Hiding the Decline. Part IV: Beautiful Evidence

by Judith Curry

Continuing the themes of conflict prevention and best practices developed in Part III, I would like to discuss some pages from Edward Tufte’s book Beautiful Evidence, which was introduced here by Steve Mosher (seconded by MrPete).  Of particular relevance is a chapter entitled “Corrupt Techniques in Evidence Presentations: Effects Without Cause, Cherry Picking, Punning, Chartjunk.”

From the introduction to the chapter:

Making a presentation is a moral act as well as an intellectual  activity. . . Consumers of presentations should insist  that presenters be held intellectually and ethically responsible for what they show and tell.  Thus consuming a presentation is an intellectual activity and a moral act.

From the subsection entitled “Cherry Picking, Evidence Selection, Culled Data”

The most widespread and serious thread to learning the truth from an evidence-based report is cherry-picking, as presenters pick and choose, selet and reveal only the evidence that advances their favored point of views.

Not all presenters are saintly enough to provide their audience with competing explanations, contrary evidence or a description of the larger pool of evidence tapped to construct the presentation.

Credible explanations grow from the combined testimony of 3 more less independent, mutially reinforcing sourcesl–explanatory theory, empirical evidence, and rejection of competing alternative explanations.  Cherry-picking dilutes, confounds and mixes up these 3 elements into the wisful circular thinking of Ignorance.

Between the intial data collection and the final published report falls the shadow of the evidence-construction and evidence-represntation process: data are selected, sorted, edited, summarized, massaged, and translated into the published graphics, tables, diagrams, models, images, numbers, words.  In this sequence of representation, the physical world is represented and summarized by the raw data and, in turn, the raw data is represented and summarized by the graphics, tables, images of the published report.

This process of evidence construction and representation, although not a black box but certainly a gray area, consists of all the decisions that cause the published findings of a report.  These decisions are made, to varying degrees, both in the spirit of doing analytical detective work to discover what is going on and in the spirit of advancing a favored point of view.

What, then are consumers of reports and presentations to do?

The integrity and credibility of a report depend on the integrity and credibility of the process of evidence-construction and evidence-representation: thus alert consumers need to see an adequate description of this process.

Ask the following: (1) Are the substantive findings the result of the methods used in the evidence-construction process? (2) Did the favored view compromise the integrity of the analysis? (3) How much does the decision to be made depend on the evidence of the report at hand?

JC comments: I find this essay interesting for several reasons.  The essay puts the burden also on the consumer of evidence (not just the producer).   The policy makers (who are the primary consumers) seem less interested in the traceability of evidence construction and representation.  The probity is coming from people in industry (I don’t particularly mean oil industry, but broader industry), where this kind of accountability is expected.  It was the absence of information of evidence construction and representation (not just the data itself) that fueled the skeptical climate blogosphere.  And when this information materialized in the context of the emails, well, there was a blogospheric explosion.

As to the question, “Did the favored view compromise the integrity of the analysis?”  It certainly seems to have.  Kevin Trenberth lays it on the line when he says the null hypothesis should be changed to AGW is real and dangerous; this seems to be the implicit null hypothesis of the IPCC.  Bias can enter into such an analysis explicitly or subliminally; the remedy is full transparency so people can examine your judgements and reasoning for doing what you did. And so, we are back to basics:  transparency and integrity.

So, given that data of natural systems is messy (much messier than data from controlled laboratory experiments), I am interested in examples of good and bad practices of data representation (beyond the hockey stick).

502 responses to “Hiding the Decline. Part IV: Beautiful Evidence

  1. The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

    • As MT says:

      “The story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf has two lessons, recall.

      The first is that it is not a good idea to raise a panic at the slightest provocation.

      The second is that eventually there is a wolf.”

      • Yep, and because of the lies of the ‘Boy’ the wolf was unprepared for. Lost opportunity costs.

  2. Line 13
    Should “thread” be “threat”?

  3. The policy makers (who are the primary consumers) seem less interested in the traceability of evidence construction and representation.

    I’ve run into this in the corporate world as well as in the public sector. There can be a variety of reasons for this: at times it’s because the consumer has a “cut to the chase” personality; sometimes it is because the consumer is looking for cover (“I followed the advice of the experts”). Regardless of the reason, it’s not a trait to be catered to. It should be both a matter of integrity as well as self-protection to provide a balanced report.

    Not all presenters are saintly enough to provide their audience with competing explanations, contrary evidence or a description of the larger pool of evidence tapped to construct the presentation.

    I’d also leave room to consider vanity and inexperience as alternatives to lack of “saintliness” for explaining presenters who present one-sided reports.

  4. Some one in the last thread brought up the practice by drug manufacturers of packaging drugs with happy smiley faced people on them and listing the possible serious side effects somewhere on the side or in the box in a pamphlet.

    That person got blasted for the comparison, but I think it was a good one. This is all about marketing, is it not?

    The action of “Hiding The Decline” was, I would say, handled in a similar fashion. That pamphlet in the medicine bottle is printed so small, that I bet only one in a thousand would ever dig out the magnifying glass to read it. Similarly, by separating and putting the relevant uncertainties in a different section, away from the main section that is designed for the most consumption, the same practice is occurring.

    PS. Full disclosure – I’m not a fan of drug companies being allowed to advertise prescription drugs on TV. Yes, it can generate more revenue for the companies. But how much of the added revenue goes right back into marketing and advertising instead of R & D? Think about this. If VIOX wasn’t so heavily marketed, they would not have been damaged nearly as much as they were because there would have been far fewer users affected by the scandal.

    • Ya, that was me I think. The silly thing is that fordperfect and others think that the “referencing” other literature was an acceptable method of disclosure.

      Now imagine that a drug company disclosed side effects by footnote. And to access the footnote you had to pay to read the report.

      The issue of disclosure, proper disclosure, of adverse results raises the question of “paywalls” as well. Journals have a civic duty to make any science referenced by the IPCC freely available.

      • Kind of interesting to take the comparison a little further. Take out your nearest bottle of Ibuprofen/Aspirin/whatever and take a good look at the label. The warnings are at the top of the label, the instructions for use are at the bottom. This is an intentional and regulated feature of the label. The FDA wants to encourage the consumer to read through the warnings before they get to the part that they are really interested in, i.e. how much do I take and how often.
        So is there a way that more emphasis could have been given to how the hide-the-decline graph was constructed, so that policy-makers absorbed that information before they saw the message that the graph was constructed to convey?

      • “Journals have a civic duty to make any science referenced by the IPCC freely available.”

        Huge, huge issue. If we (the general public) can’t read the original papers, how are we to form our own opinion in the matter? Paywalls reinforce the argument from authority which is implicit in the idea of ‘scientific consensus’.

        Of course, you might idly wonder why the public can’t already freely access the scientific publications that they pay for…

      • I think this is a good point. It would be impossible, of course, to regulate independent, global journals in this way. However, the IPCC can certainly – and easily – make a concerted, centralized effort to systematically ask all affected journals to provide these articles as available references, perhaps in a central place on the IPCC website.

        Every journal has a process for asking permission to distribute. Plus, the IPCC scholarship library would – with conspicuous citation – provide publicity for the individual journals. Also, most journal have only a limited paywall / embargo period anyway. It is likely that 80-90% of the papers could be made available with no impact on the sources revenue streams.

        I can easily see a process whereby the IPCC authors build a list of papers being cited, and then the IPCC simply sends out form letters / emails regarding each source (each journal, publisher, etc), with a list of papers for which permissions are being asked.

    • IIRC, about a decade after Congress authorized advertising of proprietary pharmaceuticals on TV, somebody calculated that it added about one third to the cost of prescriptions. Obviously consumers are paying to have themselves hyped to the max. One way to reduce medical insurance costs would be to return to status quo ante.

  5. Hi Judith. Over the last 24 hours or so I’ve been asking you questions about sensitivity and paleo reconstructions. As yet, I haven’t got an answer from you. It would be good to hear your views on this. To remind you here’s one post:

    ” Judith, maybe we are getting somewhere. None of us can ‘make a judgement’ re sensitivity. I don’t know whether it’s 3, 4, 5C or more. But I can see that it almost certainly can’t be less than 2C. Do you accept this? If not, can I take it that you think sensitivity is less than 2 despite the paleo evidence showing it isn’t.

    Re the reconstructions. Given the huge number of reconstructions showing hockey sticks from various locations, a range of proxies etc. Do you not accept that the last 1000-2000 years of T is likely to have a hockey stick shape? Whether the proxies are calibrated or not is irrelevant in this context!”

    I look forward to your reply.


    • There’s your problem: ‘range of proxies’. Find a no Tiljander, no-dendro hockey stick reconstruction that will validate before 1500 AD.

      The Loehle and McCulloch reconstruction is no Tiljander-no dendro, validates before 1500 and shows a warmer MWP than today.

      That hockey stick you see emblazoned on the wall, smoke rising from the surrounding candles, is illusory and all your hysteria about high climate sensitivity is a waste of your effort. Stop scaring yourself; we need your energy.

      • Try Spielhagen et al. 2011 in Science. You’re not seriously suggesting that Loehle’s Energy and Environment paper is better than all the other reconstructions are you? Have you READ the methodology?

        By the way (although like most sceptics you are probably able to hold two contradictory views at the same time), have you realised that If the MWP was (a) global and (b) warmer than today that suggests that sensitivity is high? Bit of a problem for the sceptics wouldn’t you say? Luckily for you, it’s pretty clear that the MWP wasn’t either.

        Again….Judith are you going to support such nonsense or are you going to criticise it? Just asking…

      • Yep, I like L&M, not a scoff in a carload. Did I neglect to say ‘high climate sensitivity to CO2?’ If the MWP was worldwide and warmer than now, then natural production of today’s climate is the null. So far, we see little proven effect on temperature from recent rising CO2.

      • OK Kim. So if you are right, why has adding huge amounts of CO2 (a known GHG) not had the effect that it should have on global temps. How do you explain the pattern and rate of warming? I know Judith is rather shy so I have to paraphrase for her, but she still accepts AGW and the GE. Seems that you don’t!

      • First, what’s now happened to your ‘huge number of reconstructions’ and ‘range of proxies’?

        I believe in the GE. It just doesn’t seem very strong to me and I’m afraid that it won’t be strong enough to counteract the cooling from the oncoming Grand Solar Minimum, or even that of the concatenation of cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations. And here we are being wrong-footed into mitigating a warming that isn’t happening instead of adapting to a cooling that is happening. It’s really quite tragic, the waste.

      • Kim if the proxies are wrong how do you KNOW there was a medievel warm period or a Roman warm period or a LIA.

        By discounting proxies you destroy your tenet.

        Here is some climate “data” from published “words”
        Many cold seasons!

        Then LIA
        Many hot summers

      • Why don’t we see any increase in the warming rate in the following hadcrut data?


      • Girma for a bit of fun I reconstructed the hadcrut3V global tempreature series from sine waves of different frequencies amplitudes and phases (I think it is pretty good fit over 1850 to 2010 – and beyond!).

        There seems to be a 60 year cycle that causes the bump during 1940s. This 60 year cycle is currently on a down slope until 2020 giving the lack of significant warming today. The underlying trend however is, in my plots, still increasing.


      • Please post your comments as responses to Oliver. That way all the Off Topic stuff is in one place and more easily ignored

      • lol, Mosh, she’s not moderating……..impossible to contain OT comments.

      • Here is my suggestion for folks:

        1. If you are going to post something that is OT, then
        use Oliver’s name, we already know to ignore that OR use post your comment as a response to his. That would be truely weird.

        2. if you are going to post giberish, use ianash as a name. She wont care.

        3. If you are going to post a personal attack on Mosher, please do the following: call him “Steven Piltdown mann mosher” and use Dehogza as your screen name.

        THAT would be funny as hell and entertaining.

      • Dehogza (dho gaza)

        Dearest Steven “Piltdown Man” Mosher,

        I may be as crazy and irritating as a raptor is to a rat–you being the rat–but you, sir, are an idiot. If I could, I would beat down upon you like an iron sun and pound the CAGW message into your thick skull. Don’t you know that arrogant and condescending blather is the proper way to express yourself in forums such as these?

        Let me make it simple: I, as a well paid, 7-day-a-week consultant am superior to virtually all but the greatest of scientists. And ironically, I am not a scientist. But I play one on the internets.

        Oh, and I like birds. A lot.


        Sorry for the OT rant. dhog ;-).

      • Dehogza (dho gaza)

        Oops, sorry. I meant Steven “Piltdown ManN” Mosher.

        Me=Still wonderfully intelligent in a snarky sort of way.
        You=Still an idiot. No snark required for that.

        Dehogza (dho gaza)

      • It takes one to know one? :-)

      • Dear Jim,

        If you are trying to imply that I am also an idiot, you clearly have not read my vast library of on topic and insightful commentary throughout the climate blogosphere. If only you denialists, like Steven “Piltdown Mann” Mosher, knew what I know, you would know that I know more than you. To disagree is to deny the truth. Science has proven my magical ability to shout down even the denierist of deniers, even the ones who don’t deny anything but have reasonable questions.

        Get it?

        Got it?


      • ROTFLMAO!!!!!!

        You might just have a career as a comedian!

      • dehogza – internets? Are you Al Gore who cannot stop inventing?

      • Monty– the nonsense is that you are so sure of your views in spite of being wrong so often. How good do you believe the “paleo evidence” to be? Are you not able to foresee that there are or could be mitagating natural factors that would preclude the “hockeystick” curve or delay it.

      • Monty, sensitivity to what, exactly? BTW, there’s ample anecdotal evidence of the MWP being a global phenom. But, honestly, more sensitive to what? Certainly not CO2.

      • How do you know of MWP I hope your sorces do not rely on proxies!

      • Monty: “have you realised [sic] that If the MWP was (a) global and (b) warmer than today that suggests that sensitivity is high? ”

        If the MWP was warmer than today, a) It was not anthropogenic CO2, and b) present warming during a positive PDO was not “unprecedented”. Try this:
        Idso, Sherwood B. CO2 Science Medieval Warm Period Project Map. Scientific. CO2 Science. ongoing. http://co2science.org/data/timemap/mwpmap.html
        The Medieval Warm Period Map is part of CO2 Science website.
        Shows Medieval Warm Period and worldwide locations at which its existence has been investigated / confirmed.
        The “Hockey Stick” graph did not show them (MWP locations), and its existence has been disputed by AGW advocates.

      • Alexander Harvey


        You wrote:

        “If the MWP was (a) global and (b) warmer than today that suggests that sensitivity is high? ”

        To me, part (a) suggests a higher sensitivity when viewed in isolation but parts (a) and (b) together do not unless I considered that the effect of CO2 was small. Were I to accept your argument I would be left thinking that it could all be natural and that the IPCC 50% of warming since 1950 was AGW would be in serious doubt.

        I can see it is fare to stick to ones guns and say that the MCO was not warmer but to argue that if it was warmer then sensitivity is higher without accepting that this would cast doubt on GHG forcings seems problematic. I think that the GHG forcing values are perhaps one of the more solid bits of the theory.

      • Monty,

        If the MWP was (a) global and (b) warmer than today that suggests that sensitivity is high?

        Another option is to rethink solar forcing.

      • Phil. Felton

        The Loehle and McCulloch reconstruction is no Tiljander-no dendro, validates before 1500 and shows a warmer MWP than today.

        No it doesn’t!

    • Monty, calm down. Do you really think that EVERY thread is there for you to discuss EVERYTHING? Why on earth should Judith engage with you on these question? What is your quest? What is your favorite color? What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

      • Color and airspeed of swallows has little to do with AGW, as far as I know. Sensitivity has. Why don’t you ask Judith what her views on sensitivity are. So far, she’s agreed on all the points I made bar two (ie AGW is real). If she keeps going she will lose a lot of her new-found sceptic friends!

      • monty, Do you have anything to say relevant to this thread or are you just trying to de-rail the discussion?

      • But that exactly is NOT the subject of these threads, in case you haven’t noticed… Trying to be clever, are you now?

      • No…I realise that this is off-topic. But I haven’t received a reply. I guess I know what this means!

      • I have not received any from you either. I guess I know what this means, monty! But enough is enough.

      • Yes, it means you are off topic. What don’t you understand about that?

      • OK. I know when I’m not wanted. Thanks for the discussion. Monty.

      • wow – perfectly reasonable questions to our host and seven different people respond to say you were wrong to ask the questions.

        Sounds rather typical of how this site’s panning out.

      • Many of these are the same people who complain about Real Climate being an echo chamber.

      • Monty’s been spamming his little climate catechism after it was asked and answered. Perhaps he was too busy typing to notice.

      • Please point me to where Dr Curry answered Monty – I must have missed it.

      • It means your drivel is not worth replying to.


      • Just to let you guys know I agree 100% with mosher

        (psst, the way to handle monty is to use his name as your name when responding to him.. watch itll be fun)


      • my views on sensitivity are explained on several previous posts. I don’t have time during high traffic periods to restate things I have stated on other posts.

      • You have plenty of time to restate things when you want to restate them. You have every right to decline to answer any question, but it’s not because you don’t have time.

        I’m a little bewildered at the reaction to Monty asking questions directly of Dr. Curry. There’s palpable disdain: like how dare you.

      • Two threads ago she clearly answered Monty and referred him to a whole thread on the topic. He’s been pointed on this thread to her answer on the previous thread. Any evidence at all that he can absorb information?

      • It can be hard to keep up with multiple comment threads on different posts. I know it’s in the eye of the beholder, but Monty seems to me to have been consistently courteous despite getting some sharp reactions from the “denizens.”

        Anyway, rough and tumble is the nature of blogs. I hope none of the people dishing it out here complain about having to take it at sites like RealClimate.

      • No, it’s a case of asking the same questions over and over again, even though they have been answered, and even after that fact has been pointed out.

      • PDA what’s this? Others don’t accede to your demands with bent knee and bowed head? How dare they!

      • PDA, i don’t know what universe you live in where people have endless amounts of time. I’ve had something like 3000 comments within a few days, and I’m supposed to write a 1000 word essay in response to each?? I am more inclined to answer questions that i can provide a quick answer to and are directly relevant to the topic of the thread. BTW you never bothered to show up on the Italian Flag thread after chastising me all over the blogosphere for not responding to your queries in a sufficiently timely way. Is this just gotcha, or are you really interested in the content of the response?

      • Ken, your response is bizarre, especially given that I acknowledged the obvious fact that Dr. Curry has “every right to decline to answer any question.” So it might be worth looking into yourself to figure out where “bent knee and bowed head” came from. Sounds like some deep-seated stuff you’re working through there.

        Dr. Curry, as has been pointed out, you did answer the question, in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, with comments still pouring in. So it’s not a function of time.

        Viz. Italian flag, I don’t remember chastising you, but that may be a matter of interpretation. I remind you that the queries weren’t mine, they were Michael Tobis’s, and I tried to create reasonably neutral ground on my blog for the two of you to discuss his questions with a minimum of distractions from either peanut gallery. I think that was a missed opportunity, but your participation was, again, invited, not demanded.

        Finally: I did show up on the Italian Flag thread. I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t engage with me, but again: you get to choose whom you respond to and when.

      • monty’s questions need an answer:

        Dear Judith
        I have to say that I’m confused. I confess that I haven’t waded through all 650 or so comments so these questions may well all have been answered before. However, I can’t see where you are coming from. I see nonsensical points from denialists which you don’t repudiate. Does that mean you agree with them? So, can I ask. Do you accept:

        1 there is a greenhouse effect
        2 that CO2 is a GHG
        3 that humans have increased atmospheric CO2 to levels not seen for 650k and more
        4 that this MUST have a warming effect
        5 that the warming (pattern, rate etc) is consistent with GHG forcing
        6 that climate sensitivity is likely to be around 3C
        7 that, whatever the flaws of MBH98, there are numerous hockey stick reconstructions developed by numerous (and independent) scientists using numerous proxies (not just treerings)”.

      • ianash, i already answered these. go back and read all the comments, you’ll find it.

      • Ianash, it’s here.

        Finding comments in sub-threads is no easy task. However, if you ask a question, you should keep track of where it is so you can go back to it. Monty should have been more diligent IMO, instead of asking the same question in multiple places.

      • And you know this how?

    • “Given the huge number of reconstructions showing hockey sticks from various locations, a range of proxies etc”
      That simply is not true as M&M have shown repeatedly. I am unclear that you have any understanding about how one identifies possible signals in time series data that come from multiple different sources, in multiple different locations that are influenced by a large number of measurable and non-measurable factors.

    • Monty wrote to ask Judith her views about paleotemperature reconstructions. Specifically asking, “Given the huge number of reconstructions showing hockey sticks from various locations, a range of proxies etc. Do you not accept that the last 1000-2000 years of T is likely to have a hockey stick shape?”

      I’m not Judith, but a similar subject came up yesterday at Collide-a-scape, in reference to a “spaghetti graph” image that Zeke Hausfather posted and discussed at Lucia’s Blackboard. A comment I made there might bring up some relevant points for the discussion Monty would like to have. (Which hopefully isn’t too far afield for this post.)

      In short, my layman’s view is that the limitations of the current generation of multi-century paleo recons are so severe (and so incompletely recognized by the specialist community) that they have very little to contribute to the broader discussion of 20th/21st Century global warming.

    • From my experience having lived for years on both the equator and at high latitudes, climate sensitivity appears low. The hotter it gets, the more water evaporates, the more clouds, the more rain, which moderates the temperature. Warmer air doesn’t cause less clouds, it causes more. Cold air is dry air and causes less clouds. The IPCC admits this is poorly understood.

      I don’t see any evidence for positive water feedback. I expect it is negative. That the oceans and clouds, couple with the phase change to ice, work together to regulate the earth’s average temperature between 22C and 12C. 22C being the average for most of the past 600 million years, and 12C being the ice ages. We are currently at 14.5C.

      The effects are most obvious over water, and least obvious over land and ice. In the tropics the wet season occurs in summer and the dry season occurs in winter. Both seasons are close to the same temperature, but summers are cloudy and wet, while winters are cloud free and dry. In high latitudes clouds cool in summer and warm in winter.

    • What M&M showed is that various reconstructions using essentially the same data and same PCA type of analysis of MBH turn out hockey stick shapes, because dendrochronologies are selected and weighted against the instrumental record, which shows fast warming post 1950; and thus only those with an upward stick are selected or given more weight. Then the flat handle is generated by means of inadequate sampling, use of bristlecones, and averaging over 40-50 years in the non instrumental period. To replicate this procedure, please, take care not to include dendros after 1960: they are no good. Also, take care not to report the standard R2 coefficient (and its significance) for years or periods of non instrumental reconstruction: they would cast doubt, encourage deniers and dilute the message.
      The reason why random numbers also generate hockey sticks is because the generation of hockey sticks is not caused by the values themselves, but by the calibration process and the particular kind of PCA applied. That’s the beauty of the trick. A pity McIntyre spotted it.

    • Monty: which paleo evidence?

    • you’ve gotten several answers from me. I disagree that sensitivity almost certainly can’t be less than 2C. This does not mean that I think it is less than 2C. Put a bound around 0-10C, then i am prepared to put a likely confidence on that range. I do not think there is any convincing evidence to support a hockey stick shape for global temperature anomalies of the past 1000-2000 years, with any kind of confidence.

      • Doubt in the Hockey Stick by “Team” members


        I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago. I do not believe that global mean annual temperatures have simply cooled progressively over thousands of years as Mike appears to and I contend that that there is strong evidence for major changes in climate over the Holocene (not Milankovich) that require explanation and that could represent part of the current or future background variability of our climate.
        Keith Briffa


        Whether we have the 1000 year trend right is far less certain (& one reason why I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!
        Raymond Bradley

      • Dr Curry,
        Now that is a truly rare combinaion of wisdom and honesty, and the sort of admission and range of uncertainty we need up front from more climate scientists (among others). You must have been delving into the literature on how the declared level of certainty of experts (and mere mortals, for that matter) compares with the real probabilities of the events they try to predict.

        I think you may have even over corrected somewhat, but that is infinitely preferable to the faux precision we have been fed for a decade or more. Thanks you for such honesty.

    • She wont answer monty.

      • ianash,
        She did answer. Unfortunately she said it in honestese, a rare dialect of plain English with which you are probably not familiar.

    • Isn’t it obvious that if someone – ANYone – can ask this question of sensitivity and put a range of 2C+ on it when we’ve only had a stipulated 0.7°C warming in 100 years, then there is nothing known yet that is worth anything at all. This sensitivity uncertainty is 3 times what warming we’ve had?

      We know that the big uncertainty is in clouds and water vapor, yet where is the work being done on that, to nail that down? Almost no one is doing anything with it.

      That lack should in itself be a disgrace for the science of climatology.

      As an engineer, the first thing I do on a new project is to find out – and solve – the toughest part of the project. Climatologists have been spending far too much of their grant moneys toying around with models that include fudge factors for water vapor and clouds that are little more than guesses, making the models almost cartoons, instead of tackling the “toughest part” of the project.

      Are they just lazy? Are they incompetent? Are they disingenuous?

      The question has been out there for the full two-plus decades of global warming. I see papers on every subject but water vapor. How can that be?

      If they don’t study the acknowledged biggest elephant in the room, how is anyone to take them seriously?

      That 2C, 3C, 4C and 5C – for that uncertainty be asked about at this time should be considered a complete failure of climate sciencits to even WANT to solve the problem. It is MUCH better to just skirt the issue, leave the uncertainty, and run around crying “The Sky is Falling” – all the while accepting grants to study little issues of climate that don’t have the potential to blow their funding out of the water.

      And if water vapor is ever found for certain to be 1,000 times more potent yet the regulator/governor of the climate – sometimes positive and sometimes negative, depending on the need of the planet – the whole issue goes away and these people cranking out reams of journal papers that skirt the real central issue will have to go get real jobs.

      Sensitivity, schmensitivity — C’mon, climatologists! Get on the stick! Quit dodging and get that uncertainty of the sensitivity down to 0.25°C or 0.1°C, so that the 0.7°C rise isn’t dwarfed by the uncertainty.

      • “And if water vapor is ever found for certain to be 1,000 times more potent yet the regulator/governor of the climate” was supposed to read

        “And if water vapor is ever found for certain to be 1,000 times more potent than CO2 yet the regulator/governor of the climate”

  6. Slightly off thread:
    Tufte’s public workshop is well worth attending – it helped me to design a new way of reporting a lot of data in a simple and transparent way. His books are beautiful.

  7. Best example I could proffer is one of the very first, a chart showing the attrition suffered by Napoleon’s armies in his campaign against Russia.

    One of the very first statistical charts ever published, it plotted time vs. the number of surviving soldiers as a thick bar line that grew ever thinner.


    People have been trying to equal its impact ever since. It’s a standard, and its influence can sadly be seen in the Hockey Stick. Striving to convey a single message is great, unless there’s more than one message…

    • John Carpenter

      I love that chart, you can look at it for a long time and get so much info. Nice example, tho not sure if Dr. Curry is looking for only examples of climate related material or everything out there. Good example at any rate.

  8. Tom:
    The chart depicting Napoleon’s march into and retreat from Moscow was apparently designed as an anti-war poster!
    Which serves to emphasize the point that the intent and motives of the communicator needs to be understood.

  9. Dr. Curry,
    I was also struck by the author saying the ethical burden is on the consumers of the presentation. But instead of the policymakers, my first thoughts went to fellow climate scientists. While hundreds of climate scientists take part in the production of an assessment report, for the most part, they are not experts in other portions of the report. Just as you claim not to be an expert in paleoclimate reconstructions, many other climate scientists are not either.

    I fail to understand the lack of an outcry by climate scientists when they learn they have been misled. I think your reaction and the reaction of Eduardo Zorita and Richard Muller should be the standard, not atypical. Why do you think more climate scientists are not outraged at being misled?

    • James Griffiths

      Ron, the lack of an outcry by scientists is not a huge surprise to me.

