What have we learned from Climategate? Part II

by Judith Curry

The previous thread is getting unwieldly, there seems to still be much interest in discussing this, and there are some new interesting articles that I’ve spotted:

510 responses to “What have we learned from Climategate? Part II

  1. Just a technical note – the links for the Washington Post and Chris Mooney both point to the same page.

  2. From the Washington Post:

    “Instead, many resorted to quoting phrases out of context, such as one scientist’s now infamous use of the word “trick” to describe a research technique”

    This defines the approach taken by columnist/activists in the mainstream media. As Steve McIntyre has shown in excruciating detail, the claim that ‘the trick’ was taken out of context holds no water.

    What I’ve learned from the coverage of Climategate (it pains me to use the ‘-gate’ suffix) is that the spin goes on. Even someone like Pielke Jr wants to ‘move on,’ in spite of the fact that he never engaged the details in the first place. To me, details of scientific fraud matter. Efforts to take over journals to stop opponents from publishing matter. Conspiracy to violate FOI laws matter.

    It all matters most because of the deadly silence of the climate science community. If there were letters signed by 100 top climate scientists denouncing the behavior revealed by the Climategate emails, my take would be much different. In these cases, I can’t help but think that silence is complicity.

    • How to be a climate auditor, part 1: Pretty pictures


      I stand by my other example and what it demosntrates.

      • Sorry, first thing second, from the Climategate emails:

        Email # 1200162026
        “I would note that the distribution of rejection rates is like the distribution of precipitation in that it is bounded by zero. A quick-and-dirty way to explore this possibility using a “trick” used with precipitation data is to apply a square root transformation to the rejection rates, average these, then reverse transform the average. The square root transformation should yield data that is more nearly Gaussian than the untransformed data.”

  3. Chris Mooney says,

    I doubt it will be of much relevance to Republicans, but based on my own observations, the climate science community is in an interesting place right now. The outrage over “Climategate,” and over investigations like Cuccinelli’s, is palpable. But at the same time, the community would much prefer to offer earnest scientific information in good faith, rather than getting into political battles. Most of all, climate scientists are engaged in deep internal introspection about where the proper line lies between defending one’s science (which most researchers support) and engaging in political activism for particular parties or policy outcomes (which makes many very uncomfortable).

    This is good, feel free to discuss.

    • At the end of the day, it is policy implementation that is truly important.

      Politicians were initially lead down a path that stated that human released CO2 was the “total cause” of climate change, and that said change would be a disaster for humanity unless “cap and trade” was not immediately implemented.

      Hopefully, the issue is now better understood as a long term worry that balances protection of infrastructure with a sensible long term energy policy. For the United States, it seems simply obvious that cap and trade is really dumb economically, and will have a minimal impact on the environment. Seems the USA should have a long term energy policy to use nuclear energy (3rd, 4th generation, and thorium to produce electricity). It would be cleaner for the environment and would be a boost for the economy by reducing the outflow of US capital.

      • Not at all. Regarding para 2, the 1998 Kyoto Protocol includes a number of different GHGs, around 6 if memory serves. It has never been all about CO2, although CO2 has been by far the most prominent GHG. As for the rest there is not a “better understanding.” It happens that a post Kyoto treaty and US cap and trade have bogged down politically but that may well be temporary. The debate is just as ferocious as ever, if not more so.

      • Kyoto is meaningless in the United States.

        Cap and Trade is very bad policy from an economic perspective and nearly useless in improving the environment. Cap and Trade creates additional useless governmental bureaucracy that is non value added.

      • Do you think Kyoto was actually implemented?
        Do you think Kyoto actually made a difference in the climate?

      • Politicians were initially lead down a path that stated that human released CO2 was the “total cause” of climate change, and that said change would be a disaster for humanity unless “cap and trade” was not immediately implemented.

        As far as I know, very few climate scientists would say that this statement is representative of their public stance. One of the most politically active climate scientist, Hansen, is very much an opponent of Cap & Trade. But that’s besides the point. Advocating for reducing the amount of GHG’s from being introduced into the atmosphere is the most clear way forward to reduce the possible implications of what the overwhelming balance of scientific evidence is telling them. What the policy makers and public do with that advice is the next step — implementing policy, whether that be C&T or something else. That is what Chris Mooney is talking about. Walking the line between protecting what the science tells us and activism.

      • Cutting CO2 isn’t an option IF it means economic suicide. I would say it isn’t an option anyway since China and India won’t stop burning coal and oil. There is a move in this country to nat gas as a fuel, even for vehicles. This is reasonable. Nuclear is reasonable. Cutting our own throats – not reasonable.

      • “Cutting CO2 isn’t an option IF it means economic suicide. ”

        What the facts tell us, in this case via the OMB’s 2010 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations:

        According to this analysis, EPA issued 30 major regulations from 1999 to 2009 at an estimated cost of $25.8 billion to $29.2 billion against estimated benefits ranging from $81.9 billion to $533 billion. As a society we have really not taken leave of our senses. When we make policies, the benefits generally outweigh the costs. Of course, for any given corporation or particular factory in any given financial quarter, the costs may be far higher than the benefits. And the costs might be borne by one group while the benefits may be felt by another. Still the idea that environmental rules kill jobs and destroy our quality of life is deceptive propaganda. It is part of a subtle and symbolic political campaign with the goal of delegitimizing government’s role in protecting the environment.

        Congress and the Coming Fact-Free Climate Policy Debate

      • “$81.9 billion to $533 billion”
        Wow, can’t get anymore quantitative than that. Now I see why they are so good at projecting deficits.

      • Confirmation bias? The lower benefits estimate is still 3 times more than the higher losses estimate. I guess some people never recognise a good thing when it’s staring them in the face.

      • Always worthwhile to check the original source.

        Click to access 2010_Benefit_Cost_Report.pdf

        “We have noted that many of these major rules have important non-quantified benefits and costs that may have been a key factor in an agency’s decision to select a particular approach. In important cases, agencies have been unable to quantify the benefits of rules, simply because existing information does not permit reliable estimates. ”

        “In many instances, agencies were unable to quantify all benefits and costs. ”

        “Some rules produce benefits (such as reductions in discrimination) that are not adequately captured in monetary equivalents. In addition, and significantly, prospective estimates may contain erroneous assumptions, producing inaccurate predictions; retrospective analysis can be an important way of increasing accuracy. While the estimates in this Report provide valuable information about the effects of regulations, they should not be taken to be either precise or complete.”

        Basically, the OMB took the EPA’s numbers and accepted them. I hear the DOD has some great numbers on the benefits of invading Iraq too.

      • What the facts tell us, in this case via the OMB’s 2010 Report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of Federal Regulations:

        … When we make policies, the benefits generally outweigh the costs.

        This is not a “fact”. This is just the regulators blowing their own trumpet and justifing their interference in society.

        .. the idea that environmental rules kill jobs and destroy our quality of life is deceptive propaganda. It is part of a subtle and symbolic political campaign with the goal of delegitimizing government’s role in protecting the environment.

        This is itself deceptive propaganda, simply more self-aggrandisement aimed at legitimising their every imposition. Of course taxes and higher energy costs will destroy quality of life.

      • I agree that fewer supporters of AGW currently believe that CO2 is the sole (or overwhelming percentage) cause of a warming planet, but IMO that was not the case 24 months ago. I would also agree that limiting admission of new CO2 into the atmosphere is the sensible, but I disagree with a system such as cap and trade as a tool to achieve the stated goal. It seems more sensible to build new electricity generation facilities that use minimal carbon based fuels.

      • You say: “Hansen, is very much an opponent of Cap & Trade. But that’s besides the point.” AFAIK, that’s because he favors a carbon tax.

    • Except for our hostess, I see no evidence at all that climate scientists in general are even in the wading pool of introspection, much less in the deep end.
      Instead we see evasiveness, defensiveness, arrogance, dissembling and bluster by climate scientists as they crowd together to blame a conspiracy for their problems.
      If the cliamte science community wants to start offering information in good faith, then it is long past time to start. It will be a pleasant change.
      But frankly, since the excerpt starts with a swipe at Republicans, it appears to be yet another boring derivative whine from a true believer about how the wicked barbarians are acting up.

      • Hunter,
        It goes far deep than just climate science.
        Science is broken for not making science a pure form of good knowledge base and the system is brokenfor surpressing any new science or technology that could help each other. Power generation could be far more superior in efficiency and using less resources but governments want companies to be the one to foot the bill. Even though it would be the best interest of the people, it is not the best interest of the country through the business sector of the market system.

      • Yes. The truth is, there is no “greenhouse effect” at all.

        Venus: No Greenhouse Effect

        The consensus, built over the last 20 years and put forward by the UN IPCC, that says otherwise, is scientifically incompetent. That is the hard reality, that the real “deniers” — those who think consensus means truth — can’t believe, and refuse to investigate. It is not the climate system that is broken, it is the politicized, incompetent science. It is entirely beyond anyone’s power to address it at the root by political argument. The entire science needs to be corrected (as is true of so many powerful institutions today).

  4. As I understand the current state of the scientific and political “discussion”, the following is true (please reply to this post where you believe I am incorrect in my summary)

    1. It appears that human released CO2 is contributing to a total increase in atmospheric CO2 on planet earth

    2. It appears that increases in atmospheric CO2 (and other GHG’s) are contributing approximately 50% of the recent warming trend on planet earth

    3. Total atmospheric CO2 releases on planet earth by humans will rise over the next 25 years regardless of United States actions

    4. There is no reliable data to determine to show that a warmer planet is not better for humanity overall in the long term. Generally, a warmer climate has been preferred by humans historically, although climate changes do force humans to adapt in the short term.

    • I’m not disagreeing, just asking for info – I hear CO2 so much anymopre that other GHG are not mentioned. Any specifics on the other contributing GHG’s?


      • Interesting question- No, I have not scene any data that segregates CO2 from other GHG’s in terms of actual impact.

      • The reason I ask is my industry was heavily impacted by the CFC – HCFC bans. My understanding was that CFC’s were banned primarily due to their effect on the ozone hole, while the coming ban on HCFC’s is predicated mostly upon their global warming potential. Today alone I’ve seen claims that CO2 is causing 50% of the warming to another stating it’s 3%. What I’d like to see is what other gases have been evaluated; maybe CO2 is the only significant gas with global warming potential, but it would be nice to see what other elements have been investigated (or not).

      • Thanks – only skimmed the surface, but i feel better knowing that other gases HAVE been investigated. I’ll go back to being a silent observer.

    • You are almost entirely incorrect. The whole point of the discussion is that there is a debate over what is true. Your items 1, 2, 3 & 4 are all controversial, especially 2 and 4. Item 2 is the heart of the scientific debate while items 3 and 4 are the heart of the policy debate.

      • David– you make a broad, inaccurate comment (IMO).
        Point 1 is factually correct, point 2 is subject to further research but probably correct, point 3 is absolutely true, and point 4 is the current state of climate models and reasonably true.

      • Are you claiming these points are not controversial, which is what I said? They have been debated on this very blog.

      • Yes, that’s what he’s claiming. Rule #1 is “Anything Rob believes is factual; all else is false, or dubious at best.”

      • I agree the positions are not universal. (small attempt at humor)

  5. Please would those on the co2 AGW side of the debate respond to what the UK Institute of Physics submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee charged with investigating them:

    What are the implications of the disclosures for the integrity of scientific research?
    1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.

    2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.

    3. It is important to recognise that there are two completely different categories of data set that are involved in the CRU e-mail exchanges:

    · those compiled from direct instrumental measurements of land and ocean surface temperatures such as the CRU, GISS and NOAA data sets; and

    · historic temperature reconstructions from measurements of ‘proxies’, for example, tree-rings.

    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.

    7. Fundamentally, we consider it should be inappropriate for the verification of the integrity of the scientific process to depend on appeals to Freedom of Information legislation. Nevertheless, the right to such appeals has been shown to be necessary. The e-mails illustrate the possibility of networks of like-minded researchers effectively excluding newcomers. Requiring data to be electronically accessible to all, at the time of publication, would remove this possibility.

    8. As a step towards restoring confidence in the scientific process and to provide greater transparency in future, the editorial boards of scientific journals should work towards setting down requirements for open electronic data archiving by authors, to coincide with publication. Expert input (from journal boards) would be needed to determine the category of data that would be archived. Much ‘raw’ data requires calibration and processing through interpretive codes at various levels.

    9. Where the nature of the study precludes direct replication by experiment, as in the case of time-dependent field measurements, it is important that the requirements include access to all the original raw data and its provenance, together with the criteria used for, and effects of, any subsequent selections, omissions or adjustments. The details of any statistical procedures, necessary for the independent testing and replication, should also be included. In parallel, consideration should be given to the requirements for minimum disclosure in relation to computer modelling.

    Are the terms of reference and scope of the Independent Review announced on 3 December 2009 by UEA adequate?
    10. The scope of the UEA review is, not inappropriately, restricted to the allegations of scientific malpractice and evasion of the Freedom of Information Act at the CRU. However, most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other leading institutions involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change. In so far as those scientists were complicit in the alleged scientific malpractices, there is need for a wider inquiry into the integrity of the scientific process in this field.

    11. The first of the review’s terms of reference is limited to: “…manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice…” The term ‘acceptable’ is not defined and might better be replaced with ‘objective’.

    12. The second of the review’s terms of reference should extend beyond reviewing the CRU’s policies and practices to whether these have been breached by individuals, particularly in respect of other kinds of departure from objective scientific practice, for example, manipulation of the publication and peer review system or allowing pre-formed conclusions to override scientific objectivity.

    How independent are the other two international data sets?
    13. Published data sets are compiled from a range of sources and are subject to processing and adjustments of various kinds. Differences in judgements and methodologies used in such processing may result in different final data sets even if they are based on the same raw data. Apart from any communality of sources, account must be taken of differences in processing between the published data sets and any data sets on which they draw.

    The Institute of Physics

    • cagw_skeptic99

      Lots of luck getting a response to any of this. It is hard to build enthusiasm for carbon taxes if the basis isn’t sound, and without carbon taxes the money will dry up. Long ago I learned that continued irrational behavior by supposedly learned people nearly always has a single explanation: follow the money. There won’t be any real investigations and there won’t be any real responses to this post because going there will eventually derail the gravy train.

      • No offence to cagw_skeptic99 but could those on the co2 AGW side respond directly to the submission made by the I.O.P. rather than his comment please.


      • cagw_skeptic99

        tallbloke, My apologies for commenting the way I did on your post. At the time, I was thinking that the dare would draw a response from some of the CAGW defenders. I have never seen a response anywhere from anyone that addresses your issues.

      • Irrational behavior isn’t always about money. It can be about making people feel good (symbolic environmental gestures for example), or result from poor assessment of relative risks (people tend to fear the invisible risk like toxins in food more than the real risk of driving), or from “me to” behavior.

    • tallbloke,

      There is very echo-chamberish silence below your comment. Probably just because there is some frantic emailing going on behind the silence. Heh?


      • Noted. I think we on the sceptical side of the co2 AGW debate should leave the field under the I.O.P statement as free as possible. I would like to see the co2 AGW proponents response to the statement, not the usual smokescreen of argument over other peoples comments about it.

      • Good luck with that.

    • I’m more interested in your apparent knowledge of an as-yet secret change in the IOP statement on climate change, which includes:

      “The basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing – and that we need to act.”

      Note also that this statement came out in December 2009.

      Perhaps tallbloke is privy to internal machinations at the IOP. Could he elucidate?

      • I note that the carefully worded statement you excerpt doesn’t make any attribution of climate change to co2.

        I also note something else I.O.P. said at around the same time.

        “The institute should feel relaxed about the process by which it generated what is, anyway, a statement of the obvious….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.”

      • Indeed. I regard their judgment and statement to be about as thorough and complete a repudiation of the modus operandi of the CRU as they could deliver without calling them incompetent shysters, notwithstanding all the little transparent expressions of confidence etc. that they drop in there.

        Yes, incompetent shysters, that sounds about right.

      • Noted, but once again, I appeal to my fellow sceptics to avoid comment. I want to see the co2 AGW proponents direct responses to the I.O.P. statement, not their arguments with sceptic’s interpretations of it.

    • Tallbloke: I’d like to note that the IOP has itself responded to their submission in the following manner:
      The following can be found at:

      “We regret that our submission has been seized upon by some individuals to imply that IOP does not support the scientific evidence that the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming.

      IOP’s position on global warming is clear: the basic science is well established and there is no doubt that climate change is happening and that we should be taking action to address it now. ”

      You address your question to “…those on the co2 AGW side of the debate”, and this confuses me because the IOP is clearly not addressing the science behind climate change in their submission, but rather the behavior of scientists and research institutions. There can be clear calls for the need for more improvements in behavior and procedures without calling the science into question.

      • Hi Jen, and thanks for responding. As you may know, a lot of the rationale for the kinds of responses being advocated, rest on the ‘unprecedented in the last millenium’ clause of the AGW argument. However, there are many peer reviewed studies from various locations worldwide which show that temperatures were probably higher than today during the medieval warm period.

        Given the brief nature of the IOP submission, it is telling that they devoted several paragraphs to this issue, 4. and 5. being particularly relevant. These paragraphs are about the science, as well as the individuals concerned. The concentration of the CRU’s effort at historical temperature reconstruction around tree ring data seems overly focussed, given that there are proxies with more stable surrounding factors, such as speleothems in deep caves. Trees are subject to alteration of their growth rate by a wide variety of environmental factors including precipitation, nutrition, insolation, and the co2 level in their immediate environment. Steve McKintyre’s site has a lot of well presented data and well informed comment on paleodendroclimatology if you are interested in developing a balanced view of the topic.

      • One of the funny things about the “CO2science” “MWPP” stuff is that one of their charts is merely a bar graph showing the number of studies that found that the MWP was warmer than the CWP. That’s incredibly irrelevant and completely uninformative.

        Really, what’s there is a meta-analysis, without a whole lot of meat.

      • I think it makes the point that the ‘consensus’ on the ‘unprecedented’ warming isn’t in the majority after all. How many papers trying to convince us Mann is right are there? A lot I know, but they have 541 studies by over 900 scientists showing the medieval warm period was warmer than now. The clique defending Mann is much, much smaller.

        Weight of numbers doesn’t really prove anything, but since it’s sauce for the goose, it’s sauce for the gander.

      • I used to be able to get their map applet to work, but now it doesn’t. One thing I do recall is that the locations at which the MWP is interpreted to be warmer than current are relatively few in number, and there’s a fair bit of overlap (i.e., the same location is mentioned in more than one paper). I’d like to see some more substantive analysis rather than just reporting on some results. Plus, given the stance of “co2science”, I’d like to see the authors of the papers given a chance to agree (or not) with the analysis done by “co2science”.

      • I seem to remember Mann and pals using Greybill strip bark and foxtail pines from a limited set of locations, again, and again, and again, and again.

        All the individual papers are summarized on co2 science in addition to the map. Go knock yourself out. preferably with something heavy.

      • So leave out Mann and proxies based on trees. One still gets hockey sticks.

        Oh, and your last snarky comment was really uncalled-for.

      • Well, not really. Tamino and SkepticalScience have some interesting things to say about Loehle (2007).

      • Colour me unsurprised.

      • Derecho64 | November 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Replied:

        So leave out Mann and proxies based on trees. One still gets hockey sticks.

        Oh really see here we have a small sample of the peer reviewed literature that doesn’t.It doesn’t include Anders Moberg’s (hockey team member) study using G bulloides as a proxy, for which the hockey team severely criticized Soon and Baliunas, it shows an MWP and LIA.

      • Without showing the instrumental temperature record along with those proxies, it’s hard to determine (especially given the coarse time scale) if the MWP was at least as warm as today just via those graphs.

      • Yes, they make comments about paleo-reconstruction, and I don’t disagree with their comments. However, being somewhat in touch with the field of climatology (I am an atmospheric chemist), I’ve always been a little surprised at the disproportionate emphasis that is put on temperature reconstructions as opposed to the huge body of scientific research that actually does make up the study of climatology and atmospheric sciences. It’s an interesting side-study, but very little (none?) of the science is dependent on that branch. The IOP makes it very clear in their response that they attribute recent temperature increases to the anthropogenic increase of CO2.

      • Jen, you are right that not much of the science depends on the Mann ‘Nature trick’ of the disappearing medieval warm period and ‘unprecedented warming’. But nearly all of the policy call depends on it. That’s why its so important the alarmists and many still try to defend the indefensible.

      • tallbloke:

        But nearly all of the policy call depends on it.

        and what is even dearer to their hearts :- funding for more research depends on it.

      • Jan, I think this is why we didn’t get the warmista to engage with this part of the thread. The grubbiness of the motivations is too visible.

      • Agreed and the hooks for further funding only too obvious in the conclusions of many papers. Trouble is many take the hook to be the conclusion.

      • I’m wondering why you believe this is the case. Have you seen this happening? Do you believe that there is a coherent effort on the part of most climate scientists to misrepresent the science in an effort to secure further funding? I’ve been in the field of atmospheric research for 21 years and I’m not aware of any intentional unified misrepresentation to secure further work. (I will not lie that I have never encountered rare individuals who I would not be surprised to find this is the case, but I’m talking one or two out of the hundreds of co-workers I’ve encountered). I certainly would be skeptical of any unintentional “herd” sort of movement – I have known far too many very very bright and independent thinkers to believe that is the case.

        I will add (and you did not claim this, but I have seen it suggested in many places on the internet) that the amount of scientists’ salaries are not dependent on grant money. We are paid based on the government scale (GS level) and my grant money goes to things like funding private contractors for research assistance, funding computer maintenance, travel costs to professional meetings and conferences, and publication fees. Government climate and atmospheric scientists are most certainly not in it to get rich. I do know of a couple of co-workers who have moved into the private sector and are making scads more money there.

        Long, rambling response I know. I have always been baffled by these kinds of comments and honestly wanted to know why you believe it to be so…

      • …and the really big grants that you often hear about for climate research are often for things that involve satellite missions…

      • Jen wrote

        I’m wondering why you believe this is the case. Have you seen this happening?

        Many times and I suspect you may have missed my point. Thank you for your questions.

        Do you believe that there is a coherent effort on the part of most climate scientists to misrepresent the science in an effort to secure further funding?

        Not a coherently planned as in a conspiracy but scientists from all fields will suggest topics for further research. Of course most will be aware of the benefit of linking it to a topic of interest to politicians who hold the purse strings.

        I am well aware of the woeful salaries paid to scientist it’s why I with degrees in nursing and physics worked an engineer specialising in feedback control systems and instrumentation for most of the time. The suggestion that scientists were in it to get rich would have to be one of the more amusing strawman arguments seen in this debate. We know it’s for the equipment etc needed for research without which, or the government (political) interest they wouldn’t have jobs. I hardly think it’s about getting rich, nor do I think does anyone else.

        However let me give you an example of what I was talking about.

        This paper in which they check, measure and discuss the 800 year lag CO2 level has with respect to temperature change, has this at the end.

