Climate Etc.’s greatest “hits” for 2010

by Judith Curry

Climate Etc.’s first post was on Sept 2, 2010.  Since then, there have been 82 posts and over 26,000 comments.  The WordPress stats counter provides all sorts of interesting information. Which posts do you think got the largest number of hits?

Here are the top 10 posts, ranked by the number of total hits.

Some surprises, for me anyways.  Posts related to climategate, politics, and personalities overall score the most hits, largely because these posts get picked up by other blogs and bring new readers here by reference.  The Heresy post was a turning point for the blog in this regard; after a large spike, the daily hit rate settled down to an average increase of 250%.   In terms of scientific posts, the Skeptics post is a surprise 2nd place winner.
In terms of overall number of comments, the following posts had more than 700 comments each:
So what is my take home message from all this?  About half of the posts that rank the highest in terms of hits or comments were posts that it took me less than a half hour to pull together (in some instances, it took someone else a much longer time to develop the content in the post).  Many of the posts that I spent >1 day preparing generated relatively little discussion.  Well, I’m sure there is a lesson for me somewhere in there. But one of the main reasons that I blog is to get my viewpoint out there on topics that I think are important.
So here is the “editors choice” for top 10 posts that I have personally spent a lot of time preparing:
Overconfidence in IPCC’s detection and Attribution: Part I, II, III
If you missed any of these the first time around, you might want to check any out that strike your interest.  Since none of these problems have been solved, they are all still relevant and current :).
What are your picks for the top posts?  I would especially be interested in which comment threads you found to be the most interesting/useful/entertaining.
I’ve started several series with Part I, and various events have conspired so that I haven’t continued them, it is my New Year’s resolution to pick these up.  Given a time crunch for me between now and the end of February, anything substantive that I write on will probably be related to something I’m working on in the context of either my day job or my weekend job.
And finally, make some suggestions for posts you would like to see in the new year. Guest posts would be very welcome.
My very best wishes to everyone for the new year.

35 responses to “Climate Etc.’s greatest “hits” for 2010

  1. My suggestion for future posts:
    Can government science get back on track?

    Here is a New Year’s gift for everyone from someone who knew how to deal with life’s adversities: A message from Mother Teresa i

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  2. How about a top 10 list of commentors?

  3. The two threads that I have found to be most helpful are No-Feedback Climate Sensitivity and Climate Feedbacks. For many years I have known that the whole IPCC approach lacked any observed data. I have also known that the way of converting change of radiative forcing into change in surface temperature was particularly weak. Now I understand how the IPCC used smoke and mirrors to pretend that there was some science to support this process. It is now clear to me why there is no science to support CAGW. Maybe I can even persuade my (Canadian) Federal MP, David McGuinty that I am right.

    • >The two threads that I have found to be most helpful are No-Feedback Climate Sensitivity and Climate Feedbacks<

      Agreed. The discussion on [1-f] (THE term in THE equation) is still unresolved, but very interesting

      And, surprisingly, in one of the recent soft threads Lacis obliquely answered my persistent question on why AGW scientists do not publically debunk scarey-bear MSM nonsense from the NGO's … exactly as we expected: the propaganda value in scaring an uninformed public far outweighs any reputational damage

  4. Great statistics, Judith. Well done on creating such a high-impact blog!

    I doubt there really is any real inverse correlation between effort and comment numbers but I can certainly understand why such an observation might give pause!

    I’ve been watching a slightly different anecdotal statistic which I think is worthy of note. I subscribe to many of the popular climate-related RSS comment feeds. The rate of comments at your blog has been almost exactly 50% the number of comments at WUWT for the past several weeks, and in the last few days has exceeded 50%.

    I don’t personally believe that the number of comments actually correlates with blog popularity or quality, though certainly it suggests some combination of reach and vibrancy, but for a blog which is only 4 months old to attract such a level of interest and interaction is an extraordinary achievement and I think you should be very proud.

    All the very best for the new year!