      I have seen it on large projects, where the manager, through pressure of deadlines, budget, or whatever, lets his or her strictness in enforcing procedures slip.

      Sooner or later, when there is a problem, the culprit is obvious. It’s amazing how often, even in a normally cutthroat business, how everybody involved will close ranks in refusing to identify him.

      They know that when the inquest happens, the question of who was cutting corners won’t be asked only of the villain, and most probably don’t relish the prospect of demonstrating how diligent they are when let off the leash.

      Many times, it goes further, and there is actually an outpouring of support for the culprit, with apologists making excuses desperate to avoid any kind of scrutiny into the project as a whole.

      The most amazing thing is I have seen this king of thing happen where nobody involved actually spoke to each other about the situation. The unspoken, but obvious, mutual benefit was enough to ensure nobody broke ranks, even without a strategy in place.

      I have huge admiration for Judith sticking her head above the parapet in the way she has. Working for years in a sector with such low standards of accountability and diligence does little to encourage the kind of rigorous approach that we all need to start requiring of climate science.

      Publically speaking out and making a stand for better scrutiny when your own previous work will be heavily scrutinised because of your position takes a lot of guts.

      • “Ron, the lack of an outcry by scientists is not a huge surprise to me.”

        Nor me, but it was very discouraging to hear the crickets chirp day after day, year after year, policy after policy.

        I’m somewhat embittered by the lack of their sense of responsibility.

        I cannot quantify how many skeptics engaged, not because of desire, but because no one else was stepping up to the plate. I never wanted to be a climatologist. I should have never been forced to know of such things as ENSO, or AMO, or mix of atmospheric CO2, much less, the absorption spectrum of trace gases. The watts/mtr sq of various forcings. I never wished to understand what “albedo” meant. That lately, some have decided to look a bit closer at the “science”, is a bit welcomed by me and many others, but it is also a bit of a “johnny-come-lately” scene. I guess I should be grateful for all of the absolutely useless knowledge I’ve come to gain. I was a bit of a trivia buff in a life that seems so long ago. My insights to people have increased tremendously, too. Civic responsibility is a sense only garnered by a few and for the most part is exclusively held by laymen. (There are very, very few exceptions to this rule.) I was also a bit of a history buff in the life before this current climate awareness. You see, I knew there had been quit a bit of climate alarmism a couple of generations prior. So, I never took alarmists seriously until people started adjusting thermostats in congress. We have learned nothing!! And when this current climate calamity scare subsides, it will be mostly forgotten only to raise its ugly Malthusian head again after this generation dies.

        For those that may complain that this diatribe is OT, re-read it. If anyone is serious about conflict resolution or reconciliation, addressing the people left stranded subjected to scorn and ridicule for years on end while the “scientists” played in their ivory towers, ya might wanna start there. Did I mention, I’m somewhat embittered? Well, at least I’ve plenty of company.

      • Phillip Bratby

        I think that the huge number of scientists and lay persons who have been forced to examine all these details of climate science for themselves shows how corrupt mainstream climate science has become. I can think of no other endeavour where people have been so badly misled that they have had to “do-it-yourself” and become experts themselves.

      • It does, but my point is, this should have never been allowed to proceed to the point where lay persons felt obliged to do this. Hansen did his thermostat trick in the 80s! Steve Mac got his paper published in 2003. He started climateaudit.org in 2005 because the climatologists wouldn’t let him defend himself. For the better part of 30 years, nothing much more than silence from other people much more qualified to weigh in with an opinion. I guess they were too busy developing important stuff like I-phones or next H2 blocker to be worried about the world and its populace. And the Orwellian, Malthusian, totalitarian remedies attempted to be imposed upon the world. Remedies to an imaginary problem.

      • Very nice, suyts. I’ve ridden this dark train awhile, too, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. With the influx of talent over the last year, I don’t feel anywhere near as necessary as I once did. It’s a lot easier to take a break from it than it once was.

      • It is true, but it also lends to a feeling of disenfranchisement. Only recently have I allowed myself some time of reflection towards this mess. I’ve more faith now that this madness will stop. And I wonder what impact I’ve had. Did it matter? Maybe not as an individual, but were it not for the likes of you and me and the scores(I don’t know how many) that have fought the good fight, I’ve little doubt this world would have descended into madness years ago. And now I can get back to my life…….because we aren’t required anymore………

        What was I doing before Hansen and his thermostat? Oh yeh, raising beautiful little girls……. one is off to college hundreds of miles away. The other is grown with children of her own. What price did I pay for the all of the physics and statistics books? Did it matter?

      • Yep, it mattered, and it was worth it. I’ve gotten a lot of peace since ClimateGate. Whoever released those emails changed the trajectory of history.

      • There’s still a long ride ahead. The e-mail euphoria for me has worn off a bit. Just like the euphoria I had when I discovered a statistician had destroyed the hockey stick and was running a website! And this little sidebar we’ve had made me just realize we can’t ever stop. That we left science to the academic/govt community is what got us in this mess in the first place.

        And miles to go before I rest……..

      • Yes – Man… It matters!
        Especially for our daughters and sons.- Right?
        I hope that your gut-feeling turns out to be correct, namely that we are very near or maybe have we even passed the tipping point over into sanity.
        Well- in that case we can start all over again but this time with the real problems of the real world, which after these years of true Kafka sentiment, must be sensed as a relief.

      • We’re getting there. This very site confirms progress made. And thanks!

    • Ron –
      Have you ever studied the events that led to the Challenger disaster/accident/whatever you want to call it?

      The cause are largely the same, the differences are minimal – the recognition of the problems, the dissent, the silencing of the dissent for political reasons. All of that happened long ago and far away in Climate Science – actually, about the same time as Challenger. And those who wanted to keep their careers learned to keep their thoughts to themselves. And the next generation learned from them. And the silence was complete. Until the coming of the Internet – and the sceptics who had no careers that could be threatened (well, mostly – I did “lose” a job over it in the early 90’s).

      Hopefully the result will be different than the Challenger result.

    • very good point. the issue with the paleo data is that the community is small, they all collaborate. This topic wasn’t one where I personally read the primary literature. I totally agree that the reaction of Zorita and Muller should be standard. Most scientists keep their heads down and want to stay away from publicly controversial issues. But there are enough scientists who put themselves in the public debate on this topic. I can’t explain it, other than people not wanting to comment on a topic for which they don’t have expertise.

      • If I was a climate scientist, I would certainly look into charges that my colleagues were acting less than honorably. That kind of thing reflects on all of science. If I found something bad, I would feel bound to speak out.

        However, not commenting is not nearly so bad as defending the indefensible. I have now and will continue to have a hard time trusting anyone who has tried to defend Mann, Jones, Wang, et al. These people either underestimate the intelligence of people around them or care nothing of their credibility.

        If climate science is going to move forward, it will happen because honest scientists of all viewpoints work together to gain better understanding. The RealClimate CRU types have lost their credibility.

    • Why do you think more climate scientists are not outraged at being misled?

      So I have just one wish for you–the good luck to be somewhere
      where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have
      described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain
      your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on,
      to lose your integrity.
      May you have that freedom.

      Richard Feynman

  10. Yes, but as effective as it is (and I first saw it while in the military, which made me gulp a bit), it didn’t stop war. There’s a message in there somewhere, isn’t there? Let me check under the seat cushions…

  11. An example of bad practice, widely used by the IPCC, is the misleading comparison of data obtained using one method with data obtained by a different method. In addition to the notorious example of splicing temperature data onto proxy data, we have, for example, in the AR4 WG1 SPM:
    * Comparing a long interval of tide gauge measurements with a short interval of satellite measurements (pages 5, 7) to convey the impression of accelerating sea level rise. In fact, work by Holgate shows no acceleration.
    * Comparing ice core carbon dioxide with recent atmospheric data (page 3).
    * Using different methods to find temperature trends (page 5):
    “The updated 100-year linear trend (1906 to 2005) of 0.74°C is therefore larger than the corresponding trend for 1901 to 2000 given in the TAR of 0.6°C” – there is a trick hidden here, revealed in Chapter 3, which says that the 0.6 is “when computed in the same way as in the TAR”. If you actually compute trends using the same dataset, the difference is much smaller (about half) than that implied by the IPCC SPM.

    • PaulM

      You and I have discussed this several months ago on Climate Audit, but the points you make about the “bad practice” used by IPCC in comparing data obtained by one method over one time period with data obtained by different method over a different time period are well taken.

      One could possibly excuse such a bad practice when no other data are available for one of the time periods (ex: atmospheric CO2 content prior to Mauna Loa measurements). However, in this case there are the many analytical measurements complied by Ernst Beck, which do not correlate well with the ice core data and are ignored. Should these be incorporated into the pre-Mauna Loa record or simply “cherry-picked” out?

      In the case of the sea level data the bad practice is even more glaring for two reasons. First, not only has the method of measurement been changed (from tide gauges to satellite altimetry), but so has the scope (from selected shore lines to the entire ocean, except polar regions and areas near shorelines, which cannot be measured by satellite). And, worst of all, data are available for the most recent period using the older tide gauge method, but they are just ignored (or “cherry-picked” out).

      And finally there is the bad practice of using clever chartmanship to compare linear trends over longer and shorter time periods within the strongly cyclical record of atmospheric temperature in an attempt to show acceleration in the trend. Here we have a case where the same method is used, but over a different scope, in order to show an apparent trend that does not exist in real fact.

      Unfortunately, these are not the only examples of such bad practices in IPCC AR4.

      As someone who tends to be rationally skeptical I ask myself why these bad practices all go in the direction of making AGW look more alarming. Can this be coincidence? Or are these all examples of “hiding the decline”?


      • Manacker and PaulM,

        I want to make an exception for:

        Comparing ice core carbon dioxide with recent atmospheric data (page 3).

        The ice core CO2 is not a proxy, but direct measurements of background CO2 in the real past atmospheric, be it smoothed over several years to several centuries. Many of the historical CO2 data by chemical methods compiled by Ernst Beck are measurements (with less accuracy) which were taken at places nearby huge sources over land, not resembling background CO2 levels. It makes no sense to discuss this further here, because it is completely OT (at Steve’s blog it is even forbidden). But have a look at:

      • Ferdinand

        I would readily concede that the ice core data are valid, even though data of this sort can have large errors for several reasons that have been documented. The analytical results compiled by Beck were (to a large extent) made by serious and well-known scientists, using analytical methods that have withstood the test of time. Was the CO2 measured “well-mixed”? Maybe not in every case, as you surmise.

        The point is, these are data. They should not simply be “cherry-picked out”. Show them. Discuss them. Show why you think there may be errors in them. Etc. But don’t just act as though they do not exist.

        I’ll agree, however, that the other point regarding sea levels is a much more compelling example of IPCC “bad practice”, as is the cited temperature trend example with the superb “chartmanship”.

        Do you have any comments on these?


      • manacker,

        I simply agree with your other comments, thus no problem there. I only disagreed with the ice core / historical data points, after several years of discussions with the late Beck. The non-use of many of the historical data was already explained by Callendar (1939?) by using a-priory criteria for inclusion or exclusion of data (and again by others as reaction on his E&E article). One can disagree with the criteria, but using no criteria at all, as Beck did, gives odd results, simply because measurements at one place show 500 ppmv in the same year that measurements at the other end of the world show 250 ppmv… Both should have been discarded (both were over land near huge CO2 sources/sinks). His CO2 1942 “peak” is mainly from two sites specifically intended for agricultural purposes, according to Callendar (and current knowledge) good for exclusion.
        BTW, the high resolution Law Dome ice core has an overlap of some 20 years with direct measurements at the South Pole.

      • The discarding of data by Callander was heavily criticised by Slocum. It is not a statistically valid technique but ad hoc, highly subjective and mostly indefensible. Of course you know this already but you don’t reveal that knowledge because it is contradictory to your personal views – just like the stomata data.

        To paraphrase yourself ‘you can’t ignore things just because they don’t agree with your viewpoint’.

      • James,

        You can discuss and criticize the criteria Callendar used: some were valid, some were stupid, but at least he used criteria to include or exclude data of which he thought that were valid or invalid. The late Beck didn’t use any criteria at all and averaged all avaliable data, even completely unsuitable as background reference, like under/midst of the leaves of growing rice (and other crop) fields (Poona India, halve the cause of the 1942 “peak”).
        40 years later, the ice cores showed that Callendar was quite right (be it by luck or insight…)..

        Using modern criteria for “background” sampling shows that historical samples taken over the oceans or seaside are around the ice core CO2 levels. And modern sampling at many places (including Giessen, Germany) used in Beck’s historical graph show that these still are unsuitable for background CO2 measurements.

        Further, stomata dat are calibrated against… ice core data for the past century up to 1960. They too contradict the 1942 “peak” of the historical data. But they suffer of the same problem as many historical measurements: CO2 levels over land are highly variable and subject to changes in climate, land use/changes, wind patterns,…

        My personal view has nothing to do with which places are suitable for background CO2 and which not. I only alluded that several of the criteria used by Callendar would have excluded lots of invalid data (invalid as background CO2 data) used by Beck, including the 1942 “peak”.

        My personal view is that (too) many skeptics adopted Beck’s graph, simply because that, if real, would invalidate any human cause of GW, without checking the facts first, or even thinking about the physical (im)possibility of 80 ppmv CO2 increase and especially decrease in less than 7 years…

  12. Edward Tufte’s other classic volume, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_vdqi), contains a chapter called “Graphical Integrity” in which he says that “Graphical excellence begins with telling the truth about the data.” The crux of the matter is the moral and ethical behavior that is the foundation for information exchange. Unless transactions are based on trustworthiness, then there is an additional cost to the exchange. This can be in the form of addition verification necessary to make a case, or of devaluation of the work by those receiving the information, or even the felt need to “market” results. From an economic perspective, it becomes expensive to violate the trust between presenter and recipient — not just financially but in terms of identifying and solving real problems. The tragedy of “Hide the Decline” is that so much productivity has been wasted. The particular act may have been trivial, but it exemplifies a frame of mind and practices that should be unacceptable to all.

  13. Monty, you have also refused to answer my questions in the post where I responded to yours. Keep that discussion in that thread. I doubt Judith Curry will be able to respond to all questions anyway, as there are now 2000+comments.

  14. Judith Curry, 2/25/11, Hiding the Decline. Part IV: Beautiful Evidence

    In the category of chartjunk, check the discussion of IPCC’s fingerprints, AR4, Figure 2.3, p. 138. SGW, III, A, in RSJ. http://rocketscientistsjournal.com/2010/03/sgw.html#III_ . The evidence that IPCC shows for O2 depletion matching the increase in CO2, and its evidence for isotopic lightening matching fossil fuel consumptions constitute unacceptable science. Calculations with mass flow analyses were indicated, but not reported.

    You asked for examples “beyond the hockey stick”. I assume you mean that exclusion to apply explicitly to the MBH1999 reconstruction from tree rings, the handle, tacked onto the modern instrument record, the blade. TAR, SPM, Figure 1(b), p. 3. IPCC responded to critics. AR4, ¶ What Do Reconstructions Based on Paleoclimatic Proxies Show?, p. 466. IPCC rationalized its reliance on MBH by yet another bit of chartjunk. It created a spaghetti graph, over-plotting the MBH result with 11 other reconstructions since the TAR. Figure 6.10, p. 467. It masked the controversial result without discarding it, and without rationalizing it categorically with the cross-correlation studies.

    IPCC doesn’t limit its reliance on a hockey stick effect to temperature reconstructions. It creates problematic hockey sticks for CO2, CH4, N2O, and sulphate aerosols. TAR, SPM, Figure 2, p. 6. Later, it extended the first three of these charts back 10 kyrs. AR4, Figure SPM.1, p. 3. The problem is that the records from ice cores are heavily low-pass filtered by the long time required for the firn to close, and with the time between samples on the order of one thousand years. The instrument record accumulates samples on the scale of one minute or less. An epoch like that recorded in CO2 at MLO has a chance of being detected in Vostok ice core reductions of about 3%. Records comprising paleo ice core reductions with modern instrument records appended should not be continuous as IPCC has shown them. Without an explanation, this looks suspiciously like chartjunk.

    IPCC, like others before it, plots the well-known Vostok ice core reductions by shifting and scaling the coordinates to maximize visual correlation, an example of chartjunk. TAR, Figure 2.22, p. 137. At that point, it discusses the strong relationship between CO2, CH4, and temperature, noting that CO2 increases started 600 ± 400 years after the Antarctic warming. IPCC’s restrictions to the start of increases, and to Antarctic temperatures are also problematic. What IPCC is skirting is called cross-correlation, a mathematical and not a subjective concept. IPCC should have analyzed the structure of cross-plots, called scatter diagrams, between all pairs of variables, and calculated the cross-correlation function, analyzing the lead/lag relationships and quantifying the strong relationship. As it happens, the relationship between CO2 and temperature in the Vostok record is well-represented by Henry’s Law, using the identical data. See The Acquittal of CO2 in RSJ.

  15. @curryja:

    You claim: “Trenberth lays it on the line when he says the null hypothesis should be changed to AGW is real and dangerous.”

    Trenberth actually wrote:

    Prior to the 2007 IPCC report, it was appropriate for the null hypothesis to be that “there is no human influence on climate” and the task was to prove that there was. The burden of proof is high. In general in this case, scientists assume that there is no human influence and to prove that there is requires statistical tests to exceed the 95% confidence level (5% significance level) to avoid a chance finding of a false positive. To declare erroneously that the null hypothesis is not correct is called a type I error, and the science is very conservative in this regard about making such an error. Scientists are thus prone to make what are called type II errors whereby they erroneously accept the null hypothesis when it is in fact false.

    Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence. Such a null hypothesis is trickier because one has to hypothesize something specific, such as “precipitation has increased by 5%” and then prove that it hasn’t. Because of large natural variability, the first approach results in an outcome suggesting that it is appropriate to conclude that there is no increase in precipitation by human influences, although the correct interpretation is that there is simply not enough evidence (not a long enough time series). However, the second approach also concludes that one cannot say there is not a 5% increase in precipitation. Given that global warming is happening and is pervasive, the first approach should no longer be used. As a whole the community is making too many type II errors.

    The word “dangerous” never appears* in his presentation.

    I find Trenberth’s written comments regarding the null hypothesis to be more nuanced and less dramatic than your paraphrase. If you’re seeking to clearly communicate rather than inflame, it might be worth while to quote Trenberth directly rather than attribute to him a position that doesn’t appear to be in his presentation.

    *Written presentation. If it was in the live presentation, I will gladly withdraw the comment

    • I’m so relieved to know that Dr Trenberth things that the current and most hospitable warming is not “dangerous”. Thank you for you clarification on this important point.

    • Thingsbreak — Your comment represents a complete misreading of Dr Curry’s remark. She was saying that Trenberth’s suggestion that changing the null hypothesis with respect to climate change is dangerous. Trenberth said the null hypothesis should be switched to assuming global warming is real. This is what is dangerous — assuming AGW is real instead of trying to prove that it is.

  16. So, Judith, when are you going to put graphics used by skeptics to mislead people under the same microscope you’re putting the “hide the decline” graphic under?

    You could start here, a post at WUWT, one of your fave science sites.

    The first graph on global sea ice area uses an expanded scale in an attempt to hide the fact that indeed, there’s a declining trend (caption “no trend over 30 years”).

    The second claims that there’s no change in arctic sea ice area by showing data starting in 2002, and only showing a graph, not plotting a regression on data on a by-month or similar period of time.

    The slide captioned “it was warmer a thousand years ago” misleads by:

    1. leading the viewer to believe that the english temps plotted are global


    2. cutting the instrumental record at 1950, 60 years ago.

    I look forward to, and will enjoy, your evisceration of these blatantly dishonest slides.

    Thanks in advance!

    • It is surprising to see you here. :)

      Participating in discussions and all that.

    • I wouldn’t hold your breath. I’ve been asking her science questions for 24 hours now and no reply. Maybe she’s not interested in science anymore?

      • Maybe if your questions were on topic…

        Just sayin.


      • monty:
        She did reply. She said the uncertainties were too high and the proxy data were sparse and uncalibrated. I think she gave up on you because you more or less ignored her reply.

        Do you disagree with her that the proxy data is uncalibrated?

      • Dehog, it goes like this.

        Judith get’s to choose what she wants to write about.
        If you want to start a blog and attack Archibald, I will gladly come
        to it an support you. Second, I’m pretty sure that Tamino and others have done a good job of this criticism along with commenters at WUWT.
        Third, archibalds junk, misleading and dishonest junk, will never be put in front of decision makers as a consensus representation of the truth.
        But, if you want to play the game, then fine. Archibald’s stuff is cherry picked dishonest junk. Now, defend hiding the decline as the BEST way to present the data. Explain why it is appropriate to disregard the advice of David Rind about showing uncertainties rather than hiding them in footnotes.

        1. Those dishonest slides

      • google “wmo913.pdf ” OR “WMO STATEMENT ON THE STATUS OF THE GLOBAL CLIMATE IN 1999” set the date range to 1998 to 2008
        this brings up a total of 5 valid results. This was not an influential paper!!!

    • dhogaza: Nobody except at RC takes you seriously, because all you do is pass insults.

    • lol, So are you taking exception to “cryoshpere today”? It was their graph, or David Archibald’s relative perspective?

      The second graph……. a product of IRAC/JAXA? You can ask them for more spaghetti strips on the graph, but it’s fairly cluttered as it is. Do you think JAXA is being disingenuous about their presentation?

      “The slide captioned “it was warmer a thousand years ago” misleads by:

      1. leading the viewer to believe that the english temps plotted are global”

      Your reading the slides wrong, hot-rod. The caption goes to the slide underneath the English temps plotted. I’d thought that would be apparent to any normal view of the slides, but I’ll try to get word to Archibald that it confuses some our friends.

      I haven’t found the one where you claim the instrumental record stops at 1950, so perhaps you can link to it? If you do, I promise to type real slow in the explanation about how you are either mis-attributing or misreading the information you are being presented.

      Kindest regards,


    • Oh snap! I just realized which graph you were referring to!


      dhogaza…..I don’t mean to be mean, but you really shouldn’t go out unattended. That graph isn’t a graph of instrumental readings. The first mercury thermometer was made in 1714 by a guy named Fahrenheit. Also, count your notches on the scale, those are 100 year increments, not 50. Do you need any more help with interpretive graph reading?

      • suyts;

        That graph is a chart made by Lamb. It was placed in an IPCC report by mistake. The story behind it is fascinating. Anyway, it was placed in the report by mistake. Jones and others actually discuss this mistake. At the time, they knew that Lambs diagram was wrong. But, Folland ( I recall) used it anyway. The issue was that CRU had published a criticism of Lambs diagram, but they published it in an obscure journal to protect Lamb’s reputation.

        SO, in order to protect his reputation they hide the correction. But Folland didnt get the memo.

        So Dehog is criticizing Archibald for using graph that was mistakenly put in the IPCC reports. And why? because CRU hadnt properly attacked that graph in a high profile journal.

      • here its a bit more complicated than I described..

        “What made the last millennium graph famous (notorious!) was that Chris Folland must have seen it and reproduced it in the 1995 IPCC chapter he was editing. I don’t think he gave acitation and it thus appeared to have the imprimatur of the IPCC. Having submitted a great
        deal of text for that chapter, I remember being really pissed off that Chris essentially ignored all the input, and wrote his own version of the paleoclimate record in that volume.

        Arrg. really too complex to cut and paste.. read the whole thing


        And then… Wigly

        I see the problems with this in terms of history, IPCC image,
        >> skeptix, etc. I’m sure you can handle it. In doing so, you might
        >> consider (or not) some of these points.
        >> (1) I think Chris Folland is to blame for this. The issue is not
        >> our collective ignorance of paleoclimate in 1989/90, but
        >> Chris’s ignorance. The text that was in the 1990 report (thanks
        >> for reminding us of this, Caspar) ameliorates the problem
        >> considerably.
        >> (2) Nevertheless, ‘we’ (IPCC) could have done better even then.
        >> The Rothlisberger data were available then — and could/should
        >> have been used.
        >> (3) We also already knew that the Lamb UK record was flawed.
        >> We published a revision of this — but never in a mainstream
        >> journal because we did not want to offend Hubert. I don’t have
        >> the paper to hand, but I think it is …
        >> Wigley, T.M.L., Huckstep, N.J., Mortimer, R., Farmer, G., Jones, P.D.,
        >> Salinger, M.J. and Ogilvie, A.E.J., 1981: The reconstruction of European
        >> climate on decadal and shorter time scales. (In) Extended Abstracts,
        >> First Meeting, Reconstruction of Past Climates Contact Group, EEC
        >> Directorate-General for Science, Research and Development, Brussels,
        >> Belgium, 83

        So, it’s all kind of complex to sort out. Not the best practice. But you see that by trying to hide the details of things, by trying to anticipate what skeptics will say or do, the team gets themselves into trouble. by stuffing away corrections to save face… etc.

        Anyway, Thanks to Dehog for bringing the issue up. hes a great coatracker

      • Thanks Dhog, for bringing that to light.
        Thanks Mr Mosher for the explanation.

      • Steven,

        That is deliciously ironic, and very apt for this discussion. While I can appreciate that it is old news, perhaps the people here could draw some meaningful lessons from the story.

        BTW, the onus of truth detecting of the consumer is only valid to a point. If anything, this climate debate should have taught us this. It is unreasonable for the consumer to expect veracity in presentations. It isn’t reasonable for the consumer to run down each and every minutia of information presented. Sure, the consumer should and must follow the assertions of the presentation, but if he were to check for the veracity of the presentation, what use would the presenter be?

        Of course, dogaza, shows us that there are extreme examples of people not being able to discern what a graphic might state, but I think he’s part of the special group that simply shouldn’t be allowed to view any.

      • Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. I have been told many many times that the IPCC reports represent the careful, considered work of the best scientists in the world. This story sounds like a stupid careless glitch because sound editorial procedures were not in place. Zounds! Holy melting permafrost, Batman! Say it isn’t so.

        I am gobsmacked.

    • I wonder if you appreciate the irony that you are welcome to post here, when at any of the websites you frequent, any dissenting opinions are “disappeared.”

    • dhogaza

      Judith may wish to reply to you directly, but let me give you my answer.

      IPCC is supposed to represent the “gold standard” authoritative document on our planet’s climate, in particular on the human impact on this climate.

      WUWT (or, for that matter, RealClimate, or any of the climate blogs) are simply sites where various interested parties can exchange views. They play a very important role (as can be seen from the success of this site) but they have no official status as “the definitive source for climate information”.

      I do not expect RealClimate or WUWT to give me an unbiased and impartial view on AGW – but I demand that IPCC do just that.

      That’s the difference here.


    • Sorry, messed up one of the tags, feel free to delete previous post:


      Here are some (there are many, many more) examples of “skeptics” manipulating graphics that seem to have gone unnoticed by you and the folks at ClimateAudit– I hope that you do not choose to give them a free pass.

      1) Easterbrook’s mangling of the GIS record as highlighted by Gareth Renowden and others. Was it ignorance or intentional?

      2) And another example of deception by Easterbrook here

      3) How about the “Prudent path” document omitting the observed temperature record from the Ljungqvist (2010) paleo reconstruction as originally shown in his paper?

      4) How about Monckton’s fudging of graphs and cherry-picking (too numerous to mention here, but Dr. Abraham and SkepticalScience and others have highlighted the issues).

      5) Ignoring the plagiarism issues, how about these problems highlighted by DC in the Wegman report, see

      6) And then there is this example of McIntyre covered by DeepClimate

      7) How about this example by Eschenbach identified by Tim Lambert?

      8) And another by Eschenbach.

      9) Or this example by Taylor that was highlighted on Fox News.

      10) And here is an example of Goddard misleading using graphics.

      I hope these very real examples designed to mislead are at the receiving end of your wrath. How are the examples above advancing the science Judith? If you are truly interested in the health of science, then these few examples above should deeply trouble you.

