colose, are you really responding to Tom Fuller’s questioning of me while simultaneously ignoring the very issues you raised? Using a conversation between two other people as a springboard for your incessant derision of a group of people but refusing to engage in a discussion you started is peculiar, at best.

        You could prove Tom Fuller wrong by actually engaging people, even if only on the very issues you raise. You could also prove him right, by doing exactly what you are doing.

      • The only big conspiracy scenarios I am aware of in this issue are the ones that have to do with cynical people who are willing to destroy the Earth because they are in the pay of big oil and the Koch family.
        So after you get your pals who are promoting these conspiracy delusions to get real, get back to us and stop wasting time pretending skeptics are all conspritorialists.
        The social movement of AGW is not about a grand conspiracies. It is about self-dealing, bias confirmation and group think: iow, ignorance trumps conspiracy every time. And it takes really smart well educated people to make a huge mistake like believing that a world wide cliamte crisis is being caused by CO2.

      • The response to the theory of relativity lead to philosophical, personal, political and nationalistic attacks on Einstein, which to a large extent determined why the 1921 Nobel prize was given for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.

      • @chris colose

        ‘On the other hand, there are people who believe everyone is on a grand conspiracy, and several independent investigations that show this wasn’t the case must be a “whitewash.”’

        Are there any such people posting here? Has anybody expressed that view on Climate Etc. since it was founded? Is your remark a response to such a remark?

        There are many reasons to believe that the laughingly called ‘independent enquiries’ didn’t do anything approaching a thorough job. But not supporting a theory of global conspiracy is not one of them.

        It seems to me that you and your fellow ‘scientists’ are very good at coming up with plausible answers to questions that haven’t been asked.

        But you are completely flummoxed, to the point of completely evading the questions, about those that are being asked. Diversionary tactics might be good for a brief skirmish, but you can’t hide away from those questions forever. They will continue to be asked. Blinking like rabbits in the headlights does not advance your cause.

        Engage with the questions.

    • Engaging in a real dialogue in the blogosphere is challenge. I’ve honed my skills on this by spending some time at CA and WUWT engaging with people rather hostile to me. The issue is how you keep score: do you “win” by gotchas, snarky putdowns, or self righteous proclamations? Or do you “win” when somebody (either you or the other guy) actually learns something about the science, learns where a common source of misunderstanding lies, becomes less certain in their previous overcertain position, and the dialogue exposes both people to new information that actually makes them think and possibly learn. Climate Etc. keeps score in the second way, many of the other blogs (especially those that are heavily moderated) are keeping score in the first way.

      p.s. note, Gavin Schmidt goes way beyond the call of duty in engaging broadly in the blogosphere. He almost certainly can’t keep up with everyone that wants to engage with him.

      • Dr. Curry, with all due respect Gavin is not engaging in dialogue. He is an ideologue engaging in propaganda.

      • Actually, when Gavin shows up here or at the Air Vent, it is to mostly to discuss technical things.

      • Steve Fitzpatrick

        This is completely true. Anywhere other than Real Climate, Gavin appears 100% focused on science (at Real Climate, maybe not 100%). This is exactly what climate science needs to regain credibility. I believe there was a substantial change in moderation at Real Climate post November of last year; I hope it continues. I would add that Bart also does a respectable job of focusing on science, and he moderates his blog very lightly. Snarky put-downs, personal attacks, and the use of moderation to render your opponents mute do terrible damage to the credibility of climate science.

      • If he does that here, he is out of character in reference to his body of work.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        The truth is you wouldn’t know the difference between science and propaganda, but you do have a hit list. Pathetic.

      • Richard S Courtney


        You are projecting again. And this time it is very, very funny.


      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Hi King Coal! Are you my personal psychobabbler in this discussion? How much per session?
        What’s even funnier is when some one representing coal interests quotes himself, in the garbage known as E&E. Lol!
        Am I on your hit list? Sue me!

      • AEG,
        The only list you are on is that of ‘silly true believer’.
        You got yourself on it with no cost, but great expense, to you.

      • AEG,
        I know which side you are on, and it has little to do with science.
        I know propaganda, and I am sorry to say that much of cliamte science is engaging in it.

      • A succint demonstration by hunter why some dialogue is piointless.

      • Michael,
        Dismissing skeptics worked for awhile in some venues.
        Not anymore.
        If you think Gavin is engaged in dialogue, show us where he is not heavily censoring, running an echo chamber, etc.

      • Judith,

        I have very much appreciated you opening this blog. It is unfortunate that it has attracted some of the zealots and ideologues who, unfortunately, use more effort on personal attacks than on the science.

        As long as you don’t feed the pigeons, the pigeons will fly away. There is no teaching a zealot or ideologue. For the most part, they continue to “contribute” as long as they get a response. It isn’t about “winning” anything, other than attention. for these zealots.

        Despite the appearance of those zealots, your blog has attracted and sustains some of the most interesting scientists in the blogsphere.

        As for Gavin, I generally agree with your assessment of his demeanour. On his own site, he is indeed god. When he appears on other sites, he does tend to focus on the science. However, because he behaves like a ideologue on his own site, I believe he gets less than a fair assessment to his scientific discussions than perhaps he deserves.

        It would really be nice to see Gavin do a guest article on WUWT. But I won’t be holding my breath…..

  67. One thing everyone should have learned – the political games we humans play matter not one whit to nature and nature’s laws. No matter how often and how deeply the blogosphere (including loathsome folks like Watts and Morano and McIntyre) plumb the stolen emails, the planet continues to warm, the oceans continue to acidify, the ice continues to melt, and so on.

    And yes, despite the fact that we humans are not omniscient does not mean we are totally ignorant. The email hack didn’t change that, either.

    • And I would point out that no matter how many sincere AGW true believers like you invoke the climate apocalypse claim, it is still not happening.
      Nature has utterly declined to cooperate in the predictions of impending doom you seem to be fixated on.

      • Who said anything about “impending doom”? I certainly didn’t.

        It’s safe to say, however, that as CO2 and other GHGs continue to increase, the climate is continuing to change, no matter how much certain folks and ideologies proclaim otherwise. You folks would do well to learn what Knut already knew.

      • And, let’s see, climate won’t change without us?

      • Well no, but that the climate can change without us doesn’t mean that we cannot change the climate. People didn’t die from auto accidents until the very late 19th century, but that doesn’t mean people didn’t die before then.

      • This little pirouette- the true believer denial of AGW catastrophism- is one of the more interesting dissembling maneuvers.
        The entire basis of AGW is that CO2 is causing, to quote the official name, ‘global climate disruption’. Do you disagree with that premise?
        Do you think any change in the climate is dangerous and significant?
        Are you telling us that climate did not change prior to the age of CO2?
        Please do tell.

      • The observations tell us that we’re changing the climate. Do you deny that?

        I don’t think “any” change is “dangerous” – and whether or not a change is “significant” is dependent on the context.

        Likewise, that climate has changed for reasons other than humans before does not mean that climate cannot change because of us. I don’t understand why “skeptics” insist on that logical fallacy.

    • Gues reminding you of the past 10-15 years would be talking climate huh?

      • DEEBEE,
        The AGW community believes this all started in 1850.
        The proper question is to ask them to please show any wether patterns in the past 150-160 that indicate anything other than typical variability is occurring.
        They cannot.
        Just like when skeptics here post lengthy direct quotes from climategate, the true believers just mumble some silly rationalization they choose to accept as an explanation of how it was all just boys being boys.
        But they never test their rationalization. If they did they would find it transparently contrived.

  68. David L. Hagen

    California’s Air Resource Board (CARB) appears to have “learned” that it can impose its ‘dogma’ with impunity. It is proposing “prohibit dishonest statements or submittals”.

    Surreality: CARB contemplating a “skeptical science” regulation with penalties Posted on November 20, 2010 by Anthony Watts

    My View: The California Air resources Board is quickly becoming the most dangerous bureaucratic organization in California. This latest contempt for a public that questions the validity of their mission is way over the top. As the headline says, CARB is actively considering:

    …a proposed regulation which would prohibit dishonest statements or submittals offered to the Board or to its staff.

    Guess who gets to determine the “dishonesty” of a “statement or submittal” to CARB?

  69. ” Underwater Suspension Tunnels ” Does anyone here comprehend them and what they can do for us?

  70. Regarding circumvention of the peer review process by appealing to an alternate authority, taking unilateral action or however …

    Mostly that seems to move in the direction of closing ranks to bolster the status quo.

    An alternate development is provided by Jacques Benveniste, water memory and the Nature controversy

    It was not a pleasant spectacle and I think that many would view it as a failure of the peer review process (?), science (?), pseudoscience (?), whatever …. ???

    I’m not quite sure but it was definitely painful awkward and ugly many ways round, setting a precedence for what has happened more recently. Yet that unsightliness is probably indication that science and the open discourse (argument) was doing what was needed to be done.

    • An interesting case. When is the same rigor going to be applied to teleconnections?

      • For a brief while, I had a grad student office next door to A.R.G. Owen He was a student of R.A. Fisher.

        Hey … just found an interesting paper … R. A. Fisher on Bayes and Bayes’ Theorem

        R. A. Fisher was a lifelong critic of inverse probability.” Thomas Bayes was one of R.
        A. Fisher’s heroes.” How can (Zabell 1989, p. 247) and (Edwards 2004, p. 34) both
        be right when inverse probability is only an old name for Bayesian inference?

  71. To Dr Gavin Schmidt

    You quoted the following:

    “That is the bottom line of the data, which are, by the way, freely available on the internet as well as in the local library, and which everyone is welcome to analyze to come to their own conclusions.”

    I agree.

    Let us look at the data and tell me where I got it wrong.

    Here the accelerated warming of the IPCC:

    Here is how the IPCC interprets the above data:

    1) Global warming rate for the 150 years period (RED) from 1856 to 2005 was 0.045 deg C per decade.

    2) Global warming rate for the 100 years period (PURPLE) from 1906 to 2005 was 0.074 deg C per decade.

    3) Global warming rate for the 50 years period from (ORANGE) 1956 to 2005 was 0.128 deg C per decade.

    4) Global warming rate for the 25 years period from (YELLOW) 1981 to 2005 was 0.177 deg C per decade.

    IPCC then states:
    “Note that for shorter recent periods, the slope is greater, indicating accelerated warming.”

    Okay, let us apply this “IPCC interpretation of data” procedure to compare the global warming rates in the last 25 years to that in the last 13 years going backward from 2010 as shown in the following plot.

    This result gives:
    1) Global warming rate for the 25 years period (RED) from 1986 to 2010 was 0.188 deg C per decade.

    2) Global warming rate for the 13 years period (GREEN) from 1998 to 2010 was 0.004 deg C per decade. (Nearly no warming)

    I then state.
    “Note that for shorter recent periods, the slope is smaller, indicating decelerated warming.”

    Gavin, instead of reporting this GOOD NEWS to the public and taking about decadal trends, you have shifted the goal post to talking about individual year’s temperature by saying “we have had one of the hottest years on record.”

    Gavin, can not someone living in the 1940s also say “we have had one of the hottest years on record.” ?

    Yes, the globe was also warming at 0.15 deg C per decade 70 years ago!

    There is nearly no warming now.

    Gavin, is it possible that instead of the accelerating warming of the IPCC shown above, the global mean temperature can be interpreted as a cyclic pattern with an overall warming of only 0.06 deg C per decade as shown in the following plot?

    Did not Feynman stated on doing science the following:
    “Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them.”

    Gavin, after looking at the data “freely available on the internet as well as in the local library”, that is my conclusion.

    Here is Richard Feynman’s wish for all aspiring scientist graduates:

    “So I have just one wish for you–the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.”

  72. What I learned (or it was confirmed in the year since the emails release) is that climate science is about as politically charged and just as robust and definitive as Economics. One could suggest the economists have a better handle on the statistics and managing their data. I wouldn’t suggest either one of these disciplines knows better about historical observations and adjustments.

    Sorry to say, that’s how I react to your climate science. I know (some, many?) economists have political agendas. I know now that (some) climate scientists have political agendas or are very naive if they think the UN IPCC doesn’t have a political agenda.

  73. What have I learned from Climategate? Not a lot, alas. I’ve learned much more from Climate etc.

    But I guess what I did get was reinforcement of an earlier worrying conclusion: that a strong case for AGW would not require the sort of conniving revealed by the emails, by the dismissal of critics as ‘denialists’, by the patronising tone of the support offered by the executives of learned academies, by the scary headlines and unthinking hype offered by the MSM, and by the religious tone of the grabs uttered by political leaders.

    The case just isn’t strong, or at least it’s not as strong as the AGW orthodoxy would like it to be. So one begins to think that the case has been ‘sexed up’, in many domains, by many people. And that reduces one’s confidence about almost everything coming forward from the orthodoxy.

    Yes, I recognise that there are many scientists who do their work honestly and as well as they can do it. But it’s the use that’s made of that work, and the neglect of other work that doesn’t point in the desired direction, that one begins to expect. And it doesn’t impress.

    My guess is that AGW is going to fade as an issue, and be replaced by other environmental concerns, and by long-term energy concerns about oil, efficiency, and the like.

  74. I’ve spotted two new articles, which have been added to the main post.

  75. I’ve received several emails voicing concern that I have included posts from the “dark side” (e.g. American Thinker, James Corbett). Here is my response:

    I am not particularly asking or expecting people to be open minded about other views. Thinking people can disagree on which side is the “dark” side. People who are trying to understand the dynamics of this whole mess would do well to understand where the other side is coming from; without that understanding there is less hope of something sane emerging. And to either side that is looking to “win” this war, remember Sun Tsu and “know your enemy.”

    • My understanding of the ‘whole mess’ is that people who are fixated on ‘Climate-gate’ do so from a primarily political stand-point, irrespective of whatever sciency facade they try to construct around it, hence the strange ideas and repitition of falsehoods in those articles.

      What emerges is that some do indeed believe that they are entitled to both their own opinions and their own facts.

    • “People who are trying to understand the dynamics of this whole mess would do well to understand where the other side is coming from”

      When I include sources I disagree with I highlight exactly which part I agree with and my reason for including it. I don’t throw a collection of sources covering everything from the crazy to the ultra crazy and then congratulate myself for “thinking” about all perspectives.

      The issue here is whether you’re helping to clarify the meaning of “Climategate” and its impact or whether you’re helping to confuse it. Including all viewpoints regardless of their correctness or reasonableness confuses the issue.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Dr Curry:

        Please continue to review the entire spectrum of opinion and assess/critrique each and all views.

        Alternatively, if you do wish to constrain the viewpoints for review then I have the temerity to suggest that that the viewpoints to be ignored are those from people who proclaim their bigotry by claiming only some viewpoints should be considered.


      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Good point. We need a condescending tone cop like Courtney. Courtney must be referring to when hunter said that Gavin is a nothing more than a propagandist.