        The radiative forcing due to CO
        2 may serve
        as an amplifier of initial orbital forcing, which is
        then further amplified by fast atmospheric feed-
        backs (39) that are also at work for the present-
        day and future climate

        . That statement on several occasions has been used as “proof” of positive feedbavk due to CO2. Now as one who has had for many years worked with feedback (positive and negative) in numerous situations in a very practical way I would say that such feedback is not possible in a dissipative system such the earth’s energy system. It requires the energy as heat to go the wrong way up a potential gradient.

      • Too deep in the thread to allow replies anymore, so this is out of order. Jan wrote:

        “That statement on several occasions has been used as “proof” of positive feedbavk due to CO2. Now as one who has had for many years worked with feedback (positive and negative) in numerous situations in a very practical way I would say that such feedback is not possible in a dissipative system such the earth’s energy system. It requires the energy as heat to go the wrong way up a potential gradient.”

        I believe you might misunderstand the physics behind this because it’s not as complicated as it sounds like you interpret it to be. Richard Alley gave a nice (though long) presentation on this at AGU last year:

      • Start at about 35 minutes into his talk.

        I do not understand why you talk about dissipative systems and energy potential energy gradients on a timescale of 800 years. The idea of atmospheric CO2 increasing due to increasing ocean temperatures, and in turn atmospheric temperatures increasing due to increased CO2 until equilibrium is met really has nothing to do with a dissipative system. It’s not a very complicated scenario.

      • I also don’t understand what that example has to do with your statement/belief that climate scientists have created the idea o AGW to create/amplify funding sources for themselves. It’s disappointed that you generalize like that.

      • Look at it this way. Climatology went from a tiny subspecialty, with maybe a dozen or two scientists, to a global juggernaut paying the salaries and research cost of thousands.

        The money came from somewhere, and it is thoroughly documented that to get funded every scientist and his dog in numerous areas, some clearly unrelated, have to throw in some reference or even totally bogus tie-in to ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change’ to get funded.

        Corruption in such circumstances is a given, not just a possibility.

      • Brian H: it’s “thoroughly documented that every climatology grant must tie in to global warming?” How and where do you get your information?
        Sorry, that’s simply completely wrong.

  6. All of the linked articles are transparent attempts to
    a) claim the emails were “stolen”
    b) elevate the whitewash investigations to actual examinations of the merits of AGW
    c) steamroller the opposition by denigrating it as hissy fits by low-level “deniers”

    and so on. Methinks JC’s underlying biases are starting to surface bigtime.

    • That was not true of the first list. It is however generally true of the mainstream media.

    • Suggest some you approve of rather than sniping Brian. If J.C. posts the links for you, will that allay your concerns?

    • A paragraph out of current the Washington Post Article

      “The dustup that came to be known by many as “climategate” did not weaken or overturn any part of the scientific consensus on climate change – that global warming is very likely due in large part to increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.”

      Notice the words ‘very likely’ and ‘large part’.

      Same author early 2009

      “Although skeptics of man-made global climate change may argue otherwise, a year like 2008 that was warmer than the long-term average but cooler than the previous few years is consistent with the vast body of scientific evidence that holds that recent warming is mainly due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.”

      Notice the words ‘vast evidence’ and ‘mainly’.

      IMHO ‘Blind Trust’ of science has been replaced with ‘qualified trust’.

  7. not exactly relevant to climategate, but Bill Hooke’s essay is superb
    Getting out the science message

  8. One lesson that I’d like to see learned involves transparency and data handling. I cannot help but believe that so much of the rancor could have been avoided had there been better handling of the data and greater transparency as to the processes by which it was selected, adjusted, analysed, etc. A year later, can anyone definitively identify what CRU data is open vs proprietary?

    Complete openness would not have eliminated disagreement. It would not have prevented people from “misusing” the data. It would have made it more difficult to claim bias, fraud, etc.

    Climate science that will inform policy must move into the world of regulatory, rather than academic science. It must be open to inspection and open to challenge.

    A comment on the previous thread asked whether budgets should be expanded to provide this level of data integrity – my position would be yes.

    • Unfortunately, AFAIK, the UAH computer code used to process satellite temps has not been made public. It is difficult to ask certain climate scientists, the pro-AWG ones, to release all data and code if the skeptical scientists won’t do the same. That being said, I believe that all data and code sponsored even partially by tax payer dollars should be property of the public and published via the Library of Congress one – six months after journal publication.

      • I agree, to an extent, with Jim. Where are Spencer’s codes?

        Ironically, it’s precisely the ideology that government should be run as a business that has led to the non-openess of data, in that releasing weather data too soon compromises the ability of government to recoup the costs via charging for the data. In short, the non-openess of a small bit of data is an unintended consequence of pseudo-libertarianism run amok.

        That said, the small amount of non-open data is unnecessary to making certain analyses – a few more stations here and there aren’t very likely to change global values. What McIntyre should have done is rolled his own, completely independently of Jones. That’s what I do – I start from scratch and use other tools to analyze what others have done. Merely running the same code over the same data tells you absolutely *nothing*.

      • Except where the plugs were inserted instead of data, and where the treatment of statistics violates known principles and requirements. Both of which were serious and prominent in the hidden codes and data files.

      • Why don’t you access the “raw data” (good luck with the national meteorological services!) and show everyone up? Instead of claiming incompetence and conspiracy, do the work yourself. NOAA’s NCDC (do you know what that is?) has 140,000 boxes of records (I’ve seen them) – chip in to help them digitize it all. Be a real citizen scientist and do your part to help the science advance, instead of taking ignorant potshots from the sidelines.

        Care to give it a shot?

      • “Instead of claiming incompetence and conspiracy …”

        The usual straw man – no one’s claiming conspiracy except you. Leave your vapidness behind, please

        The request is simple. AGW proponents are making the claim of likely human-induced climatic disaster. Open ALL the books for independent audits (do not pretend paywalled peer review achieves this) and prove your case in public. As it stands, net positive feedbacks are very much in the grey category, so I remain unconvinced of the seriousness of the AGW claim

      • Brian H (and you) are arguing “conspiracy” – unless the two of you mean something else when using the words you do.

        It’s not the climate science community that’s keeping some journal articles behind paywalls – the journals do that. That said, there’s nothing keeping you from going to your nearest quality research-level library and reading the articles in paper form.

        Oh, and if you want the whole thing public, tell governments to quit trying to make weather data a profit center. And support efforts to make the reporting of weather data much more timely and streamlined. That will require more money allocated to weather services around the world. Are you willing to agitate in favor of such policies?

        PS – You already have a reasonably recent all-public assessment of the state of the science readily available. It’s called the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Look it up.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        What McIntyre should have done is rolled his own, completely independently of Jones.

        This is crazy. The mentality supported here is, “Don’t ask questions about our work. If you doubt anything we say, do all the work over on your own.”

        That sort of mentality is the exact opposite of how science works.

      • It’s not the exact opposite – it’s *exactly* how science works.

        Did the physicists who doubted Pons and Fleischmann demand access to their lab and their equipment? No – they attempted to *independently* replicate what P&F did in their own labs, following P&F’s description of their experiments.

        Like I said, I never merely rerun the same code over the same data – I independently do the same analysis, with different tools and different means. If I come up with essentially identical answers, that’s confidence-building. If I come up with radically different results, more work needs to be done to figure out why.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        You say people didn’t demand access to lab and equipment. No duh. Having access to the same piece of equipment someone uses isn’t necessary to replicate their work. The idea is ridiculous, so by offering it, you demean the people questioning the work Phil Jones did. There is no good reason to do that. Incidentally, there is a funny part to your post:

        following P&F’s description of their experiments.

        The very reason people were asking for information from Phil Jones is he didn’t give enough information to accurately describe his work. There was no way anyone could hope to replicate his work based upon the information he made available. The position you are advancing would actually support the data requests people made.

        In any event, we aren’t talking about physical experiments. Questioning one aspect of someone’s work doesn’t mean you should be required to redo all the work that person did. If somebody said, “Your computer model doesn’t handle XX factor properly,” would the person be expected to build a model of their own?

        Of course not. They would be expected to take the model, alter it, and rerun it. That’s what people like Steve McIntyre wanted to do. They wanted to be able to look at how things were done and try to find a better way.

        And you would tell them, “Go start from scratch.”

      • Start with the GHCN, which is readily available.

        If the honest intent is to “audit”, that’s where you begin, and do your own work.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        This is nonsense. Accusing anyone who doesn’t redo all work they question from scratch of dishonesty is absurd.

      • If you show that the various analyses of surface temp are wrong, you’ll need to show your work. That means doing your own analysis. That means writing your own stuff.

        That’s how science works, in part. It doesn’t mean accusing others of being wrong without some evidence to support it. An analysis that shows a vastly different result from the same data is quite compelling evidence. So far, no-one has managed to do so with regards to the CRU’s work. Indeed, all the other groups closely replicate it. Why is that?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Questioning one aspect of a piece of work doesn’t mean you are suggesting the work is completely wrong.

        If someone were to say, think there was a strange change in the temperature record around a single year, he might want to know how the temperature record is made so he can see if there is a problem causing the change.

        You are saying he shouldn’t look at the code or data, but rather should build his own temperature reconstruction. You are actually saying the moment anyone thinks there is anything wrong with something, they should redo it completely.

        It’s silly.

      • Yes, that would be silly, because that isn’t what I’ve said.

        The education accompanying an exercise in building a tool to calculate global average temperature from station data would be most useful. There have been a few utterly independent efforts, and they have confirmed the well-known analyses. Unless you’re willing to argue that every one of those tools is completely wrong (but without presenting an analysis of your own that’s better), you won’t be taken very seriously.

      • Tamino did “Go start from scratch” http://tamino.wordpress.com/ and concluded “And all of those only amount to a small fraction of the data I’ve analyzed — actually analyzed — related to global warming. When I studied these data sets, I didn’t just look at a graph and take somebody else’s word for the logical conclusion. I analyzed it myself.

        You know what?

        I found out that the mainstream climate scientists had the right interpretation. Every time. The ones who keep telling us that global warming is real, is man-made, and is dangerous — they’re the ones who were right about what the data indicated, not the so-called “skeptics” who claimed otherwise. Every goddamn time. Of course, I can only testify about the data I’ve actually analyzed myself. But rest assured that’s a helluva lot.

        The results are consistent: confirming global warming. Every time.”

        It’s a good read for those interested in an independant analysis of the data

      • Louise, your two-minute flash in the spotlight has left you looking very foolish and juvenile. Perhaps step out for some serious reading and open-minded study (my definition, not yours), with non-waving hands in your pockets, before your youthful enthusiasm begets you a lifelong label that you may not want.

      • Derecho64 wote on November 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm:

        It’s not the exact opposite – it’s *exactly* how science works.

        Rubbish there is a world of difference between replicating an experiment and dong sue diligence on publicly funded data thats being made available for all and sundry to use. No one was asking access to lab ans equipment just the data and the code a minimum to:
        a) check the data is correct .
        b) check the code actually executes the claimed algorithms.
        c) suggest fixes where errors are found if any.

      • Nick Barnes and his CCC project did exactly that with GIStemp. They did so without the political baggage McIntyre brought along in his interactions with the CRU. CCC also succeeded – without “having to” resort to heavy-handed FOI harassment campaigns.

        What makes Nick Barnes and his people better than McIntyre?

      • Derecho64 | November 23, 2010 at 10:57 amNick Barnes and his CCC project did exactly that with GIStemp

        Nick Barnes and his CCC project did exactly that with GIStemp. …
        What makes Nick Barnes and his people better than McIntyre?

        You seem to have forgotten that McIntyre found problems with GISStemp too and before the code was released. Barnes did his work after he didn’t have to fight for the code release McIntyre had already done that for him.

        Even there McIntyre would appear to have been the trail blazer that had cleared the path that made it easy for Barnes. It does show that the GISS people were a bit more sensible and perhaps a bit more honest than at CRU.

      • McIntyre doesn’t deserve that much credit; Barnes and CCC found that GIStemp accurately did what the paper about it said it did.

        Besides, one of the reviews managed to replicate CRU’s analysis in a few days, from scratch, IIRC.

      • Including the 12ookm extrapolation into the Arctic bypassing the stations which didn’t show warming?

      • Derecho64 on November 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm wrote:

        McIntyre doesn’t deserve that much credit;

        thought they don’t acknowledge it he found the error in this list dated Aug 7, 2007 without the code. It was after this and multiple requests from McIntyre (and others) the code was finally released.

      • I think part of the point of MM was that multi-proxy reconstructions don’t necessarily have any statistical validity. Given that this is so, he might conclude there isn’t a robust way of doing one. That is almost certainly why he hasn’t bothered.

      • I can’t agree that the code shows one absolutely nothing. One can examine it and see if there are any errors, just as in mathematics where other mathematicians examine a proposed proof for errors.

      • Errors are only discovered by independent replication. Rerunning the code tells you nothing about its internals, and, it’s when independent replication fails that one can start to figure out why.

        When I see an analysis that looks odd, or doesn’t make sense, I don’t get the code(s) from the person who did it. I’m skeptical, and write my own stuff to do my own analysis. If I replicate what they did, I can inspect my own stuff for errors. If the replication fails, then I can talk with the other people and see if we can understand what’s going on.

        McIntyre never even tried. He just hoovered, and when he didn’t get what he wanted, clubbed the CRU with legal tactics. That’s not science, that’s bad faith harassment.

      • I see what you are doing. You are trying to mis-direct by continually referring to running the code. I didn’t say run the code. I said examine the code. Just as a mathematician presents his proof or a physicist his equations for examination and verification, so should climate scientist code be presented for same. You are starting to look bad defending this practice.

      • Examining any non-trivial code and being able to determine its output from just that is virtually impossible. The algorithms are the more important part, as the code itself is just an instantiation.

        In any case, others have started with the GHCN data and essentially replicated CRU’s analysis. Therefore, the issue is moot.

      • Nice to know that a significant part of what I do for a living is “virtually impossible”. Time to lobby for a raise.

      • Gene

        Nice to know that a significant part of what I do for a living is “virtually impossible”.

        Careful here, some of that code is an unholy mess, no configuration management poorly commented spaghetti code, he might be right about it.

      • Been there, done that – more than I like to dwell on.

        As a general rule, “what” is being done can be teased out of any mess as long as you’re persistent. It’s the “why” something is done that can be impenetrable.

      • As a programmer, I am sometimes given applications to support that have no documentation other than the code. This idea that no one can figure it out is a straw man.

      • I never said it was impossible to learn what a code does just by examining it. I said that for nontrivial codes, it’s very difficult.

      • But with more brains applied to the code, it might actually be improved; in increments just like most science creeps forward. If someone wants, they are certainly free to write code from scratch, but why re-invent the wheel unless the wheel is square, an ellipse, or otherwise very irregular. I just don’t get why climate scientists want to keep the code under wraps. I really don’t. Publishing it would advance the field faster.

      • What climate scientists are keeping what codes secret?

        Does one really need CRU’s code if you’ve got ccc-gistemp?

      • Jim,

        Absolutely. Integrity requires openness, regardless of “side”. That publicly funded work could be withheld (absent some compelling national security or law enforcement consideration, obviously) is unsupportable.

      • I agree – go tell the national meteorological services that withhold their data (because their governments seek profit from said data, as part of the pseudo-libertarian “run government like a business” ideology) to quit doing so and free all of it to everyone. And also tell them to be more timely in getting their data in.

      • The NMS isn’t publishing scientific papers are they? Again, you have highlighted a situation that does not apply to scientific research. The NMS will be judged by the customers. If their predictions aren’t any good, they won’t be selling it, now will they?

      • They aren’t selling their predictions – they’re selling the observational data that they already have. Are you unaware of that?

      • If you are referring to the NMS of certain countries, yes I am aware of that. If it is the US to which you refer, I was not aware of it.

      • Yes, certain countries – not including the US.

        Last I looked, for example, the images from India’s weather satellite(s?) are unavailable because India uses them for military purposes as well.

  9. Judith

    I disagree with the summary provided by William Hooke as being supurb.

    Hooke writes:
    1. “Environmental scientists are growing increasingly worried about their findings, and see  urgent need for more-concerted public action. In fact, their closet of anxieties is chock-a-block full! They see, and document, worrisome declines in fresh water availability and purity; growing urban air pollution; loss of habitat and bio-diversity; ocean acidification, and much more.”

    2. “However, when scientists attempt to engage a larger public to share their mounting concern, they frequently see the broader announcements of their findings either truncated, or squelched, or lost in the shuffle, or manipulated, distorted, and exploited for political gain or financial self-interest by elected officials, private sector groups and NGO’s.”

    My disagreement with Hooke’s assessment is based on the lack of clarity in the assignment of the true causes of quote #1 and then complaining about the lack of understanding in point #2.

    Hooke points out many of the consequences of humanities expanding population on planet earth in point #1. He does so without any detailed data or information that would address any of the issues aforementioned consequences. That would seem to state that the true “root cause” of the summarized list of problems is simply human over population.

    Perhaps science should start professing that planet earth does indeed have a reasonable limit on the number of humans that can populate the environment.
    It seems completely unreasonable to assume that some significant portion of the population on planet earth will be satisfied with lower resource use on a long term basis. Therefore, by simply logic; total resource use will continue to increase over the next few decades as a by product of expanded communication over availability of these resources. The 80% of the world’s population will undoubtedly want those things that the 20% now enjoy. When they start using those resources at the rate that the 20% now are using/consuming them….woops……humanity does not have enough of a lot of things, and way to much of the things we don’t like. Human over population is the true root cause problem long term.

    • False.


      An amusing side note to the latter article: both Israel and India have stumbled on enough near-shore NG frac-fields to attain energy independence, e.g. Many other countries are likely to do the same. Since energy is “fungible”, that cuts costs across the board across the world. For the foreseeable future.

      So take the zero-sum shortage mongering and ….

      • Brian– The links you post certainly do not address consumption of non renewable resources by humans. I would agree that humans can produce sufficient energy, but what about the long term consumption of other items. Do you believe there is no upper limit to what is reasonably sustainable?

      • Carl Wunsch, the oceans guy, says it’s going to be a catastrophe.

        And I think I know why. A couple of weeks ago a guy posted his solution to sea level rise. He figured that since humans are mostly made of water, all we have to do to fix the loss of land-based ice is to offset it with a much larger human population. Sort of clever unless everybody dives in the ocean on the same day. That must be what Wunsch was worried about.

      • Yes, exactly. By the time (many, many, many decades) we bump up against limits in one area, suitable or superior substitutes from another will have been found.

        E.g., minerals. There are other sources than mining.
        1) Nudge a 1-mi diameter nickel-iron asteroid into near-Earth orbit, and it will (rather readily) yield as much precious metal as has been mined from the Earth’s crust in all history, plus huge amounts of base metals (useful mostly for large-scale orbital construction, etc.)
        2) Plasma torches from either self-generated Syngas or from prospective fusion plants will enable nearly complete recycling of all waste, including landfills and equipment graveyards, etc., by reducing it to pure elemental form.

        Plastics recycling — easy and cheap: http://newenergyandfuel/com/2010/11/11/a-7-solution-recycle-plastic-back-to-oil/

        And so-onandsoforthandso-onandetcetera.

      • Brian–if only the technology you describe was actually useable for what you propose. Plasma torch technology doesn’t seem anywhere close to what you dream about

      • Political Junkie

        Brian, your Plasco example would be much more powerful if the technology actually worked!

  10. There has certainly been a seismic shift in public perception of climate change, but I do not think this was solely due to Climategate. Media orchestration was in overdrive leading up to high noon in Copenhagen, with bannerwaving demonstrations, media pullout supplements, ad nauseam BBC promotion and government ‘flatearther’ derision of sceptics. Meanwhile, in October 2009, Lord Monckton embarked on a US lecture tour:


    and the Science Museum, London opened a climate poll intended to support the Copenhagen commitment, at government behest, to capture the childrens vote at half term in the museum.


    Now, many of us have reservations about Monckton’s style and substance, but I am certain he stuck a reverberating chord with his lecturing, and appearance on Glenn Beck. And the Science Museum poll was a humiliating defeat for the government ruse. Both before Climategate, and scepticism already seriously on the rise. Take WUWT historic viewing figures and comment threads on BBC environment blogs. The tenor and confidence of the blog communities perceptions and debating topics was already becoming far more sophisticated than 2 or 3 years earlier. And Montford had already essentially written HSI, all prior to Climategate.
    An accident waiting to happen, I think.

  11. Brandon Shollenberger

    williard asked me some questions in response to one of my posts in the previous page. I’m going to answer him here because of how long that other thread has become. The first question he asks is:

    I’m not sure where exactly Colose “shouted is opinion as fact”: do you mind providing a quote for that?

    I was specifically referring to Chris Colose saying:

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

    Chris Colose’s opinion is the ClimateSight article is very accurate. He states it as fact. The article is actually complete rubbish. When a number of people disputed the article’s accuracy (Steven Mosher even provided a specific example of the article’s inaccuracy), Chris Colose choose not to engage. In other words, he made a claim, then refused to discuss it with anyone who disagreed.

    Must every “defender” chime in on every question?

    Of course not. They can do whatever they want to do. However, if they state something as fact, then refuse to engage anyone on the issue, they are failing to participate in legitimate discussions. If they discuss one issue while ignoring inconvenient issues which are relevant, they are not having legitimate discussions.

    Most of the rest of the questions are irrelevant, as they don’t pertain or apply to anything I said. For example:

    Why are we presuming that this “despicable” behavior can only be ascribed to defenders?

    Questions like these are built upon false premises. I have never even suggested what is implied here, so there is no way I could possibly answer this question in a meaningful manner. Most of the other questions are not applicable either, so I don’t see a point in going through the list.

    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.

    I disagree. Chris Colose said a particular depiction of a sequence of events was accurate. That depiction was actually extremely inaccurate. When asked on this issue, he refused to engage. Chris Colose said the meaning of the e-mails was distorted. When asked about this, he refused to engage.

    My questions were extremely direct and unambiguous. In other words, pointed. They dealt with facts, not interpretations.

    • 1. Brandon Schollenberger might very well be conflating fact with interpretation. Here is one of Colose’s claim:

      > [ClimateSight’s article offers] the best “forest for the woods” type perspectives on what happened […]

      The word “best” clearly shows that Colose is expressing a judgement. The word “perspective” clearly shows that Colose considers ClimateSight’s article as an interpretation of the whole hurly burly. This claim can only be an opinion, as it would be quite implausible that Colose read every articles written on the whole hurly burly to express it.

      Here is another related claim by Colose (paraphrasing):

      > ClimateSight’s perspective is articulate and accurate.

      The word “articulate” is clearly subjective, so the only target remaining for Shollenberger’s outrage is a single word: “accuracy”.

      Notice that this word (“accuracy”) is clearly related to a **perspective**, which pertains to an interpretation. A narrative, no doubt, that Chris Colose endorses. ClimateSight’s article clearly contains editorial content. We have all kinds of hints for that. Let the dilligent reader find them by herself.

      To say that Colose states his opinion “as fact” makes little sense, except by considering that Brian Shollenberger conflates judgements of fact and of value.


      2. Brandon Schollenberger forgets the indignation permeating the overall discussion, including his own.

      Here is Shollenberger’s claim:

      > The article is actually complete rubbish.