      • Maple leaf,

        What is your view on the extract from “Beautiful Evidence”?

      • ML just gave some examples which help illustrate what Dr Curry speaks of. To quote from the post…

        Of particular relevance is a chapter entitled “Corrupt Techniques in Evidence Presentations: Effects Without Cause, Cherry Picking, Punning, Chartjunk.”

        Or will you assert that ML’s examples do no such thing?

      • That was addressed to Saaad [February 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm), by the way.

      • J Bowers,

        Point taken and thanks for putting me right. I should have paid a bit more attention I guess! :-)

        Anyway, I’m certainly aware of many of these examples and would agree that some, if not all of them are misleading…..there are some that I haven’t seen yet, so I’ll check them all out. Perhaps the larger issue here is in regard to anything that winds up in the IPCC ARs. This is why the hockey stick has garnered such widespread criticism and why it is – quite rightly IMO – held to a far greater standard of integrity than graphs presented on blogs.

        We need to aim for a well understood, well policed gold standard for any presentation of science in policy literature: hopefully this can be addressed to everyone’s satisfaction in AR5, although I note that Dr Curry is somewhat sceptical about this.

      • I don’t understand your argument? These ‘people’, who you and your cohorts dismiss, make a bad use of graphs, and therefore, it’s ok for IPCC members to do the same?

      • Nope. Judith asked for examples. I provided some fairly recent ones (unlike the 12-yr old WMO cover figure), and there are more. And it is not just bad blog science, the “Prudent” path stuff has been sent to politicians.

      • No, his argument is this piece of illogic

        1. Judith cannot/should not look at errors in the IPCC unless she also looks at errors in blog posts.

        Its like this. You’re reviewing a paper for nature and you find an error. You explain this to the author. The author, refers you to a pile of undergraduate work and says… WHAT ABOUT THESE ERRORS!

        or you catch wegman in plagiarizing and the other side catches Bradley.

        Wooohoo.. indians counting coup

      • But it’s double wonder, Mosh, because, of course, none of this stuff has been ‘peer reviewed’ and, therefore, is not worth per view, except when it’s useful for a rhetorical argument?

      • Mosher says,

        “Judith cannot/should not look at errors in the IPCC unless she also looks at errors in blog posts.”

        Good grief but you are desperate Mosher. That is a strawman argument, and distortion to boot. I never said or inferred that what you claim, again, Judith asked for examples…I and others have provided some. EOS.

        And Bradley did not plagiarize, at least in the proper use/application of the term.

        Now you have a very pleasant weekend.

      • I don’t know if they can’t distinguish the difference or intentionally do so.
        Cherry picking is expected from advocates. One wishes they wouldn’t, but they do on both sides of the blogosphere.

        Providing information to policy makers is a different animal. The information is supposed to be neutral. Just the facts.

        -2 pts for using the “plagiarizing” allegations in your analogy.

      • Mosher,

        Mapleleaf never stated nor implied that…

        “you argument seems to be that we should not even look at errors in peer reviewed material until we first look at all the errors in stuff that never made it past the screens”

        nor that…

        “his argument is this piece of illogic

        1. Judith cannot/should not look at errors in the IPCC unless she also looks at errors in blog posts.”

        We can assume that when Mapleleaf says Judith “should” take certain actions, s/he means that Judith should take these actions because they support her stated aims. Because Mapleleaf said so. See…

        “If you are truly interested in the health of science, then these few examples above should deeply trouble you.”

        Mapleleaf’s argument is not that

        A) if Judith does not look at alleged errors made by the ‘extended peer community’ as they evaluate and communicate science to the public, then she should not look at errors in the IPCC

        Mapleleaf did imply that

        B) *if* Judith is concerned with the public interface with science and public trust as she claims she is, then she should also look at errors by the ‘extended peer review community’, with the presumption that she can do both that and address IPCC errors.

        A) and B) are not symmetrical. A) is about usefulness. B) has the implicit assumption that if one aims to 1) improve science-public relations and believes that the ‘extended peer community’ is important, then it is *more* useful to address errors in both 2) the IPCC and 3) ‘extended peer community’ than 2) the IPCC alone.

        2) AND 3) = more useful for achieving 1)

        Does not imply

        2) NOT 3) = not useful for achieving 1)

        Does Judith believe that the ‘extended peer community’ is important? Well yes… here is the context in which ‘Judith is looking at errors in the IPCC’ is too narrow, first post on climate etc

        “My engagement in the blogosphere over the past several years have convinced me that the blogosphere has untapped potential for educating the public and for enabling large-scale collective intelligence to address the scientific and policy challenges associated with climate change.”


        “Extended peer communities seem essential to me in grappling with both the intellectual and practical challenges associated with climate change. Blogs such at Climate Etc. (which in my own biased opinion represents the high mark in such discussions) may be the best hope for enabling the highly multi- and interdisciplinary investigations required to understand and address the climate change challenge and to enfranchise the public to secure its common interest.”

        But I believe the purpose of asking B) is not about usefulness, it is about testing the compatibility of actions with stated aims versus other alternatives. The implications of B) apply to trust and bias. Judith has been hot on trust and bias wrt ‘consensus scientists’. It cuts both ways. You sometimes describe ‘hide the decline’ as a litmus test. Mapleleaf is asking something similar. I like litmus tests. Hypothetically, Judith might only be interested in bashing the ‘consensus’ using the almost-all-PR-all-the-time approach of your friend Steve, and still looking at IPCC errors may be useful, like M&M’s criticisms of MBH98 were useful. Mapleleaf has not denied that. Can you point otherwise?

        Willis Eschenbach is on that list. He is recommended by Judith as an excellent educator. When he makes a botched job of analysing homogeneity adjustments and on that basis accuses climate scientists of fraud, that should be a concern for someone concerned with public trust in climate science and the role of the ‘extended peer community’. It should be a concern for someone concerned with education. If Judith is not concerned, should we be?

        P.S. if you have time, I would appreciate a further response here.

      • Missing link… further response…here

      • Hint: I know all that. u dont get what I’m doing

      • Mosher,

        If that was addressed to me?, then…

        Perphaps I don’t. But if I did, I might not care. What you are doing? Who ever knows. Smarts combined with opaqueness has a downside, Mosh.


      • Yes Maple lets stipulate that these instances are as bad as briffa and jones. I agree with you.

        Now, which of these instances has the stamp of approval by the IPCC?

        because, there are these issues on the table.

        1. The bad practice itself.
        2. The actions governing bodies can take to correct these actions.
        3. The impact of these practices.

        When we have governing bodies like journals and the IPCC which appear to have some measure of control over these practices, it seems the rational approach is to start with the cases where our suggestions can actually have a positive effect. But, you argument seems to be that we should not even look at errors in peer reviewed material until we first look at all the errors in stuff that never made it past the screens we have set up.
        this seems more like heaping busy work on someone who is trying to improve a process that we all rely on.

        By the way, rather than refer to DC, please use his real name. dave Clarke. he’s a musician you know.

      • Mosher,

        “Yes Maple lets stipulate that these instances are as bad as briffa and jones. I agree with you.”

        That would be misrepresenting my position (please stop it) and a failed attempt to reframe the debate– there are examples of “skeptics” misleading in peer-review too ya know. Oh let us see– McLean et al. for starters…shall I continue?

        Re DC, wow, you are incredibly desperate Mosher. And Mosher, pray tell, who is Goddard exactly? I heard you two “made” up in Lisbon after all.

      • It’s just absurd: How many mistakes, as ‘counter examples’, do you wish to bring up?

      • Maple:

        “Re DC, wow, you are incredibly desperate Mosher. And Mosher, pray tell, who is Goddard exactly? I heard you two “made” up in Lisbon after all.”

        DC is Dave Clarke. I really have no respect for people who hide behind monikers. same with Josh Halpern or Grant Foster.

        WRT “Goddard”. After Lisbon I became aware that he was not using his real name. I wasn’t told his real name, but if you know it I have no issue with you using it. If I knew it I would use it. Since I had no problem criticizing him I’d have no problem using his real name.

      • Mosher,

        “I really have no respect for people who hide behind monikers”

        OK, so you therefore admit to having no respect for Goddard or Nigel Persaud (i.e., Stephen McIntyre).

        Good to hear it from the horse’s mouth Steven– McIntyre will be disappointed to hear that though.

        PS: And did Charles Rotter (your roommate, at least he was a while ago) not also “hide” behind a moniker (CTM) for quite some time?

      • Ask your friend Anthony Watts who Goddard is. See if he answers. I’m sure he will because in several discussions he plays the anonymous-card when it gets too hot for him.

        And then when he tells you, you can tell the whole world. Not that it matters one bit about Goddard cherrypicking, distorting and misleading.

      • Listened to Neven’s link and in particular the interview with professor Box; got annoyed when Box suggested the riots throughout the middle east was due to food shortages brought about by AGW; have read a couple of Box’s papaers; on Greenland and the Arctic I prefer Petr Chylek’s work:


        Box also seems not to be aware of glacial isostatic adjustment and the illusion of ice loss in Greenland and the Antarctic. Just typical alarmist fare really.

      • Uhm, I haven’t checked any of the others, but Cook either didn’t understand the point Goddard was making or totally fabricated the issue.

        Ironically, Goddard was addressing a misleading graph of a temp station in Greenland. Most importantly, Goddard was addressing an assertion Hansen made.. With all of the alarmism about the hottest year evuh and all the “melting” that was being reported we should have been able to detect a raise in sea-level with expansion and addition of all of the newly liquidized ice.

        From the posting, “Dr. Hansen tells us to expect 3-6+ metres of sea level rise this century. That would be a minimum of 30 mm/year.”
        But, in case of fact, the small time frame available at that time, showed a decrease in sea-level. A -10mm.
        He wasn’t asserting the overall trend for sea-level was lowering.

        ML, I hope this is isn’t indicative of your other “examples”. You should probably go to the original sources and verify what you’ve been told.

        This isn’t the first time I’ve seen alarmists look at a graph and make declarations as to their meanings without actually reading the context. Gavin did basically the same thing with a McShane &Wyner graph. He had all of his minions worked into a lather about it. I went to correct the misconception, but his ego wouldn’t allow for correction, so he made a fool of himself in a response to M&W in a publication. It was rather humorous to me.

        Context is very important when viewing a visual aid. By their very nature, alarmists have a difficulty with this and tend to jump to conclusions first……….thinking later is optional.

      • I forgot……don’t just take my word…..


        There’s the story Cook was referring to.

      • Maple Leaf

        You missed the point here.

        It is NOT about whether or no “skeptics” have used “bad practices” (i.e. “hide the decline” methods) to support their various objections to the “official” IPCC “mainstream position” on climate change.

        It is whether IPCC, as the supposed “gold standard” source for information on our planet’s climate and on the human impact on our climate, has fallen into the trap of using “bad practices” and, if so, what other examples of such “bad practices” exist beside the “hide the decline” example?

        That is the topic here, not calling the kettle blacker than the pot, thereby excusing the pot.


      • I don’t understand why your post appears after mine, given that it is time-stamped hours earlier – but anyway, it is interesting that you ask a question based on a similar perspective as mine.

        I look forward to Judith’s response to your post if she chooses not to respond to mine.

      • Mapleleaf,
        I am not quite sure what your number 6 example is all about. It is just DC using the same graphics that McIntyre examined from the IPCC TAR.

        Are you confirming that Judy is right to say it is a misleading graphic?

      • Maple leaf:
        There is quite a difference between blog posts and cover graphs for WMO or key figures in IPCC. Of course everyone should raise their game, but some of these people are unfunded amateurs.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        MapleLeaf, I am only familiar with three of those examples, the sixth, seventh and eighth. The sixth consists entirely of DeepClimate rambling on about a throwaway comment in a blog post from Steve McIntyre. In a post about data being truncated in a graph, McIntyre described the fact the new end was obscured by other graphs as “particularly artful.” Over a thousand words in McIntyre’s post, and DeepClimate claims a single throwaway sentence indicates McIntyre was “particularly outraged.” This is nothing more than an example of DeepClimate exaggerating things in order to insult McIntyre. It’s a good example, but not of what you intended.

        Example number seven is no better. Tim Lambert claims Eschenbach lied about temperature trends at the Darwin station. This is obviously untrue. Eschenbach said, “[T]he trend has been artificially increased to give a false warming where the raw data shows cooling.” That is exactly true. Tim Lambert never does anything to show this is false. Instead, he tries to justify the adjustments made to the temperature record. Whether or the adjustments are “correct,” they are artificial, and they do give warming where the raw data shows cooling.

        Example eight is just as bad. Again, Tim Lambert makes things up about Eschenbach. In it, Lambert accuses Eschenbach of fraud. The basis for this accusation is is Eschenbach started the temperature record in a graph at one particular point rather than another. Now then, Eschenbach chose to use the same starting point as the models he compared the temperature record to. This is perfectly sensible. The graph is one of anomalies. This means the baseline is arbitrary. Using the same baseline as the things being compared to is normal. Even if it weren’t, the comparison is between trends, so the baseline doesn’t even matter. In short, this is an example of Tim Lambert making things up in order to accuse a “skeptic” of “fraud.”

        Now then, three of the examples you offered are obviously not examples of bad behavior by “skeptics,” but instead they are examples of bad behavior by those criticizing “skeptics.” It gets worse. Your sixth example, which I discussed above, doesn’t even involve any graph being manipulated. DeepClimate claimed McIntyre misrepresented a graph, but he never said anything about a graph being altered.

        Put bluntly, you’ve offered examples of false accusations, at least one of which doesn’t even claim what you say it claims. Do you really want people like Judith Curry to spend time addressing this sort of nonsense?

    • Red herring. Try something else.

    • Dhogy,
      You really shouldn’t leave the Realclimate sandpit. Out in the real world, people don’t high five you for setting up dumb, right-thinkers strawmen. They just ridicule you.

  17. Anything is possible

    The most notorious example of bad data representation here in the UK in recent years was the study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield claiming a causal link between the combined Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) inoculations and autism in children.

    For those not familiar with the case, a summary is available here :


    The life-threatening consequences of shoddy research and practices in the field of medicine mean that a robust system of justice – Dr. Wakefield was subsequently found guilty as charged by the British Medical Council and struck-off – is in place to deal with these cases.

    Have we reached the stage where Climate Science needs a system to hold scientists guilty of bad practices similarly accountable?

    • “The most notorious example of bad data representation here in the UK in recent years was the study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield claiming a causal link between the combined Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR) inoculations and autism in children.”

      Just a fine example of science being self-correcting. Your comparison is backwards firing, as they say.

  18. Good Excerpt. I’ve seen cherry picking by both AGW supporters and skeptics. Unfortunately, in the blogosphere I’ve seen far more by the skeptics.

    I’m new here and a little bit confused by the purpose of this blog – is it saying there is no GW or just that humans aren’t a big factor or that the end results of GW aren’t really that bad? If you want to show that the majority of climate scientists are alarmists, the only way to convince them is to show evidence that CO2 is not causing the air and ocean temps to rise and find a suitable natural explanation. It’s undeniable that major parts of the globe are warming and if we take NASA, NOAA and many other organizations at their word (and that there isn’t some grand conspiracy).

    I like that these articles truly support the skeptical paradigm, it just needs to point both ways to keep things clean and avoiding the straw man and false premise logical fallacies.

    • Steve: If you’re new here, you would do well to click on the “ABOUT” link at the top and you might find the the purpose of this blog.

      Climate Etc. provides a forum for climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.

      Or are you not capable of finding things out for yourself?

      • Steeptown,

        Come on now, Steve made a polite introduction. Was that last little jibe really necessary? It seems to me the more reasonable people frequenting this blog, the better the discussions will be.

      • Very funny and snarky Steeptown…I think you know what I meant. I already read the About and it does nothing to answer my question about the general attitudes portrayed by the blog author and the commenters. I am seriously interested in understanding this because my impression after reading a number of posts is that this is mainly about poking holes in AGW hypothesis, theories and so called evidence without presenting a balanced picture. I am all for skepticism and questioning “conclusions” when it’s done reasonably – I was rather hoping for that here. I’m on the fence right now…

      • Steve said “If you want to show that the majority of climate scientists are alarmists, the only way to convince them is to show evidence that CO2 is not causing the air and ocean temps to rise and find a suitable natural explanation.”

        You should provide evidence that CO2 is causing the air and ocean temps to rise with out hiding the decline etc.

      • plus I’m not asking you to ride a bicycle and live in a tent.

      • This says it all…the evidence clearly shows that CO2 added by humans is causing (in large part) global warming.

        You really have to work hard to ignore the science on this.

      • Oh. Good grief. Hadn’t realized that. No need to read this blog any more, then. I’m going home.

        Thanks ianash.

        Probably you should email Judith directly so that she knows she can stop blogging on this issue.

      • Remind us of the ‘evidence’ please.

        Just in case it’s somehow escaped our notice. Thanks.

      • Plenty here defend the current AGW theory. Plenty show its deficiencies. I doubt that you’ll find any single individual with a completely disinterested, neutral view.

        I guess you’ll have to read both and make up your own mind which is more convincing to you. That’s why this blog encourages both sides of the discussion, not just one.

      • Steve, as a newcomer, with obvious sympathies for the CAGW case, you would do well to familiarise yourself with the null hypothesis. You might then see the error in your remark “the only way to convince them is to show evidence that CO2 is not causing the air and ocean temps to rise and find a suitable natural explanation.” It is not for sceptics to prove or explain anything. It is up the climate alarmists to disconfirm the null hypothesis that nothing beyond natural variation is happening to the climate. They have yet to do so, despite increasingly desperate efforts, some of which are the subject of this thread.

    • Steve, if I may, I believe that you have missed the point of much of the debate. It is more quantitative than qualitative. If you append the qualifier “compared to what?” to most of your statements then a more accurate picture of the relevant arguments and their policy implications (or lack of implications) might become clearer.

      This particular thread is all about visual portrayal of quantitative data and claims. So, I will not go on about the verbal portrayal much, but that often matters quite a bit in other contexts. Judy has posts already on “power politics”, “heresy”, “constructing consensus”, “framing”, and all the rest, though I would suggest that a verbalization analogue to the Tufte-style visualization issues is a fairly central issue for most of her concerns. It comes up again and again. One side hates the “talking points” of the other, but both sides are rather seriously guilty of poor practices and fail to inform.

      For example, focusing only upon easy claims to agree with — “warmer than before”, “big factor”, and removing the quantitative element is more or less a rhetorical trick to try to push people toward a conclusion – on one “side” or another, as is the use of record breaking statistics for “shock value” or to seem “more compelling”. These are political tactics, neither persuasive of science nor communicating it well, nor in any way suggesting what, if any, graded response might be appropriate.

      The tactics may even be necessary in politics or any situation where people have to agree on statements and have up-down votes. This kind of “binary speak” is more about convincing people to be “on a side” and leverage appeals to authority, searching for leaders, and in-group preferences and other built-in biases we all share by virtue of our humanity. It really is not about maximizing communication of science or quantitative subtleties, or even about communicating policy relevant subtleties.

      One of the newer labels, “lukewarmer” is very telling in this regard in that it manifestly brings a sense of the importance of degree into the label.

      • CB – I very much appreciate your reply, thank you. I am as guilty as the next person about bringing my biases into any argument, but I’m also a born skeptic and do my best to apply skepticism wherever I can, including myself.

        About the argument – compared to what would be the reconstructed temperature records – in which case I suppose the argument is really how accurate are they or how sound were the methods used to do the reconstruction?

        I’ll dig through the archives too – I’ve read quite a bit about how science and psuedo-science are “framed” along with doubt and skepticism regarding the Evolution/Creation debates – that’s a whole ‘nuther monster with many of the same qualities as the climate debate. It all makes for quite interesting sociology, psychology and politics.

      • Yes. You are on the right track and you are welcome. The argument is all about how accurate reconstructions are, unsound methods being unsound either by producing inaccurate results or possibly more subtlely overestimating their own accuracy, or possibly even just overstating their case — intentionally OR unintentionally — as they translate results into advice for policy makers.

        I am fairly certain neither our hostess nor most commenters here subscribe to malicious conspiracies with twirly mustachioed villains. :-) To the extent missteps are suspected, it tends to be more about bias, ego, judgement, communication (as per this thread) and that sort of thing, and sometimes it’s subtle impact “in the large” and its ability to persist and distort. It’s a contentious issue, though. So, emotions sometimes run high…Tempers flare, and being in the blogosphere what I like to call “Zinger-ism” can always start to take over.

        While any putative grouping of people has a fringe because “sides” are imprecise, so called AGW skeptics or CAGW skeptics or denialists or lukewarmers only very rarely deny qualitative aspects or “basic physics”. That is a strawman charicature used to draw political divisions. Most simply question the strength of the start-to-finish case for various rhetorics, treaties and strategies. There are activist scientists who will often try to bludgeon you with some conclusion or another “derived from physics”, but that is such an oversimplification as to be pretty irresponsible or just a political rhetoric disguised as science.

        As to biology, all politicized and polarized science-based policy questions and indeed many competitions for credibility will always share many features. From a technical point of view, though, I think the Evolution/Creation debates are simply of a different character, being almost entirely qualitative and logical rather than quantitative. Think about it — the issues in contest are two explanations – evolution by natural selection or divine creation, and what to teach to kids in public schools, not “is it worth it to “limit aggressively” carbon emissions right “now“?” or even “are measurements explicable by the range of natural variation or other influences?” – inherently more quantitative questions. They have also always been so. Now all measurement is quantitative and biology relies on many to be sure, but those debates are simply not won or lost on such features.

        Probabilistic arguments may exist in that debate, but that is a bit of a misdirect. Design argument creationist folk compute the improbability of the world or a thing, but evolutionist’s retort they never compute the improbability of a creator plus the world which must always be lower but for some kind of (I personally believe magical) discounting of the improbability of a creator. In any event, though you might hear what sound like mathematical arguments occasionally from the Intelligent Design crowd, the very crux of the disagreement really comes down to what conceptually counts as an explanation in a logical way. This is not really the case in the climate disagreements in the same way at all.

        The relevance of your point is that sometimes activist climate scientists try to to hijack the scientific, rhetorical, and policy successes of biologists and other scientists. They’ll portray the issue as “science” or “anti-science” and also engage in armchair philosophy of science, lumping all areas of “science” together rather blindly, and then trying to derive more stringent credibility via association rather than via argument or demonstration. Most areas of study have all their own idiosyncratic pitfalls and complexities. So, this, to my mind, is a particularly bad degeneration of argument from authority.

        For many climate questions, the most intuitive “standard” in my “compared to what” has to do with natural variability or historical ranges. In terms of any particular settlement, a relevant standard for planning is to compared to spatially local, natural temporal variability over long time frames like a century or so. It’s still climate not weather, but it tends to be (uncontestedly!) much more variable for most inhabited places on Earth than most globally smoothed projections. Those numbers are harder to find and more imprecise (for much the same reasons as the greater variability itself).

        Many, many areas are (also uncontestedly!) very ill-prepared, and really can’t afford to prepare. So, they wait for the hammer to fall and then maybe get help when they need it, like Haiti recently. Disasters of the human management of natural disasters are as common as every “event of the century”, be the event earthquake, weather, volcano, or tsumani. In Hiding The Decline Section II of this currently four part post, Judy has a link to a wisely worded joint statement about hurricane vulnerability in the United States, though her argumentative context there is different from this paragraph. In general, conversations about “climate” seem to focus on controlling/regulating or preparing people for a climate of the far future when the most climate-vulnerable people aren’t well-prepared for fluctuational events in the climate of maybe next year or maybe next decade, no matter how strong or weak AGW effects are.

        There are a lot of things that can be said that aren’t very controversial in science that still make it seem like the political debates are quite out of focus and confused, but then this can be said of so much in politics. :-)

  19. I would also suggest some additional reading. Although many of you may have read this text (an oldie but a goodie) in your university statistics and/or ethics classes, it is clear that a goodly proportion have not. My opinion is based on the graphics presented throughout the discussions in this thread. The book is “How to Lie with Statistics” Darrell Huff, 1954. In particular its sections on graphing techniques appear to be must reads for practitioners in this field.

  20. A $5,000 bet that some one will be sking at

    on May 21, 2065 .
    double or nothing to any living not dead broke heir of Al Gores CO2 investment advise.

    Better climate data obtained by the old ones at Chaco Canyon with nothing but curved rocks and long duration of living out in the weather.
    Way to many study the climate in nice air conditioned places paid for by grant money they scamed from some sub-committee of a corupt congress in Washington D.C..

  21. Judy – In regard to cherry picking, you state:
    “I am interested in examples of good and bad practices of data representation (beyond the hockey stick).”

    My question, which is not entirely rhetorical but also seeks an informative answer is the following:

    If cherry-picked presentations were eliminated from climate blogs, how much would the blogs shrink (including this one)? My estimate is that they would probably lose about 90 percent of their volume, but perhaps someone has done an actual assessment.

    I see this as a matter of perspective. In their presentations, we want professional scientists to adhere to the highest standards of objectivity, by including all relevant information, pro and con.

    That is as it should be, but when they don’t, how much do their perceived sins deserve some of the more unforgiving epithets that have been aimed at them here and elsewhere – “dishonest”, “liars”, “guilty”, etc.? More important, who has earned the right to make those accusations?

    Cherry picking means selecting the evidence that supports one’s position while failing to disclose evidence that might weaken that position.

    Let him who has never cherry picked cast the first aspersions.

    • Of course the same standards should apply to everbody. I don’t think that anybody denies this. I’m sure that blogs, both sceptical and pro AGW activist, have more crap than science magazines. But I guess there is a huge difference between private blogs that often do reflect the bloggers own biased standings and peer reviewed science papers or IPCC, that should ideally and by definition of scientific method, be free of any bias. Also, their impact is non comparable. Do you think that Eric Steig’s “burning” Antarctica would have made it the cover of Nature IF the result of his work would have been the opposite – no worry, Antarctica cooling? Or would the “hide the decline” graph have made it to the cover of WMO report without “Mike’s Nature trick”? Could you really and sincerely answer yes?
      Once more – crap is crap, be it on (skeptical or not, does not matter) blogs or peer reviewed magazines, just that for the first there might be some excuse, for the second, I can’t find any…

      • I would respond with three points, Sven.

        1. First, when professional scientists fail to adhere to the highest standards, they deserve to be criticized, and efforts should be made to correct the problem. But what they do not deserve is to be castigated with the extreme language and the sanctimonious moralizing that has emanated from some participants in the blogosphere who violate the same standards themselves. A bit of introspection should convince those participants that pushing their own point of view is not the same as deliberate lying, and doesn’t warrant the same level of reproof, much less the same ostracism or loss of reputation.

        2. My second point is that it would not be a bad idea for blog participants to consider improving their own performance if they wish to be taken seriously. I see three categories of presentation in this regard. Rare bloggers objectively analyze the most important relevant evidence supporting or negating a proposition. That is commendable, but there is seldom room for much of that within thread commentary and often inadequate room even in the original post – at best, the participant can link to other sources with the requisite detail. A second approach is to post a comment with the stated or implied message, “This is a piece of evidence supporting my conclusions”, without suggesting that no contradictory evidence exists. This approach is not uncommon, and is quite reasonable. The third approach, unfortunately, is simply to dogmatize – announcing that one’s conclusions are proved by the cited evidence, often accompanied by snide remarks directed against anyone who would disagree.

        It is this last feature of the blogosphere that brings discredit on those who engage in it, and sometimes on the reputation of the blog itself. The more contentious the point at issue, the more often we see this departure from best behavior. “Hiding The Decline” has proved to be a salient exemplar.

        3. My third point combines the first two. A blogger can claim not to have the same moral obligations as a scientist presenting evidence to a large audience. That is true only if the blogger doesn’t aspire to be taken as seriously as the scientist. To that person, I would say, “if you want serious consideration for your comment, you can have it, but only by demonstrating that you have earned it.” I have seen some participants here and elsewhere who in my view come close to meeting that ideal, and so I reject the idea that it can’t be done.

