Neverending Reflections on Climategate

by Judith Curry

Motivated by a post by David Roberts at Grist, there has been some interesting reflection on Climategate this past week.  Roberts’ post entitled “What we have and haven’t learned from Climategate” says:

The lesson we’ve learned from climategate is simple. It’s the same lesson taught by death panels, socialist government takeover, Sharia law, and Obama’s birth certificate. To understand it we must turn to agnotology, the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt. (Hat tip to an excellent recent post on this by John Quiggen.)

Beck, Palin, and the rest of Fox News and talk radio operate on the pretense that they are giving consumers access to a hidden “universe of reality,” to use Limbaugh’s term. It’s a reality being actively obscured the “lamestream media,” academics, scientists, and government officials. Affirming the tenets of that secret reality has become an act of tribal reinforcement, the equivalent of a secret handshake.

The modern right has created a closed epistemic loop containing millions of people. Within that loop, the implausibility or extremity of a claim itself counts as evidence. The more liberal elites reject it, the more it entrenches itself. Standards of evidence have nothing to do with it.

The notion that there is a global conspiracy by professional scientists to falsify results in order to get more research money is, to borrow Quiggen’s words about birtherism, “a shibboleth, that is, an affirmation that marks the speaker as a member of their community or tribe.” Once you have accepted that shibboleth, anything offered to you as evidence of its truth, no matter how ludicrous, will serve as affirmation. (Even a few context-free lines cherry-picked from thousands of private emails.)

Typical blame the deniers and merchants of doubt stuff.  Andy Revkin picks up on this at dotearth, and focuses on Robert’s arguments about whether or not the unauthorized release of the emails was a crime.  Randy Olson of The Benshi posted an interesting comment at dotearth, here is Randy’s comment in its entirety:

The media were irrelevant and largely blameless in Climategate. The whole incident was a case study in the absence of effective leadership in both the science and environmental communities.

For science, there are no clear leaders, just countless acronymed organizations who stood, stared, and weeks later put out milquetoast statements about how this sort of stuff shouldn’t happen.

For the environmental community, there is no unity. Why couldn’t the CEO’s (eh hem, still can’t believe they call themselves that) of all the major environmental groups, who rake in millions of dollars annually on the backs of polar bear photos, have gotten together and held a joint press conference stating the truth about what transpired with Climategate. Actually, I’ll tell you why — because their marketing departments wouldn’t allow them to share the stage with the other competing “brands” — so don’t look for that sort of leadership from them.

In contrast, as Roberts points out, the right wingers instantly spun the story into the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Drudge Report and all the rest of the army that walk in lock step.

But there was simply no loud voice emerging from the science and environmental worlds. And this is really what Roberts should be bemoaning. The journalists should have been forced to report that “this incident is being called at least an unethical ploy and at worst a crime,” by this, this, this, this, and this science and environmental organization. All of whom would be following whatever the clear voice of leadership is. But there simply was no voice of leadership. There ended up being LOTS of angry senior members of the National Academy of Sciences — I know, I’ve spoken with several. But no leadership with regard to this aspect of the issue emerged from NAS at the time.

The only clear voice I recall hearing spouting this message of it being a crime was Nancy Pelosi from the House, but she did it in a crude and inarticulate manner — not as a voice of leadership for the community.

And just look at what Jon Stewart did with the story on December 1, 2009. He did the best he could. He’s not a climate skeptic. He would gladly defend the climate science community if he were given any ammunition. But he wasn’t hearing ANYTHING from the science world in terms of loud messaging, telling the world this was possibly a crime. So all he could think to do was make fun of the bumbling scientists who had their email stolen.

And what’s sad is that this wasn’t even a case of scientists and environmentalists needing to engage in “spin doctoring.” If the truth is on your side, then you need to understand that the truth HAS TO BE SHOUTED in today’s noise-filled society. It no longer works to just mumble it.

And of course the definitive tragedy of it all was last fall when Bill Maher, who is also a climate science fan, propagated the right’s message when he said, “what’s the big deal, so a few scientitsts got caught fudging some data.” By then 5 investigations had cleared ALL scientists. He should have had that fact clear in his mind, but how could he when all the science world knows how to do with things like this is mumble them to the public, thinking that’s good enough. It isn’t.

The press is not to blame. It is plainly the ineptitude of the science world — a profession that has never had to deal with the irrationality of the public at the level of today’s Charlie Sheen-obsessed world. And shows no interest in changing as evidenced by the poor communication skills of the current top leaders. And the environmental world that is too often more consumed with branding than issues.

Randy’s comment provides fodder for discussion at Collide-a-Scape, which then focuses on Randy’s latest essay “If uncertainty is conveyed, credibility will fade.”  Some excerpts from Olson’s post:

This has become one of the central points of my talks lately. EVERYONE wants to know, “How can we best communicate elements of uncertainty?” My answer is, “Very carefully, if at all.”

I say this because of simple logic with regard to storytelling. We know that the most effective means of mass communication is through storytelling. What we also know is that the teller of a story is expected to be all-knowing — i.e. omniscient. So what kind of omniscient voice is uncertain about what is being told?

This is a problem. It isn’t even about whether the warnings come true or not. This is long before that. This is about if you even MENTION something for which you are not certain, you’ve already entered into a realm of decreased credibility.

I’m not saying you can’t do it, or that it won’t work. I’m saying that you simply need to know that EVERY time you enter into communicating uncertainty, you are entering dangerous ground. Basically a minefield. And the truth is, you can go dancing through a minefield and never hit a single mine. But before you do that, it’s a nice idea to be aware of the risk.

The first option is to focus more on certainty (namely the past) than uncertainty (the future).

JC’s comments: I think David Roberts gets it wrong in his analysis, but his essay provides good insight into why and how Climategate proved to be so damaging to the public credibility of climate science and scientists.  I think Olson’s comment at dotearth is on the money:  Climategate illuminated a serious lack of leadership from the scientific and environmental communities.  Upon first reading, Olson’s post on uncertainty seems flat out weird not to mention wrong, sort of “uncertainty denialism.” On second reading, maybe there is an insight here:  The first option is to focus more on certainty (namely the past) than uncertainty (the future). Climate science should focus on doing a much better job on the historical and paleo datasets (the flaws of which were illuminated by extensive scrutiny of these data sets largely motivated by Climategate).  And on the attribution of 20th century warming.  And on understanding the causes of historical extreme events.  And less on predicting things for which there is overwhelming uncertainty.  By all means study climate sensitivity, but climate predictions and particularly climate impact predictions are highly uncertain.  If I am reading him correctly, Olson says that we should not deny this uncertainty, but rather put less emphasis on future predictions.

624 responses to “Neverending Reflections on Climategate

  1. But future predictions (is there any other kind?) are the entire point of the exercise. Without them, it’s just academia amusing itself. At great expense.

    • Exactly.

    • Deep Roots of the Climate Scandal

      As shown in two recent reviews [1,2] the roots of the climate scandal began growing – out of sight – soon after former President Eisenhower warned on 17 Jan 1961 about the danger that public policy might one day become “captive of a scientific-technological elite.”:

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

      Experimental data from precise measurements of nuclear rest masses, the 1969 Apollo Mission to the Moon, the 1995 Galileo Probe of Jupiter, and numerous analysis of meteorites, planets, asteroids, and comets were hidden or ignored.

      Roots of the scandal point to Washington, DC, where the US National Academy of Sciences reviews budgets and recommends funding to the US Congress for federal research agencies – NASA, DOE, EPA, NOAA, etc.

      1. “”Earth’s Heat Source – The Sun,” Energy and Environment, vol. 20 (2009) pages 131-144

      2. “Neutron Repulsion,” The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011), 19 pages

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

      • Future Prediction

        Nothing, absolutely nothing will change unless the US Congress gets to the root of the problem – politically distorted reviews of budgets of federal research agencies by NAS [US National Academy of Sciences].

        A year before the Climategate story broke, this question was asked of Dr. Ralph Cicerone [NAS President], Congressman Alan B. Mollohan [Chair of the Subcommittee on Science for the US House Appropriations Committee], and members of the Space Studies Board on 26 June 2008 in the NAS Office Building:

        “Why did UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – and US federal research agencies like NASA, DOE, NOAA, NSF, etc. – work together to promote this web of mis-information:

        • CO2 from the tail pipes of Western economic engines caused global warming.

        • Earth’s climate is immune from the cyclic changes in sunspots and solar activity.

        • Hydrogen fusion in the Sun bathes planet Earth in a steady and unchanging flow of heat.

        • Solar neutrinos from Hydrogen-fusion in the Sun oscillate away before reaching our detectors.”

        The question remains unanswered. That is why “absolutely nothing will change unless the US Congress gets to the root of the problem”.

      • Another attack on the messenger which is the preferred option of those who cannot offer a substantive refutation of the message. I think the science community’s relative science was because in their heart-of-hearts they know that access to the Fed’s pot of gold is what it’s all about. Just think of all those humming supercomputers that might have to be shut down if the Feds decided that global warming was largely natural and beyond the ability of us mortals to control.

      • Perhaps you know Oliver,

        Perhaps you can help him to identify what specifically has changed in the Suns output that might have affected the climate. This has been asked repeatedly but he never answers. What Oliver does do is keep posting the same information again and again and again.

        He comes across as mentally challenged based on his actions here….hence the suggestion by several posters here to have his meds checked…..but his website seems to indicate he does not support the use of medications for mental conditions…….cause and effect perhaps?

      • Um, noooooo… the “helium sun” theory was pretty much debunked on Manuel’s web page, therefore it is fact, and any resort to mainstream astrophysics as a counterargument is an appeal to authority.

        Welcome to blogscience, Rob. Do try and keep up.

      • Rob Starkey

        PDA– I have not commented on Oliver’s basic theory in any way since I have not researched the issue. I have repeatedly asked him for specifics on what output(s) of the sun have changed that would/might have affected the climate. It does not matter what the origin of the sun is, only what hits the earth is impacting the climate. If something changed then it should be measureable…….PDA…..try to keep up

      • OMG I love this place

      • Ron,
        Dr. Emanuel is interesting, but obsessed. His past I will not go into, and it is not really relevant to our discussion. But his present- repetitive, non-communicative posts endlessly recycled are distracting and annoying. He is spot on with his Eisenhower speech excerpt, but after the nth time it loses its marginal impact.
        The iron sun… is like arguing if the earth is 6 or 6.15 billion years old. Who really cares irt climate?
        This entire blog war is way stale. We have called each other every name there is to call. We have gone around this tree chasing our tails (and tails) so to speak until it is all a realtively well blended puree. Either there is dangerous climate change or there is not. I think it is clear there is not, and I think the best explanation for why the belief there is impending doom is better explained by historic examples than cliamte science.
        Dr. Emanuel’s repetitive posting of the same points just adds that extra pinch of annoyance, that’s all.

      • Yes, Hunter. Please stop your attacks on everyone who questions the warmist corrupt money machine scam.

        Climatology II rocks! An iron sun in every pot!

      • And I fail the Turing test?

      • I do not know who Mr. Manuel is, but these long OT posts on the same thing over and over again with the same links to “iron sun” articles are becoming wearisome. Perhaps Mr. Manuel could be so kind as to shorten his posts so I can scroll past them more quickly to reach posts that might be of interest to me.

      • It’s “Doctor” rather than “Mr.” so technically he has the same credentials as any other Ph. D. Probably he has more work in his than many modern Ph. D.s do. But, yeah, “iron sun” or hydrogen, the issue is irrelevant to climate.

      • hunter,
        No. Young man. This is not appreciated.

    • Future predictions are indeed the whole point. The policy makers won’t be interested in anything else.

    • One does have to be specific about “past”, “present”, and “future” predicitons. People need a frame of reference just like everyone else.

    • there are counterfactual estimates, which are like predictions, but based in the present or even past, and there are scenario estimates, which are also like predictions but are about pathways and may cover alternative futures, rather than predict THE future.
      2 points, “academia amusing itself” you mean academics addressing problems that have no obvious practical use ALONGSIDE the many things that they produce that does have a vital importance.
      “at great expense” I don’t know about the wages of other people here, but climate scientists and related academics on the middle range in Europe have the same wages as qualified plumbers. Senior academics are paid considerably less than doctors, bankers and estate agents with the same level of experience. All the money spent on climate science is also used to subsidise teaching, outreach and other outputs, which are in the public domain. Military spending on the other hand…

      • randomengineer

        “at great expense” has ZIPPO to do with what scientists are paid.

        Clearly, Brian is referring to societal impact — e.g. cap and trade, energy prices, etc.

        As for DOD expense, this always filters down to create societal wealth, such as the mechanisms by which you’re advancing your opinions. Even comm satellites wouldn’t exist but for a perceived military need in the 50’s to be able to use rocketry for defense. You could argue that private industry would have eventually given us these things but it wouldn’t do much other than underscore your lack of understanding.

      • The DARPA net was a university product as much as a military product, or are you talking about computing, in which case the fact that Colossus was clasified after the war not actually a hindrance to computing? Or Zuse’s work, which was not only NOT funded by the military but was completed entirely independently from other leading computer scientists and mathematicians of his day.
        Military research is notoriously inefficient compared to research spent by small businesses in oligopolistic markets:

    • Future predictions? Earth revolving the Sun, Earth absorbs Suns solar raiadtion, IR radiation back to space, evaporation, condensations, rains, clouds, temperatures -50DegC to +50degC. Thats the most accurate prediction and better than any climate models.

    • Brian H 3/3/11 8:49 pm on Neverending Reflections on Climategate

      Science, I submit, is about models of the real world. These models are built on observations projected on our senses from the real world. The models predict only in future time, but these are future observations.

      Example: an astronomer predicts that a distant star will go supernova by some nearby date. In fact, it already did or did not.

      Example: the old archaeologists tells the young one the composition of shards he’s going to find where he’s digging. The shards are there, or not, according to the past.

      Example: Tree ring gurus tell the climate community that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were no more than regional variability mixed with folklore. The epochs were real, or they were not.

      The issue is not even when the observations were made. The question is whether the predictions were independent of the observational data base upon which the model was built. Scientists can split their data, using some for model building and the remainder for validation.

      Man doesn’t get to play with the real world, only models of it, including samples that he brings into the lab for measurements, and which he unavoidably alters in the process. Space is not curved – the best model of it is. Climate is neither linear nor nonlinear. The very idea is silly. Some simple climate models are linear; GCMs are nonlinear. And someone please tell IPCC that highly nonlinear is even more inane.

  2. “By all means study climate sensitivity, but climate predictions and particularly climate impact predictions are highly uncertain. If I am reading him correctly, Olson says that we should not deny this uncertainty, but rather put less emphasis on future predictions.”

    Well, AMEN, JUDITH! I’m still looking for one, JUST ONE study proving there is some problem that has been caused by AGW, as opposed to (probably) natural variation. Can someone point to ONE STUDY that proves AGW has caused a problem?

    I didn’t think so.

    • Proof is a tricky word in science…you can’t literally prove anything because of the construct If A then B…and A may correlate with B, but so might C and D… but I wouldn’t want to get into the whole philosophy of science and logic. And as Randy alluded to – science is uncertainty until you’ve been able to confirm it through predictive experiments and/or observations. Unfortunately – human beings gravitate towards people and statements that appear certain, even if the certainty isn’t backed up by evidence. I think Randy is rightly playing the marketer here and not the scientist talking to peers. Randy Olson – author of “Don’t Be Such A Scientist” is all about communicating science and has a bit of experience in what works and what doesn’t.

      However – the case for natural variability causing the kind of warming that’s making 90% of worldwide Glaciers Retreat, melting Greenland into the North Atlantic and melting Arctic Sea Ice at records levels seems to be rather weak due to lack of a plausible natural mechanism, but it does happen to correlate with an abundance of CO2…but that’s not really proof…just highly correlated. And I’m not a climate scientists, I just play one on the blog comments…

      • I don’t see much unusual in this chart!

      • First, 90% of worldwide glaciers is far more than have actually been studied. Second, we know that they advanced during the LIA; why should they not be retreating now? Likewise we know that Greenland was warmer than now during the MWP (Viking burial grounds still in permafrost) and colder during the LIA. And there is no indication that Arctic sea ice is melting at a level that is “record” for any more than the last 30 years.

        As to “plausible natural mechanism”, the correlation between CO2 levels and surface air temperature holds for the two decades between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s on a planet four billion years old. To regard this as a “plausible mechanism” requires quite a leap of faith.

    • No problem is just caused by carbon emissions or climate change. It is like asking for proof that one person, just ONE PERSON, has been killed by smoking. It can’t be done. You are asking the wrong question.

      • Latimer Alder

        Well, if no problem is caused by climate change we’re all arguing about nothing and should go off and spend our time more productively.

        But we should also take drastic vengeful action against all those who’ve misled us for 30 years with their wailing and moaning and films and all that doomsday stuff.

      • Ooh, what sort of “drastic vengeful action,” Latimer?

        Nothing like a good Cultural Revolution to sort the wheat from the chaff.

      • Why this reluctance to address the root problem?

      • Latimer Alder

        I have yet to receive my final orders from my string pullers at Big Oil. And Mr & Mrs Koch have yet to tell me their wishes. Meanwhile consulting with the 1000 top families of Jeffrey Davis’s imaginings is proving tougher than I first thought.

        So as a mere drone in the Big Hive of Denierhood, I am not at liberty to reveal the Master Plan. Rest assured however that you will hear it first on Fox News and Glenn Limbraush.

        You have been warned

      • You are exactly right.

        The “problem” was managed by NAS and directed by various federal research agencies – NASA, EPA, NAA, DOE, etc.

      • Oh good, Oliver and Latimer will be the commissars of this Great Leap Forward. No climate scientist (or child) will be safe.

      • We need more Iron Sun.

      • No. You need more than 324W/m2 back radiation to support climate scare tactics, lets say, 648W/m2, 1296W/m2 …

      • No, PDA, in the next budget review the new US House of Representatives [Subcommittee on Science for the US House Appropriations Committee] will probably ask why government research funds were used to promote unscientific dogma.

      • …when they should be promoting Iron Sun Theory!

      • 革命无罪,造反有理 !!

      • PDA,
        “革命无罪,造反有理 !!”
        Do you know the meaning of these Chinese sentence? I bet you don’t, because it is irrelevant like Bart R’s pencil and paper.

      • For what it’s worth, try ‘Twitter Revolution’.

      • Latimer Alder

        JFI I have no connection with Oliver Manuel.

        As far as I’m concerned the Sun is still made of Green
        Cheese like it always has been :-)

      • Xenon isotope data from the Galileo probe into Jupiter confirmed mass fractionation in the Sun:

        That is why the top of the Sun’s atmosphere is 91% H (the lightest element) and 9% He (the next lightest element)

      • We need to now more on this important topic – the Iron Sun.

        Judith, can Oliver have a guest post to further enlighten us?

      • He might be wrong, but at least he is not trolling intentionally.

      • We are talking about climate change CONTRIBUTING to problems and statistically this is the case, and the cost is huge. Its cheaper to avoid such problems and by finding out something about them and insuring against them with targetted action might be a good idea. Even if you think the IPCC reports are lies, it is at least reading through, for example, the summary for policy makers. To go back to the analogy, it cannot be proved that any one person died as a direct cause of smoking BUT statistics show that over a population many more cases of lung cancer are correlated with smoking than any other activity compared to a control group.

      • Latimer Alder


        Which problems in particular?

        Y’know a sort of list with some evidence for each having a ‘climate change component’ would be kinda helpful. And a reason why, even if there are indeed problems, we need to worry about fixing each of them.

        Here’s a proforma……..

        Problem: Unusually cold winter in UK 2010/11
        Effect: Death 0f many tender garden plants
        Evidence for climate change component: Climate got colder
        Solution: Make more CO2.

      • Sarah Jones

        Why do I have this awful feeling that you are going to start throwing coconuts soon…

      • Latimer Alder


      • Sarah Jones,
        A monkey throw coconuts is better than unable to account for 324W/m2 back radiation and fight for it. Better leave the coconuts and the trees.

      • Paul- the greatest actual concern raised in the IPCC 2007 reports are the potential areas of drought and other areas of potential increased rainfall. Two key points regarding those potential issues
        1. The models used to make those forecasts have been demonstrated to be inaccurate in predicting rainfall. This clearly indicates that the models can not be used to predict future conditions in any specific region.
        2. Assuming the increased GHG’s will cause certain areas to be drier, while other areas are wetter over the coming decades, this issue does not warrant the drastic actions proposed. It would be much more sensiable to build proper infrastructure to retain more fresh water and prevent againest flooding that to either not have energy or have it be much more expensive.

      • This is part of the uncertainties that make the public wonder if climate scientists have a real brain. You read news accounts of all kinds of findings, scattered over the entire world, and they are all attributed to climate change (or worse CAGW). Yet you then find out that lo and behold these same scientists are the first ones to tell you the models can not accurately predict which regions will be affected and how.

        In other words, we expect different regions to be affected differently, we can’t tell you where/how, but everything/everywhere is due to CAGW. The logic simply doesn’t hold and therefore some skepticism is obviously warranted.

        A corollary, why are we spending billions on ‘science and models’ trying to predict what regional effects will be seen if CAGW is going to affect everything/everywhere worldwide from the Himalayas, to Greenland, the Arctic/Antarctic, Europe, North America, etc. anyway?

        Does anyone see why trying to be certain about current events, yet fudging answers about future predictions automatically leaves a lot of people doubting what they have heard?

  3. Mr. Robert’s contempt for his fellow man is so all-encompassing one wonders why he would care if we were to all burn up in the first place. Is there anyone that he respects? On either side of the fence? Such anger is not healthy.