  76. Going beyond the question of what have we (in science) learned, there is the fascinating issue of where are we going? New ideas develop in science on a decadal scale, not an annual scale. (I happen to study this, see http://www.osti.gov/innovation/research/diffusion/epicasediscussion_lb2.pdf) The pace is largely determined by the proposal, award, research, then publish cycle, which takes several years. So if the community is going to give less attention to refining AGW and more to exploring and resolving the uncertainties this transition will take a good while to appear.

    In the shorter run some things can change quickly. For example, there has been a strong tendency to stress (or even to hype) the application of research results to dangerous AGW, especially in press releases. Likewise for relating research to climate change when it is only marginally so related. It will be interesting to see if these fashions change.

  77. What we have learned from “climategate” is first and foremost that the animosity towards the science is even larger than expected. Those who object to the perceived policy consequences of the science go through great lengths in order to try to discredit the science. http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/climategate-scandal-that-wasnt-and-scandal-that-was/

    There’s no strong relation between knowledge/information and people’s perceptions: Just the facts won’t do. This was known already, but really hot home through this course of events.
    It’s all about the narrative. Climategate resonated because it could easily be spun into the underdog fighting the mean establishment.

    • Come on Bart, there is no animosity toward science here, just animosity toward the other side in a scientific debate. Yours is just a variation on the “science is settled” gambit. Neither side is smarter, nor more knowledgeable. Neither side is against science, although each side sees the other as being so. This kind of mass ad hominem dos not further the debate.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        “Neither side is smarter, nor more knowledgeable. Neither side is against science..
        I can’t speak for the total population of climate researchers actually researching the subject of CC, but I will: you must be kidding. Can you define with more precision ‘side’?

      • AEG would that not be a waste of effort since the issue is already decided — as far as you are concerned.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        I happen to like evidence, and I’m willing to examine that evidence, if it’s provided.

      • “This kind of mass ad hominem dos not further the debate.”

        Yes of course, but this fact doesn’t stop such ploys. Look at the persistent tenor of the posts from Colose, Lacsis, AEG et al

        Lacsis made a truly vapid comment high up in this thread to the effect that the primary (as in 1st) thing he’d learned from Climategate was that emails may be stolen without anyone going to jail for such theft. Well, exactly the same comment applies to all unsolved “burglaries”, worldwide. So, shlock, horror !! Apparently we are regarded as too stupid to grasp this … but I think the true stupidity lies in the fact that after 12 months the “crime” still remains unsolved. Must really puncture the old vanity, eh fellas ?

      • BTW, David, thank you very much for the website link to un-paywalled papers … very much appreciated

    • Bart,
      You are fabricating a huge strawman when you falsely claim that skeptics of AGW are anti-science. And frankly it is such a big strawman as to raise doubts about if you are either actually reading the skeptical points or if you are sincere.

    • Bart,
      And I would suggest that your silly argument about perception cuts both ways and that you should deploy that one very carefully.
      Also, the reason climategate resonated is the same reason that an auditor of a company who suspects embezzlement but could not get firm proof and then later finds strong evidence of the embezzlement would say the evidence resonates.
      To make your point about perception a bit clearer, perhaps you and other apologists of climategate do not see the problem is that your perception of climate science and global climate disruption are such that it blinds you to what reasonable people see.

    • I agree, Bart. Various economic and political interests perceive the science to be a threat to their power, so they came up with a plan to attack the scientists themselves, and thus hope to discredit the science. I recommend Oreskes’ “Merchants of Doubt”, that tells a good portion of the story of the attacks on climate scientists as a means to attack the science.

      I also recommend “A Vast Machine” to see how the science evolved to where it is today, and gives good reasons why those who think they’re entitled to their own facts are wrong.

      The simple fact is that we are changing the climate.

      • OK, I haven’t read “Merchants of Doubt,” but I just read some of the reviews. NOW I understand why the “anti-skeptics” keep bringing up tobacco and asbestos. However, it is still pretty idiotic. Everyone is funded somehow or another. And I am aware of studies that purport to show that the view of the funding entity tends to be reinforced in the study results. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but let me say this. I look at the current administration in the US and see a radical, left-wing, environmentalist in charge of the EPA under a very left-leaning President and friends, and see climate scientists delivering results that just scream for action from a government that will grow bigger and more powerful as a result. So maybe the book has a point after all.

      • Once you’ve read “Merchants of Doubt”, you can read “A Vast Machine”, so you can see that the knowledge that we’re changing the climate doesn’t have a political ideology. The facts are what they are – the sea ice in the Arctic isn’t going away because the US administration is under the control of the (as you claim) “very left-leaning”.

      • I do believe A-CO2 is warming the climate. The question is will it be over 2C/century and, if so, by how much? Also, the consequences of such a change are not clear. It might even be net beneficial. Even if the changes are net negative, there still isn’t necessarily a case for mitigation. Adaptation might well be the most cost-effective, and that translates to a strong economy and military to defend ourselves, solution. This isn’t just a question of how much tax we pay. It is also a question of how free we are, how strong our economy is, and how strong our military is. If you believe these are inconsequential, you are very wrong. A strong economy provides wealth which allows society more options in the world. The more wealth, the more adaptation we can afford. Mitigation might be the end of our country. These are serious matters, and the fact that A-CO2 leads to some warming isn’t the only concern.

        And then there is the fact that we are heading into the next glaciation. We should be trying to figure out how to survive that since it will be much more devastating than warming.

      • The DoD has done some interesting studies on the potential impacts of manmade climate change. Use your Google to examine them.

      • Yep, the usual words: may, could, might. Not exactly definitive, is it?

      • “Yep, the usual words: may, could, might.”

        That’s what science usually looks like.

        “Not exactly definitive, is it?”

        When scientists do make “definitive” statements they get bashed for misrepresenting uncertainty.

      • Scientists usually give pretty precise predictions on, say, asteroid orbits. There are other examples of where science can make highly certain predictions. If you take engineering as applied science, those predictions can get pretty tight.

      • “Scientists usually give pretty precise predictions on, say, asteroid orbits.”


        “Researchers at NASA/JPL, Caltech, and Arecibo Observatory have released the results of radar observations of the potentially hazardous asteroid 99942 Apophis”

        “The analysis of Apophis previews situations likely to be encountered with NEAs yet to be discovered:”

        ” amplifying trajectory prediction uncertainties caused by difficult-to-observe physical characteristics interacting with solar radiation as well as other factors.”

        “However, additional factors can influence the predicted motion in ways that depend on rarely known details

        “It was found that small uncertainties in the masses and positions of the planets and Sun can cause up to 23 Earth radii of prediction error for Apophis by 2036.”

        And so on and so forth. Sounds like those “scientists” at NASA don’t have a clue about asteroids! Uncertain this! Difficult to observe that! Constantly having to tweak their models to get the right answer!

        “There are other examples of where science can make highly certain predictions. If you take engineering as applied science, those predictions can get pretty tight.”

        You mean that if you cover the entirety of all science and all engineering you can find some very specific and very certain predictions? Well sure but the issue here is the domain that science generally deals in which is that of the unknown and the uncertain.

        If you’re waiting for “We definitely know for sure that…” from science you’ll be waiting a very very very long time.

      • Excellent, Jim. Wise words! We need to replace the Information Age with the Clean, Cheap Energy Age and anything that detracts from (or runs contrary to) that mission is wasted effort (or worse).
        I wrote a whole book with that theme called Hartz String Theory.


      • You have no evidence the sea ice in the Arctic is going away due to CO2. Nor does your pitiful catastrophism explain why it went away before. And especially you have no clue as to how unimportant the entire ice issue is.

      • I was going to name our book the merchants of certainty.
        I had my doubts if anyone would get it.

        The merchant of doubt phenomena is real. You can see how it shaped the ‘thin green line’ that scientists enforced amongst themselves. No internal dissent. Why, you can’t even say that “hide the decline” was poor chartmanship. You can’t even say that Jones was wrong, simply wrong, to ask Mann and others to delete mails.

        By refusing to criticize the minor infractions of policy and proceedure, you feed the doubt you wish to extirpate.

      • “Why, you can’t even say that “hide the decline” was poor chartmanship. “

        I don’t believe it was poor chartmanship. People may feel like the divergence problem significantly alters their trust in the reliability of tree proxies but experts disagree. The central issue is whether a chart which includes a period where trees are known to diverge from measured temperature is better than not including it.

        Personally I’d say either the data is good enough to be included or it isn’t. That’s certainly a discussion worth having and I see plenty of evidence it’s being worked out in the literature (since the problem was actually published long before the emails were). Ultimately the kinds of reconstructions we’re talking about are going to have to smooth over some of the issues with particular proxy types otherwise it creates the impression the reconstruction is fatally flawed owing to the fact that each constituent component has at least some flaw.

        “You can’t even say that Jones was wrong, simply wrong, to ask Mann and others to delete mails.”

        I can cheerfully say it was wrong to do that and I suspect that basically everyone agrees on that point.

        Where I think people disagree is whether it can be said his behaviour was justified on the basis of FOI being used to harass rather than genuinely access data for the purpose of improving the field.

        Again speaking personally I can certainly understand Jones’ behaviour within the “harassment” context but I can also say that he was still wrong for all sorts of reasons and that sort of behaviour shouldn’t ever be tolerated.

      • The “hide the decline” comment referred to the chart in the WMO report which had the instrumental data grafted onto the end of the proxy record without maing it clear that this had been done. I don’t have any problem in calling this bad chartsmanship.
        The subsequent charts in the IPCC did label teh instrumental record separately so I agree with you on that.

      • It is not that everyone is funded, it is that the tobacco and asbestos interests (e.g. industry, think tanks, etc.) manufactured denial, not that a few heterodox scientists approached them for funding.

      • And the eugenicists funded scientists to justify their horrific policies. And in the good ol’ USSR validating Lysenko was a great way to get funding.
        And in the US laughing at ideas connecting bacteria to ulcers was the consensus strategy, and much funding of studies regarding stomach acid and ulcers was available.
        Did Eli have a point hidden in there someplace?

      • Certain scientists were laughed at, true. But (as Sagan noted), so was Bozo the Clown. The “skeptics” aren’t Galileo, by any stretch.

      • And climate science of today would make Lysenko blush.

      • Can you present an argument, rather than just mindlessly repeating cliches?

      • But (as Sagan noted), so was Bozo the Clown. [Citing C. Sagan is good for the first laugh.]

        Bozo was paid to entertain, to make people laugh.

        Fear is the coin of the AGW realm. It worked, for awhile. Bankruptcy looms for the alarmists. They can learn to laugh: we need Bozo, now.

      • Actually, it’s the “skeptics” who promote fear and passivism. Changing our fossil-fuel-addicted civilization, according to them, means back to the Stone Age. Likewise, we hear from them that there’s nothing meaningful we can do, so let’s do nothing. Too many “skeptics” are fatalists. I wonder why that is.

      • But your side still hasn’t established that the change we’re experiencing is outside of the bounds of natural variation. That is the crux of the matter as far as I’m concerned. Why would anyone promote taking action in this case?

        The only argument for reducing use of fossil fuels is that of energy security – and indeed I think that’s why so many western governments are interested in the AGW fig leaf. But ironically, our energy security is threatened by our refusal to build more coal fired power stations. For example in the UK if we don’t build new stations within 10 years we’ll be experiencing power cuts. I don’t think a few thousand wind farms will help the situation.

        That’s why I consider this whole thing to be completely insane. We should do a lot of R&D into alternatives, yes, but actually closing down capacity without having a replacement on the basis of what Lindzen calls “implausible chains of inference” is totally cretinous.

      • The simple fact is we have always changed the climate.
        From burning forests to drive game, to allowing sheep to over graze to changing rivers and vegetation.
        The question is not if we are changing the climate. The question is if we are causing a global climate disruption?
        the evidence points to ‘no’.
        I like the way the true believers subtly recast the question to get the answer they want.

      • Please could you define what you mean by ‘attack’ in the context of your phrase ‘a plan to attack the scientists themselves’. I am finding it difficult to follow you argument without this understanding.

        I’m sure you don’t mean to physically attack, so what do you mean?

      • These don’t look like attacks to me, but just other people taking a critical view of a very vocal scientist/advocate’s work.

        Unremarkable stuff. Anyone who adopts such a high profile should rightly expect their work to be scrutinised. Being a Climatologist does not grant immunity from this process, however much he may wish it so.

      • It’s one thing to take a critical view, it’s another to make baseless accusations, as Singer has. Do you see the difference?

    • Bart, this is true, there is no strong relation between knowledge and perception…But you have to realise that this cut both ways: it also means that the “deniers” are not all a bunch a illiterate flat-earther creationists. I have a PhD in CFD, I have often contributed as a dilettante on evolution forums, learning interesting details there and enjoying the occasional creationist-bashing (especially the young-eath type)…. and still I am a AGW-denier. My case is far from unique, as even a glimpse at the contibutors here will show you.
      The best predictor on where most people will stand in the climate debate is not their education, not even their scientfic education. It is their political bias.

      Still, I believe my mind is not as firmly set as to be unmovable regarding AGW, even if I find most of the proposed policies for dealing with the CO2 problem quite revulsive. But I would be convinced by better science, expurged from alarmism and overconfidence in models that have a less than ideal validation, and a complete separation between the climate science and politics or value judgements.

      • there is no strong relation between knowledge and perception…But you have to realise that this cut both ways

        Truer words could not be said. The weak coupling is painful.

        Development of that relationship between knowledge and perception beckons.

    • I hold no animosity towards science. I once was a professional scientist and I hold the disciplines of science in the highest regard as being the best way we have ever come up with to understand the universe and how it works.

      But I do hold considerable animosity towards badly done ‘science’ and badly behaved ‘scientists’. To conclusions that are not supported by observations, to data that is badly collected, adjusted according to the menu du jour and misrepresented by those incapable of retaining it. To those who believe that unverified modelling is a replacement for experiment, and especially to those who misrepresent the science to our children in school. To those who lie to us and say ‘The Science is Settled’.

      It is far too early in the scientific process for any robust conclusions to be drawn about the causes (if any) of ‘climate change’. There is not even agreement about what has happened, let alone what will happen. Until this is firmly established (if indeed it can ever be), it is way too early to be making policy decisions. It is my experience in a career of solving problems that trying to solve the wrong (ie not fully understood), problem can lead to far worse consequences than doing nothing at all.

      Am I political about this? Only in the sense that my instinct is that politicians meddling often make things worse rather than better, since they have other agendas beyond solving the problem as presented.

      Anti-science? : Emphatically not.
      Anti bad science and the consequences of bad science?: Absolutely yes.

    • Bart says:
      Those who object to the perceived policy consequences of the science go through great lengths in order to try to discredit the science.