      Here are other immediate responses. G.L. Alston:

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

      Here is another one, by huxley:

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

      Here is another one, by DEEBEE:

      > Your bias is obvious if at that link you can get pat the “denial” nonsense — exposing yourselfas [sic.] a “useful idiot” [.]

      Here is another one, by hunter:

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

      Interestingly, among the two immediate positive comments, one comes from Judith Curry:

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

      Here is a reply to Judith’s comment, from Shub Niggurath:

      > [‘Kate’ Alexander] story today however belongs in fantasy-land

      Note that Judith did not dispute Shub’s opinion. (Let the reader decide if this non-response is despicable too.)

      It would be interesting to know how Chris Colose is supposed to answer to that kind of outrage.


      3. Brandon Shollenberger claims that “people disputed the article’s accuracy”. The only example he offered was Steven Mosher, in parenthesis.

      Here is Mosher’s claim:

      > **As Kate said well** […] Actually, they didnt have a very good grasp of the issues, given their commentary on one of the mails. […] The collection bears the marks of an automated collection that used a keyword list

      We emphasize that Kate said something “well.” What did she said well? According to Brandon Shollenberger, something that Mosher should be contesting as inaccurate. Kate said this was a hacker that knew what he was doing; Mosher adds that the selection was not hand-picked, using keyword searching, semi-automatically so to speak. How exactly are these claims incompatible?

      We could say that Mosher tried to be more accurate than Kate. But that does not mean that Kate was inaccurate. It’s almost always possible to be more accurate than the competiting journalist. This meaning of “accurate” renders it a subjective judgement. This is not the meaning that Shollenberger is promoting, I believe.

      No fact is being disputed so far, only interpretations. This is to be expected, as nobody knows who distributed the FOAI.zip file. It could have been gathered for real FOIA purpose; it could have been copied by a whistleblower; it could have been “found” on open channels (the famous euphemistic third theory); it could have been obtained by Chinese secret agents; the possibilities are endless, more or less endearing.

      Whatever the hypothesis one fancies, there is one common denominator. Unless one wishes to argue that the package was to be made public by CRU itself, one must admit that the package was not distributed legally. So the word “hacker”, however vivid it might be, fits the bill very well.

      It would be interesting to know if there was any (other) dispute of accuracy of Kate’s story. As far as I can see, Mosher was not only an example, but the only one example.

      The indignation immediately showed after Colose’s mention of ClimateSight’s article is only the usual conflicting feedback loop at work. A work void of content, as far as I can see, except perhaps for the Brandon Shollenberger’s conflation between fact and interpretation.

      I’ll return later Brandon Shollenberger’s unhappy answers to my other questions. This was the first one.

      • As to my ‘outrage’ at Chris, his best response would be to realize he dug a hole and to stop digging.

      • Ummm…

        I reckon my position has been misinterpreted. Perhaps I wasn’t nuanced enough. Obviously, brevity no longer works in discourse, so I will now take some time to say the same thing but this time explain each step.

        The position by skeptics is and has been that Jones, Mann et al may have been playing fast and loose with (taxpayer funded) data, and disallowing examination thereof (by McIntyre or others) is counter to not only the premise of scientific replication, but also what rightfully belongs in the public domain (i.e. we pay for it, it’s ours.) The premise that FOIA is a requirement to see data I paid for is bizarre; the idea that entities can even consider ways to circumvent this is breathtaking.

        The climatesight article was a strawman attacking the DENIER crowd which was deliberately (IMHO) conflated with skeptics; deniers have been the ones claiming “wrongdoing”; deniers aren’t fungible with skeptics. My use of the word “fantasy” is consistent with this (deliberate or otherwise) conflation and/or strawman construction, and “imbeciles” is broadly consistent with those who accept such conflation without question…

        The “big oil” argument often touted plays well with the crowd predisposed to equate corporations as a necessary evil and sounds like anti-capitalist, marxist screeching to right wingers. Articles that assume tacit political agreement from the getgo, whether leftist or rightist, are simply rubbish as they will always conclude in the direction of the (stated or otherwise) political viewpoint.

        The climatesight article started with a political assumption underlying a strawman. Hence, it’s a fantasy for imbeciles.

      • Willard

        “No fact is being disputed so far, only interpretations. This is to be expected, as nobody knows who distributed the FOAI.zip file. It could have been gathered for real FOIA purpose; it could have been copied by a whistleblower; it could have been “found” on open channels (the famous euphemistic third theory); it could have been obtained by Chinese secret agents; the possibilities are endless, more or less endearing”

        1. The “gathered” for real FOIA purpose is a theory that held and proposed early on in the investigation. The biggest issue with it is the inclusion of what we term housekeeping mails. Also the inclusion of mails that reference topics that were never under FOIA:
        1. SRES
        2. very early mails on bristlecones
        3. mails between people who are not even on CRU staff ( like posts to BBS boards.
        2. The collection of mails stopped the day an internal FOIA decision was made.
        3. CRU do not appear to use a harvetsing program when doing FOIA searches. They rely on the individuals requested to search their files.

        My issue with kate’s approach is this: She picked selective facts and omitted others that highlighted certain intentionality. The hacker wanted to pick mails that would be most damning and wanted to hurt climate science. This is clearly an interpretation. Now, obviously that is the result. However, it could be a disgruntled employee who wants to hurt Jones personally, or Briffa personally or Palmer. The cover letter for the FOIA post is a poor attempt at indicating a group of people who are upset about FOIA. That misdirection should alter us to other misdirections. Like the person who slashes the tires of 100 cars to hide the fact that they want revenge on one.

        The most important point is that when someone like Kate does not aquiant herself with the facts and with the various interpretations and then offers an interpretation without clearly stating that it is an opinion or interpretation I think we have a problem.

        The bottom line: the identity and intentions of the hacker are moot points. They are wheels that do not turn, or rather they spin and make no difference to the issues at hand. If the leaker were jones himself, NOTHING would change in the science. the words in the mails would not magically change. the dates wouldnt magically change. If the hacker were Monckton, nothing would change.

        The fact that people still think that the identity and the intentions of the hacker are dispositive shows me that people have learned nothing.
        Nothing in the way the mails were collected, dispersed, promoted, denied, matters to the issues that I think are central.

        1. the science hasnt changed ( it couldnt)
        2. the culture of SOME in climate science is in conflict with scientific ethics and values.

        Those two observations are utterly independent of the hacker issues and the right wing promotion issues.

        Let me take a simple example to illustrate . Let’s take Hide the decline. Clearly, not showing a divergence does not change “the science.” We are talking about a chart in one chapter of AR4. radiative physics is not invalidated by the mere fact that briffa preferred a chart that “hid” the decline rather than one that focused on it. GCM results dont change, the conclusions of chapter 6 dont change. But, one would expect that in the vast community of climate science you would find one scientist who would say Briffa should have shown the decline and explained it in the text, rather than hide the decline and explain it in the text. You would expect some frank and honest discussion and disaagreement about chartmanship. People who agree with AGW ( like me) should very well be able to say “Briffa should have shown the other chart. he didn’t. That was a mistake. Not that important, lets move on and do better next time”
        But, we dont hear that. What we get is a univocal response that I call the “thin green line” where no dissent, not even dissent over matters that dont matter, is brooked. That self muzzling is troubling. Don’t criticze briffa because you might give the skeptics some talking points, and if they get talking points we might not be able to make the changes that need to be made to save the planet. And since our cause is to save the planet, and since handing ANY victory to the skeptics, however inconsequential, may impede that cause, we will circle the wagons and admit no wrong.

        It’s that calculation balancing the harm to the movement versus one’s intellectual integrity that is troubling. It’s the heart of noble cause corruption. Simply, no facts about the hacker, no facts about the vast right wing conspiracy that spread the mails, changes the the past or the behaviors illustrated in the mails. Briffa should have shown the decline. And no reputable climate scientist can say this, even though they believe it.

      • Mr Mosher

        may I say – a very good post

        keep up the good work mate

        Regards Gary

      • If the file was the work of a disgruntled employee, how come they tried to hack RC? Isn’t that in and of itself illegal?

      • very simple. Misdirection and an inflated sense of invulnerability.
        The simple fact is this: theories about the identity and intentions of the hacker are UNDERDETERMINED by the evidence.

        the ways people grasp at straws that confirm their hypothesis ( must be a skeptic, must be an insider) shows me that anybody claiming to knowledge in this matter has no business doing science.

        we don’t know who hacked. we dont know why. many theories explain the evidence. the conclusion you jump to says MORE about you and your inability to be objective than it does about the hacker. That is a point I made in the book. Another thing climategate has not taught us.

        Bottomline: you dont know and the conclusion you draw is a mirror of your own beliefs.

        I leave it at this: historical studies show that roughly 70% of all hacks are performed by insiders, people with access to the system. That’s my prior. Absent any concrete, quantifiable evidence that it was a hack, I’ll say that its reasonable to assume it was an insider, but its not certain.

      • “Very simple”? More like “very handwaving”.

        There are enough indicators from the nature of the stolen material itself, the timing, the attempt to hack RC, and other incidents, that point very strongly away from a CRU employee who’s disgusted. There’s also the matter that the insider has yet to come forward, even after a year. Given the amount of lucre and prestige such an individual would receive from certain groups and persons for their actions, I find it odd that the “insider” has chosen to remain anonymous. Certainly the ire of the climate science community would be easily outweighed by the rewards given by those outside the community who see the science as a threat.

      • There are enough indicators from the nature of the stolen material itself, the timing, the attempt to hack RC, and other incidents, that point very strongly away from a CRU employee who’s disgusted. ”

        1. I find nothing in the NATURE of the material that points away from a UEA employee or student. In the run up to the theft you would find students on their blogs expressing displeasure with the handling of FOIA.
        2. I find a mail that indicates that a certain employee should not be allowed to write for RC because Osborn considers him to be a loose canon. Perhaps he got pissed ( there’ more here, but you obviously havent read the mails so we wont drag this guys name in)

        3. Just because somebody is an employee of CRU does not mean they buy the whole CAGW position.

        You have no indicators that it is NOT a CRU or UEA person. You have indicators that who ever stole them may have believed in the sanctity of FOIA over the certainty of climate science. Again, no proof here .That is my point.

        The timing: the timing points very strongly to someone who had an inside understanding of the denial of Mcintyre’s FOIA appeal. That decision was taken and communicated internally just prior to Nov 13th. The last mail was collected on the 12th. The denial letter was written to Mc on the 13th and sent on the 17th.It arrived on the 18th. Jones was out of the office after noon on the 13th, and he announced this on the 12th in the second to last mail in the stack. In the last mail Thorne sent Jones a mail related to the FOIA matter go read that last mail and see if you can figure out how its related to FOIA. You and others have not seen the attachment for that mail. I can assure you it’s related to FOIA. I’ve written about it before, so it should be no mystery to someone as informed as you.

        The attempt to “hack” RC was not a hack. In all likelihood a password was sent from RC to CRU in the september/octbober timeframe as RC was recruiting and imploring CRU to have somebody write a rebuttle against Mcintyre’s piece about Yamal. A miracle happened and the wiley hacker found a password. ( a keyword one would add to mail harvest program) This was likely found in the october timeframe when the first traunch of emails was likely harvested.

        Further the files were bleached removing the time stamps that would indicate the time and day the files were copied.
        thwarting attempts to track the insider by looking at records building access and computer access. especially important of the final deed was performed on the weekend (the 14th-15th)
        Every foresenic expert I talked to ( including the guys who helped google with their chinese hack) indicated this bleaching was a sign of insider dealing. Although a very smart external hacker could do this to point back inside. Do you see how externalities can point multiple ways?

        “There’s also the matter that the insider has yet to come forward, even after a year. Given the amount of lucre and prestige such an individual would receive from certain groups and persons for their actions, I find it odd that the “insider” has chosen to remain anonymous.”

        1. Outside hackers usually count coup. Inside hackers do not.

        2. The key to getting paid for an inside job is to remain quiet about it. So, the evidence points to an insider who got paid to do the job and remain quiet.

        ( do you finally see that the externalities can point multiple ways? )

        3. He’s anonymous to you. But the russians know where the upload came from. When UEA tried to finger the FSB , the russians said “stop making false allegations or we will reveal to origin of the upload” go figure. after that people stopped accusing the russians. That points inside.


        ” Certainly the ire of the climate science community would be easily outweighed by the rewards given by those outside the community who see the science as a threat.”

        you really do not understand the psychology of this kind of person. He delights in knowing something that you don’t know. If he hasnt been paid, he has amply rewarded himself with the knowledge that he got away with it. A hacker wants the world to know ( or at least those in his community) that he performed the hack. The hack is the thing, not the substance of the files hacked, but the difficulty of the hack. The skill used in the exploit. The stupidity of the people who tried to protect the system.

        So if you think that you can divine the intentions, identity and affiliations of the hacker from the thing hacked, you need to think again. A smart guy on the inside can make it look like it came from the outside. A person with a grudge, a person with a cause, a kid too smart for his own good, a disgrunted lecturer who wants to move up the ladder, the list is pretty long. In the end you’ve got one number: 70%. absent any quantitative evidence to the contrary I’ll stick with that. There a 70% chance that the person who took the files had legitimate access to the system. That access allowed them to do illegal things. who knows maybe there is a secret denier in UEA. would that be a hack? or whistleblower?
        dunno. doesnt really change a word I’ve written about the mails. its a diversion, but its a diversion that keeps the story alive.

      • Excellent post, Steve.
        But there’s a malaprop I just can’t let go by:
        “loose canon”. Heh. That would be a generally accepted principle-at-large? Roaming through the blogosphere, ravening as it goes?

        Or did you mean “cannon”? Big metal thingy that explosively ejects projectiles?

      • ….and did you mean ” ejects explosive projectiles”??


      • Nope. The original cannons fired solid lead, iron, or even stone shot. Explosiveness of projectiles is not necessary. An explosion within the cannon bore is, however.

      • dude, sorry its late. what the hell even when its early my spelling sucks.

        To be sure I would not bet on any particular individual inside CRU.. the entire UEA community thats another thing.

      • Just a point of fact. No-one at CRU has ever had admin or posting privileges at RC, and no password was ever sent in an email to anyone at CRU. Even had blog posting privileges been allowed, that does not give access to the mySQL database or the ssh account – both of which were used during the break-in. The action at RC was a hack, by a hacker, and no amount of wishful thinking makes that go away.

      • What made you choose mySQL, a database that has well known security vunerabilities ?

      • Thank you gavin

        I know I’ve asked this question before back in december and said that gavin was the only one who could clear it up.


      • Gavin added a nice comment that blows a big hole in your “just so” story.

        I believe you’re suffering from confirmation bias, in that you want to believe the criminal was a UEA/CRU insider, because then you can soothe your conscience about profiting from the theft via your book with Fuller. You’ll engage in all kinds of rationalizations and fantasies to avoid the nasty moral questions that ought to come with being complicit in a dirty politically-motivated hit job.

        BTW, if the exact nature of the act is just a “diversion”, then why do you expend so much verbiage explaining how you think it happened? Perhaps a little bit of guilt?

      • You utterly miss the point.

        had you read the book you would see that I canvas a whole series of theories. these are just theories.
        the point of the exercise is to demonstrate that the evidence is inconclusive.
        Now that we know that a password was NOT passed to CRU ( something we have speculated about since day 1) and that the ssh was accessed that tells us this:

        the person ( at cru or UAE or outside) had some skills that go beyond mere social engineering to gain access.
        it doesnt tell us that the person was not a CRU employee, not a member of the UEA community.

        Let me put it in a nutshell for you:

        If a person inside CRU steals the mails and hacks RC you get one set of observations.
        if a person not a member of CRU steals the mails and hacks RC you get the same set of observations.

        In short: the observations dont decide the question.
        Put another way. If tommorrow briffa stands up and says : I stole the mails and my friends in russia hacked RC, can you say that it’s logically impossible? Improbable? yes, highly improbable.

      • Yet another “just so” story on your part, Steven.

        All you can do is handwave about why a CRU insider would want to hack RC (now that we know that it was indeed hacked), based on no evidence whatsoever.

        But, since you’ve made the stolen emails a source of personal profit, of course you’ve engaged in all manner of rationalizations for your actions in order to protect that revenue stream. I have no horse in the race, so I’m less biased.

      • “I believe you’re suffering from confirmation bias, in that you want to believe the criminal was a UEA/CRU insider, because then you can soothe your conscience about profiting from the theft via your book with Fuller. You’ll engage in all kinds of rationalizations and fantasies to avoid the nasty moral questions that ought to come with being complicit in a dirty politically-motivated hit job.”

        I’m actually glad that gavin spoke up. As I wrote in the book:

        “At dawn somebody accessed the Real Climate account and posted a copy of the Climategate files.
        In Norwich, the home of CRU, it was just before lunch. Gavin Schmidt posted the following
        timeline on Real Climate:
        There seems to be some doubt about the timeline of events that led to the emails hack. For
        clarification and to save me going through this again, this is a summary of my knowledge of
        the topic. At around 6.20am (EST) Nov 17th, somebody hacked into the RC server from an
        IP address associated with a computer somewhere in Turkey, disabled access from the
        legitimate users, and uploaded a file FOIA.zip to our server. They then created a draft post
        that would have been posted announcing the data to the world
        There seems no reason to doubt Schmidt’s recounting of the timeline. Somebody accessed the RC
        server and created a post, its contents still withheld by RC, and uploaded a file FOIA.zip which
        contained the Climategate files. The access is described as a “hack” which implies an
        unauthorized access, but RC offer no evidence of this. If one scours the files that were released
        two things are clear: there was a stream of mails from RC to CRU, calls for help to fight the
        Yamal story that McIntyre was running, and on several occasions various passwords and login
        IDs were being exchanged via mail. Until RC claims otherwise the possibility exists and should
        be seriously entertained that somebody on RC sent a mail to CRU with a password to the RC

        well, now RC had claimed otherwise. That’s good to know. it rules out an implementation, not a motive.

        and my final word on the hacker/whistleblower
        well, that hasnt changed much. here is what I wrote then.
        “The fascination with “whodunit” however illustrates a problem at the very heart of Climategate:
        the concern over motives. On the assumption that CRU was hacked by “evil forces,” defenders of
        climate science are quick to dismiss what was actually found. But whoever collected the files did
        not change what was said. If CRU was hacked the hacker did not put words in Jones mouth. The
        argument that Climategate is some kind of attempt at character assassination backfires: Jones
        committed character suicide. If CRU was hacked, the hacker merely displayed the death scene.
        Gruesome, but nothing in his motives changes the facts of the files. On the other side we have the
        whistleblower hypothesis. This is also equally irrelevant. It matters little if the creator was Briffa
        or anyone else inside CRU. The facts of the files are what should draw people’s attention.
        The allure of determining motives, it should be recalled, is what precipitated the whole
        Climategate fiasco. Up until 2005 Jones appeared willing to share data with Warwick Hughes. In
        2002 he promised to send files to McIntyre. Yet with the publication of MM03, Jones changed.
        And he changed most probably because of the influence of Michael Mann, who saw bad motives
        behind every request for data. That led to Jones’ denial of Hughes’ request for information on Feb
        21, 2005, where Jones argued against releasing data to Hughes because Hughes’ “aim” or motive
        is to find mistakes. But this is exactly why data is shared. Data is shared so that one researcher’s
        potential errors, potential bias, potential motive can be checked by another researcher.
        When that request was denied, people began to question Jones’ motives; and his pattern of
        avoiding requests over the next 4 years only heightened the suspicion.

      • The biggest problem is the emails do not present the entire picture. Do you honestly believe that 1000-odd emails are all that’s relevant?

        The whole thing reeks of dirty political opportunism, akin to Nixonian paranoia.

      • “2. the culture of SOME in climate science is in conflict with scientific ethics and values. …” – Steven Mosher

        Steven, a survey was done that was sent to, from memory, around 2050 scientists who are working in the field of climate science.

        Can you give some sort of boundaries for SOME? Is SOME 3 to 10 or 500 to 600?

        If you dispute the 2050 number, insert your own.

      • some: mann, jones,santer

        i would limit it to those we have documentary evidence for.

        the list is short. the point i would make is this. The behavior displayed indicates that they may have cared more about the cause, more about the planet, than they did about the principles of science.
        Jones for example: in 2002 he shared data with Mcintyre, before Mc ever published. After Mc became “known” as a “skeptic” Jones went to extrodinary lengths (deception) to deny him data.
        he did that, i speculate, for reasons more related to protecting the cause than to advancing science.

        Now there are a whole host of bogus arguments why jones’ behavior is acceptable

        1. the data is all there.

        2. the data (some) is confidential

        4. mc isnt a scientist

        5. mc was mean to mann

        6. skeptics will use the data to confuse

        7. he can request the data from nws
        8. its IP

        you can add to the list. in hindsight, however, we can see that manufacturing reasons not to share data led to more harm than actually sharing the data could have. I see that as a triumph of scientific values. share the data, share the code.

        The lesson I would draw is this: our scientific values of sharing knowledge are vital to the protection of the planet. When we stray from those values, when we try to withhold data, even from people whose motives are questionable, we do more harm to ourselves that they could do.

      • Did the data “withheld” from McIntyre make any real difference?

        Why was McIntyre obsessed with Jones anyway? Personally, I would have abandoned Jones as a source and gone straight to the GHCN and done my own analysis starting with it. That would be interesting and scientific, rather than harassing Jones for non-science-related reasons.

      • AnyColourYouLike


        I assume Steven Mosher is probably to weary to point out the obvious evasion of his points in your reply, so I’ll give it a bash.

        “Did the data “withheld” from McIntyre make any real difference?” is not the point at issue, and is a sidestepping of the thrust of Mosher’s post. I take this to be that to be “I see that as a triumph of scientific values. share the data, share the code.
        The lesson I would draw is this: our scientific values of sharing knowledge are vital to the protection of the planet.”

        Thus the utility of the data to McIntyre is not relevant, it is the principle that sharing data is de facto the correct and only way for science (perhaps especially science which has a high and immediate impact on people’s lives) to be seen to be above board and accountable. I note that you evade this point.

        “Why was McIntyre obsessed with Jones anyway?”

        An obfuscating ad hominem which is both irrelevant, and implies unhealthy motives which you merely assume and can’t possibly know to be true – doesn’t answer Mosher’s point.

        “Personally, I would have abandoned Jones as a source and gone straight to the GHCN and done my own analysis starting with it. That would be interesting and scientific, rather than harassing Jones for non-science-related reasons.”

        There is no evidence that your preferred modus operandi, whilst it may be an important point of principle to you personally, should be widely held as a model for the auditing and possible correction of aspects of published science. “Harassing” is merely another loaded personal value judgement from your perspective. There is strong evidence (from this blog for one) that this implied motive for requesting the data is not an impression shared by a considerable number of professional scientists.

        What you believe would be “interesting and scientific” again does not address the point of principle to which Steven Mosher alludes, ie it is better for both science AND for trust in science amongst the lay public, that data be shared regardless of the perceived motives of the requesting person/body.

      • Skipped over in all your defenses of McIntyre’s bludgeon-like interactions with Jones is that the wee bit of data McIntyre demanded wasn’t Jones’ to give.