  4. Mike Mangan

    You are viciously attacked in that DotEarth thread. Since you are a former Huskie, I defend you @#40. ;)

    • Mike, thanks much for your defense. Susan Anderson is endlessly entertaining.

    • Mad Mike Mangan…

      must protect queen bee…must protect queen bee…must protect queen bee…

      • Who pays you to post your rubbish? WWF, NOAA, IPCC, CA?

      • Latimer Alder

        It is rare than ianash’s contributions here rise above self-parody.

        This is not one of those times.

      • Latimer,

        I see you have made death threats above to PDA.

        Now that’s useful!

      • I’m sure that Judith is down with it…

        But we should also take drastic vengeful action against all those who’ve misled us for 30 years with their wailing and moaning and films and all that doomsday stuff.

        So which of your followers will the first to take “drastic vengeful action”, Judith?

      • Maybe he’s reminded of Dave Roberts calling for Nuremberg style trials for climate skeptics. Perhaps he’s thinking of a big red button that blows up Alarmists ala the “No Pressure” snuff film you orcs put out. How about taking a gun and holding hostages at the Discovery Channel building? Shoot, already been done

        The dangerous nuts have always clearly been on your side, Dho.

      • Latimer Alder

        I did?

        Where are the ‘death threats to PDA’?

        Show me the reference please?

        Because otherwise you might just be guilty of telling porkies.

      • Latimer

        C’mon fella. You’ve been caught. Your hate is on show for all to see…

      • Latimer Alder


        You claimed I had made death threats. When challenged you can produce no evidence.

        And you claim I was caught?

        Hmm..wouldn’t like to have you sitting on a jury…..

      • While your droning on has its tiresome aspects, gnash, your analogy is in one regard apt: the tremendous productivity of the bee hive. I feel that way about Climate Etc. The person at the centre is notable though for her humility, compared to most other climate scientists I’ve had the misfortune to stumble across. And that’s I think why it works as well as it does.

      • Ah’ve got bigger trolls than you in mah craahp!

      • Wow, everywhere I roam, I see you. And every time you are being referred to as a troll. Doesn’t that bother you, that NOBODY takes whatever you say seriously?

      • Sarah Jones

        And you no doubt call yourself a `sceptic´?

      • Mad ianash

        must protect 324W/m2 back radiation…must protect 324W/m2 back radiation…must protect 324W/m2 back radiation…

  5. Robert E. Phelan

    It would appear that certain circles have learned nothing from Climategate and have reached conclusions that are ultimately self defeating. Ridicule “skeptic” notions of conspiracy but then invoke Limbaugh, Foxnews, and the Right… as well as the so far unidentified “hackers” of the e-mails. My business might best be described as “cultural cognition”…. we see what we are taught to see. Who needs conspiracies when you can have social movements? Hmmmf. Before dismissing the idea of a conspiracy…. ask yourself what one would look like.

    • Conspiracy means coordination, which social movements lack. Social movements can be described as loosely connected networks of very large numbers of people, where the primary connection is shared ideas. Such networks have many local leaders but no coordinated leadership. AGW is a social movement, while skepticism is its counter movement.

      • Sarah Jones

        Networks meaning the internet? Conspiracies are conducted behind closed doors- in dubious cafés and under tables. Is the counter movement social? I thought scepticism was of science.

        Who needs leaders.

  6. My bullshit meter hit the wall with that one. Didn’t even make it past his agnotology rant. Roberts has learned nothing from any of this and carries his biases forward in a continuum that precedes the climategate revelations.

    • Exactly dp. Reading this tripe made me wonder if there has been a ban on bull$hit detection at schools in the last 30 years.

      They can’t get it through their stupid office ridden heads that climategate exposed crooks for what they are….crooks.
      The author bemoans “But there simply was no voice of leadership. There ended up being LOTS of angry senior members of the National Academy of Sciences”
      That’s what happens for instance during looting when the looters hear a police siren, THEY SCATTER, they run for cover, there is no leadership.
      Climategate was that police siren and so far only Jones was caught red handed, but it turns out this particular looter had a few friends in high places and got away with it.

      Until the looters are penalised and cut out of future store trips, these knuckle headed academics can whine about Fox or Palin or Beck all they like, majority of the general populace has stopped listening to them.

  7. Well, those who deny the impact of Climategate are engaging in Cognitive Dissonance. The genie is out of the bottle, and he will not return. Sorry, you commies. LOL.

  8. JAE;
    Right, except for a quibble: Cognitive Dissonance is a condition, not an activity. So you can’t “engage” in it, only suffer from it.

  9. I’m a long time Democrat and absolutely loathe the way people on the Left and the Right play this issue.

    I’m a ‘lukewarmer’ and want realistic solutions. People like Lomborg, Nordhaus Pielke and others are the people who have the be heard.

    It’s worth noting, just quietly, that if you can get access to people in the administration many of them are too.

    People like Quiggin, Romm and others who want to make this a war between Conservatives and the Left are doing their cause a great disservice.

    • randomengineer

      I’m a luewarmer and desire NO solutions other than seeing the USA adopt a rational energy policy. Climate “solutions” that don’t include the Chinese (or the rest of the planet) are self loading, self pointing weapons aimed at our own heads and require only one stupid decision or stupid politician (e.g. Gore) to pull any given trigger.

    • John,

      there are no problems requiring solutions organized by government. You and many others simply can’t seem to grasp this FACT!!!

  10. AGW_Skeptic

    The “act of tribal reinforcement” has not been Fox News or talk radio. It was the ClimateGate emails themselves and the cabal mentality of those involved. It took over two weeks for the “lamestream” media to even begin reporting the story. They tried their best to bury it but the blogoshpere proved too powerful to ignore.

    Time to look in the mirror and come clean about the total whitewash of any investigations to date regarding ClimateGate.

    • randomengineer

      Detractors (largely wannabe, self described intellectuals) like to imagine that they are smarter than the Fox watching crowd. They can’t explain how it is that Fox has the largest viewership of any news channel, except, of course, to reckon all Fox viewers are morons (which the detractors imagine they’re not, of course.)

      Any article that equates Fox viewing with right wing politics is automatically garbage bin level thinking by definition. Right wingers watch Fox because it is the only news net that isn’t clearly slanted left and proud of it.

      Detractors tend to be so slanted that news coming at them that is NOT slanted is perceived as “obviously right wing.”

  11. Perhaps the worst of Climategate is actually the disgustingly transparent and corrupt “investigations” that followed. Those are much more damaging than Climategate. History evidently DOES NOT instruct future generations, else the rotten politicians would have learned from Watergate!

    • This is correct and bears(grr) repeating; none of the official enqiries or investigations actually investigated the issues at hand.

      2 sad they couldn’t, one said it wasn’t in their remit and one refused as they didn’t want to uncover evidence of illegal wrong doing.

      Anyone who thinks these reviews were anything but political posturing needs ask themself but one question- which investigation examined the email archive?

      Answer? none.

      Secondly- to this date there is STILL no proof that the emails were hacked, so the ‘leaked’ option is still a possibility.

      • randomengineer

        As has been discussed previously here and elsewhere a real hack would have eviscerated the lot of them. Real hacks go for the throat. In other words, if climategate was a hack it was the most bumbling, idiotic hack imaginable, something on the three stooges level.

        Obvously it was a leak. Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or breathtakingly ignorant.

        An example of a real hack is Stuxnet, which crippled the Iranian nuclear capability.

      • Real hacks go for the throat.

        You don’t really know what you’re talking about, do you? But I forget where I am. Of course you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        There are all sorts of hacks. What you’re talking about is a Denial of Service hack. That’s one kind of hack. There are also hacks to exflitrate data, which are more common… and, potentially, much more damaging. Servers can be rebuilt. Once sensitive data is compromised, it’s like pee in a swimming pool. Look up Titan Rain.

        What you’re saying is equivalent to “Of course you didn’t get robbed. Real burglars burn your house down.”

      • steven mosher

        a better hack would have been to release the mails piecemeal.

      • randomengineer,
        Notice how the troll has to at once dissemble from the conflict, as if you do not know the difference between a hack and a DNS attack (does he?) and try to insult you at the same time as well.

  12. The reason the scientists have not reacted to Climategate is that it does not change the science of AGW. Most scientists will only react to scientific discoveries or reversals of theories. Data (which is, after all, what Climategate is about) is always fickle, and it is not a big deal if data gets revised. You have to separate uncertainty in data from uncertainty in science, and Climategate is in the data category.

    • We have ten thousand years of extremely stable temperatures, but it is described as chaotic and unstable. Data is not fickle. Determining what it means is fickle.

    • Corruption tends to reduce ones’ credibility a wee bit. So does incompetence. Climategate docs consisted of enormous quantities of both corruption and incompetence. And the credibility of the hockey team went right down the toilet — deservedly so.

      Scientists haven’t reacted to it because no one wants to get the Judy Curry treatment.

      • I admit my ignorance, but besides “Trick to hide the decline” – what else was there that seemed devious?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Off the top of my head …

        The destruction of emails that proved that they were gaming the IPCC.

        The gaming of the IPCC described in the destroyed emails.

        The conspiracy to pack the peer-review boards so their papers got through.

        The conspiracy to pack the peer-review boards so opposing papers didn’t through.

        Their illegal evasion of my FOI request for the data.

        Their subversion of the FOI process, wherein a legal FOI request from anyone who had posted at Climate Audit was automatically thrown out.

        Read my account here. Anyone who thinks it was just “boys will be boys” or “scientists talking smack about each other off the record” is a true “denier” …


      • steven mosher

        dont forget trenberth and Jones.

      • Latimer Alder

        And if you have anything to do with professional IT, read Harry_Read_Me…the realtime refelections of a hapless practitioner from CRU’s attempt to make sense of some of their own data and code.

        It will make you weep that any organisation can be so completely incompetent at data handling, let alone on which holds a globally significant dataset.

      • steven mosher

        there is nothing noteworthy in the harry readme.

      • Careful, you’ll be accused by the conspiracy addicts here of getting paid huge grants by the worldwide AGW commie conspiracy.

      • Latimer Alder

        Hate to disagree with you Steve. But there is.

        Complete professional and organisational incompetence. Failure to adhere to minimum standards of data curation. Chaotic/non-existent version control.

      • Latimer Alder

        If you have read HRM and still conclude that there is nothing noteworthy, then a career change to IT Operations would not be a good idea.

        Don’t give up the day job.

      • Hilarious. I’m guessing you have no idea what Mosh does for a living, huh?

      • Latimer Alder


        Any idea what I spent 30 years doing?

      • You’re out of your element, Donny.

      • There are good and bad ways of coding, but bad ways may also lead to correct results and there may be good enough ways of verifying the end results, even when the code is of poor quality.

        In time maintaining the reliability of the results is likely to become too difficult, but scientists code a lot of usable code deviating from all proper practices.

      • Perhaps not, and certainly not something that would allow us to generalize the findings of Harry to cover the entire area of climate research. And also one thing to keep in mind when reading that file, that no matter how good a program (or development/maintenance practices, whatever) is, another programmer always thinks he would have done a better job with it i.e. “programs written by somebody else are always crap”.

        On the other hand, the snippets I read when the posts were released pretty much summed up my personal experience with academic software development: it is not on the level were many would like it to be, but often those many don’t fully understand why it is so.

        This comes down mostly to the idea that the software in question (e.g. a numerical model of some process) is just a tool (e.g. to calculate something), and if it does what is it supposed to do, no “style points” are needed, so no extra effort (although good practices might and would actually save some) is spent on the engineering.

        This is even when (and quite often not) there is enough software engineering expertise to actually develop programs according to established methods, up-to-date tools and certain discipline required by commercial efforts.

      • Latimer Alder

        The problem revealed by Harry weren’t so much in the coding..though that was amateurish to say the least, but with the *data* and the record keeping (who did what and why) and the continuity.

        Oft times he had some data and just had to guess what it meant. He had no metadata explaining it. He might have guessed wrongly. It might have been coded wrongly – there didn’t seem to be even the most rudimentary integrity checks encoded.

        Just read it all the way through and then, with a straight face, tell me that these guys should actually be allowed in charge of ‘some of the most important data for the future of humanity’.

        Me – if I wrote them a snailmail letter I wouldn’t bet on them managing to pick it up from the post room and bringing it back to their office in one piece. Or misreading it. Or feeding it to the dog.

      • please..

        Their whole attitude to data handling is laid bare.

      • Replacing coding with data management in my above posting tells essentially, what I think about that. Again not well organized and certainly not of the type appropriate for a permanent storage of important data, but probably good enough to lead to the same results in their research up to that point in time.

      • steven mosher

        Problem Latimer:
        “Complete professional and organisational incompetence. Failure to adhere to minimum standards of data curation. Chaotic/non-existent version control.”

        You have no TRACEABILITY from what harry was working on and writing about to any FINAL product.

        All you have is evidence of is what harry wrote. Now, if you could connect the dots.. and connect what harry did or didnt do, to what a final product was, you might have something.

        You have to show that harry’s work ACTUALLY got used.

        There no evidence that harrys work actually got used. The key in this file is what is missing. All it shows is harry having problems. You’d have to see what harry saw to determine if he was right or wrong. and you’d have to have the chain of evidence linking him to a final output.

        All we can tell is harry had issues. you dont know who else was put on the problems, if they were resolved, if he even characterized them FAIRLY. Trust me, I’ve seen the notes of many programmers who thought the problem was somebody else work. it ended up being their problem. So, you have an incomplete set of facts. Those facts fit your conception. beware when this happens and ask yourself what you really KNOW. you know harry wrote those words. that’s it.

      • steven mosher


        I dont even have to play the background card on latimer.
        It’s more a question of what the evidence in the harry file is evidence OF. When I first read it I thought it actually proved something. It doesnt even prove that the practice was shoddy. It shows what harry thought. that may or may not be true. it may or may not matter to the final answers.

        It didnt reveal anything, except perhaps what we already knew. CRU didnt use mil spec 2167A/T (hehe, done that one time in my life) and they were not ISO, and blah blah blah.
        we already knew Jones kept lousy records. he said so to Mcintyre in 2002.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve are focussing on the issues with the code. I’m not too concerned with code – bad though it was. You are a software developer, so that is your focus.

        But what Harry’s sad tale illustrates is severe problems with their basic data. Like not knowing what it means or where it comes from. (data dictionary) Or where you put it. Or what version you have or what the naming conventions are. (cataloging). Or where you put the confidentiality agreements (if they ever existed).

        The analogy is that you have a great big library. In the library higgledy-piggledy in big random piles are thousands upon thousands of books. (Harry said 11,000).They have had their title pages, indexes and bindings removed. You cannot juts scan the titles, you have to look inside every book.There is no library catalogue. Some volumes are in English, many in many other languages. There are no translations. There are no library shelves. When new books arrive they are just randomly added to an existing pile. Old or duplicate books are never removed. Fred and Joe work in as custodians in the library together, but only communicate by post-it-notes.

        In such a library, there may be a great deal of knowledge. You may by chance stumble across exactly the right volume that tells you what you need, and randomly open that at the right page, but the chances are low. More likely you’ll stumble around like poor Harry and come up with a close answer or a good enough answer or no answer at all.

        You can write the best or the worst code that you like once you’ve got the actual data. But without it, the quality of your code is irrelevant. Programs exist to process data. No good data – –> no worthwhile code.

        So that is what HRM tells me about the work of CRU. That they shouldn’t be trusted with a shopping list, let alone ‘the most important data in the history of humanity’.

      • Latimer Alder


        Who is Donny?

        FYI my last assignment was a contract to rescue a failing IT department in a division of the UK government. It took a year, but I achieved the goal…effectively rebuilding from scratch with new people, new processes and new support methods. And maintained the services throughout the transition periods.

        It now serves and supports the ‘business’. Before it was a major hindrance.

        You were saying about my being out of my depth?

      • Latimer, if you haven’t seen The Big Lebowski, then you wouldn’t get the joke.

        If you’ve never heard of a Creative 3D video card or a ZEN MP3 player, then you wouldn’t get how hilarious it is for you to lecture Steve Mosher about software development and the IT industry.

      • Latimer Alder


        Never seen that movie. Never even heard of it.

        Steve Mosher may have great knowledge about software development.

        But I doubt he has ever tried to run a large data centre keeping thousands or millions of different files in order, with meaning, accessible and understood. With regular updates and processing and checks and balances and a relentless focus on data integrity.

        The sort of thing that (one hopes) your bank does to keep an accurate record of your transactions and balances, or an Air Traffic Control system does to keep planes from bumping into each other. Or any big data repository does. It isn’t about clever programming (though that may be helpful), it’s about doing some basic things right time after time after time. And handling the times when it all goes worng effectively and professionally and calmly.

        That is what IT Operations is all about. That is what good data admin and control should do.

        Though CRU was given the responsibility to maintain the HADCRUT3 dataset, it is apparent from HRM that they don’t have even the faintest clue about how to do it. That any data should even be allowed onsite without a reliable metadata description is could easily contaminate better data….and so on and so forth.

        Steve Mosher may be a great coder. But the fact that he finds HRM unexceptional shows that he has never tried to organise and run a serious data centre. I stand by my remark.

      • I think that is one of the main reasons some of the scientists are not willing to release their codes… they might be not at all documented and such a mess, that it wouldn’t be of any use to anybody else than the writer himself. HARRY_READ_ME.txt is a good example.

        Thus, releasing it would result also in unfounded critisism. In some way, I understand this.

        But that is certainly not a legitimate reason for not releasing it. Code should always be released and checked at least in peer-review. Scientists just should put more effort in documentation so that the code would be releaseable whenever somebody wants to take a look in it. If their codes are a mess, the only one they can blame is themselves.

      • I do agree that yes, source codes should be part of supplementary material that is attached to the article. In reality, however, “checking the code” might be easy for R program with a few hundred lines, but for example the CESM (“open source” climate model) is over 200 000 Fortran lines + some in C. I think e.g. large climate models would not attract that much interested audience, at least once the realize what they are looking at – not referring to the quality per se, but the vast complexity.

        Another reason why I see wide full availability a bit problematic is that for a professional or even for a competent hobby programmer, it would be very easy to start picking on poor naming, structure, suboptimal algorithms, strange-looking parameters etc, and claim the program in question as rubbish whilst totally ignoring the validity of outputs.

      • Latimer Alder

        If their code is a mess it is more than likely that their thinking and understanding of the underlying ‘science’ (if any) is a mess too.

        I guess nobody would submit a paper full of grammatical errors mispornts and speling misstakes to a reputable journal. Nor a PhD thesis to the examiners. They clean it up beforehand. So should they clean up their code. Or even better – do it right in the first place.

        Poor quality code implies poor quality thinking.

      • Code and data management practices are very often a mess, because they have developed in many small steps over a long period. The original solutions are not appropriate for the final needs, but there has never been “the right time” to put it in order – until Harry was given the task too late.

      • Anander,

        You are right. It certainly would not be possible to check any code more than a few hundred lines. But at least the very structure and the basic program functionality should be looked in to. If not line-by-line but at least so, that whenever the critics or non-critics want to check it, the code will be publishable.

        That could and *should* be a reason to block a paper, if the codes are a mess. If the work is unverifiable and unreplicable, such work should never be published.

        One could say, that we can not expect some meteorologist Ph.D. to be an expert programmer. Surely not. But when the issue is important and the output data widely used elsewhere, the institutions should consider hiring a software engineer. If CRU had one, they could have avoided at least some critisism, which has been unfounded (like accusations regarding P Jones tampering the HadCRUT -data, I don’t believe those accusations are valid, though the data might have some biases which would be inherited from GHCN)

      • Pekka,

        True that. Though I am not a scientist, I’ve had some small home projects with programming. Even though I know how to write decent code, those projects always ended up being a total mess just because I implemented them in small steps. Excactly the same has happened with some Excel spreadsheets with loads of data.

      • Latimer Alder

        If I hire somebody to do a job for me, and they claim to be professionals, is it unreasonable to expect them to be reasonably competent with the tools of their profession?

        There seems to be very little to climatology other than statistical analysis, for which a competence in statistics and programming are prereqs.

        I read all the excuses about wh things can;t be done better, but they all just come down to indolence or incompetence. I expect a surgeon to be able to use a scalpel and do so to a professional standard.

        Why should a ‘professional climatologist’ not be expected to be able to use IT with the same facility.

        Unless acting like an amateur is an accepted and tolerated way of working. In which case their results should be treated with a great deal of suspicion.

      • Latimer,

        I think you have a point there. CBut then again, that would mean, that climatologists should have 2 Ph.D:s instead of one. Realistic? No. I think a better solution would be more co-operation between experts from different fields like statisticians and software engineers…

        I don’t remember excactly who has said this but it was something like this: “If you need a statistician for your experiment, you should develop a better experiment”.

      • Latimer Alder


        I don’t want them to have a PhD in writing software.

        You do not need to be a PhD to write good code. You need to understand some basic IT principles (and IT is far more than just coding), be well organised in both your thoughts and in your work and have a nasty cynical mindset expecting things to go wrong and planning for that.

        You could probably get something like a ‘scientists diploma in iT’ in 25-40 hours study with a bit of practical work as well. And a proper examination under pressure – not just credits.

        The techniques involved have been developed in commercial and government work over the last fifty years. They are not difficult..but they are proven to be effective and reliable. And adhering to them marks the difference between an amateur hobbyist and a professional.

        If this were made compulsory for anyone doing a science degree (even at bachelor level), within a short space of time the overall standard would notably rise. People wouldn’t be shy of publishing their work and the ‘science’ overall would benefit.