      The holes in current climate theory are big enough to drive a coach and four through anyway, no great lengths required. A substantial number of those critical of climate science as it is currently conducted are primarily concerned with the damge being done to science as a professional discipline, rather than “percieved policy consequences”. In the light of what the releae of the emails and files reveal, these people have legitimate concerns, and lumping them in with those you feel justified in dismissing the views of isn’t going to help deal with the issues, or put the lid on the debate, which will simply continue without you.

    • Bart, anti-AGW people are anti-science. I used to have a modicum of respect for you. No longer. Lindzen, Christy, Mosher, Pielke Sr., Freeman Dyson, McIntyre, and many others are anti-science. I think this is the last time anyone should communicate with you. You’ve lost it man.

      • Bart makes a good living selling that untruth and only reflects what his peer community believes, as disgusting and non-rational as it is.

    • Bart:

      “It’s all about the narrative. Climategate resonated because it could easily be spun into the underdog fighting the mean establishment.”

      exactly. I have never understood why those of us who believe in AGW have played right INTO that meme. the whole argument from consensus PLAYS INTO the counter meme of the lone holdout scientist who ends up being right. The whole “peer review” defense ( skeptics are not peer reviewed) collapsed with the publication of Soon. Even mann understood how that defense backfired. The whole effort to discredit McIntyre and tar him with the same brush as say Koch, backfires. The whole attack on Curry shows people that there is a party line, a thin green line, that is enforced with a vegence: You become the mean establishment.
      The simple fact is you are the establishment. Hulme recognizes this. None of the investigations understood the simple fact that they needed to have anti establishment people on board. Somebody needed to fall on their sword or take a ceremonial beating. Otherwise you enforce the meme. The establishment meme also shows up clearly in the satire videos. go watch them very carefully and see how climate scientists are corralled in with groups that represent establishment.There is no answer to those satires. The 10:10 video ALSO enforces the establishment meme.

      when santer says we need to “speak truth to power” he is missing the meme entirely. He is the power. As much as I liked his performance before congress, those words show me that he ( and others) still don’t get it. there are 3 players in this fight: establishment science, corporations, and those pesky guys on the blogosphere. Different opponents require different tactics.
      you wanna change things? invite McIntyre to do a guest post. cross the thin green line.

      Lakoff taught us that we live by metaphors. We also die by them.

      • Interesting that Mr. Mosher believes that McIntyre, with his rambling musings leading to nowhere, is due the same respect as Santer. Why?

      • Steven Mosher,

        Good point, and I think you’re right in the power of that narrative, but not necessarily in how it plays out. E.g. Judith Curry is not criticized for not towing a party line (which party line?), but for making strong unsubstantiated statements and accusations. I’ve agreed with parts she has said, and disagreed more recently when she ventured into the dogma narrative. I.e. I object exactly to that heretic vs establishment narrative.

  78. simon abingdon

    Is http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/ at all believable? If not it’s an extraordinary piece of work, no?

    • All the emails are here if you want to check:

      • simon abingdon

        Thanks. Although I am totally dismissive of conspiracy theories generally and assassinationscience.com in particular, the construction Costella places on the Climategate saga does have a somewhat convincing ring of truth about it, or is that me being naive? Just tell me I’m gullible and restore my faith in gavin’s probity.

  79. Bart,

    Climategate did not reveal deep-seated “animosity towards science.” Climategate did not “resonate because it could easily be spun into the underdog fighting the mean establishment.”

    Climategate exposed the abuse of government science as a propaganda tool, exactly as predicted by former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address on 17 Jan 1961:

    Eisenhower’s warning seems to the blueprint that Al Gore, the UN’s IPCC, and power-hungry world leaders followed on the path to Climategate.

    The poor climate scientists who manipulated and distorted data were mere pawns in this very serious threat to free society.

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

  80. Dr. Curry,

    I believe that the problem is mostly with the institutions (first and foremost the IPCC), and less with the individual scientists who are trying just to go about their daily research. Unfortunately, some Scientists are crossing over from one camp to the other, and that is part of the problem.

    The following link is from a prominent author, who points exactly to the problem:

  81. DAEDALUS or Science and the Future

    A paper read to the Heretics, Cambridge, on February 4th, 1923 by J. B. S. Haldane

    As I sit down to write these pages I can see before me two scenes from my experience of the late war. The first is a glimpse of a forgotten battle of 1915. It has a curious suggestion of a rather bad cinema film …

    It is a fairly safe prophecy that in 50 years light will cost about a fiftieth of its present price, and there will be no more night in our cities. …

    Personally, I think that four hundred years hence the power question in England may be solved somewhat as follows: The country will be covered with rows of metallic windmills working electric motors which in their turn supply current at a very high voltage to great electric mains. At suitable distances, there will be great power stations where during windy weather the surplus power will be used for the electrolytic decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen. …

    It was of course as a result of its invasion by Porphyrococcus that the sea assumed the intense purple colour which seems so natural to us, but which so distressed the more aesthetically minded of our great grand- parents who witnessed the change. It is certainly curious to us to read of the sea as having been green or blue. I need not detail the work of Ferguson and Rahmatullah who in 1957 produced the lichen which has bound the drifting sand of the world’s deserts (for it was merely a continuation of that of Selkovski), nor yet the story of how the agricultural countries dealt with their unemployment by huge socialistic windpower schemes. …

  82. Stephen Pruett

    The complaints from climate scientists about the public not being able to or willing to understand the details of the science are misplaced. One role of scientists is to explain our work in terms that can be understood. The public pays for the often very expensive research that we do; they deserve to be treated with respect, and we are obligated to try to explain our work in an understandable manner.

    This concern is also misplaced because it is not the intricate and arcane details of the science that matter. It is the obvious stuff that climate scientists on this blog and everywhere else will not or cannot address. Things like conceding that the behavior revealed by the climategate documents was wrong and a culture change is needed. An explanation for the current lack of warming would be interesting. Justification of the terminology “high confidence” with regard to CO2 induced warming, when everything I have read indicates climate scientists do not know the degree to which clouds and variation in solar output contribute to warming would be nice. Explaining why the divergence problem didn’t raise serious doubts about all the tree ring proxy data, but only the data since 1960 would be interesting. It would be helpful if someone could explain why there is high confidence that the warming from 1980 to 2000 was due to anthropogenic CO2 but a very similar rate and nearly the same amount of warming in the 1940s occurred at much lower CO2 levels.

    Explanations would be appreciated. I am not skeptical because of faith. I am skeptical because that is the appropriate default position when considering scientific questions. If there are good explanations, I would like to know them and recalculate my overall opinion as needed.

    • “One role of scientists is to explain our work in terms that can be understood. ”

      Thus the furious attack on the hockey stick because, at least in broad terms it is easy to understand

      • It is easy understand the lie behind it. Eli is stepping around the truth as carefully as city slicker stepping through a cow pasture.

      • :) :)

      • Actually Hunter, wake up. There are many confirmations of the hockey stick from MBH98 and 99 using other proxys, other mixes of proxys and more. The general agreement is well within the error limits and the error limits are tight enough that we see the last 100 years or so as an unprecedented increase in the last 1000 or so. As Prof. North put it in 2006 after leading an National Research Council evaluation

        In my opinion, while the techniques used in the original Mann et al papers may have been slightly flawed, the work was the first of its kind and deserves considerable credit for moving the field of paleoclimate research forward. It is also important to note that the main conclusions of the Mann et al studies have been supported by subsequent research.

      • Eli Rabbet :

        There are many confirmations of the hockey stick from MBH98 and 99 using other proxys, other mixes of proxys and more.

        and many, many, many more proxy studies that don’t confirm it.
        database of peer reviewed studies here
        interactive map here

        Really one aught to go with the weight of the evidence.

      • As the various spagh graphs show the agreement with the original is within the error limits (btw, one of the firstcharacterizations of the uncertainties was done for the first time for proxy studies in MBH 98)

        Unfortunately the ap at your link only showed black in Firefox.

      • Eli Rabett wrote on November 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm:

        As the various spagh graphs show the agreement with the original is within the error limits

        but Moberg’s piece of spaghetti showed a MWP and LIA in error limits or not.

        BTW no problem viewing those links with Safari.

      • ‘One role of scientists is to explain our work in terms that can be understood’
        I realise you are framing this in general terms, but please try to understand how condescending, elitist and arrogant that sounds. Your community as a whole does not have an exclusive on science, and is I fear rather prone to the standard ad hominem rebuttals rather than engagement with critics (not all, I hasten to add, ie Gavin, yourself). Sceptics do include in their number a remarkably high percentage of professional and lay scientists (see the Denizens thread for example), with much experience of analytical techniques, the tricks of the trade in terms of presentational material, logical and risk analysis and some with formidable analytical prowess, which was indeed required to unravel the hockey stick ‘illusion’ you mention.

      • Richard

        I think you are tilting at the wrong windmill. Stephen is arguing exactly the same points as you are. And the point he makes about the obligation to explain is absolutely right IMO.

        It is the Chris Colose’s of the world who see no reason whatsoever to engage with the Great Unwashed without his great intellect. We should be content to just listen in awe to his pronouncements unless we have advanced degrees in radiative physics. and only then if he knows that we will not express any views that differ from his own.

      • Latimer
        I was responding to Eli. Colose is something else, and some..

      • OK but the original quotation that you criticised so vehemently was from Stephen. Its getting late here..maybe I was confused.

      • But apologies to Eli. I took his quotation as his own words by mistake.

      • It is the Chris Colose’s of the world who see no reason whatsoever to engage with the Great Unwashed without his great intellect.

        Then why has Chris spent so much time posting here recently?

      • To let us all know why he does not propose to answer any of our questions, and to tell us why we’re all too stupid to understand his answers, even if he deigned to give them.

        That is a reasonable precis of his contributions I think.

      • Uh-huh.

        The scientists in their ivory towers won’t speak to us…..the scientists here don’t answer our questions the way we like.

        It’s this is kind of logic that keeps most of them away – only the hardiest and most patient bother with the echo-chamber of applied ignorance.

      • I have already made it clear if people want to talk productively about the physical science I will do so to the best of my capacity. I am not going to dwell on and on about who has the better interpretation of an email exchange, or whether someone deleted an email, or whether someone was a meany to SteveM. There’s already thousands of discussions on the internet about it, and it’s a waste of my time. The simple fact is that no one has, or will be, convicted of any objectively-defined scientific malpractice, nor will anything spawning from climategate change the laws of nature or published results. There’s been some more intelligent talk about the philosophical and public implications of climategate (see Steve Mosher and Bart V, I’m sure they’d be happy if you joined in), although I personally don’t feel informed enough on social dynamics and perceptions to comment much of substance.

        Take it or leave it. I’m not in my beautiful papal chamber here sniping the infinitely curious masses who just want to pursue the truth. But please, I actually do have work to do in my own life and can’t respond to everyones personal theories they read about climate science and emails, and all the different “gates” people have come up with.

      • Perhaps your earlier remark that I paraphrase as

        Nobody is even qualified to have an opinion about the quality of the AGW theory unless they have a PhD in radiative physics’

        was a truer indication of your approach.

        I’d be the first to concede that I do not have that arrow in my quiver right now to understand the detailed substance of the radiative physics. No argument there.

        But you do not need to be a qualified structural engineer to view the remains of a collapsed building and conclude that something somewhere went horribly wrong with it. You do not need to have played soccer internationally to conclude that a team that has lost twenty two of its last twenty three games is not very good.

        The individuals concerned in each endeavour may point to their own bit being fine…a lovely bit of decorative plaster work here, a beautiful cross from the wing to score their only goal in ten games there. But they cannot hide the point that there are fundamental difficulties..the building has collapsed, the team are going to be relegated.

        So, sorry Chris, I do reserve to myself the right to judge the quality of AGW-theory. And I find it badly wanting. For reasons I described to you earlier.

        Climategate also showed us that the attitudes and behaviours of some of the leading participants did not match up to the high standards that good quality science requires. You do your chosen field of study no favours by pretending otherwise.

      • well thanks for sharing your thoughts about the field…

      • Chris, as a little exercise in science communication, why not just answer the OP of this sub-thread?

        Here is his wish list again:

        An explanation for the current lack of warming would be interesting. Justification of the terminology “high confidence” with regard to CO2 induced warming, when everything I have read indicates climate scientists do not know the degree to which clouds and variation in solar output contribute to warming would be nice. Explaining why the divergence problem didn’t raise serious doubts about all the tree ring proxy data, but only the data since 1960 would be interesting. It would be helpful if someone could explain why there is high confidence that the warming from 1980 to 2000 was due to anthropogenic CO2 but a very similar rate and nearly the same amount of warming in the 1940s occurred at much lower CO2 levels.

        Explanations would be appreciated.

      • @chris

        ‘well thanks for sharing your thoughts about the field…’

        It brings me no pleasure to have to do so. But – just like in a fine building – the whole should be greater than the sum of the parts. When all the technicians focus so narrowly on their individual components, one wonders whether there is anyone looking at the overall structure. ( I note that the IPCC process absolutely encourages and rewards such a blinkered approach – the highest accolade is to get to write about just your little bit).

        Sceptics like me – and others who have posted so eloquently here and elsewhere – are the ones who can look at the entire building and recognise the structural flaws. For all sorts of reasons, you guys cannot.

        As you put it yourself ‘I actually do have work to do in my own life’. And for you, finishing that great piece of decorative plasterwork is the real job. Worrying about whether the structure will fall down is ‘somebody else’s’.

        But the project is organised so that there is no ‘somebody else’. Except us.

      • He has not engaged, he has preened. He thinks he is unassailable in his ivory tower.

      • Sorry, but Michael has it right. If you want scientists to engage you have to prepared for the fact that they might tell you stuff you don’t want to hear.

      • A fair point. But equally scientists do not automatically have the right to pick and choose the questions that their employers are interested in.

        Every public servant in the UK is subject to some form of outside public scrutiny – we tend to call them ‘watchdogs’. It goes with the territory of being paid for out of the public purse. I see no reason at all why Climatologists – paid for in exactly that way – should be given carte blanche to decide themselves which questions they choose to answer, and which they decline to do.

        Once upon we may have looked upon ‘Scientists’ as a special breed of unbiased seekers after abstract truth. Climategate shattered that illusion bigtime, and let a breath of outside air in to allow/require considerably more accountability – both from individuals, and from the ‘profession’ as a whole.

        I can understand that entrenched positions take a long time to change, but putting up the shutters and defiantly carrying on in the same old way ain’t going to make these necessities go away. It will just make the eventual change much more painful.

      • Latimer,

        I agree that scientists should recognise the questions which the public as a whole has about the science and try to address them. Not because they are funded from the public purse but because of the importance of the issue. I don’t think that means having to personally answer every question from every individual on every skeptical blog – that’s just not feasible, although it’s good when they try to do it to some extent. IMHO, what they should do is try to make as much information available in a way that is comprehensible to the public and provide some mechanism for people who have further questions to be able to raise them. I think that by and large they do this – there is plenty of information out there for people who are really interested in finding it and the answers to the questions which I see most commonly raised here are usually out there. I don’t doubt that there are ways in which the process can be improved but that doesn’t mean that scientists don’t want to improve public understanding of the science – it’s very much in their interests to do so.
        Chris Colose has written a couple of very good pieces at Real Climate on the subject of climate sensitivity – probably the most important question around the subject of AGW, and people can read them and ask questions if they have them. They are pitched at different levels for people with different levels of understanding. That seems to me to be a pretty good example of a scientist “engaging”.