      • Fred, I pretty much agree with everything you say. Just one thing – you say “when professional scientists fail to adhere to the highest standards, they deserve to be criticized, and efforts should be made to correct the problem”. The problem, as I see it,and why all these threads were written, is that there is at least a wide spread perception and frustration that the process has failed. And if so, with dire consequences. And, how ever Gavin is trying to phrase it, when I look at the climategate, “hide the decline”, MM vs. Mann, Steig vs. O’Donnell, the behavior and attitudes at Real Climate and Tamino (the “scientists” blogs), the issues of Nature and WMO report covers (the question, that you did not answer, by the way), I have to say I’m understanding where the perception is coming from… That is not to say that the sceptic blogs are nice and tidy. They clearly are not.

      • The problems and failures are a complicated mixture of different factors. Sometimes they are due to individual deviations from what should be done. There may be selfish motives, but honorable motives do not either guarantee wise behavior, and most individuals errors are likely to be of this type. Errors of individuals have, however, seldom far reaching consequences.

        More important problems are related to systematic biases. Some of them exist within science itself, but perhaps most in, how science is perceived and how science is presented for general public and decision makers. The decline was not hidden from other scientists working with paleoclimatic reconstructions, it was hidden in presenting results to outsiders of paleoclimatic science community.

        The systematic biases become the more severe the larger the uncertainties are. They are large in parts of climate science, but they are much larger in understanding consequences and significance of practical acts of climate policy. For this stage we need much more improvements in our capability of handling uncertain information and in describing what it all is about. The uncertainties are too large for getting any clear answers from science, but science can still help, when right ways are found to represent its results and describe their value as evidence.

      • Pekka, what would you think – would Eric’s “burning” Antarctica have made it to the cover of Nature if the findings would have been reversed and such a nicely red and yellow Antarctica would have been blue? Or Briffa’s “hide the decline” to the cover of WMO report without Mann’s Nature trick? I’m sure they would have not. And I’m also sure they knew that. Does this not influence one’s decisions? I know that it’s all speculation that should be avoided and I apologise but looking at Eric’s stand on things, I guess he would not have even published it, “not to be the one to give fodder to the deniers”?

      • The “burning” Antarctica would not have made it to the cover of Nature if the findings had been reversed. I’m sure that influenced their decision of where the submit their results once they had obtained them. (irony alert) If the findings had been reversed, their study would have confirmed the consensus view, making it both less “fodder-worthy” and less likely to be wrong.

      • sorry, should have phrased the question more precisely – if the whole situation would have been reversed, the common knowledge of a warming Antarctica and Eric’s findings of a cooling…

      • >I’m sure that influenced their decision of where the submit their results once they had obtained them. (irony alert) <

        Sorry, JNG, irony NOT, just a statement of the bleeding obvious

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        I think you made a mistake. John N-G’s alert precedes the irony: If the findings had been reversed, [ the Steig, et al ] study would have confirmed the consensus view…

        Consensus scientists – whom Steig might refer to as “knuckleheads” – held that only the peninsula was likely to be significantly warming. The peninsula, as compared to the bulk of the Antarctic interior, is geologically active and strongly influenced by maritime conditions.

        All it took to overthrow the consensus was a few “good men” in just the right places.

      • It is clear that both Nature and Science emphasize climate research. For the cover picture their arguments may actually be closer to non scientific magazines than comes first in mind. Thus they prefer a dramatic picture to a less dramatic. Visual effects are also important as the cover is not really a place to publish science.

        Purposeful bias is in my opinion more visible in sections, which are not original scientific articles and perhaps more in Science than in Nature. News and perspectives contain often sentences, which are not well justified in original research articles that they reference, but sometimes even articles contain comments that go outside their scientific content. These comments are rather harmless, when their nature is visible, but allowing such sentences raises some doubt about the full objectivity of the actual research. It would be wiser for the authors to avoid carefully anything that creates reasons to doubt their objectivity, and for the editors to counter such tendencies in the journal.

        For the cover of a WMO report a picture that shows the best estimate of temperature development is a natural choice, and such a picture is certainly better without those parts of the paleoclimatic reconstructions that are in contradiction with instrumental records. That does not say, whether that particular picture was a correct choice or perhaps simplified even further, but the one with the decline was definitely not. The problem of hiding the decline was not at that level of presenting data. It was in connections which were telling about the reliability of paleoclimatic reconstructions.

      • I think that much of the anger and certainly a large fraction of critical comments are based on an unrealistic view of science. Science is not throughout perfect and has never been. Scientists have always been competitive in a selfish way. They are mostly rather honest and open, because that is useful for them personally, but they do all kind of tricks as far as they think that it advances their career. They are as human as others, but sometimes a bit queer in addition.

        Admitting that and being a bit cynic none of what has happened is a great scandal.

        The methods used are also often optimized in the way that care is taken, where it is needed and other parts are handled with minimal effort – including coding the computer programs needed or organizing data storage. Only when there are strong reasons are such mundane details handled in a more formal way. Often the whole process can be checked afterwards as it may for example be relatively easy to inverse a major part of it calculating from the final results back, what kind of data is consistent with it.

        Because scientists must be creative for their core research, they are often creative also for the rest, where less creativity would perhaps satisfy outsiders better.

        When the results are used with little delay in decision making all the above is not any more acceptable, but that was the world, where the climate scientists grew until they suddenly had a new role. This sudden transition is the reason that climate science is seen as more corrupt that most other sciences. The “hide the decline” issue was borne during the transitional period.

      • I agree with you, of course scientists are human beings and as such usually have their best interest in mind, and can act un-honestly to advance them if they think the benefit exceed the risk.
        Usually it is not as bad as in other human sub-societies, because scientists self-interest are specific.
        People are usually more idealistic when they enter in any field, and for science it means finding the truth and reveal how (and possibly why) everything work. I suspect that this ideal, being more abstract than for other activities, may subsist longer and more strongly in science than for other fields.
        Appart from the specific, you have the usual quatuor: money, power, prestige and sex, as everywhere.
        Appart from finding something new and technologically applicable, that allows you to go commercial, money will not play a big role (scientific trickery do not bring personal money, only funding that is more akin power). Sex I think is completely irrelevant (although, reading Patchauri… ;-P ) Prestige, yes, there are very strong incentive for cheating there, but the penalty of getting caught is similarly strong.
        And Power is usually no directly linked to science, prestige will bring it and after it may be linked to academic political games.
        Now in climate science, there is a problem since AGW has political implication: you have more prestige, because of media attention. You have some money through the expertise game, and possible through industrial regulation shifts that allow to go commercial without finding something new, only by pushing new regulations. And you have power through direct political connections.

        But there is another factor in climate science, one that is not usually present in other sciences, but may be present in some political movements and certainly in religions: it is the messiah drive: the sentiment of knowing an important truth that should change human behavior, the need to reveal a moral message that is dangerously ignored. I do not think it is related to simple egoistic search of personal power. It is more than that, more altruistic, something that is not so easy to explain in term of personal advantage but that is nonetheless extremely powerful, at least for some (historical examples abound). It has positive side, but it is also the drive that is closest to plain craziness, as in foaming at the mouth crazy. I think that climate science, the modern one with it’s strong connection to environtalism, is much more affected by this drive than other sciences. In fact, I do not see any other one with such a messiah drive.
        Personally, I always felt that prophets persuaded to be right and feeling they are destined to change the world are usually more dangerous than selfish immoral bastards, and even less sympathic (except if you are part of the driven chosen of course, at least as long as you are not designed as heretic ).

        I do not say that all climate scientists suffer from messianic disease, from early stage to Hansen stage. But I think that it is much more common that for other sciences, that it is (together with current political connection and media spotlight) specific to climate science, and that it has to be specifically countered for climatology to go back to a more classic scientific self-correcting path.

      • Freeman Tyson called environmentalism “new secular religion”. Al Gore called global warming “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”. It’s become an international global (foreign, economic, environmental and so on) policy issue. In this background, being convinced that one is right, with a feeling for the need for both do-good and feel-good actions, confirmation bias becomes a real danger I guess.

      • Kai – You make a good point, and I do perceive a messianic element in some of the content emanating from the climate science community. On the other hand, I think it is more problematic in material presented in opinion pieces, blogs, or media interviews than in original papers, and is more problematic in IPCC summaries than in the articles the IPCC references. If you go the original literature, and particularly the contributions from excellent scientists who are not public figures, the level of objectivity strikes me as equal to that in other sciences. I think of authors such as Brian Soden, Isaac Held, Richard Alley, Raymond Pierrehumbert (despite his unfair RC criticisms of Judith Curry), Ken Caldera, and many others of lesser prominence but considerable expertise. I also confess to admiring the scientific acumen of Kevin Trenberth, even though he comes across as too intolerant of views that contradict his own.

        My own understanding has depended heavily on the literature, and much less on how the IPCC has interpreted the literature. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s fair to completely dismiss the value of IPCC material, if examined critically with the realization that bias can never be completely excluded. As an example, I have found AR4 WG1 Chapters 8 and 9 useful for understanding the methodology involved in deriving climate sensitivity estimates. In any case, when I cite IPCC material to support a point I try to make, I generally invite others to identify alternative sources as well if they are uncomfortable relying on IPCC references alone.

      • It seems to be true that the main problems are in the presentation of science as Pekka has also pointed out. When you talk about sensitivity estimates, I posted the following at the Lucia’s Blackboard but haven’t got an answer yet. I assure you that it’s not meant to be just a skeptical one sided argument to prove anything but a genuine question that’s bothering me. And I think the last 13 years is not cherry picking either. Or is it?
        “Sorry, folks. I am not a physicist and can not make any statements on any confidence levels. But if it is all like it’s explained why do we have the real life figures of Hadcrut from 1997 (to make it more obvious what I’m talking about, I’m rounding the figures to one decimal point. I gues it’s not too big a distortion): 0.4 0.5 0.3. 0.2 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.5
        And looking at the start of the year, 2011 might not be shaping up as a hot year either. CO2 is rising according to the worst possible scenario (no measures taken)? 13 years, soon maybe 14! ENSO has been up and down, what else might then be in play? What is there then that we don’t know? Cloud feedback? Sun? What else. I just don’t get it.

      • Kai,
        I agree fully that the selfish motives are diverse and that being influential and having a high stature either in public or among peers are among the strongest for people whose basic well-being is secured. They are particularly central among scientists, who may often give less weight on economic issues – most of them would have chosen another carrier, if the economic factors would dominate in their priorities.

        Environmentalism is presently one of the strongest ideologies, if not the strongest ideology, at least in Western Europe and certainly also elsewhere in the developed world. Climate issue is used by many environmentalists not only because they consider it important, but also, because they have perceived it as a tool to put forward their other goals. All such connections blur the picture, and make it even more difficult to discuss the proper significance of climate change in relation to other big issues.

      • When professional scientists paid for out of the public purse fail to adhere to normal scientific standards, they deserve to be criticized and to be castigated, and if dishonestly and deliberately “hiding the decline” they should be sacked and put on trial.

      • Well, I’ve stated as clearly as I can why I disagree. However, one has to ask whether you invariably disclose relevant evidence on both sides of an issue you discuss. If you only present your own evidence without acknowledging other evidence, I would suggest that you epitomize the hypocrisy that tends to discredit so much blog commentary. Perhaps those who know you can make a judgment about that.

      • Fred, I am not looking at science and blogs as “sides” as I really don’t see that one can compare real science with bloggers. Of course it is possible to discuss the level and behavior of bloggers and I’m sure, as I wrote, that they are a thousand times more guilty of misbehavior but this is not something that a) can be changed as political and personal and knowledge (or rather lack of it) biases are there to stay, b) their main basis is just freedom of speach and c) their impact is so much smaller. Blog world does not thrive on the basis of trust. Science does. So I still think that we are (or at least I am) talking about science and its possible failure of self correction. That’s why I’m also just speaking about problems as I might see them or as I see them being perceived by others. Do you think everything is honky dore, don’t you see any problems? I do.

      • Sven – Yes, I do see problems, and I think criticism of cherry picked presentation of evidence and its defenders is justified. However, I object to the failure to distinguish between deliberate dishonesty, which is probably relatively uncommon even in arguments on climate-related blogs, and cherry-picking, which is prevalent. Cherry picking is wrong, but it’s more forgivable given our human fallibilities, and hardly deserves to be condemned too harshly by those who engage in it themselves.

        I’m not sure how much smaller impact blogs exert compared with the scientific establishment. The disparity seems to be shrinking, which I think imposes greater obligations on the blogosphere to impose the same standards on its participants as it demands of mainstream science.

        Thanks for visiting my website.

      • Fred, here I agree with everything.

      • Fred, visited your web page, by the way. Wow, what great music!

      • ‘Tu quoque’ Fred? Come on. Playground argument.

        These guys were paid to give impartial evidence. They didn’t do that. There are a bunch of reasons/excuses for that, but whatever way you try to cut it, they didn’t do their job. They should be condemned for that.

        When all the dust has settled, in 10 or 20 or 30 years’ time, by all means start in with this stuff. In the meantime, we’re having to live with the effects of their misconduct. Their graph became a political icon and starred in a film, for goodness’ sake.

        I can rationalize and understand the position of a concentration camp guard – doesn’t mean it’s acceptable behavior.

        Refusing to be scandalized by scandalous behavior is very post-modern of you. Great. I note that it also diminishes the severity of the misconduct in a way that serves your own views of CAGW. Is it possible that your view of the misconduct just a reflection of your bias?

      • I believe most readers of what I wrote will understand my perspective on the balance between disapproval on one hand and the type of extremist rhetoric that comes from some individuals here and elsewhere who commit the same infractions they denounce.

        It will be for the readers to judge who is biased and who is not.

      • Fred Moolten wrote —

        1. First, when professional scientists fail to adhere to the highest standards, they deserve to be criticized…

        2. My second point is that it would not be a bad idea for blog participants to consider improving their own performance if they wish to be taken seriously…

        3. To [a blogger who aspires to be taken seriously], I would say, “if you want serious consideration for your comment, you can have it, but only by demonstrating that you have earned it.”…

        Thanks for speaking up, Fred. And for setting an example. As blog readers, we sure could use more commenters with your knowledge and temperament. On all sides of the issues.

      • Missed the point again. We are not talking about the failure to meet the highest standards. We are talking about deliberate fraud. There is a difference, don’t you know?

    • Fred Moolton

      You are chasing the wrong premise with

      If cherry-picked presentations were eliminated from climate blogs, how much would the blogs shrink (including this one)? My estimate is that they would probably lose about 90 percent of their volume, but perhaps someone has done an actual assessment.

      More pertinent to the topic of this thread (i.e. “hide the decline”) is the level of cherry-picked presentations in official IPCC assessment reports.

      I would not put this as high as 90% but it is definitely much higher than 0% (where it should be for IPCC to earn its reputation as the “gold standard” body for unbiased information on our planet’s climate and the human impact on this climate).

      That is the issue here, Fred.

      And Judith rightly asks the question of whether there are other examples of the “hide the decline” syndrome.


  22. Hot off the UK press is a Guardian story about a dust-up between Gavin Schmidt and Energy & The Environment. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/25/real-climate-libel-threat. Schmidt condemns E&E for publishing what he believes to be junk science. As an example he calls attention to an “Iron Sun” paper authored by none other than our very own Former Principal Apollo Investigator Oliver Manuel. More background on that here: http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2011/02/peer-review-at-e.html. Small world, at times, isn’t it?

    Yes, off topic. But amusing and ironic nonetheless. And, congrats, Oliver, for making it big time in the UK press.

    • Ken Lydell,

      ….and Oliver Manuel’s personal life is relevant to his views on climate science in what way?

    • PDA,

      Are you sure the person commenting here is the same person you referenced?
      I am aware of a person living ten miles from me, having the same name as me, and they are not even known or related to me.

    • Ken, a few remarks:
      – E&E didn’t threat Gavin with lawsuits over their libel:
      – The article of Oliver Manuel was peer reviewed, the reviewers didn’t agree with the content, therefore the article was published as an “opinion”, not a peer-reviewed article. The policy of E&E is to publish even controversial articles as a different opinion. Nothing wrong with that.
      – Several scientists and I have reacted with their and my opinion on articles where they or I disagreed with the opinions expressed in original articles. These reactions are published without problems.

  23. I’m a huge fan of evenhanded application of all standards of skepticism.

    It’s a practice I employ myself as a check on my worst impulses.

    It isn’t always enough, but it’s so much better than the results of my inner demons amok.

    Maybe some others know this experience too.

    What happens when I apply Tufte’s “Corrupt Techniques in Evidence Presentations: Effects Without Cause, Cherry Picking, Punning, Chartjunk” to both sides at once: to the Hockey Stick papers, and the Hockey Shtick ones, to RealClimate and WUWT, to CO2science and the IPCC and the NOAA, and so on, Etc. to pass moral judgements on others by the evidence of their quirks of style?

    Indeed, if I turn Tufte on himself, even he comes up a little wanting, but not nearly so much as when I turn him on myself.

    Still, I’m a fan of morality, and of each person deciding on questions of morals for themself without undue influence from me.

    How do each of you, in your private minds, do when you Tufte yourself honestly and frankly?

    • “How do each of you, in your private minds, do when you Tufte yourself honestly and frankly?”
      That’s an excedllent question and I’m sure that there is pretty much nobody here who, being sincere and honest, would pass their Tufte self-test with completely clean papers. I, for my part, am constantly trying to remember myself of the dangers of every day confirmation bias, but I’m not sure that I’m always successful. We are all humans and that’s why the scientific method and scientific process should minimize it. And at the end of the day I’m sure it will, but meanwhile a lot of damage may be done.

      • I said “And at the end of the day I’m sure it will…” I think, if not earlier then by the time when the “facts on the ground” become truly unequivocal. I, for one, do not agree with Trenberth that they now are “unequivolcal”…

  24. I don’t agree that the Governments/Politicians are the consumer.
    Real people are the consumers, the people pay all of the bills. The people hired/elected a “management group” that is more interested in power, and lining their own pockets, than sound decision making.

  25. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.


    Whoops! A warm MWP does not suggest high sensitivity whatsoever. What it suggests is that co2 has no role in the temperature. Nice try though clown.

    • Many have asserted that it does. Some believe it. None have demonstrated why they think so.

      I believe it is a matter of faith, not science.

      But since ten years ago the true faith told them that the MWP had never happened at all, I suppose we have to be grateful for a very gradual shift towards sanity among the warmists.

      • If MWP was naturally warmer than today, extra CO2 on top of natural warming could lead to even warmer globe.


      • The operative word in your remark is ‘could’. Lots of things ‘could’ happen. And ‘could have’ happened.

        The question is not what ‘could’ happen. The question is what has actually happened.

      • Exactly – ‘could’ in this instance refers to the fact that sensitivity to CO2 could (i.e. could) be higher if the MWP was warmer than today.

        But it sure as hell won’t be lower.

      • If the MWP warming was unrelated to CO2 how does it affect your conclusion?

      • That does not seem to be necessarily correct. For your statement to be true would you have to have elimanated all other potential warming causes?

      • Maybe I’m being very thick here, but I don’t see the connection.

        If it was warmer then that it is now, but that warmth had nothing to do with any carbon dioxide, how does that tell us anything about today’s sensitivity?

      • Climate sensitivity is the change in surface air temperature caused by a change in radiative forcing. That means all forcings, not just CO2.

        Unless you think the MWP was caused by something other than radiative forcing (unicorn farts perhaps?), this means that a higher temp during the MWP means a higher sensitivity than currently assumed for the forcings that existed then.

      • What were the forcings during the MWP, and how do we know?
        What was the CO2 level, and how do we know?
        What were global average temperatures, and how do we know?
        Or are we just guessing?
        And please don’t refer us to paywalls.

      • Beat me to it.

        And since ten years ago we had ‘proved’ that the MWP was as much a fiction as unicorn farts. How do we now enough to know all the forcings there were then? How did we find these things out?

        I do hope that the answer has nothing whatsoever to do with tree rings……………

      • Good grief. Here’s a Wikipedia article: it’s free and the words aren’t too long.

        What’s amusing is that people asserting a warmer MWP usually seem perfectly happy with proxy measurements. Since we had no thermometers back then, proxies is all we’ve got. The choices are to accept the proxies or just throw up your hands and say that we just don’t know. Your call.

      • Umm

        Written comtemporary records, economics of the time, archaeology.

        Or do these things not count in your timy little CO2 obsessed world?

      • Unless you think the MWP was caused by something other than radiative forcing (unicorn farts perhaps?), this means that a higher temp during the MWP means a higher sensitivity than currently assumed for the forcings that existed then.


        Since the supposed CO2 level during the MWP was around 280 ppmv and the CO2 level now is about 380 ppmv, your statement wrt sensitivity is nonsense. Unless, of course, you’re telling me that the sensitivity has changed since then?

        If the temp was higher at 280 ppmv than it is today, how do you account for the fact that at 380 ppmv with the same sensitivity, the temp is lower? Think about that.

        This is precisely why it was/is so important for Mann et al to eliminate the MWP – because a higher temp then, with lower CO2, would negate the increasing CO2/increasing temp relationship.

        Which is what led us to this series of threads related to a false hockey stick. NOTE – that the blade of the hockey stick is immaterial to this argument and, indeed, to the AGW case. Only the HANDLE matters because if the handle shows higher temps with lower CO2 then the entire CO2 argument falls apart.

      • if the handle shows higher temps with lower CO2 then the entire CO2 argument falls apart.

        So let me get this straight: you think mainstream climate science says that the only forcing is CO2?

        This is a real question: I’m not trying to put words in your mouth. I just don’t know how else to interpret “If the temp was higher at 280 ppmv than it is today, how do you account for the fact that at 380 ppmv with the same sensitivity, the temp is lower?”

      • So let me get this straight: you think mainstream climate science says that the only forcing is CO2?

        I don’t think that at all. But it’s what you imply above. Your statement –

        Unless you think the MWP was caused by something other than radiative forcing (unicorn farts perhaps?), this means that a higher temp during the MWP means a higher sensitivity than currently assumed for the forcings that existed then.

        There are only three heat sources available – the Earth’s core, human activity and the Sun (radiative forcing). Since “Climate Science” dismisses the first two as being insignificant, that leaves the Sun.

        Now – What was the CO2 level 1000 years ago? What is the CO2 level today? What’s the sensitivity? The relationship hasn’t changed in 1000 years. Increased sensitivity won’t cut it. The laws of physics don’t change like that. Your statement as it stands makes no sense.

        So what’s your explanation for the discrepancy? Methane, perhaps? SO2? Insolation difference? What?

      • It’s not my explanation. You don’t have to agree with it, but if you actually paid the slightest attention to studies on the topic you’d know there was a solar maximum during the period: largest since the present day. Also, unusually low volcanic activity kept that negative forcing to a minimum.

        I’m continually struck by the direct correlation between ignorance and confidence around here. “The Earth’s core?” Really?

      • We don’t know the forcings that existed then.

      • Several European scientists don’t agree with you: If the MWP was warmer and the LIA colder (thus more natural variability than in MBH’98/’99), then there is little room for the current influence of CO2 and reverse. See:
        last paragraph before the aknowledgments.

        The main flaw in your reasoning (and in the GCM’s) is that the same sensitivity for the same change in forcing is applied, but that is far from sure. E.g. solar may be underestimated with (at least) a factor 2 in the HadCM3 model, see:
        all within the constraints of the model (like a fixed response to aerosols).
        Further, much of the natural variability may be internal variability (PDO, NAO, ocean currents,…), nothing to do with external forcings. No model does represent these as observed.

      • Non sequiter.

      • If you are saying that if the MWP was the same temp as today, and if all other factors remained the same except for CO2, then with higher CO2 today the temperature should be higher today….ok that would be true.

        Now all those assumptions would be pretty tough to validate

      • If pigs had bigger wings, they could fly.

    • Hi Dr Jay Cadbury PhD. I suggest you find out what ‘climate sensitivity’ means before you make an idiot of yourself. By the way, my PhD is in paleoclimate. What’s yours in?

      • Are you going to explain why a warm MWP implies a high climate sensitivity?

        Or do you just interrogate people in your charming and so attractive way?

      • Hi Latimer
        I’m happy to be civil. I was the one called a ‘clown’ by ” Dr Jay Cadbury PhD”.

        If the MWP was global and warmer then the T response must be high. The only alternative is that we have got the forcings all wrong. Since high sensitivity is accepted by all the paleo records, it’s probably the former.

      • If the sensitivity is high then why have we not already seen a much greater rise in temperature from the more than 1/3 rise in CO2 levels?
        The temperature rise we’ve seen strongly suggests a sensitivity of 1c to 1.2c

      • CO2 isn’t the only game in town…lots of energy is going into melting ice (GIS, WAIS sea ice etc) and we are only seeing transient sensitivity.

      • Monty,

        What are your thoughts concerning the extract from “Beautiful Evidence”?

      • So… you’re saying that sensitivity is not a constant?

      • What makes you think that CO2 is (was) the only game in town (wrt the MWP)?

      • We don’t. Most of the MWP warming (likely to be regional anyway) was probably a combination of solar plus volcanic. Hence the mistake that “Dr Jay Cadbury PhD” made.

      • monty,

        If I was to suggest that the most likely reason for modern warming was also probably a combination of solar plus volcanic, can you explain to me how we effectively separate the human CO2 warming signal from the background, so as to establish that it is more likely the cause of modern warming than your MWP suggestions?

        I’m not a PhD by the way, just a curious and willing student of the subject.

      • Saaad, Ph.D: are you suggesting that solar and volcanic forcings are the same now as they were around 950–1250 CE? What might be done to confirm or deny this hypothesis?

      • PDA,

        I have no idea to be honest. I was hoping monty might be able to tell me: it was he who raised the idea that that the MWP warming was most probably caused by a combination of volcanic and solar influences. I thought he had a way of measuring it, that’s all.

        He’s a PhD in paleo climatology so he knows a hell of alot more than me about the MWP, that’s for sure!

      • Hi Saad
        Well we can do attribution studies now. We can show that the warming we see (rate and pattern, plus absence of any other drivers) suggests strongly that CO2 is the factor. If it were solar then we wouldn’t have stratosphere cooling and we have nearly 200 years of physics to tell us how elevated CO2 should impact the climate.

      • Some linkys in my reply to Peter317 below. I am not a librarian, all I did was enter simple search terms like “medieval warming solar” into Google Scholar.

        I’d think anyone aspiring to the title of “citizen scientist,” or frequenting a blog where the idea of challenging mainstream assumptions is championed, would want to look directly at what the research says rather than having it filtered by bloggers of whatever bias or just making WAGs.

      • Whew! Thanks for clearing that up for me. Thank heavens the warming we’re seeing in Greenland is only local transient, and not likely to last hundreds of years, like during the MWP.
        And thanks for putting me straight on volcanic activity – I was always under the misapprehension that it had a cooling effect.

      • So what was the rate of volcanic activity then?
        And, as Kim picked up on very nicely, please explain how increased solar activity resulted in localised effects.

      • Are you really that afraid of Google Scholar, or do you just not know how to use it?

      • No. You assert something, you provide the figures or references.

      • When the words have a line under them, Sparky, it means there’s a link there.

        It’s not enough for me to find you food and serve it to you, I have to chew it for you first as well?

      • Sorry, but referencing papers behind paywalls just isn’t on.

      • PDA –
        Your “solar” link won’t cut it. It gives the Medieval Solar Max as 1100 -1250 AD. About 300 years too late to be the “cause” of the MWP.

        The other link is a paywall – and may or may not confirm you contention.

        But “low volcanic activity” won’t cut it either. There was no lull in volcanic activity during that period. Certainly not 400 years worth of inactivity.

      • Jesus God, you people. One Google search, that’s all you have to do.