      • Latimer,

        Your idea about the diploma would definitely be a good idea. Now that I think my assertion for double Ph.D’s was a bit exaggerated.

      • Latimer Alder

        It occurs to me that IT used to be called ‘Data Processing’. And that one of the key skill sets that climatologist so desperately lack.

        It puts the emphasis back in the right place – ‘its the data, stupid!’.

      • steven mosher

        Everyone who has worked with scientific code knows that research code is not, generally speaking, produced to the same standards as commercial code. and commercial code is not produced to the same standards and mil stnd code. As somebody who has worked with all three ( NASA code, consumer code, milstnd code) I can assure you of that. the requirements, coding, test, etc is different for all three. I would say when I first started looking at this issue (2007) I was probably more in line with what Latimer says. That is, impose my standards on CRU. I think in hindsight that’s a bit over the top. In part thats why I suggested that certain things ( like temperature records) be taken over by the boring guys.

        But the harry file shows us nothing about actual data.
        it shows us nothing about actual final code used.
        it shows us nothing about the entire process and its reliability.

        It shows us what one guy thought. And what did he think?
        he thought it was a mess. Was it a big enough mess to make a difference? no evidence. Does it indicate that CRU might have had a problem? yes. Does it show how or if they fixed the problem? nope. does the science change? no. Is our trust in CRU code effected? in my case no. I dont trust naything I havent seen on my own screen.
        can smart guys write horrible code. yep. seen a lot of that.

        Bottom line is nothing SUBSTANTIAL follows from harry read me. there are more important things. maybe 4 years ago I would have ridden that hobby horse. science code sucks. fortran sucks. blah blah. too easy. too narrow.

      • amen.

      • Sarah Jones

        off the top of your head- great Willis just great! You think it´s all a conspiracy?

      • The whole of it. The context of it, especially. The context of the emails was the long autopsy of the Hockey Stick performed by Steve McIntyre in his papers with McKitrick and in his Climate Audit blog. When you put the two together, it looks terrible. Re-analysis of the whole thing has been done already, mainly at Climate Audit itself, showing in excruciating detail the enormous effort displayed to avoid criticism, to stop the publication of dissenters, to squeeze some papers in and keep others out of the IPCC report “even if we have to redefine peer-review”, and on and on and on.
        And most especially the lack of substantive argument against the detailed post mortem by McIntyre and others about specific details of dendro and non-dendro paleo reconstructions of past climate over the last 1000 years.
        That was almost entirely about tree-ring reconstruction of pre-instrumental temperatures, in order to prove that “recent warming is unprecedented”. A parallel effort had been going on about the instrumental measurements themselves, i.e. about UHI, cherry picking stations, disastrous archiving, all of which led to the now ongoing Berkeley project to redo the instrumental record completely because of the many problems encountered.
        So before being “certain about the past” one would need to re-analyse said past without the sloppy procedures and the fudged data. Then, only then, one could start trying to recalculate CS, improve the models, and perhaps figure out something (possibly still uncertain) about the future.

      • Re-analysis of the whole thing has been done already, mainly at Climate Audit itself, showing in excruciating detail the enormous effort displayed to avoid criticism, to stop the publication of dissenters, to squeeze some papers in and keep others out of the IPCC report “even if we have to redefine peer-review”, and on and on and on.

        Agreed – but Steve would I think say he’s hardly scratched the surface of the emails, even now. It’s dire, the more context one has. And it has nothing to do with right-wing talk show hosts. The rot is much deeper.

      • If you are unaware you should take the trouble of educating yourself, instead of asking others to do your work. If you are aware and believe nothing untoward happened then you are “unconvinced” and will remain so.

      • Sarah Jones

        Perhaps you would care to take the same trouble with the evidence for environmental degradation of our planet due to human activity.

        It should take you a couple of years to sift through the most basic evidence. And by then you may be convinced of the compelling nature of the data.

        But then again maybe not, depending on how open minded you are.

        And , of course, maybe by then it may be too late to change your mind, or to make a difference if you do.

      • Sarah Jones,
        Were you able to sort out 324W/m2 back radiation yet?

    • Data (which is, after all, what Climategate is about) is always fickle, and it is not a big deal if data gets revised.

      You lost me, Jim. If you believe that, then you’ve totally misread the situation.

      First because Climategate was only partially about data. To Joe Sixpack, it was largely about dishonesty and unethical behavior. And invoking 5 “investigations” won’t help your case because for anyone who paid any attention at all, those investigations just reinforced the idea of corruption in the community.

      Secondly, if data gets “revised” or “manipulated” or “lost” then Joe Sixpack will smell a very large, nasty rat. Which makes it a real big deal to him.

      It should also be a big deal to scientists as well. If the data has been “revised” such that it’s unreliable, then what are scientists basing their research on ? And how reliable/accurate is that work?

      I suspect that some scientists and other professionals were surprised – and shocked – by, for example, the Harry Readme file. I’d bet that that file made a lot of IT professionals and engineers take a lot closer look at the realities of climate science.

      Finally, for some of us, it came as no surprise. Except that it happened.

      Did Climategate change the world? Believe it. Let me count the ways……

      And it will continue to do so.

      You have to separate uncertainty in data from uncertainty in science, and Climategate is in the data category.

      You need to take another look at what it is and what it’s done. And you need to think about this – if the data is uncertain, then the results of the science are uncertain. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figrue that out.

    • Latimer Alder

      You mean that if I measure something as 20.0 C, it is no big deal if some researcher decides that the measurement is really 20.7 C because that fits his theory better? So he;ll alter 20,0C to 20.7 C unilaterally?

      Ain;t no sort of science that I’ve ever learnt.

      And you must work at CRU! I claim my 50 quid.

  13. John Smith:

    “It’s worth noting, just quietly, that if you can get access to people in the administration many of them are too. ”

    Ya know, I would still like to believe in that idealistic idea, but I tell you for sure it is shit. You must be quite young.

  14. Jim D:

    “Data (which is, after all, what Climategate is about) is always fickle, and it is not a big deal if data gets revised. You have to separate uncertainty in data from uncertainty in science, and Climategate is in the data category.”

    I do not comprehend that statement. Do you? Does anyone? WTF?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Maybe he’s saying that because my initial FOI to Phil Jones asked for his data, that data was what “climategate is about” … but none of the rest makes any sense.

    • OK, I mean that “hide the decline” is about how or whether you display data you don’t trust, and the FOIA requests were for data that have since been released, and have not been shown to be significant. Trenberth was complaining about the “travesty” of not enough data to constrain the energy budget, etc. It is all about the data, not the science.

      • If you don’t trust data from a data set- you don’t include the ENTIRE data set. That’s standard practice.

        Removing the ‘bad’ data at an arbitary point (that suits your theory) and then splicing other data ontop to give the illusion of a continuous data-set is not only bad scientific practice- but fraud.

        I repeat (again and again) had i done that in industry- i’d be facing criminal charges.


        ” It is all about the data, not the science.” The science IS the data, that’s the point.

      • It’s amazing that Jim D still doesn’t get it (“data you don’t trust”). The measured tree ring widths are the data and that’s not in doubt. What’s in doubt is whether this data can be used to represent temperature. If they had shown the full data, it would have been clear that this idea is dubious, and that is what they were trying to hide. How any times does this have to be explained?

      • It turns out that some pine trees start to grow more slowly when it gets above a certain temperature, like it did for the first time in centuries in the 60’s. This was the data that had to be removed, because the axis was temperature, not tree ring width.

      • Jim D you say
        “It turns out that some pine trees start to grow more slowly when it gets above a certain temperature, like it did for the first time in centuries in the 60′s.”

        You are assuming we know the temperature centuries back, which is precisely the point at issue. Why do people have to ignore this obvious point?

      • OK, you can disbelieve the whole field of dendroclimatology, and that is your choice, but that is a field of science that says you can get climate information from tree rings. I think it has an established literature and all the marks of a good scientific endeavor, which is why the IPCC reviews its findings.

      • It doesnt mean tree rings wouldnt be of ANY use. The divergence just means that the technique is incomplete and not as accurate as thermometers. There are inconsistensies between different proxy series everywhere, but one can not determine which is the “correct” one and which ones should be corrected. If you correct the 1900part you get a false impression that your end result as a whole is accurate.

      • The IPCC is a political body. Part of the UN, its agenda is to provide a justification for world political action, using selective science as a cover – hiding data, hiding delines, saying glaciers are melting, etc etc, as and when this serves their purpose. Tree rings seem to fall into place nicely for those purposes. That is why they ‘review’ them.

      • You give the IPCC and UN too much power. The best they can do is get governments talking together on the basis of the same scientific results. What the governments do with this common information is still up to them. What the UN can do is lead to a peer pressure among governments. Would or could they impose sanctions? I doubt it with the way the security council is set up and its veto powers. So, on this basis, I disagree that this is part of a UN power-grab conspiracy.

      • Who said anything about an IPCC conspiracy? It’s just the IPCC/UN doing doing what they were set up to do, ie foster world political action by whatever means they can.
        That is why they dwell on arguments like tree rings and hockey sticks that support world political action, and suppress or ignore those that don’t. No big secret, they’re just doing the job they were put there for.

      • “World political action” implies “world government” which is one thing the UN isn’t. I don’t expect it to be able to do anything that has an impact on the release of five times as much fossil CO2 in the 21st century as in the 20th, and the accelerating global warming consequences have to be predicted and mitigated somehow, but if the UN is weak, it every country to themselves.

      • World political action implies world government

        Not necessarily. As you yourself mentioned, the UN/IPCC being essentially a political lobby group for a more totalitarian world, could also involve not only providing biased and compromised science that argues for political action on climate, but also driving or coordinating such action on a multi-lateral basis by various states.

      • And you don’t call that a conspiracy theory?

      • JimD, have you read any of the emails at all? How many have you read?
        Do you realise the emails are much more than just hide the decline and travesty Trenberth?

      • These are the ones that get attention. There were e-mails about bad papers that are typical of scientific e-mail chat, especially how such papers could be published. They can share a private opinion on that, I would think. Are we seeing scientists apart from the authors defending those papers? No. There were e-mails about some ‘bozo’, I think they called him, sending FOIA requests at such a high rate that they couldn’t handle it. Their initial responses to this person were polite, you would be surprised to see.

  15. What epistemological universe does one have to inhabit to take seriously a statement like this: “. . . focus more on certainty (namely the past) than uncertainty (the future)” and then to infer from it that its author really is suggesting that “. . . we should not deny this uncertainty, but rather put less emphasis on future predictions. “
    Although the future is unknown, the details of both the past and the future are subject to uncertainty, and sometimes the future is more knowable and certain than the past.

    And furthermore, I object to people (not you Judith) who throw around terms like “epistemic” because they think that their opponents lack the fine, classical, Greek training that they themselves opted to forgo in order to pursue a career in blogging; the faux learned vocabulary merely demonstrates which side of the campus they dropped out of. I have no respect for researchers who can’t manage their data, can’t do their sums and can’t keep their politics out of their research; I have even less for the semi-articulate, greek-rooted know-nothings who act as their mouthpieces.

    There, I feel better now.

    • I tend to agree…but it’s almost impossible for any climate scientist to ignore the politics in our current world where climate science and scientists are under constant attack through the traditional media outlets and even more viciously through blogs. I’d feel pretty defensive in their shoes…but I still hope the best of them can stay as objective as possible.

      • Science has been under assault from media and interest groups for a long time. But from the Ban-the-Bomb movement of the late 50s and early 60s to 3 Mile Island to Chernobyl, the “Science” of nuclear physics has never been in doubt and there has always been a consensus, despite the assault from the left. Physicists were frustrated but they didn’t fudge their data to achieve their political ends.

    • “I object to people (not you Judith) who throw around terms like “epistemic” ….” etc

      Dude! That’s so bang on! My other favorite is the infamous “straw man” argument. Is there an opposing argument that isn’t a “straw man” anymore? Why does it matter what kind of bad argument it is? The victory for some folks is in identifying the kind of bad argument. Put a label on it and you don’t have to understand it. And “agnotology”! Hilarious! Spare me the definition! As soon as someone starts trotting stuff like this out I count myself the winner.

      • JL, a straw man is different and very easy to define. It means that you attribute an argument to your opponent that he has never claimed and then you victoriously disprove this claim that never was…

      • Or it means your opponent claims that you’re attributing an argument to them that was never made – something your opponent might claim if said argument is clearly refuted, then claim to have made another argument altogether.

        Classifying the type of argument and then defining it as invalid is an avoidance mechanism.

        On several occasions I’ve been accused of making “strawman arguments” when I made no argument at all. I simply stated an uncontroversial fact that, apparently, is percieved as a prelude or setup to an anti-AGW argument.

        The vehemence, vitriol, and spittle with which such statements are attacked reflects deep emotional involvment and loss of perspective and objectivity on the part of the attacker.

    • Latimer Alder

      OK I admit it. I’m not proud.

      WTF does ‘epistemological’ mean?

      • Without reference to Wikipedia or other web pages: epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with our knowledge of truth, not truth itself. And yet …

        John Polkinghorne lectured me in quantum mechanics at Cambridge and his wife has given him a t-shirt with his favourite slogan on it: “Epistemology entails ontology.”

        This has quite a deep meaning in the debates over the meaning of quantum physics I guess. As for me, I’m waiting for the Simpsons episode that will explain it.

      • Epistemology is the branch of philosophy the addresses the origins and nature of knowledge. Schools of thought include about nine flavors of Subjectivism as well as Rationalism, Empiricism, Operationalism, etc.

        Ontology is the study of being in itself, whatever that may be.

      • Or more simply; ontology is about what is; epistemology about how we can know about what is, the ground of our knowledge.

  16. Or perhaps not.

    Jim D says “Data (which is, after all, what Climategate is about) is always fickle, and it is not a big deal if data gets revised. You have to separate uncertainty in data from uncertainty in science, and Climategate is in the data category.” Spoken like a true ignoramus sir. It sounds like you’ve spent many seconds reviewing the history of Science.

    • OK, an example from the history of science. The Big Bang Theory did not replace the Steady State Theory of the Universe until the data became solidly in favor of it. Some older scientists still held on to Steady State long after its observational demise, like Fred Hoyle, and we are seeing a parallel with AGW in the role of the Big Bang Theory. Is it a steady state climate or a changing climate?

  17. The Fox News arguments are kind of funny. Liberals assume that Fox is feeding viewers bad ideas. The truth is the opposite: Fox is telling their viewers what they already believe – the liberal battle was lost before Fox arrived to fight it. Fox is a reflection of the trend, not a driving force.

    The implications are extraordinary. Viewed in this way, one must accept that the popularity of modern liberal ideas declined because people dislike the ideas, distrust the advocates, or both – thus putting the responsibility for the failure squarely back on the source of the ideas: liberals themselves.

    Thus climate change policy advocacy, driven by the lefter end of the liberal spectrum, is distrusted because of the source. Climategate dramatically deepened that distrust, and the subsequent defiant response of climate scientists and weak response from the scientific community and liberal politicians sealed it. Let’s face it: you don’t need a PhD in climate science to spot the dishonesty in the climategate emails.

  18. Here’s an analysis of Climate Science at this point:

    We are dealing with massive mental illness.

    • Are you dissing our host with that last comment? Climate Science may not be mature when compared with the more reductionists sciences, but refer to the scene in the Holy Grail…not quite dead yet…in fact I think it’s getting better…unless someone clubs it over the head.

    • This is the fight that will define the twenty-first century as either a time when mankind advances due to honest enterprise, quality science, and technical achievement…or we are subjugated by government micro-regulation from manipulative control freaks based on false and slanted data from grant recipients with no scruples.

      Even though their cries of imminent catastrophe are not observable in nature and have been proven failures many times by fellow progressives they continue to see themselves as godlike and therefore able to replicate heaven here on earth. They remind me of the monks of the Dark Ages, who chose an unheated cell, mean food and self-flagellation to demonstrate their rightness. They cannot laugh at themselves and can never see the humor in anyone or anything else, and that is a tragic flaw, no matter who it may involve. For in the lack of humor lie all the seeds of evil and destruction. People who see themselves as being worthy of admiration, and who cannot conceive of themselves as ever being a cause for laughter, are far too serious for their own good, and even worse, they generally believe they have a calling to impress the importance of their beliefs on others.

      The recent revelations of what has been going on with NOAA and NASA/GISS almost make the CRU look like petty criminals. We really need highly skilled, disinterested parties to examine the fraud NOAA is committing. Folks like Pachauri, Trenberth, Karl, Hansen, Schmidt and Santer are quite literally funded directly by the taxpayer. We taxpayers DIRECTLY fund NOAA, NASA and Lawrence Livermore labs.

      The moral fiber of a country, and the religious basis upon which the United States and European nations have developed, has been replaced by faith in people and government. But neither is worthy of such trust. The men and women we choose to govern us are subject to the frailties of human nature. Many are in government because of their desire to acquire dominion over others, for self-aggrandizement, or for personal wealth.

      The end result of the people’s reliance on their fellow man is to allow the ruling class to foster policies detrimental to the long-term interests of their citizenry. The guiding principle that emphasizes respect for the uniqueness and inalienable rights of all human beings is being discarded.

      God save us all from humorless men, for they are also merciless and implacable.”

      • Sarah Jones

        I find you screamingly funny- does that count in my favour?

      • Sarah Jones

        When you mentioned `inalienable rights´- you forgot to mention `responsibilities´.

  19. I thought this summed things up very well:

    “I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.”

  20. Oh, Stage 3.

  21. Judith I find it interesting that your example for the notion of shibboleth is directed at the “right”. I can assure you that I would not be alone in finally doing my own reseach ,at a very “dilettante” level, because the debate was dominated at the time with all the language and evangelical trappings of the progressives holding centre stage with all the symptoms of a shibboleth. This was in the last half dozen years or so with ‘An Inconvenient Con Job” being sprouted as truth everywhere and even made compulsory on National curriculums. The world was going stupid . People like me thought there is something fishy about this just because of this ridiculous stuff which you call shibboleth and I call bs. Moderates never seemed to figure too much at the forefront. It was the stridency of the language and the types of political animals leading the charge for drastic action , progressives , which ultimately triggered an explosion of every day people doing their own seach for truth without ever wanting to “take sides ” at the expense of more important issues like the truth about the science and the costs both financial and social. I believe Climate Gate coincided with this surge and the debate generally is better for it. So the sheibboleth as you called it of the progressives is the primary reason millions like me sifted our way through the bs trying to understand why the evangelists wanted us to fill the pockets of Governments and carpet baggers like Gore or that sending billions per year to multi national wind farm companies in subsidies may not be the only way forward. It was the shibboleth of the progressives that only seemed to use key emotive phrases and always played the man not the issue with a lazy MSM playing along. It’s been a good , although time consuming, journey for many like me . We,ve learnt more about AGW or CC than we probably needed to if Gov and media and some scientific organisations had done their job better but I believe the debate is better now and just maybe the extremes from both sides of the political debate have been put into perspective. The UN has lost all credibility with me , though not just for this debacle. I agree with Lomborg. Use valuable sensible funds on research now for cheaper , much cheaper “green energy” for a better long term “environmental” and social outcome. It makes perfect economic sense that if you make it cheap enough , even the worst and biggest polluters will invest and use it Any thing else is a cynical tax grab or investment con or short term political ploy. Sometimes the science community spends too much time navel gazing and locked in labs and not keeping some of their “peers” in line. Thank you for being one of the many reasonable voices and for helping millions like me to learn more.

    • “I agree with Lomborg. Use valuable sensible funds on research now for cheaper , much cheaper “green energy” for a better long term “environmental” and social outcome.”

      Nothing’s cheaper than nuclear and hydro, and there’s nothing on the horizon to change this.

      • I agree Harold but the political landscape ,certainly here in Australia, is a long way from being able to consider those particular options.

    • Just one word – “paragraphs.”

      • Yeah thanks GaryM , you are just the sort of form over function rock thrower from deep cover I allude to. You obviously confuse educated progressive liberalism with enlightenment. Enjoy your word play while the rest of us build stuff and pay bills.

      • Latimer Alder

        But as a communicator you have a responsibility to make your message as easy to understand as possible.

        In a busy blog like this, my inclination is to skip over dense unparagraphed text and move quickly on to the next post.

        Paragraphs are not hard to do (the old typewriter return button does them OK for me), and makes your stuff more readable.

        What’s not to like?

      • One, it was a joke. You never saw The Graduate? Lighten up.

        Two, confuse educated progressive liberalism with enlightenment? I don’t expect you to have read any other comments I have left here, but boy, are you way off.

      • I almost typed “Lighten up, Francis,” a line from another great movie, Stripes. But I thought you might get offended again.

  22. Climategate was vital in the reformation of “climate science”.

    Up until Climategate, climate scientists, particularly Team members, could dismiss skeptics with a bit of hand waving and a steadfast (and illegal) refusal to obey FOI laws. RealClimate had serious purchase and a significant traffic stream. The Big Oil funding smears and the lame cries of “not peer reviewed” worked to keep skeptics out of the mainstream discussion of climate.

    After Climategate it was clear that the skeptics were onto something. The juvenile ad homs (Fraudit) were exposed. The “trick” was exposed. The “delete emails” was exposed. The crappy code in the Harry_readme file was exposed. It turned out that the skeptics had been right about a great deal.

    Most importantly, the prior certainty the climate science establishment had hidden behind was exposed as an exercise in wishful thinking.