    • Well put Stephen. Cogent questions which are usually met with a big fat silence from the proponents of the AGW theory.

      Good luck

      On the offchance one of them does reply with a handwave concerning ‘natural variations, be sure to ask which ones and how much of the warming they contributed during their positive phases.

    • Regarding confidence in AGW; that is only improved by looking at the last 30 years of temperature (surface and satellite) that show a warming rate consistent with strong positive feedback, and not consistent with weak, zero or negative feedback. Why are the skeptics ignoring this most obvious of evidence? How do they explain the warming of 0.5 degrees C in the last 30 years when there is no evidence of a solar change (as appears to have happened in 1910-40)?
      I know someone is going to say, what about the current pause in warming? Equal pauses also occurred in the 80’s and 90’s. This one is not unusual, and will also likely be short as we will see. Nobody said the warming would be continuous even at this early stage of the increasing CO2 effect.

      • How silly you are. Do you think we are too naive to not look back at the prior periods of time?
        You have learned that cliamtegate means scientists can lie and get away with it if they stick to their guns. You like the way their guns shoot so lying is cool.

      • And your explanation for the last 30 years of warming is…?

      • The sun was at its highest level of activity in 8000 years for a lot of the mid-late C20th, according to the chief solar physicist at the Max Planck Institute Sami Solanki. Even though activity levels fell slightly post 1960 they were still historically high, and minima between cycles were short.

        The oceans accumulate solar energy over a long timeframe and continue to accumulate as long as the average sunspot number (which correlates closely with TSI) is above the ocean equilibrium value of around 40SSN. This accumulation of energy in the ocean is evidenced by the rise in ocean heat content from the start of the record in the 1950’s. According to the model I programmed, the accumulation had been building slowly since 1935, masked after WWII for 30 years by the negative phase of the great ocean basin oscillations.

        Longwave radiation from the atmosphere doesn’t heat the ocean because it can penetrate the surface beyond it’s own wavelength, whereas solar shortwave radiation penetrates to over 100 metres. Therefore, the sun, and reduced cloud cover from 1980 to 1998 as measured by the ISCCP is responsible for the additional heat content of the oceans.

        The atmosphere is heated by the oceans, and changes in SST lead changes in lower tropospheric temperature by 3 to 6 months.

        There’s your global warming.


      • Yes, the sun reached this level by some accounts during the warming period from 1910-40. The forcing from this rise can account for an 0.2 degrees C rise of the equilibrium temperature with feedback included. I think that has been rather dwarfed by CO2 forcing by now, and certainly will be less significant going forward. My attribution for the 1900-2000 net increase of 0.7 C is 0.9 C from CO2 (and proportionate GHGs), 0.2 C from the sun, -0.4 C from aerosols. Yes, simplistic, but those are defendable numbers.

      • The last thirty years of climate history show trivial insignificant changes in highly processed dubious data and work product.
        Climate is not simply temperature, by the way.
        Another tell that the temperatures of the last thirty years are trivial is the complete lack of any clear trend in storms, drought, rain, winter starts, winter ends, global ice coverage, etc.

      • You are assuming the climate reached equilibrium in the first half of the century. What evidence do you have that is the case, couldn’t aerosols have stopped the process? What lag time would you attribute to the oceans? What long term climate sensitivity are you using? How much if any would you credit to ocean oscillations? Why does it seem to me the answer is so much clearer to you then it should be?

      • I am not assuming that. I focus on the last 30 years because that is when we have the best data, and any theory that is credible has to be able to explain this warming in the light of all the data, as AGW does. Aerosols and solar effects fit into the story for earlier periods, but don’t have to be invoked for the recent period, except that aerosols make it less warm than it would have been by 0.4 degrees possibly.

      • Of course you are making that assumption. If you don’t make the assumption that the recent warming started from a baseline that was in equilibrium you can’t attribute the warming all to AGW. This is a legitimate position to take if you can show evidence that aerosols did not prevent earlier forcings from reaching equilibrium and if you support a short lag time and a low long term climate sensitivity. But the argument, not your’s in particular, seems to center around AGW will take decades if not centuries for the current forcings to be realised, but any natural forcings stopped having an impact the day after they stopped gong up.

      • OK, I contend that you don’t need to assume you start with equilibrium to attribute the 0.5 C rise in the last 30 years, if you allow for some of the forcing to have occurred before 30 years ago. It is a moving 30 year window and some forcing at the end won’t have taken effect yet either. Probably mostly cancels out when you consider it as a window like this.

      • I can agree with this statement.

      • Well, minus the question of ocean oscillations of course. But that will sort itself out soon one way or the other.

      • On the contrary, I think the satellite readings for the last 30 years probably falsify AGW. From 1978-98 there was no warming. This fact was a big problem for AGW. Then we got the big ENSO cycle which made things warmer. But since then the trend has again been flat, albeit at a higher level. Mathematically this is a simple step function: flat, step, flat. There is no upward trend in the physical sense, just a single jump. I know of no way to get this step pattern out of GHG warming, which is gradual. An entirely different mechanism seems to be at work. Hence the satellite record appears to falsify AGW.

        To make it worse for AGW, the surface estimates prior to 1978, which are the best available data for that period, show no warming since 1940. Combing the two data sets thus shows only this single step up warming over the last 70 years. There is simply no evidence of GHG warming in this combined 70 year record. Thus the best available data simply does not support AGW, rather it appears to falsify AGW.

      • The answer lies in the solar heating of the ocean and the way it stores energy in multi-decadal cycles of storage-release.

    • This concern is also misplaced because it is not the intricate and arcane details of the science that matter. It is the obvious stuff that climate scientists on this blog and everywhere else will not or cannot address. Things like conceding that the behavior revealed by the climategate documents was wrong and a culture change is needed.”

      yes, instead of simply answering some questions, and clearly taking some measure of responsibility, they just recapitulate the behavior that caused the problems to begin with:

      1. attack ANY critic on personal basis ( and we get a fight about who threw the first punch)
      2. Avoid any clear statement of error.. add buts and caveats etc
      3. Ignore the inconvient bits

      When people see that behavior persist, they most naturally assume that nothing has changed no lessons learnt. and mistrust spreads,

  83. What have we learnt? Mainly that the ‘hockey team’ had been fighting desperately to keep the high feedback CO2-AGW hypothesis alive. Oceans had stopped heating in 2003 and because there had been no experimental proof of ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling, the hypothesis depended solely on theory and an incorrect claim [in NASA publications] of enhanced ‘reflection’ from greater water droplet surface area in polluted clouds.

    The theory is wrong because it assumes a single optical process, biased internal diffuse scattering driven by constant Mie asymmetry factor [equal to the isolated droplet case, inapplicable in a cloud where the wave ceases to be plane]. In reality, internal scattering is symmetrical and there’s substantial direct backscattering at the top surface, shielding the interior.

    So, ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling becomes heating, an alternate AGW which if sufficient, may mean relegation of the CO2-AGW hypothesis, the scientific justification for AR4 and Copenhagen, to an ‘also ran’.

    Interestingly, PM Brown and POTUS Obama used the same phrase in speeches, ‘Common Purpose’, also the name of an organisation which, I suspect relies heavily on the perceived threat from high feedback CO2-AGW for its intensive training programme. Very embarrassing.

  84. Malcolm Miller

    I don’t have the time to rerad 400 comments, and I wonder just who does! It seems to me that we would be better served if comments were limited to the first 200. There is so much repetition! It wouldn’t mean censorship, just, ‘first in, best seats’.

  85. No, there is no animosity, just reasoned scientific disagreement, eh?

    And in order to voice our scientific disagreement, let’s hack into an email server and see what they say about us and claim that there is widespread “abuse of government science as a propaganda tool”. Jeez Louise.

    • Climategate is even more ordinary and boring than Watergate.

      Americans however seem to love making political hay out of righteous indignation.

      Conversely and as far as ethics are concerned, the American public didn’t exactly reward President Carter for admitting to the sin of lusting after Playboy centerfolds in his imagination.

      As a Canadian, I see very little that is damning about Watergate, Climategate or even the Airbus affair. To me at least, those events say nothing about anything of worthwhile consequence.

      • You’ve spent a lot of your valuable Canadian time posting on this blog for something that you claim is of no interest. Just an observation.

      • – Climategate is uninteresting.
        – The public outrage at Climategate is uninteresting.
        – The defense of Climategate by scientists is uninteresting.

        The bemusement, the lack of understanding, and the lack of appreciation by scientists as to why the public persists in being outraged and mistrusting is of riveting interest to me.

        Scientists are behaving in an extremely self-interested, subjective, ‘tunnel vision’, head-up-A** manner whilst concurrently proclaiming scientific ‘objectivity’ in the most strident manner possible, whilst also protesting the public’s ongoing and unreasonable attitude that science is incredulous and subjective.

        Playwrights create satire and comedy around such absurdities.

      • …and, occasionally, a classic

    • Bart, your perception seems to depend on being able to spin climategate into a hack.
      Yet you have never offered one shred of proof that climategate is not what it appears- a leak of existing files by an insider.
      You demonstrate well your claim about perception and reality and spinning.
      And your sticking to that at the cost of actually dealing with the critiques sort of demonstrates that you can’t.
      Can you deal with this on a substantive level. or are you stuck with pretending it is all too wicked to bother with?

  86. Political Junkie

    My lesson from Climategate is that an ENORMOUS amount of time and energy would have been saved had there been full disclosure of data and methodology by the Hockey Team from day one.

    I suspect the world would also be a better place and the science significantly more advanced.

  87. I’m a skeptic and outlined my reasoning in The denizens of Climate Etc..

    Some of the previous commenters have posed the question:

    “Are skeptics more concerned about the GW-related science or the AGW-related policy implications?”

    IMO, that is an interesting and important question. Here’s my answer based on a few personal examples:

    1. I’ll be 79 in three weeks and I remember quite clearly that it was cold as H___ when I was growing up on a farm in ME in the ‘40s.
    2. I began smoking when I was 18 and cigarettes cost $0.80/carton when at sea in the USN. I quit as a pack-a-day smoker in 1978 when I finally realized that there it was something that I should do to protect my own health and to protect my wife and young children from an avoidable early death.
    3. I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 1981. Through the use of oral medication and diet-control (I’m indebted to my wife who is “the boss,” my blood glucose remains under control and I have yet to experience any of the adverse side-effects.

    So what …? If the CO2 policy debate were about “We don’t know the extent to which CO2 influences GW but we think that it is appropriate to:”
    1. “Reduce fossil fuel consumption by reducing the speed limit to 55mph (circa 1974).”
    2. “Turn off your lights when they are not being used.”
    3. “Set your thermostats on 65 in the cool months and 75 in the warm months.”

    I probably would have shrugged and said “ok, I can accept that outcome.”
    However, that not what the current AGW-related debate is all about. IMO, the debate leads to the “fear of the unknown” and I’m not indifferent as regards that aspect of the debate.

    • Hank. in the denizens thread you wrote …

      “How did they arrive at that conclusion?”

      “Some of the claims that were made didn’t make sense to me and seemed to be inconsistent with some of the things that I thought I understood about the atmosphere from being involved in hypervelocity reentry physics. “

      Now you write:

      “Are skeptics more concerned about the GW-related science or the AGW-related policy implications?”

      IMO, that is an interesting and important question.

      … and followed it up with some examples.

      I cannot catch your drift but will try to clue in from what you wrote earlier. …

      Do you mean that the science and policy implications aren’t coming together correctly? People seem skeptical as to how policy is being formed and forced upon society.

      • Raving, I apologize for being less than clear. As I mentioned, the question, ““Are skeptics more concerned about the GW-related science or the AGW-related policy implications?”, had been posed by other commenters earlier on this thread.” I thought the question was interesting and important. I was trying to say that, although I am personally concerned about both the GW-related science and the AGW-related policy implications, I am more concerned about the consequences of some of the policies that have been adopted or are being debated. For example, some of the unintended consequences of Kyoto Protocol have now become apparent. Similarly, I am concerned about the consequences of the USG/EPA’s Endangerment finding and the Cap and Trade legislation that Congress tried to pass earlier this year.

        My three examples weren’t very profound or relevant to my answer to the posed question:

        1. The first example was anecdotal and intended to convey that as a young kid growing up on a farm in ME in the ‘40’s, I recall quite vividly that it was cold as H___ in the winter. It might have been clearer if I had said that was a) before we had electricity and a few rooms (not the bedrooms) in our home were heated by woodstoves and/or fireplaces and b) before I knew anything about science or climates.

        2. The second example was intended to convey that I accepted the scientific evidence that existed in the ’70’s related health-related effects of smoking and decided that it was in my and my family’s best interest that I quit smoking. My decision was not the result of any tobacco-related policies that had been adopted or under consideration at that time.

        3. The third example was also intended to convey that although I was surprised to learn that I was a diabetic, the decision to change my lifestyle was based accepting the medical scientific evidence that existed in ’80. It had nothing to do with any policy considerations.

        I posited that if the current CO2 policy debate were framed differently, for example:

        “We don’t know the extent to which CO2 influences GW but we think that it is appropriate to:”

        1. “Reduce fossil fuel consumption by reducing the speed limit to 55mph (circa 1974).

        2. “Turn off your lights when they are not being used.”

        3. “Set your thermostats on 65 in the cool months and 75 in the warm months.”

        Then, I probably would have shrugged and said “ok, I can accept that outcome (recommendation),” and perhaps other skeptics would accept that rationale as well.

      • I feel your message. That means I sense your point of view and it seems interesting and important!

        I’ll go back re-read some of the other things you have said to identify your perspective. It may take a few days for it to sink in .. or I might forget .. I can’t force this …

        I like the way you go about things. (Yes, the direction and manner of approach is your point of view … now to refine that)

      • I’m a lurker. Although I’m tempted at times to comment on some of the more heated exchanges among the bloggers/commenters, I realize that my comment would provide no thoughtful contribution to the exchange.

        I connsider myself as being reasonably able to comprehend climate science matters, as well as, being reasonable to comprehend the policy implcations of GW vs. AGW matters.

    • Likewise, the IOP says that “The basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to act.”. See this paper from the IOP.

      Or did you have another IOP in mind, tallbloke?

      • Would I be correct in saying they made that position statement before climategate? Have a look at the recomendations they make post climategate in the submission I linked. I think their position has changed, even if they are not saying so publicly yet.