        Here. If you know how to open a PDF, the original paper is here.

      • Hee, hee. Solar forcing ‘likely to be regional’ changes. What’s that about holding two contradictory ideas at once?

        Paleontologist, PhD,
        Come to terms with the MWP.

      • I don’t have a Palaeontology PhD. I have a paleoclimate Phd.

      • Is a slight overall increase in global temperature contradictory with a larger increase in regional temperature not due to solar? More importantly, can you find a rhyme for thermohaline?

      • …except when it’s all down to CO2, like now.
        Kindly provide evidence for your assertions.

      • If you don’t have the ability or inclination to click a link, Sparky, why should I sit here and try to explain things to you? “It wastes time, and annoys the pig.”

      • Ok, if you kindly supply me with your credit card details, I’ll gladly check out your links.

      • likely, probably. I don’t think you are what you claim to be.

      • Monty,

        So, MWP is likely to be regional and was combination of solar/volcanic? Solar forcing, regional response?

        All variations of forcings known during MWP? And from that you calculate sensitivities? With such certainty?

        Your science is no better than the Drake equation. GIGO.

      • PDA –
        I’m tired after driving all day. Then I looked at your link and got irritated. (,22&as_vis=1)

        1. No figures – where are my comics? Without those, your link is useless.
        2. They use 1000-1400 AD as the MWP. Offset from the actual MWP by 100-200 years. Don’t care who you are, you don’t get to pick your own MWP dates.
        3. They did simulations and compared to reconstructions. Do you understand the problems with that?
        4. There’s a gaggle of logic problems with it that I’m not gonna bother digging out.
        5. “Further studies on the regional and seasonal changes associated with land cover changes are needed.” – is the final line – and is the only useful part of the thing without doing a line-by-line analysis – and I don’t care enough to do that right now.

        And I’m NOT gonna say what I’m thinking.

      • There is no observational data showing that the MWP was local. Quit making stuff up.

      • Does the irreducibility of uncertainty with regard to climate sensitivity provide evidence of the certainty of irreducibility ? ( with all its random consequences )

        If we accept your argument for hyper sensitivity to parameters then that would indeed be the case eg Zaliapin and Ghil 2010 .

        We revisit a recent claim that the Earth’s climate system is characterized by sensitive dependence to parameters;
        in particular, that the system exhibits an asymmetric,
        large-amplitude response to normally distributed feedback
        forcing. Such a response would imply irreducible uncertainty
        in climate change predictions and thus have notable
        implications for climate science and climate-related policy

      • Looks like a hint of a circular argument there.

        How do paleo records tell you about sensitivity?

        And what does ‘accepted by’ mean? Not the same as ‘shown by’ or ‘demonstrated’ I think. Please explain.

      • Oh! No wonder you aggravated. Here is a line from a Dendro doctoral thesis.

        “For example, the effect of increased growing season temperature on tree-ring width cannot be accounted for through current measurements. Future studies will need to be conducted that account for the effects of temperature and increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.” <a href="http://www.geo.arizona.edu/Antevs/Theses/AbabnehDissertation.pdf"Ababneth

        I sure hope you are not big into treemometers. Being in Paleoclimate you know the limitations of various proxies and proper methods of determining confidence. How about a review of Mann et al 1998 and 2008?

      • Wow! That didn’t line up well at all. The above was for Monty.

      • If you mean the divergence effect…it’s been known since at least 1995 with respect to high latitude trees (although not low latitude ones if I recall).

      • Even low latitude trees have more needs than just temperature. There will be divergence and it is known. So the point of the conversation is if it is known, why was it selectively snipped? Is that proper scientific practice?

        Do you use “novel” statistical methods without thorough tests to determine their validity? I thought Annan’s Bayesian with expert prior is a reasonable way to avoid unintentional bias. It may not be perfect, but it is useful. The method Steig et al used was much less that perfect, it was defective. He could have tested it himself before submission. Why didn’t he? Ignorance, arrogance, rush to publish, poor counsel from a peer? Remember that before the dust up, Hu Mc discovered his confidence intervals were incorrect. But that flawed paper made the cover of nature, is referenced by NASA (with the pretty picture). You have to look to find the corrigenda, there is no mention on the NASA site.

        So everything is hunky dory on climate science land, let’s deflect the issue to Italian flags, Slaying Dragons and uncertainty about why people talk about uncertainty.

        There are legitimate questions being asked

      • Known doesn’t mean accounted for, Monty. Parroting Gavin Schmidt isn’t helpful.

      • The White Mountains of California don’t qualify as “high latitude”.

      • Monty,
        Aren’t you a little out of your field talking about climate sensitivity? Radiation physics is a bit off the path of paleoclimate.

      • Monty you don’t have a Ph.D. in home economics much less paleoclimatology.

    • MWP RWP LIA how do you know these existed. You do not believe in proxies!

  26. It was the absence of information of evidence construction and representation (not just the data itself) that fueled the skeptical climate blogosphere.
    Maybe, but with all the complaining about ‘skeptics’….

    …the biggest elephant in the room is how were skeptics able to make their case so easily

    If the science is as “robust” as claimed, the skeptics would have been shot down years ago………….

    There would have been no secrets…….

    As I see it, the climate scientists created the problem, poured gas on the problem, and fanned the flames………..

    • “If the science is as “robust” as claimed, the skeptics would have been shot down years ago”

      They have been. Over and over again. Some folk are just too dumb to realise it though.

      • hardly, as in not at all…..
        This thread would not even exist…………

        Some people are just too dumb to see what they are replying to…;-)

      • And we just keep on rolling. Funny how that is.

        How can it be that a bunch of people mostly with a good science education (see the denizens thread) academics, engineers, industry scientists, IT guys etc etc and mostly with a great deal of experience on those fields and others just keep on not believing the climatologists?

        Is it really because they are just plain dumb? Or is it because they see the many flaws in what is presented as ‘science’ and just aren’t convinced. Especially when the ‘scientists’ behave in ways that are contrary to any form of science that the sceptics have worked with over thirty forty or fifty years of real practical experience

        How do you explain it?

      • C. All of the above

        If the science is so “robust”, what was the problem with handing over the data, code, method, etc….

        ..what’s all the secrecy, manipulation, ducking and dodging about

        …I know when I do something right I’m proud of it and want to show the world

      • In a previous life I have had my research published in peer-reviewed journals albeit in those devoted to studies of animal psychology, brain-behavior relationships and psychopharmacology. A couple of courses in parametric and inferential statistics along with a bit of experience struggling to control for confounding variables in experimental design are more than enough to make most of the observational studies in climate science accessible. And the worst confounding variable is almost always confirmation bias. I have experienced that special hunger that ambitious scientists feel when presented with a publication opportunity.

        While working on a years-long psychopharmacological research project at SRI International I witnessed second-rate scientists desperately looking for ways to hustle government grants that would keep them employed. I observed lunatic-fringe scientists like Russell Puthoff and Harold Targ engage in utterly incompetent junk science and get their findings reported in Science. I witnessed the whole biofeedback fad blossom and wilt as the science undergirding it was shown to be fraudulent or incompetent. I observed scientific fraud in action by a scientist who went on to direct a research center at the University of Pennsylvania. What I see now in climate science is nothing new in terms of substance. What makes it different is its scale and the terrible consequences that slipshod science and bad public policy can have for the most vulnerable.

        After a successful career in IT during which I built a complex model of closely-coupled computer network transaction-processing performance for a Fortune 500 mainframe computer manufacturer, I am not awe-struck by computer programming or modeling.

        While those who comment here may not be climatologists this does not mean that they don’t have relevant skills. Some undergraduate statistics classes and a practiced eye for dubious experimental design will work quite well in most cases, thank you.

      • And the worst confounding variable is almost always confirmation bias. …

        I observed lunatic-fringe scientists like Russell Puthoff and Harold Targ engage in utterly incompetent junk science and get their findings reported in Science. I witnessed the whole biofeedback fad blossom and wilt as the science undergirding it was shown to be fraudulent or incompetent.

        Ken Lydell: Many great observations.

        I’d throw in the history of environmental scares aided and abetted by scientists. For fun I’d mention the SMSG New Math fad, courtesy of Stanford, Yale, and the NSF, that was scrapped fifteen years later.

        No, we’re not seeing anything new aside from the scale of climate change’s implications, if pursued heedlessly.

      • Louise,

        What are your thoughts concerning the extract from “Beautiful Evidence”?

      • Louise is just a name-caller.

      • Louise, better to find where the missing tropospheric hotspot is hiding. It may be lurking in the vicinity of Trenberth’s missing ocean heat content. Once you locate the missing heat “projected” by climate models, report back. Just a little work on your part will settle the science, at least for me, once and for all. I will then publicly apologize for my skepticism and put Gavin Schmidt and James Hansen on my Christmas card list.

      • You mean this tropospheric hot spot? This missing ocean heat content?

        You’re welcome.

      • PDA,

        What are your thoughts concerning the extract from “Beautiful Evidence”?

      • Saaad,

        Maybe instead of asking everyone on the thread the exact same question, you could share your thoughts.

      • The JGR paper is full of “might have”, “may have”, “could have” caveats along with “Its comparison with available bottom water measurements shows reasonably good agreement, indicating that deep ocean warming below 700 m might have contributed 1.1 mm/yr to the global mean SLR or one-third of the altimeter-observed rate of 3.11 ± 0.6 mm/yr over 1993–2008. ”

        Reasonably good? How was that measured. The idiots who wrote this paper didn’t try to define “reasonably good”. Was that reasonably good scientific practice? “Might have” implies might have not. If this is your idea of slam-dunk research you need a remedial course in identifying junk science.

      • The tropospheric hotspot is supposed to exist in the tropics starting at about the 500 mb level of atmospheric pressure. Four fifty-year -old independent radiosonde data sets measuring atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction in those latitudes show no tropospheric hot spot where there should be one according to AGW gospel. IPCC AR1 clearly shows the lack of the predicted hot spot. The paper you cite does not to address this matter at all. It is entirely irrelevant. Back to square one for you. Pawn takes Bishop.

      • Uh – did they really resolve the GRACE calibration problems?

      • Alexander Harvey


        During the first ten years of the period (1993-2008) mentioned in that paper the OHC was not generally considered to be missing, and Hansen found OHC to be compatible with the GISS model output for that period. Do you have a data relating specifically to 2005-2010 which seem to be the period where the OHC deficit is apparent (Trenberth).

    • If a skeptic has made a case easily, they’ve made it to a non-skeptic, as questions beget questions, and good questions beget better ones among good questioners.

      The only skeptics who make easy cases are dyskeptics.

      • This board is a marvelous example of the exquisite beauty of the human mind. I have found examples here of the best thinkers and will use their posts in my classroom. There are also some appalling posts if held up to my curriculum for Information Literacy: American Teachers know that Twenty-first century readers and writers need to :

        Develop proficiency with the tools of technology

        Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally

        Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of

        Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous

        Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts

        Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

  27. Let us put some of it another way. How long will tree ring data be used.
    Seems possible new insights will be found regarding tree ring data.
    Who is responsible for putting this graph into the public as accurate and real?
    Should not they be the ones who made sure the graph was 99% to 100% reproduceable by any other means to find the same climate 100 years or so out.
    Do these few with the current grants and positions of power have the only truth? If so why such an easy task to disrupt their case?
    I have no PHD, but was asked by PHD’s to make things work with my little old 1963 EE degree from UT Arlington. Met some odd PHD’s from Sandia Lab who could not make their big little ideas work outside the computer simulation area.

  28. Harold H Doiron

    Dr. Curry,

    As an example of an objective engineer’s presentation of global warming data, and a typical engineer’s reaction to it without panic or fear mongering, I recommend Burt Rutan’s global temperature presentation, what we should be doing now in the face of this evidence, and critique of biased data presenters at:

    • Burt Rutan repeatedly states that his slides are meant to inform rather than to alarm. It is an outstanding presentation. For fence sitters it is a must read. His aerospace engineering achievements are legendary. He also admits to a classically liberal skeptical bias. He is up front about that and is is part of the ethical dimension of presenting arguments.

      I had the privilege of meeting Rutan at the Watsonville air show many years ago. He was then retailing amateur, home-built aircraft kits using composites. Since then, he designed the aircraft that made the first nonstop around the world flight and designed the first suborbital spacecraft to win the X-Prize. If I had known what he would ultimately achieve I would I would have asked for his autograph and never again washed my right hand after shaking his.

      • So we should take his arguments as true due to him being famous? I would not recommend that as a modus operandi.

      • Some university enquiry or other in Pennsylvania thought that bringing in lots of research grant money washed away any sins IIRC.

        That didn’t seem like a great idea either.

      • And tell me, Reazon, in what ways are you better educated, more highly respected and successful. I look forward to your CV.

      • I do not accept arguments by authority. I need to see the science behind the conclusions. That’s what I learned to ask for as a student. Thats all.

      • Then look at the presentation. Nobody said you have to believe it. But putting it down without looking at it isn’t a good idea either.

    • This presentation is hilarious. Just a quick reading shows mistakes, misunderstandings and misconceptions on every slide. Several graphs are wrongly cited and several have the axes the wrong way round! I guess this is as good a reason why engineers should stick to building bridges!

      • This is way off topic, but for the record, I responded to Harold Doiron on a much earlier thread with examples of why Rutan’s analysis is almost completely erroneous, and I regret that he continues to tout it. I suppose it’s relevant to the current issue as an illustration of confirmation bias – i.e., a belief in the objective truth of something that most knowledgeable observers would see as seriously distorted.

      • Hint: Engineers don’t get to build bridges that don’t fall down by making mistakes, misunderstandings and misconceptions.
        Oh, except when they start relying too much on computer models – hence disasters like the Millennium bridge.

      • Examples, please. I don’t need you tell me what I should think. If you can offer better information, please do so.

      • He lists human-extinction scares through the ages, but only labels one of them as “a real, but remote risk”. Which implies that the other ones were not such, including global thermo-nuclear war (a very real risk with dire consequences if it had broken out) , DDT (which almost wiped out a couple of predator species) and Nuclear winter a second time. He even labels the threat to the ozone layer as false, a conclusion I have never heard of before.

      • Sixty to 80 million died because of the DDT ban and countless others were crippled. Willam Rucklehaus was, in effect, the greatest mass murderer of all time clearly outstripping Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot and the praiseworthy Ghengis Khan who for a time reduced the Chinese carbon footprint by murdering 40 million men, women and children.

        While wide-area spraying of DDT is open to question, selective spraying of the walls, mosquito nets and bedding of the huts in which most Africans live is not.

      • DDT has never been banned for anti-malarial use. And it’s increasingly ineffective due to resistance of the mosquitos. But this discussion is by now way off-topic.

      • An overview of DDT use, misuse and banning can be found here:
        http://junkscience.com/ddtfaq.html. Please check all 109 references in peer-reviewed publications.

        The horrendous impact on third-world morbidity and mortality can be found here: http://junkscience.com/malaria_clock.html.

        Educate yourself, Reazon. It is never too late. While there may be no blood on your hands in this matter there are others like you who are bathed in the blood and immiseration of others.

      • Ken

        Your links are dead (404 – file not found). Please repost.

      • They both continue to work with me in Safari. I don’t know how to fix stuff that isn’t, for my browser, broken. Sorry.

      • Your links are dead. And I would need an more reputable source than this “junkscience.com”, as judged by its portal page, to be prepared to spend any time on its conclusions.

      • Pronounce the messenger dead before the message has arrived?

      • monty,
        You mean it is worse than when the team uses data upside down or extrapolates vast climate dangers from trivial changes in a derived average?

      • Hunter
        I’m not here to defend bad practice from scientists….and there probably was some. I’m here to defend science and attack the sceptic view that cherry-picks and distorts remorselessly.

      • Monty. Incoherent. Try again using pertinent examples. Try to construct an evidence-based argument. Casting aspersions is what we expect from mindless trolls. Rise to the occasion. Assemble some facts and try to knit them together with a bit of logic. By facts, I mean replicable observations. –what Karl Popper described as public knowledge. Cast your net wide for replicable observations and if you can’t quite find a way to assemble those pieces into a unified view don’t feel bad. That is a characteristic of young and incomplete sciences and what makes them interesting.

      • You want examples/ Why don’t you criticise sceptics like David Bellamy who cherry-picked 2 glaciers from Patagonia to show that glaciers weren’t melting (despite the hundreds that were). Or Plimer who filled his book with made up graphs. Or Monckton who misused Pinker’s work or who tries to make T trends from 8 or 9 years of data? If you are so sceptical, why is it you are never sceptical of rubbish like this?

      • No one participating in any of these threads has made reference to any of the claims you dispute. Being a skeptic does not entail the mindless acceptance of all assertions made by all skeptics. Skeptics are a heterogeneous lot and many, like me, think Claes Johnson is a whacko. Your inability to understand this lends itself to making foolish and inappropriate generalizations.

      • because that rubbish is not being used to set policy.

        Its being used to confuse the public. The way to unconfuse the public is to make sure your case is solid, well presented, air tight. When you have finished doing the best job you can with the highest ethical standards, then your attacks on the idiot Moncktons of the world will have more weight in the eyes of people who are undecided. But if you meet idiots on their terms, and engage in the tactics they use, dont be surprised if the undecided say ‘a pox on both of you’

      • No…but it’s being used to delay policy.

      • Really,
        From my discussions I find that the biggest cause of delay was NOT the existence of stupid shoddy junk science on the part of skeptics. It was and remains the stupid obstructionist actions by a few misguided scientists. they thought that by refusing FOIA they would make the problem go away. The HIDING of data did more damage than releasing EVER could. why? because there is nothing WRONG with the data. how do I know this, well I’ve plowed thru it all. They refused code. why? not because there was anything wrong with it. And Susan Solomon refused to send documents I requested in 2007. to what end?

        You wanna know what delays action? acting like you have something to hide when you dont. Ask sadaam about the wisdom of that.

      • I am not here to criticize skeptics or true believers. I am here to challenge bad science and unsound public policy regardless of origin. Give it a try. Once you know enough, you might like it.

      • Because none of the above get to publish in the IPCC reports.

        Any more than the guy who used to wander round Leicester Square with a signboard saying ‘come to Jesus, repent for the end is nigh’ is a personal representative of the Pope or the Archbish of Canterbury. Even though the y might all nominally be ‘christians’

      • Monty –
        Not all that long ago the Team made T trends out of 5 year data. When that became “inconvenient” they moved it to 8 year data. What is it now – 15 years? Soon to be 20 when we pass the 15 year “no warming” mark?

    • Harold,
      Rutan not only points out the Emperor has no clothes, but he shows exactly why.

  29. Sorry for the typos. Hope you get the drift.

  30. An example on the issue of presentation of findings:
    I have a good friend, an excellent biologist. A few years ago she wrote a paper in a peer reviewed magazine on the effects of global warming on the Estonian swamp vegetation. It was an excellent and thorough paper on the changes in Estonian swamp vegetation in the last 30 years, with many many beautiful graphs, but for me there was just one question – namely there, in the paper, there was absolutely no evidence or even indication that these these changes were the the result of global warming! None what so ever. Zero. I asked her about that and her response made me think of several problems. Namely, she said that the name of the study depended on the funding, as there was money available for global warming research but not vegetation changes as such. First, it sounded like the old days when Lenin had to be cited in every paper, be it on mathematics or physical education. Second, did none of the reviewers ask the question about the divergence of the name of the study and the paper itself. Third, as a biologist and “green”, she herself was convinced that the results were another proof of global warming even though she acknowledged that there was absolutely no ground for this belief. And fourth, I think that this paper is probably one of these “thousands of papers” and she one of those “thousands of scientists that make up the consensus.
    Just food for thought. We are still very good friends, by the way…

    • Sven,
      That is a real and very large problem for WG2. The case you tell about is certainly common. For the climate processes themselves and for many fields of empirical data analysis related to climate, there is competition and several groups studying the same problems. They want to find errors in the earlier publications to have better change of getting their own work valued, and this wish is not strongly biased in either direction.

      When the subject of research is such that only one group is likely to study it ever, the motives change. The selection bias enters both in search for funding and in the publication phase. This is probably most typical for studies of local changes in environment, but may affect also some other more exotic areas.

      It is impossible to estimate the strength of this bias, but it cannot be negligible.

  31. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.


    I have a phd in environmental fraud. Your claim of high sensitivity is false. The easy explanation is that the earth is below its historic GAT and below its historic atmospheric co2 content. Thus, the earth has been warmer and had more co2 in its atmosphere for most of its life. Also, this means that the world is really in a cooling phase. I actually like to use the entire historical record, not start at 1979 like you Monty. So sorry.

    • Hi Dr Jay Cadbury PhD. Whatever your PhD is in, it sure hasn’t given you any insight into paleoclimatology.

      • monty,
        But does your study in paleoclimatology give you any particular claim on predicting our future?

      • Hi Hunter.
        No of course it doesn’t, But if the past tells us that ice sheets can break up quickly and sea levels rise quickly (for example) than this may give us insight into likely future system response. I think paleoclimate is more useful than climate modelling (but don’t tell that to the modellers!).

      • Ice sheets, presumably over water, don’t suddenly break up quickly nor do inland sheets melt when the ambient temperature is always below freezing. There were as I recall, and please correct me if I am wrong, only two episodes of rapid sea rise over the last 100,000 or so years. Neither had anything to do with Co2. The ball is in your court.

      • Ken. Can I suggest you take Quaternary 101 before you talk rubbish about ice sheets?

      • You are also wrong about sea level rise (for example try Googling MWP1a) and also about the role of CO2 in deglaciation. Three wrong things in one short post. A record?

      • http://www.sciencemag.org/content/318/5849/435.abstract

        “The cause of this deglacial deep-water warming does not lie within the tropics, nor can its early onset between 19 and 17 ky B.P. be attributed to CO2 forcing. Increasing austral-spring insolation combined with sea-ice albedo feedbacks appear to be the key factors responsible for this warming.”

      • Monty, please give us reason you have special expertise in paleoclimatology.

    • Since this planet is always fighting warm and not cold…
      …since CO2 levels rapidly dropped to what should be considered dangerous low levels

      We should be asking why are CO2 levels so low and why is it so cold…
      …but that would mess up all the fun

  32. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.


    Monty your reputation precedes you. I cannot match your arguing wit and intelligence. Allow me to humbly refer to Dr. Happer.

    I don’t know much about the details of the Bern model, but I was under the impression that it is supposed to predict how long additional CO2 will stay in the atmosphere. The immediate question is how much CO2 dissolves in the oceans and how long it takes to get from surface to deep waters. There is a longer-term feedback associated with increased weathering of rock by the more acid rain that will be produced by higher atmospheric levels of CO2. This will weather out more Ca and Mg ions from crystalline rock, especially from high mountains like the Himalayas and the Andes, and the Ca and Mg ions in the ocean will precipitate CO2 as carbonate rock, thus indirectly removing it from the atmosphere. Here we are talking time scales of hundreds of thousands of years. And all of this has a substantial dependence on temperature. Given the complexity of the physics and chemistry, I doubt that the Bern model is very accurate, although I have to assume they have done the best job they could.

    I am not sure what you mean by “the current earth temperature is well below the equilibrium temperature of the current level of CO2.” Alarmists, embarrassed by the earth’s refusal to warm as their models predict, have concocted all sorts of scary stories about “warming in the pipeline,” etc. As best I can make out, none of the scare stories agrees with observational data. I think the earth has not warmed as much as the models predict for a simple reason. The models have greatly exaggerated the feedback from water vapor and clouds. Observations indicate the feedback, instead of being strongly positive as the fearmongers would like, is probably close to zero or even slightly negative. Without feedback, increasing CO2 still warms the earth but not enough to worry reasonable people.

    I hope this helps.

    Will Happer

  33. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.


    If you need verification that statement is from Dr. Happer, I would be happy to show more email correspondences I have had with him. However, I think you would agree we should not exchange email addresses here.

    • Will Happer thinks that we are in a ‘CO2 famine’. But what’s the relevance of this. No-one is doubting that CO2 levels were high in the past…..so were sea levels much higher. If you want Cretaceous levels of CO2 then you will have Cretaceous levels of warmth and sea level rise. The point is NOT the warming…it’s the rapidity. In the geological past we had a warmer world with high sea levels 9and no ice) and high CO2. But the transitions into and out of these events took millions of years. We are doing this is a couple of centuries. Do you really not see the problem for ecosystem responses etc?

      • Monty, you are showing your ignorance once again. Heard of PETM? I think not. Do your homework before testing yourself here. You have lots and lots more to learn.

      • monty,

        Whilst I defer to your expertise in paleoclimatology I’m nowhere near as convinced by your arguments as far as negative impacts on the ecosystem are concerned.

        Of course increased global temperatures will alter ecosystems no matter what their origin but, if the evidence of the last 200 years or so is anything to go by, there will be an equal number of winners and losers in the ecosystem as a whole. It strikes me that land management issues have caused far greater ecological damage than climate change and are, therefore, of much greater immediate importance.

      • Do you have any evidence that temperature change in the last 100 (or 50) years was faster than during the last 1000 or 10000 years?

      • Ok, this is off topic, but you say you’ve got a Ph.D. in a relevant field, and I’ve been wanting some intelligent discussion of this question for some time. I’m aiming this at you precisely because I gather that you come from the opposite camp from my own.

        So I’ve been looking at the CO2-as-climate-driver problem from a different perspective. My understanding is that approximately 85% of all photons in the Earth’s blackbody spectrum that are also in the absorbtion spectrum of CO2 are already presently being absorbed at the present concentration of atmospheric CO2. Now, the first question I’ve never been able to get a straight answer to is, why is a sensitivity expressed as a simple delta-T/doubling of CO2 even considered a sensible approximation. To begin with, not all of those photons are absorbed by CO2–in fact, the lion’s share are absorbed by H2O. Which suggests to me that, even if the delta-T/2x model made sense, it would be the doubling of some weighted sum of CO2 with everything else that absorbs in its spectrum that would matter. Furthermore, it is my further understanding that 100% absorbtion is a pretty hard limit. At some point, doubling CO2 (or things that absorb in its spectrum) just isn’t going to give you any more warming, because all the photons in its absorbtion spectrum are already getting absorbed. Do you have any information, or opinion, about what the new equilibrium temperature would be once we got close to that asymptote?

      • Nicely put, Q. I have been looking for these answers myself. If they show up anywhere, let me know.

      • Alexander Harvey


        You wrote:

        “In the geological past we had a warmer world with high sea levels 9and no ice) and high CO2. But the transitions into and out of these events took millions of years. We are doing this is a couple of centuries. ”

        Are you implying that we are going to have no ice in a couple of centuries?

  34. Dr. Curry and/or Denizens,

    The link provided by Harold H Doiron to Burt Rutan’s presentation includes a slide that states that ozone depletion attributed to CFCs has been shown to be false. It’s the first I’d heard of this. However it reminds me of a thought I had that it might be a good idea to have a guest article on this blog that deals with the ozone layer issue, uncertainties in the science, ramifications of the policies that were implemented, and implications for addressing the possibility of AGW – or not. It has at the very least the parallels of global atmospheric effects of anthropogenic chemical emissions coupled with a sort of “world government” feel to it vis a vis the Montreal Protocol.

    Anyone? Apologies if this has been done famously before on a CC blog, someone just shoot me the link.


    • It has not been shown to such an extent that mainstream science, textbooks or even Wikipedia, acknowledge this “proof”.

    • Yes, the CFC alarmist fad has proven to be a tempest in a teapot. They are degraded before they reach the altitude where they could interact with ozone. The little buggers just weigh too much. Anyway, it was a good scare while it lasted.