    The “investigations”, much cited by the Team and their flying monkeys, were exposed as obvious whitewashes and rather thin ones at that. The reaction of RC and Romm grew increasingly hysterical and vituperative. The message, such as it was, drowned in the stream of invective and venom. These people did not like getting caught.

    Now, from the ashes of the edifice destroyed by Climategate we have efforts such as our hostess’s to begin the process of rebuilding a serious, robust and transparent climate science. Basic things like archiving data and code are becoming the norm they should have been for two decades.

    Most importantly, there has been a recognition that a great deal of what we would like to know about climate remains either entirely unknown or extremely uncertain. The science itself was relatively unchanged by Climategate; but the confidence placed in that science went from very nearly absolute to virtually nil in the space of a few months.

    Climategate was a call for recalibration. That recalibration is ongoing no matter that rather than face that fact some “scientists” seem to want to reverse the null hypothesis and simply assume that AGW is a proven fact. Those scientists are a huge part of the science’s credibility problem. A reality which they are rather slowly recognizing.

    • Joe Lalonde


      If you strictly go by temperature data, how does it predict long term weather?
      If you go by the last ice age until now, of course the planet was warming. But the planet NEVER overheated in the ice age history.

  23. I’m a lukewarmer, a pretty skeptical one. I’m a social liberal. When I try to describe any of the “problems” with the CAGW position to liberal friends, for instance, “model projections are not evidence,” or most anything else, I usually get an intelligent question that I can’t answer very well. The question is why do the American Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, etc., etc. support the the CAGW science. Why have they not criticized the climategate scientists if scientific ethics were violated.
    If anyone should show up as a leader, it would be the spokespersons for the learned scientific societies. With very few exceptions, that has not happened. My friends who read the NYT and Washington Post and such are curious enough to do a little research on their own. They do go to the AAS website, the Royal Society website, the NSF website., and maybe one or two others like the Union of Concerned Scientists. Some even subscribe to Scientific American and/or Nature where they read the same orthodoxy. It seems the only knowledgeable and opoen-minded
    Judy Curry, it.s pretty hard to compete with the AGW orthodoxy that a typical liberal is exposed to where ever they turn. Some of my conservative friends, on the other hand, get almost all their news from Fox and have some pretty strong opinions about government conspiricy , socialist takeover, UN one world government, in which global warming/climate change prevention is is the excuse for taking away our freedoms. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a Samuel Beckett play!

    • Imagine a panel of bishops investigate allegations of priestly pedophilia. Imagine they announce that there’s nothing to the charges, and the matter is closed, and how dare the secular courts interfere in a church matter.

      That’s your answer.

  24. Michael Larkin

    I find it unsurprising that someone himself caught in what he terms a “closed epistemic loop” sees anyone who disagrees with him as being likewise ensnared. For a hammer, everything becomes a nail.

  25. Agnotology neat. Had to add that to the spell checker. It may get a second definition soon, the study of climategate. I guess the more your reader has to look up the more powerful your argument. I’m impressed.

  26. What I find amazing is how anyone can think that science takes place when no one checks anyone else’s work. If it were up to establishment scientists, we still wouldn’t know how screwed up Mann’s work is. Or Steig’s joke. Or Rahmstorf’s mess. Or all of Jones’ disasters. We wouldn’t know how bad the quality control is for the databases. We wouldn’t know how wrong the IPCC was. We wouldn’t know that climate scientists regularly butcher their stats. We wouldn’t know nearly as much about the failures of the GCMs.

    This crazy ranter Judy quotes may think that climate scientists need to focus on “certainty”, but that’s all we’ve ever gotten from most of the scientists. They’ve already tried it and they flamed out.

    My suggestion is that the climate scientists allow people to check their studies, even replicate them. That they introduce the notion of quality control to climate science. Get software pros to help them straighten out their messed up code and get stats pros to teach them how to do statistics properly. Finally, as long as they need GCMs to make the case, shut up until they get one that they can verify and validate.

    If they tried my suggestions, fewer of us would be laughing at their incompetence.

    • double ditto

    • Joe Lalonde


      Science itself never started out on solid footing. Expanding on bad theories that no one want to change as then the trickle down effect is that it then effects all fields.
      I see areas of science that no one wants to talk about but it does effect energy transfer and circulation.

      We understand a simple circle on paper in a non moving state and dedicate math around this.
      In a moving state, this is completely different as the whole mass of the circle is now effected and is an extremely complex system.

      • gcapologist

        I have a sneaking suspicion that “climate sensitivity” also changes as the state of our Earth System (comprised of rocks, water, soil, air, living beings etc.) changes with time.

    • Fred Harwood

      Very well stated.

  27. Doug:

    “The question is why do the American Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, etc., etc. support the the CAGW science. Why have they not criticized the climategate scientists if scientific ethics were violated.”

    Simple. Follow the money! There has not been such a scientific funding gravy train since Sputnik. I rode on THAT train with an National Defensive Education Fellowship (NDEF) grant that essentially paid my way through college. Anyone who actually understands science and who is watching this comedy from a “neutral” position could not help but sigh and point to Eisenhower’s admonishions! We have been HAD by the media and “scientific industrial complex.” Problem is–the money is running out, LOL.

    • Holly Stick

      Oh for Pete’s sake, why don’t you gullible conspiracy theorists grow a brain. “Climategate” was a trumped up little scandal where some private emails were stolen and the criminals cherrypicked a few private minor remarks, took them out of context and raised hell about them, just so they could sucker you poor sad idiots into letting the polluters get away with polluting more.

      Doug, why do all the scientific societies support the science of AGW? Think real hard about it. It’s because they are right and you deniers are wrong. Get over yourselves and can the conspiracy nuttiness.

      • Latimer Alder

        You haven’t actually read the e-mails have you?

        I recommend Messrs. Mosher and Fuller’s excellent near-contemporary book on the topic. And there are plenty of internet-based archives of all the original texts for you to confirm their points.

        And, if you know anything about professional IT, Harry_read_me will while away a quite morning of awe-struck hilarity. Gasp in amazement at the incompetence.

      • Holly.
        From these emails it’s been proven in the UK that they violated FOI laws. They only escaped prosecution due to a mis-understood loophole (expertly played by the university).

        Incidentally, may i remind you that many of these societies have numerous members that do not toe the line, further these members have either a) resigned or b) submitted petitions to get the official position changed.

        It’s never as simple as you’ve been led to believe.

      • Holly … why don’t you gullible conspiracy theorists grow a brain. “Climategate” was a trumped up little scandal

        The only gullible and nutty conspiracy theorist here is you, Holly.

        The idea that thousands of state scientists could think and act independently of the hand that pays and picked them, beggars belief. Of course not – since CAGW thinking benefits the state, the ‘scientists’ they employ in that field will tend to reflect that view (just like ‘scientists’ employed by tobacco companies supported their employers’ vested interest).

        And the systemic dishonesty revealed in Climategate is no ‘trumped up little charge’.

      • Punksta- i don’t agree that there is a large conspiracy here. Or that the state is (other than politically and externally) trying to manipulate the results/scientists.

        I see this as contaminated group think and confirmation bias and nothing else. They’re so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they cannot see the mess their in. Couple this with stubborn-ness and the realisation that their careers are over if proven wrong then i think you have ample explanation for events, without invoking grand conspiracies

        I do agree though that climategate showed gross misconduct.

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m with you on this one. No worldwide conspiracy.

        Just a large bunch of second-raters who got way out of their intellectual and emotional depth when playing with their new toy ‘climatology’

        In their rush to become ‘superstars’ within their own liitle ecosystem (*), they made a Faustian pact with the devil, and now they have to pay the price. And they bring down everybody else with them.

        *’We have to get rid of the MWP’…and, as if by magic, a paper appeared that seemed to do that. Catapaulting its authors from obscurity into the firmament of kudos and status and Lead Authorship and Nobel Prizes. It took ten years to show that the paper was in fact complete bollocks. But by then the perps were (realtively) secure in their positions.

        But ‘climatology’ had been damaged beyond repair IMO.

      • Sarah Jones

        I knew it… coconuts!

      • i don’t agree that there is a large conspiracy here.

        Nor do I. Only Holly does – she thinks there’s a conspiracy of honesty and rectitude, such that state-fed scientists don’t end up with a pro-state bias such as CAGW. Ludicrous.

      • Ah, then i’ve misrepresented your position- apologies.

      • Oh and don’t forget Big Oil!

      • Sarah Jones

        “..And the systemic dishonesty revealed in Climategate is no ‘trumped up little charge’.”

        Excuse me if I beg to differ- it is most clearly a ” Trumped up little charge” and has been deemed so five times by independent enquiries.

        But in your own mind there is evidence of sinister doings- you suspect a conspiracy- you collude with those who also suspect a conspiracy and for you the plot thickens. No matter how many enquiries take place, that will be more evidence of conspiracy, and more conspirators. And it will never end.

        The rest of us have moved on.

        There is, like it or not, No case to answer. End of.

        There is a line we do not cross. It is called Ethics.

        If you no longer trust in science or in jurisprudence, then you no longer trust in our civilisation.

        And that´s just sad.

      • What jurisprudence, Holly? When have any of the Climategate principals been called to testify under oath in an adversarial proceeding? And why do even ardent warmists regard the “investigations” as disgraceful whitewashes?

        You really need to get out more.

      • Sarah …it is most clearly a ” Trumped up little charge” and has been deemed so five times by independent enquiries.

        There have been no “indepedent” inquiries. The UEA for example hand-picked trusted stooges to do the job, and paid £300000 for the “investigation” to have itself cleared. All classic old-school-tie stuff.
        What is needed now is a judicial inquiry – not only into Climategate, but also the whitewashes of it you put so much faith in and want to “move on” from.

        If you no longer trust in science or in jurisprudence, then you no longer trust in our civilisation. And that is just sad

        If you equate civilisation with corrupt science, and do your utmost to “move one” to bury or ignore the evidence of the corruption, that is just sad.

      • All non-governmental organizations that are not explicitly conservative from their inception will in time become left wing. Inasmuch as CAGW provides the perfect rationale for socialist internationalism I would expect professional societies to suffer from the same phenomenon.

        I would expect that those motivated by a sense of personal mission would be those most likely to successfully compete for leadership positions in scientific societies. It is therefore no surprise to hear messianic messages from the leadership of some of those organizations.

      • You know, I keep on imagining that I’ve been dreaming for all these years, and I’m about to wake up to find that, years back when the first sceptical voices were heard, the scientists responded by releasing their meticulously-kept records and data, befitting their well-conducted research into the greatest challenge ever to face mankind, and saying, “Ok, try denying THAT!

        But then I pinch myself and realise I’m very much awake.

      • Holly, we can be sure you have no idea whether the e-mails were cherry picked since you do not know universe of the e-mails. Even if they were cherry picked, they showed abnormal science conducted by pusillanimous human beings.

      • Sarah Jones

        Dear Holly,

        I share your frustration. For those of us who accept the science, who are not convinced of a `conspiracy of scientists´ to pervert the truth, and who understand that mankind is responsible for the deterioration of the quality of our environment, whether he admits it or not- I would like to tell you that the majority of reasonable thinkers; scientists, philosophers, biologists, oceanographers, geologists, glaciologists, botanists, mathematicians, zoologists, atmospheric physicists, physicists, and student of planetary science – the Earth sciences- are all in agreement that human activity is affecting our planet- to its detriment. It is of concern- and for this they call us alarmists. It alarms them.

        There are, of course, those who question the science- they are of necessity scientists themselves. And they are not very many. Think gravity, evolution, Earth as sphere etc

        All scientists are sceptics- but those calling themselves `sceptics´- are in the main not sceptics, but `contrarians´. These people are not terribly qualified in science but nevertheless have the right to the opinion about science. They come to the forum to state their objections- and they must be heard. They usually object to the treatment rather than the problem- and they do have a case. This of course does not allow them to fabricate data or to go unchallenged- and hiding behind the `null hypothesis´ doesn´t cut it. There are those who are in downright denial- but they will never admit that, even to themselves. But denial is a clear cut condition, as can be observed.

        There are no `sides´ to this argument. There are only facts- as we understand them.

        Anyone in denial about the fact that we are polluting our atmosphere, and that that action will have unconsciable consequences is failing to recognise a fundamental principle of physics.

        Failure to recognise consequences is not only unscientific, it is also stupid and irresponsible.

        One thing to bear in mind, Holly, is that these denizens of this blog represent the contrarian 3%. The other 97% accept the need for action on Agw. The contrarians believe they number thousands, but we number tens of thousands.
        Maybe more. Do the math.

        The first step to solving the problem is to acknowledge the problem. Anyone who steps up to say that there isn´t a problem is a blind fool.

        The main obstacle to acknowledging the problem is `fear´. Or rather `fear´ is a powerful emotion. It clouds judgement for one thing. It goes rather well with uncertainty- fear and uncertainty- like fish and chips! (´cept not much fish left to fish…..)

        The denizens are scared. Pantless.

        Why else would they bother?

      • Sarah,

        “Failure to recognise consequences is not only unscientific, it is also stupid and irresponsible.”

        I would agree that man has affected the environment detrimentally in many ways. I would also agree that we should all aim to do something about it, at least within our own local areas.

        What is far from proved, however, is that an increase in global temperature will have is one of these detrimental effects. On balance, it seems to me that a warmer climate is likely to be largely neutral in terms of “winners” and “losers”.

        What is beyond doubt is that the climate change debate has distracted attention from many other, far more serious environmental concerns, many of which we have a far greater control over than the climate.

        A good example here in Australia is the scandalous amount of lead in the environment of Mount Isa, a mining town in Queensland. Studies indicate that the local children are ingesting enough lead to potentially affect their intellectual capacity, and yet the greens are so preoccupied with climate change mitigation that they pay little or no attention.

        The fact is, we are never going to control the output of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere until we develop new sources of cheap, abundant baseload energy. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality IMO. Bjorn Lomborg is spot on in this regard.

      • Sarah Jones

        Saad- I do not agree that Bjorn Lomberg is spot on, though I concede he may have a point. That point however, is only a part of the problem. The problem is that we need to start developing those new sources very quickly, and start taking care of that baseload. Now.

        Of all the environmental concerns that concern environmentalists- the damage to the atmosphere is of the greatest concern.

        It is perhaps because it is the most chaotic and most vunerable, though not to say that Earth and oceans are not.

        Climate is basic- it ensures everything we need- rainfall, warmth, oxygen, cold…

        Without climate and atmosphere there would be no life as we know it on Earth. And first and foremost we need to respect that fact.

      • Of all the environmental concerns that concern environmentalists- the damage to the atmosphere is of the greatest concern.

        When did you become Goddess that you speak for ALL environmentalists? I am an environmentalist – and you certainly don’t speak for me or for many of my friends on both the right and left. .

        You failed entirely to address Saaad’s example of the harm that climate catastrophists have done to the environmental cause and to the world we live in. Nor do you seem to understand that it’s only one of many thousands of examples of the harm that your particular kind of fanaticism has perpetrated. .

        The fact that you believe that an unproved hypothesis (CAGW) with possible consequences in the future is so much more important than human suffering in the present says things about you that I won’t even write on this blog.

      • “Possible” consequences are happening now. Pakistan, Queensland, China – notice that your food prices are going up? Partly from the North African revolutions pushing the oil price up, partly from crop failures due to drought and floods. Expect more extreme weather events to cause more human suffering soon. Get your head out of the sand.

      • Jim,

        I agree with you. It seems to me that much of the simple, yet vitally important stuff that we can do to improve the environment on an existential level, has been thrown down the drain by an overwhelming desire on the part of the greens to prevent a ‘doomsday’ scenario that, IMO, is no more realistic than those proposed by various religious cults over the years.

        Climate science is fascinating stuff but I have yet to see one piece of compelling evidence that a modest rise in global temps will cause a catastrophe anywhere near as large as the catastrophe we are far more likely to cause by wrecking our economies in pursuit of an impossible goal.

        Sheesh……I’ve got to learn to write simpler sentences! :-)

      • Holly Stick

        Saaad, who is preventing you from working on other environmental matters? Go on and do it! Tell your Republican reps to stop attacking the EPA.

        But many people judge climate change to be the most serious problem facing all of us. You would find plenty of good evidence for it if you looked for it and read the real scientists’ work instead of hanging around these deadend denialist blogs. Your ignorance is your own fault.

      • So “real scientists” know that CAGW is real do they, Holly, a problem that requires more state interference and powers – taxes, burueaucracies, departments agencies?
        Would these be the same scientists the state has selected and is funding by any chance?

      • Holly Stick:

        … instead of hanging around these deadend denialist blogs

        You ought to practice what you preach.
        Oh, and you might want to apologise to our host before you go.

      • Holly –
        “Possible” consequences are happening now. Pakistan, Queensland, China – notice that your food prices are going up? Partly from the North African revolutions pushing the oil price up, partly from crop failures due to drought and floods.

        Don’t get silly on me, girl. None of the things you mention have anything to do with climate. Weather, yes – climate, no. And it’s ALL been seen before. The connection you’re seeing isn’t science – it’s either media hype or religious faith. Not that I think there’s a nickels worth of difference between the two.

      • notice that your food prices are going up? Partly from the North African revolutions pushing the oil price up, partly from crop failures due to drought and floods.

        And maybe deliberately inflating the currency?

      • Latimer Alder


        ‘Climate ensures oxygen’

        It does?

        News to me. Care to explain?

      • She won’t be able to explain; her interests are solely political. That’s why she’s here.

      • Sarah,

        Clearly you are well intentioned with respect to your concerns about human activity affecting our planet. It seems however, that your major concern is CO2 emissions and the impacts that they are having.

        So far as I can see, the case has not been made that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are having any adverse impact at all, or if they are, the impacts are quite minor, and likely outweighed by the positive benefits – greening of the Sahara being a good example.

        On the other hand, I am convinced by the arguments strongly made by Roger Pielke Sr (among others) which state that man is having major impacts on local and regional climate through land-use factors. The dust bowl in the US during the 1930s was the result of misguided agricultural practices, and even today there are examples of desertification being caused by similar practices. The encroachment of the Gobi desert on the western margins of Beijing are an example.

        Deforestation, draining of swamps, interference with natural hydrological processes (separation of flood plains from rivers by levees, dams, irrigation etc), industrial monoculture agriculture practices as well as contamination of the environment with chemicals of many kinds (benzene, pesticides, herbicides etc) are all having major negative impacts in many places.

        It seems evident that many are confusing the observable effects of these local and regional changes caused by land-use with what they think are global impacts caused by CO2 emissions. It is clear that the issues are extraordinarily complex, and poorly understood.

        I would argue that the inordinate (and ill-advised) emphasis on CO2 is distracting attention and resources from the real issues that are impacting humanity.

        No doubt you have thought these issues through and satisfied yourself that CO2 is the big problem. As a skeptic of CO2 caused warming (OK, contrarian) I disagree. But can we agree that we should focus on establishing what the real issues are before we commit maybe trillions addressing what seems likely to be the wrong problem?

      • Mondo- you are correct in your assessement of land use and deterioration. The Dust Bowl example is definitive.

        I am convinced that CO2 levels are an important forcing agent.

        The climate is sensitive to small changes, often producing huge effects, as can be seen by the paleo record. The physics behind `the GH´ effect regarding the role of atmospheric CO2 on planetary temperature is sound. And I have seen enough evidence to convince me that rising CO2 emissions will cause peturbations to our climate.

        I am also aware that we dump tons of the stuff into the atmosphere daily.

        I understand that we do not know with enough certainty whether those peturbations will be beneficial or not- likely not according to mainstream science- but you must believe what you want to believe, though I assure the evidence is out there.

        If I am right – then I can also assure you it will cost more than a few trillion dollars to fix it- once it´s too late.

      • I think you are correct, Sarah, about the warming, and I think the losses will far outweigh any gains made from warming. A few may get rich from oil companies drilling in the Arctic while a longer-lasting dustbowl gives the US a huge internal refugee problem to match the external refugee problem. Read the Grapes of Wrath.

      • But what had the Dust Bowl to do with CO2??

      • Not necessarily CO2, but there may be a connection with warming (which can have different causes). So you get this kind of thing:

      • Holly,

        I think there’s a really good case for better land management, amongst many other things – overfishing, particulate pollution, plastic bags, export of dirty manufacturing processes to the third world…….don’t get me started.

        However, I simply cannot agree that the case for a warmer world being a disaster has been made, at all.

      • Holly Stick

        You are looking in the wrong place.

      • And the right place is????????

      • Sarah Jones,

        You need to figure out why there is a magic number of 324W/m2 back radiation before you convinced that CO2 is an important forcing. I can tell you its trivial unless you can account for the 324W/m2 back radiation.

      • Sarah Jones:

        Anyone in denial about the fact that we are polluting our atmosphere, and that that action will have unconsciable consequences is failing to recognise a fundamental principle of physics.

        Which fundamental principle of physics would that be?

      • It’s a newly discovered principle combining multiverse, string and teleconnectivity theories, where man’s raping of the planet now explains all prior periods of warming. There’s this brand new statistical method that no one has seen before that proves it. Expect a cover story in Nature next month. They’ve got this really cool graph….

      • Perhaps if they tried a bit harder they could link the demise of the dinosaurs to our use of fossil fuels.
        Perhaps even the Big Bang itself. :-)

      • Sarah Jones & Holly Stick,

        Did you do the math? I meant 324W/m2 back radiation from K&T’s 1997 Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Advise me if you are able to figure it out.

      • Other than the actual conspiracies revealed in the Climategate correspondence, Sarah, you might want to drop the “conspiracy theorist” meme, which is even sillier than the “Big Oil funding” meme.