    • Interesting, and WUWT puts up at least 4 new topics per day, compared to less than one per day here, so comments per topic is much higher here.

    • Actually what impresses me about the comments is not so much their number, but the length of the comments (some exceeding 1000 words). there is real content in the comments on at least some of the threads.

  5. Dr. Curry,

    First of all, congratulations. In four short (although hectic for you, I’m sure) months, you have created a very vibrant community for discussion of a wide range of topics around climate science, from the technical to the philosophical. That this has occurred under such a light moderation regime is nearly miraculous. It’s my sincerest hope that people from the full spectrum of positions can continue to engage here.

    Please keep up the good work, and don’t put too much stock in the hit or comment count metric – many of those that you work harder on for fewer responses are among my favorites.

    A happy New Year to one and all.

  6. Judith

    I think you said at the outset that one of the objects of this blog was ‘fun’. For my part I can say that I have found many of the comment threads extremely entertaining, so that is one objective that has been fully achieved.

    The reason I keep coming back to what I now regard as my spiritual home is that I want to see science back where it should be, although I am beginning to think this is a somewhat naive wish. One of the things that is soooo frustrating is where exchanges between commentators are not resolved. After long and detailed arguments one of the discutants will simply disappear, or sign off with an insult thrown at the opponent. The knowledge thirsty lurker (me) is left completely baffled. I fully understand that this is in the nature of the blogosphere, but I have a belief that it will not always be thus and that some daysomeone will come up with a formula for ensuring that debates reach some sort of a conclusion. I do not know if other members of the community have similar feelings or any ideas as to how this may be improved but I will bow out now and leave the floor open to others pausing only to wish you and your readers all the best in the new year.

    • well, i do try to pick up on the more meaningful debates and sometimes highlight them in a new thread, would appreciate suggestions along those lines as they appear

  7. My entry for the most confusing post.

  8. Congratulations are certainly in order Dr Curry.

    Though in order to get meaningful info from this data, we’ll need to look at some anamolies and not just raw numbers.
    Your blog has been in existence for longer than 3 months, so that’s a blog climate.
    Some of your posts would have suffered from public holidays, AGU meetings etc so these have to be smoothed out, detrended etc etc, I’m sure Vaughan will help with that.

    So hold off on the pronouncements, the question of Greatest Hits is NOT SETTLED :)

  9. Happy New Year, Judith–it’s been fun lurking here and I hope to continue. You do one thing on this post that some bloggers find useful–linking to other posts on your own blog–but it’s obvious that traffic is not as important a metric to you as it is to others. Or at least we can surmise this until we start seeing Google Ads on this space ;)

    • hi tom, yes “keeping score” in the blogosphere can be interesting, joe romm and anthony watts seem to keep careful tabs on all this. I am happy to have a critical mass of commenters that can generate interesting dialogue. And I suspect my hits per person ratio is high (the “addict” factor), with fewer individual participants than my hit numbers would imply.

  10. Judy – my recommendation for future topics are those where you are most inclined to participate with comments and references. This will tend to keep the thread on-topic and content-oriented, and to discourage the devolution of the threads into exchanges of position-statements or into prolonged squabbling between two or three individuals. Examples of the value of your participation include the radiative transfer model thread and the recent one on feedbacks.

    Although others may have a different experience, I have learned most from those instances in which a thoughtful analysis was accompanied by reference to original data sources. The latter generally involves the peer-reviewed literature, but reputable unpublished sources are also valuable when they offer data that can be subjected to scrutiny. I have learned less from comments that are primarily designed to advance an opinion, and I would not be surprised if this perspective is shared by other participants.

  11. I just wonder who is reading this blog….

    Any elected

    for all the chatter, it is the lurkers that can be the dark horses… (ie never comment)

    Imagine… If David Cameron, Obama or Chancellor Merekel was a fan..

    I hope the is blog has reached a wider audience, not just the same commenters commenting at the same ‘special interest’ blogs in a little corner of the internet….

    Less perhaps is more, as some good interesting topics can get buried if too many topics are posted.