        McIntyre was hardly an innocent saint in the matter in any case; it’s rather difficult to take McIntyre’s side when he let a coordinated harassment campaign against Jones take place on his blog.

        The real data access issue isn’t in the CRU anyway – it’s in all that data locked up in NMS, because of the rules that their governments put in place to turn them into profit centers. That was certainly not a science decision. Additionally, if folks want to play citizen scientist, one thing they can do is help places like NOAA’s NCDC work on digitizing the 140,000 boxes of weather records they have in their basement. That would benefit the science much more than spraying Jones with vexatious FOIs for the sole intent of harassing the man.

      • AnyColourYouLike


        “defenses of McIntyre’s bludgeon-like interactions”

        “McIntyre was hardly an innocent”

        “a coordinated harassment campaign against Jones”

        “spraying Jones with vexatious FOIs for the sole intent of harassing the man.”

        Spraying this blog with vexatious and repeated ad hominems till you’re blue in the face, refusing to address the central point about the importance of data sharing and throwing in a little patronising, elitist put-down “if folks want to play citizen scientist” (by the way what are your specific scientific credentials?) – do you really think this is the way to win people over to your (apparently) more serious point re the NOAA stuff???

      • Apparently you’ve missed the point. The data McIntyre demanded from Jones wasn’t Jones to give. Clearly, that didn’t satisfy McIntyre, so he went for the legal guns. Honestly, I’ve never heard of FOIs used to attempt to force a scientist to release data that he was legally obligated not to release.

        My credentials aren’t really relevant to the point at hand, in any case.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        If the data wasn’t his to share why did the Uk Office of the Information Commissioner find him guilty on two counts of refusing data via FOI request?

        I note you STILL haven’t addressed Steven Mosher’s more general point about the wisdom and propriety of sharing data.

      • I support reasonable data sharing. What I don’t support is the harassment of scientists for data. McIntyre definitely harassed Jones – for no real purpose, as it turns out.

        I still haven’t figured out why McIntyre made it his mission to bombard Jones by as many means as he could think of. Like I said, I would have started with the GHCN and rolled my own – who needs Jones’ code anyway?

      • AnyColourYouLike


        If data was routinely shared there would be no need for “harrassment” (as you term it) – understandable requests for scientists to accord with legally binding freedom of information legislation (as I see it).

        As any lawyer will tell you “reasonable data sharing” is so vague a term it can be spun to mean anything. I feel safe in predicting therefore that such a definition, if enshrined in statute, would only increase animosity amongst scientists, and foster further mistrust of science professionals by the public at large. Instances of legal wrangling over “controversial” data would also sky-rocket, to the benefit of no-one but lawyers. In short, your choice of words isn’t really helpful, and still doesn’t deal in any meaningful way with the proposition that open data sharing helps both science to advance, and trust in science to be restored.

        Must sleep. Good night.

      • “Skipped over in all your defenses of McIntyre’s bludgeon-like interactions with Jones is that the wee bit of data McIntyre demanded wasn’t Jones’ to give.”

        1. Well yes, in 2002 when Jones gave mcintyre the data ( a total stranger, unpublished and unknown) Jones knew that some small portion of the data he gave the unknown Mcintyre was “covered” by confidentiality agreements.
        2. well yes, in 2004 when Jones promised the data to Hughes, he noted that the data may be covered by confidentiality agreements but Jones also added that the agreements were probably superceeded by WMO obligations
        3. Well yes in 2005 when Jones shared the data with Rutherford he knew that some of the data may be covered by confidentiality agreements
        4. well yes in 2008 when he shared data with webster he knew it may be covered.
        5. when he shared data with the MET he was sharing covered data
        6. Mcintyre made a subsequent request for only that data that wasnt covered.

        So, yes I agree with you it looks like Jones violated confidentiality agreements. Knowingly and repeatedly. This has been confirmed by the appeal office of CRU.

        However, given that Mcintyre knew that Jones had shared data with him before, and given that he knew that webster had data, it was reasonable to ask to see
        1. which countries actually had confidentiality agreements
        2. what those agreements actually said.

        Now the first response Jones gave was to argue that the agreements PRECLUDED release to non academics. This was a lie. That was shown by having academics request the data. They too were denied.

        In the end jones posted 4 or so agreements. None of those agreements precluded release.

        Finally, the standards of practice at CRU require that a researcher:
        1. show that obtaining confidential data is NECESSARY to the units mission ( they didnt, I foia’ed these documents)
        2. inform the third party that confidentiality agreements are non binding when FOIA comes into play.

        care to continue

      • I’m still interested in the *why* of McIntyre’s obsession with Jones. What was it about Jones that made McIntyre so relentless in his pursuit, to the point that McIntyre engaged in a campaign of harassment of the man? But then again, those aren’t science questions.

        Do the stolen emails tell us, Steve, since you’ve made them a personal profit center? Perhaps it’s time for McIntyre to release his emails – so we can see his side of the story. After all, if he’s got nothing to hide…

      • Jones harassment is evidenced by McIntyre’s focus on Jones.
        McI says he knows that the data he wanted was sent to Peter Webster at Georgia Tech. His obvious route should have been to foi webster. No kudos in that though!

      • AnyColourYouLike


        I’ve seen you make this kind of “evidenced” accusation over at CA, you are patiently answered most of the time, but choose to ignore Steve and other posters replies. I assume from this experience that if I say anything in McIntyre’s defense your response will be the same. Therefore I don’t see any point in engaging with your accusations.

      • 1. Requesting the data from webster does not insure that you get the data Jones sent webster. duh.
        2. webster is not subject to FOIA
        3. The data had previously been requested of Jones and denied on the basis of confidentiality, the release to webster thus was prima facia evidence that Jones had not been accurate.

        Finally, Lets grant your stupid argument that Mcintyre should have FOI webster. yes McIntyre made a mistake.
        That of course means that Jones refusal was the best course of action. because that is what you are arguing ford. You are arguing that if you had to do it over you would act exactly as Jones acted. You are arguing that his actions were perfect, all the excuses he gave for not releasing the data were perfect, that his behavior results in the best science and that our fight to save the planet is better off today because of his actions.

      • Did the data “withheld” from McIntyre make any real difference?

        So you are arguing that Jones was a fool to deny access to data? In other words, if the data would make no difference, what was the point of denying it? My position is that the data made no difference, Jones knew it would make no difference, and so his reasons for NOT sharing it can only be irrational and anti scientific. Thank you for making my point with yasq (yet another stupid question) However, if you want to contend that the data didnt matter and that jones was justified in his actions, then you have just walked yourself into an odd corner. This data doesnt matter. and it matter so little that i would rather destroy it than send it to you. Ah yes, vastly more logical to do that than to just share it.

        “Why was McIntyre obsessed with Jones anyway? ”

        do you still beat your wife?

        “Personally, I would have abandoned Jones as a source and gone straight to the GHCN and done my own analysis starting with it. ”

        you clearly have not followed the facts and you dont understand the importance of having the actual data someone used if you want to chack their work. You also dont understand the differences between what GHCN has and what mcIntyre was after. The point was not to do one’s one analysis. The point was to check the work that Jones had done: that necessitates access to the data he actually used and the adjustments he made to that data. In anycase, why mcintyre wanted the data, whether or not it was important, and what you would have done are all immaterial to the question.

        “That would be interesting and scientific, rather than harassing Jones for non-science-related reasons.”

        Here is the crazy thing. The day, the very day that Jones starts his data denial(2005), he recieves a mail from Briffa. That mail is full of clippings that show Mann being savaged in the press for not sharing data. And so, your argument is this:
        Jones had a choice:
        1. share the meaningless data and let McIntyre waste his time doing uninteresting work
        2. Deny the data because McIntyre has bad motives and risk the kind of treatment that Mann got in the press, or worse.

        And with all that has passed you still want to argue that #2 was the correct path.

        Seems to me youve made the argument FOR sharing the data. odd.

      • You missed the point – McIntyre didn’t need Jones at all. Since McIntyre was interested in proving Jones wrong, what McIntyre should have done was his own independent analysis of the GHCN and written a paper showing his results. If those results showed Jones to be substantially in error, then McIntyre would have gotten what he wanted. Instead, McIntyre decided that he wanted to “get” Jones (in the worst way), harassing the man and using his blog to coordinate a blatant, self-serving and contemptible campaign to harass Jones. McIntyre knew all along that Jones couldn’t release the data he wanted, but that didn’t matter given his real goal wasn’t auditing Jones’ code or doing his own work; his goal was to destroy Jones’ credibility. I wonder how it is that a person decides to make the destruction of someone else’s life’s work their motivation to get out of bed in the morning, but that’s McIntyre’s problem.

        Far from being a David taking Goliath down a notch or two, McIntyre is little more than a thug who long ago decided to play the man, and not the ball.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        If anything here exemplifies “playing the man and not the ball” Derech, it is your ongoing campaign of villification against McIntyre, and it’s complete irrelevance to the point at hand.

        Your continued determination to “miss the point” and chuck unsubstantiated slurs at McIntyre, points strongly towards mere trolling. Why don’t you go over to CA and accuse Steve directly, if you’re so certain you can show up his motives?

      • I’ve been to CA, and McIntyre isn’t interested in the science – he just wants to score points with his fanboys against Mann, Jones, and the rest of the “Team” he’s invented. He enjoys the adulation of his readers, and that’s about it.

      • An analysis so shallow, you wouldn’t get your laces wet.

      • Well,

        You clearly dont understand several things.
        1. Jones used data that was not in GHCN.
        2. CRU adjust GHCN data ( see muir russell)
        3. If you want to develop your own algorithm and want the best way to check it, you want the EXACT dataset used by others.

        But wait there’s more

        Long before the temperature dataset kerfuffle, Jones held information back from McIntyre to frustrate Mcintyre’s attempt to replicate Jones work. Working from the description in the paper McIntyre had tried to replicate Jones work. he could not. He wrote to Jones and asked for information (code) to help him understand why a n alogorithm that followed the algorithm described in the paper produced results that differed from those in the paper. He requested the data ( first correct step in replication) and Jones gave it.
        he worked from the description of the algorithm in the paper and he got a different answer. So, he wrote to Jones and asked for the code. (second correct and totally normal step)

        Jones refused. As he explained in his note to Mann that he knew why Mcintyre could not replicate the results. the paper didnt describe the algorithm completely. It left out steps. So rather than doing what the values of science dictate, Jones decided that engaging in this little fight with Mc would better serve the planet and the cause, than simply sharing the code would.

        In any case, there was a much more effective way of handling Mcintyre. but you like the results than Jones got using the Mann strategy. Let me put it another way.
        Let me grant for the sake of argument that all your stupid arguments actually have merit. ( its upside down tuesday) Let’s grant that mcintyre should have acted differently, that he would be better off getting data from GHCN. etc etc. Ok.
        was Jones better off:
        1. fighting the release of the data.
        2. releasing the data.

        You see, it’s not really about Mcintyre. It’s about my assesment that we would be better off if Jones had shared the data, better off if he hadnt fought the FOIA, better off if briffa hadnt written to Wahl, better off if they hadn’t hid the decline. But you go ahead and believe that they took not only the right action in every case but the best action.

        ( hint, the reason while the mails came out was the denial of FOIA)

      • Mosh says:
        “we would be better off if Jones had shared the data”

        Well yes. Everybody would have seen the output was garbage at an earlier stage.

      • Interestingly, I’ve not seen the McIntyre surface temperature dataset. Do you know if he’s gotten around to publishing it yet?

        I never said Jones took the “best action”. Then again, the things that McIntyre did aren’t honorable above-the-board actions themselves.

        No-one, even the most ardent McIntyre defender, has explained why McIntyre became obsessed with getting Jones. Since you’ve got the emails memorized, perhaps you can tell us, Steve. Might be a nice appendix to a new edition of your book – perk up sales a bit.

      • Mosher
        The data was commercial. It should not have been released to anyone. The UEA have stated this. Releasing the data once does not make it right to release it again.
        Read CA; McI says Jones was very helpful initially. Hit jones with multiple requests for help and Jones turns-perhaps he can see no end to the requests?

        Jones was wrong to not co-operate – he admits it was the wrong reaction. BUT his data could not be released because of WMO restrictions. Check the Hadley site. Some of the WMOs are still refusing to release their data.

        tallbloke | November 25, 2010 at 10:57 am |
        Well yes. Everybody would have seen the output was garbage at an earlier stage.

        Now that is just wrong CRUTEM output is just about the same as all the other global temperatures. Are they all wrong?

        A point of interest.
        Emails are not subject to FOI in the US

        Click to access FOIA.pdf


        But FOI is new in the UK and seems to be operating on a suck-it-and-see basis.

        Is it surprising that Jones was unsure of the FOI requirements?

      • Steven Mosher,

        I agree with Gary Miranda: very good post! It covers lots of ground, some of which goes to the heart of the matter. I will have to ponder a bit more about it all before replying in full. For now, I’ll try to answer two points.

        The first relates to Kate’s story. Here is the ClimateSight article:


        The “hacker” narrative is the lead of the story. Here is again the paragraph that you previously commented:

        > 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.

        As far as I can tell, this is the only place where Kate is talking about the hacker. We clearly see that the identity of the thief does not matter. So saying that the identity of the Miracle-Worker “does not matter” has no relevance to what Kate is saying.

        We could disagree with the last sentence of Kate’s paragraph, and claim that she’s attributing motivation. Since we have every reason to believe the emails were published illegally and obtained through semi-automatic filtering, we could also argue that the attribution is quite mundane. The unfolding of the hurly burly justifies quite well this intention attribution.


        My second point is about what you elsewhere dubbed your “rationality test”, also unrelated to Kate’s story:

        > People who agree with AGW ( like me) should very well be able to say “Briffa should have shown the other chart. he didn’t. That was a mistake. Not that important, lets move on and do better next time”.

        This is an interesting proposal. I am unsure about if this will suffice to stop all this hurly burly. My reason is quite simple: I fail to see how it is important to “agree” that Briffa made a mistake. The chartmanship’s problem is not such a slam dunk as to entice unanimity. We could agree to disagree on that point, a point of no real importance for the science, a point barely visible to the untrained, naked eye anyway.

        Suppose I admit Briffa made a mistake. What then? I already conceded two times what you were asking the same kind of “rationality” tests. Here we are again, this time with the “green line” storyline.

        Perhaps this happens because your point is not about a methodological mistake, but really about moral integrity, righteous reputation, or “noble cause corruption.”

        If that is the case, I am afraid that agreeing over this point won’t stop any audit of the kind. To convince you of that fact, open any tabloid. So I’m not quite so sure that the neverending audit of yours will never end. We’ll simply move on to the next test.

        The positive feedback loop to bootstrap itself over and over again.

      • Just a few points.

        I’m not interested in stopping the hurly burly. The hurly burly will continue regardless. That is not the test, that is the excuse. When I read through the mails and documents I come acros the harry.readme. Now my skeptic friends get all twisted in knots over this and they wont listen to reason. Or some still get twisted over the money put in the russians private account, or twisted about any number of meaningless things. I fully expect that of them. They are not rational. In writing the book I tried to focus on only those cases where the facts were pretty clear, where the mistakes or misdeeds were pretty clear. I did not expect everyone in climate science to stand up and say “jones was wrong there, briffa was wrong there” I expect some to stand up and say, “we can do better.” Someone, anyone. The point is this. The concession of wrong doing is not to make the skeptics stop their nonsense. That wont stop. The point is to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

      • Steve

        I think the ‘we can do better’ or rather ‘climate science can do better’ route is the only way out of this morasse. The use of language is something that intrigues me. People are generally happy to accept they are not perfect as opposed to a statement that they are imperfect. So ‘we can do better’ is a better approach than ‘what we have done was bad’.

        If you see what I mean.

        Regards Gary

      • Steven Mosher,

        I have good and bad news. The good one is that when you say:

        > I expect some to stand up and say, “we can do better.” Someone, anyone.

        you seem forget the author of this very blog. If that is not enough, I am sure we can list people who wants better climate science. So I believe your expectation is already fulfilled

        If what we want is better science, I surmise that it would be more expeditive to agree on something like this:

        > Whatever we might think of this hurly burly, we must do better.

        If we can agree on that, I think we might have a chance at not repeating the mistakes of the past.

        So the bad news is that we don’t even need to condede any wrong doing not to repeat the mistakes of the past. This is only bad because it renders the hurly burly quite burlesque. Boo hoo.

        We don’t need to stand on the same ground to look in the same direction.

      • Climate scientists need to raise the level of their game, both the science and its communication. Raising the level of the science means opening it up to people with broader and diverse expertises, and greater transparency. Better communication requires that climate science learn from other fields that have done much better (people like Randy Olson, Matt Nisbet study this sort of thing.) A climatic version of Richard Feynman would be nice; the closest we have are the climate bloggers :)

      • Communication which is not just propaganda is 2-way. The CRU-cru et al. give every evidence of being in continuous transmit mode, doing only enough receiving to pick out keywords that stimulate preprogrammed, often very superficial or non-responsive, “rebuttals”.

      • (I just noticed this reply. It did not appear in the RSS feed.)

        Indeed, better communication can do wonders.

        Climate bloggers can also profit from this exhortation. In my most humble opinion, they would fare better if they try to live up to Feynmanian ideals by impersonating their own very selves and leading by example, instead of bragging about it.

        Examples of a climate blogger leading by example:




        Examples of scientists leading by examples:



        There still are lots of bad examples.

        Here is Pat Michaels giving testimonials “under oath” (to coin it in auditing parlance), promising to come back and answer “pointed” questions and then forgetting about it:


        Another interesting example:


      • Steven,

        You’re right. That is a rational response. No blame, and no excuses. Thanks for putting much sense into this issue and doing the hard work.

      • Steven Mosher | November 23, 2010 at 5:02 pm
        ” Now my skeptic friends …. They are not rational. … The concession of wrong doing is not to make the skeptics stop their nonsense. That wont stop. ”


      • Michael Larkin

        Very articulate, Steven. And the circling of the wagons, meant to defend, in fact increases suspicion and vulnerability to attack. It’s completely counter-productive.

      • I think, in fact I’m fairly certain, that some critics are better handled by “co opting” than by demonizing. The real danger in circling the wagons is the suspicion it creates WITHIN the community.
        witness who Mann turns on when the Soon paper gets published in a peer reviwed journal. He must turn the attack inward. Suddenly events that happen within the circle of the wagons get imbued with intentionalities that are more imagined than real. That leads to stricter controls on within group communications and more suspicion.

        People dont talk about this mail very much, but it was one that was foremost in my mind on the 19th. Mann’s mail about Revkin. Essentially saying, “be careful what you say to Andy, he’s not under our control” First it struck me, because it rung true about Andy. So I sent him a note on facebook. But it also told me about the control mann was trying to exert over communications. That lay bare a whole psychology that I found to be anti scientific.

        curry makes this two front war even more interesting.

      • What’s so wrong with expecting journalism about the science to be correct and accurate?

        There are very few journalists left with a good enough science background to communicate science properly; perhaps Mann was concerned that Revkin would mess up the science and misreport it.

        My favorite example is from an article I read years ago, the source long forgotten. The journalist was reporting on Antarctica, and mentioned icebergs “328 feet” thick. That’s pretty darned accurate, until you realize that “about 100m” converts to that. This journalist also mentioned that the Antarctic peninsula had warmed “39” (or something like that) degrees. I was rather stunned, until I realized that they had converted (something like) “4C” straight to Fahrenheit, neglecting that it’s a change, not an absolute temperature.

        Mann wants journalists to be correct about the science; is that horrible?

      • You hit one nail on the head. If the climate scientists want to gain the trust of the public, hiding data and code isn’t going to do it. All that does is further the impression that they are hiding information. That raises suspicions whether there is anything to it or not. They would be much better off publishing data, meta-data, rejected and unused data, and all computer code no matter how trivial from the get-go. If they don’t have anything to hide, this won’t be a problem. If they are just worried that their code isn’t top notch, then get over it already.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Sorry, but I can’t be bothered to respond on the topic of accuracy to someone who lists my name interchangeably as:

        Brandon Schollenberger
        Brian Shollenberger
        Brandon Shollenberger

        I can easily forgive misspelling my name, but repeatedly switching back and forth between spellings is ridiculous. That you even toss in “Brian” makes it impossible for me to take you seriously. Because of this, I couldn’t bring myself to read past your first numbered point. Fortunately, even that was enough to know your post was ridiculous (as was the post I responded to). Right at the start you offer this line from Chris Colose:

        > [ClimateSight’s article offers] the best “forest for the woods” type perspectives on what happened […]

        Of course, what Chris Colose actually said was:

        Climatesight offers one of the best “forest for the woods” type perspectives on what happened….

        There is no obvious reason for why you changed the beginning of the sentence. Replacing “ClimateSight” with “ClimateSight’s article” offers nothing of value. It seems completely superfluous. This could be ignored as a strange move, except you then changed the meaning of the quotation by removing from the sentence, “one of the.” No longer does ClimateSight offer one of the best perspectives. It now offers the best perspective. This change allows you to say:

        This claim can only be an opinion, as it would be quite implausible that Colose read every articles written on the whole hurly burly to express it.

        This conclusion would only be true if Chris Colose had called the article “the best,” rather than “one of the best.” In other words, you altered the meaning of a quote, then drew a conclusion based upon the faked quote which wouldn’t be supported by the original quote.

        Whether the behavior in your post is due to bias, dishonesty or just extreme sloppiness is irrelevant to me. Your post cannot have any value in a serious discussion so long as it is as incompetent as it is now.

      • I apologize for mispelling Brandon Shollenberger’s name. It appears I have not corrected one Brian at the end of a paragraph. It also appears that Schollenberger is quite a common mistake, which here again infuriates him.


        So Colose said :

        > Climatesight offers one of the best “forest for the woods” type perspectives on what happened […]

        Here is my paraphrase, clearly offered as a paraphrase:

        > [ClimateSight’s article offers] the best “forest for the woods” type perspectives on what happened […]

        I wonder how this changes the meaning of the sentence. So now it’s Climatesight, not Climatesight article. I sincerely believe that Chris Colose was referring to Climasight’s article, and not the the whole website. My apologies if that’s not the case.

        But Brandon Shollenberger has something more to say. Something that goes to the crux of the matter. Something of the utmost importance to get what Chis Colose said. Brandon Shollenberger says that Colose was not saying “the best”. No, that’s not what he said at all. What Colose said was that Climatesight’s article was “one of the best.”

        Brandon Shollenberger argues that this changes everything. Yes, saying that Climasight’s article is “one of the best” can’t be Colose’s opinion. This can only be a fact. Chris Colose still would have to have read all the articles to say, **as a matter of fact**, that this is “one of the best.”

        My paraphrase does not change this conclusion. What Colose says here is still quite clearly his opinion. (This opinion of his has not really be seriously contested with an argument, and mostly been responded by outrage.)

        You can’t really say that something is the best unless you have seen everything; by the same token, you can’t say that the same thing is one of the best unless you have seen everything.

        Brandon Shollenberger is clearly mistaken here. Brandon Shollenberger is making a very simple logical mistake.