    • What I have read some time ago (if I remember wel), is that one of the key parts of the chemical equations that lead to the destruction of ozone on ice crystals around -80°C is so slow that it can’t be responsible for the rapid destruction of ozone in the Antarctic spring. Further, not only chlorine, but also OH radicals and NOx radicals breakdown ozone. That is seldom mentioned.
      But need to find back the article…

      • I came across something similar yesterday when I was looking but failed to bookmark it. Surely I can find it again. It was published in 2006 or 2007…Anyway, interesting to see I’ve got 3 responses varying from non-skeptical (Reazon) , to highly skeptical (Ken), to moderately skeptical (Ferdinand). I’m with Ferdinand so far. Reading the Wikipedia article yesterday, it seems that the ozone “hole”, as opposed to the global gradual decline, was found at a politically convenient time. And it involes some of the same folks. And I think I read in the paper referred to above, that although a specific mechanism was called into question, there was a statement that anthropogenic release of CFCs was still to be considered the culprit.

        Now to do some real research on this issue before I post again, because this tempest in a teapot could go spinning off in either direction.

  35. Dr curry,

    A graphical representation can, in many circumstances, be emotive. Hence, when it comes to scientific presentations one has to be that much more careful. That is to say, assuming, from a psychological point of view, all visual representations speak (in the same way as music, perhaps, does) to our more emotive selves and can not help speak to more emotive elements inside us, it is extremely important that they attempt to represent what is accurate and therefore rational. That is to say, 1st) you can appeal rationally, with graphics etc to that which is irrational (I believe this but perhaps because I believe in the fundermental rationality of us human beings!) inside us and, 2nd) an ethical point, obversely, one cannot use what is emotive, ‘irrational’ in us by manipulating stimuli, ie graphics, in this case. The latter would be propaganda, I suppose!?

    • Though, one might, as a diabolus advocatus (sic!), say history and the powers that it contains would seize any graphic, or form of words, that would move it on. To misquote, if this graphic didn’t exist it would have to be invented?

  36. Dr curry,

    Maybe there is a revolutionary air in the moment? And people are a bit to much excited? I myself, I must admit?

    But I think the post of which this is supposed to be a discussion deserves some thought. Particularly I’m interested in those historically greyed gradations between what the Greeks called ‘persuasion’ (‘pathei’ if I remember, though I’m probably wrong) and what became, via the Christian concept of ‘Truth’, ‘honesty’, a totally alien concept to the classical world (for no one was capable of ‘lieing’, then) – to ‘persuade’, even in the 1300’s, with ‘graphs’ would have classed you as a mountebank and a charlatan. But slowly a cult of ‘expertise’ seems to have overtaken us? (Just as we used to ‘bare witness’ to priests now we let our priests bare witness to us – and bowdlerise us!)

  37. Does anybody have time to tell me exactly where the errors are in Rutan’s graphs?
    Pretty please? Or point me to somewhere that has already done this?

  38. And, just as a coda, I think it’s impossible to honestly deny that there is not an Icon here that had and has a very emotive affect. For both sides and, indeed (because I’m on no ones side) for all sides. If the Icon was false then surely we must all become iconoclasts?

  39. @JudithCurry

    You quote, “The most widespread and serious thread to learning the truth from an evidence-based report is cherry-picking, as presenters pick and choose, selet [sic] and reveal only the evidence that advances their favored point of views.”

    Although you might think this claim is easy to argue for, well, let me try it out on a highly specific point. Say, for argument’s sake, that I am giving a presentation about satellites, and I want to talk about the rocket launchers used to get satellites into Earth orbit and the amount of fuel they consume, and I want to talk about why this is a big number.

    The easy way is to refer to a generally accepted body of knowledge – the Law of Gravity – and from their talk about escape velocity and G (g) forces and the octane value of various fuels. Can I expect most people in the audience to accept the paradigm of gravitational fields, or is this just my “favoured point of view” ?

    This is a critical point. Can we rely on a body of knowledge without having to re-explain and re-explain and re-explain it in every single presentation we make about Climate Change and Global Warming ? Can we rely on our audience to know and trust over 150 years of Chemistry and Physics ? Do they know enough to be able to accept what we are presenting ?

    If people do not share a certain common knowledge of Geology, Chemistry, and Physics, there may be people in the audience who cannot follow the presentation, and may be unable to accept it.

    So, tell me, is gravity my “favoured point of view” or is it commonly acknowledged as true science ?

    This distinction is central to any discussion about Climate Change and Global Warming. Is there a body of work we can rely on and not need to re-argue and re-explain ?

    I think there is. So I don’t think that people should be required to reiterate it time and time again.

    Anybody who makes a presentation on Climate Change or Global Warming should be permitted to state categorically that Climate Change is real, and it’s happening now, and it’s our fault, and it’s going to get more serious, and possibly even very serious indeed, and nobody should challenge that, because those are not simply “claims”, they are the science.

    Cherry-picking the statements of one or two particular scientists, or attempting to cast doubt on a few of their e-mails does not and cannot undermine the accumulated data and wisdom of Climate Change science.

    It is about time that we all reconciled ourselves to the projections of Climate damages made by the IPCC and other collective bodies of scientists and knuckled down to roll back Carbon Dioxide and other Greenhouse Gas emissions.

    • ‘Anybody who makes a presentation on Climate Change or Global Warming should be permitted to state categorically that Climate Change is real, and it’s happening now, and it’s our fault, and it’s going to get more serious, and possibly even very serious indeed, and nobody should challenge that, because those are not simply “claims”, they are the science’

      They look pretty much like ‘claims’ to me.

      And what sort of frigging ‘science’ (or ‘scientist’) is it that has to hide behind the suppression and avoidance of questions rather than taking them head on and answering them?

      Rhetorical question, for we know the answer is ‘climate science’ and climatologists.

      By even making such a proposal you betray the weakness of your case. If you had a good case you’d have the cojones to defend it.

    • As usual, Jo Abbess, you give a highly misleading analogy and, with a slight of hand, you think that has proved your point.
      This is after a superficial view, I admit (but a lot of hindsight!) so I’ll now proceed to read the rest of your loooong post.

    • Jo,
      You’re right. The law of gravity is established and well accepted

      You should therefore have no difficulty calculating how long it will take for a feather to fall from a height of 10 metres.

    • That is to say, you make the false analogy, of Newtonian physics with so called ‘climate science’. May I suggest the latter is more like economics – ie a hybrid of complex variables most of which are not understood. Where as the former deals with very primitive and well understood and well demonstrable forces? Can’t you distinguish between the two? Especially when your own politics, and those of many others, enters the fray? Is there any politics in gravity? Aren’t you able to concieve a difference? There is no connection between your analogy and the subject under discussion (which is, in fact, about ‘persuasion’ not ‘truth’! Doh!)

    • You equate the science of the law of gravity with climate change.

      They are not even close in terms of proof.

      We have millions of experiments which prove the laws of gravity.

      We have not even had one doubling of CO2 to test whether the temperature increased 1.5 to 4.5C, or to determine the climate sensitivity.

      By 2100 we may have a single data point to use to test the projection of 1.5 to 4.5C.

      A single data point is very poor compared to the tests that have been done to validate the laws of gravity.

    • Jo, you were supposed to return to us with the location of the missing tropospheric hot spot. Irrelevant analogies simply will not suffice.

    • No, Jo. CO2 is not a pollutant.

  40. Judith, you’re interested in examples of bad practices of data representation. Here’s a classic: Removing the linear effects of ENSO and volcanic aerosols from global surface temperatures and claiming the positive trend in the residual is caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. The authors of those studies and blog posts either misunderstand ENSO or they choose to misrepresent it. Example: Thompson et al (2009) “Identifying Signatures of Natural Climate Variability in Time Series of Global-Mean Surface Temperature: Methodology and Insights”. The et al include John Wallace, Phil Jones, and John J Kennedy. Link:

    • I’ll bite. I agree that the residual shouldn’t be assumed to be caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases, but what’s the misrepresentation of ENSO you’re referring to?

      • John N-G, ENSO is not simply noise. It’s a process. By scaling an ENSO proxy (NINO3.4 or CTI SST anomalies) and subtracting it from global surface temperatures, one assumes ENSO is only noise and, by makig that assumption, one fails to account for the residual effects of the ENSO process.

        A brief and simple explanation: Looking only at the tropical Pacific, a significant El Niño releases a vast amount of warm water from below the surface of the Western Pacific Warm Pool and it sloshes east. Much of it spreads across the surface of the central and eastern tropical Pacific. Central and eastern equatorial Pacific SST anomalies rise. As the El Niño ebbs, the SST anomalies fall. The only thing the ENSO proxy accounts for is the rise and fall of the SST anomalies in the NINO3.4 or CTI regions. But the El Niño has not “consumed” all of the warm water that had been released from the PWP. And as the El Niño transforms to La Niña, the ENSO proxy does not account for the leftover warm water.

      • Bob – I read your more expanded analysis on WUWT, and although I found it interesting, I wasn’t convinced, because your conclusions depended heavily a parametrizations that were not necessarily justified. Long term, I believe that the laws of thermodynamics must prevail, and that redistribution of energy within the climate system, in an absence of external forcing, will inevitably result in counterbalancing forces that restore previous states. One can suggest that the process is so prolonged that it gives the appearance of a trend over shorter intervals, but it would take much more data to provide support for that view in light of the evidence that over the course of decades, ENSO averages out, and over even more decades, the same applies to PDO, AMO, and other internal modes – at least over the intervals of most interest to us.

      • Fred Moolten replied, “Bob – I read your more expanded analysis on WUWT, and although I found it interesting, I wasn’t convinced, because your conclusions depended heavily a parametrizations that were not necessarily justified.”

        Please expand on which parametrizations are not necessarily justified.

      • Bob – I didn’t go back and reread your post, but from memory I recalled that you used scaling factors to permit different curves to be compared. That is probably one example.

        Perhaps that’s an incorrect recollection, but my larger point is this. Given the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and the tendency of a system unperturbed by external forcings to return to its highest entropy state (in this case, a particular distribution of heat among atmosphere, upper ocean, deep ocean, etc.), the burden of proof would be on anyone who suggests that each iteration of a process leads to a progressive increase in the total extent of redistribution. The alternative that would need to be excluded is that the system “sneaks back to its previous state” via a heat dissipative process that is so gradual and so widely spread over the globe that it would be impossible to discern it in the face of inevitable noise plus ongoing forced trends, anthropogenic, solar, or otherwise mediated.

        It’s still an interesting idea, but I don’t think the authors you cite should be accused of scientific malpractice because they failed to take into account an unproven hypothesis that you tentatively advanced in a blog.

      • Fred Moolten replied: “Bob – I didn’t go back and reread your post, but from memory I recalled that you used scaling factors to permit different curves to be compared.”

        “your post”? Implying one I’ve written only one post on this subject? Fred, I’ve lost track of how many posts I’ve written on ENSO and its multiyear aftereffects, which appear to cause upward shifts in surface temperatures and TLT. Those numerous posts document, illustrate and discuss how ENSO causes variations in atmospheric circulation, ocean currents, Downward Shortwave Radiation, cloud cover, precipitation, trade wind strength in the Pacific and Atlantic, etc. To help show those multiyear effects, I’ve animated sea surface temperature, sea level, TLT, cloud amount, ocean currents, ocean heat content, precipitation, equatorial Pacific subsurface temperature anomaly cross-sections. I’ve used JPL sea level animations to demonstrate equatorial Pacific Kelvin waves during El Niño events and the much overlooked Rossby waves that return vast amounts of warm water to the western Pacific during La Niña events. So if your opinion is based on one graph in one post, you’ve missed much.

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      “claiming the positive trend in the residual is caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.”

      The paper can found at Thompson’s web page

      From the paper :
      “The results also 1) reveal a significant level of coupling between ocean and land temperatures that remains even after the effects of ENSO and volcanic eruptions have been removed; 2) serve to highlight the improvements
      in the quality of the time series of global-mean land temperatures with the increase in the areal coverage of the station network from 1951 onward; and 3) yield a residual time series in which the signature of anthropogenically induced global warming is more prominent.”

      The follow up paper in Nature goes on to ascribe some features of the residuals to natural variability. So, there’s a bit more to it than your summary.

      “The authors of those studies and blog posts either misunderstand ENSO or they choose to misrepresent it.”

      Or, less confrontationally, their interpretation differs from yours.

      • Nebuchadnezzar: Your quote was from the introduction of Thompson et al. Read the concluding remarks and you’ll find what I was referring to:

        “Filtering global-mean temperature time series to remove the effects of known sources of natural variability enriches the signal of the anthropogenically induced warming over the past century (Fig. 11a).”


      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Yes, I know. But you said that they claim the trend in the residuals is caused by GHGs, which leaves an awful lot out (ironic given the subject of the opening post). That the trend in global average temperature is ’caused’ by GHG isn’t a conclusion of the paper. The filtering just makes whatever trend there is stand out more clearly and the ‘standard’ explanation for that trend involves a hefty GHG component.

        It’s maybe easy to get hooked up on that and if that’s all you got out of the paper, it’s a shame. If you can look past that one sentence, there’s a lot in there about the global effects of natural variability, uncertainties in the surface data and so on.

      • Nebuchadnezzar says: “But you said that they claim the trend in the residuals is caused by GHGs, which leaves an awful lot out (ironic given the subject of the opening post). That the trend in global average temperature is ’caused’ by GHG isn’t a conclusion of the paper.”

        It is implied by the sentence I quoted above. Also, did you bother to read the introduction of the paper? It infers it and sets the stage for the rest of the paper. The first sentence of the opening paragraph reads, “The time history of observed twentieth-century global-mean surface temperature reflects the combined influences of naturally occurring climate variations and anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols.”

        And the last sentence of the first paragraph to the introduction: “Here, we infer the anthropogenic signal and other key aspects of twentieth century global-mean surface temperature variability by subtracting from the observed global-mean land and ocean temperature records the variance associated with known sources of natural climate variability.”

        I do not see where my original comment misrepresented Thompson et al (2009) and I cannot fathom why you are arguing with me about it.

  41. @JudithCurry


    For “and from their talk about escape velocity” read “and from there talk about escape velocity”

    And anyway…why are people still arguing about the science ? Surely people would do better to apply their energy to policy ? There’s actually some scope for contesting the current spectrum of policy proposals on the table at every major “what do we do about Climate Change ?” meeting.

    Carbon Trading ? Have you seen what’s happened in Europe ? Low carbon prices is the inevitable result – as it’s in the interests of both the buyers and the sellers to keep the carbon price low.

    Carbon Taxation ? Why not tax breathing if you’re going to tax carbon ? It’s a ridiculous proposition. It won’t change any behaviour or stop emissions, it’ll just make everything more expensive for everyone.

    Carbon Offsetting ? A serious waste of effort.

    Carbon Fines ? When has an environmental fine actually stopped a major oil company from dangerous engineering or transportation ? Why would a carbon fine system work any better ?

    Carbon pricing of any form is basically nonsense – who wants to pay real money for a negative commodity ?

    And with energy prices set to rise for a range of reasons, a carbon price would be lost in there and have no “market signal”.

    Why do Americans (and Europeans, and Japanese, and…) continue to be so mindless ? Have you (we) any idea of how much it’s going to cost to drive in the next five years ? Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies and ramping up energy conservation is going to make life cheaper and more pleasant for everyone.

    Financially supporting investment in the things we want – clean, green power, transport and heat, trounces charging for carbon as a proper forward-thinking strategy.

    • Jo Abbess,

      What is your view on the extract from “Beautiful Evidence”?

    • How about first answering the science questions – like how fast does a feather fall.

    • More Orwelian speak.

      Carbon meaning CO2
      Climate Change meaning CO2 caused global warming

    • See: Global Warming and Weather Discussion; Topic: The Politics of “AGW” (from October 28, 2008 to date)
      Energy Taxes: Political Solutions to Carbon-Driven AGW Reply #1.

      Cap-And-Trade: For starters, mandates a cap on carbon emissions. A government agency would auction or allocate carbon emission permits to businesses, who would include it in their price to you. An approximate auction price could be set by (yet another government) computer model. The auction loot goes to a “Climate Change Credit Corporation, a “private-public entity” that would “invest in many things”. (E.g., FannieMay and FreddieMac?)
      (Senator Lieberman guesses that the market value of all permits would be “about $7 trillion by 2050”.)
      Carbon Tax (aka Carbon Content Tax): Representative John D. Dingle (D, Michigan) proposes to tax the “Carbon Content” of certain products, levy an additional tax on gasoline and “excessive” carbon fuel usage in your “large” home. He promises that the scheme would be tightened over time (60% to 80% less emissions by 2050), and that this Carbon Tax will be in addition to Cap-And-Trade. In return, he promises to spend the booty on “Share The Wealth” schemes and sundry good works and purposes.
      Personal Carbon Credits, aka Rationing (a U.K. proposal): This is “A system of personal ‘carbon credits’ to meet emissions targets”. Each year, everyone gets an allowance (credit) for carbon-based energy. Of course, someone has to decide how to set each person’s ration. If you exceed your ration, you can buy more from someone (or some country) with a surplus of credits. Such “personal carbon trading” could operate like a credit card computer system.
      Tax And Dividend (James Hansen and British predecessors). Hansen proposes a political policy of taxing fossil fuels at their source (extraction or import). In a letter to Barack Obama, Hansen urges this tax on carbon production with a 100% dividend to the public on a “per capita basis”. Well, not quite “per head”: kids count only half a head each, with a cap of two kids. He calls this policy “progressive” (code name for socialist). Control of the economy is an outcome of “The rate of infrastructure replacement, thus economic activity, can be modulated (a.k.a. regulated) by how fast the carbon tax rate increases.” Note that the possibility of a decrease is not mentioned, since carbon has little material effect on climate, and some “citizens” will become dependent wards of the state.
      Turnover Tax: You don’t find this Tax in the speeches and the media reports, do you? It expired with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
      However, Cap-And-Trade, the Carbon Tax, Personal Carbon Credits and even Tax and Dividend have the same effect and operation as the Turnover Tax. These are merely different names for the Turnover Tax in the Soviet Union.

      More follows Reply #1.

    • @ Jo Abbess:

      “This is a critical point. Can we rely on a body of knowledge without having to re-explain and re-explain and re-explain it in every single presentation we make about Climate Change and Global Warming ? ”

      This has been discussed here during the ‘Slaying the Dragon’ threads.

      It’s pretty clear that any meaningful discussion on climate science has to start with the premise that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. From here it makes sense to accept that increasing atmospheric CO2 will have some kind of primary positive effect on radiative balance.

      Beyond this point, the debate can begin. Are feedbacks positive or negative? Can we actually observe the temperature difference caused by the addition of 100 ppm of CO2 to the radiation budget. Is any effect of man’s added CO2 overwhelmed by the “noise”? These are all questions that have yet to be conclusively answered, it seems to me, although IMO the preponderance of evidence suggests that man’s influence on CO2 levels is more likely than not to have some kind of upward influence on global temperature. I guess we’ll know the answer to that in the coming years.

      This leads on to policy. What, if anything, should we do about it and, just as important, when should we do it? My own take on this is rather different from yours. I think we should be spending money on R&D, especially in the area of Nuclear fusion. It seems likely to me that, within 100 years, Nuclear fusion plants will be a viable source of baseload power. In the meantime, the development of Thorium reactors and Gen4 fastbreeder reactors makes nuclear fission power stations cleaner and safer than coal. I don’t see wind and solar power as a viable or necessary energy investment because neither are capable of providing the kind of reliable baseload power that society and industry require. Also they are both incredibly expensive, as the recent Spanish economic woes demonstrate to some degree.

      IMO I’ve seen nothing in the observational record that convinces me that we need take any drastic action to reduce CO2 outputs quicker than they will naturally fall as newer, cleaner baseload power options come on stream. Given that CO2 levels are bound to keep rising in any case, I would really rather research grants went more towards R&D of new cheap, reliable and clean energy sources, than on climate science, fascinating though it is. (sorry Judith!)

      Lastly, I see no compelling evidence that a small rise in global temperatures, whether caused by man or not, is bound to cause ecological catastrophe. That it will cause ecological change is beyond doubt, but ecological change, slow or fast, is a reliable constant of the earth’s climate and most species of flora and fauna have evolved to deal with this. I think there are myriad things we should be doing on a practical policy level to improve local ecologies: I would like to see much more focus on this as well, because we are far more likely to have a real, positive impact on people’s lives.

    • I don’t want green power and I prefer my power to come with lots of plant food in the form of CO2. You don’t speak for me. You speak for you. The science may be settled for you. Well and good. You are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. Please spend more time looking for that missing hotspot.

    • Jo’s site says
      “Pakistan : Inundation Nation”
      with slide show of flooded land and buildings….
      then says
      “[ UPDATE : Don’t tell me. I know the images are mostly from India, but the music is Punjabi… ]”
      as usual fact don’t matter as long as they play Punjabi while its being shown.

  42. And the AGW chatterbot in this thread is….”Monty”.
    Ask Dr.Sbaitso…

  43. @jo abbess

    Would I be overcynical to observe that your ‘continued’ post serves as a very poor fig leaf to cover your avoidance of the cogent and damning points made by commentators on your Part 1 about half an hour ago? Strangely the original didn’t have any ‘to be continued’ notification. Nor is there an obvious word limit on posts that you encountered.

    Changing the subject and trying to distract your audience in another direction doesn’t work well if they are greater than abt 4 yo. Many of us are considerably older than that.

  44. Judith says:

    “I am interested in examples of good and bad practices of data representation (beyond the hockey stick).”

    I have not been doing my homework here (waaay too many comments), but I hope folks are not still trying to use the term “practice” to describe (and sort of “excuse” or marginalize) the “hiding the decline.” If so, it is silly and Orwellian.

    Dicitonaries don’t show any definitions of “practice” that include something like a deceitful action of hiding divergent data from the view of others.

    But then, I guess you COULD say that thieves are engaged in the “practice” of stealing things. So, then, are we saying that it’s normal for climate scientists to engage in the “practice” of hiding data?

    I’m confused.

  45. Jo, why do you and your fellows continue to oppose the democratic will? When you see what happens? Can I give an analogy, Joe? You’re like one of these health professionals who want to continually to interfere in my freedoms because ‘you know what is good for me’! So I shouldn’t do this, I shouldn’t do that, in the end, I’m not even living. You and your lot can’t help finding an excuse to puritanically interfere into the freedom that people have (because, late at night it make you afraid). If I wish to chain smoke and eat red meat, that’s my business. If the world, as the people of the world, decide to eat read meat and chain smoke and behave very badly and they vote for it, they will it, that’s there business.

  46. And, to repeat, this thread was supposed to be about how one represents graphically, ‘honestly’, a particular result in a science. Again, about the art of ‘rational persuasion’ and whether that is is, in fact, logically or ethically possible?

  47. Jo Abbess,

    I think you’ll find that Dr. Curry isn’t the kind of pushover you’re accustomed to dealing with, like certain BBC correspondents.

  48. Dr. Curry:

    You asked for “examples of good and bad practices of data representation (beyond the hockey stick). This isn’t beyond, but it’s certainly pertinent to “Hiding the decline”.

    Apples and oranges in the proxy/temp graphs.
This is something that has bothered me since I first looked at the “hockey stick” in all its many incarnations.


    is an above-average sample of the genre of “spaghetti graph” proxy-temp reconstructions, this one for the past 2,000 years. Note that the various rainbow colors are various attempts at proxy reconstructions of past temps. But black is the instrumental record, of actual thermometer readings, albeit massaged in various, sometimes mysterious ways. Unusually, on this graph it’s easy to see that the black is the blade of the hockey stick. The rainbow colors show a (historically normal, to my eye) recovery from the cold of the LIA. Note the recent “decline” in most of the recent proxies, as the tree-ring proxies diverge from the instrumental record. Quite disconcerting, when you are hoping to calibrate the tree-ring data to actual thermometer temperatures!

    The instrumental record has some problematic jacking-up to correct for UHI, an unresolved controversy. But, more importantly, the proxy reconstructions and the instrumental record are fundamentally different: apples and oranges. The thermometers record actual temperature; the proxies record, well, various best guesses of past temperatures. The trees and other proxies certainly don’t respond to temp changes like a thermometer! It’s misleading (particularly to non-specialists) to plot these on the same graph, and grossly misleading if the graph doesn’t make crystal-clear what’s instrumental and what’s reconstructed — as in this recent, otherwise-laudable example,


    And it certainly doesn’t help that the “real” temps have been “corrected” by partisans like Hansen and P. Jones. A ghastly muddle.

    Note: I posted an earlier version of this at , but Kloor thought it off-topic there.

    Peter D. Tillman
    Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      “But, more importantly, the proxy reconstructions and the instrumental record are fundamentally different: apples and oranges. The thermometers record actual temperature; the proxies record, well, various best guesses of past temperatures. ”

      I’m mystified by this. According to your comments a few lines above this bit I quoted, you say that the temperatures are affected by UHI effects. Effectively you seem to be saying that the actual temperatures measured by the thermometers are just a proxy for the ‘true’ temperature.

      Then there’s another step: no thermometer actually measures northern hemisphere temperature so people have to make various ‘best guesses’ as to what that was based on various local temperature measurements.

      All the proxies, all the thermometer series are being used to estimate the same quantity: northern hemisphere temperature anomalies.

      This objection confuses me and I must be missing something. What is the fundamental difference that means they shouldn’t be plotted on the same graph? I can see why one might be wary of splicing them together, or carelessly labelling them, but as separate lines on the same graph? I don’t see it.

  49. Would you care to comment on this graph, apparently prepared by you if the GT alumni magazine is to be believed:

    It would appear to be showing that temperatures, according to CRU, have dropped like a rock the last decade.

    However …

    Begs to differ.

    • dhogaza, you give two graphics without context – did you bother to read Judith’s post? I’ll answer that for you shall I? No.

      • You mean this?


        So, given that data of natural systems is messy (much messier than data from controlled laboratory experiments), I am interested in examples of good and bad practices of data representation (beyond the hockey stick).

        I’d say that her graph which misleads one into thinking that temperatures have plunged the last decade is an example of good or bad practices of data representation. Which it is, is up to you.

      • So, ‘her’ graph? What ‘graph’?

      • And. actually, being a pretty good psychologist, that just shows me you nipped, very fast, to try and get a quote and, strangely, it didn’t fit into your narrative, so you tried to force it in and you failed, hey, dhogaza, hey?

      • But isn’t that interesting? For you this seems merely a matter of rhetoric? Of argument? Of spiritual war? Like a gymnast you face us – why should we continue to enjoy your somersaults?

      • No, not that. Where’s the text that accompanies the graph? Without that, it’s useless – kinda like an unloaded gun, it’s not even a good rock.

    • What are you on about?

      The first link is to a graph labelled NH T Anomaly.
      The second link to woodfortrees for a graph of Hadcrut3 GLOBAL adjusted mean.


      So do tell what it was you were trying to do. None of this couple of lines of “would you care to comment” bull$hit and then some links to who knows what.
      How about you grow the balls to comment yourself first, then ask for a counter comment. Else it’s just sniping.

  50. Bit past is sell by date the old hide the decline.

    Smells of desperation. I like that smell.

  51. On the original topic of the thread, I recommend the book “A Random Walk in Science” (Amazon, 4 left, hurry), particularly the chapter “The Art of Finding the Right Graph Paper” by S A Rudin. I especially like the idea of rubber graph paper, which allows any data set, under sufficiently accurate stress, to be presented as a linear function.

  52. PART 1

    kim says “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, David Holland points out the need to use the word “threat” and Phillip Bratby says “I think that the huge number .. who have been forced to examine all these details of climate science for themselves shows how corrupt mainstream climate science has become. I can think of no other endeavour where people have been so badly misled that they have had to .. become experts themselves”.