        If I stand on a streetcorner handing out $5 bills, why would anyone attribute the line forming to a conspiracy?

      • Holly Stick,
        Have you a brain to figure out the 324W/m2 back radiation yet? Without knowing where it comes from and fight for it! Nice brain!

  28. The lesson we’ve learned from climategate is simple. It’s the same lesson taught by death panels, socialist government takeover, Sharia law, and Obama’s birth certificate. To understand it we must turn to agnotology, the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt.

    The modern right has created a closed epistemic loop containing millions of people. Within that loop, the implausibility or extremity of a claim itself counts as evidence. The more liberal elites reject it, the more it entrenches itself. Standards of evidence have nothing to do with it.– David Roberts

    Roberts offers what I consider a “close epistemic loop” — an arrogant, self-serving, and paranoid way of thinking that is incapable of self-criticism. This is exactly why I distrust so much of the climate change movement.

    However valid climate science may be, the inability of its advocates to understand why Climategate was a betrayal of science and intellectual honesty and to continue making excuses and playing the victim baffles me.

    If their thinking is so sloppy and hyper-partisan on the obvious, what sort of subtle errors may have crept in at every turn of their science?

    Once upon a time I defended climate scientists. Actually I still do, a bit. But until I get an answer on this question, count me as a skeptic.

  29. I believe Dave Roberts’s lamentation is misguided. For mainstream science to have denounced the Climategate leaks as a crime would have been counterproductive . First, we don’t know whether it was a crime (outside hacking) or a non-criminal inside job. Second, the public is not scandalized by technical infractions of the law if the result is to reveal high level alleged misbehavior.

    What the mainstream might have done better is something I would like to attempt now in response to many comments we’ve seen in these various threads to the effect that mainstream climate conclusions are suspect because so many of them can be shown to be the result of shoddy or even fraudulent manipulation of the data. How can we trust anything if Michael Mann’s statistics were mishandled, or the HadCrut dataset was error-prone, and so on?

    The point I tried to make earlier and will repeat now is this. For an accurate perspective, one should become familiar with basic climate science principles through texts and other sources, and then faithfully follow the full extent of the climate science literature, which is rather extensive. When that happens, what becomes clear is that the examples of bad science that abound on the blogosphere are examples selected for that purpose from an overwhelmingly larger number of studies that are not subject to the same criticisms, but which lead to the same general conclusions as the studies cited for their flaws.

    This is typical of science in general, but there is no way for a reader to be aware of that if he or she doesn’t know the content in the entire population of studies from which the cited ones have been selected. There is also no way for a reader to disagree with me legitimately without knowing that content.

    I believe it is the responsibility of an open-minded reader to reserve judgment about various scientific conclusions if he or she doesn’t know whether a criticized study is representative of work on that topic. Typically, it is not. I regret that this principle is so seldom observed in blog commentary, including commentary here, which tends to be at a higher level than in most blogs.

    The organizations Roberts mentioned should have emphasized that point, and pointed to sources that give a more representative view of the entire breadth of climate science understanding. Ultimately, though, it is up to individuals to come to grips with the fact that there is no shortcut to an accurate perspective on a scientific field of investigation. That perspective requires a great deal of homework. People who haven’t done their homework have a right to their opinion, but perhaps less right than they presume to assert their opinion as equal in weight to others who have greater familiarity with the totality of work in the field.

    And if the dog ate your homework, you should do it over again.

    • Fred,

      The studies in the literature are never checked. You have no idea whether any of the work is any better than Mann’s or Jones’ or Rahmstorf’s. And since no mainstream scientist raised any objections to their garbage, we are entitled to assume that they can’t tell garbage from quality work with respect to any of the rest of it.

      We know the databases are a mess because we have seen all kinds of examples of botched quality control. If the “literature” relies on this kind of data, the literature would never make it to a jury because it would be deemed too unreliable.

      If you want to make drastic changes to the way the rest of us live out here in the real world, you first, at a bare minimum, have to elevate your game so that it meets the same real world quality standards that the rest of us have to meet every day.

      • Btw, the fact that the refusal to share data keeps studies from being audited or replicated should never, ever, be considered evidence that the studies have somehow passed a quality test and represent solid science. If anything, the rule of thumb should be exactly the opposite. Until the means to check have been provided, the conclusions are nothing more than some nice guesses.

      • Stan – I believe you illustrate the point I was trying to make. You have extrapolated from a small minority of studies selected for flaws by critics to the vast bulk of studies that were not selected. That, I have to say, doesn’t entitle you to assume anything.

        As to whether I have any idea whether the unselected studies are better than Mann’s, my reply is that you may have no idea, but I do, because I read the literature. With all respect, when you read the literature, then your opinion will deserve the same weight as mine. Right now, it doesn’t.

        As to raising objections, you misunderstand the life of scientists. They must devote most effort to their own work. “Denouncing” is not their responsibility, but they do have a responsibility to determine whether someone else’s results are reproducible. My point is that most mainstream conclusions have been reproducible, even if examples of flaws in a selected subset can be cited. That is the self-correcting mechanism by which science advances, which is orders of magnitude more efficient than time spent publicly criticizing the work of others.

        Again, you may disagree with my assessment of the state of the science, but I believe you need to read the literature yourself if your disagreement is to merit serious consideration. That was my most important point – there is no substitute for doing that homework if you want to arrive at accurate conclusions.

      • Fred:

        “…pointed to sources that give a more representative view of the entire breadth of climate science understanding.”
        Agreed, that’s what we need and what the IPCC has failed to provide.

        “Ultimately, though, it is up to individuals to come to grips with the fact that there is no shortcut to an accurate perspective on a scientific field of investigation. That perspective requires a great deal of homework. People who haven’t done their homework have a right to their opinion:”

        Agreed, too. Jones made too many short cuts. He may be a decent follow, but too much of his work cannot be relied on. I’ve read it.

      • Sorry, ‘fellow’ not ‘follow’.

      • Latimer Alder

        Found a ‘study’ yesterday (Hegerl et al, 2003) which is apparently very important to the understanding of 20C temperatures and their attribution

        It contains the damning phrase

        ‘We thank Phil Jones, Keith Briffa, Mike Mann and Ed Cook for valuable discussions and assistance’

        My case rests.

      • Fred,

        Thanking you for your help in proving my point. How many of the studies you rely upon have fraudulent data or stats? Answer — you don’t know. Because no one has ever checked. How many of these studies have methodological issues? A — you don’t know, no one has tried to replicate them. No one can even try in most cases because the means to do so are not available.

        Rahmstorf’s “worse than we thought” ineptitude was exposed because it received such large media exposure that people decided to reverse engineer the numbers until they were able to figure out how badly he screwed up. “Scientists” reading the study in the “literature” failed to recognize how bad the work was.

        Mann’s shoddy work was exposed because a non-scientist went to extraordinary lengths to get the truth out. The “scientists” somehow read it in the “literature”, but managed to let society down very badly. Same thing for Steig, Jones, etc. etc. Why do you think we should be impressed by a scientific community which “reads the literature” and can’t sniff out the bogus crap.

        Fred, if you are reading all the “literature”, but no one is catching all the garbage, please don’t bring that fallacious appeal to authority around here. Where are all the examples of the supposed “scientists” exposing all the errors in these studies which Nature and Science have trumpeted?

        I understand that you are saying that most studies have yet to be exposed as poor work. Of course, no one has ever audited or replicated them! The effort that the skeptics have been forced to expend to check the ones they exposed was extraordinary. The “scientists” don’t even try.

        But I’m repeating myself. This isn’t a hard point to understand.

      • Stan – Perhaps you’ll correct me, but it’s my impression that you are not a professional scientist. I say that as someone who has done science as a living for many years and understands how it works. For you to say that the majority of studies have “yet to be exposed as poor work” signifies to me an enormous prejudice on your part that can’t be justified unless you know what the literature actually contains. As someone with familiarity with the literature, I can state that most of the main conclusions have been supported by the fact that multiple different studies have replicated the main findings. That is how science works.

        If there is one point I believe needs emphasis and reemphasis, it is that selected citation of faults in the literature creates a distorted picture – that’s an understatement – an egregiously distorted picture of the state of a science. In my own field, I have found few reports that can be said to lack imperfections. Almost every study, if picked apart, will reveal flaws, often minor but occassionally serious, and that includes work I’ve published myself that includes papers in prestigious journals such as Science and Nature. Looking back, I’ve spotted points I overlooked that I should have mentioned, or minor misstatements that I should have corrected.

        Science doesn’t advance by taking perfect steps forward – even the great achievements can be shown in retrospect to have been described in papers with flaws. It advances because multiple lines of evidence point to conclusions that are reinforced as the evidence grows.

        I get back to the same principle I started with. For you to judge climate science, you must know what its participants report in the dozens of journals that describe their results. If you try to judge through blogosphere examples selected to reveal flaws, you will end up making a judgment that cannot possibly be relied upon.

        The only way to arrive at accurate judgment is to put in the time and effort to do the homework and learn what the entire science says. You can’t manufacture knowledge out of ignorance. You can, however, manufacture a prejudicial view of the science, and that is perhaps worse than ignorance.

      • Latimer Alder


        Is your discussion anything more than a very lengthy reassertion of the warcry

        ‘You must trust them, they are climate scientists’?

        Because if so, you are missing the point bigtime. People no longer trust climate scientists. Just like few are making donations to Bernie Madoff’s pension fund. Credibility-wise they are a busted flush.

        Ignoring this point and ever more saying that everything is fine, we’re all good guys and self-regulating will not dig them nor the reputation of climate science out of the hole. Instead you dig it deeper.

      • Latimer – My point is the exact opposite of “you must trust them”. It is “you must do the homework to know what they say and why before you either trust or distrust them”. You can’t trust a scientific field based on selected examples in the blogosphere cited by its adherents. You can’t distrust a field based on examples selected by its critics. You have to do the work yourself to understand the science and to know what its participants are reporting. There is no shortcut. Anything else is less than fully responsible. Much of what is less than fully responsible typifies blog commentary.

      • Latimer Alder

        I can see no difference.

        You are merely restating Colose’s extraordinarily arrogant claim that ‘you must have a PhD in Radiative Physics before you are qualified to have an opinion on AGW’, only in different words.

        To conclude that a guy is a fraudster requires only one dodgy transaction. It may be hidden in 1000 good ones. But once revealed, you don’t need to look in detail at the other 1000 to be convinced of fraud.

        A good reputation takes years to earn but seconds to destroy. Climatologists should pay heed.

      • Latimer,

        As a fellow scientist, I think Fred makes an excellent point, though one you seem to willingly miss.

        It does not take a PhD to understand the basic scientific principles behind a car, a vcr, a radio or the transmission of the radiation for communication. There are thousands of HAM radio users without formal training in the technical aspects of radio. They taught themselves most of it.

        These people have expert opinions on the use of radios, the drawbacks of specific apparatus and the reasons why some signals make it through while others do not. They’ve ‘done their homework’.

        Moreover, Fred seems to be a perfect example of what he calls for. He’s been formally trained in medical science, which does not have a great deal of overlap with climate science, and taught himself what needs to be known to make ‘informed’ judgments about this or that finding or notion. He lives by the standard he is trying to set.

        Now, you can call that standard whatever you like, but I have seen many contributors here make fools of themselves saying things that range in utility from hard to proof to flat out wrong. And while you’re ripping Fred a new one for attempting to create a useful standard, you’re letting all of those other contributors get away with shoddy conclusions based on terrible science.

        So at least Fred is trying to live by the standard he sets. It’s not something you can say yet.

        And until you apply the same standard equally across all conclusions reached here, your critique of a higher scientific standard is going to fall on deaf ears.

      • Latimer Alder


        One last try.

        You and Fred are looking at ‘climate science’ from a different perspective from me. You are looking at the individual parts and thereby coming to a conclusion about the whole. By examining the individual components you come to a view.

        I am looking at it differently. More like a Management Consultant – a job I used to do a bit of. The sorts of questions one asks about any new field include:

        Does it do anything useful? Has it a track record of helpful predictions? Is it organised in a way that bolsters confidence? Does it have the ‘look and feel and smell’ of a reputable field? Do I believe that it is reliable and credible? Are there serious questions about it’s policies and procedures? Does it respond well to criticism? How is it funded? Does the funding create opportunities for conflict of interest and bias? If so, how well are these controlled….etc etc etc

        You can probably guess that on most of these questions, climatology does not get high marks from me. And I do not need to know every last jot and tittle from every paper to draw that conclusion.

        I also observe that this is a discussion blog, not a didactic one. There is no assumption that everyone has the same ideas – nor should have. Climate Etc is not Rel Climate.

        So if others on this blog want to go around believing in Iron Suns or Green Cheese or centrifugal rotational evaporation, or any other daft ideas, I am quite indifferent. They are not the ones claiming special insight into the future of the world and demanding huge changes to society because of their beliefs. They may ne misguided but they do not have the power to do anything about it. It is the Warmists who are both misguided and powerful.

        And wrt qualifications you can see mine on the ‘denizens’ thread. I think that they are at least as relevant as Fred’s.

      • L A

        The same principles apply to management consulting as to science: evidence, rational development, a knowledge framework for comparisons and coherent expression of information, metrics, and proof.

        Where Fred has done the homework and can no doubt draw on that body of work at a moment’s notice to cite specific and detailed validated evidence and reasoning for what he says of climate science, which we know because we have seen him do so on this blog many times in the past, we must now demand the same standard of you with regard to your management science claims.

        Do you have a business process model to draw on? Perhaps you mean one of the IPCC’s reports or documents?

        Specific metrics of actual performance compared to industry standard ratios?

        How many performers are underperforming from the overall group?

        What is the business value of underperforming key groups?

        Is the enterprise on the efficient frontier, or below it?

        Where on the efficient frontier curve is it?

        If below, how far and why?

        What fully-costed and detailed alternative plans would correct the issues you see?

        See, Fred can and has produced the corollaries in what he has done the homework on to satisfy a reasonable standard of care and prudence in decision making.

        Proof that you have done the same in the area you have selected.

        I am currently practicing in the field you once practiced, and though I do not claim to have done all this homework that one ought to draw such conclusions as you have (and so do not make bold assertions about the state of the field), I cannot see where your conclusions might come from other than figures pulled from thin air, things floating around the blogosphere, and popular press. On such a basis, if that were your former mode, one could see why you would no longer be practicing that discipline.

        Please, do you have detailed applicable business case reports?

      • Latimer Alder


        Nope. I don;t have any of those. And even a few moments reflection on the content of what you have said will show you why.

        You have asked for some reports that would only be relevant to a small to medium sized business in a dynamic market with lots of competitors. Climatology is none of those things. Your questions are irrelevant about climatology.

        I may be a cynic, but I suspect that in this case you just copied and pasted some stuff that looked like Management Consultant speak and hoped nobody would notice.

        If you are indeed practicing as an MC, may I respectfully suggest that you spend a little more time on understanding the basics of that discipline. Like Fred, by concentrating too much on the exact details, you are missing the big picture.

      • Latimer,

        your comment to me fails on two fronts.

        First you claim that you can correctly assess what ‘climatology’ brings to the table as a ‘new field’ without knowing specifics. I find it hard to believe that any management consultant is going to glaze over specifics in the case of any size business before coming to rational conclusion on the utility of current practices. If you don’t know how radiative transfer works physically, why should anyone believe that you know how well ‘climatology’ uses such a technique or what this physical knowledge has provided the public in terms of weather forecasting, disaster alerts and the like?

        Second, while you’re ready to point out the ‘arrogance’ of creating knowledge-based standards in technical discussion, you put forth an equally arrogant argument that your training lets you see the ‘larger view’ of the field. That there is something I can miss by trying to understand the physical processes that control climate in the most rigorous way possible. All of that despite not caring about the actual scientific specifics. So again, you’re applying conflicting standards to the conclusions reached by others and those reached by yourself.

        You’re entitled to your opinion just as I’m entitled to mine. And in my opinion, what you write has stopped being of worth.


      • Latimer Alder

        So, admission you’ve done no work at all before pronouncing your ‘expert’ opinion, not even scoping the size of Climatology enterprises or realistically assessing the dynamism of the field.

        How big is the CRU, that it’s too big for the analyses appropriate to small to medium size business units? How small and uncontested the climatology field?

        What you’ve described are exactly the circumstances such reports are appropriate to.

        If the CRU had done a SWOT analysis, they’d never have exposed their credibility to the threat of such outcomes.

        If the IPCC — a much bigger enterprize, but still hardly huge — used a BCG analysis on the value of its contributing studies, it might have figured out it should drop Pauchurian’s Himalayan dross like the dog it was even without having to find that it had reversed digits. It was just substandard and they ought have known it by other measures.

        As for my being a MC, who but one would ever claim to be one?


        You feel all the love in the room when you’re introduced as one?

        You sound more like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, who believes the Climate Scientists are infinite in number and unified in action and purpose behind some secret screen of mystery. You have them confused with telemarketers.

        You have done no homework, and dispute with those who have.

        Small wonder Fred and maxwell eat your lunch.

      • Latimer Alder


        You seem fixated on the idea that to understand anything at all about a field you must understand everything in detail. And you use radiative physics as an example.

        Im quite happy to believe that radiative physics is a well-understood piece of physics. There is a lot of well-researched and well-understood and replicated and all the good things going back about 200 years that says its good. Plus you can measure it experimentally, and use the theory to make predictions that are usefully reliable. That’s all I need to know. It’s good stuff. No need for me to look any further or spend any time there.

        But radiative physics is only a very small part of ‘climatology’. And it is easy to establish that few other parts have anything like the track record and experimental proof like the physics above. There are few experiments (Red Flag). These is little replication. There is no track record of verifiable predictions (Red Flag) Some of it relies on the existence of undemonstrated mechanisms like ‘teleconnections’ (Red Flag)

        When we look at the quality of the work that has been done, it is sorely lacking. Data is ‘adjusted’ without recording why (Red Flag). Data curation is dreadful. Much of the work is led by just a few ‘scientists’ who are very reluctant to allow others to understand their methods (Red Flag!)

        And so on and so forth…..everywhere one looks there are red and yellow flags which indicate that the work is ‘not robust’ (I am being polite). You do not need to be a detailed level expert at any of it to come to that conclusion.

      • Latimer Alder

        @bart r

        ‘it is just substandard and they ought to have known it by other measures’

        I think we are in close agreement on that one. You do not need to look at the science in detail to see that a lot of it is substandard.

        As to your reports, I don’t see the relavance when

        a. CRU (for example) does not function as a business and
        b. It doesn’t have any competitors. If it did, its clients might ask more searching questions about its data quality.

        I;d be delighted to do an in-depth management consultancy assignement on climatology…please send teh appropriate resources to allow me to do so. But failing that, the high-level overview is suficient.

        If I see an aeroplane with both wings fallen off and no tailplane, I can usually make a decent guess that it won’t fly without needing to understand the intimate details of the engine control system. I don’t need a lot of reports to tell me that.

        And climatology can’t fly. Too much of the plane is missing/shoddy/speculation.

    • Fred, I am sympathetic to your point that much of climate science is untainted by the Climategate revelations; however, the people who are – Jones, Trenberth, Mann et al – are at the very heart of the IPCC scientific effort. They are the lead authors and the reviewers. They keep (so to speak) the datasets. Jones wrote the seminal paper on UHI (and then lost a lot of data which, frankly, likely did not show what he wanted it to) which is used on an ongoing basis to justify minimal adjustments for that effect.

      The people exchanging the emails were not post-docs on a lark, they were the climate science establishment and, based on the emails, they were bent.

      Now, I rarely venture an opinion on the particulars of the science as I don’t do that sort of work. But I am more than qualified to venture an opinion on the legal, ethical and scientific standards of the Team and the “investigators” who reviewed the Climategate revelations. As are most people.

      They were bent and they brought huge discredit down upon climate science.

      • Only a couple of points, Jay. First, Trenberth, for all his personality faults, wasn’t tainted. Second, I agree you have every right to judge the ethical and legal aspects of the involved individuals. I agree with you that doing that is not the same as judging the particulars of the science. It’s also not the same as judging the ethical standards of the large majority of climate scientists. however harshly you judge these individuals.

        I believe that if you famliarize yourself with the climate science literature, you might agree with me that if the scientific contributions of the individuals involved were removed, the effect on most conclusions would be minimal. Simply as one example, global temperature trends are mainly determined by sea surface temperatures, where UHI effects are irrelevant. If you want to judge global temperature trends, you need to familiarize yourself with a very large body of literature on ocean data, but not merely examples selected by the blogosphere to make a point.

      • steven mosher

        WRT Trenberth. Jones wrote trenberth that he would find a way to keep McKittrick’s and Michaels paper out of the report even if he had to redefine peer review literature.

        In the early drafts of the chapter trenberth and jones refused to consider the paper. In the final draft they were forced to include some statement about it. In those statements they made claims about statistical significance that are not supported in the peer reviewed literature.

        Subsequent to those statements in 2009 Gavin has published a paper which addresses the statistical significance issue, but at the time of writing no such study existed. Simply, they misconstrued the science.
        Striking one or two words from the IPCC text would have made it accpetable to McKittrick (pers. comm) basically the words were they claimed MM results were not statistically significant.

        So, a small problem. easily fixed thru using the errata. but this kind of remedy was not even looked at. Probably because people fear that the case would be blown out of proportion.

        In the end the inquiry looked at this issue and decided nothing. they could not because they could not determine whether Jones or Trenberth had written that paragraph.

        My point is this. Very few people have the patience to look at the actal details and to get down to what was done wrong and how to remedy the situation. The whole issue has become iconic rather than pragmatic.