        So Brandon Shollenberger won’t bother to answer me, since I mispelled his name and paraphased Chris Colose.

        On the other hand, Brandon Shollenberger, on the single answer he provides, fails a very basic logic test.

        Let the reader wonder how despicable Brandon Shollenberger would find it if someone else did that to him.

        Let the reader wonder if Brandon Shollenberger would deem to speak to himself ever again.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I find comments which say things about me people couldn’t possibly know to be quite amusing:

        which here again infuriates him.

        There is no way anyone here could possibly know if I have been infuriated. In fact, there is every indication I am not infuriated, as I said nothing which indicates anger. I even said I can easily forgive misspelling my name.

        Despite this, willard says I was (or at least appeared to be) infuriated by this misspelling of my name. In fact, apparently I give the impression of being very rage-ful, as he says it has happened “again.”

        It’s a joke.

        So Brandon Shollenberger won’t bother to answer me, since I mispelled his name and paraphased Chris Colose.

        First, I have to point out the humor of misspelling “mispelled.”

        Second, this sentence gives such a inaccurate representation of things. The post in question had my last name misspelled three times, and the wrong first name listed once. However, it also managed to spell my last name correctly eight times. This is described as, “misspelled his name.” Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m having a discussion about accuracy, I expect people to put forth at least a little effort into being accurate. Finally, the real issue is:

        You can’t really say that something is the best unless you have seen everything; by the same token, you can’t say that the same thing is one of the best unless you have seen everything.

        Brandon Shollenberger is clearly mistaken here. Brandon Shollenberger is making a very simple logical mistake.

        This is nonsense. For an obvious example, suppose I have read 99 books by an author who has written 100 books. I have more than enough data to say one particular is “one of the” best the author has written. If it is better than 98 of the books, that means there can only be one book which might be better. I might not be able to say it is “the best,” but I can easily say it is “one of the best.”

        But it gets worse. Imagine we have a scale by which to rate things. On this scale, nothing can possibly be better than a 10. We look at something, and find it is a 10. We now automatically know it is “one of the best.” However, we don’t know if there are other 10s out there, so we don’t know whether or not it is “the best.”

        You don’t have to see everything to know something is one of the best. There is no mistake here.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I’m uncertain on whether I should have put that as “misspelled,” or “mispelled.” I kept the error intentionally in that sentence, but now that I reread it, it almost looks like I made a typo there.

        Either way, it was funny to me.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Rereading my post yet again, I see I actually messed up the quotation I found funny. I quoted willard as saying “misspelled his name.” Apparently my mind automatically corrected the spelling error as I typed.

      • There is the easily spotted mistake of you conflating opinion with fact. Even if you comment on books instead of blog posts, which book you consider to be the best is still your opinion of fact, not fact.

      • Oystein,

        I am truly sorry if I can’t type your name right. I do hope you will still read the following.

        This short comment is to remind you that Chris Colose was not talking about “the best”, but “one of the best.” According to Brandon Shollenberger, this changes everything. It even changes what “the real issue” is.

        Brandon Shollenberger might not be bothered to address your most pointed criticism now that you made such a mistake. Brandon Shollenberger might even write whole paragraphs to justify why he won’t engage what you’re really saying because of it.

        Since I am not worthy of his attention, I also want to point to you that Brandon Shollenberger does not seem to be bothered to reflect about this attitude (which I apparently mistaken as expressing furor), considering his own penultimate conclusion:

        > As long as people aren’t talking to each other, nothing will get fixed.

        Brandon Shollenberger might observe that this claim, when interpreted crisply and universally, might be false: if me and him are not talking to each other, but everyone else talk to each other, something surely will get fixed. In fact, one can easily admit that if only two persons were talking to each other, Steven and Phil for instance, something could get fixed.

        Let’s hope that Brandon Shollenberger did not mean to formulate a crisp, universal statement. Let’s hope that Brandon Shollenberger won’t be too harsh on himself. Let’s hope that Brandon Shollenberger will still read himself.

      • willard,

        I’m sorry if I’m not the best (or even one of the best :) ) communicators on this thread, but my response was to mr. Shollenberger.

        Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I agree with you – Chris Colose clearly states his opinion, not a universal fact.

        Oh, and btw – no-one outside Scandinavia can type my name correctly (owing to them not having the correct software), so Iæm used to it. No apologiy needed!

      • Actually, using the ASCII numeric codes makes it fairly easy.
        Ø Ø Ø
        Hold down the Alt key and enter 0216 on the numeric keypad.

      • Øystein,

        Do not worry: I understood what you meant.

        As for the “Ø” in your name, copy-paste can do wonders ;-)

      • In a short comment, Chris Colose says of a piece that it provides “one of the best “forest for the woods” type perspectives on what happened”. He added that he found it “very articulate, and accurate”. Colose clearly expresses his opinion about this piece. He’s certainly not shouting his opinion as fact here.

        Brandon Shollenberger replied that this piece is “complete rubbish”, clearly expressing his opinion about this piece, perhaps even voicing it as if he were shouting his opinion as fact.

        Whatever shouting took place, I sincerely believe that both Shollenberger and Colose are expressing value judgements. Arguing otherwise makes little sense to me. So I offered a simple reason to show that these kinds of claims can’t be judgements of fact:

        > You can’t really say that something is the best unless you have **seen** everything; by the same token, you can’t say that the same thing is one of the best unless you have **seen** [almost] everything.

        For instance, Colose must have read (almost) **all** the articles to claim, as a matter of fact, that Climatesight’s article is “one of the best” (simpliciter).

        Brandon Shollenberger has come up with two ingenious examples to contest this idea: having read 99% of them could suffice; having a “scaling apparatus” should suffice. So, Chris Colose does not really have to have read **all** the articles to be able to state factually that one is “one of the best.”

        Brandon Shollenberger is quite right: only reading **most** of the “perspectives on Climategate” or relying on a “scale” would suffice. Let’s consider some modalities that these possibilities entail.

        For Colose to read most of the perspectives on Climategate, he must know roughly how many there are. More than that, he must be gain access to them. Even more than that: he must be able to read them. That’s a lot to ask. Consider the quantity of “perspectives on Climategate” that might have been written so far on the Intertube and in the litterature. Reading that much might not impossible to do, but that sure seems implausible. (Just imagine the language barrier.)

        But it gets better. Colose could possibly rely on a “scale” to determine if an article provides one of the best perspective. Not any perspective, but a “forest for the trees” one. Not any objective evaluation: but “one of the best”. If Colose is ever able to gain access to this kind of device, that so to speak can turn values into facts, Colose might become a very, very rich man.


        Brandon Shollenberger is right: it is not true that one **always** needs to read **all** the “forest-from-trees’s perspectives on Climategate” to tell if the one of Climatesight is “one of the best.” Brandon Shollenberger is also right in saying that if Chris Colose had a “scale”, he might (luckily) need to read only a few of them to pick “one of the best.”

        Brandon Shollenberger must admit that these two possibilities are quite implausible for our case, so his counter-argument, albeit ingenious, is only academic and applies only to a version of my argument which could easily modified. (See below.)

        Brandon Shollenberger must also admit that we usually exclude implausible possibilities in an informal discussion. If we don’t know (at least roughly) how many there is overall, talking about “most” things seems meaningless. If we don’t have any objective criteria to offer, talking about “scaling” means little.

        Brandon Shollenberger must also admit that this is in no way “the real issue”: the real issue is the question if Colose shouts his opinion as a fact.

        If I had to pick a person who shouts his opinion as a fact, my first pick would certainly not be Chris Colose.

        I thank Brandon Shollenberger for offering me the opportunity to clarify my thought. By adding an “almost” in brackets in the quote above, I believe that covers everything relevant. I should also add that I was not considering all possible cases in very context, I was not expressing crisp quantifiers, I should be expliciting my thought in transitive modal logic, etc. So be it for now.

      • just use his intitials

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I have to ask. Are you suggesting he use my initials for the ease, or because you’re making a joke to criticize me?

  12. Judith,

    Lively post.

    To shift the title of your blog temporarily to its antithesis, “What haven’t we learned from Climagegate’

    What we haven’t learned from Climategate one year later:

    First, on the humorous side, we haven’t learned that there is no scientific ‘we’. : ) Mark Twain once said, “Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial ‘we’.

    Second, we haven’t learned from history prior to IPCC supported AGW science that is typified by Climategate. Looking back now we see relevant instances of scientific situations in the 19th and 20th century that provided signals to look out for in the situation surrounding climate science in the last 20 years. Where were the MSM and scientific bodies to provide overall cautionary guidance? RARE individuals spoke out but where was the scientific community?

    Third, what we haven’t learned from Climategate is how to prevent the next similar event in science; the ocean acidifications; the biodiversity loss; the next reincarnation of population bombing; the next reincarnation of global cooling; etc.

    I think that the third is what we need to prioritize; for surely the next challenges to scientific integrity are on our doorstep already. Let’s codify the root cause of the climate science debacle within the ‘self-correcting’ mechanisms of science itself.


    • Oohh, good one!
      But I think the reaction to the acidification BS etc. is turning out to be quicker and more alert and vigorous than the much-delayed and sleepy response to the AGW assault on sense and science.

    • On the ocean acidification topic, who has a 100 year record of oceanic species loss AND SPECIES CREATION?? How can you say CO2 is causing species loss when you don’t even have a even partly complete record? If you believe in evolution, then you must also believe that species not only die off, but also come into existence. This is the kind of thing that sets off BS alarms.

  13. Methinks the folks here get their science “knowledge” virtually exclusively from blogs. I see many questions that are answerable with the briefest of perusals and considerable misstatements of the actual science.

    One other thing – there’s not much mentioned as possible non-GHG factors that haven’t been researched and considered.

    • If you’d like to reveal your qualifications to discuss science I’ll happily table mine.

      I have posted on this thread and the previous one about viable alternative explanations for such ‘climate change’ as we have seen. The principle one being natural variation, the null hypothesis.

      • I’m qualified to discuss the science. But I use journal articles, seminars, conferences and so on, and discussions with the scientists themselves, as my means, not blogs.

        Do you honestly believe that the climate science community hasn’t looked at natural variability and found it wanting? Why haven’t you published your analysis and shown them all up?

      • why haven’t they?

      • “Why haven’t they?” what?

        Why hasn’t the climate science community published its analyses of natural climate variability? Oh but sir, they have! Look for ’em.

      • Which qualifications to discuss science do you have, where from and when please.

        I ask because you are doing a pretty good impression of a know nothing troll.

      • “Know nothing”? Not quite.

        And learning from blogs? Well, depends on the blog, but I’d rather read the literature to get the skinny.

      • Of course they “found it wanting” – there’s no money in it!

    • Methinks the folks here get their science “knowledge” virtually exclusively from blogs.

      Which of course is true by definition for most people regardless of what side of any argument that they agree with. If *most* people aren’t capable of grasping the entire science argument, then this will also necessarily apply to these who are, for want of a better term, AGW believers.

      It’s interesting that this sort of criticism is leveled at skeptics as if they are ignorant rubes given that the “denizens” thread herein does a reasonable job of demonstrating that many (most, perhaps?) are those who work with science and engineering.

      Your criticism is both tiresome and politically loaded.

      To quote former NFL star Lawrence Taylor of the NY Giants, talking to a quarterback he just slammed into the turf — “you’re going to need to do better than that, son.”

      • Working in science or engineering isn’t the same as years – or decades – of a career in professional climate science.

        Would you trust a climate scientist to pass judgement on (say) the engineering of the Dreamliner because they’d read a paper here and there and hung out on some blogs? Why not?

      • Ignoring questions because of your supposed superiority to the questioner is a well established pitfall.

      • It’s difficult to answer questions when the questioner hasn’t even the most basic knowledge – or, even worse, passes judgement on a subject despite an obvious lack of knowledge.

      • My point, which you missed, was that you can’t deride skeptics for the exact same knowledge gap that non-skeptics have; e.g. you’re saying it’s OK for the layman to read and regurgitate RC, but if the layman paraphrases non-party line sites (e.g. Roy Spencer) then s/he’s little more than some moron who gets everything from blogs. Surely Spencer, being a climate scientist, has just as valid an opinion as that of RC if your criterion is blog worthiness equating to credentialism.

        Like I said, you need to do better.

        On the other hand, my guess is that you’re incapable of that; your mind is already made up that skeptics are ignorant, and you will spare no effort to dogmatically defend the indefensible.

        I suppose we’re done now.

      • If I told a climate scientist that I put one joule of energy into a power amplifier and got 1.5J out, I expect some guff. Maybe that’s a difference between fields. You don’t have to be an engineer to grasp fundamental engineering principles. Anyone can do it–there’s no need for indoctrination.
        Some things are so absurd that only a climate scientist will believe it.

      • Name one “absurd” thing about climate science. And no, not based on your personal belief.

      • Here’s an example…the mythical 300W of back radiation in Kevin ‘Travesty” Trenberth’s energy diagram is absurd.

      • Take a look at Science of Doom.

        He will show that Kiehl and Trenberth understand what they’re talking about – but only if you’re honest and willing to learn.

      • And your mental model is ….?

      • “mental model” of what?

      • I second that. ScienceofDoom is a great site.

      • I like the example you use, but do not think it supports your conclusion.

        I happen to be an aerospace engineer, if we were discussing a potential failure mode of a particular component or even design trades (as an example) we would most certainly listen to the thoughts and opinions of a climate scientist, or even a manufacturing person in the discussion. You wouldn’t want the climate scientist to perform the analysis of tolerance stacking, but he/she may well ask questions or have insights that an aerospace engineer may not have thought about. We actually regularly use Integrated Product Teams in designing new products for exactly that reason.

      • What germane question(s) could a climate scientist have about a “potential failure mode”? I’d really like to hear what you think they could ask.

      • what he is saying is that in areas where you want to make sure that your expertise has not blinded you (groupthink) you very often bring in people with various backgrounds to offer their ideas:
        like design trades and yes failure modes.
        two areas where you want thinking outside the box.
        ( former aerospace myself, mostly design trade studies in stealth aircraft yf23. I had an english degree. outside the box thinker)

      • Can you be more specific as to what kinds of questions an engineering team could ask a (say) classics major about the failure mode of a component?

        Perhaps that was Rolls-Royce’s problem. They didn’t bring in Rachel Ray to tell them they should look more closely at their Trent engine as used in the A380.

  14. Quote:
    For the purposes of this book there are two main conclusions to be drawn from the emails. Firstly that senior climatologists have sought to undermine the peer review process and bully journals into supressing dissenting views. This means that the scientific literature is no longer a representation of the state of human knowledge about the climate. It is a representation of what a small cabal of scientists feel is worthy of discussion. Secondly, the IPCC reports represent the outcome of a process in which a relatively small group of scientists produce a biased review of a literature they themselves have colluded to distort through gatekeeping and intimidation. The emails establish a pattern of behaviour that is completely at odds with what the public has been told regarding the integrity of climate science and the rigour of the IPCC report-writing process. It is clear that the public can no longer trust what they have been told. What is less clear is what we, as ordinary citizens, can do in the face of the powerful, relentless forces of corrupted science, to set things right. Awareness, however, is the essential first step.

    -Andrew W. Montford
    “The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science”
    London, England (UK) 2010.

    • So Dr. Curry – Do you agree with M0ntford that “…the scientific literature is no longer a representation of the state of human knowledge about the climate”?

      Or that we are faced with “… powerful, relentless forces of corrupted science”?

      • Short answer: yes. But the attack on a reputable scientist like Wegman is reprehensible.

      • Thanks RB.

        Dr. Curry?

      • DP and Mashey merely audited Wegman, and he has been found to plagiarize and merely duplicate (rather than independently replicate) McIntyre’s non-work.

        Safe to say that Wegman has committed far worse sins against science than Santer, Jones, Mann and the others have. But then again, Wegman’s “report” was designed to be a politically-led hit piece from the get-go, and the rules for politics are a lot different than those for science.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        DP and Mashey merely audited Wegman, and he has been found to plagiarize and merely duplicate (rather than independently replicate) McIntyre’s non-work.

        This is new to me. Exactly what of McIntyre’s are you suggesting Wegman plagiarized?

      • I should have been more clear. Wegman didn’t plagiarize McIntyre. The evidence that Wegman plagiarized others is quite strong.

      • He plagiarized Ray Bradley, among others

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Answering a question nobody asked seems silly given how many questions you have avoided answering.

      • The plagiarism scam you guys are pulling is not going to work out so well.
        I suggest that you learn the first rule of holes and apply it.

      • GMU has taken the claims seriously enough to investigate Wegman. We’ll see what GMU says.

      • Irony is so well acted out by the AGW community.

      • Please consult Steve McIntyre’s analysis of Bradley’s charge that Wegman plagiarized (whomever).


        As I read McIntyre, the reference technique is common, and used by Bradley himself.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Derecho64, I see what you mean. When I first read your sentence, it sounded like “McIntyre’s non-work” was being appended to both “plagiarize” and “merely duplicate.”

        It makes sense now though.

      • The published literature represents a lot of knowledge that has been accumulated by academic researchers. Some of what is published will not stand the test of time. A published paper is no guarantee at all of its correctness. Some papers have difficulty getting published; nearly all manage to get published somewhere if an author is sufficiently persistent (and if there is any merit at all in the paper). The assessment process (e.g. the IPCC) is another matter altogether. There are a number of different ways the existing body of knowledge represented by the published literature could be evaluated and assessed; the IPCC is one of them.

      • With all due respect, Dr. Curry, you have not answered my questions:
        Do you agree with M0ntford that “…the scientific literature is no longer a representation of the state of human knowledge about the climate”?

        Are we faced with “… powerful, relentless forces of corrupted science”?

        These are strong statements, meant apparently to apply generally. I really would like to know what you make of them.

      • You’re very persistent with this question, Pat. Perhaps she will answer you if you have a go at answering TallBloke’s post from 22 Nov at 3.05pm. A sort of prid pro quo if you like.

      • Pat, I do not agree with Montford’s statement as it stands. Montford’s statement seems to be made in the context of the paleoclimate literature that addresses temperature proxies for the past millenium; there were sufficient shenanigans in the CRU emails to provide some evidence for this. I haven’t seen any systematic evidence of this in any other sub field of climate science.

      • Thanks, Dr. C

  15. Montford is speaking truth to power.

    • Montford is making a buck from a criminal act.

      • Better to make a buck pointing it out than by committing it. Though you may resent the exposure.

      • Calling climate scientists (names?) “criminal” is beyond the pale. Unless you have court-worthy evidence, I recommend retracting the slur. Such commentary may win you favor with certain folks, but it does your credibility no favors with the rest of us.

      • How would you like to push back the frontiers of your ignorance a bit, Derecho64? I’ll send you a free copy of Montford’s fine, exquisitely-researched book.

      • I don’t need Montford’s hit-piece. I know the individuals involved, and to claim that they’re “criminals” is beneath contempt.

      • wrt FOI, in the UK at least, and under this narrow definition, they ARE criminals.

      • So you have the results of the ICO’s investigation? Where can we see them? Do you have a link?

      • ‘He seemed like such an ordinary sort of guy. We just don’t believe he could have done it.’

        Shocked neighbour at crime scene. Anytown. Anywhere. Anytime.

      • Your ignorance of the book is amazing. Your claim to know the principals makes you a very dubious player here.

      • If it were not for the ridiculously short statute of limitations in the UK for infringement of FOI law (6 months from date of offence) then Jones would be convicted as a criminal.

        Just because he got away with it doesn’t make him any less of one.

      • well, lets see Tamino has called skeptics criminal for being stupid. Whats beneath, beneath contempt?

        And if I wrote that the death of steven schneider was cheery news, what level of your hell would I be in?

      • “well, lets see Tamino has called skeptics criminal for being stupid. Whats beneath, beneath contempt?”

        Getting low scores for an IQ test does not result in incarceration.

        “And if I wrote that the death of steven schneider was cheery news, what level of your hell would I be in?”

        In private correspondence to friends and colleagues who felt the same, and therefore couldn’t cause any offence to his family? None.

        If published on your blog for all to see, openly, then that would be socially unacceptable and deserving of a dressing down. Speaking of which, I found McIntyre’s post on Stephen Schneider’s death to be repulsive and offensive, mostly because it was posted before Dr Schneider had even been buried by his family IIRC.

      • Calling anyone (or their actions) “criminal” is beyond the pale. Your particular beyond the pale accusation was that Montford is profiting from a “criminal act”.

        To paraphrase slightly, “Unless you have court-worthy evidence, I recommend retracting the accusation”.

        IOW … Derecho64, heal thyself. Failing that, you would be well-advised to actually read Montford’s book, rather than making such unfounded allegations about the author.

      • I wasn’t aware Montford was giving away his book. Amazon is selling it, last I checked.

        The irony is that the self-proclaimed “skepticism” of so many folks utterly evaporates when given the tales of McIntyre, Watts, Morano, Montford et.al. I’d like to see those folks get “audited”!

      • You are blithering. Try to say what ever you are trying to say again, please.

      • Just what we need, another expert on the contents of a book he or she has not read. The offer stands, Derecho64. If you want one, I’ll send you one. It’s a lovely book printed very nicely, carefully documented, chock full of facts (a concept you’ve surely heard of) and a page-turning joy to read. And for you? Free. What else can I do? Do you want me to put a USD $10 bill in it for a bookmark? Okay, for you, consider it done.

      • Montford’s book merely offers succor to those who view climate science as a conspiracy. That’s not science, that’s fiction.

      • And you know this without reading it at all? Not only do climatologists believe in ‘teleconnections’ , they also practice its cousin ‘telepathy’.

        They must be even more clever than they like us to believe that they are.

        PS: If you got your opinion from the one star reviews at Amazon, there is no evidence that any of those had ever read the book either.

        But this is climatology….why am I not surprised??

      • I wonder how Montford would explain that we get hockey sticks all over the place from all kinds of data.

      • The same way other skeptics do: GIGO.
        If you use an algorithm designed to get hockey sticks, you will get hockey sticks.
        That happens to explain things accurately.

      • I believe McIntyre really hasn’t addressed the continuing work since MBH98 because he now knows that a “hockey stick” comes out no matter how much he tries to obfuscate.

      • The ultimate dodge of the fanatic is to deny there is a counter argument or legitimate alternative perspective. As you demonstrate.

      • On certain scientific questions, there are no legitimate alternates. The shape of the earth being not-flat, for example.

      • But we are talking about climate models and dubious error-filled data and great amounts of self-dealing and rent seeking by the AGW community.
        We are not discussing basic physics. We are discussing the implementation of a complex theory. And the failure of that theory to work in reality.
        so get the flat earth, creationism and tobacco out of your system and focus on the topic at hand.

      • Like I said some time back, you are good at mindlessly repeating the same mantras, hunter.

        But you’ve moved away from the science entirely, and really aren’t interested in it at all. You’ve got your mind set on what the “real agenda” is, and no amount of fact or evidence put in front of you will change your mind. That’s too bad.

      • Derecho64, you win the self-inflicted irony on this thread and it was a crowded field.

      • “I’d like to see those folks get “audited”!”