    All of these comments remind me of Stephen Schneider, one scientist who I see as exemplifying what has gone wrong within the ranks of scientists who have made their careers out of promoting the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) doctrine. As I said on the blog of one disciple of “the doctrine”, Tim Lubcke (http://mothincarnate.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/the-future-of-the-climate-debate/) QUOTE:

    On Schneider, Wikipedia says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Schneider) .. In 1989, Schneider addressed the challenge scientists face trying to communicate complex, important issues without adequate time during media interviews. This citation sometimes was used by his critics to accuse him of supporting misuse of science for political goals:

    “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both”. (Quoted in Discover, pp. 45–48, Oct. 1989. For the original, together with Schneider’s commentary on its alleged misrepresentation, see also American Physical Society, APS News August/September 1996.[6]).
    Schneider has accused people, including Julian Simon, of deliberately taking this quote out of context in order to misrepresent his views.

    I do not accept Schneider’s claim of being taken out of context. The significant words are “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest”. Is it not reasonable to expect a scientist to stick to being honest. In my opinion an honest scientist, without any hesitation, would say “Yes”. Have a look at the 2003 debate about this (http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2003/09/19/honest-or-effective/) UNQUOTE.

  53. PART 2

    A teacher of “Soviet Studies” to students in Washington DC Catholic high-school hides behind the false name of Snapple on her blog “Legend of Pine Ridge” blog (http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/) and when commenting in th eblogosphere. If you read the articles on her blog and her comments elsewhere you will understand why she is ashamed to reveal her identity. She gave thanks for scientists like Schneider and this is part of a comment on Stephen (Weather-vane) Schneider that I tried to post to one of her blog threads (http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2011/02/pete-ridley-global-warming-denialisms.html).

    .. he (Schneider) was pushing the scare-propaganda started by Gore/Firth/Hansen in 1988 with the beautifully orchestrated presentation to a Senate Select Committee ( http://discovermagazine.com/1988/oct/23-special-report-endless-summer-living-with-the-greenhouse-effect/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=). That article reported “ .. Getting the world’s fractious nations to agree to a program of remedial measures sounds extremely difficult, but Stephen Schneider sees signs that it may not be impossible. Schneider was one of more than 300 delegates from 48 countries who attended the International Conference on the Changing Atmosphere, which took place in Toronto, coincidentally, just a week after Hansen’s congressional testimony. It was, says Schneider, the “Woodstock of CO2” (an obvious reference to the “Woodstock of Physics” meeting held last year, during which news of the high-temperature superconductors exploded into the public consciousness) .. ”.

    Schneider must have been terribly disappointed when, 21 years on, the UN’s COP15 caper in Copenhagen ended as such a fiasco. .. Of course, biologist-come-climate modeller Schneider had been expressing his grave concerns about the effects of global climate change much earlier than that. The “Gore Lied” blog has an article “Unearthed video: Global warming alarmist Stephen ‘we have to offer up scary scenarios’ Schneider caught on a May 1978 episode of the TV show In Search Of…The Coming Ice Age” by Klockarman (http://algorelied.com/?p=2839). In Part 3 of the program, which presented the horrors of global cooling as experienced in New York State in 1977. The presenter was saying such things as “The experience of 1977 leaves us to imagine the disaster that the future might bring. In the decent to an ice age one severe winter would follow another. Eventually the snows of Buffalo would never melt. .. Winters in Dalas and Atlanta would grow cold and icy. Snows would blanket Southern California and Florida. .. In California, glaciers would advance from the Sierra Nevada .. food production would plummet .. prices would sore out of sight . if the catastrophic event of 89000 years ago repeats itself the ice could return within a single life-time .. ”. There followed speculation on possible ways of combating this catstrophic cooling, like blowing polar ice up with nuclear energy or covering sea with “black soot”.

    Next (at 6.05-7.57 minutes, but please watch the entire part) came a young “ . Stephen Schneider, a climatologist from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research.. Can we do these things? Yes. But will they make things better? I’m not sure. We can’t predict with any certainty what’s happening to our own climatic future. How can we come along and intervene then in that ignorance? You could melt the icecaps. What would that do to the coastal cities? The cure could be worse than the disease. Would that better or worse than the risk of an ice age? It’s the interaction between people and climate that worries me the most, because with everyone jammed into countries, locked into national boundaries, a change in climate means a redistribution of where the rain is, where the growing seasons are. My worst fear is that the climate could induce a change in some country that could be devastating to their local survivability, and that would lead them to desperate acts that can drag everybody else down.”

    No hint (in that scare-story about the coming ice-age, where he was warning about the risks of taking action from a position of uncertainty) that only a year later Schneider would be jumping on the UN’s AGW bandwaggon. A year after climbing aboard he was encouraging scientists to “ .. to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have .. ”.

  54. PART 3

    Let us not overlook Schneider’s membership of Michael Mann’s “Hockey Team” and the concern that they all had about the “travesty” of the lack of warming during the 2000s, nicely presented in those Climategate E-mails involving Trenbeth, Wigley, Schmiddt, Mann, Schneider, Jones, Santer, Hansen (http://algorelied.com/?p=3177). There is a saying “You can judge a person by the company he keeps”.

    My interpretation of Schneider’s opinion that it is acceptable for scientists to “ .. offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have .. ” is that it is OK for them to LIE. That being the case, is there any wonder that the public now trust climate scientists almost as much as they trust politicians or used-car salespeople.

    Of course those with a political bent don’t recognise that presenting a distorted picture of the extent that we understand the processes and drivers of those different global climates is lying. They prefer to “ .. believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are….” Al Gore – Grist Magazine (May 9, 2006). To simple-minded laypersons like you and me, a LIE is a LIE.

    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet” (Romeo and Juliet – Act II. Scene II.) – and what a smell!! ..

    In 2008 John W. Farley, a professor in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, wrote an (almost) excellent paper “The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming” (http://monthlyreview.org/080728farley.php) which discussed the pros and cons of the AGW science. This 8000- word article was spoiled by the final 0.5%, in which, instead of sticking to a scientific analysis, he allowed himself to speculate about the future.

    His final 50 word proclamation “Science demands constant scrutiny and the misuse of science, when it occurs, is everyone’s concern. But it is also important to recognize a truth when it has been established. The verdict is in. Modern global warming stemming to a considerable extent from anthropogenic causes is real and constitutes a serious threat to life on the planet as we know it. It is time to stop debating its reality and to do something about it, while there is still time.” sounded more like those of Stephen Schneider 20 years earlier. In September 2010 Professor Farley wrote an article “Our Last Chance to Save Humanity?” (http://www.monthlyreview.org/100901farley.php) which expands upon the theme of his final 50 words in the 2008 article. Unlike the 2008 article it presents a completely biased picture about CACC with no attempt to consider the sceptical position. I find this very disappointing because, apart from the final 50 words, the remaining 7950 of his earlier article Professor Farley had given the appearance of a genuine scientist who was prepared to consider all of the evidence with an open mind and acknowledge the uncertainties.

    If you really want to understand what the CACC propaganda is really all about (and it certainly isn’t science) read the first article at “News: Global Warming Controversy” (http://www.global-warming.biz/news/Global-warming-controversy.html) – “EXCITING NEW CARBON CREDIT SECRETS REVEALED How the Top People in Carbon Credits Are Quietly Making $100,000 to $50 Million Each Year (And How You Can Do The Same – Or Maybe Even Better)” (http://www.carbonventures.net/?hop=stevelast).

    You’ll also find an article there involving Professor Farley and another of his articles (http://monthlyreview.org/080728farley.php) that he pointed me towards when we exchanged E-mails recently.

    It is time that all scientists set aside their personal motivations and concentrated on improving their poor understanding of the processes and drivers of the different global climates.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    • Peter, what you seem to build up, without actually saying it, is a kind of ‘conspiracy’ of ‘maligned’ hearted people. I don’t believe in this, on the quite irrational basis, that I don’t want to believe in this. A confederacy of dunces, rather – for, if there is a collective thinking, it’s pretty asinine.

  55. Oh and I have one more example, the graph shown by Pat Michaels in his recent testimony to congress in November 2010– Judith should remember it, she was there. The figure (the one without error bars, and which misrepresents our understanding of aerosol forcing) and in which he tries to convince congress that most of the 20th century warming is not attributable to GHGs. Yet more deception from “skeptics”. Somehow Curry and McIntyre missed that one too. What about quantifying uncertainty Judith? Pat is surely guilty of at least that…..

    Talking of congress…Monckton (who has been shown to massage, cherry-pick and fudge data/graphs) recently testified to congress– that is, he misled congress. But I’m sure folks here (maybe even the host) will give that a pass.

    Anyhow, ponder and reflect on those examples for a while.


  56. Dr Curry,

    “good and bad practices of data representation”

    May I as a humble layman, offer two (in my opinion) epic examples of bad practice – on the subject of climate change?

    1. So-called “Glaciergate” – involuntarily admitted eventually by Pachauri as ‘one error in 3000 pages’ of the AR4 Report.
    It was no such thing.
    The authors knew full well that few politicos(policy makers) were likely to dredge through all the technical graphs/tables etc. within the working sections, and that they would simply read the summaries : so one “error” in what? 100-200 pages? That stated that 100’s of millions of people would be in a drought situation within a generation?
    And I recall that one of the co-editors admitted that it was included “for impact”.

    2. The recent BBC programme featuring Sir Paul Nurse (mocking Mr Delingpole) which is causing so much amusement. The consumer here is not a policymaker, it is the end-user, or rather, end-taxpayer.
    This is not science, it is the distinguished ‘weight’ of a knighted, Nobel Laureate, President of the Royal Society making a fool of himself by not knowing his facts – but that doesn’t matter to the average viewer – he’s so important he must be right.

    Scientists may need a generation to regain their credibility.

  57. The tendency of climate science to paint minor temperature anomalies in bright red is probably one of the most misleading practices of data representation I can think of. Although, its pretty obvious to the public when they paint the poles red and its -30C.


  58. Really? What did I claim qualifications in? I’m an RF engineer and a middling bash hacker… these are not things I generally brag about, and other than that I’m qualified in the usual things. Breathing, Walking upright. Who’s Oliver Reed?

    The collapsed comment hierarchy is really confusing, but kind of fun at the same time.

  59. No, it’s like this. MapleLeaf wants to know if Judith is choosing sides or being hypocritical. If you criticize one side for something, are you willing to criticize the other side for something similar? If not, perhaps your criticisms are self-serving or based on a different agenda other than high ideals.

    I experienced this when I engaged at ClimateAudit about my criticism of O’Donnell’s actions. Many wanted to know my criticism of Steig, not because they trusted my judgment, but because they wanted to determine whether I was willing to be evenhanded. Then, when McIntyre left a comment on my blog, the immediate response from others was to ask why he didn’t criticize Wegman or other faulty or misleading “skeptical” analyses.

    While Steve, myself, Judith, and Michael Mann would prefer that our arguments be analyzed solely on their merits, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    • John N-G,

      I think the fight for the data has become very tribal and, as such, anyone perceived as crossing the ‘battle lines’ had better come armed with a white flag, if you see what I mean.
      It’s very unfortunate and I can’t see these tensions easing until such things as peer review, data and code availability and the appropriate corrections to questionable presentation of important studies are made.

      That said, I do see glimmers of hope at sites such as this, where the views – and misconceptions – of “citizen scientists” such as myself are taken seriously. This, in turn, allows me – and many others – to make useful contributions to both the policy and communication debate, whilst at the same time refining and extending our knowledge of the science. Win, Win, I think.

  60. PaulM

    Here is an example of a “bad practice” we just discussed.

    Comparing linear rates of warming over short-term periods with those over longer-term periods.

    In AR4 WG1 SPM, IPCC has done this verbally (p.5) with the statement:

    The linear warming trend over the last 50 years (0.13°C [0.10°C to 1.6°C] per decade) is nearly twice that for the last 100 years.

    IPCC has even shown this in a nice chart in AR4 Ch.3 FAQ 3.1, Figure 1, This chart shows linear warming trends over several periods from 1850 to 2005, showing an apparent acceleration in the rate of warming as one moves from 1850 to 2005, over ever decreasing time periods.

    The latest 25-year period shows a warming rate of 0.177°C per decade versus the a rate of only 0.045°C per decade over the 150-year period.

    But using exactly this same sort of “bad practice” reasoning, one can show that most of the 20th century warming occurred in the first 40 years.

    IPCC AR4 redefined the 20th century as the period from 1906 to 2005.

    The warming from 1906 to 1945 was 0.135°C per decade or 0.54°C over the 40-year period.

    The warming over the entire 20th century, from 1906 to 2005 was 0.074°C per decade or 0.74°C over the 100-year period.

    So does this mean that warming has slowed down as we reached the end of the 20th century to half the rate of the first 40 years?

    Or does it mean that 0.54 / 0.74 or 73% of the warming over the entire century occurred over the first 40 years?

    We can even include the “chartmanship” to make the case:

    But, no matter how we dress it up, it is what you have generously described as “bad practice”.


    • Manacker

      That is an excellent example of “bad practice” by IPCC.

      Here let me discuss it a bit more:

      Here the accelerated warming of the IPCC:

      Here is how the IPCC interprets the above data:

      1) Global warming rate for the 150 years period (RED) from 1856 to 2005 was 0.045 deg C per decade.

      2) Global warming rate for the 100 years period (PURPLE) from 1906 to 2005 was 0.074 deg C per decade.

      3) Global warming rate for the 50 years period from (ORANGE) 1956 to 2005 was 0.128 deg C per decade.

      4) Global warming rate for the 25 years period from (YELLOW) 1981 to 2005 was 0.177 deg C per decade.

      IPCC then states:
      “Note that for shorter recent periods, the slope is greater, indicating accelerated warming.”

      Okay, let us apply this “IPCC interpretation of data” procedure to compare the global warming rates in the last 25 years to that in the last 13 years going backward from 2010 as shown in the following plot.

      This result gives:
      1) Global warming rate for the 25 years period (RED) from 1986 to 2010 was 0.17 deg C per decade.

      2) Global warming rate for the 13 years period (GREEN) from 1998 to 2010 was 0.00 deg C per decade. (No warming!)

      Like the IPCC, I can then state.
      “Note that for shorter recent periods, the slope is smaller, indicating decelerated warming.”

      IPCC interpretation of “accelerated warming” is wrong!

  61. suggestion for progress:

    a lot of attention has been placed on the hiockey stick and hide the decline…..

    it must be that IPCC got something right, insofar as “right” is scientific”, let’s say a prediction that can was within 5% of the sensitivities.

    Can anyone point one out…? It at least gives a basis of conciliation…you get this right…so how about improving that!

  62. Judith,

    There is an especially egregious example of bad practice in the ar4 wg1. Girma provided this link in the pseudo-science thread. It seems the graphic wasn’t added until after review comments were closed.

  63. @ Maple Leaf

    Why do you care who Goddard is?

  64. the list of tainted people nust seems to grow….now it’s Dr Solomon….

    dhogaza had better get back to falcon counting…Rabett had better get back to cartooning, Tamino had better get back to catching birds…don’t know about the other attack dogs…Hank Roberts, John Mashey and W Connolley seem to have no other skills

  65. As a “consumer” of data, so to speak as a reader of this blog, I’d like to turn this concept back to you, Dr. Curry.

    I have been interested in your observations of “tribal” reactions when I first heard about them shortly after the “climategate” controversy exploded on the scene. As an off and on, non-scientist reader of Real Climate, I can certainly see how, given certain starting premises, one might logically conclude that the reactions to the “hide the decline” statements could be characterized as tribal in nature. And from that, we naturally move on to speculating about what caused, or motivated, that tribal behavior.

    So here is where I ask you to respond to me as a consumer. Assuming that the characterization of tribalism is valid, certainly one reason for such behavior would be a sense of needing to defend against what could fairly be described, in a number of ways, as an existential threat. Not only is the threat deeply personal, not only is it professional, but it is also a threat against human lives on a massive scale. Now if that threat is uniformly based on sound science, then I’d say that the tribal response is wholly inappropriate. But we know that to be the case. The attacks on scientists who have said that climate change is with a high probability happening, and anthropogenic have come from many long discredited sources, and the sources which are less easily identifiable as being based on unsound scientific principles have a great deal of cross-over with those which are.

    So that brings me back to being a “consumer” of the case that you present – as a “bridge builder” between imperfect but sound science on both sides of the climate change issue. And as such a consumer, and as a consumer of your blog, I am struck with what appears to me to be a lack of balance in how you approach the larger, non-directly scientific aspects of the debate. You have spent a great deal of time describing why you believe that the science behind the hockey stick phenomenon is more uncertain than how it was portrayed, and you have spent a lot of time analyzing the tribalism behind what you characterized as a “dishonest” approach to representing data, but from what I’ve seen, you have spent remarkably little time talking about the volumes of unsound data which were deliberately fabricated, or at the very least twisted, by those with a vested interest in proving theories of AGW incorrect. For example, IIRC, you do not use the term denialist but you do use the term warmist. Why is that, exactly? Wouldn’t the unsound science behind “denialism” be essentially the same dishonest approach as what would underlie “warmism?” Do you not think that such unsound science does exist? I know that you do, and that you think that there is a clear and well-drawn line between skepticism and denialism; but is there really? I think not, and it seems that not only do you not acknowledge the vagueness of that distinction, you fail to do something that is crucially important if you truly wish to build bridges: you don’t go out of your way to make sure that you present all credible refutations of your theories.

    I once led training workshops for students on conflict negotiation, and the key concept to get across to student mediators was that as a mediator, they would have no credibility unless they went out of their way to establish that they weren’t “taking sides.” Now I know that you don’t see yourself in this situation as a mediator between sides – that you see yourself as trying to unearth the best quality scientific analysis. But, first of all, the reality is that the context of this debate puts you in a mediators position whether you like it or not. And secondly, just based on the presentation of scientific data unto themselves, you have an obligation to present all sides with an equally objective orientation before presenting the logic behind your conclusions. I don’t feel that you have done that.

    • Joshua, the difference is the extreme asymmetry between the two sides. The IPCC and government funded science uses our tax money, has the imprimatur of the UN, etc. There is all sorts of unsound science promulgated by the other side, but with no apparent government funding or sanction. The problem is with the dismissal by the climate establishment of anything that challenges the IPCC, no matter what the merits of the evidence or the argument.

      • Thanks you for your response.

        Ok – that’s an important distinction – but I still have a couple of problems. I think it is highly debatable about whether there is asymmetry with respect to the impact of the unsound science on the different sides. All we need to do is look at the polls of where the public stands, and at the polls that reveal the scientific ignorance underlying widespread public opinion, to see that the impact of the unsound science on the skeptics’ side is significant. The role that you are playing now is very important with respect to how the greater public will view this debate. The position you are staking out will, unquestionably be used by the very same people who promote scientific ignorance, certainly for reasons of political partisanship if not for the purpose of promoting corporate interests.

        Also – looking at it from the perspective of the effects, or the impact, is a distinct problem. Important, but distinct from the actual scientific debate. In terms of the nature of the scientific debate itself, as a consumer, I’m asking that you dissect the false science that has been promulgated on the question of paleo-records specifically, and to the extent that your recent focus has extended beyond that subset of the larger debate, even further on the larger questions being debated as well.

        That seems to be a prerequisite if you intend to build those bridges.

        One of the subjects I teach is writing to undergraduates, and I constantly have to hammer them on a point that seems to them counterintuitive, particularly first-year students coming out of high school: the validity of their analytical conclusions is highly dependent on the “academic objectivity” of how they present the evidence. They must present evidence in a way that is as objective as possible on both sides of the debate in order to construct a credible thesis. A thesis must be arguable, and you haven’t presented an argument if you haven’t addressed your research question fully. I’m not trying to sound pedantic here, but to tell you why as a reader, as a consumer, I need you to extend beyond what may seem obvious to you as a writer, or a a presenter.

        Teaching – and you are assuming the role of teacher and presenter here – as well as writing, requires that you step beyond your preconceptions of what is easy or not easy to understand, and to assess your presentation based on evaluating what the student, or reader, understands. Of course there are limits, and maybe my understanding is limited not because of a lack of comprehensiveness in your presentation but because of a lack of perceptiveness on my part, but from where I sit, I am unable to see where you have really struck a balance in how you are presenting the data here. You seem more to me to be an advocate. Maybe there is a valid reason for you to advocate because of your concern about a lack of balance, but: (1), I question the criteria you are using to measure that imbalance, and (2) as you become an advocate, you drift away from the science, and you drift away from the first order priority of presenting as much information as is reasonable, objectively, before laying out the argument for your conclusions. If I do not see how you perceive the unsound science on both sides of this debate, I am at a loss as to understand how to evaluate your analysis. I have no way to locate you within the larger spectrum of the debate.

    • I’ll add a note to Judith’s response.

      The asymmetry is so large that one side of this issue has worked hard to deny that another side even exists. When the skeptic side is forced to function with no funding (relatively speaking, and also in absolute terms much of the time), is it any wonder that academia sees little high quality work from any other than the “approved” perspective?

      This goes to the founding principles of IPCC itself: their remit is not to look at the entire realm of likely climate change causes… only one: AGW.

      The questions we ask greatly influence the insight we develop.

      Very little is settled about CO2 forcing, because very little has been learned about the realistic alternatives.

      • I think that is more of a characterization than a reality. Perhaps you have more inside knowledge than I, and perhaps I am naive, but as I see it, science is funded, not advocacy. As someone who has seen scientists in many contexts pursue their work, I have seen advocacy for sure, but I could not describe advocacy as the overriding paradigm for how science is funded. When I read an argument based on such a foundation, I immediately question its validity.

        And even if it were true, which I don’t believe to be the case, there is a well-documented track record of private sector funding, on a large scale, for much of the scientific research that forms the basis of skepticism. I have no way of measuring the balance there, and I know that public sector funding for research outsizes private sector funding, but there is no doubt that the private sector has funded a great deal of, if not most of, the “skeptical” science.

      • Joshua – As someone familiar with how funding decisions are made, I tend to agree. I do think MrPete has a point, but it’s overstated. Prominent contrarians such as Richard Lindzen have no trouble with funding, and even lesser figures can gain access to climate models if they have reasonable scientific credentials.

        Corporations concerned about the policy implications of mainstream conclusions regarding anthropogenic warming have an enormous reservoir of capital, and if I recall correctly, one of them (?Exxon) once offered a prize to anyone who could “disprove AGW” (or some similarly characterized goal that was much broader than the typical funding opportunities devoted to very specific problems). More to the point, technical advisers informed management that an investment in an attempt at scientific refutation was a bad risk, given the evidence, and as a result, the capital has been directly primarily toward supporting political candidates sympathetic to the industry.

        Despite all this, it’s true about science in general that contrarian perspectives tend to be underfunded – at least until they prove to have some good evidence to support them. So far, the evidence that has been reported (e.g., in E&E, arxiv, blogs, etc.) has been insufficient to persuade donors to change their mind about where they should invest their money to best further their economic interests.

      • I agree. No doubt there is some degree to which advocacy affects funding, but to make a categorical statement that no funding exists for skeptical science strains credulity, IMO.

      • And I’ll add another comment to your response. The attempt to deny that the other side exists is not exclusive to the “warmist” side of the debate.

        There is a well-funded effort to specifically characterize the very notion that the earth even could be warming due to anthropogenic causes as a “hoax.” For some, that is based on a religious grounding that argues that it is hubris to think that humans could causatively affect nature on a global scale. For others, it is due to a paranoid belief that all the scientists who think that GW might be A are either bad scientists or corrupted by monetary interests. This is all, essentially, an attempt to argue that the other side doesn’t exist, in the sense that there is no reasonable argument to be presented in support of theories of ‘AGW.

        And the problem is exacerbated because to the extent that there is a viable scientific community that presents “skeptical” science about climate change, the lines between that community and the community driven by partisanship, religious doctrine, or corporate interests is very blurry indeed. There is a great deal of cross-over. The fact is that much of the skeptical science has been funded by corporate interests. That doesn’t prove that all such science is invalid – but the problem is that much of that science is, in fact, invalid. We can use the corporate-funded science on the effects of smoking as an object lesson there. So while corporate-funding does not invalidate science, just as government-funded research must be examined with a skeptical eye because of those who within the political community benefit from specific scientific conclusions, so must private sector-funded research. When the lines are blurred, it is crucial for everyone to take great care in outlining the provenance of their own theses by presenting as much information as can reasonably be presented, as objectively as possible.

        Again, I pose these questions to you as a consumer. Maybe you’re right about the asymmetry, but do you expect me to just take that as valid because you say so, without presenting an argument that addresses the question through an as objective-as-possible presentation of data? That seems like an unreasonable expectation of the reader. It is your job as the writer to lay out all the arguments so that I can locate your analysis within the full range of the discussion.

      • Joshua –
        I have no way of measuring the balance there, and I know that public sector funding for research outsizes private sector funding, but there is no doubt that the private sector has funded a great deal of, if not most of, the “skeptical” science.

        Where? Who is providing the funding? Who is the recipient?

        There is a well-funded effort to specifically characterize the very notion that the earth even could be warming due to anthropogenic causes as a “hoax.”

        Again – Where? Who is providing the funding? Who is the recipient?

        I agree with much of what you say – BUT – in your own words:

        It is your job as the writer to lay out all the arguments so that I can locate your analysis within the full range of the discussion.

        One of the best points about this blog is that if one makes an assertion, one is very likely to be challenged to back it up. Not that that guarantees belief, but it tends to keep the discussion a little more civil. Or at least not quite as much “off the wall”. In this case, I dont think you can back up some of the above points, but I’ll admit the possibility that you know the answers to those questions. And – I am honestly curious about them.

      • Fair enough. You point is valid. I am making assumptions based on what I have heard or read more generally, rather than based on specific knowledge. To back up those assertions, with specificity, I would need to do more research.

        The Heartland Institute comes to mine, and a quick Google returns this as a place to start:


        and this related link:


        A quick look suggests that the case that Greenpeace builds at those sites is somewhat indirect; however, there is no doubt that there are corporate entities that support rightwing think tanks and research institutes that definitively have an advocacy stance on this issue (as well as others) and which have a history of supporting propaganda rooted in bad science. Again, I point to the “scientific research” conducted on smoking by rightwing think tanks and funded by corporate entities. There is a precedent for this which is undeniable.

        Certainly, I have read many accounts of research being conducted on climate change a few years back that was funded by energy companies and other large corporations. I don’t know to what extent that pattern still exists, as it seems that many private sector entities have decided that they’re better off funding ways to deal with climate change than in funding studies of climate change science in itself.

        But for me, the accusation, as made above, that there is “no funding” available for “skeptical” research is a non-starter. It is based in the categorical assessment that the entire process of funding scientific research is completely corrupted and driven by bad science and political interests. That is too much of a conspiracy theory to be believable, IMO.

        So – your point is valid and sends me back to doing more research that will take time for me to conduct.

        In the meantime, if you have any hard information to add on the topic I’d be interested in reading. Obviously, asking someone to prove a negative is no-no, but do you have evidentiary basis for concluding that there is no such funding, or that the claims that there is are not valid?

      • I think you’d make a better case if you actually put some numbers down for us to look at.

        Personally I don’t place an awful lot of credence on Greenpeace’s opinion about Koch Industries. They are hardly unbiased commentators themselves. Nor would I place much credence on a report by Koch Industries about Greenpeace.

      • And there was an extensive and detailed discussion about these issues here a couple of weeks ago


        In essence the conclusion was that the money spent to promote the AGW cause was several orders of magnitude bigger than that spent on scepticism.

      • Thanks for that link below – the discussion on the other thread is interesting.

        I think that most of the points I would argue were addressed. I hope to pick up that discussion in another thread. But I still want to go back to the point I originally addressed to Judith.

        For me as a “consumer,” her argument is lacking because of a lack of symmetry in her presentation. She talks of what she sees as “tribalism” and what she sees as the causative factors for that tribalism in great detail, but the detail is only supplied on one side. It leaves me with no way to locate her argument within the larger debate.

        She’s ignoring an elephant. Whether or not there is an asymmetry in the funding of “skeptical” or “non-skeptical” science, there is no doubt that there is a great deal of funding for entities that attack theories of AGW from a non-scientifically sound basis. Rightwing and libertarian think tanks are well-funded, and within their area of rhetoric are many issues that impinge on the debate about global warming: government funding for research, whether government should spend tax money on environmental issues, whether environmentalists are seeking to destroy society as we know it, etc. Further, there is a lot of money being made by media entities that promote rightwing rhetoric attacking theories of global warming and/or whether it is anthropogenic.