        The science cant be changed by mails. But peoples opinion of the whole damn process has been

      • A small point, Steve. I’ve read the paper by Michaels and McKittrick. It has a climatology element and a statistics element. The statistics element (McKittrick’s contributions) strikes me as sound, although I’m not expert enough to judge. The climatology is typical of the misleading and poorly designed work Michaels produces on a regular basis. Omission of the paper would have not been a loss from the IPCC report, although it was probably a fair thing to do to include it.

      • Fred:
        Common courtesy demands that when you charge someone with being “misleading” that you provide specifics.

      • It’s been done extensively by me and others on the previous threads devoted to Pat Michaels.

      • steven mosher

        Look at chapter 3. One of the supposed weak points of AGU theory is the existence of UHI. The section on UHI needed to be much more comprehensive.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        In what sense? Satellite data tracks land stations. Are the satellites next to air conditioners too?

      • Steve – UHI effects deserve to be evaluated as comprehensively and objectively as other climate phenomena, but they are not a “weak point” of “AGU theory”. It’s been known for millennia that land warms faster than oceans in a warming climate. This is due to the thermal inertia of the oceans and the moderating effect of evaporation. Has this disparity been exaggerated by invalid UHI data? I tend to think not much, and I don’t believe Pat Michaels has made a strong case. However, if we assume that land-based warming data has in fact been exaggerated, and we further exclude all land-based data, including the natural effects I described above that are independent of UHI, the global temperature record would change little. That is because global temperature trends closely match sea surface temperature (SST) trends.

        If you wish to bring SST into the discussion, that would be a subject for more than one blog thread in itself, but it would also fail to address the importance of UHI as an issue, which I took to be the point of your comment. I believe that ocean data are important, but as I’ve stated above, to consider those data in an informative manner requires a knowledge of what is in the literature – reliance on examples selected by blogosphere partisans, whatever their opinions, is guaranteed to introduce distortions.

        I apologize for reiterating my point about the need to know the literature rather than selected blogosphere examples in order to gain an accurate perspective. However, even my repetition has failed to dissuade some commentators here from continuing to cite selected examples in attempt to prove conclusions about the state of the science in general.

      • No, satellites are not next to air conditioners, but they simply didn’t exist for the first 3/4 of the 2oth century.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        So, do you think that a satellite launch made the land record unreliable?

        UHI is just a manufactured issue. Like the terrorist fist bump and Death Panels.

      • Jeffery — so death panels are notreal. Crap there goes my plan to sit on them to supplement my Social Securioty income. Sarah Oh Sarah I want my application money baaacckkk!

      • Jeffrey Davis:

        So, do you think that a satellite launch made the land record unreliable?

        By what convoluted logic did you arrive at that question?

      • Fred says…

        “If you want to judge global temperature trends, you need to familiarize yourself with a very large body of literature on ocean data, but not merely examples selected by the blogosphere to make a point.”

        How about we use this literature from The Team themselves Fred.

        No: 1257546975
        From: Tom Wigley
        To: Phil Jones
        Subject: LAND vs OCEAN
        Date: Fri, 06 Nov 2009 17:36:15 -0700

        We probably need to say more about this. Land warming since
        1980 has been twice the ocean warming — and skeptics might
        claim that this proves that urban warming is real and important.

      • Absolutely Baa!

        But, you have to remove the ++++’s and post the rest of that email.

        Otherwise people might say that you’ve deleted some data, hidden the decline etc, just like those fraudulent lying dishonest climate scientists.

      • As per the title of this thread, that data has already been made public and there’s been no apparent attempts on Baa’s part to hide any inconvenient results his ‘team’s’ crystal ball may have come up with. I don’t even think they believe in crystal balls, for that matter he probably doesn’t even have a team.

        Also I would contest that most scientists interacting with and participating in the climate sciences, in addition to Baa, are not apparently trying to intimdate, insult or cajole the world into a quick sale on a new economic system like some of the IPCC spoke-scientist cheerleaders/divas, whatnot.

      • steven mosher

        Actually the ++++ is a SIGN that something has been removed.
        It signals to the curious reader to check the primary source
        which is readily available.

        With hide the decline there was no mark, no signal, that something had been removed. Worse, the actual DATA was removed from the archive. What this means, of course, is that no scientist can study the decline because the data was not archived.
        Any scientist trying to “explain” the decline is stuck.

        But wait, the data WAS rescued. How? a copy of the deleted data was preserved at the end of one of briffas mails. The hacker, bless his soul, saved the data.

        Didnt know that, did ya?

      • It’s true. Someone looking at the graph would have no way of knowing what came from the instrumental record and what came from MBH99.

        Even curious readers digging into the text would be totally in the dark that Briffa et al. (2001) specifically excluded the post-1960 data in their calibration against instrumental records, to avoid biasing the estimation of the earlier reconstructions.

      • Jay,
        Actually we do not know at all how much of climate science is tainted by climategate, since there has not been a single investigation of climategate that sought to find that out.
        Not one principal has been investigated to show in context what they wrote.
        Not one principal has been put under oath to answer if they actually did delete e-mails.
        Every organization implicated by climategate or its principals has resisted any independent review of the facts.

    • Bravo, Fred. I’m grateful that you so clearly and calmly explain this perspective. I haven’t ‘done the homework’ myself (which is why I’ve never publicly expressed an opinion on the science per se) but as a working scientist for decades I have enormous confidence in the self-correcting nature of the process. I suspect your position reflects that of many, many people. It certainly does mine.

    • Fred,
      As I understand you are making a point about the message the mainstream climate science community could have sent to the general public (including the “interested reader”) in the wake of the climategate leak.
      “For an accurate perspective, one should become familiar with basic climate science principles through texts and other sources, and then faithfully follow the full extent of the climate science literature, which is rather extensive.”
      It is hard to disagree with the message itself as it is very general. I fail to see why is it relevant to the event.
      What exactly does the “interested reader” learn from the climategate that makes studying the literature more important after the leak then before?
      The message might appear as an attempt to diversion under the circumstances. Here is the analogy – let’s say major irregularities are uncovered in the activities of a prominent accounting firm. The professional community doesn’t respond with investigation, denouncement or sanctions. Instead it responds by encouraging members of the public to learn more about accounting principles and perform audits themselves whenever possible.

      • ianaphd,
        Not only that, you are to ignore any allegations of accounting fraud by auditors, since they do not have a new set of books or better results to show you, just nitpicking and negativism.

      • Ianaphd – I apologize if my point did not come across clearly despite my best effort. It’s simply that Climategate is not usable as a metric by which to judge climate science, but only by which to judge the participants in Climategate. I have no quarrel with utilizing the Climategate evidence to judge Phil Jones particularly, but also Michael Mann and a few others to some extent. What is illogical and prejudicial, however, is to use Climategate as representative of the state of climate science unless one knows enough about the climate science literature to be able to conclude that any other set of data randomly drawn from the literature would be equally flawed. Would this be the case, given that Climategate is an item deliberately selected for blogosphere emphasis by critics of climate science mainstream views?

        I think the probability that it is a good measure is close to zero, based on my own reading of the literature, but if you are very familiar with the literature and disagree, I would welcome hearing why. If you are not familiar with the literature, I don’t believe you have enough evidence to judge.

      • Well said. It’s unfortunate that some take the actions of a few as a reason to condemn the entire discipline. It’s equally unfortunate that some see condemnation of those few as an attack on science itself. Neither seems to be a valid conclusion.

      • Fred, you’re missing the whole point here. Have any major scientific organizations or societies stood up and said the hockey stick paper was wrong? How about official statements that papers using the CRU data set from Jones must have warnings that the data set may be unreliable? Have they stood before the US Congress or the UK Parliament and warned that these studies shouldn’t be used to make political and policy decisions because of the uncertainties of their conclusions?

        Have you before or will you here on this thread make these statements?

        This what the folks here are trying to warn about. It’s like the newspaper continuing to take advertisements from Abe’s Used Cars when the word has spread everywhere that ALL their cars quit 1/2 block down the road. Would you trust any other used car dealer that advertises in that paper?

        This isn’t about current papers. It is about the refusal to admit that there has ever been anything wrong ever published. You can only do that for so long before all trust is lost!.

      • This brings up a common misconception about the way scientific papers (including MBH 98 and 99) are worded. They would never say the MWP didn’t exist. Their wording says that their study suggests that the current period is the warmest in the millennium, but their methods are not perfect, and further work is needed to prove it. As a statement this is not wrong, and nothing needs to be retracted. Scientists know where the uncertainties are in their work and are very cautious in their wording. The purpose of papers is usually to show directions for further study to confirm or disprove them. These papers led to a lot more study of the MWP and tree-ring proxy methods which are now better understood 10 years later than they were then. It is how science advances in small steps.

      • They would never say the MWP didn’t exist. Their wording says that their study suggests that the current period is the warmest in the millennium, but their methods are not perfect, and further work is needed to prove it.

        Can you really picture Mann saying that – and meaning it?

        In any case, if they knew the work wasn’t perfect and needed more work, why did it appear as the poster child for the IPCC which, by it’s own rules, is supposed to use only solid, best-practice work?

        As a statement this is not wrong, and nothing needs to be retracted. Scientists know where the uncertainties are in their work and are very cautious in their wording.

        Perhaps not, but as a conclusion it’s so obviously wrong that MBH98 should never have been published in the first place. And IMO likely wouldn’t have been if it had an honest peer review.

        These papers led to a lot more study of the MWP and tree-ring proxy methods which are now better understood 10 years later than they were then. It is how science advances in small steps.

        Those things would never have been examined in depth if the original authors could have prevented it. If they had been willing to have them examined, the data and code would have been released long before it was. Their dog-in-the-manger attitude, which continues even today, has cost climate science dearly in terms of credibility and reputation. Not to mention progress. And it’s cost all of us in terms of time, energy and money. To say nothing of the lost “opportunity” cost.

      • What they did was not wrong in any obvious way at the time it was written, which is why it was published as a good first effort. They had the right caveats, and IPCC had the right caveats in the end after a lot of back and forth as seen in Climategate e-mails from 1999, prior to the AR3 report in 2001. By AR4 in 2007, there was some more work supporting a possible MWP that was shown in the report. The MWP supporters haven’t made their case that it was global yet, so this is still a debating point even now, but I don’t see them objecting to AR4 that portrays the newer understanding. The continuing Climategate debate is more on this historical aspect of evolving views a decade ago than on current understanding.

      • What they did was not wrong in any obvious way at the time it was written, which is why it was published as a good first effort.

        JimD –
        I’m not hell-bent on insulting you, BUT — the MWP was well established archaeologically in Europe, North AND South America and Australia – long prior to the publication of MBH98. Which part of the planet then was NOT warm?

        What they did was ignorant at best. And what followed was definitely wrong. MBH98 and following events have been a continuing effort to prove that the MWP did not exist. Or if it did it was a local phenomena.

        Alocal phenomena? For 400+ years? I don’t think so.

        I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again – my first sight of the Hockey Stick was the moment that I became a hardcore sceptic. And I’ve found little reason to change that POV.

        To put it bluntly, if they’d had any scientific integrity at all, they’d have buried MBH98 – and the follow-on papers – at the bottom of the GISP Ice Core.


      • Fred,

        “Ianaphd – I apologize if my point did not come across clearly despite my best effort. It’s simply that Climategate is not usable as a metric by which to judge climate science, but only by which to judge the participants in Climategate.”

        Thank you for the clarification. I understand both your original point and this one.

        As I said in my comment, I did not have to disagree with your message to state my position. Even if your points are valid, they don’t appear to be adequate as a response from the mainstream climate science community to the interested public in the context of Climategate. I would welcome hearing whether you agree with this narrow statement.

      • I more or less agree, because too many who spoke out were defensive rather than objective. On the other hand, the vast majority of climate scientists simply went about their business doing science rather than making public declarations. I think that was reasonable.

        Among those who did speak out, I don’t fault them for pointing out those criticisms that were unjustified, but that should have been balanced with an acknowledgment of the criticisms that were indeed justified. There was too much of a siege mentality evident in the responses.

      • Fred,

        At least that 324W/m2 back radiation is flawed for 13 or 14 years or more years unless you can account for this number

    • Fred Moolten,
      “For mainstream science to have denounced the Climategate leaks as a crime would have been counterproductive ”
      Yes, counterproductive of manipulative data. Thats good save some of our tax money. If 324W/m2 back radiation was questioned in 1997, trillions of dollars would have been saved and climate would need not have happened.

  30. Doug: More ranting: The “scientific societies” of now are nothing but disgusting prostitutes. They are taking POSITIONS on scientific issues that are nowhere settled, contrary to their very charters and integrity. They are destroying science as we knew it.

  31. John Carpenter

    “If the truth is on your side, then you need to understand that the truth HAS TO BE SHOUTED in today’s noise-filled society. It no longer works to just mumble it.”

    What climategate showed us was “truth” was not entirely on their side, or more importantly, truthfulness. There was nothing to shout. We got a glimpse behind the closed doors confirming the science is NOT settled. Something, as scientists, we know is most often the case. Politicians and opportunists, like Al Gore, did a tremendous disservice to climate science repeating the “science is settled” refrain over and over again in order to push their political agendas. This did nothing more than alienate thoughtful scientists and engineers.

    Non-scientists want certainty and sure answers, for them this is the truth. They look to science for them. However we scientists live in a world of some knowns and a lot of unknowns. I see no connection with credibility and uncertainty, in fact the opposite. I have more faith in a peer that admits uncertainty in understanding a problem than one who is overly confident. We scientists try to be “cautiously optimistic” about what we know. A far cry from shouting. This is our mindset. Mr. Olson does not grasp the mentality of a good scientist. He wrongly thinks science is a black and white endeavor. While science may be looking for the “truth”, the most important part of being a scientist is being “truthful”. Truthful in conveying what you know, including the uncertainty. This is the divide we need to bridge to heal the damage done by Climategate.

  32. Wow.

    A reaction to an article that proves the article.

    How cool is that?

    For science, there are no clear leaders, just countless acronymed organizations who stood, stared, and weeks later put out milquetoast statements about how this sort of stuff shouldn’t happen.

    Wow again.

    What world is this man living in?

    Days later (and to do justice to so huge a file, why not take days to read it and understand it?), the phrase “completely contrary to the spirit of science” — what more damning epithet for a scientist?! — was being passed around by serious scientists about the emails, starting with George Monbiot. Most serious scientists. In private. In public. Off the record. On the record. Before November 30th.

    Maybe other people consider bad manners, or misappropriation of funds, or ignoring bureaucratic rules or treating public property as private, or collusion or conspiracy or whinging bad things.

    But in my experience of them, there is no worse crime for a scientist than an action, “completely contrary to the spirit of science”.

    • George Monbiot a scientist? News to me.

      • Scientist?

        Who am I to judge?

        Writer on science topics well-known to be, what, ‘somewhat AGW-aligned?’, hard to call him a milquetoast exactly, or to expect no scientists heard of his remarks. Did you hear contradictions among many scientists of Monbiot’s statement?

        Randy Olson’s account is a wildly inaccurate rewriting of history, and should not be allowed to stand unchallenged. It is factually wrong, that should be enough to invalidate it entirely without correction of the errors that are fundamental to its argument.

        Is the argument wrong itself? Could it be made based on actual fact? Could be. Who cares? Entertaining arguments from error is dyskeptic.

        One may even say, agnological or agnostemic.

  33. Climategate exposed an even darker underside of government science than Eisenhower warned about in 1961:

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

    We must be alert to the “danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

    The darker underside: An international alliance of world leaders, world leaders of the scientific community, Al Gore, the UN’s IPCC, National Academies of Science, leading research journals, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee, etc. promoting the seriously flawed AGW story.

    The bright side: The international alliance that has blocked progress in other fields of science, e.g., astronomy, astrophysics, nuclear, solar and space sciences, was exposed for all to see.

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

  34. Judith,

    I like the title of your post.
    I like it a lot.

    Science is corrupt.

    • Yup.

      But some good may come from this if the new Congress insists that the scientific community clean house.

      • Joe Lalonde


        Not likely to happen due to all the economic investment that could blow up in the governments face.

        Science still uses old theories with no inclusion of new technology that could change the conclusions. This has been happening for a very long time.
        Science needs to revisit from the beginning to get a true understanding of the problem.

        A basic circle and add motion is totally misunderstood which corrupts the rest of science that depends on it’s understanding.

      • Joe,

        Our insatiable appetite for energy and federal agencies assigned the task of discovering and developing new energy sources may help.

        The largest known source of energy – neutron repulsion – is sill being ignored by NAS, DOE, ARPA-E and other federal research agencies that assume their organizations will survive fallout from climategate.

  35. Randy Olson

    The journalists should have been forced to report that “this incident is being called at least an unethical ploy and at worst a crime,”

    The climategate is not a crime, it is just a leak. To who ever leaked it, my greatest admiration as the information confirmed what we skeptics were saying all along and also filled missing information. After all, the information is regarding a scientific dispute. Science searches and reports the truth, but the LEAKED EMAILS have nothing to do with science. Here are few samples:

    1) I think we have been too readily explaining the slow changes over past decade as a result of variability–that explanation is wearing thin. I would just suggest, as a backup to your prediction, that you also do some checking on the sulfate issue, just so you might have a quantified explanation in case the prediction is wrong. Otherwise, the Skeptics will be all over us–the world is really cooling, the models are no good, etc. And all this just as the US is about ready to get serious on the issue.
We all, and you all in particular, need to be prepared.

    2) Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, used to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a longer – 10 year – period [IT IS 13 YEARS NOW!] of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina etc. Speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also. Anyway, I’ll maybe cut the last few points off the filtered curve before I give the talk again as that’s trending down as a result of the end effects and the recent cold-ish years.

    3) The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.

    The “context-free lines cherry-picked” is a extremely weak argument. The above statements mean what they say: they admit the uncertainty in private.

  36. This is further evidence that the CAGW folks are in denial about the uncertainty in climate science and continue to be frustrated that the general public understands the uncertainty on a gut level.

    This latest irrational rant is predictable coming on the heels for the recent blaming of journalists by prominent climate scientists for not convincing the public of CAGW hysteria.

    These fools think we need more Michael Tobis front and center. Pathological cognitive dissonance from Wikipedia:

    The most famous case in the early study of cognitive dissonance was described by Leon Festinger and others in the book When Prophecy Fails.[3] The authors infiltrated a group that was expecting the imminent end of the world on a certain date. When that prediction failed, the movement did not disintegrate, but grew instead. By sharing cult beliefs with others, they gained acceptance and thus reduced their own dissonance (see further discussion below).

  37. There cannot be a certainty about climate until the experiment being conducted on the earth concludes a few generations hence.

    There is currently no model, no experiment, no theory, that will predict 100% the possible outcome of this experiment on the earth.

    How safe is it to continue this experiment without changing the input parameters that bias it towards a safer result? You cannot isolate the experimental site for it is global in scale.

    What it really boils down to is that how sane is it to contiue an experiment which could have a detrimental result to ALL life on earth and which, if it is detrimental, will require centuries to return to “normality” the experimental site.

    The anti-AGW theorists have no better data to work with than the AGW proponents. They cannot predict the outcome of this experiment with any more accuracy than anyone else.
    What is the safe option in this experient – do nothing and accept the dire consequences IF they occur. – do something and accept the few restrictions this will cause and get a cleaner more sustainable world.

    I would personally find it very difficult explaining to my grand children why I did nothing when I knew that contining could be detrimental to their lives. I will find it less of a problem explaining why their houses require little energy to heat and cool, and why they are forced to drive small and efficient vehicles.
    So how to resolve the science?
    The science of GHGs is (should be!) known.
    The energy input to the system is known relatively accurately.
    The energy output is less easy to calculate.
    The orbital perterbations are known.
    The overall system is chaoitic!!!

    • There is currently no model, no experiment, no theory, that will predict 100% the possible outcome of this experiment on the earth.

      There WAS an experiment!

      1910 to 1940 => 30 Gt of human carbon emission
      1970 to 2000 => 172 Gt of human carbon emission

      1910 to 1940 => 0.45 deg C increase in global mean temperature
      1970 to 2000 => 0.48 deg C increase in global mean temperature

      The effect of 142Gt of human emission of carbon on global mean temperature is nearly zilch!

    • This is the same old Pascal’s wager all over again. The original from Pascal did not convince me (or most atheists/agnostics), and your version will probably not convince many skeptics either.

      The wager work only if the asked sacrifice are really mundane, the penalty of “sinning” is large, and the probability of being subjected to this penalty, while small, is not zero.

      In Pascal’s case, the sacrifice were more or less high (depending on how your prefered lifestyle was compatible with Christian precepts), the penalty was very high, and the possibility of penalty was from zero to 1 depending on your preconception.
      In your case, the sacrifice can be large (if you work in primary or secondary sector in the west, have a carbon-intensive lifestyle (which is usually the same a wealthy)) or even negative (if you work in the green sector, build solar panels,…). The penalty can go from very large (Hansonesque) to negative (there are good reasons to believe a world warmer in the temperate/artic regions, with more precipitations, will be better overall for humans, even if they are less advertised than the reasons for why it could be worse), and the probability is uncertain.

      But there is another difference: in the case of Pascal’s wager, there was a direct connection between your personal behavior and you redemption. Here, there is not: you can have a CO2 emission as low as you want, it will not change the outcome. Only the total CO2 emissions could, maybe, determine if you are doomed of not. So, why should you restrict your own living standard if others do not? To drive India and China by example? lol, just lol :-)
      Trying to build coercitive regulations on a wager is imho moraly wrong, although I am open to discussion.
      But it is also condamned to fail, with the only possible outcome being the enrichment/power increase of the regulation builders. And on this prediction, I think I stand on very solid ground…

    • Your assuming that taking climate action cannot have negative consequences.