        I’d be happy with these self-declared climate auditors actually auditing climate science, and not just obsess over a select set of scientists. The name Climate Audit should be changed to Hockey Team Audit.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Jo Bowers:

        Please clarify. You say;
        “I’d be happy with these self-declared climate auditors actually auditing climate science, and not just obsess over a select set of scientists. The name Climate Audit should be changed to Hockey Team Audit.”

        Are you claiming that the Hockey Team do not do climate science? Or are you merely bloviating?


      • Richard S Courtney —

        Are you claiming that the Hockey Team do not do climate science?


        Or are you merely bloviating?

        If you’d like to point me to where McIntyre audits Lindzen, Christy, Spencer or Douglass, I’ll not suggest to you that one finger pointed at someone else leaves three fingers pointed back at oneself.

      • And given that the ‘peer review’ process is so firmly in alarmist/establishment hands, we can expect Lindzen et al to be audited in journals.

      • There was discussion of McShane & Wyner recently. Use CA’s Search button.

      • I’d be happy with these self-declared climate auditors actually auditing climate science, and not just obsess over a select set of scientists.

        It is though a highly influential “set”, who have been shown to be less than entirely honest, on a vital issue that has had a major impact on motivating large-scale political action. Obsessive auditing is exactly what is needed here I would say.
        Which is not to say other auditors shouldn’t audit other stuff of course.

      • “It is though a highly influential “set”,

        You’re cherry picking individuals or need to expand your knowledge of who’s been giving testimony to elected legislators and who’s been being cited by same regularly.

        who have been shown to be less than entirely honest,

        You mean the ones who have been cleared of scientific malpratcice multiple times now, or is “entirely honest” supposed to be condemnation of individuals who are (shock!) less than 100% perfect?

        on a vital issue that has had a major impact on motivating large-scale political action.

        See my first response above.

        Obsessive auditing is exactly what is needed here I would say.

        Not when it resembles a vendetta.

        Which is not to say other auditors shouldn’t audit other stuff of course.”

        Who and which?

        There was discussion of McShane & Wyner recently.

        Is that it? A paper which relies heavily on McIntyre & McKitrick’s grey literature? Not very convincing.

      • Are you kidding?
        Do you actually believe that any of the ‘investigations’ into climategate were anything other than whitewashes, and poor ones at that?
        If you actually believe that any of the commissions or inquiries or reviews actually reviewed the e-mails?
        Can you show that they spoke with the people who had been complaining about the team?
        Can you show any evidence at all of a critical review of any of the work spoken of in the e-mails?
        Can you show where the team was even asked if they had in fact deleted e-mails as the conspired to do in the e-mails?
        What is not convincing is that anyone alleging they understand the issue is saying what you are saying.

      • JBowers, I think that one of the things you need to work on is not sacrificing your credibility in the process of trying to make your point.

        I’m certain that many of those, here, who might typically support your agenda are now resting their foreheads on their computer desks, groaning quietly.

      • Indeed.
        I can think of no single thing that would make a sceptic rethink, than if alarmists en masse denounced the Climategate Crooks and those that whitewash them.

      • checking in on this thread, do we need a new thread on this subject, there seems to be revitalized interest? is this motivated by any recent news (which i could put on a new thread), or just spontaneous discussion?

      • There’s an FOI now for the same stuff Cuccinelli seeks in court.

      • Judith, for me it’s the Nature article that’s re-charged my Energizer Bunny. What I found fascinating is how Nature’s comments have departed, in very much the same way the Guardian Environment’s has, from the posturing of the editorial. While I could have anticipated it at the Guardian, it’s surprising to see it at The Trick.

      • So you seriously doubt the Team is a highly influential “set”, esp as regards motivating politicisation over climate …. ??

        …the ones who have been cleared of scientific malpratcice multiple times now?

        What the paid stooges of UEA and Penn State say is of no consequence. The emails are perfectly clear that major malpractice was rife. (And there is still stonewalling on FOI). What is needed is something like a judicial inquiry.

        Obsessive auditing is exactly what is needed here I would say.
        Not when it resembles a vendetta.

        The well-documented vendetta by the IPCC cadre to sabotage the science process, fully warrants a counter-vendetta to root it out. If the bulk of the climate establishment would but distance itself from the crooks, and end their deafening silence on Climategate, the counter-vendetta would no longer be needed.

      • jones et al have been shown in the UK to have broken the UK’s FOI laws. They only escaped prosecution due to a under-understood legal loop-hole (that even with the correct interpretation applied has expired), but were 100% shown to have broken that law.

        That makes the accusations or criminality, in this single, tightly defined case- accurate.

      • I believe the charge would be contempt of court.

      • Is that so?
        I was under the impression that that could only happen given a direct lie to, or violation of protacol in, court.

        Granted, i’m no expert on this specific legal technicality, but as they deliberatley broke the FOI law, i was under the impression that they’d be charged under said law, rather than contempt of court??

        Though, it’s wholly possible that i’m wrong on this.

      • Like the NYT did with the Pentagon papers.
        But it is not yet clear that any criminal act in fact occurred irt climategate letters.
        And by the way his book was written prior to climategate and was edited to comment on it.
        So you are inconsistent and ignorant on the issue.

      • Yes, the other thing is if a whistle blower took the files the act might not be criminal. That doesnt stop people from assuming facts not in evidence. I really dont like these types doing science.

      • Keep an eye on Nature.

  16. All of the links of interesting articles that you noted today support the AGW alarmism. Chris Mooney starts his by trumpeting that all of the investigations somehow cleared the scientists involved of wrongdoing. Well, technically, I guess, but calling them independent is a travesty. Also, embarrassing questions were not asked. Would anyone with any knowledge of computer models and programming read the debugger’s notes of the Climategate code and say that there were not very serious problems, including his simply fabricating quite a bit of it because parts were so muddled. Also, consensus science is not science. Read Feynman’s essay “Cargo Cult Science”. Climate models are not reality, and much of the data is not robust. I was reading the yearly essays in “2010-The Best American Science Writing” and was surprised to find an essay by Mooney, “Unpopular Science” which castigates “deniers” and takes gratuitous and nasty shots at WUWT Anthony Watts. Many of these “deniers” do not deny periods of warming, or even an AGW component, or even the problems with pollution and CO2—-they have problems with the hysteria, the alarmism, the condescension of climate scientists, and also problems with geo-engineering insanity, and with pro-active economic forced spending that will have minimal impact on climate, but major impact on economies and keep developing third world countries from industrializing. A robust economy is required to deal with real problems. And I think many of the RealClimate crowd would be surprised at the level of scientific and mathematical sophistication of many who see what Mann and Hansen and others are doing as flawed. It simply does not do to try to marginalize people like Freeman Dyson because they are old, or because they are not “climate scientists”, and I have seen AGW folks do both. The name calling on the skeptic side does not compare at all to the ad hominem snarkiness of the so-called climate consensus.

    • Indeed. I actually thought that was a particularly poor and shoddy set of articles. I now have more severe doubts about JC’s judgement and impartiality, since she thought they were “interesting”.

  17. Gee, what I want for Christmas is a genetically engineered carbon eating Christmas tree that will sprout oil wells my shag carpet.

  18. Dr. Curry, are you trying to balance something or look for equivalencies by posting links that parrot AGW dogma and mis-state the case in every possible way irt climategate?

  19. The overriding theme of what came into clearer focus as a result of “climategate” is that disagreements about climate change are not so much about the science, but rather about a clash of underlying values, ideas (e.g. related to risk perception) and ideals. Scientists are caught in the middle of this trying to defend the science against various distortions (while also having their own values, ideas and ideals of course).


    • Bart Verheggen: To be sure there are clashes of values underlying climate change controversy, but you, A. Lacis, Chris Colose and others continue to gloss over the problems of scientific misconduct exposed by Climategate.

      It is not a scientific value for scientists behind the scenes to discuss deleting data, evading FOI requests, rigging peer review, and rigging blog discussions.

      This is not the defense of science — it is scientific misconduct, and that is what has many people upset with climate scientists.

      As long as you and others continue to explain Climategate in terms of narrative, hostility towards science, fanatical skeptics and the sad plight of scientists trapped in the middle, it reinforces the impression that climate scientists are blind to their own mistakes and misdeeds.

      And if scientists can’t see what is obvious to citizens in the public sphere, how much is their judgment to be trusted in the science sphere?

    • Bart,

      What about the ‘disagreements’ between climate scientists that relate to the assumptions of positive feedbacks in models that lead to the conclusion that doubling CO2 will lead to a 3Deg C increase (or more) in Global Mean Temperature?

      Alternative views propose that the sensitivity is much less than 3Deg C, and may even be negative.

      Surely that crucial issue is about the science?

  20. One thing that strikes me in all these articles, is that the pro-CAGW scientists are talking about how to better communicate their results, as if the problem is that they are not being heard.

    The problem here is obvious that you cannot talk the feedback problem away, the missing hotspot cannot be communicated away, nor the not-rising temperatures, nor the poor way of conducting science.

    I am an engineer and working in the industry with suppliers. For an engineer a bridge will either do as designed or it will not. We are used to work with science that can be put to test, and that is what you do in the industry because nobody will rely on your arguments alone. We don’t trust a new supplier, but perform audits. We audit their quality control system, their manufacturing process, the final product, their way of handeling non-conformance issues, we inspect their inspections and audit their audits, and we take samples of their product and test it, cut it to pieces to see whats inside and we demand total openness from them. When we find something that does not conform to what we have specified, to what they have promised, we try to change what they are doing, change their way of doing things, their process. That is how we get cars, trains, bridges and planes that does not fall out of the sky (even with such measures in place it happens occasionally anyway). And sometimes you even bring in a certified third party to do the quality control.

    That is for me what the IPCC and the pro-CAGW scientist have not learned. The are circling their wagons, as Judith so elegantly put it, and are buying more guns (better communication), instead of looking inward and try to see if they can improve their way of conducting science. They do not understand that there is a huge difference between some obscure science as parallel universes, that will not have a great impact on people lives, and science that demands that we change the economy. They do not understand, that when you demand that from society, the quality of science must be way higher than is is at present. Saying that co2 must be the cause because they don’t have any other explanation is just not good enough.

    Science and the IPCC should focus on improving the quality of conducting science. The IPCC should demand that all papers referenced is freely available, and that all methods, data, results and code is in the public domain. The IPCC should get a third party quality assurance team to audit the scientists, their science and their processes of conducting their science, as well as papers put forward. Or something like it.

    The scientists should demand this themselves, as they must have an interest in doing research of the highest quality. Better quality does not come from better communication, but from doing things the right way and being open, so everyone can see (and audit) it.


  21. Troels,

    Given that there’s a huge divide between climate scientists’ views and the lay public’s views of climate change (e.g. http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf ) isn’t a likely explanation that the communication channels between the two are somehow suboptimal? Or is it more likely that the vast majority of climate scientists are collectively delusional in the same direction?

    • Bart,

      It infer that climate scientists are right about CAGW because so many of them have the same belief. But a bridge does not hold or fall down because a majority hold a certain belief. We cannot vote on the subject – engineering is not a democracy. And even when doing something as common as designing a bridge we use third parties to audit and validate our calculations and we audit the suppliers and construction companies and inspect their work. Because peoples lives depend on it. And that is only a bridge.

      To me there is a lot that the scientific community could learn from this way of doing things. And there is a lot that the IPCC could learn – first you don’t set the fox to guard chickens e.g. pro CAGW climate scientists to assess climate science as they are prone to bias and to promote their own view and science.


    • “2. Do you think human activity is a significant
      contributing factor in changing
      mean global temperatures?”

      Anyone that uses a yes answer to this question as if it was a yes answer to agreeing with catastrohic warming is delusional. We would require a second poll to determine how many are delusional.

    • “…isn’t a likely explanation that the communication channels between the two are somehow suboptimal?”

      I would agree, but I think that the basic problem is that there is no normal method of communication from scientists to public (other than slow diffusion). The public generally just doesn’t care enough about what is happening in the scientific world to care, as most science has only minimal immediate impacts.

      So then, how to communicate any scientific implication that is seen as immediately important? In the case of AGW, the channel became that of the green activists and their political allies. This is where the message got distorted – uncertainties removed, potential effects amplified, policy prescriptions demanded – in the push to implement idealogic goals. So a scientific communication became a political one, carrying with it all that that entailed – suspicion, backlash and disconnect from the original arguments.

      I personally came to the whole AGW issue through just this route – politics/idealogy to trying to get a grasp on the science. I now have a much better appreciation of the science involved, even if I have a much reduced opinion of some scientists – apparently they are human after all.

      Is there a better method of communication? I don’t see one, as any method of forcing the public to take note of what is happening in the scientific world is subject to hijacking by politicians and activists. I’d love it if someone could propose one, but until then AGW will just have to be slugged out in the political arena.

    • nobody is suggesting that we shoot the messengers. But you might try a few experiments with other modes and manners of communication.
      test. measure. improve. Ask any engineer here, it works

  22. “Or is it more likely that the vast majority of climate scientists are collectively delusional in the same direction?” Yes it is. “Climate Science” is a field invented by and for CAGW believers who either choose not to call themselves meteor-/climatologists, because that’s not where the grant money is, or who in addition may not do so because they are in fact neither. This being so it should neither surprise nor impress us if they “overwhelmingly” endorse CAGW. It’s axiomatic to their calling.

  23. There are a great many immoral and boarderline illegal schemes for making the “fast buck”. Banks allowed a 10% gold reserve and lending on that at 100% backing.
    WWF buying up rainforests to recieve 4 to 1 carbon credits as offsets.
    Cap and trade will definately kill off the smaller businesses that cannot compete with the large lobbists that are looking for a larger investment return. This is just a small setback to the implimentation of cap and trade. Embargo threats are the next step to pressure governments to tow the line with business.
    CO2 is a good business investment. Not a “green” investment. If it is not going to happen with global warming or pollution, it WILL happen through other means. Free money for selling air.
    What could be more profitable?

  24. Troels,

    This issue of the relevance of a scientific consensus keeps coming back. As I commented here before (sorry, can’t find the link):

    The existence of a scientific consensus is entirely relevant, and should carry weight in the public discourse (though not so much in the scientific discourse itself).

    If you get a second opinion on your health condition, and it confirms what your specialist said in the first place, your trust in the diagnosis probably increases. (If you are a medical professional yourself and are confident that they’re both wrong, it becomes a different story of course) Now imagine that you collect the interpretations of medical professionals all over the world, and by and large they their conclusions converge to the same broad picture.

    This happens to be how the IPCC comes to its conclusions. If the professionals do their work seriously, than the existence of a consensus amongst them is absolutely relevant (though of course it is not absolute proof). The only way in which you can ignore a consensus amongst experts as being irrelevant (e.g. merely “a show of hands”; “science is not a democracy”), is if you can somehow show that the professionals are all lying or incompetent. Not likely.

    said it very well
    • “If consensus has emerged through the normal course of scientific research
    • If a scientific consensus has been stable over time

    • then it may well provide the best basis for public policy (in cases where the scientific evidence is relevant, e.g. climate change, health)

    Scientific progress is a usually a gradual process. “Skeptics” and their supporters often bring up Galileo as an example of that the scientific consensus can also be wrong, and has been wrong in the past. True enough, but as Sagan said: “They laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the clown.

    The theory that increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases could influence the climate was perceived as wildly strange and improbable at the time of its first proposition (nineteenth century). But rather than that one person suddenly overturned current wisdom, it is a matter of accumulating evidence by many scientists over a long time period that gradually changes and sharpens the scientific picture of what is happening. That is typically how scientific progress works these days: cumulative, piece by piece.

    The likelihood that a tiny minority of scientists, or some new piece of evidence, radically alters this picture, which has been stable for a long time and has lots of independent lines of evidence backing it up in a coherent framework, is very small indeed.

    New evidence has to be reconciled with the existing mountain of evidence; it doesn’t simply replace it. Observing a bird in the air doesn’t disprove gravity. Small changes here and there in our understanding of specifics, that happens all the time. That’s how the mountain of evidence has been built in the first place, and that is how it continues to be shaped. That’s science at work.

    A natural consequence of science is that over time, as evidence accumulates and points in a certain direction, is that the experts start agreeing on the most likely explanation (eg that smoking increases the risk of cancer; that GHG emissions will cause a positive energy imbalance of the planet which will warm up as a result). A consensus is a natural part of science.

    “Every scientific theory either rises to the level of consensus or else it is abandoned. Every single one. Consensus implicates a consilience of evidence and a preponderance of evidence for the best explanation. Consensus is how science works, and it is the difference between truth as we know it and poorly supported speculation we don’t.” – anonymous (”ali baba”) (http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2009/10/consensus_what_is_it_good_for.php)

    That does *not* mean that science is a democracy; of course it isn’t. It means that the process of science takes care that the accumulating evidence drives the scientists’ view on the most likely explanation/best available understanding. As a result it is only to be expected that as the evidence accumulates and the picture more clear, scientists’ opinions on the matter start to converge. Such convergence/consensus reached by the application of scientific methodologies (http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/resources/globalwarming/documents/oreskes-on-science-consenus.pdf ; start at page 40) is of course entirely relevant.

    • Bart,
      When climate science gets to the credibility level of cardiac medicine, your analogy will have some merit.
      Climate science is orders of magnitude far from that standard.
      You seem stuck on arguments from authority, but never bother to address the valid critiques of the basis for the authority you claim.
      with all due respect, until you do so you might consider saving time and simply pasting up the same comment every time you comment.

    • Bart,

      You’re missing the point.


      • Troels,

        I directly addressed your claim that science is not a democracy (correct) and that therefore a scientific consensus is not relevant (incorrect).

        I’m sure there were other points you made, but I deemed this one particularly important and erroneous.


        It is clear that in your eyes a high enough credibility will never be achieved. I don’t think there’s anything I or anyone else can say to even change your mind by an millimeter, so we may as well agree to disagree.

      • Bart,

        As scientists’ convictions are irrelevant to the truth, it is also irrelevant in public discourse.


      • Troels,

        By the sounds of that, we may as well abandon any scientific effort? So you know ‘the truth’ on any field better than the fields’s professionals?

      • Bart, please read what I wrote.

        A conviction is not science and science is not about convictions. Science is about data, is about what can be proved and disproved.

        And you argument of authority is not valid.


      • A conviction is not science and science is not about convictions. Science is about data, is about what can be proved and disproved.

        Who is talking about “convictions”. We are talking about conclusions reached based on the careful study of the available evidence and the principles which underly the particular discipline by those who are best qualified in the subject in question.
        It’s certainly not just about data. Data needs to be interpreted, understood, put into context.

      • “Best qualified” by their own nomination and standards. Climatology is an invented specialty, not even close to a science, and in effect a pastiche of lotsa other specialties, none of which “climatologists” are competent in.

        The results were/are predictable. They and their bolloxed procedures will have to be totally deconstructed and rebuilt with qualified collaborators — the kind they refuse to speak to now.

      • Climate science does indeed draw from a number of different disciplines. Your claim that climate scientists are not competent in these disciplines is an assertion which requires some actual evidence to back it up.

      • Bart,
        I know english is not your native language, but I just stated a reasonable level of confidence for climate science to achieve.
        You seem to not understand what I said, or you understand it, know you are no where close to it, and seek to distract from that problem.

      • Bart,
        As long as miselading and spinning are the basis of the claims of credibility, you are correct.

    • “This happens to be how the IPCC comes to its conclusions” This is not true. The authors of the IPCC reports are chosen by their governments (often at the recommendation of the IPCC itself) based on their conformance with the IPCC narrative (with a few exceptions). It is a chummy group and there is group think. Meetings have been held to make sure everyone is on the same page (in the case of the hockey stick work, for example). The authors routinely ignore papers they don’t like or that are inconvenient, a practice that is not allowed in the peer-review literature where one must discuss papers that contradict your new results or theory. Green NGO activists are recruited as authors who have no scientific credentials. Greenpeace publications are cited as if they were objective peer-reviewed work.

      • Craig,

        What is the motive for governments to only choose scientists who conform to the IPCC narrative?

      • They have publicly endorsed the CAGW. In doing so they presented themselves as diligent seekers of truth, but in fact were just putting their mouths where the votes seemed to be coming from, and using the cod science vomited up by the climate “scientists” to justify their position. The unravelling of the CAGW scam reveals that they were credulous, callow, and many other things it is not in a politician’s interests to appear to be. They have a tiger by its tail, and cannot let go, for fear it will swiftly devour them.

        Same, mutatis mutandis, goes for the MSM.

      • More to the point, the immediate logical conclusion of accepting cAGW is, and is always made explicitly, that more power and funding needs to be funnelled to and through governments, including and especially the Global Uber-Government-in-Waiting, the UN and its slavering agencies. Pols just lurve this line of thinking. And support it to the hilt. Unless they are, e.g., unregenerate anti-statists or Repubilicans or SLT, of course.

      • Well of course politicians come in all kinds of shapes and flavours – statists, anti-statists, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives etc. Yet governments of about every country accept the reality of AGW, even the Bush government did in the end. The notion that so many politicians of wildly differing political outlooks would all agree on accepting AGW in ideolgical grounds seems to be to be unlikely to say the least.

        As for Tom’s contention that they have been “putting their mouths where the votes seemed to be coming from”, it doesn’t seem to me that environmental issues in general are big vote-winners. However concerned voters are they tend to make decisions at election time based on other factors. In fact accepting AGW implies having to do things which are likely to be unpopular with both voters and influential vested interests, such as higher taxes, increased regulation, higher energy proces etc. If politicians were solely motivated by selfish concerns then they would either reject AGW outright or make serious noises about it but not actually follow it up with serious action. Which is a pretty good description of what many of them actually do. And of course many governments are not democratic and don’t have to worry about winning votes at all.

    • Now imagine that you collect the interpretations of medical professionals all over the world, and by and large they their conclusions converge to the same broad picture.

      Turns out though that hundreds of thousands of doctors worldwide would have told you as few as 30 years back that your stomach ulcer was caused by stress, diet, coffee, environmental factors, and so on. Hundreds of thousands of highly trained professionals were utterly wrong. It’s caused by a bacteria. It didn’t matter how many doctors agreed. Do not use medical analogies. Argument from authority can *always* be shown to be incorrect, especially in medicine.

      What you seem to not quite grasp here is that the public has been told any number of things that were ultimately incorrect: professionals were wrong, mistaken, sometimes liars who made stuff up (I’m looking at you, Rachel Carson) and in every instance the case was argument from authority. (Do not do this at home. Trust us. We’re highly trained professionals.) There is no reason for the public to think that somehow and magically climatology has managed to be utterly unique and that the planetary prognosis that esteemed climatology experts have cobbled together is absolute. There is every reason, however, for the public to be suspicious, and they SHOULD be so. After all, most of what they hear is wrong, and proportionally so: the more the claim of expertise, the more likely it’s nonsense. This business of assuming the public is idiotic because they seem too dim to get the narrative (therefore we’ll turn up the shriek dial to 11) is astonishingly naive.

      You say “expertise.” The public at large says “Ahah. Stomach ulcer — been there, done that, got the t-shirt.”