      • I found the IOP submission to the Parliamentary S&T committee to be a beacon of hope for the integrity of all of science in a turbulent sea of upheaval, being objective and infinitely reasonable. The climate science community’s dismissal/disregard of that submission, on the other hand, was shameful.

      • If you believe that the IOP has secretly changed its position on climate change, why not pester them to remove the document I referenced from their website? Your claim is all handwave anyway, if and until they make their current position public. Or are you in a position to know that they have indeed changed their position?

      • Have you read their submission to the select committee yet?


        4. The second category relating to proxy reconstructions are the basis for the conclusion that 20th century warming is unprecedented. Published reconstructions may represent only a part of the raw data available and may be sensitive to the choices made and the statistical techniques used. Different choices, omissions or statistical processes may lead to different conclusions. This possibility was evidently the reason behind some of the (rejected) requests for further information.

        5. The e-mails reveal doubts as to the reliability of some of the reconstructions and raise questions as to the way in which they have been represented; for example, the apparent suppression, in graphics widely used by the IPCC, of proxy results for recent decades that do not agree with contemporary instrumental temperature measurements.

        6. There is also reason for concern at the intolerance to challenge displayed in the

        e-mails. This impedes the process of scientific ‘self correction’, which is vital to the integrity of the scientific process as a whole, and not just to the research itself. In that context, those CRU e-mails relating to the peer-review process suggest a need for a review of its adequacy and objectivity as practised in this field and its potential vulnerability to bias or manipulation.

        A bit of a position changer IMO. Even if they are not spelling it out in soundbite language the media could latch onto.

  88. There has been a fair amount of discussion sbout “hide the decline” here, and AnthropoceneEndGame asked “What was hidden?“, but I don’t think anyone has explained it here. (Apologies if they have)

    First, the Climategate email : “:I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

    Take a look at IPCC 2001 WG1 Fig.2.21:

    You can see that three of the proxy series end in around 1980, and the fourth (Briffa 2000) ends around 1960. Later proxy data was available, but was omitted. It did not follow the path of the instrumental (ie. measured) data. To any respectable scientist, the implication is clear : the proxies are unreliable and should not have been used at all, and the scientists involved must have known that.

    So the answer to AnthropoceneEndGame’s question “What was hidden?“, is : the fact that the proxy data (on which so much of the AGW case was based) was useless.

    • Actually, Mike, one can use other proxies that don’t have the “divergence problem” (read the literature) and still get “hockey sticks”.

      • Only by using bs algorithms. In fact the algorithm is such crap that you can put in randomized numbers and get a hs.

      • Well, no, and besides, Deep Climate has done some digging on Wegman’s due diligence of McIntyre’s work and has found that there wasn’t a whole lot. Rather sloppy overall, rife with cherry-picking.

        You’re good at repeating the same memes, I’ll grant you that, hunter.

      • It transpires that some of Deep Climate’s concerns about the Wegman report may indeed have some merit with regard to insufficient citing of sources (though some of Deep Climate’s extended claims are so wild as to be jaw-droppingly irrational).

        Contrary to your claim, however, those concerns do not relate to, and neither do they challenge in any way, the statistical analysis portion of Wegman’s examination of Mann’s statistical methods.

        Either you didn’t know this, in which case I’m happy to enlighten you, or you DID know this and are being purposely misleading. I will choose to believe the former.

      • Hmm.. I’m reading a more recent post at DC (I don’t follow it usually because it’s a bit too fond of conspiracy theorising) regarding Wegman’s analysis. It is a confused post, with rather too many unqualified presuppositions of motive which seem intended to coax the reader a particular direction (common at DC). On first reading, I don’t think this is a compelling refutation of Wegman regarding statistical analysis of Mann’s hockey stick. I will read it again.

      • I’m reading a more recent post at DC (I don’t follow it usually because it’s a bit too fond of conspiracy theorising) regarding Wegman’s analysis. It is a confused post, with rather too many unqualified presuppositions of motive which seem intended to coax the reader a particular direction (common at DC).

        Deep Climate’s coverage of Wegman goes much farther than that. They’ve given enough information for any statistician to follow and make their own decisions.

        questionable procedure that generated null proxies

        red noise

        Data sharing:
        David Ritson speaks out

        Plaguerism and Scholarship:


        And this is what I learned from ClimateGate. That scientists really did feel the problems generated by the political attacks on their science. The results of McIntyre’s auditing (which I have no problem with) was blown into a political disaster zone. A statistical choice turned into a media blitz and Congressional Hearing and report. This, while it doesn’t fit neatly into the “big oil attacks science!” narrative, is what scientists were trying to guard from. While citizen science may have perfectly legitimate reasoning and fair intentions, it is how this is used by powerful interests to undermine legitimate science for policy makers and the public. This is a very difficult element that skeptics still have not quite grasped. It is not the conspiracy, it is the reality of how these play out. The Merchant’s of Doubt is only one side of the story. While this does not excuse the behavior of scientists, it draws a picture of something that didn’t get covered, nor do the scientists like to discuss it. It’s much easier to claim harassment and move on, and while this did happen at times , I don’t think it was the major driver of the protective behavior. It was to not allow simple errors that are correctable through the literature publication process to turn into what happened with Wegman and now, what will surely happen again in 2011. It’s already started again, see Micheals’ testimony.

    • AnthropoceneEndGame

      I asked ‘what was hidden?’ to discover what folks know. And they know little.
      ‘The decline, you idiot!’ is the standard response, but it’s not a decline in temperatures, which is what most think, IMO.
      No, the proxy data is ‘not all useless’ because of the divergence problem. See online ‘Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years’ (NAS, 2006). Tree rings are covered in pages 45-52; the other proxy data is well worth your trouble.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame : “I asked ‘what was hidden?’ to discover what folks know. And they know little.

        That is a very strange and not exactly credible assertion, given that I explained exactly what was hidden.

        Derecho64 : “one can use other proxies that don’t have the “divergence problem” (read the literature) and still get “hockey sticks”.

        But they didn’t. Instead they chose to hide their problem. Very unscientific, to put it mildly.

        The point about “hide the decline” is entirely straightforward : to hide ANYTHING is bad science. These scientists themselves said that they hid something, so it’s not even as if they are accused of something they deny. They said it themselves. Regardless of any peripheral issues, we are looking at bad science. Period.

      • There are any number of commentaries about the whole “hide the decline” non-issue; perusing those will reveal precisely that.

      • The more you repeat this the less you will be trusted. Quite rightly so.

      • Likewise, the more you believe that the stolen emails prove that all the science will come crashing down and will matter no more, the less credibility you will have. Quite rightly so.

      • But the science is crashing, or you would not be here doing your heroic apologetics.

      • Have you read the UK Institute of Physics comments on the proxies in their submission to the parliamentary select committee yet? I linked them for you, and then cut’n’pasted them for you, but you seem to be mincing round them instead of engaging with what the premier UK science institution has to say on the matter.

        Why would that be?

      • Have you noticed that after the IOP was embarrassed by that little farago, they deleted the interest group that wrote their response.

      • What a sinister development. That doesn’t auger well for sound scientific practice IMO. Do you have a link?

      • Ah found it. After the wailing and gnashing of teeth:

        “The institute supplied a statement from an anonymous member of its science board, which said: “The institute should feel relaxed about the process by which it generated what is, anyway, a statement of the obvious.” It added: “The points [the submission] makes are ones which we continue to support, that science should be practised openly and in an unbiased way. However much we sympathise with the way in which CRU researchers have been confronted with hostile requests for information, we believe the case for openness remains just as strong.”

        Doesn’t really sound like the subcommittee which drew up the submission were “deleted” does it Eli?

      • Well, actually you can read all about what happened at Bishop Hill

        On 25th June all members of the Energy Sub-group received the following e-mail (partial text extract only):

        Following the meeting of the Science Board on 17 June 2010, it is with regret that I announce that the Energy Sub-group is to be disbanded, immediately. This, as you can imagine, is a direct consequence of the Climategate affair.”

        Since this was pretty much all over everything at the time, Eli suspects you are putting your tongue in my cheek.

      • just retrieved from the spam filter, NO IDEA why it landed there

      • Thanks Eli. The full article by Bishop Hill and Peter Gill is here, and worth a read.

        In all honesty I hadn’t followed this one. Been too busy with my modest modeling efforts and investigations into energy flows.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        If there’s ‘bad science’ here you’re going to have to cite the peer reviewed citation that demonstrates what was bad (wrong). Everything I’ve read confirms the older work, including ‘Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia’ (PNAS, 2008). So go ahead, post the good science that sets things straight.
        You’re also the one claiming here ALL of the proxy data can’t be trusted, so we’re beyond Mann here. Please comment.

      • ‘peer reviewed’ when the peers are all in on hiding the decline?
        how transparently idiocratic.

    • Well done Mike Jonas. Amidst the pile of irrelevant comments at least one person knows and explains clearly what “hide the decline” was about. They were trying to hide the fact that the proxies don’t fit well with temperature, which would have led anyone (scientist or not) to question the validity of the proxies. As Mike says, a proper scientist would never attempt to hide anything.
      It’s amazing that a year on some people are still asking what was hidden, or trying to pretend that nothing was hidden.

      • If they were trying to hide the divergence problem then why did they publish it in Nature?

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        Opinions and congratulations are worthless. What’s amazing is that when I ask for a citation that describes the problem, I receive responses like your post. Provide the science.

  89. What have we learned from Climategate? Climategate did not dent the basic science of AGW. The hockey stick was a minor aspect of the 3rd report, that helped provide background, but wasn’t relevant to the CO2 case because the MWP warming was probably solar, and we can rule out solar influences for the current one since now we are directly measuring that in real time. However this was blown up out of proportion by giving the public an impression it was critical to the case, which it wasn’t, and that all AGW scientists even knew about the tree-ring reconstruction details, which they didn’t, before Climategate broke. The IPCC AGW case is completely independent of tree rings, and it can be made without them. It was an effective multimedia machine that distorted Climategate to the great size it achieved in proportion to the rest of IPCC 4th report.
    In the end, science is only borne out by evidence, and for climate science only the future will prove it. Hopefully even within a decade we will see the “coolers'” (or I would like to coin the term “suppressionists”, you heard it here first) theories disproved by continued warming, but only to be replaced by more and more out-of-this-world dissenting views as warming proceeds, that will be supported less and less as the public fail to understand them. It is very obvious that the suppressionists even now after many years don’t have an agreed-upon alternative theory that we can match up point-for-point with AGW, and debate relative merits. It is a somewhat amorphous mess of unrelated arguments that is represented as a unified opposition when almost no two skeptics even agree with each other. Whatever you say about creationists or intelligent design proponents, they at least do have an agreed-upon alternatives to evolution that hold together for them.

    • Bzzzztttt…wrong.
      SO AGW is true because of creationism?
      Frankly you people use the word ‘denier’ like racists used to use the word ‘ni**er’.
      But anyone that has to pretend catastrophic AGW is true because of creationism is a silly wannabe anyway.

      • Maybe it wasn’t clear enough. The anti-AGW view has no theory unlike creationists who do at least have that. AGW is founded in science and data like evolution. I don’t use denier, but I think suppressionist is a good descriptive word.
        This was not the main point of my post. It was just a last sentence. I wondered whether to throw that in because it might detract from the main point.

      • Maybe it wasn’t clear enough. The anti-AGW view has no theory unlike creationists who do at least have that.

        Yes that is exactly how it is. There is no “anti-AGW theory” because the mistrust is directed against the synthesis of those many AGW fragments into a contiguous entirety … or rather … unitary AGW theory.

      • Why should there be an anti-AGW theory at all?

        Do you need a theory to explain the non-headline ‘Man did not bite Dog today’? or ‘Business as usual in Midtown’?

      • You’d have more credibility if you could propose a theory that’s consistent with observations yet doesn’t rely on any of the factors in standard climate change theory that you find objectionable.

        What you propose is rather like Copernicus saying “Ptolemy was wrong”, and leaving it at that. Or Einstein saying Newton was wrong, and nothing more. Let’s see the “skeptics” come up with something better! We all want the science to progress, don’t we?

      • Pooling together a collection of independent factors which demonstrate an indicated linear response isn’t much of a theory. It’s easily over-parametrized.

        More worrying to me is the assumption that the trending holds constant. In general, I don’t know what the future will bring.

        What I can be confident about is that reality itself will change repeatedly unexpectedly, in unanticipated directions, quickly and slowly. Today’s model will not be appropriate 5 or 10 years from now. To my mind that is important because it is the whole picture is being considered to persist into the future with ‘error bars of uncertainty’ constructed upon a constant trajectory or manner. That’s just wrong. It over steps with an unrealistic and forced need to decide what is undecidable.

      • Derecho64,

        The scientific process doesn’t require the person proving a hypothesis wrong to replace it with an alternative. In fact, it doesn’t even require a sceptic to prove the hypothesis wrong. The scientific process requires the person who is proposing the hypothesis to prove it right. If the hypothesis can’t be proven right, then it fails. So far, the AGW by CO2 hypothesis hasn’t been proven right. Therefore, it must fail.

        It is false logic to then say, “well, it is the best explanation we have today and until we have a better one….”. There is never a good reason to accept an unproven hypothesis.

      • I too prefer my hypothesis proven, not stirred.

      • Science isn’t about proof – it’s a means to determine the fitness of ideas that attempt to explain what we observe. If you believe science will ever be like (say) a proof in Euclidean geometry, then you’ll always search in vain for “proof” in science.

        That said, the “skeptics” have been extremely unable to come up with any ideas that explain what we do observe. Some even go so far as to disclaim the observations themselves, which is really a big step backwards.

        Most others find the potential list of actions (or policies, if you prefer) that we believe will deal with the problem to be wrong, which they also use to go backwards and doubt the science.

        In terms of a coherent, reasonable, fit set of ideas to explain what we observe, the “skeptics” have made virtually no progress. They’re still at the stage of “no”. That takes no thought and no effort.

      • But skeptics have done their job:
        They have shown AGW theory to fail to show any sort of calamitous future.
        Now you are hand waving.

      • Derecho64 | November 22, 2010 at 9:54 am | Says: “Science isn’t about proof – it’s a means to determine the fitness of ideas that attempt to explain what we observe.”

        Alright, so now you quibble about “proof”. So currently observations fall outside of the 95% confidence limits of what the AGM by CO2 hypothesis predicts. Therefore, the hypothesis must be rejected. It doesn’t ‘have’ to be replaced by anything. However, we can say that it isn’t just CO2 which controls the climate. We just don’t know what all of the factors are and their relative contribution to climate oscillations.

      • Clouds, natural variability, ocean oscillations, all explain the current climate better than AGW theory.

      • They do? How do “[c]louds, natural variability, ocean oscillations” all explain the observed increase in the energy in the climate system “better”? Do you have access to some as-yet-unpublished definitive paper (or set of papers) containing this idea, and shows that it has eluded the climate science community?

        Otherwise, you’re just handwaving.