      Two points:

      First, economic projections: Very optimistic studies suggest that, over the next 40 yrs, a substantial move to clean energy will cost only 1-2% of total GDP. It’s an interesting thought, but assuming it’s true, nothing is said about the GDP in the intervening 40yrs, which may follow any path, but could well include a modest to steep near- mid-term decline. Are you willing to accept two decades of economic stagnation or worse?

      Second, economic projections: Though economists/scientists do it all the time, it is not possible to project or model technological development or scientific advances in future. A major energy solution or climate science revelation may be just around the corner or decades off. If we make a major commitment now to a technology or climate paradigm that becomes dramatically outmoded in a decade or less, we will have dramatically lessened – and perhaps significantly impaired – our future prospects.

      Think of clean energy / climate policy as an investment made with limitied resources. Suppose you have $10K. you looked today at Ford Motor Co stock. The stock is at a great price – but it’s also on a downtrend. What’s the wise course? If you buy in now, the stock may dive further before recovering – you will have wasted some of your resources. If you don’t buy in, the stock may take off and you’ll have missed the opportunity. The wise course is to average in.

      The same is true of clean energy / climate paradigms. Average in. Invest small and widely in promising but unproven technologies / ideas. Invest modestly in proven but modestly beneficial technologies. Add to the winners as they prove or improve themselves. Dump the losers.

      That’s the wise course of action in the face of uncertainty.

    • TFP you began so promisingly. I thought for a change you would try to stay down the middle but then you veered and showed your religion.

  38. “Typical blame the deniers and merchants of doubt stuff.”

    As opposed to typical blame the IPCC and Realclimate stuff?

    • Dean,
      The skeptics are simply pointing out that the IPCC and RC is selling garbage and you don’t like it.

  39. Girma | March 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Reply
    You quote:
    2) Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, used to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a longer – 10 year – period [IT IS 13 YEARS NOW!] of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina etc. Speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also
    Have a look at the stuff I have played with:
    (please note the first couple of paragraphs!)
    Then look at the “predictive” plot taken out to approx the year 2050.
    In this construction there is a 60 year cycle which causes the peak temps of the 1940s and the plateau of the 2000s (the cycle is currently on a negative swing.)
    Also note the underlying trend it is continuous and rising. It does not stop in 1999. It continues relentlessly upwards.
    When the 60 year cycle again has a positive slope note that “predicted” temperatures again meet the trend.
    I offer this not as proof of cyclical temperatures just proof the trend can EASILY be negated by one signal.
    Using my plots it is simple to explain the flatness of current temperatures. It also shows that this levelling could continue until 2020!! But then all hell breaks out.

  40. thefordperfect states:

    “The anti-AGW theorists have no better data to work with than the AGW proponents. They cannot predict the outcome of this experiment with any more accuracy than anyone else.
    What is the safe option in this experient – do nothing and accept the dire consequences IF they occur. – do something and accept the few restrictions this will cause and get a cleaner more sustainable world.”

    Skeptic aren’t the ones promoting a theory. We do not have to prove that CAGW doesn’t exist. Alarmists have to prove it does. You should also take the time to review the “accept the few restrictions” statement you made.

    Actually, start living your life around the proposed “restrictions” and stop back by this blog in a year – oh I forgot, you will no longer have access to affordable electricity or computers or any of the other evil things that make our lives better.

  41. [The smell of red hot hypocrisy is almost overwhelming…]

    “Climate science should focus on doing a much better job on the historical and paleo datasets (the flaws of which were illuminated by extensive scrutiny of these data sets largely motivated by Climategate). ”

    Well I’m sure the scientists will thank you for this insight. I doubt they would have even considered it.
    (And I think there will a public flogging of Phil Jones because of all the evil, evil things he did. Then you and Peter will have your revenge!)

    “And on the attribution of 20th century warming.”

    Umm yep, I have noticed one or two papers have been written on this topic but thanks again for the sage advice.

    “And on understanding the causes of historical extreme events. ”

    Yep, good stuff: nothing like looking in the rear view mirror while driving

    “And less on predicting things for which there is overwhelming uncertainty.”
    Personally, I think they should ban predictions. They’re dangerous. Tell you things you might not want to hear. Upsets the gentry.

    We should also ban anything that is ‘overwhelming’, dont you think?

    ” By all means study climate sensitivity, but climate predictions and particularly climate impact predictions are highly uncertain.”

    Yep, it’s like terrorism. Horribly uncertain as to what the impacts might be. I think the best approach is to ignore all the potential impacts of terrorism because they are highly uncertain. Some might even say they are overwhelmingly uncertain. Maybe what we should do is refine our knowledge of terrorism in the 1800’s . Once we know that, we’ll be safe in the future!

  42. The whole [Climategate] incident was a case study in the absence of effective leadership in both the science and environmental communities.


    Instead of Jones, Mann and the rest of the Climategate Crooks being sacked from their jobs for dishonesty, amidst widespread condemnation from their honest fellows, we’ve had whitewashes from the climate science authorities, and deafening silence from the rank and file, that thereby identifies itself with fraud and junkscience in the pursuit of politically correct outcomes and more tax-funded ‘research’ grants.

    And as for ‘agnotology’ and the demonising of doubt, the message seems to be : just swallow what Big Brother’s scientists tell you, it’ll be alright on the night.

    What a crock.

  43. ferd berple

    The value of most science comes from its ability to make predictions about the future. The more reliable the predictions, the more valuable the science.

    For example, say Newton’s law of gravity was perfect at predicting how long it took an object to fall to earth once it landed, but was hopeless at predicting how long it would take for an object that had not yet landed. Or, if Newton could perfectly predict the ballistic trajectory of a projectile after it hit the target, but not before it was fired.

    This is what we have for climate science. Models that perfectly predict what has happened, but are rather hopeless looking forward, unless of course you also control the climate record and can change the records after the fact to suit your models.

  44. Eric Ollivet

    The good question is “who is responsible for the leaky mails ?”
    And the answer is probably : someone at CRU or East Anglia university who had access to those mail and time enough, over more than 10 years, to “select and store ” the most significant ones until he put them onto the Web…
    For sure that does not look like a crime.

    • Holly Stick

      No, a whistleblower would have come forward. This was a plain old crime.

      • Really? and sabotage their career?

        The police have been investigating it for years now and zero evidence of a hack.

        Try again.

      • Jim Cripwell

        Holly Stick writes “No, a whistleblower would have come forward.”

        I agree. IMHO. the emails were not hacked, nor was there a whistleblower. This was the scientists involved trying to hide the evidence from FOI.

  45. ferd berple

    “the most significant ones until he put them onto the Web…”

    Or “she”. Whoever it was, without Climategate there would have been a binding agreement at Copenhagen, the Senate would have approved Cap and Trade, and CCX would not have closed its doors. Some very fat cats would have gotten a lot fatter, and the rest of us would have been footing the bill.

    Whoever released the emails has likely changed the world to the tune of 100 trillion dollars. Probably the most significant single publication in the history of the world from an economic point of view.

    • fred

      It is not yet clear that we will be saved from paying the climate tax.

      However, the signs are good in the USA.

      • Eric Ollivet

        As I understood, the house of representatives has decided to cut IPCC funding and should in the same way block any decision related to cap and trade. So you’re right saying the signs are good in the USA. At least for few years.

        Unfortunately the situation is not so clear in Europe and especially here in France. As you may know, President Sarkozy has been one of the main proponent for a binding agreement at Copenhagen.

        But also here positions have recently evolved. Actually we haven’t heard a lot about AGW or cap and trade since almost a year. The project of law for a “CO2 tax” has been rejected by the french equivalent of Supreme Court beginning 2010.

        The main cause for this (positive !) evolution is of course the economic crisis :
        1) No country can afford a cut of 50 or even 75% in its CO2 emissions considering that such a cut will directly and negatively impact its economic growth
        2) There is no more money to pay for junk science.

        But for sure Climategate also played a role despite french media remained quite dumb about this event (fortunately you cannot make the Net silent !)

      • Girma,

        EPA’s regarding CO2 as pollutant is far worse than Cap & Trade you can anticipate.

  46. To say the leaking of the mails doesn’t look like a crime may be the understatement of the decade. The IPCC/Gore Nobel prize should be taken away and given to him/her/them.
    (I wonder when/if we’ll ever know who it was?)

    • Eric Ollivet

      In French such a voluntary understatement is called “litote”.
      Basically I do share your point of view. People who have released CRU emails actually committed a salutatory action for the sake of (climate) science and of our flickering economies that cannot afford binding agreement with regards to CO2 emissions. They deserve a reward (even if not a Nobel Prize).

  47. Looks like the team are really making fools of themselves now! People are really copping on!

  48. andrew adams

    There is not neccessarily a contradiction between the arguments of Roberts and Olson. Just because (at least in the view of Olson and others) scientists have not reacted properly to climategate that doesn’t mean that the phenomenon wich Roberts describes does not also exist, and from where I’m sitting it certainly does to an extent.
    Of course the simple answer to why scientists have not reacted to climategate in the manner which the skeptics demand is that they don’t accept the skeptics’ interpretation of the emails, other than the generally agreed issues around handling of data and of freeedom of information requests which were identified by the inquiries.

    • How could the scientists involved possibly accept the skeptic’s interpretation of the emails? Can you imagine the ramifications if they did? The matter will be contested forever unless there is a whistleblower who comes forward with more information.

    • andrew adams

      I meant the wider scientific community, not the “climategate” scientists themselves.

  49. Two liberal polemics and a third more civil version of the same. All three agree that the primary problem revealed by climategate was a failure of messaging.

    I couldn’t disagree more. With respect to this paraphrase/quote in Dr. Curry’s post: “I think Olson’s comment at dotearth is on the money: Climategate illuminated a serious lack of leadership from the scientific and environmental communities.” The “leadership” he was talking about was the failure of the scientists/environmentalist community to come out in force, in unison, and say loudly, “Nothing to see here folks, move along.”

    Dr. Curry writes “I think David Roberts gets it wrong in his analysis, but his essay provides good insight into why and how Climategate proved to be so damaging to the public credibility of climate science and scientists. ” Roberts claim is that the “why and how” of climategate’s damage to the reputations of the scientists was that the left was not vocal enough in defending them; not because of any lack of leadership in openness, best practices, acknowledgment of uncertainty, or basic honesty.

    When Olson writes “The first option is to focus more on certainty (namely the past) than uncertainty (the future),” he is again talking about messaging, not more and better paleo science. In context with the immediately preceding sentence, he writes “What is the better way to communicate it? The first option is to focus more on certainty (namely the past) than uncertainty (the future). ” Olson then cites another article of his in which he makes his point (that he is only talking about communication, not better science) more clear. ” Support for science will come not from the promise of future solutions but from telling stories about solutions achieved in the past.” In other words, scientists need to make clearer the basis for their authority, to make appeals to that authority more persuasive.

    The last Olson post cited above contains this remark in a similar vein: “IF UNCERTAINTY IS CONVEYED, CREDIBILITY WILL FADE.”

    OK, I don’t know about lukewarmers, but the skeptics I know, and read, and listen to, are not bothered by the climate scientists’ open acknowledgement of uncertainty, but the exact opposite. This was one of the central issues of climategate. Hide the decline, keep dissenting views out of the AR4 and peer reviewed literature, hide data and code, cherry pick proxies, delete (or at least advise the deletion of) emails that will show this conduct.

    Are you kidding me? The main problem revealed by climategate was that the alarmists need better messaging, or better leadership in messaging? I don’t think Dr. Curry agrees with this (though I could of course be wrong), I just think she was trying to hard to find something of value in those posts. Silk purse…sows ear…that sorta thing.

    Dr. Curry’s own points are well stated, regarding lack of leadership (if she means more than in messaging), and this: “On second reading, maybe there is an insight here: The first option is to focus more on certainty (namely the past) than uncertainty (the future). Climate science should focus on doing a much better job on the historical and paleo datasets….” But I don’t find anything remotely resembling either of those in any of the three cited posts.

    Try this instead “IF UNCERTAINTY (and data and code and emails and interference in per review) IS HIDDEN, CREDIBILITY WILL BE SHOT,” and was.

  50. I am getting so sick of reading these two false statements, “a few cherry picked lines from thousands of emails” and “cleared by 5 independent investigations”.

    These are not merely false as a matter of opinion or perspective. They are entirely false in absolute, provable fact. What gets me is that you don’t need to seek out any other data or trust any third-party analysis to prove to yourself that they are false. The original first party data itself (the actual emails and investigation reports) contain all the information necessary to prove these statements false.

    Therefore anyone repeating these statements is either copy/pasting without even the most cursory examination of the underlying source material or they are blatantly lying. There’s just no way around it.

    In the emails, unethical, dishonest and nefarious actions are self-evident with no context necessary beyond the original message threads. If one does a further examination of the terms and background, the additional context exposes even worse malfeasance (for example “the decline” isn’t in temperature, it’s worse than that, “the decline” being hidden is proxy data that calls into question the validity of the entire model (not just the decline part). The more you understand, the worse it gets for the implicated scientists. As for “cherry-picking” I’ll just say that the prosecutors convicted infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy by cherry picking just a few days out of the thousands of days in his life in which he was a fine, upstanding citizen. Richard Nixon (had he not been pardoned) would have been convicted on the basis of just a few cherry picked minutes of white house recordings (the ones approving Watergate) out of thousands of minutes of perfectly innocent presidential work.

  51. I agree with the end of the article, the massage that the most important task of climate science is to concentrate on paleo (and data gathering in general). Not be cause it is inherently more certain than projection and thus can be defended without fear of being shown wrong by time. But because having models of the complexity of GCM without a huge set of low uncertainty validation data, covering enough time to show the larges pseudo-periodic oscillations or a dozen periods of what is considered by climatologists as the minimum to go from weather to climate (30 years? 10 years? 50 years?), is plainly crazy. It means that the models stand naked without true validation, and with underlying equations known to be chaotic and impossible to solve without approximations.

    The other part of the message, that climategate have shown that when you have the truth you need to shout it to the public, not mumble it, is plain wrong and deceptive imho. The problem is that science has no truth worth of shouting at the moment, except maybe for the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gaz and that no-feedaback frozen atmosphere sensitivity to a CO2 doubling is around 1 degree C. Which is a no-news regarding real world policies that are at the center of the debate.
    The rest is mumbled…because it is too uncertain, has huge error bars, predictions have been exagerated by activists (either pure activists, or scientists putting their activist hat and using the ambiguity to push the agenda) and politicians, and shown wrong by time, and so on. This scientific “truth” is far from established, under constant evolution, it is a work in progress and thus SHOULD be mumbled. It is the fact that it is shouted while certainly not ready for it that is a travesty.

    • Stirling English

      ‘The problem is that science has no truth worth of shouting at the moment, except maybe for the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gaz and that no-feedaback frozen atmosphere sensitivity to a CO2 doubling is around 1 degree C’

      ..which is exactly what Arrhenius told us over a hundred years ago.

      The cynical among us might conclude that the last thirty years of Climatology – its huge effort, wasted and pointless careers, its vast amounts of money and resources have actually advanced us not a jot.

      Very very little can be said with any certainty now that wasn’t known in 1960.

      It has all been a complete waste of time.

      Absent any new breakthroughs on the horizon, is there any reason at all to keep the gravy train juggernaut moving along?

      We should defund it all tomorrow. Nobody will notice. Nobody will care.

      • I think that, science-wise, the gravy train is not a juggernaut, it is quite modest. I am all for maintaining funding for fundamental science, even without clear technical outcome. I do not want to restrict science to applied engineering, because contrary to what economists says, modern technology should allow people to have a lot of free time, fundamental research increase the knowledge and this is one of the best human achievement, and fundamental advancement are important for applied technology in the long term (outside of investors interests).
        Now what I would cut is the money flownig outside fundamental science. Green political and NG organisations, IPCC, media, green subsidies without benefit in term of energy independance, lobbies,…This should hopefully allows science to progress more serenely (and probably faster), and cut the almost stalinist-like obedience where all scientific articles about earth science have to include a reference to global warming.
        If normal funding (relative to other fundamental scientific research) is kept, but the GW hysteria become old news, the climate science will continue to progress, and I suspect it will progress much faster than it has under the current ecofundamentalist climate

      • Latimer Alder

        Perhaps we should just ignore any grant application about anything that includes ‘AGW’, ‘climate change’, climate disruption’ or any synonyms.

        That should save billions a year..might have to pay out a bit more dole money – who would ever want to employ a redundant climatologist? – but it would overall be an excellent deal for the public.

    • John Carpenter

      I agree with you 100%, please see my post above,

  52. simple answer to why scientists have not reacted to climategate in the manner which the skeptics demand is that they don’t accept the skeptics’ interpretation of the emails, other than the generally agreed issues around handling of data and of freeedom of information requests which were identified by the inquiries.

    You refer I take it to the blindingly obvious interpretation that there is widespread politically-motivated dishonesty and bias in politically-funded climate science, to say nothing of the ‘inquiries’ ?

    I doubt if they really doubt this. It’s just that they’re precommitted to the noble causes of grant-farming and a more politicized society. Oh, and saving the planet.

    • andrew adams

      I’m referring to the accusations of such things. You will just have to accept that others simply do not accept your interpretation and that there is not going to be any kind of collective admission of malpractice or denunciation of Jones and co. by the scientific community. You and the other skeptics will no doubt draw your own conclusions from this, those of us on the other side of the argument will decide for ourselves how much to care about that.

    • there is not going to be any kind of collective admission of malpractice or denunciation of Jones and co. by the scientific community.

      Yes. And since the evidence is so obvious, it tells us they’re complicit. Which means everything they say must be regarded as being bent.

      In legal terms, the climate establishment / ‘Consensus’ is an “ureliable witness”.

      • I have never felt there was any evidence of scientific dishonesty, so there is certainly no obvious evidence. What the emails revealed was ideological commitment. That is not dishonest. If anything it is the opposite, as these folks honestly believe in what they are doing. Advocacy and dishonesty are very different.

      • David –
        Science is good
        Advocacy “can” be good
        Twisting your science to serve your advocacy and pretending it’s just science without advocacy is dishonest.

  53. Joe Sixpack

    The message I got from Climategate was that ‘climate science’ bears only a superficial resemblance to hard science.

    And is institutionally corrupt.

    If the guys involved were truly the leading scientists of the field, then it is as trustworthy as Bernie Madoff running Enron.

  54. No, a whistleblower would have come forward….

    Yeah, because whistleblowing always goes down so well with one’s employer.

  55. AGW-Skeptic

    If the CRU had been illegally “hacked” by an outsider, there would have been a trail. The continued claims of an outside hacker just don’t hold up.

    This is the most embarrassing element of ClimateGate to the defenders.

    It was an inside job.

  56. Each time I read some article commenting that the emails were just taken out of context, my first response is to consider them liars — a word I don’t use without consideration. Sometimes they are just stupid people, but there is simply no way to be familiar with the emails and not recognize the fraud which was exposed. It isn’t like the context of ‘hide the decline’ didn’t exist and it isn’t like there is any possibility of rational explanation for the behavior within the bounds of science.

    The Air Vent practically became a climate blog because I couldn’t believe that Mann was simply pasting data on the end of proxies – well before climategate. When I first saw that the Shweingruber/Briffa series of ‘hide the decline’ was chopped off and replaced – the relevant quote from Mann08 became my favorite at tAV. I repeated it half a dozen times in my posts:

    Because of the evidence for loss of temperature sensitivity after 1960 (1), MXD data were eliminated for the post-1960 interval. The RegEM algorithm of Schneider (9) was used to estimate missing values for proxy series terminating before the 1995 calibration interval endpoint, based on their mutual covariance with the other available proxy data over the full 1850–1995 calibration interval.

    You might think that was disclosure but the DATA was not publicly available at this time. This is exactly the main climategate issue discussed pre-climategate and described with every word except fraud prior to climategate at the Air Vent.

    I totally flipped out over this back then:

    20 percent of Mann08’s results were from the hide the decline data handled quite similarly to climategate! Looking back, there are some great quotes which directly mirror the sane worlds reaction to ‘hide the decline’.

    Out of context —- bull!

    • JeffId

      Could the following be also out of context?

      There is no reason to give them any data, in my opinion, and I think we do
      so at our own peril!

      AGW theory is built on ……

    • Steve McIntyre

      Jeff and others,

      ah yes,Mann et al 2008. Mann had to change the archive because he’d archived “data” in which actual data had been replaced to hide the decline.

      I don’t recall offhand whether his performance stats for proxy validity were with actual proxy versions or versions using a variant of Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline.

      I got the actual data through an FOI in October 2008 to CRU – I asked for whatever they’d sent Mann. According to the legends of Nature, this FOI crippled the institution.

      • Holly Stick


      • Holly

        what evidence would suffice?

      • Evidence? Who needs evidence? This is blogscience.

        1. Mann switched data that hid declines

        2. Not sure if it was legit or not.

        3. Everyone’s might or not be in on it!

        4. Somebody’s guilty, probably, or maybe, or not at all.

        It’s all part of the the magic trick. Who knows what really happened or the whole story? Fill in the blanks. Connecting dots is part of the fun of blogscience!

      • Grypo — dont give up your day job — that feigned irony is YAWN

      • Blogscience doesn’t pay anything and takes very little time!