    • bart:

      • “If consensus has emerged through the normal course of scientific research.


      laconically yours

  25. Pre `climategate´, the debate was mostly about the science. Theories and opinions were put forward to explain the behaviour of the climate and upheld or refuted accordingly. Science was done by scientists and their work judged by scientists and published in peer reviewed journals. Climate science is a specialist subject. Becoming expert in the field of climatology requires year of training. Yet we are all climate scientists now, we all have an opinion and the right to question the science.

    Scepticism is part and parcel of the scientific process. The right to question the methodology, the data, or the results of any line of scientific enquiry is vital and necessary. In fact, it is precisely that which has made the science stronger.

    But scepticism, in order to be of value must be open minded and free of bias. It must, of necessity, be objective and above all; scientific. But no longer- scepticism has become outright denial of any evidence that supports the AGW hypothesis. It has become victim to the very thing it accuses the science of- confirmation bias, group think, tribalism and sloppy unscientific assesments conducted by amateurs. The majority of self appointed `sceptics´ of the blogosphere don´t do climate science, they attack climate scientists instead.

    The climategate emails were a bone tossed to the contrarians to be picked over. In place of doing science- they began poring, or should that be pawing, over the private thoughts and communications of a small group of scientists in an attempt to `prove´ a pre-existing suspicion that AGW was a hoax and a conspiracy of epic proportions. Scepticism , as in doing science, has been replaced by a kind of `thought police´ scenario whereby thoughts , intended to be private, are stripped of context and held up to ridicule- as if by so doing the science is somehow denigrated. This is not how science is conducted.

    There is a stated opinion by many on this blog that the climate scientists are liars, that the data is deliberately fudged and that AGW is therefore untrue and should at all costs be killed off and buried before it gets a chance to take hold on policy that does not support the BAU scenario. I am sceptical of the objectivity of the `sceptics´. It is a curious fact that many so called sceptics are upholders of the free market ideolgy and consider any attempt to regulate their activity, particularly in respect to environmental regulation, as off limits and to be fought off by fair means or foul.

    I am interested in this blog because I appreciate Dr Curry´s motive in calling for a dialogue. She asks, as I understand it, that we listen to each other and take note. I question whether this is happening. This blog is in danger of becoming another contrarian talking shop, where so called `sceptics´ reinforce each others entrenched views and continue to demean the scientists rather than challenge the science with more science, which is the rightful purpose of scepticism.

    We are affecting our climate. That is the simple truth and can only be denied by closing ones´ eyes to the evidence. To deny that fact is to assume that actions have no consequences, which is not only unscientific but also irresponsible.

    It is impossible to explain how climate functions without taking the role of CO2 on temperature into account. Pouring more and more of this waste product into the atmosphere and claiming that this is of no consequence is just fannying about.

    To me, the discovery that humankind can affect the climate is a momentous discovery.
    We should be taking that discovery very seriously.

    • A large post with little to support your assertions.

      To try and dismiss the skeptic side out of hand is dangerous and anti-science- of course the more crack-pot ideas can be easily dismissed, but you cannot use the ‘bad’ apples to discredit the good.

      Interesting too that you see climategate as a ‘bone thrown’ to the skeptics.

      From this i assume that you are of the opinion that not only is climategate an irrelevancy, but that the cAGW case is rock solid?

      Your final (vague) paragraphs seem to indicate as much.

      • Labmunkey. I do not dismiss sceptics out of hand. Scepticism is vital. Scepticism is open minded and enquiring. It is science. What I do dismiss is denial.
        It is essential to keep doing the science of climate change, keep asking questions and refining our understanding of how our climate operates. But it is meaningless to deny AGW, that is not science.

        I do not think climategate had a great impact on the science itself. It will probably ensure that the next IPCC report is more rigorous, which is a good thing, but I don´t think it showed the AGW hypothesis to be incorrect.

      • Terrible comment. I excerpt the “confirmation bias” study referenced above:
        “In fact, given that the logic of science should be more properly falsificational rather than confirmational, negative (or contratheoretical) results yield much more information than positive results (Weimer, 1977). It is only unsuccessful predictions that carry conclusive logical implications (Mahoney, 1976).”

    • Sorry, Sarah, but you’re spouting twaddle–progressive activist nonsense. You embarrass yourself when you say things like “It is impossible to explain how climate functions without taking the role of CO2 on temperature into account.” It might be impossible for you since you’re so certain your fellow humans are a plague on this earth, but none of the significant conveyors and integrators of energy I observe in our climate system have anything to do with CO2.

      • Interesting theory, Ken. CO2 is irrelevant to the climate system. I take it you think Alley’s 2009 AGU talk is entirely wrong?

        Where’s your paper that we can audit?

      • Rather disjointed. Nowhere near paper-ready. I couldn’t determine your point.

        Oh, and BTW, Lindzen accepts that CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas. What makes you so certain he’s wrong?

      • I accept that CO2 resonates with IR photons and couples energy to its neighboring molecules in the atmosphere. However, I think most of the heat of your typical CO2 molecule comes from colliding with warmer O2 and N2 molecules…molecules that got their heat from conduction from warmer things like sea surface and land and then convected around the world. I don’t think IR-stimulated CO2 does anything measurable to our atmosphere.

      • No, Ken. Warming by CO2 is critical in the upper atmosphere, far from land and sea, above the convective troposphere, and where there is very little H2O.

        Stuff you should know.

      • Yet that pesky hot spot declines to cooperate with your assertion.

      • Hot spot

        Read more. Post less.

      • wrong.

        see the stratosphere.

        we’ve known this for years. we build things based on this physics. full stop. Lindzen at least has the sense to realize this.

    • Sarah,
      AGW has never really been about science any more than eugenics was about science.
      It has always been a social movement promoting mankind’s redemption by way of an apocalypse myth.

    • “Pre `climategate´, the debate was mostly about the science”, you write, nostalgically. But it wasn’t, was it? The science was “settled”, wasn’t it?

    • It’s momentous, all right, but it’s not a discovery of fact. It’s a discovery of a super-powerful lever to flip the planet into a state of total bureaucratic control. Which is what controlling the modes and quantities of energy generation and use is, make no mistake.

  26. Ken,

    I eagerly await your physics based, quantitative explanation (a.k.a. a GCM) of large shifts in global avg temperature in the past, such as the glacial cycles, with a climate sensitivity of 1.


    • Here you go
      Lindzen and Pan, 1993

      Click to access 171nocephf.pdf

      • Hmmm.

        Click to access fulltext.pdf

        “Although Lindzen and Pan’s theory may be a reasonable explanation of the frequency of glacial-interglacial transitions, it makes no quantitative predictions of their amplitude. Thus the statement quoted above [climate being insensitive to radiative forcing] is more a hypothesis than a conclusion.”

        Plus, if Milankowitch forcing would be magnified to the extent needed to be consistent with a small sensitivity to other radiative forcings (why aren’t they subject to the same feedback?), shouldn’t we have been cooling, not warming, over the past century/ies?

      • That’s not responsive to Bart’s request. The paper preemptively disclaims that it should not be expected to produce results that agree well with observational/reconstructed data nor be treated as a realistic model. It in no way realistically reproduces the amplitude of Quaternary glaciation cycling using a climate sensitivity of 1.

    • Bart,
      Show us the dangerous warming of the past that caused any of the problems your community claims will be caused by CO2.

    • I am not so arrogant as you, Bart. I think we are far away from knowing all we need to know about the climate to say anything about it with any certainty. I know about thermodynamics…CO2 does not have magical insulating properties or heat storage capacity you dreamed up to do anything measurable to our atmosphere’s temperature.

      • Oh, the irony is delicious. Ken says he’s not arrogant, then because he says he knows about thermodynamics, he dismisses CO2 entirely.

        Really. Where’s your paper showing that CO2’s impact on the energy balance of the climate system isn’t “measurable”? That would overturn quite a lot of published knowledge on the subject!

      • Short memory, I provided you with the quote last night. You even provided the link:

        Click to access EnergyDiagnostics09final2.pdf

        “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
        , but their consequences can be seen and measured,
        at least in principle”

        (If you believe an unproven chain of causation)

      • That’s not quite exactly what I said. Space-based measurements aren’t the only source of data we have.

        Take a look at Science of Doom’s commentary on “back radiation”. That has been measured, and confirms the theory.

      • TB, did you meant to write

        “These values are small enough to yet be directly measured from
        space”? – if so, can you explain?

        I would understand “These values are small enough to NOT yet be directly measured from space” – is that what was meant?

    • Circular argument. You assert a proof that CO2 is the cause of glacial swings using a GCM which assumes that which you wish to test and is known to exclude various factors.

  27. More is still being learned about climategate.
    See The Holland Redaction at Bishop Hill.
    It shows that CRU and the “independent” inquiry have learned nothing at all from climategate, and are continuing to try to hide information and mislead people (for example, deleting parts of David Holland’s submission to the inquiry).

  28. Seems we have not learned anything from Climategate:

    Next climate warming report will be dramatically worse: UN

    “”The evidence shows us quite the opposite– that we can’t rest easy at all” as scientists agree that climate change “is happening in an accelerated way.”

    “As preparations are underway for the next IPCC report, just about everything that you will see in the next report will be more dramatic than the last report, because that is where all the data is pointing.””

    What’s “accelerating”? Not temps, not sea level rise, not storms, not hurricanes, what the hell is accelerating?!!!

    • Clearly, the UN has learned absolutely nothing – from Climategate or any other events of the past year (including the recommendations contained in the IAC’s recent review of the IPCC).

      “next report will be more dramatic than the last report, […]”

      Considering that the last report was described by one IPCC lead author (no less a luminary than Canada’s “best-known climate scientist”) as a “barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles” one can hardly wait to see how much deeper into the apparently bottomless hyperbole pool they will be diving.

    • David L. Hagen

      Speaking of uncertainties, Climate Science appears to still be “teething”:

      Wijffels, Susan E., Josh Willis, Catia M. Domingues, Paul Barker, Neil J. White, Ann Gronell, Ken Ridgway, John A. Church, 2008: Changing Expendable Bathythermograph Fall Rates and Their Impact on Estimates of Thermosteric Sea Level Rise. J. Climate, 21, 5657–5672. doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2290.1

      A time-varying warm bias in the global XBT data archive is demonstrated to be largely due to changes in the fall rate of XBT probes likely associated with small manufacturing changes at the factory. Deep-reaching XBTs have a different fall rate history than shallow XBTs. Fall rates were fastest in the early 1970s, reached a minimum between 1975 and 1985, reached another maximum in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and have been declining since. Field XBT/CTD intercomparisons and a pseudoprofile technique based on satellite altimetry largely confirm this time history. A global correction is presented and applied to estimates of the thermosteric component of sea level rise. The XBT fall rate minimum from 1975 to 1985 appears as a 10-yr “warm period” in the global ocean in thermosteric sea level and heat content estimates using uncorrected data. Upon correction, the thermosteric sea level curve has reduced decadal variability and a larger, steadier long-term trend.

      Now the corrections need to be corrected:

      DiNezio, Pedro N., Gustavo J. Goni, 2010: Identifying and Estimating Biases between XBT and Argo Observations Using Satellite Altimetry. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 27, 226–240.

      The depth-dependent XBT-minus-Argo differences suggest a global positive bias of 3% of the XBT depths. The fact that this 3% error is robust among the different ocean basins provides evidence for changes in the instrumentation, such as changes in the terminal velocity of the XBTs. The value of this error is about the inverse of the correction to the XBT fall-rate equation (FRE) implemented in 1995, suggesting that this correction, while adequate during the 1990s, is no longer appropriate and could be the source of the 3% error. This result suggests that for 2000–07, the XBT dataset can be brought to consistency with Argo by using the original FRE coefficients without the 1995 correction.

      Evidence needs to be provided for major departures from the “null hypothesis” that the historic sea level rise rate will continue for the next century and that observed trends will not deviate strongly from that mean trend. e.g. will not exceed 3 standard deviations from this trend.

    • If the “evidence” of this “acceleration” is so critial, we have to act now to reverse, then why wait for 2014 for the report? Shouldn’t they give a report now in advance of Cancun? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to see this “acceleration.”

      Judith, any idea what the UN is refering to?

    • The output of alarmist bushwah is accelerating, of course; desperation has seized the cAGW hierarchy-in-gestation. It might be stillborn! So it’s using its embryonic teeth and fingernails to try and rip its way out of the womb. Little knowing that success would mean swift death by exposure to the cold chill of economic Reality.

  29. Hunter,

    125,000 years ago during the height of the last interglacial, global avg temp were perhaps 1 to 2 degrees higher than now, while sea levels were ~6 metres higher than now. Of course that wasn’t at all catastrophic at the time, since there wasn’t any human infrastructure that found itself flooded and 1 billion people being forced to relocate.

    • Bart,
      Thank you for proving my point.
      Now are you going to say here that sea levels are going to rise at the speed of a flood event?

      • Does SLR have to occur like a flash flood to be worthy of concern?

      • That is what Hansen, Gore and many others claim is going to. or already has, happened.

      • Gore? Really? Another repetitive tired old meme dusted off and brought out. Snore.

        Hansen said that SLR “has happened” at the “speed of a flood event”? Really? Wow.


      • See Gore’s movie.
        Hansen claimed in an interview with one of his supporters, author Bob Reiss, that Manhattan should already be inundated by slr.
        I am sorry but not surprised you are easily bored.

      • I suggest you think before you post.

        That would save you from posting such ignorant drivel – and yes, it truly is ignorant drivel.

      • I took hunter’s comment to mean that if SLR isn’t like a flood, then it doesn’t matter. How do you interpret what he said?

      • Since the sea levels have been rising at about the speed they are rising now for some time, I mean this: if sea level rises are so insignificant that we continue to respond to them in about the same way we do now, who gives a flip except hysterics or deluded people who think the climate did not change prior to the CO2 obsession..

      • No one, and I mean absolutely no one, anywhere, has said that the climate did not change in the past.

      • then ask everyone, and I mean everyone, to stop using badly defined misleading terms like ‘climate change’.

      • Fine, if you would like to suggest an alternative term to describe climate change as caused by man made GHG emissions as opposed to the climate change which has occured in the past for other reasons then I will happily use it. How about climate disruption?

      • Oh, I see you already seeem to approve of that.

      • You people already had “Man-made global warming” – what was wrong with that? It seems, unlike “climate change”, “climate disruption”, etc., to be quite precise – perhaps that’s what you don’t like about it?

        Andrew it was not us sceptics that chose to start this Orwellian semantic merry-go-round, but you Believers. And you started it precisely to create the ambiguity you deplore. The intention was that the lay public would be deceived into hearing “change”, and assuming “man-made”, thus relieving you of the obligation to prove it.

      • It is the “sceptics” who are so hung up on semantics, I can assure you that for us “believers” it is a ridiculous fuss about nothing.
        There is nothing wrong with “man made global warming” but it is not the same thing as “climate change” or “climate disruption” – one is the consequence of the other, global temperatures are only one aspect of our climate.
        The lay public is well aware of the scientific view that man is largely responsible for the changes to our climate which we are seeing now and which will become more apparent over the rest of this century. There is no possible deception involved in referring to it in one way or another. You are getting very close to silly conspiracy theories.

      • ‘hung up on semantics’?
        You make yourself look ignorant and insult the intelligence of whole lot of people on that one.
        And then you blithely blend in multiple unproven assertions about current climate and future climate that sound downright biblical in their prophetic- and predictive- power. IOW, not at all.
        This is not semantics. The cliamte science community has gotten the tax payers of Earth to give over tens of billions of dollars to find out if there is a global climate catastrophe happening, likely to happen or not.
        No one has bothered to critically review either the premise the means or the standards of that vast expenditure, except some geeky bloggers.
        So don’t show up with a bunch condescending tripe about semantics.

      • Whether we use the expressions “climate change”, “climate disruption”, “AGW” or whatever is an argument about semantics. The extent to which these things are likely to happen and the consequences thereof is a different thing altogether.

      • I would call it bs, but we can agree to call it climate disruption. The WH has bought into that one, as well.
        So……..show me the disruption.

      • Brian H,
        I agree. But pinning down AGW believers is not easy.
        Apocalyptic clap trap leaves little room for clear thinking.

      • Fine! That’s even hilariously stupider than its predecessors.

      • Funny thing about SLR – it’s cumulative. Even a relatively low rate over a long enough time can cause big problems.

        And I don’t know of anyone who said that the climate was unchanging until the CO2 from our fossil fuels was dumped into the atmosphere. Can you tell me the name of someone who did?

      • Derecho64,
        The very name of the alleged problem, ‘climate change’ implies an unchanging climate very clearly.
        the inability of the AGW community to define climate change as anything except bad and terrible implies it very strongly.
        The new marketing name by Holdren, ‘global climate disruption’ implies a prior time of nice stable cliamte very clearly.
        So no dodging or weaving.

      • I prefer “anthropogenic climate change” myself.

        Or, if you like, “AGW”.


      • I can agree on that, as well. The problem is many climate scientists seem to think there is no catastrophic component to AGW…yet are demanding we upturn the world for them.

      • The irony in hunter’s comment is that the world will upturn on us as long as we continue on our current civilizational course.

      • And your assumption on that is proven by just what?
        Circular reasoning is one of the may interesting negative aspects of AGW.

      • ooops,
        and cumulative slr?
        Please do explain how an incremental rise in SLR indistinguishale from SLR change over the last many years is going to be bad because it was caused by CO2.

      • Look at the rates as well as the fact that there weren’t about 7 billion people on the planet at the time.

      • But the rise rate is falling even as co2 increases faster then ever.

        The rise rate has fallen by a third since 2003

      • Almost every consensus scientist is implicitly saying it – when they say climate change, they mean ACC. When they say global warming (without time scale!), they mean AGW.

        And so what if SLR is cumulative – so is sea level decrease.

      • The immediate problem is not sea level rise, but storm surge on top of that sea level rise. The cost of flood barriers is very high, and there are places where they cannot be used.

      • Eli,
        Thank you for confirming that slr is not a big issue.
        Storm surge happens in very particular places and conditions.
        What you do is either build up or build away.
        Just like in Boston, San Fran, Houston, Galveston, Mississippi, New Orleans, etc.
        BTW, subsidence, not slr has a huge role in storm surge vulnerability.

      • Wow – can you read, hunter? What you say Eli said is not what Eli said.

        How many people in this planet live within a few meters of sea level, today? Do you know?

      • And what proportion of them are sensible enough to live in simple dwellings which are easily rebuilt further up the coast when a big storm or tsunami knocks them down? As they do from time to time, and always have. Sea level has been rising for 15 thousand years.

        Weather and climate have always changed unpredictably and often suddenly. get over it. Gradualism is for fearful thinkers.

      • I wouldn’t call NYC, Shanghai, London, Miami, San Francisco, and the others “simple dwellings”. Why do you?

        Interestingly, if we’re so adaptable to SLR that we need not worry about it, then we ought to be adaptable to using non-fossil-fuel-based energy sources. I assume you agitate in favor of us ridding ourselves of our addiction to them, correct?

      • I summed it up well, actually. SLR is a bogus issue in all dimensions- the scope of the threat and the the cost of accomodation. SLR is not making billions and billions at risk. Storm surges are rare, not common, in any particular area of coastline.
        As to ‘addiction’ to fossil fuels and breaking it, you first. show us how by cutting off all things to do with fossil fuels. Your car(s), AC, central heat, lights, all plastics, refrigeration, and of course internet and TV.
        We are addicted to fossil fuels like we addicted to food medical care or water. If you have an alternative, show us.
        Otherwise, stop repeating silly meaningless claims.

      • I must say you’re resolute in your views – but they are not based in reality. I wonder which will win…

      • The same way as you did, and for that reason it’s meaningless.

        Living space, amount of fresh water, food scarcity – none of these problems will disappear if SLR is creeping instead of a flash flood. You know that, Bart knows that, I know that. Hunter – well, either he doesn’t know, or he doesn’t want to know

      • What do you think I either do not know or do not want to know?

      • You can read, right?

        It is spelled out in the post you responded to

    • 350 million Chinese are expected to relocate from rural to urban areas in the next 15 years. Between 1991 and 2001, 98 million Indians relocated internally.
      50 million people relocate within the United States every year.

      Humanity has always been and always will be a ‘migratory’ species.

      • What happens when 100 million+ Bangladeshis have to leave Bangladesh?

        Besides, some of those 50 million Americans moved to (say) NYC. That’s going to be more difficult when chunks of it are underwater.

      • Which dataset(s) did you use?

        “colorado.edu” isn’t sufficient to determine.

      • No IB not seasonally adjusted.

      • Is that the correct dataset to use for your analysis, or, did you use it because it showed what you wanted it to? Have you done the same analysis for the other three? Lastly, is your claim significant?

      • I predict you’ll find little difference in the regressions whichever you use. Download the various datasets and have a go yourself.

      • Are linear regressions best?

      • Got any better ideas?

        Have a look at the link on my blog post from Jon Drake. he posits the possibility that there may be a sinusoidal cycle. Longer data series required to be sure though.

      • Given that you’ve got four datasets, why not do the four analyses and see if your claim holds up? Is it sensitive to choice of period?

        BTW, these are the kinds of questions that get asked when a paper is reviewed.

      • I’m not offering a paper, and you are not my reviewer. Since you have not offered any worthwhile analysis of your own, and refuse to make your qualifications known, I wouldn’t accept you as one either.

      • tallbloke doesn’t appear to appreciate being “audited”.

      • Your argument that SLR doesn’t matter would be more credible if you’d exhausted the readily-available data. Otherwise, your argument smacks of crude cherry-picking.

        If you can’t explain why you did the analysis you did and the way you did it, you’re just blowing hot air.

      • Do some work yourself, then I might be interested in discussing science with you. I have provided results, you are the one blowing hot air. The other datasets are little different to the one I used, and this is well known. So I don’t need to waste my time exhausting the data to try to convince fools like you, who will nitpick and cast doubt no matter what lengths those who provide evidence counter to your prejudice go. I suggest you go elsewhere to try to jerk someones strings, it doesn’t work on me.

      • Arg. Bangaladesh IS a river delta. It grows and retreats with silt deposits. Currently it’s growing. The sea level has SFA to do with it.

      • It ain’t gonna happen due to CO2.

    • seems to me that if we know we have 90 years to move a billion people, we had best start now. I take it you would support an absolute ban on new construction on land that is less than 1 meter above sea level?

      • I wouldn’t be so sure we have 90 years. The problem isn’t so much people moving too close to sea level, the problem is the people and infrastructure already there. Any suggestions?

      • You have no idea how much time we have. There is no slr that is making seaside living a crisis problem at all, except in the fever swamps of AGW belief.

  30. Derecho64: “Oh, and BTW, Lindzen accepts that CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas. What makes you so certain he’s wrong?”
    So what? Of course it is, but so is water.
    Oreskes: Hmmm, more “consensus” garbage. Science isn’t a democracy.
    Carl Sagan was a particularly bad example of you to give considering his views about global cooling.
    I like Feynman’s take on things: “…reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” Of course climate scientists would have dismissed Feynman out of hand since he wasn’t one of the anointed inbred brotherhood/sisterhood.

    • GW, Ken doesn’t believe CO2 has any “measurable” impact on the climate.