      • Derecho64,
        Spencer has written about this extensively.
        History demonstrates similar climates without our help.
        I am not hand waving. I am inviting you to leave the fever swamp.

      • If anti-AGW is science-based it would not only explain the recent warming in the absence of CO2 effects, but also why the GHGs weren’t having the effect they were supposed to with the given knowledge in physics. Doubly difficult.

      • Nice twist on an old parsimonious theme …’

        Causality demonstrates correlation. It’s science because one can prove and predict.

        It’s the ‘Just so’ style of proofing well suited to the Describe-and-project school of science. It worked for Newton, Einstein and anyone else who can produce a compelling description. Having a full orchestra conducted by the meta-government IPCC makes for a grand illusion.

        Nature doesn’t give a fig what anyone believes. It does whatever it shall.

      • That’s as may be, but science has this particular global change covered, and if anything mysterious happens in the data, we’ll be sure to hear about it. An analogy is the acceleration in the expansion of the universe that was unexpected. We haven’t had that moment in AGW yet, and if/when we do the science will become more interesting again.

      • “if anything mysterious happens in the data, we’ll be sure to hear about it. ”

        They hid the decline to make sure we didn’t hear about it.

        “acceleration in the expansion of the universe that was unexpected. We haven’t had that moment in AGW yet”

        Yes we have. They told us the warming was accelerating, just before it stopped.

        “science will become more interesting again.”

        I prefer correct science to interesting science

      • As I mentioned somewhere else on this thread, it stopped in the 80’s and 90’s too, then just kept on going. Give it a year or two, and we’ll come back to it if it is still stopped then. Decadal averages keep increasing.

      • This is whistling in the dark. Because the optical physics in the models is wrong, ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling, 175% of raw median CO2 signal in AR4, is imaginary. Therefore at a minimum you must reduce predicted future CO2-AGW by a factor of c. 3.

        It could be still smaller because once you correct the optical physics [introduce upper cloud boundary shielding by direct backscattering, 40% of the incident energy for cloud albedo of 0.7, and it’s reduced by pollution], you get another AGW which is self limiting.

        That could explain recent events; rapid rise in AGW during Asian industrialisation; ocean heat content stopped rising in 2003. In other words, it could be Trenberth’s ‘missing 0.7 W/m^2’.

        It could also explain the palaeo events.

      • Unless you have an idea how clouds are changing in such a way as to cancel CO2, it is not going to have an effect on the AGW projection going forward.
        If you are saying aerosols are warming instead of cooling, we’re in more trouble than we thought, because CO2 just adds to that.
        I really can’t understand what you are getting at.

      • I don’t think you have got what I’m on about. In AR4 Figure 2.4, 1.6 W/m^2 net AGW is really 0.4 W/m^2 ‘raw signal’ plus the 1.2 W/m^2 needed to balance ‘aerosol cooling’. [The raw signal is statistically insignificant compared with the range of aerosol cooling anyway but that’s for another time.]

        0.7 W/m^2 is a theoretical prediction of the albedo increase when clouds are polluted by man-made aerosols. There is no experimental evidence of this. NASA puts out in some publications an incorrect physical explanation. The mathematics used to predict it is wrong [see my post above].

        There are two reasons for this. One is the incorrect assumption of constant ‘Mie asymmetry factor’, g, which only applies for a plane wave. The other is a single optical process, biased internal diffuse scattering.

        Correct the physics [assume direct backscattering at the top of the cloud which shields the interior, pus symmetrical internal diffuse scattering, in effect operational g=0.5] and the effect of pollution on thicker clouds is to reduce albedo, another form of AGW. So, ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling probably doesn’t exist and is in reality an additional AGW.

        That’s a potential game changer because CO2-AGW no longer has a monopoly. It could be zero. Because much recent ‘cloud albedo effect’ heating may have been the result of the vast increase of aerosol pollution in Asia, and is self-limiting, that could explain why according to ocean heat content data, global warming stopped in 2003.

        At the very least, I suggest the IPCC’s predicted median future CO2-AGW should be reduced by a factor of c. three.

      • this was just retrieved from the spam filter, no idea why it landed there

      • Seems you are saying aerosols decrease cloud albedo, contrary to the science that says having more smaller droplets increases the albedo, and this is observed (see ship wake effects). Besides that, aerosols in clear skies produce haze which also reflects, and there are other indirect cloud effects that increase cloud lifetime and hence net albedo with aerosols. You are probably not aware how big the scientific field of aerosol effects on clouds is,with theoretical, modeling and observational support for their ideas. It is not just speculation by the IPCC.

      • I’m replying to your second post here because there’s no ‘reply’ tag on it.

        The best way to confirm the validity of my ideas is to flag up the case of cumulo-nimbus for which you can get apparent optical depths of up to 1,000 so the clouds can be very dark. I’ve discussed this with workers in climate science who claim it’s some kind of absorption effect. It’s not.

        It’d due to agglomerated ice crystals buoyed up by convection, in effect a highly backscattering snow cap. So, very little light enters the cloud. You can prove this because the funny colours you regularly see are due to diffraction and chromatic aberration by the concentrated ice crystals.

        According to the Lacis and Hansen’s 1974 maths, and the other two-stream approximations, it’s dark because all the light enters the cloud and high internal optical depth give high, directed diffuse scattering. That’s physically wrong.

        As for clouds in ships’ tracks, they’re thin and pollution does increase diffuse albedo because it increases optical depth. But this is because albedos are initially low. The satellite people know there’s a strong pseudo-geometrical effect and that doesn’t match with Lambert’s Law. So, when you take a photograph at an arbitrary angle for a ‘thicker thin’ cloud in ships’ tracks, you can’t guarantee the contrast represents true radiance difference. The satellite people correct for observation angle.

        Twomey, who in a 1977 paper discussed Van de Hulst’s lumped parameterisation warned you couldn’t extrapolate his ideas to thicker clouds. He appears to be one of the good guys in that he refused to follow Sagan etc in the false idea of directed backscattering.

        NASA’s fake ‘reflection’ physics was apparently first claimed made here: http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sgg/singh/winners4.html

        I suspect this was an attempt, after the failure by about 2003 to prove ‘cloud albedo effect’ cooling, to mislead by creating a plausible but wrong replacement for Twomey’s correct but limited application theory.

      • I think you are just dog whistling irt ‘denier’.
        Anti-AGW is not going to work either, since Lindzen, Spencer, Pielke, and even your humble skeptic here, all agree that AGW- the theory that CO2 is a ghg- is valid.
        We are skeptical of something in particular: the idea that CO2 is causing a global climate disruption.

      • That’s strange, because there are people posting here denying that any greenhouse effect exists at all, and I don’t see you correcting them.

    • Jim D : “the MWP warming was probably solar .. we can rule out solar influences for the current one since now we are directly measuring that in real time

      Not so. The climate computer models cannot reproduce the MWP, because they do not allow enough influence for the sun. The IPCC report shows clearly that wrt the sun, they allow only for direct solar irradiation. They cannot reproduce the MWP that way, so the models obviously cannot be relied on to explain the late 20thC warming.

      Here’s a very simple way of looking at it logically : the IPCC is happy to rely on “feedbacks” of unknown mechanism in order to match observed warming with CO2. So there is no intrinsic reason why there cannot be “feedbacks” of unknown mechanism for solar variation. And in fact, there is some research which indicates that there may be such a “feedback” involving Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) and clouds. There is NO such research wrt cloud “feedback” for CO2.

      • We’ll see how the GCMs do with regards to the putative MWP given that the CMIP5 run design includes a last millennium run, i.e., 850-1850. However, given that we lack good boundary conditions for that entire period, whether or not the GCMs reproduce the putative MWP won’t be clearly decided by those runs.

        One other problem with assuming that the putative MWP was all solar – if so, then the climate system is much more sensitive than we understand to solar input, which makes it more difficult to explain the recent period of high global average temperature and an inactive sun.

      • Derecho64 – “assuming that the putative MWP was all solar

        Actually, I did not say that the MWP was all solar, I said the computer models “do not allow enough influence for the sun

        That doesn’t mean that the sun is the only influence to be looked at. For example, combining the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans’ oscillations gives a very good match for the last 100+ years.

        (from this item: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/warming-trend-pdo-and-solar-correlate-better-than-co2/)
        Note: That item was back in 2008. I think there has been a recent update.

        It is known that solar irradiation oscillates/cycles over a number of different timescales, and the ocean oscillations appear to operate on multi-decadal timescales. I think I am right in saying that the computer models do not cater properly for any of them. Certainly, the models do not cater properly for clouds [the IPCC report says so], yet the IPCC report makes the totally unsupported claim that clouds supply a greater proportion of AGW than does CO2 itself.

        The evidence seems to indicate that climate is driven mainly by natural forces, with CO2 having only a minor effect.

      • Mike, the various semi-oscillations in the oceans and the atmosphere merely move energy around, they don’t create it. Since we know that increasing GHGs causes increasing temperatures, we have to look at the increase in CO2 over the last ~150 years as a causative factor.

        I also recommend Richard Alley’s 2009 AGU talk on CO2. Their website has the video. Put it this way – if it wasn’t for CO2 and the other GHGs, the earth’s surface would be frozen solid. So no, CO2 does not have “only a minor effect”.

      • If oscillations can affect weather, and weather can affect albedo, and albedo can affect the energy balance, then oscillations can affect the energy balance.

      • Changing the energy balance doesn’t change the amount of energy – that’s what increasing GHGs do.

      • GHGs don’t change the amount of energy. They just change what happens to it. Same principle.

      • steven, you just blandly asserted something that denies what we know of the nature of CO2 and the other GHGs. Care to back it up with something more substantial?

      • Please clarify your point a bit more for us deniers.

      • Perhaps “we” do, but if you think that GHGs produce energy then you are a very confused individual. But you are the one that claimed there was a reason to ignore what gets reflected away from the earth in favor of what gets reflected towards the earth, or would you have another definition for the effects of either GHG or albedo?

      • (Apparently I’ve transgressed the depth limit for quoting. My bad.)

        GHGs don’t create energy, and I never said that they did. However, increasing GHGs do decrease the amount of energy that can leave the climate system. Without GHGs, the average surface temp of the earth would be below 0C. steve, you seem to claim that that is untrue. Explain.

      • And changing the albedo changes the amount that can leave the system also. Why are you having so much trouble with the comparison?

      • I think you will find that energy always leaves the system. GHG’s simply slow that rate of loss down a bit.

      • The point, Ken, (which sailed right over your head) is that “small” and “insignificant” are not synonyms.

        Would you drink a solution of 390 ppm arsenic?

      • Perhaps one of you can explain how the surface temp is above freezing, if GHGs are irrelevant to the climate system.

        Oh, and hunter, GHGs do more than a “bit”.

      • I never said it was. I was responding to your contention that albedo was irrelevent to the climate system. So instead of me explaining what I didn’t say why don’t you explain what you did say?

      • Albedo changes can effect the energy balance, of course. Doesn’t exclude GHGs in any case.

      • Not really much more. And certainly a delta of 1-2 watts per m-sq in a system that averages >200 watts and is subject to dramatic dynamic swings is a ‘bit’.

      • Increase your caloric intake 1% every day, hunter. Certainly such a small number (say, 25 calories additional over the 2500 you’re supposed to get) can’t have much influence, correct?

        Lessee – a pound of gained fat is 3500 calories, so, an additional 25 calories/day, in 140 days or so, will gain you a pound. Do the experiment for a few decades. Then you can tell us that a 1% increase is irrelevant.

      • Surely, Derecho64, you realize the analogy is not how many calories you eat, but how many sweaters you’re wearing. And, if you believe you’re wearing enough sweaters to increase your surface temperature by 10%…well, by golly, that’s a lot of sweaters.
        You’ll have to forgive me for finding that laughable.

      • Derecho64 | said November 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm:

        Perhaps one of you can explain how the surface temp is above freezing, if GHGs are irrelevant to the climate system.

        The equilibrium temperature of a spherical body (any colour) in a 1366 W/m^2 electromagnetic radiation field is ~279K or 6C which is a little above freezing, so we have yet another feckless argument from you. What I would expect to happen is that day time tempereatures will be higher to a max of ~393K where the angle of incidence is 0 and much cooler nights. Alternatively we can look at the moon and see what happens with temperature there (you can google NASA has plenty for high schoolers) we can expect something like that with perhaps some moderation by a non reactive, to IR , atmosphere.

      • Mike –

        I can’t help but notice that the article is comparing US lower-48 temperatures – known to be strongly influenced by the PDO – with global CO2 concentrations and trying to say that this extends globally.

        That’s just wrong.

      • Andrew Dodds : “.. the article is comparing US lower-48 temperatures – known to be strongly influenced by the PDO – with global CO2 concentrations and trying to say that this extends globally.
        That’s just wrong.

        The article clearly states “US” not “global”. However, there’s a comment by Bob Tisdale in
        which addresses the issue at a global level. BT then questions the PDO graph, and JdA’s reply is given further down (posted by wattsupwiththat).
        Hope that helps.

      • I just read something today that the MWP coincided with an unusually long period without solar cooling, that otherwise was occurring about every 200 years. Also it was in a period without major volcanoes. Furthermore feedback occurs with solar forcing too. It may even be stronger because warming the ocean releases CO2, so it is not just an H2O feedback. These feedbacks are not unknown. What is unknown is why they would not occur.

      • So let’s cork all the volcanos and let’r bake. The French or Italians should be good for that.

      • Mike Jonas, most of this post is wrong and illogical:

        For one thing, please refer yourself to IPCC AR4 6.6.3 for discussion of model/proxy reconstruction over the historical paleoclimate record. Later work (e.g., Mann et al., 2009, Science) discusses the radiative and dynamical effects involved with respect to the Medieval Climate Anomaly and LIA.

        More importantly, the uncertainty in the total radiative forcing and surface temperature reconstructions for 1,000 years ago doesn’t make such agreement a great test for models, especially in regards to understanding how the world will change in a forced 2xCO2 scenario. More specifically, your conclusion that “the models obviously cannot be relied on to explain the late 20thC warming” makes no logical sense and cannot be concluded from your presented argument. The forcings, our understanding of those forcings the quality of observational data and fingerprint ability, etc is much different now than it was 1,000 years ago.

        The “feedbacks” which you assert models rely on and are of unknown mechanism are in fact emergent properties in models, they aren’t “assumed” or “relied upon” in any way. For that matter, the main radiative feedbacks typically discussed (water vapor, ice albedo, etc) respond primarily to temperature, not the CO2 directly, so they are not applied selectively to various causes.

      • ’emergent’ is a nice word for forcing the algorithms to reach the answers you wanted.
        It worked so well for Mann that noise gets you a hockey stick as well as the data properly processed to hide that decline.

      • I have an idea for you, hunter. Go grab the source code for one of the GCMs (say, NCAR’s “CESM” model), and find where the modelers fiddle the code in the manner you claim that they do. It should be a learning exercise for you!