        The question of an asymmetry in research funding, while an important and interesting one, is not really on point. The point I originally addressed was whether Judith’s arguments about the tribalism stand up if she hasn’t comprehensively presented all the relevant information that ties into that particular issue. The existence of rightwing entities that fund anti-AGW rhetoric, and rightwing entities that make money from promoting that rhetoric, are extremely important factors in the etymology of what Judith describes as “tribalism.” For her to give short shrift to those elements of the debate is problematic. So, her response to my original questions to her was not really on point.

        Of course Greenpeace is an advocate in this debate, but that in itself does not invalidate the information that they present. To say that you distrust the information they provide simply because you know their orientation doesn’t really hold up, IMO. If you want to discount the data they provide, then you need to provide data that contradict theirs. If Koch Industries presents arguments about Greenpeace (and indeed, we see and read attacks on Greenpeace’s credibility quite frequently coming from sources that are tied into Koch Industries funding or like entities), it wouldn’t suffice to simply say, “Well, it’s from Koch Industries, therefore it doesn’t need to be disproven.”

      • Despite the many unfounded assertions, you were doing reasonably well until you cited greenpeace and then I almost fell off my chair laughing.

      • If you wish to engage with me in the future, treat me with respect. Otherwise, kiss off.

      • Joshua
        If I have offended you I apologise. However, you can hardly cite greenpeace as an objective source

      • You added an excellent note!

  66. Alexander Harvey

    I am aware of an argument that supports the conjecture that a warmer Mediaeval Climatic Optimum necessarily implies a higher climatic sensitivity.

    It runs like this:

    All other things being equal, a warmer MCO implies greater variation in temperatures which implies greater sensitivity. The all other things being equal phrase is key in this.

    Now that is a case to be argued when the term warmer is with reference to other estimates of the temperature of that period.

    If the term warmer is with reference to the current period then the situation is a little different if we also assume that the current period is a time of exceptional forcing.

    Then we would have that the forcing was less then but it was also warmer then. This makes no argument about the sensitivity. To account for the greater variation back then by inferring greater sensitivity does not avoid the paradox of why the claim for greater current forcing has not led to it being even warmer now than back then.

    The claim for greater sensitivity can be justified if it truly accounts for greater variability due to small forcings. But cranking up the sensitivity and then trying to account for why it was true then but not now, lends argument to the proposition that the current forcings are not unprecedented in the historical period.

    That is I think the essential thrust of the argument. Not simply to show that the current temperature is unprecedented but that the current forcings are.

    This apparent paradox can be avoided if one or more of the following are true:

    the MCO was a local phenomenon, and more localised than current warming, this must also be true of previous optima or the argument returns under the guise of a different optima.

    the current warming has occurred when the natural trend was downwards,

    the MCO, and previous optima lasted long enough for the temperature to approach its equilibrium value to a degree that is not currently the case.

    There may be others .

    A higher sensitivity tends to imply that all the forcings are smaller or all the temperature variations are greater. I cannot see how this can be used to explain a difference in the ratio of past to current warming, changing the sensitivity would not in itself imply a change in this ratio.

    The need to argue for unprecedented forcing seems to go to the heart of the call for urgent action. Even if it has been warmer at times during the current and previous interglacials, showing that the forcing is unprecedented, rising and currently overwhelming natural variation can be seen of itself to be sufficient cause for alarm (that it be overwhelming is not quite what the IPCC report states but the more than half post 1950 claim is similar).

    So it can be, and I think was, seen that the need for the current warming to be unprecedented in the historic period is vital for a strong argument. The backup argument that if this not be the case would imply that the sensitivity is larger and hence the prognosis worse seems problematic in that it can be seen to imply that being warmer now than then is dangerous and being warmer then than now is also dangerous, i.e. that the extent of the MCO does not inform us as to the prognosis.

    To be clear, viewed in isolation with all other things being equal a warmer MCO is compatible with higher sensitivity, but the ratio of the MCO temperature to that current does not argue directly to the sensitivity one way or the other, but it does argue as to the ratio of the forcings.


    • There are three alternative explanations for a strong MWP.

      1 ) Strong forcing, whose origin is not known.

      2 ) Weaker forcing and a strong positive feedback.

      3 ) Oscillatory variation on the time scale of centuries.

      Only the second one is linked with high climate sensitivity. Arguments can be presented for and against the plausibility of each of the alternatives, but I don’t believe that any single one of them can be proven wrong. Personally I consider the first alternative least plausible, but that is just a personal guess.

      • There is a fourth explanation, which seems to me (together with 3) the most plausible one:

        4) Different forcings have different feedbacks.

        Which is what several European scientists say:
        last alinea before the aknowledgments…

      • I think the feedback possibility entails the principle that if feedbacks are stronger for one forcing, they are likely to be stronger for another. That doesn’t require the feedbacks to be equal, but only that they deviate in the same direction.

      • Depends on what feedback.

        Take solar vs. GHGs:
        1.5 W/m2 solar change (TOA) over a solar cycle has a large effect in the stratosphere: During a solar cycle, the largest change is in the short waves: 10% more during high solar activity: that affects ozone building, the temperature in the stratosphere and increases the polewards flow in the stratosphere. As result, the jet stream position goes poleward, including clouds and rain patterns. That influences a lot of rivers (Mississippi, Rhine, Po, Nile, some in South Africa,…). Also the AO (Arctic Oscillation) is influenced.
        The past solar minimum was extra deep and long, causing extra floods in more equatorward countries. The same for the penetration of polar highs nowadays far more to the South than usual.
        The influence of more GHGs in the stratosphere is reverse: more cooling (as far as that is clear, indeed it looks more as stepwise changes than a smooth degradation) and more spread over the latitudes. No clear influence on the jet stream position.
        Changes in cloud/rain patterns also means changes in radiation budget…

        Further, there is an inverse correlation between solar and (low) cloud cover, no correlation (yet) found between GHGs and cloud cover. See e.g. http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20010712cloudcover.html
        and many more.
        Long term changes in solar activity would have even more influence, the lack of sunspots is linked to the LIA…

        There is a difference in penetration of the sea by solar UV/vis and GHGs IR. Although Pekka Pirilä said that it makes no difference in energy budget (warming of the oceans), I still wonder if there are no changes in the partition of the energy balance between penetration, radiation and evaporation.

        But anyway, there is a lot of difference in type of feedback and known/unknown influences between solar and GHGs for a change in forcing… Thus one-sensitivity-for-all as assumed and implemented in the climate models seems a little questionable.

      • It is not assumed to be one sensitivity for all in climate models. The sensitivity emerges from the results of including the physical processes, such as the effects on the stratosphere, clouds and ocean.

      • According to James Hansen, the “efficacy” of a forcing has a maximum deviation from unit of +/- 10% (except methane +40%, because of its transformation into water around the tropopause). See page 7:

        According to an investigation of Stott e.a., the HadCM3 model may underestimate solar influences with (at least) a factor 2, within the constraints of the model (like a fixed response to aerosols which is highly unlikely). See:

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen 2/27/11 4:55 pm,

        Stott, et al., 2003 might be deemed a singularly important paper for its fate and its prescience.

        First, you undervalued Stott’s findings. They said that previous attribution analyses may have underestimated the potential contribution of solar forcing … , (bold added), not that that was their finding. They said that their finding was that HadCM3 did underestimate the observed climate response to solar forcing …. See id., abstract; Summary and discussion, p. 4087.

        IPCC considered Stott, dismissing it for a different reason. It lumped Stott with eight other studies identifying detectable tropospheric changes associated with solar variability. AR4, ¶2.7.1 Solar Variability, p. 188. What Stott did say on the subject was that Hill et al. (2001) [in “Detecting and Modelling Regional Climate Change”, Amazon, $169] showed that models underestimate the tropospheric temperature response to solar forcing by a factor of 2 to 3 … . , not that that was their finding.

        IPCC’s dismissive paragraph opens with The estimates of long-term solar irradiance changes used in the TAR (e.g., Hoyt and Schatten, 1993; Lean et al., 1995) have been revised downwards… . Stott said, We find that climatic processes could act to amplify the near-surface temperature response to (non enhanced) solar forcing by between 1.34 and 4.21 for LBB and 0.70 to 3.32 for HS… , where HS refers to the same Hoyt and Schatten, 1993, and LBB to Lean et al., 1995. In context with other citations in Stott, these are symmetric 90% confidence ranges, for which center values of the understatement factor is 2.78 for the Lean solar model, and 2.01 for the HS solar model. What could act means in context is not that an amplification may exist, but that it exists within specified confidence bands. For example, in the LBB model, the amplification could be as small as 1.34.

        IPCC attributes the downward revision to Wang, et al., 2005. Id., ¶, Figure 2.7, p. 190. Wang was co-authored by Lean, so it has the effect of being an update to her earlier work on which Stott relied. The LBB paper says that their reconstruction differs noticeably (citation) from that of Hoyt and Schatten [1993] which has a long term variability component … .. These results then represent a progression in the development of an improved solar model, in order from HS to LBB to Wang. Stott is best read for its results with respect to the LBB model, and any implications of the Wang model.

        Stott analyzed the response of HadCM3 with different combinations of forcings, varying greenhouse gases, sulfate and ozone components, and volcanic activity, and with three solar models, HS, LBB, and an update to LBB designated as Lean et al. (1995a). By scaling the solar and volcanic activity, they simulated an unknown atmospheric amplification effect. They ran the models generally from 12/1/1859 to 11/30/96 or to 11/30/99, according to the span of the solar models. Linear regression against the record of observed near-surface temperatures demonstrated that a solar signal existed, and that it was amplified. The authors compared temperature trends over four different time intervals, the 1900s, the first and second halves of the 1900s, and the last 30 years of the 1900s.

        Stott, et al., speculate about sources of their newly discovered amplification, discussing possible contributions from variations in the Atlantic [THC], volcanoes, aerosols at all levels, cloud albedo, ozone, and cosmic rays, among other things. However, they caution, Our methodology is not designed to identify missing processes that alter small-scale details of the response. P. 4089.

        Stott, et al., would have found a much larger and a more uniform and larger amplification factor had they also investigated the effects of lagging surface temperature with respect to solar radiation. The regression they described only tested a zero lag. Using but a few parameters, solar activity accounts for surface warming over the full instrumented period with an accuracy comparable to the mathematically smoothed temperature record itself. These results are derived in the SGW article on my blog, rocketscientistsjournal.com. The candidate processes suggested in the SGW model are twofold. First is the combined heat capacity and currents of the ocean that produce a cumulative effect and a lag, the integrating effects of low pass filtering and the lags of a tapped delay line. Second is the short term, dissipative or ‘burn off’ (TAR, ¶6.7.8, p. 374) effect of solar activity on clouds for the amplification.

        IPCC misunderstood Stott. It relied on the Wang solar model for its weakening of solar variability, and thus its reinforcing of the assumption of human causes for observed warming trends. It elected not to simulate an amplifying effect, much less introduce dynamic cloud feedback to warming and solar radiation. IPCC preferred its modeling paradigm with its AGW sensitivities over contradictory evidence.

      • A lost tag confused the quotation in my second paragraph at 8:41 am. It should read (hopefully)

        IPCC considered Stott, dismissing it for a different reason. It lumped Stott with eight other studies identifying detectable tropospheric changes associated with solar variability. AR4, ¶2.7.1 Solar Variability, p. 188. What Stott did say on the subject was that Hill et al. (2001) [in “Detecting and Modelling Regional Climate Change”, Amazon, $169] showed that models underestimate the tropospheric temperature response to solar forcing by a factor of 2 to 3 … . , not that that was their finding.

      • The WMO expert assessment (2010) findings are

        Observations and model simulations show that the Antarctic ozone hole caused much of the observed southward shift of the Southern Hemisphere middle latitude jet in the troposphere during summer since 1980. The horizontal structure, seasonality, and amplitude of the observed trends in the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric jet are only reproducible in climate models forced with Antarctic ozone depletion. The southward shift in the tropospheric jet extends to the surface of the Earth and is linked dynamically to the ozone hole induced strengthening of the Southern Hemisphere stratospheric polar vortex.

        The southward shift of the Southern Hemisphere tropospheric jet due to the ozone hole has been linked to a range of observed climate trends over Southern Hemisphere mid and high latitudes during summer.

      • Again, Ferdinand, it’s not necessary to assume a single sensitivity to expect that if sensitivity to one forcing is greater, sensitivity to others will probably also be greater rather than less. This should be true regardless of the direction of temperature change. For example, if it turns out that sensitivity to solar forcing is greater than estimated, sensitivity to CO2 is likely to be greater even though tropospheric and stratospheric temperature vary in opposite directions. The CO2 sensitivity estimates I’ve seen account for stratospheric changes in arriving at conclusions that net feedbacks magnify rather than diminish the temperature response at the surface.

        I can’t exclude the possibility that an increase in sensitivity to “forcing A” would involve mechanisms that reduce sensitivity to “forcing B”, but I haven’t seen any examples, and the mechanism would appear to require some fairly complex assumptions. That both operate in the same direction, even if not with the same magnitude, appears more likely in my view.

      • Fred,

        I really don’t see why an increase in sensitivity for one type of forcing would influence another type of forcing, if both have no feedbacks in common. For common feedbacks (like warming the oceans and thus water vapour feedback) that would be obvious, even if there may be differences in magnitude of the feedback (due to differences in latitude of the forcing). For independent feedbacks (like ozone formation and jet stream position + rain patterns), I don’t see any interaction from other forcings…

  67. I agree that

  68. Reply to ML…….clicked on some of you other examples………you posted utter rot. Most of the whines about cherry-picking are whines about a time-frame selected. Fine. Pick one and explain why your time-frame is superior to the ones selected. I think it unfair to only show the last 30 of temps…… I think 3000 year trend lines are better.

    For example………



    All graphs came from the same data source and were trended in the same manner(you should tell your friends, OLS isn’t the only way to get a trend line)

    Now, tell me which one is more valid. And why?

  69. Careful, a lot of people are feeding the trolls and they are out in force talking about everything but things on topic.

  70. NOTE: Edward Tufte’s book ‘Beautiful Evidence’ does look like a promising read. Thanks for the referral.

    – – – –


    So the four parts of JC’s ‘Hide the Decline’ comes down to some summary?

    I propose this summary statement, “Scientists should have intellectual integrity.”

    My sub-summary statement, “We’ve known that already in Western Civilization for ~2,500 years or more”.

    By saying that I am praising JC for carrying the torch onward for intellectual integrity in science.


  71. When a parent comment is taken to the penalty box, its children go awry.

  72. Monty’s comment at 4:00pm re “stratospheric cooling”got me, once again, wondering why people draw straight lines through data that, more likely, indicates step changes. If you look at data such as this:


    It seems far more likely that the TLS reacted to the two volcanoes and step changed to lower values. The trend post Chichon is increasing temperatures (2.28 deg/century) and the trend post Pinatubo is, so far, very slightly negative (-0.12 Deg/century. IMO, you can’t draw a straight line through this data and imply that the stratosphere is cooling during the satellite era because of CO2.

    The same can be said re the TLT UAH and RSS temperatures. In the period before the 1998 El Nino (Dec 1978 to ONI JJA) the temperature was increasing by 0.36(0.72) Deg/century UAH(RSS). Again there was a step change in temperature. It probably will be 2018/19 before we have a better idea of where the temperatures are going, CAGW seems more and more unlikely to me.

    To draw straight lines through these data and say that the temperature is increasing by 1.4 Deg/Century(UAH TLT) or decreasing -2.42 Deg/Century (RSS TLS) due to CO2 seems to me to be not providing the audience with competing explanations.

    • Steve – I agree that drawing a straight line from 1979 to the present makes no sense, but the data are in fact consistent with a CO2-mediated stratospheric cooling. I hope you’ll forgive me for not referencing the multiple data sources on this – I’ll simply try to summarize.

      Stratospheric temperature increases in response to ozone and declines in response to CO2. The ozone response is more conspicuous in the lower stratosphere and the CO2 response higher up, although they overlap.

      Volcanic eruptions reaching the stratosphere tend to result in some level of ozone destruction, and the years immediately following therefore tend to show the result of ozone repletion (e.g., a temperature dip followed by a rise). Around 1995, the CFC-mediated loss of ozone started to reverse due to the Montreal Protocol, and so the flattening observed then is consistent with a balance between increasing ozone and increasing CO2. Year to year variations also play a role outside of these influences, but the long term trends don’t require a mechanism other than the ones mentioned.

      • Thanks for the info Fred.
        One data reference would be nice to learn more about this.
        It would seem the TLS data is not suitable to show the influence of CO2 on stratospheric cooling. (ie this graph is not suitable for this process until the Ozone is back to normal)
        Also the increase in Ozone is, for now , balancing the increase in CO2.
        That about right?

      • I don’t have results for different altitudes at my fingertips, but here is one reference that looks at ozone as it changes from depletion to restoration – the data utilizes models that accurately simulate observed trends to 2005 and project them into the future –

        Ozone Trends

        CO2-mediated stratospheric cooling is described in standard geophysics texts and the predictions at different altitudes are also model-based. I don’t have the latter handy at the moment. The cooling mechanism also involves ozone (but not changing ozone, merely its presence). Ozone heats the stratosphere by absorbing solar UV, which is why reduced ozone lowers the temperature and increased ozone raises it. CO2 (which doesn’t contribute much to the heating because it doesn’t absorb in UV wavelengths) facilitates cooling by virtue of its ability to emit infrared radiation to space in proportion to local temperature.

      • Rather technical, but also of interest –

        Stratospheric Temperature Change

    • Steve H

      A few comments as the author of the chart you linked to:

      1. I was trying to improve on this RSS chart that depicts the 1979-2011 ytd TLS.

      The RSS chart ignores does not show the volcanic activity and its impact on the SATO index. I was tying to focus attention on the impact of volcanic activity on TLS.

      2. I did not mention or discuss CO2 in this post.

  73. Dr. Curry

    There have been a few “nuggets” in this thread relating to your basic question regarding other “hide the decline” examples.

    There have also been quite a few side tracks and waffles, but the discourse has been very civil.

    I hope you have gathered the few “nuggets”, i.e. “examples of good and bad practices of data representation (beyond the hockey stick)” which came out here.


  74. Well, this was a strange finish/pause in a conversation. Some, closing thoughts………….. Mosh, apparently you weren’t suppose to infer ML was attempting to exonerate aberrant behavior by our public servants through his erroneous listings of “cherry picking” by skeptics. I didn’t bother reading them all, but ones I did, were either mischaracterizations of what the presenter was trying to say or simply stating one preference is better than another. GMC pickups kick Dodges butt!!!

    Why do alarmists obsess over the identities of skeptics? Either the information presented is correct or it isn’t. If it’s the “appeal to authority” thing, that ship sailed long ago, too. I get caught swinging from one thought to the other. Either many alarmist climatologists got their education from an internet offer like I just received or ………..sigh.
    If they’re looking for that “big oil” connection, I’m sure it wouldn’t be anything compared to $500 mil Chu helped split up from BP.


    And Dr. Curry, you either need a moderator or a quicker moving blog. WUWT usually posts a few stories a day, else their traffic on one page would suck too. No insult intended, but toward the end, it was impossible to converse.

    I do thank you for the opportunity to allow us to express the points of view/rants / comparing sizes etc…… though I can’t say that it was particularly enlightening. But maybe its good therapy to re-hash old slights, injuries and slurs.

  75. We should highlight Rules for Intellectual Integrity in Physical Science.

    Rule #1 of N**: Observations of nature shall be the sole validation of physical science. This means in the physical sciences there is a fundamental primacy of observations of nature. Intellectual integrity in physical science rests on that.

    ** where the number ‘N’ (total # of rules) is to be defined as the dialog develops.

    Regarding the ‘hide the decline’ team and IPCC TAR & AR4 teams, their presentation of the observations of nature are highly controversial. The possibility of intent by those teams to mislead the public can be evaluated and judged by each individual of society who are interested in the future of science. JC ( and WUWT and CA and others) are thankfully providing the forum for us to do that.

    I think there is sufficient information on intent to mislead the public to form a basis of reasonable cause to request more info (docs & critical interviews) from those teams. Let the evaluation expand with additional info.


  76. Stephen Pruett

    I think we need to take uncertainty into account. Uncertainty has been the topic of several posts here. It is related to the current topic because acceptance of uncertainty would have meant that the decline didn’t need to be hidden, it would have been just another interesting finding that needed to be explained.

    It hasn’t helped that the more ground skeptics gain, the more strident PNAS, Nature, and Science seem to be and the more outrageous the papers they publish (The famous approved scientist and skeptic scientist list; GW will cause mass migration from Mexico, etc.). When people get louder and more extreme when they are challenged, I always get suspicious. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but everyone is subject to groupthink and subtle bias; which is why we analyze subjective data in a blinded manner in biological sciences. At the very least, the defense of “hide the decline” and the stridency of AGW proponents have converted a lot of folks like me from tacit but completely uninformed believers to somewhat more informed skeptics.

    If you plot anomalies on a graph with a y-axis that represents total climate variability in the last 100,000 years (I have no idea what that is but humor me and suppose it was +/- 5°C), what you would see is pretty much how I look at these results: noise around the baseline. Haven’t there been increases comparable to 1970-2000 in the 20s-30s? At least they were not hugely different, even though carbon dioxide has been steadily rising. Then, after 2000, no significant trend. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t understand how that translates to certainty about AGW. If I tried to convince someone of a biological effect based on those results…..well I wouldn’t try.

    Finally, the grand reason to be certain: we can’t think of what else it might be other than carbon dioxide. Of course, the underlying assumption is that we know about and have some understanding of ALL other factors that could contribute to warming over a 30 year period of time. How could anyone not be skeptical of that?

  77. Sorry Maple, by the definitions of plagarism you and others used for wegman, bradley did as well.

    On my view, they were both guilty of minor infractions of failing to indicate the manner of borrowing. Both cited, but neither did a great job of indicating the manner of their borrowing. easily remedied.

  78. The presentation of the instrumental record in the IPCC and other places is carefully crafted to give an alarmist message. First note that by presenting a baseline, with blue bars going down to the running mean below the base and red lines going up to the running mean above the base, the impression is given that blue is cold and red is warm when it is really a total continuum. Further, the temps “broke through” this floor solid line on the graph and shot up into red (alarming) territory in recent decades. This is not science it is spin.

  79. Judith, Maple has a good example: I’ll suggest that we look at this one:

    7) How about this example by Eschenbach identified by Tim Lambert?

    1. Willis will actually come and defend himself using his real name and not send proxies.
    2. If you convince him he will actually go back and publish errata.

    3. The data in question is available to all.

    Anyone willing to use their real name and step up?

    • which example is this?

      • Dr Curry, strongly suggest you take grypo’s suggestion and just replace offending comments’ text with (snipped) or (deleted) rather than deleting them. Every time a comment gets deleted, the nested hierarchy collapses and replies pile up at the bottom of the thread.

      • I third this seconding.

        And I add that snipping leaves a trace. Readers know which commenters got snipped. Repeatedly snipped commenters usually stop commenting.

        An alternative to snipping is striking through. This is more transparent and can serve as a fair warning. Et cetera: moderating is a thankless art form.

  80. Good old MapleLeaf; I see he is calling for reinforcements, comment 16:


    I don’t see M’s point, never have, never will, but if he wants bucketlists, I’ll laugh at his disingenuous list and raise it:


  81. Here is a recent example of misleading graphics, by T-shirt cartoonist Josh from the blog of journalist, Heartland climate conference speaker and interpreter of interpretations James Delingpole.
    I also recommend reading some of the comments.

  82. Aside from the underlying statistical issues of Stieg et al. (2009), the image used on Nature’s “Flaming Antarctica” cover should be enshrined as a hall-of-shame exemplar of manipulative representation practices. NOAA’s Science Visualization Studio created this striking graphic but the ultimate responsibility for its design and publication rests with the scientists (Josefino Comiso of NOAA and Eric Stieg) and the journal Nature, whose editors elevated it to cover status.

    A thematic map represents the designer’s selective choices of how to depict the world, what to emphasize and what to leave out. It’s clearly evident that this amped-up, NOAA graphic was consciously designed and selected to achieve a visceral, emotional response from a viewer. After all, the findings were groundbreaking and dramatic, finally bringing Antarctica into line with the global warming message. Nature had the scoop and a compelling cover graphic could help propel the story into wider press coverage.

    While a knowledgeable map consumer might look at the Comiso/Steig cover depiction and mentally adjust for embedded factors that mask or distort the meaning of the supporting data, the average person on the street would probably react by saying, “Gee, Antarctica must be melting–and a lot faster on the western side!”

    Five visually biasing practices are evident in the Nature cover graphic:

    (1) The map’s projection and orientation doesn’t afford an equal area visual analysis, resulting in the relative enlargement and emphasis of West Antarctica and esp. the Peninsula;

    (2) The hot, saturated, color palette creates an heightened visual impression of the alleged warming that exploits the psychological association of red and oranges with feelings of danger and caution. Isotherms on an outlined continent could have conveyed the same information without any emotional baggage.

    (3) The white sea ice fringe around the continent next to red-hot West Antarctica sets up a distorted field/ground relationship that leads the eye to preferentially foviate on the hot side of the figure as the dominant and therefore lasting visual impression;

    (4) The Nature cover has no legend or value scale to quantify and calibrate the perceptual experience. This leaves the door open for ordinary folk to interpret the image as if it were a USA Today map of actual temperatures instead of the <0.25 C decadal trendings of a continent with an average temperature of -50 degrees C.

    (5) The Comiso/Steig color scheme used to depict the zero to 0.25 C decadal warming trends violates the cartographic convention for temperature mapping which goes from red (warming) through white representing the neutral zero point and on to blue (cooling). The O’Donnell (2011) map provides a correct example of this color plan. The Comiso/Stieg map used a blue gray instead of the standard white to denote zero warming. This tweak served to reduce the map’s low-end contrast, thereby masking the areas of zero warming and visually absorbing them into the peach-colored continental warming.

    The question remains: Why did Nature select this technically flawed, sexed up map as it’s cover image if not to purposefully convey an alarming, threatening message to grab headlines and advance a political agenda?


    To see the beautiful evidence regarding man-made global warming, you don’t need to be a science graduate. You don’t need to be even a university graduate. What you need to be is just a high school graduate.

    You high school or higher graduate, look at the following global mean temperature pattern.


    Don’t you see a cyclic pattern?

    Does not a cyclic Patten preclude man made global warming?

    Does not the pattern indicate global cooling until about 2030?

    I know your answers are YES for the above questions, showing the beautiful evidence that man made global warming is not supported by the data SO FAR.

  84. You can cherry pick the phases of Venus all you want, but that will not make the earth spin around the sun.

  85. Repost

    kimmie | March 25, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply

    Honesty, integrity, trust.

    How can the IPCC regain trust? IMO they [ themselves ] derailed that train long ago.

    CRU? ……..Was on the same train.

    Penn State?……….and other investigators into climategate… Type acts [ The University at Albany ]
    Mr. Mann…Mr. Jones…Mr. Biffa… Mr KT….Mr. Wahl…Mr Wang…..
    Seem to be on that train.
    If you want us kids to have trust in you…you better provide full transparency. Get rid of your buried activist reviewers / contributors, Stop allowing self review.

    Own up when you slip up…stop covering. I’m not allowed to give excuses – why should you?

    Start answering NOT censoring us [ As some climate sites do ].

    IMO Integrity means providing pro and con to a scientific findings – research papers / entities.
    Stop one sided view points from sites like NASA kids.

    In short: If you grwnups can’t convince us kids of your scientific honesty, integrity, trustworthiness………….