      Your last comment is just silly speculation.

      • Ken is correct, and Trenberth agrees too. As you have been told repeatedly.

      • Not quite. Re-read your extract from Trenberth’s paper.

      • “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”

        It’s weaselly worded, but clear enough.
        “small enough to yet be directly measured from space” = too small to be measured from space yet.

      • The key is “from space”. Did you read SoD’s comments (and the references therein) about measurement of “back radiation”?

      • The reason Trenberth wailed about ‘missing heat’ is because his quantities for the back radiation didn’t work out. Which is why he bemoaned the fact that

        “we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not close to balancing the energy budget”

        If you understood anything about the problems involved in empirical measurement of back radiation, you’d have more of a clue about uncertainty, and why Trenberth et al rely on models. Models which failed to model the actual climate because they are incorrectly parameterized and failed to take account of the 30% shrinkage of the ionosphere that the ever so constant and therefore ignorable sun caused.


        I didn’t just read S.o.D’s comments, I wrote 20% the thread comments. You obviously didn’t read those, or you wouldn’t be asking.

      • I wouldn’t take the judgement of a mere blog commentor as to Trenberth’s science (“Schmucks”) very seriously until he or she published a paper that showed Trenberth was very wrong. Have you done so? Why not?

        I did see that you wrote comments. I didn’t see that you read SoD’s commentary.

      • I don’t have 10K to waste so a journal can hide my results behind a paywall. I run my own publishing medium and my output is judged by my peers there in realtime, in the open.

        And now you insult by implying I would write comments on someones blog without reading the OP, which is what it looks like you’ve done here, since you are diluting the thread with irrelevant off-topic provocations.

      • while we differ on the science tallbloke, I agree that paywalls need to be broken down.

    • What were Sagan’s views about global cooling?

      • I don’t know all of his views, butI believe he once speculated that massive burning of forests could lead to cooling.

        So if we burned 85% of the world’s forests at one time, could there be dimming?

      • Thanks JCH. I have a 3 page article from Parade Magazine (that’s an esoteric technical journal), dated Feb 3, 1985, which provides as good a primer on AGW as you’re likely to find on the web today.

      • I think this is probably the source:

        So Sagan is talking about a lot of things there.

      • Mostly it started with speculation about nuclear winter resulting from all the burning of cities in a nuclear war. Further research pointed maybe to a nuclear fall, although you occasionally see papers revisiting these ideas. Google Sagan and nuclear winter.

        There was also speculation about what setting all the oil wells on fire in Kuwait would do.

      • Eli should know that Carl was on Nightline, telling us about snow in India from the Kuwait oil well fires.

      • Do you have the transcripts showing exactly what Sagan “predicted”?
        The internet reliably provides claims he predicted everything from a cooling to a snowball earth, but none provide the transcript.

      • Unfortunaelty, I only recall watching the Nightline episode back in the early days after GW1, with sagan opining in his great voice about the weather impact on India and how this would prove nuke winter.
        Nuclear winter was one of the early science-political issues that struck me as transparent agit-prop. the AGW players were all there; Scientific American granting massive amounts of press space to promoting it, a fawning press that never critically challenged it, and scientists hiding their political views behind obvious hack peer reviewed papers.
        I see nuke winter as a trial run of all the fallacies of AGW.

      • Nuclear winter is still very much the dominant theory for what would likely happen if a large scale war took place. In regards to Sagan being wrong on that one instance, that happens in science. It’s what makes the process a truth-telling mechanism that corrects. And this particular situation in Iraq, the ash did not make into the stratosphere, like what happens with volcanoes or nuclear explosions. The facts of the two situations are not similar and don’t support your narrative anyway.

      • “… scientists hiding their political views behind obvious hack peer reviewed papers”

        You would be referring to…who? TTAPS?

  31. Not really. It is true that I have little respect for most climate scientists and a lot of respect for physicists. Climate scientists seem enamored with toy models.

    • Actually, many climate scientists have their Ph.D. in physics, and, not all are “enamored” with “toy models”. I recommend looking at some of Arthur P. Smith’s writings on the arrogance of physicists, and, please grab the source code of one of the readily-available GCMs. They’re not what one would call a “toy”.

  32. Well, yes, some of the most arrogant and political activist amongst the AGW people do, like Hansen. A lot of good it has done their critical faculties.
    As for codes, try going through the Harry read me files. Also, a complicated model is not a better model. The more degrees of freedom can generate almost any result you want…GIGO.

    • So take away Hansen. There are others. Are they suspect too?

      Oh, and that README file was related to trying to work with station data, IIRC. What that has to do with GCMs is left as an exercise for you to explain. And there’s one other thing – you can’t make a GCM “generate almost any result you want” – it has to be physical.

      Take a look at one of the GCMs – your choice. Several are available.

      • “you can’t make a GCM “generate almost any result you want” – it has to be physical.”

        Even if you have to invent the aerosol forcings to get your hindcast to look something like the historical record…

        Go read about Hoyt and the Davos pyrgeometer data.

      • The next go-round, CMIP5, will likely show some interesting results from the latest generation of climate models.

        Can you be more specific as to Hoyt? A DOI perhaps?

      • I doubt it, because it won’t take any account of solar influences other than TSI.


        This dooms it to failure unfortunately. When will they learn?

      • What other “solar influences” should GCMs take into account, and, do they matter?

      • Effect on atmospheric ozone of U.V.
        Effect on sea surface biology of U.V.
        Effect on ocean kinematics of solar variation – not all solar energy ends up as heat.
        Effect on Polar atmospheric oscillations of large solar events and consequent changes in the interplanetary magnetic field.

        For starters. Until more research is done, we won’t know which effects are big enough to be important in terms of climate forcing.

        U.V. varies two orders of magnitue more than TSI. 15% in the last 30 years. Effect unknown but Sunny jsut shrunk the ionosphere 30%. Effect unknown, but certainly not insignificant.

        These are some of the reasons why you can’t measure the effect of co2. It’s an ever changing system subject to varying external forcings we don’t yet understand.

        Time for climate science to get real about uncertainty, as Judith has been trying to point out.

      • And you’re sure models don’t try to take into account any of these things?


      • I asked Andy Lacis on the other thread when he mentioned that they’d just started including ozone (just started!!).

        No response yet.

        It sounds like you are sure the GCM’s do include solar U.V. variation with your “Wow”, so feel free to provide some links, or spare me the innuendo.

      • Why don’t you survey current atmospheric models and see which ones have active chemistry and/or well-resolved stratospheres. I don’t doubt that you can find at least a few.

      • Interestingly, datasets are provided:

        “For models that can make sensible use of the spectrally-resolved
        irradiance, the following data should be used:
        1. annual resolution TSI and spectrally resolved data from 1610 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2008
        2. monthly resolved TSI and spectrally resolved data from 1882 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2008”

        Someone out there cares about things other than just TSI.

      • Yeah. Me.

        Got any links to GCM’s which document use of the spectrally resolved datasets?

      • I don’t know which GCMs have used that dataset.

      • I would like to see the results of every model run ever made. It would be fine if the relevant team explained the circumstances of each run, but it would be interesting to see the spread in the runs. Were any that were considered to be properly “tuned” withheld from publication?

      • A goodly number of the modeling groups have data portals that provide access to their model’s output. You may want to poke around the web and take a look.

      • Take away Hansen’s apocalyptic prophecies and you take away much of modern cliamte science.

      • Take away your ignorant repetitions of tired old memes, and the number of your posts here drops nearly to nil.

      • Take away your ignorant posts and you will disappear- magic before our very eyes.
        Show me that Hansen has not been selling tipping points, storms of his grandchildren, runaway greenhouse and saving the planet.
        reactionary true believers like you prevent reasonable people from making any progress on this.
        Maybe you should think-if you can- before you act the fool?

      • I give up on you, hunter. You’re too enraged to be reasonable.

  33. Derecho64 on November 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm wrote

    Without showing the instrumental temperature record along with those proxies, it’s hard to determine (especially given the coarse time scale) if the MWP was at least as warm as today just via those graphs.

    You have to actually look at the peer reviewed papers linked to in each chart to see that. It will take you to a database where you can actually find links etc. to heaps more. It’s not that all show the MWP is warmer, though most do, but all show MWP + LIA and not a hockey stick.

    Now we all know that truth is not determined by a majority vote but we are not talking about that here but the weight of evidence is in favour of MWP + LIA.

  34. I’ve posted a new link, part II of the yale climate forum, interviews leading climate media figures

    • David L. Hagen

      In which Curry gets honorable mention and some journalists raise serious issues:
      David Biello, Scientific American

      I’m not sure the climate journalism community has learned any lessons. In my view, we all continually repeat the mistakes of the past, either because of turnover that is bringing many “new” to the beat into the coverage scheme who are trained in the classic he said/she said style. Or because us old-timers are set in our ways and continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. One example, from my own magazine, is a recent profile of Judith Curry.
      . . .
      The lesson that should be learned is two-fold: one, we must always retain our skepticism. Don’t trust anyone. Verify everything. In cases where you can’t verify, triangulate (i.e., use multiple sources to get closer to the truth). . . .

      Andrew Revkin, “DotEarth“ observes:

      . . .Try rigorously to include context on the overall state of knowledge when framing stories on science around conflict, given that conflict is a constant in science.

      Develop patience. The story of humanity’s entwined climate and energy challenges will outlive you. No single treaty, meeting, e-mail hack, IPCC report, or climate bill is a keystone. . . .

      Curtis Brainard, Columbia Journalism Review

      . . .Science cannot settle all arguments about how the world should respond to global warming, because the answer to that question involves values, varying perceptions of risk, and political ideology, in addition to what we know (and don’t know) about the climate system. . . .

      There was also a long feature in Scientific American about Judith Curry, who studies hurricanes at Georgia Tech and has ruffled the feathers of her fellow climate scientists by engaging with skeptics. A lot of climate scientists were really unhappy with the piece, arguing that Curry is wrong and that the media attention should have gone to somebody who is making real progress with their research. Personally, though, I thought it was an excellent attempt to be more aggressive and skeptical with scientists and show that climate science is (as Andrew Revkin once put it) a very “herky-jerky” process.. . .

    • Did the journalists have to interview each other because the climate scientists at the centre of the scandal didn’t feel the need to turn up an explain themselves? ;)

  35. David L. Hagen

    Al Gore’s Important Admission
    By Andrew Cline on 11.23.10 @ 6:09AM

    “It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” Reuters reported Gore saying during a green energy summit in Athens. “First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.”

    Gore’s real reason appears to be buying farm votes:

    One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.

  36. Here’s someone who has learned nothing. A UN political operative telling us what the IPCC report will look like in 4 years:
    “Robert Orr, UN under secretary general for planning, said the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming will be much worse than the last one.”

    And AP reports this faithfully without even noticing the implication that the policy people are dictating the science. No hint of skepticism either.

    “Next climate warming report will be dramatically worse: UN”

  37. Judith,

    You have some of the brightest minds here.
    That said, many have putty stuffed inside from lack of researching for answers and going on the written words of others who have not totally followed the science.
    This has NEVER been researched except for myself in looking for answers to the overall picture.
    There is over a trillion gallons a day of water redirected out of our eco-system being trapped in pipes and sewers, pumped into oil wells for pressure, trapped into tailing ponds with heavy surface scum, made into canned food and water products, made into cleaning supplies and beauty products.
    So, science is misdirected looking for the 6 meter rise in water that is the current thesis for the tell tail signs of the next Ice Age.

    Next, looking at or brain synapsis functions to what this planet does in lightening is not far off in the overall picture. Pressurized water holds a great deal of stored energy.
    The saying…”We can not live without water for 31 hours and food for 31 days.” Is quite appropriate.
    Again, my own research.

  38. I have made great strides in understanding our planets rotation and all the energies that creates. Current science totally flaked out in this area and made up for it with theories to cover there behinds. Op’s forgot, they are unbreakable LAWS.

  39. Slightly OT, but there is a fascinating discussion between Tom Curtis and Leonard Weinstein going on over at Climate Clash
    see especially the comments #214 and following

    • What do you find fascinating?

      • These seem like the standard arguments to me. Curtis is arguing the close long term correlation between CO2 and temperature, which AGW explains. Weinstein is arguing the other possible causes.Curtis replies that none has worked so far so AGW is the only known explanation, etc.

        Regarding the correlation, Howard Hayden makes an interesting argument, namely that it is far too good. CO2 is supposed to be just one of several significant forcings so there should not be a close correlation. However there is a really good correlation between CO2 and sea surface temperatures (assuming accuracy). Hayden proposes that this is explained by assuming that the CO2 levels are due to ocean emissions, which rise with temperature. In fact the CO2 emissions basic equations are virtually identical to the basic CO2 forcing equations, so mathematically it can go either way. His hypothesis is that humans have nothing to do with CO2 levels and CO2 levels do not cause temperature levels, rather it is the other way around. The correlation is the evidence. It is quite elegant.

      • Interesting argument. It will be interesting to see what happens as the global temperature plunges due to the negative AMO and PDO. Will CO2 continue to climb vs. emissions? A downturn in CO2 would be a large tell.

      • Perhaps you should say “if the temperature plunges.” I am just as skeptical of you prediction as of AGW, for the same reasons.

      • IMO, the best one on one debate on this i’ve seen in the blogosphere (maybe i’ve missed something?)

      • It is indeed a good “top of the issue tree” rendition of some of the basic scientific arguments, so we don’t disagree. I thought perhaps there was something new.

  40. Armstrong, J. Scott. “Opinion: Let’s Deal in Science and Facts.” wsj.com, November 19, 2010, sec. Letters. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703326204575616983641995488.html

    Green, Kesten, and J. Scott Armstrong. “Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists Versus Scientific Forecasts.” Energy & Environment 18, no. 7 (December 1, 2007): 997-1021.

    In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group One, a panel of experts established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, issued its Fourth Assessment Report. The Report included predictions of dramatic increases in average world temperatures over the next 92 years and serious harm resulting from the predicted temperature increases.

    Using forecasting principles as our guide we asked: Are these forecasts a good basis for developing public policy? Our answer is “no”.

    To provide forecasts of climate change that are useful for policy-making, one would need to forecast (1) global temperature, (2) the effects of any temperature changes, and (3) the effects of feasible alternative policies. Proper forecasts of all three are necessary for rational policy making.The IPCC WG1 Report was regarded as providing the most credible long-term forecasts of global average temperatures by 31 of the 51 scientists and others involved in forecasting climate change who responded to our survey. We found no references in the 1056-page Report to the primary sources of information on forecasting methods despite the fact these are conveniently available in books, articles, and websites. We audited the forecasting processes described in Chapter 8 of the IPCC’s WG1 Report to assess the extent to which they complied with forecasting principles. We found enough information to make judgments on 89 out of a total of 140 forecasting principles.

    The forecasting procedures that were described violated 72 principles. Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical.The forecasts in the Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing. Research on forecasting has shown that experts’ predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainly and complexity. We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.

    Principles of Forecasting: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners. International series in operations research & management science. Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic, 2001.

    Click to access standardshort.pdf

  41. To John N-G, or anyone else who might know. There has been much discussion about the mission tropospheric hot spot. Was the hot spot defined to be above some absolute temperature as a function of CO2? Or was it defined as being X degrees hotter than some other part of the atmosphere? Something else?

  42. This thread is headed as “What have we learned from Climategate part II”

    In the real universe, current threads on CA and Bishop Hill concerning Holland’s treatment by Muir Russell and Boulton, together with UEA, show very clearly what has been learnt

  43. Brandon Shollenberger

    I’m posting this response down here because the threaded comments were getting to be too much for me to dig through. Øystein responded to me saying:

    There is the easily spotted mistake of you conflating opinion with fact. Even if you comment on books instead of blog posts, which book you consider to be the best is still your opinion of fact, not fact.

    This seems representative of what a couple people are thinking. However, it doesn’t make any sense. I clearly differentiated between fact and opinion when I said Chris Colose “shouted his opinion as fact” (shouted was probably an unfair exaggeration).

    Now then, Chris Colose called something accurate. That was his opinion. However, he did not offer it as his opinion. There is a huge difference between saying “I think this is accurate,” and, “This is accurate.” One is a statement of opinion; one is a statement of fact. Chris Colose stated his opinion as fact.

    I am perfectly well cognizant of the difference between fact and opinion, and as far as I can tell, I have not conflated the two in any of my posts. If there is an “easily spotted mistake” where such a conflation happens in my post, would someone mind pointing it out?

    As for willard, a quick skim of one of his latest responses found these two comments:

    So I offered a simple reason to show that these kinds of claims can’t be judgements of fact

    Brandon Shollenberger must also admit that this is in no way “the real issue”: the real issue is the question if Colose shouts his opinion as a fact.

    willard had sought to argue Colose’s remark couldn’t be a statement of fact, because there is no way for Colose to have known what he said to be true. I pointed out the mistakes of his argument (which he has acknowledged) because his argument was nonsensical, not because it was relevant. I was pointing out something ridiculous to show why I wasn’t going to respond to everything willard said. I have a limit to how much nonsense I will deal with at any given time.

    In any event, I completely agree about what “the real issue” is. Whether or not Colose could possibly have known what he said to be true is irrelevant to whether or not he stated it as fact. If I say, “The world will end tomorrow,” I am stating it as a fact. That I couldn’t possibly know it to be true doesn’t change anything.

    If anyone can point out where I’ve conflated fact and opinion, I would be both grateful and surprised. I’ve read everything I’ve said several times, and I can’t see it.

  44. Good op-ed by Barry Bickmore in a local newspaper:


    “my aim is to show that if you decide to dismiss the overwhelming consensus of experts about climate change, but don’t want to bother doing the work to become truly informed, it’s very likely that you will be fooled by whatever arguments tend to confirm your biases.”

  45. I followed your link Bart and I thought the op-ed was complete garbage.

    “Here scientists simply don’t have time (and the audience typically doesn’t have the interest) to lay out all the evidence, the arguments and counterarguments, in full detail. Isn’t it legitimate, then, to simply note that almost all the experts have been convinced of a given point?”

    • Your objection to the point in the op-ed provided by Bart is not practical. You cannot possibly learn climate science properly over the length of a youtube video, or by listening to two experts go back and forth on a technical point. Thw whole Americanized “I have my opinion!!!!, blah blah, and it’s equal to yours!!” just doesn’t work. Consensus does matter for scientific communication.

      People can test whether they disagree with me on a climate blog or *actually* disagree with me by going to a doctors office, or a car repair shop, or some technical conference on a topic they know nothing about. Step outside the safe world of arguing on blogs and see how you look when you start to yell at experts on a topic that you have 5 minutes of knowledge about. Doesn’t work, sorry.

      • AnthropoceneEndGame

        You nailed it on the ‘5 minutes of knowledge’. Every American man/woman is a king/queen and they’re all overnight graduates in Climatology.

        I like this one: 9 out of 10 oncologists tell Joe Blew a portion of his bowel needs to be removed. Joe decides he’ll, like, go with the doc who says he has time. Never mind he has no insurance to speak of.
        That’s America , circa ’10.

      • Yeah, especially when it comes time to pay the annual Sierra Club membership fee that’s the real acid test.

      • Climate science is closer to the days when 9 out of 10 doctors would prescribe leeches and a good bleeding to cure everything from a cold to a blocked bowel, and something tells you to do go with the young doctor who talks about germs and antiseptics.

      • Best answer top that piece of hokum I’ve seen in a good while.

      • People can test whether they disagree with me on a climate blog or *actually* disagree with me by going to a doctors office, or a car repair shop, or some technical conference on a topic they know nothing about. Step outside the safe world of arguing on blogs and see how you look when you start to yell at experts on a topic that you have 5 minutes of knowledge about. Doesn’t work, sorry.

        You managed to brow beat me for a few hours.


      • The problem so studiously ignored here, is that – unlike doctors or car mechanics – climate scientists as a whole have been found seriously wanting in the honesty and objectivity department. The lack of internal censure of the Climategate Crooks has been deafening.

        So Joe Public’s position is analagous to all the doctors and car mechanics either being liars themselves, or refusing to expose their colleages who are.

      • Yeah, they’re all a bunch of frauds who’ve been lying to us for years on end, just like those doctors and car mechanics and… nevermind.

      • Well said Bart! I’m glad the scales have finally fallen from your eyes!

        But let’s be charitable and call it ‘noble cause corruption’ rather than ‘lying frauds’. So much more genteel.

      • “But let’s be charitable and call it ‘noble cause corruption’ rather than ‘lying frauds’. So much more genteel.”

        But still an outright lie.

      • Yes, nothing noble about dressing up one’s self-interest as the public interest.
        Lying frauds it is then.

      • The Climatologists position when faced with any awkward question – and if they can drag themselves away from attacking the messenger – is to say

        ‘You’re wrong, it’s all very difficult, you can’t understand, but trust us – we are the experts’

        which may have worked ten years ago. But increasingly that trust has been eroded. Climate scientists are not seen as independent purveyors of honest truth, going only where the evidence leads. But as just another bunch of self-interested politicoadvocates. Happy to adopt ‘dirty tricks’ to make sure that nobody can challenge their authority.

        Your point about Climategate is extremely well made. If a man or woman of integrity sees a colleague misbehaving – and so bringing disrepute on all of them – she must speak out, not hide behind lame and transparent excuses about enquiries and intentions. Very few climatologists have done so.

        Judith Curry is a shining exception. And her shameful treatment by her erstwhile co-workers tells me more about their integrity than a thousand predetermined ‘independent enquiries’

        Climatology has squandered the public’s trust. It will be a long haul to get it back. Spiritualism never managed it after a scandal or two, homeopathy never managed it, Gerald Ratner never managed it…..draw your own conclusions.

      • This would be true if it were a scientific argument. But if it were a scientific argument congress wouldn’t have hearings, the average person might read about it in a news magazine and think isn’t that interesting and the argument would eventually get solved in the journals . The fact is the argument is over political action and when it comes to political action the least informed has a vote equivalent to the most informed. This leaves those scientists with the options of staying out of the political process or being prepared to argue even the least disputed of details with the general public until such time as they have convinced a majority of the public that action is required. As someone that deals with the general public on a topic that can be rather difficult to explain at times I can tell you where the scientists that have decided to be involved have made their mistakes. My first priority is to tell the person the evidence for and the evidence against a complicated diagnosis. I place a considerable amount of emphasis on the why I could be wrong part. I do this because I understand that you can be right 99 times and the one time you are wrong is the time that will stick in their mind. Climate scientists do not seem to have grasped this aspect of human nature yet and are doomed to be disbelieved until they learn to attack the messages that are likely to be shown wrong instead of the people that point out the messages that were.

      • No, mainly climate scientists are doomed to be disbelieved until they start being really truthful.

      • A truly elegant and fact-filled response from Punksta.

      • ..climate scientists are doomed to be disbelieved until they start being really truthful.
        A truly elegant and fact-filled response from Punksta.

        The undisputed facts of systemic science dishonesty are contained in Climategate. And elsewhere, eg Jones’s “Why should I show you my ata when I know you’ll try and find something wrong with it.

  46. No, UNlike doctors and mechanics.

  47. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your website?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so
    people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?