      • so you think models evlove their code?
        You think the models properly frame each of the many variables that drive climate?
        You think climate scientists do not make judegements about how to manage variables and guess at ones that are unkown?

      • You tell me. You’re the expert on climate models (well, at least you must have sufficient expertise to pass judgement on what they are and are not), so you should be able to answer your own questions.

      • sorry but I am not palying your game. Answer my questions.

      • State them in a meaningful manner. And yes, when did you stop beating your wife?

      • Chriscolose : you say “Mike Jonas, most of this post is wrong and illogical” and then you go on to say “.. the uncertainty in the total radiative forcing and surface temperature reconstructions for 1,000 years ago doesn’t make such agreement a great test for models, especially in regards to understanding how the world will change in a forced 2xCO2 scenario.”.

        I think what you are saying is that there are so many uncertainties about 1,000 years ago that the models can’t be expected to get the MWP right, and that a 2xCO2 scenario is so far removed from earlier observations that it introduces even more difficulties. If that is indeed what you are saying, then it seems to me that my statement was very logical (that models which can’t get the MWP right can’t be relied on for the late 20thC).

        But that’s not the whole argument …

        You ask me to refer to IPCC AR4 6.6.3 for discussion of model/proxy reconstruction over the historical paleoclimate record. I have done that. (BTW it was the equivalent chapter in the TAR which first made me skeptical of AGW, because I thought the way it got over the obvious “vicious circle” was unconvincing – but I digress). There is quite a lot of 6.6.3, so I am not quite sure which bit or bits you think are particularly relevant to this discussion, but here is what I found : lots of uncertainty, and quite a lot of discussion of solar influence in which only solar irradiation was considered – ie. there was no thought that there might be “feedbacks” to solar activity. Let me know if there was something specific for me in 6.6.3.

        You also say “The “feedbacks” which you assert models rely on and are of unknown mechanism are in fact emergent properties in models, they aren’t “assumed” or “relied upon” in any way.”.

        Now that is tosh. An “emergent property” in a model by definition has no scientifically known mechanism. And as for your assertion that the “feedbacks” “ aren’t “assumed” or “relied upon” in any way”, please take a look at IPCC AR4 It’s quite a long section, the bit I’m referring to is near the end of it, on page 633:
        Using feedback parameters from Figure 8.14, it can be estimated that in the presence of water vapour, lapse rate and surface albedo feedbacks, but in the absence of cloud feedbacks, current GCMs would predict a climate sensitivity (±1 standard deviation) of roughly 1.9°C ± 0.15°C (ignoring spread from radiative forcing differences). The mean and standard deviation of climate sensitivity estimates derived from current GCMs are larger (3.2°C ± 0.7°C) essentially because the GCMs all predict a positive cloud feedback (Figure 8.14) but strongly disagree on its magnitude.

        In this paragraph, I see “feedbacks” of great uncertainty and/or unknown mechanism being both assumed and relied on. And please note that this is no minor reliance, the “feedbacks” are relied on for 60% of the climate sensitivity – at the very core of the case for AGW.

        One last comment. You say “For that matter, the main radiative feedbacks typically discussed (water vapor, ice albedo, etc) respond primarily to temperature, not the CO2 directly, so they are not applied selectively to various causes.”.

        I think that what you are trying to say here is that the “feedbacks” would apply regardless of what caused the forcing in the first place – CO2, solar variation, etc. The problem with this argument is that there may be feedbacks to solar activity which do not operate indirectly via temperature. For example, the solar/GCR/cloud mechanism put forward by Henrik Svensmark and others. I find it particularly interesting that whereas there is no known mechanism for the IPCC’s “feedback”s, Henrik Svensmark successfully demonstrated the GCR/cloud mechanism in a laboratory test. So at least something of this particular mechanism is known – unlike the ones that the IPCC chose to assume and rely on.

  90. What have I learned from Climategate? It’s not what I have learned from Climategate, it’s what I have learned from all the varied responses at the blogs.

    It is clear that those who are completely convinced of catastrophic AGW aren’t going to be swayed by ANYTHING. And some (many?) take a lot of ‘pot shots’ at those who don’t see it they way they do.

    It is clear that those who believe the warming shown in the thermometer data (not going to get into any adjustment concerns) and the satellite data is mostly (though maybe not all) due to ‘natural affects’ (ocean circulation/cycles, solar cycles etc.) can’t understand why others don’t see it. And some (many?) take a lot of pot shots at those who don’t see it there way.

    This blog, unfortunately, has seen A LOT OF BOTH recently. Disappointing, since early on it was not that way. What can be done? Not easy to answer. Answers such as ‘forums for all to present data’, or ‘blogs where no sarcasm/denigration of other is allowed’ sound great, but as mentioned, those who ardently believe their opinion are not likely to change.

    REAL DATA, VALIDATION OF THE HYPOTHESIS, is what I see might change either side. Easy to accomplish? Not likely in the short term.

    The ‘extremes’ of heat wave, droughts, floods, and so on have happened before; arctic ice levels have been similar to today also; so that isn’t sufficient evidence to me. But ‘predictions’ or ‘forecasts’, or whatever one might want to say, made in the latest 1980s and early 1990s, when it comes to temperature increases, should be one good way to follow.

    Time will tell, one way or the other. In the mean time, should we be developing ‘better’ and ‘cleaner’ energy sources? Absolutely. Regardless of which ‘side’ might be right.

    But at the expense of productivity for ALL on the earth? I personally don’t think so. But if temps keep going up, I might change my mind. Though I do believe there would still be plenty of time to adapt.

    • “Though I do believe there would still be plenty of time to adapt. …”

      Did you read William Pratt’s comments? How would adaptation change GDP?

      I think Canada better get busy on its border fence or they’re going to be overrun by illegal American adapters.

  91. The reality is that most of the world will continue to increase consumption of fossil fuels, the USA, Canada, will not be duped into following the lead of the UE into self imposed bankruptcy.

    As the global temperatures continue to drop for most of the next 30 years, while the total global release of CO2 doubles, the stances of those blatantly name calling the realists will fade as self embarrassment is the best mouth closer of shouting fanatics.

  92. ??Duplicate??
    The reality is that most of the world will continue to increase consumption of fossil fuels, the USA, Canada, will not be duped into following the lead of the UE into self imposed bankruptcy.

    As the global temperatures continue to drop for most of the next 30 years, while the total global release of CO2 doubles, the stances of those blatantly name calling the realists will fade as self embarrassment is the best mouth closer of shouting fanatics.

    • You’d like to think so Richard. However, the big shot climate scientists have given up being scientists and become politicians. Never answer the awkward questions, never admit fault. Deny deny deny any wrongdoing. They’ll just ‘move on’ to blaming something else taxable for climate change.

      It has to be humankind’s fault, even though the degree to which the various wavelengths of the Sun’s output are varying could well be the cause within the margins of error of our observations of them.

      This is a fact the younger atmospheric scientists would do well to take note of, but since it’s outside their area of speciality, I doubt they will. Especially as a renewed effort to look at possible solar causes of climate change would inevitably take research funding away from their area.

  93. I guess so delete the second sorry…

  94. I have lost track of where things are on this thread. But in reply to Gavin,

    Your article did not test for, or even mention residual autocorrelation. At best you can be said to have pointed to the possible existence of a problem. You did not demonstrate that the problem existed. Jones’ review fails to pick this up and describes a “common mistake” which no one had yet produced any evidence existed. I’d call that wrong.

    McKitrick in contrast, in his reply, does do exhaustive testing for residual autocorrelation, for which he finds limited evidence in some specifications with no significant difference to the results. In any event the only evidence of any problem has been produced by McKitrick, not you or Jones.

    Next let’s look at what the results show and what they give evidence for. M&M hypothesised that if the CRU temperature series had been fully adjusted for UHI then it should be possible to fit a “good” regression explaining regional temperature trends by using satellite data, which is unaffected by UHI, and local climatological variables. And, in particular, if socio-economic variables were included the coefficients on them should not be significantly different from zero. That seems to me a perfectly sensible hypothesis, regardless of whether you consider it unphysical (spiritual?). M&M found that the coefficients were significantly different from zero, and that measured trends were higher, allowing for the influence of climatological variables, if regions were becoming more economically developed.

    Setting aside the autocorrelation issue, which does not seem to affect the results significantly, though was not tested for in M&M 2007, it is possible to argue that their results might arise from not including the correct set of climatological variables, that the form of the relationship was mispecified etc. The point is that these things can all be tested for. Assertion that this is what must be happening is just hand waving. The IPCC claimed, based on no known evidence whatsoever, that inclusion of the regional effects of certain natural climatic variations would make the socio-economic variables insignificant. Mckitrick has shown that this is not true for plausible formulations. It’s open to anyone else to propose alternative formulations of course.

    The nice idea you proposed was to say that the M&M results were just a fluke, which could be shown by substituting modelled trends for measured trneds and looking at the socio-economic coefficients. If the results of M&M were a fluke then used modelled trends would show the same coefficients as using measured trends, suggesting that M&M’s climatological variables were failing to pick something significant in the models. This is a clever way of testing. But what your results showed was that the coefficient using modelled trends were significantly different from the M&M ones. So this is prima facie evidence that socio-economic effects matter for measured trends and that M&M are right.

  95. Judith,

    Climategate really didn’t do a thing for me.
    I was finding current science was conflicting with my research and was having a hard time to keep them into the current manmade LAWS.
    So, I dumped current LAWS and strickly followed the science and learned from what the science had to teach me.
    Many times a scientists conclusion and opinions did not make sense to the evidence they were working with.
    I found the whole structure does not allow anyone who is a “free-thinker” past the walls to generate a greater knowledge base.
    So, I moved and kept learning and growing from my own knowledge base that the planet and solar system was teaching me.
    This totally conflicts to what many people have been taught and engrained through a tradition base of knowledge and science.

    Am I a genius? No, I just think differently and have learned not to take anything as absolute and concrete.

  96. What have I learned from Climategate?

    In addition to learning how science shouldn’t be done, I have learned that zealots and ideologues exist on both sides of the hypothesis of AGW by CO2.

    I have learned that the proponent blogs of the hypothesis censor comments much more so than the sceptical blogs. (makes me wonder why this is so)

    I have learned that to engage with zealots and ideologues is a waste of time, energy, and bytes; but sometimes they do provide a humourous interlude.

    I have also learned that there are real scientists in this world who truely are interested in the science and practice the principles of science, such as Judith Curry, Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts, and Ross McKitrick.

  97. What have we learned from climategate?

    I have learned that a large slice of the academic community is willing to tolerate corruption rather than rock the boat. They are even prepared to be dishonest while knowing that many people have read the emails, and the related material, and KNOW what is going on!

    The dishonesty of the climategate inquiries that managed to ask no awkward questions, and willfully miss the point was breathtaking.

    We have also learned that the BBC cannot be relied upon to report in an unbiased way – or even to explore fully the ramifications of a story such as the Himalayan glaciers goof that is supplied on a plate!

    Finally, and sadly, I have come to suspect a great deal of received scientific wisdom in complex domains where a great deal of expert judgment is required. I am sure Maxwell’s equations are sound, but show me anything based on complex computer models and stacks of data, and I wonder. I even wonder about big science projects like the LHC – would they ever admit, if it didn’t turn up anything new?

    • David, spot on. What is really worrying about climategate is not that there were one or two ‘bad apples’ but that so much of the climate community tried to pretend that nothing was wrong, that this kind of behaviour was perfectly normal in science, and tried to defend this appalling biased unscientific behaviour. Even green activist George Monbiot realised that their actions could not be defended and called for Jones to resign.

      Your last paragraph also highlights a real danger. People may lose faith in science generally. Let me try to reassure you that most science is done properly by objective careful scientists, not activists distorting the truth to push an agenda. Climate science is the exception, not the rule. Again this is what makes those of us who are proper scientists angry with the dishonesty of the “climate scientists”.

      • Interesting take. I guess Newton’s work is questionable, because he was quite the jerk. Can you separate the work from the person or not?

        Look at the science itself and you’ll see that it’s solid. Don’t let the campaign against the scientists color your analysis.

      • Clearly, some ideas are easier to verify independantly than others. Also, if Newton had got it wrong (and you could even argue that he did, because General Relativity gives a better fit!), the world would not have gone off on a crazy wild goose chase!

        The science of AGW, is clearly highly questionable, but this was clearly not that obvious – even to Judith Curry, for many years. Distorted ‘raw’ data, and an over-relience on others to have done their work honestly can lead many astray.

      • Let me try to reassure you that most science is done properly by objective careful scientists, not activists distorting the truth to push an agenda.

        No agenda …

        Such as getting the reviewers on side, so as to get published in the most desired and recognized journal?

        Such as getting funding and receiving respect, acceptance and admiration from your peers?

        Such as making the clearest, elegant and most compelling argument for your assertion?

        Such as getting a project completed so as to move onto new interests?

        I don’t mean to put words in your mouth and I also appreciate that you are engaged in reassuring someone who has lost some faith in the academic process.

        My point being that even ‘proper’ scientists are objective, subjective and also effective

        Denouncing denying or celebrating the subjective aspect doesn’t make it go away. There is more to science than abstract subjectivity which at the end of days is more or less, kind of unimportant, anyhow

  98. What I learnt?

    – That climate ‘skeptics’ will happily defend criminal behavior is it happens to benefit ‘their side’.
    – That climate ‘skeptics’ are perfectly content to read other people’s mail.
    – That even when thousands of emails are sifted through, there is zero evidence of a nefarious conspiracy.
    – That the media will happily repeat the claims of skeptics about the emails without examining them.
    – That any number of independent inquiries exonerating the scientists involved will be ignored.
    – That the ‘skeptics’ prefer spending their time going through other people’s mail to doing any actual research.

    • Andrew,
      I think you could have better summed up what you have learned from climategate by simply typing the word

  99. It has to be frustrating for people like Gavin, Chris Colose, AEG and all the rest of the warmists. Over and over they create beautiful themes that hang together with nary a thread out of place while we in the technical community act like we don’t even hear them. Look at the whorls, the thread, the color composition and the stitching. It’s all so beautiful! Fourier said this. Arrhenius said that. CO2 heats the atmosphere. A heated atmosphere holds more water vapor. Positive feedback. 3C per doubling. Immanent climate disruption.
    The AGW storyline is consistent and logical. What is wrong with us? Why do we resist so much? The oil companies, tea party activists and the Koch brothers must be beaming thoughts directly into our brains or we’d surely get it. I’m sure it’s a sad mystery to the hard-working activists who so desperately want to save us from ourselves.
    However, here is the problem. Like correlations, storylines are cheap and easy. Buy them a few drinks and tell them how pretty their eyes are and they’ll do anything to please us. Humans are pattern-seeking, pattern-matching and storyline-creating animals. We’re very good at taking a few strands of fact and inventing a coherent tale. Examples are everywhere. Grassy knolls. Staged moon landings. 9-11 is an inside job. The Da Vinci Code. Human activity significantly contributes to global climate. No matter how absurd the idea, we can create a story to pull disparate pieces together. Threads are everywhere—in movies, books, video games, political strategies and elaborate excuses at 2 AM when we come home with rumpled clothes and beer breath. It’s what we do and we’re good at it.
    So, the storyline might be fun and interesting, but it’s meaningless without the linkages. It might be strange to think of my gas pedal modulating the fuel flow in my engine’s injectors, but the linkages are there to study and admire.
    CO2? It’s so rarified that it must have extraordinary insulating (or IR-coupling) properties if it does anything measurable to the bulk of our atmosphere. I don’t care how beautiful your storyline is—I don’t care how much you invested in it or how sincerely you believe it. Show me linkages that can be isolated, tested, verified and replicated…then you will have the full attention and support of me and the rest of the technical community.
    Otherwise? I’m unimpressed and unconvinced.