    Watts up is an apparent force of nature… The views from my blog jumped 200 fold, following my guest post there. But an honourable mention goes to Climate etc, and Bishop Hill, the second and third highest referers.

    Yet are we all just talking to ourselves and launching our own blogs….

    • actually a few congressional staffers seem to read the blog. but yes sometimes i suspect that there are about 10,000 of us in the climate blogosphere that talk to ourselves.

  12. Well, I’m going to sign off now, before I have too much more to drink.

    Judith, and everyone else, (including D64), have a great new year.

  13. Hamish McDougal

    As an infrequent commentator (is that a lurker that is occasionally provoked?) the best posts show evidence of thought on your part.
    They may get less hits, but provoke corresponding thought. You show a balance that is unusual in this debate.

  14. Judith,

    Congratulations on what is obviously a very successful blog. I hope you can continue your efforts for many years to come.

  15. Climate blogs are plague. They eat my days and nights! >:(

  16. Judith and comment readers:
    Happy New Year!!
    This is off topic…..
    One of my biggest pet peeves concerning debates around AGW and climate change concerns the Pleistocene. No one ever seems to mention that sea level at the last peak interglacial was ~2m higher than today.
    There was an excellent post at ( recently. It talked about orbital forcings and what we know and don’t understand about natural climatic changes over recent geological history.
    At the most basic level, to me anyway, the geologic/paleoclimatic record suggests that significantly higher sea levels in our future are indeed possible due to natural climate changes.
    Has that possibility been ruled out by the IPCC? Do we really know if we are past the peak Holocene interglacial? If we do, what is the evidence? If we’re not at peak interglacial, then, well, warming can’t be unprecedented can it?
    Perhaps geologically recent climate records and models of orbital forcing are worth exploring. Posts on those topics might prove enlightening.
    Well wishes to all!!

  17. Richard S Courtney

    Dr Curry:

    I wish you and all in the ‘community’ of your blog a Happy and prosperous New Year.

    WUWT informed me of the existence of your blog and I visited it out of interest. Since then I have stayed and tried to contribute.

    Your blog and WUWT are rare in that they each allow proper presentation of views by all ‘sides’ in the AGW debate. Your blog is provided by a supporter of AGW and WUWT is provided by a doubter of AGW, so they provide a balance. And they both have a tolerant moderation policy. Hence, together they provide a useful and constructive basis for debate which is in stark contrast to propagandist web sites such as RealClimate (on one ‘side’) and ClimateDepot (on the other ‘side’) although such propaganda sites also have a purpose.

    Political support for AGW has provided the large funding stream which has created the industrial scale of present ‘climate science’. But the Copenhagen and Cancun conferences indicate reducing political support for the AGW issue. Therefore, it can be anticipated that the flood of funds for ‘climate science’ will reduce to a trickle in the foreseeable future.

    This imminent (slow or perhaps rapid) reduction to funding of ‘climate science’ seems to be recognised by some who continue to think extremist statements help their case (some of them post on your blog). Personally, I think those ‘climate scientists’ who adopt a realistic (n.b. not hyped) attitude to presentation of their case are likely to have most credibility with their political masters who provide their research funds.

    And, at present, the main ‘climate scientists’ on each ‘side’ of the AGW debate who have adopted the realistic attitude are you and Richard Lindzen. Therefore, it is not surprising that both of you are being vilified by other ‘climate scientists’ at a time when the ‘writing is on the wall’ for continued large funding of ‘climate research’: the fight for survival has started.

    Science progresses by the clash of ideas. As you know, I disagree with your views of AGW. But I sincerely hope that you will be able to continue your good work in attempting to hold to honest convictions and to honest presentation of your views. And if I can do anything to help your work then it would be my pleasure: part of that help will be my attempts to say why I think your views are mistaken.

    Again, Happy New Year and please keep up the good work.