  100. The explanation for the apparent sate of confusion that is perceived to exist in regard to global warming and climate change is rather simple. The climate scientists are dealing with the climate problem in terms of the basic physics that drives climate change. That is what climate modeling is all about – to express the physics relevant to climate in mathematical terms so that an understanding can be reached as to how the climate system works, and to develop a capability to make educated projections and predictions as to how the climate system will evolve in response to the applied forcings such as increasing CO2. It is adherence to the basic physics that produces a consistent assessment from the climate scientists as to what is happening with the climate system.

    The climate deniers, doubters, skeptics, and other onlookers are not bound by such inconvenient constraints as atmospheric physics. In addition to the sustained global warming due to increasing greenhouse gases, the climate system undergoes a natural variability with seemingly random fluctuations about the climate equilibrium state. This natural variability induces fluctuations in the climate record that are superimposed on the global warming trend.

    By simply looking at the statistics of selected pieces of the climate record, confusing conclusions can be drawn because the measurements are not all that complete, and the time line is too short for the climate trend signal to stand out from the natural variability to better than the 5 sigma that would be needed to convince the unconvincible.

    Note that the skeptics tend not to want to argue the climate change problem in terms of any specific shortcomings in model physics that might not be getting done correctly. By focusing only on trying to interpret the statistical variability aspects of climate change, leaves a lot of room for all kinds of interpretations, particularly when all physical considerations are left out.

    By focusing more on the physics that is involved in interpreting the ongoing global warming and climate change, a more productive and informative dialog will be possible.

    • There is more than this going on. Some of us are experienced with modeling and simulation and know perfectly well the limits and errors and how easily the operator can be fooled by spurious correlations and wishful thinking. Do you want this kind of “science” in a flight-critical part of your airplane? There’s no way this kind of thinking would fly (sorry) at Boeing or Airbus. But, you’ll suggest (or worse, dictate) the reinvention of human society based on this stuff? No, no, no.

    • Lacis,
      Bunk on you.
      The models are not basic physics, they are engineering models, full of swag and guess.
      Secondly, next time before you use ‘denier’, think of why you don’t just call skeptics ‘ni**ers’? You mean the same thing: dehumanize those whom you choose to not respect.
      Secondly, many skeptics may not be physics trained, and I will bet that many who support AGW are not either. But skeptics do have the right to say something is bogus when they see it. And bogosity meter regarding global climate disruption is pegged out at ‘high’.
      Your attempt to reframe the discussion by not addressing the skeptic concerns only shows you are not able to.
      You even admit to your problem byu pointing out that claims do not hold up under scrutiny. But in that odd way of the fanatic, you instead blame the skeptics.
      I am a skeptic. I am tired of being dismissed as your ‘denier’.

    • Lacis,

      I think you should ask yourself one crucial question. If the physics of global warming was so certain, why was it necessary to wait a couple of decades or so to collect data to try to measure that warming? Why was it necessary to distort history with the “Hockey stick” graph, based on dodgy statistics?

      You might also think about the fact that weather simulations were spur for part of chaos theory!

      I find it absurd when faced with the devious behaviour of those responsible for developing climate theory, people throw up their arms and cry “Just concentrate on the Physics!”

      • David Bailey: That’s my take too.

        If the climate change scientists are doing such a great job with the science, why do they need to resort to all the Climategate shenanigans to rig, spin, and propagandize their work? Why do they work so hard to hobble and attack skeptics — often in underhanded ways?

        If those of us outside climate science can’t trust climate scientists at the Climategate level, why should we trust them at the science level?

        If climate scientists can’t notice this incongruity and directly address it, again, why should we trust them?

        Ordinarily the -gate suffix doesn’t mean much, but for me Climategate is much like the original Watergate. We see the same loud insistence on authority, the same denial that any misconduct took place, and the same conspiracy thinking about how it’s the fault of others who are trying to destroy the authority.

        As in Watergate, it’s not just the crime, it’s the coverup.

  101. What have I learned from ‘Climategate’;

    aaa) The MSM, with few exceptions, are the secondary vectors of the IPCC consensus virus. Universities are the primary vectors. Without those two vectors there would be no opportunity for enviros and gov’ts to benefit from the virus.

    bbb) The blogosphere was and is a viable antidote for aaa) and with increasingly broader distribution of the antidote . . . the risk of the virus is decreasing.

    ccc) On the whole, Climategate precipitated a significant increase in the defensiveness of the IPCC supporters and significant increase in the energy levels of the independent thinkers (a.k.a. skeptics)

    ddd) The problematical context of both the USA government’s funding of science and the UN’s assessment oversight was spotlighted. They are an integral part of the problematical process.

    Overall, the very positive benefit resulting from Climategate is the argument opened up and the call for transparency has escalated. The fact that the amount argument rose by an order magnitude says a lot about the resiliency of human intelligence. : )


  102. Why do people get so easily upset at the mere mention of physics? After all, the world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, and to understand how things work in this world we need to understand the relevant physics.

    Climate models are indeed formulated in terms of basic physics. If you want to check that out yourself, you are more than welcome to go and download the FORTRAN code of one readily available state-of-the-art global climate model from: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/

    The theoretical foundation for understanding and modeling global climate change has been around for many decades. Progress on climate science, however, is very closely tied to advances in computer capability in terms of both computational speed and memory size. Today’s climate models would not get very far if run on computers of a decade ago. Climate modeling has always operated at the leading edge of computer technology.

    Similarly, there have been great strides in observational instrument capabilities to obtain accurate and comprehensive information that can be used to check the performance of global climate models so as to verify how well they can simulate the behavior of the climate system. A new polarimetric capability will be added by NASA early next year to measure aerosol radiative properties. There is also a new GPS satellite occultation technique that can measure stratospheric temperature with unprecedented accuracy. This was a region of the atmosphere that was difficult to measure either from the ground of from space.

    There have been climate skeptics on the scene since the very beginning of climate science, and they have been key participants in the development of the robust and capable global climate models that we have today. However, the spectrum of climate skepticism has changed greatly over the past several decades. Part of the problem is because of the demonstrated success in climate model capability to predict changes in global climate. In the early days, when climate models could not make credible climate predictions, nobody really cared. Now, when climate models do show a credible climate prediction capability, oil and coal companies suddenly feel that their economic interests are under threat, and are responding with a dedicated campaign of anti-climate propaganda and misinformation.

    In view of the above, it should not come as a surprise that the spectrum of criticism of climate science has become exceedingly wide. It ranges now from climate contrarians and climate deniers who are not troubled by propagating lies and misinformation to deliberately confuse the public, to established climate scientists who happen to disagree about a variety of climate modeling performance issues and/or interpretation of climate observational data or climate modeling results. And, then there is the vast majority of self proclaimed climate skeptics in the middle who are not sure in which direction to turn, and why.

    I, for one, have no problem with anybody wanting to believe whatever it is that they choose to believe. I view that as a constitutional right. However, when it comes to arguing all of these points and issues about global warming and global climate change is the public forum, then it becomes a matter of physics as the only approach to arrive at the correct answer.

    • Why do people get so easily upset at the mere mention of physics?

      That would NOT be due to the physicists getting their physics wrong.

      Rather, it is because I don’t trust the physicist’s skill to paste a very complex situation together in a ‘well formed’ manner. My suspicion and experience is that they cut huge simplifying corners for the sake of making things workable.

      The baby invariably gets thrown out with the bath water, so to speak.

  103. “physics as the only approach to arrive at the correct answer.”
    I hope that biology is being considered as well.
    The ocean – DMS – cloud – temp – bioproductivity loop may be quite important.
    Can you confirm that it is considered in the models?

    • Clearly, labeling physics as the “only approach” is a bit of an exaggeration. This may stem from my student days when I remembered theoretical physicists making the claim that “physics explained everything”, despite the fact that trying to explain all of chemistry in terms of “physics” is not a particularly sensible thing to do, let alone biology. In my way of thinking, I sometimes use “physics” and “science” interchangeably.

      Climate is the one field of study where essentially all of the disciplines from astronomy to zoology have important contributions to make. (Including also classical literature – one of our scientists, who also happens to read classical Greek and Latin, has combed the classical literature for references to failed grape harvests and unusual sky conditions to make important identification of large volcanic eruptions from that period of time.)

      Right now, classical physics is the mainstay of the climate system physical process simulations in current climate GCMs. Partly, this is because it is “physics” that runs most of the physical interactions that take place in the climate system. But also, it is the “physics” that is the easiest part of climate science to understand and to incorporate into the climate model FORTRAN code. Ozone chemistry is beginning to be incorporated as part of the standard climate model, as is an interactive formulation for vegetation.

      Otherwise, the more complicated aerosol chemistry, including DMS and aspects of the ocean biosphere, are being run off-line, and the results of these more complicated climate process simulations are included in the general global climate model in the form of “aerosol climatology”. High resolution cloud resolving models are also being run to get a better understanding of cloud processes.

      Current computer limitation do not permit including all of this more detailed modeling into the general purpose climate model. But in another ten years, if compute capability continues to increase as in the past, it is very likely that high resolution atmosphere-ocean coupled models with interactive atmospheric and ocean chemistry, including biosphere interactions, will have become the normal way of climate modeling.

      I should also mention the strong synergism that exists between geology and climate modeling. The geological record (e.g., ice and sediment cores) is particularly important in providing physical information about past climate variations, while climate model results help refine the interpretation of the geological measurements.

      • Andy, thank you for this more descriptive account of how the models work.
        You say that:
        “Ozone chemistry is beginning to be incorporated as part of the standard climate model, as is an interactive formulation for vegetation.”

        Could you expand on that a little more please. It is known that variation in solar U.V. affects ozone levels and solar U.V. has varied two magnitudes more than TSI over the last 30 years, what is the solar model used in the GCM’s for ozone?

        Does the interactive formulation for vegetation include the changing of emissivity of land surfaces due to moisture content? As I understand it, soil emissivity can vary from near unity down to 80% of unity depending on this factor. Although rainfall doesnt vary much globally, it varies enormously on decadal timescales in quite large regions. How is this itegrated in the models?


      • Correction, Solar U.V. has varied two orders of magnitude more than TSI over the last 30 years, around 15%.

  104. I think a more fundamental question than disagreeing over whether physicists can grasp complex questions is whether or not the physical model in a current situation (whether it be looking at tornado dynamics, a kid dropping a ball, a rifle shot, etc) can give useful and robust results, even in the face of the rest of the universe which cannot be considered in that model. One can, for instance, model various elements of a kid dropping a ball very well without the need to incorporate relativistic equations which become important where speeds become a significant fraction of the speed of light, the rotation of the Earth, wind resistance, etc. If the same kid is throwing a ball out of a very high airplane, air resistance then becomes an important issue. All of the physical sciences, whether it be the atmosphere & ocean, stars, geologic formation, or anything else must be considered on the grounds of “models” in this sense. The high school “pour a drop into the beaker and see if it turns purple or not” level of reproducibility and falsification cannot be readily applied to the real world of scientific research in many cases.

    In many technical issues, such as climate studies, paleoclimate reconstructions, or other physical science, choices generally need to be made in studies. In the blogs, it is very easy to poke jabs at these choices without the burden to actually show that a different choice would make a significant difference. If it’s shown to not make a difference, then you can just move to the next criticism. This isn’t very constructive though.

    To be sure, climate models are not representations of the whole universe. If the light shining from a distant star like Alpha Centauri is not put into a model, it’s very easy for someone to say “we’re neglecting important things!” This is an extreme example, but it’s no different than the modified argument-from-complexity meme whereby we can’t know anything about the radiative effects of CO2 just because we don’t know everything about the coupled biological-ocean-atmosphere system. It’s a fallacy nonetheless.

    • Chris,
      I take your point about the limits and choices. It would greatly help inquiring minds if we could find a useful summary of what is included in the models, along with a commentary which explains why those variables are included and why others are not. This would help us formulate more relevant questions and perhaps even provide useful ideas. There is a large untapped constituency of knowledge and expertise in modeling and factor analysis out here which could be of value to climate science.

      Can you point us to in depth descriptions of current models including parameterization and climatology integration?


  105. This may not be exactly what you are looking for (there’s entire books and courses dedicated to climate modeling, lots of different groups who have their own independent models, or various “sub-models” that can be incorporated into main GCM’s) so it’s a very long subject but I’d start with this report

  106. Dr Lacis,

    Thank you for your cogent analyses of climate science, physics and modeling.

    I am impressed by you continuing to exhibit calmness in responding even when provoked by the likes of Hunter.

  107. Dr Lacis is right. IPCC climatologists adopted the attitude of physicists regarding experimental data on:

    a.) The Sun’s origin

    b.) The Sun’s composition

    c.) The Sun’s source of energy

    d.) The Sun’s influence on Earth’s climate

    In terms of grant funds, both groups have been very successful!

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

    • Is OKM is being a bit sarky here? Seeing that the first 3 links he gave were to YouTube, I clicked on the 4th:-

      The Sun encompasses planet Earth, supplies the heat that warms it, and even shakes it. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assumed that solar influence on Earth’s climate is limited to changes in solar irradiance and adopted the consensus opinion of a hydrogen-filled Sun—the Standard Solar Model (SSM). They did not consider the alternative solar model and instead adopted another consensus opinion: Anthropogenic greenhouse gases play a dominant role in climate change. The SSM fails to explain the solar wind, solar cycles, and the empirical link of solar surface activity with Earth’s changing climate. The alternative solar model—molded from an embarrassingly large number of unexpected observations that space-age measurements revealed since 1959—explains not only these puzzles but also how closely linked interactions between the Sun and its planets and other celestial bodies induce turbulent cycles of secondary solar characteristics that significantly affect Earth’s climate.

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  109. Thanks to a daring act of bravery by a nuclear geochemist, Dr. KAZUO KURODA, sixty-nine years ago in the closing days of WWII:


    The Puppetmaster of Climategate was identified today on Steven Goddard’s discussion of Climategate and “What should we be striving for now?”