  18. Count me in for lurker. Things move fast here.

    My request would be for a cutdown on the nitpickiness. If you want to object to someone’s data presentation, please put in more than just a link in your post. Just dumping links makes it look as though that one link/factoid that you provide, demolishes the opponent’s argument. This is not true a lot of times. Moreover, it drags down the level of debate.

  19. It is nice to begin the New Year with a different explaination of the workings of our climate. On Roy Spencer’s blog is a recent comment by Erl Happ he provides a non-Antropometric view of climate forcings which primarily reflect the earth’s responses to our sun’s output, the behavior of North and South Pole pressures and ozone layer movement. Maybe it has been posted here already and I missed it: Erl Happ says:
    January 1, 2011 at 12:41 AM
    There is a lot of sense in what Christopher Game says but this comment from Wagathon takes the cake for perspicacity from my point of view:

    “Also, more energy is reflected by clouds than is absorbed by clouds; nearly 7-fold. Could this mean, a change in cloud cover changes everything?”

    Give me an your email address Roy, and for Mr Dessler and I will demonstrate the point that sea surface temperature in the tropics is a creature of sea surface temperature in the mid latitudes where it is driven by the flux in ozone from the poles into the troposphere. In the mid latitudes anomalous warming between 200hpa and 500hpa is a direct consequence of warming in the stratosphere. I am talking about annular modes of intra-seasonal variation, a well recognized phenomenon following the work of Wallace and Baldwin. A warming troposphere means less cloud to reflect short wave energy.

    The SST response is less at low latitudes because there is upper atmosphere cloud at low than at mid latitudes. So, you can look carefully in all the cupboards in the ENSO kitchen and just end up confused.

    In short, SST in mid latitudes fluxes with the AO and the AAO with the added proviso that the former is currently by far and away the most important driver. And it will remain so while AAO persists with high values indicating the lowest polar pressure in the Antarctic since 1948, where the reliable reanalysis data begins.

    You have to go back to the days before the climate shift of the late 1970’s to see a regular year after year sea surface temperature anomaly in mid year that is due to ozone flux from the Antarctic stratosphere at a time when pressure was higher and fluctuation in the AAO wider than today. The Antarctic also suffers from the great disadvantage that background levels of ozone are always low.

    The AO and the AAO are driven by shifts in the mass of the atmosphere between the poles and low latitudes and between the hemispheres assisted by changes in atmospheric heat content due to irregular patterns of warming between latitudes and across hemispheres.

    But ultimately the atmosphere responds to electric currents generated by the solar wind, present in the upper stratosphere and ionosphere,that accelerate charged particles which carry the neutrals along and, depending upon the changing nature of the field, can hold the atmosphere against the force of gravity. It renews on a daily basis as the sun rises and it relaxes overnight as the sun disappears along with the extent of ionization. And it is more powerful when the sun is quiet and neutrals are in more intimate contact with charged particles.

    Shifts in atmospheric mass between the poles and the mid latitudes govern the activity of the polar night jet which connects the surface with the mesosphere where ozone absorbing NOx is to be found.

    Now, if there is no response from you I will understand that these ideas are just too exotic for mainstream urban transit passengers to contemplate.

    But, I urge you to live dangerously, look outside the current areas of inquiry and forget about the models. The climate system has more modes of interaction than the designers of models can currently contemplate.

    Contemplate if you will the effect of a 10hpa increase in the differential pressure driving the westerly winds in the southern hemisphere over the last sixty years, contemplate the effects of the collapse in the pressure driving the westerlies in the northern hemisphere in winter between 1948 and 1978, its recovery to 1997 and the collapse over the last three winters. Do the models build in the drivers of that phenomenon?

    I believe that the models predict a continuously rising AO but it has been falling since 1990 and most strongly in winter.

    Do you like cold winters? Can you put up with expensive orange juice as the Florida crop is frosted more years than not?

    The closest study of the climate record of the last sixty years will not help meteorologists work out what is going to happen next.

    Click on Erl Happs name and he has a blog that provides details for why he believes as he does. Maybe the Radiative Transfer Model needs some competition, as in competative explainations.

    Happy New Year