      • Holly – pretty ballsy (or ignorant) asking for evidence fromMcI. Try his blog and dosome work

      • pretty ballsy (or ignorant) asking for evidence fromMcI

        Res ipsa loquitur.

    • “there is simply no way to be familiar with the emails and not recognize the fraud which was exposed”

      Mann replaced post-1960 MXD data with some function of other proxies.
      We know this because he said that this is what he did.
      First his data archive did not include the post-1960 MXD data.
      Then it did.
      Clearly this constitutes “fraud”. Clearly, anyone who does not recognize this is “stupid” or a “liar”.
      Science is corrupt.

  57. How could there be a leadership for science? Some people and organizations have made attempts in that direction, but failed. Real science is destroyed by leadership.

    How could there be a leadership for environmentalists? Freedom to act and react without the control of a leadership is as important for them as it is for science.

    How could storytelling by an omniscient work? Hasn’t Al Gore tried it? Wouldn’t everybody trying it, make herself open to attacks on some weak points in the presentation?

    • Joe Lalonde


      Fame and fortune becomes more important than the science being correct.
      The basis of the carbon market is a good example of the push for greed over science.

      • Whose greed and how?

      • The general problem is smuggling other agenda in under the good name of science.
        CAGW thinking is funded politically, and of course CAGW provides justification for extending the reach of political institutions. This is power greed – ie a more totalitarian political leaning – presented as science.

      • Yup when there is BBBIlions and BBBilions of dolars involved. Tough to do a Sagan in text.

  58. John DeFayette

    Mr. Roberts is right on the mark with his essay. He illustrates everything that has driven this left-leaning, Obama-voting engineer to perform the unthinkable:

    1) Vote for a Republican;
    2) Agree with something said by Rush Limbaugh;
    3) Lobby for defunding of “science.”

    I’m with Damien. I was a true believer until the environmentalists’ hubris sent me to actually read the 4AR, where the WG1 report was enough to reveal the religion behind the message. Climategate was the last straw, and rants like Roberts’ are simply reinforcement of what my own evaluations of the available data have revealed.

    How many ways am I insulted by Roberts’ screed? Let’s see: I am ignorant; my ignorance is culturally-induced (I am brainwashed?); I get my information from FoxNews, Beck, Palin (I do like Michael a lot) and Limbaugh; I want to be a member of some sort of right-wing tribe; I use lame arguments so that I will feel welcome in said subculture. Yep, Roberts must have seen that “I ditto that” bumpersticker on my Hummer and summed it all up.

    I say, “Defund the Beast.” These folks have been playing too long without adult supervision.

    • Joe Lalonde


      The rising cost of oil and the damaging colds to the food crops is generating a great deal of unrest for the wasteful spending around the planet by many governments. A government trying to spend it’s way out of financial collapse only tries to delay and hope prosperity saves them by new “green” jobs or “attract” new companies. Many U.S. companies jumped onto the China markets as their products are a great deal cheaper to produce. So where is the attraction of companies to go to the U.S.?
      The government has to pay it’s debt but will the cost be too high for middle income earners now as well?

    • Regretfully, I agree with you.

      Corruption will not cease if Congress is unwilling to “defund” the science enterprise.

      Calling the President of the National Academy of Sciences – Dr. Ralph Cicerone – to testify under oath before a Congressional panel would be a good first step.

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel

      • Calling the president of AMS to testify about the publishing of the accounting of the 324W/m2 back radiation under oath before a Congressional panel would be a good second step.

        Calling the president of NASA to testify about the publishing of the accounting of the 324W/m2 back radiation misled the general public for over a decade at its website under oath before a Congressional panel would be a good third step.

    • andrew adams

      OK, so what was it exactly about AR4 WG1 that changed your mind?

      • John DeFayette

        I think the biggest impact — what knocked the whole house of cards down — was the mistreatment of uncertainty.

        At the time we were being bombarded with news of our world collapsing all around us, especially in my normal information stream. More importantly than “An Inconvenient Truth” (did I mention my vote and campaigning for Gore in 2000?), NPR was on a roll — that was the start of their one-year “Climate Connection” series, produced with the venerable National Geographic.” The Economist ran a few articles informing us that the hour was nigh to begin paying attention to the green movement’s message — the signs were overwhelming. Goodness, even Michael Shermer was convinced that the dire predictions were really probable. Italian media was pretty much repeating the same message, even where they were not simply translating the reports. There was a lot of certainty (if you like, a nearly total lack of uncertainty) in the news of trouble.

        Why were all of these outlets so sure of the message? They were all going back to the definitive source: the IPCC’s report. The problem is, drilling down through the 4AR led to an revelation of the real lack of knowledge surrounding the field of climate studies. Further, in going through the document it reeked of polished PR. From the news, through the SPM and the synthesis report to the basic document and all of the levels of footnotes and references felt rather like reading Dante, descending slowly to the real core: a nearly complete unknown.

        There’s not enough meat in the report to convince me that there exists a credible threat. And the more you push certainty the worse the product stinks. The whole leadership of the green industry doesn’t understand this fact and “more likely than not” never will.

  59. Perhaps a look to another discipline might give some clues as to why a shibboleth may not in fact be one, and may illuminate the decried lack of ‘leaders’ in climate sciences – but not in the way MrOlsen thinks:

    Millions of NHS patients have been treated with controversial drugs on the basis of “fraudulent research” by one of the world’s leading anaesthetists, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

    So ok, it took them ten years, but this fraudulent scientist is now publicly exposed.
    Anyone on the official cAGW side up to doing this? After all, Steve McIntyre has been auditing the Hockey stick for quite a few years now …

    And let’s not overlook the patients, ahem, the public!
    Both are meant to accept what the doctors, or the scientists, tell them. Their arguments (or complaints) are disregarded or pooh-pooh’d.
    Ten years later, scandal erupting, will Joe and jane Public be taken seriously when they voice their concerns?

    Of course not.

    Isn’t it time for the climate scientists to stop hiding behind the PR managers of the various pressure groups and engage with those who pay their salaries? Without arrogance and without pontificating from a great height – and above all without the urge to ‘tell stories’, as advocated in the post. That argument alone illustrates perfectly that those inside the cAGW tent regard the rest of us as children who can’t be told about uncertainties.

    Look at people not inside the cAGW tentas adults, and treat them as such – and you won’t have to worry about how to talk about incertainties any longer!

  60. Grist has learned nothing from climategate.
    This will be instructive on how history looks at the AGW calamity social panic movement.

    • They never will. Many moons ago, a “warmie” friend pointed me to them. They used to talk about “hoe to talk to a skeptic”. That was so arrogant, it was written for the choir, not really to evangelize

  61. Ooops hit submit to quick.
    And the sad demonstration of assignment of motive and projection of the Grist article is almost sad to witness…except it is so rich in irony.

  62. Roberts’ main point is to shed light on popular media.

    He is correct. As journalists know, the Fox genre’s main approach is to present as populist, anti-authoritarian and participatory. The genre intends for the audience to believe they are being provided with inside information – not only along for the ride, but making the news with them. And it is hyped for drama – even when the topic is already dramatic e.g. children having limbs blown off.

    People apparently feel smart and special, if they believe they’re in on the ground level and have the inside scoop and are in control of what they know (whether or not they in fact are). With the current Fox and celebrity media culture, the more scandalous or dramatic hype that can be created around individual personalities, the more attention it receives. Attention does not equal important, or objective.

    Fortunately for education, especially in journalism and science, those who have fully reflected on so-called ‘climategate’ have learned a great deal. Journalism students are considering how to bring skills for critical analysis, and a role of accountability to their reporting of important issues; and science students are learning about how to cope with scrutiny by commercial media.

    Your ability to responsibly engage with the public and students requires you to understand many lessons — including about yourself. Not just the ones you favour ideologically.

    It’s unfortunate that all you can do is to cover your ears and scream ‘blame the deniers’, every time someone wants to analyse media. Media has been allowed to become the opposite of objectivity, and people need to understand this and make different demands on it, if they want it to inform them.

    But I do question Roberts’ assumption that it had a significant impact on the public. The social science says it didn’t .

    Regardless, there have been lessons learned. There is discussion that data access and modeling results have to be better communicated. On the other hand, it is also now openly discussed thath scientists need to be protected from political harassment for every single bit of interim data ( because harassment is not transparency). There is also discussion of how to make uncertainties more transparent. And improve communication skills, and to understand media.

    Now, Judith, you will do what you feel is right. I have to say, at this point, that I hope you continue to divert your considerable ideological energy to your blog, rather than having much more to do with students in your department.

    • …there have been lessons learned. There is discussion that data access and modeling results have to be better communicated.

      More importantly, they they need to stop lying all the time.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘There is discussion that data access and modeling results have to be better communicated’

        Sample discussion:

        Jones: Mikey, shall we release our data and code?

        Mann: Philboy are you mad? It’ll blow the gaff on all our shortcomings. We’re in enough denier crap already. Delete the lot.

        Jones: I’ve lost it anyway, Mike

        Mann: Good boy – you learn quick, you learn good.

        Jones: You the Man, oh great one!

    • You know, Martha, you were doing quite well until the last paragraph and then you blew your credibility I’m afraid. How unbelievably presumptious and condescending you are. It has always been the ambition of the liberal elites to control thought inside the classroom and you prove the point wonderfully.

      She frightens you doesn’t she? Perhaps you should gaze at your own navel for a while and wonder why that is.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “She frightens you doesn’t she?”

        Curry doesn’t “frighten” anyone. Polemics and science remain distinct, and a blog is definitely polemics, not science. Futzing around with “epistemology” and “consilience” and the like is, in all too familiar terms, putting lipstick on a pig.

        What “frightens” me is the comment in the other thread from some beezer who predicted/wished that if the worst of AGW comes to pass that the people who will be blamed the most (I think the phrase was “put up against the wall first”) will be the people who tried to alert us to the danger. So, it goes. The Greeks had a figure for this: Cassandra. Apollo’s curse on Cassandra was that nobody would believe her. She comes down to us in the standard joke of two people sitting in rubble: “I told you so.”

        All so 1000 families won’t have the vastness of their fortunes touched by a tax on carbon. When “conservatives” discount even Friedman and Hayek, you know mischief is afoot.

      • Latimer Alder

        You;ve mentioned these 1000 families before. WhoTF are they?

        I;m much more worried about my Mum (87 yo) being able to keep her house warm if we have another cold winter like this one than I am about these mythical 1000 families.

        BTW 0 in UK, we are now being told to get used to the idea that electricity will no longer be an on-demand resource. In the interests of greenery, it will only be available when the wind blows.

        Last winter the wind didn’t blow at all for three weeks. Without power Mum would have died of hypothermia within three days.

        If this is the outcome of supposed ‘progress’ with the Greens, then you will find little popular support for it.

      • A master’s degree and you don’t know what a smart grid is?

        Come on, mate. If you were a Yank you’d be one of those worried about your mum (in you were a New Englander) or your mom (if you lived in some place without a real sports team) being offed by an Obama Death Panel.

        That stuff works for the uneducated and incurious, but I thought you were better than that…

      • Dissembling and filibuster are all you really have, apparently.

      • I’ve concluded Hunter is a bot. You can take any one of his comments and swap it out for any other one of his comments, and it makes just as much sense in context.

        Turing test FAIL.

      • Latimer Alder

        Did you read the article?

        Or did you just decide that you knew more about future UK energy policy than the Chief Executive of our National Grid?

      • Read the article and listened to the Radio 4 interview. You?

        I am a systems engineer at a firm that provides wireless bridges used for SCADA control, monitoring and reporting for power systems using smart grids for distrbution automation. I have not yet encountered the mother-freezing PLC, but we just may not yet have implemented that control Stateside.

      • Latimer Alder


        Your company (I’m guessing Cisco??) may provide the equipment. But it is the National Grid guys who will decide how to use it.

        I think tha tbefore you tell SteveMoser that he doesn;t know what he;s talking about, you might want to glance at a copy of

        ‘Climategate – The CRUtape Letters’, by Steve Mosher and Tom Fuller. Both of whom post here.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sorry – some totl system screw up there.

        Ignore the last 2 paras which have crept in from I know not where

      • Wait, how did Mosh get into this?

        Do you or don’t you have any reference – other than a Bishop Hill blog post about a short blurb in the Telegraph – for the National Grid’s supposed hypomumthermia policy?

      • An appeal to authority? How deliciously ironic.

      • Latimer Alder


        I think teh Telegraph article is good enough for me. It reports a direct quotes form the Chief Exec of the National Grid.

        ‘Families would have to get used to only using power when it was available rather than constantly’

        ‘people will have to change their behaviour’

        Unless you have a magical way to make windmills work on windless days, that means in Scotland (my Mum’s home) there will be no power for days on end, since a lot of the power is supposed to come from that source.

        If you know better, please explain.

      • PDA,
        Your judgement on this about as meaningful as the rest of your filibustering.
        If you ever do come up with anything fresh or meaningful, then comments on them would be worthy of the same.
        But you are stuck on ‘AGW believer stupid’, so there is not really much more that needs to be said, is there?
        Your stale defense of the garbage pile of AGW catastrophism is really just the other face of the coin Emanuel flips so compulsively here.

      • QED. He’s totally using a comment generator.

      • PDA,
        Yes, the ultimate dodge: deny the huanity of someone you can’t out debate.
        You are the one stuck on ‘troll’ in this.
        Good luck getting out of this corner you have painted yourself into.
        Please continue.

      • Latimer Alder

        @five string

        Please try to keep up. It was the Chief Exec of National Grid that made the remarks that started this commentary. Do you think it is unreasonable to focus on what he said?

      • All so 1000 families won’t have the vastness of their fortunes touched by a tax on carbon

        What an odd notion…
        No, so that the whole world won’t be untold trillions the poorer by being made to use vastly more expensiveand inconvenient energy. And, yes, being that much more the slave of government.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Love that “slave of government” stuff.

        Have you heard recently people of your acquaintance using words like “conservancy hearing”?

      • If Martha is not frightened by Judith why does she attack her in almost every comment that she makes on this blog? There is obviously something that Dr Curry is doing that is causing Martha angst othersise she wouldn’t post comments in such personal terms. Perhaps it’s a case of the truth proving to be uncomfortable.

      • Jeffrey,
        ‘1000 families’ puts you on par with Oliver Emanuel.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Really? A metonymy for the super-rich puts me on a par with “iron sun”?

        I’ve got to be more careful with my metaphors.

      • I do find it fascinating the way that the alarmists constantly recycle the same strange tropes….”lipstick on a pig” appears to be a concept that fascinates Rabett, Dhogaza and now PDA, judging the frequency with which it comes up. They constantly obsess about the Koch and Gulbenkian charitable foundations. Every statement of opinion (let’s face it, there is little in this world that is more than mere opinion) that is more nuanced RealClimate’s viewpoint is funded by “big oil”. Everything scientific is prefaced by that rather pathetic appeal to authority – as in “peer-reviewed” science. Weaselly people like Shewonka, Arthur Smith and Susan Anderson come here on various threads and insist multiple times that Judith answer a range of off-topic questions and when she departs from the official message – gives a more nuanced answer than RealClimate – they go back to their blogs and denounce her, using the key term “hand-waving” – it’s like a return to the Stalinist show trials or Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

        Together and collectively they are building up a mighty head of indignation about Climate Etc. Very odd and extremely revealing, considering that they are the guys with all the funding and outlets to the mass media.

      • my error – I should have said Jeffrey Davis rather than PDA who imagines putting lipstick on a pig.

      • What’s amusing is there’s only one side here talking about “<a href=""vengeful action” and putting people “against the wall.”

        Hint: it ain’t the warmists.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        ” it’s like a return to the Stalinist show trials or Mao’s Cultural Revolution.”

        Oh, man. I remember one Christmas opening up the air-tight plastic wrapping on a very moist, very heady Trappist cheese. As the joke went, my head snapped “back and to the right.”

        Comparing criticism on a blog to Stalinist show trials and the Cultural Revolution beats that experience all hollow. Stinky cheese, bro.

      • Jeffrey, I was pointing out the similarities of approach: how else do you explain the concerted attacks, all using the same very strange tropes, and the concerted ad hominem criticism of anyone who does not say the message of global warming using exactly the right phraseology?

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Gosh, sure. I never thought of that. Here I’d pegged it to the similarity of our culture. (Hey, do you think since many of the skeptics use similar language and rhetorical strategies that they’re in on this whole Stalin/Mao stuff too?)

        [sounds of laughter like an old horse having an asthma attack]

      • well Jeffrey,

        you refer to the similarity of our culture, but I have never seen anyone put lipstick on a pig. And i am not sure I would ever go to a place where they put lip-stick on pigs. So maybe I am outside the realm of understanding for you and josh halpern who prefers to be known as bugs bunny. Nor am I funded by koch. Take that john mashey. And tamino, do not shift the pea.

        You guys always play the person rather than the issue. A technique brought to a peak by the NKVD in Soviet Russia.

        But, you are nscientists and so know nothing of history or rhetoric. HA!!!

        So let’s go slow with a few cute techniques designed by demosthenes to evade the issue at hand a few thousand years ago:

        1. the attack ad hominem – he was once employed by Shell, his evidence is unreliable.
        2. the smear indirect – BEST, they have funding from the Koch foundation, so they are funded by big oil…of course big oil pays tax, so all the govt establishments are also funded by big oil – and BEST is funded by a charity, not the oil company…and there are clear strictly determinmed rules of separation f0r all you brain dead alarmists
        3. denialiist chum – t0o vague to worry about
        4. susan alexander worrying about penguins….get a life and ask Feynmam’s view since you are a qualified spiritulaist who does not believe in empirical evidence

        Hi jeff…go “hand-waving” with your buddies….dhogaza needs friends these days…and that rabett guy too

      • Grahame
        You’ve summed it up really well. It’s like something out of N Korea. We will all have to be re-educated. They must see Judith as a threat otherwise they wouldn’t spend so much time having a go at her.

      • Sorry Graeme, I spelt your name incorrectly. My apologies.

      • it’s all right Rob…now they have got mne mij ntheir sights…wait for the:

        1/ attack ad hominem
        2/ smear indirect

        use of “hand waving”, or “denialist chum”, or better still “big oil” to deflect the fact that they have no points to make….count down starts…will the big guns join in…I see thaqt they are already 2-teaming me…lol

        but notice how they never contribute to the subject of the thread…

    • I would assume that university students in the US are no more prone to thought control than anywhere else, Martha, but rather they are perfectly capable of independent thinking. What needs to be taught, and what I believe also Dr. Curry will is the science – you know, equations and laboratory work kind of stuff. And the state of the climate science right know doesn’t allow for ideological twists or overstating certainty. There is admittable much we know but also many don’t knows. That needs to be taught, and from the tone of your messages on this blog, I get a feeling you propose only the first ones – the ones that are known – needs to be taught. I certainly hope my interpretation is wrong.

      Elementary school is of course a different matter: there any kind of ideologically motivated teaching should be kept in absolute minumum and limited to commonly acknowledged values of the society. Doomsday predicitions and climate propaganda movies should be kept out.

    • Martha,
      You understand far less about media and communications than you do about climate.
      But you use many, many, many words to prove it.

    • …and, Martha, your last paragraph is really a cry for help on your part. I hope you get it soon.

    • Martha, help me here. I’ve forgotten what my ideology is. The only thing i can come up with is “scientific integrity demands full communication of uncertainty.”

      • And Gavin is the Anti-Christ!

      • Latimer Alder

        Calm down.

        ‘Seriously misguided, totally arrogant and entirely unpleasant’ will do. No need to overegg the pudding.

      • Right on!

        I must thank Judith for teaching me a lesson that has made understanding science so much easier;

        Nice is right, rude is wrong.

        Now it all makes sense.

        I must confess that once I prayed at the alter of RC, and believed Gavin to be the Messiah.

        But now I know he was a false prophet.

        Thankfully we can learn from our mistakes. It is clear now that Judith is The Way, The Truth and The Light.

      • Latimer Alder

        I forgot ‘easily led’.

      • You are so right.

        Group hug!

      • Well its about time you figured this out :)

      • My humblest apologies for being so slow on the uptake.

        But at last I see the light.

        We need to embrace uncertainty, and it’s clear that only you have this absolutely right.

        We need independant critical thinking, and we are all 100% behind you in doing this together!

        High five!!

      • When looking for a light,
        LED is good.
        Science is Corrupt.

      • No, but is Gavin honest?

      • Nice is right, rude is wrong.

        Get with it!

      • Latimer Alder


        But if anyone thinks that by being entirely unpleasant to those who ask simple questions is a way to persuade them of the rightness of what you say is clearly severely misguided or a sociopath.

        In sales, ‘objections’ (eg questions) are viewed as sales opportunities. They show that the questionner is interested enough in the subject to engage with it, and offer you the chance for more discussion – hence more opportunity to prove your case. Objections are better than apathy.

        Anybody supposedly advised by a professional PR firm who fails to grasp this elementary point should either demand a refund for their fees, or adopt a different career. Simples.

      • Yeah, PR is the new science!

        High Five!!

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘PR is the new science’


        But if you are trying to persuade people that your science is right and should be taken seriously, then doing obviously frigging stupid things to p..s them off ought to tell you that you are doing something wrong.

        Never needlessly make an enemy when you might make a friend is good advice.

      • hey…just take my history of rhetoric into account…these guys are losers…I know that science might lose out, but that was their choice, they did not have to play on the field of rhetoric, but that was GAVIN’S choice

    • Professor Bob Ryan

      Martha: your final paragraph is appalling and a rapid apology would be in order. Whoever you are you should take great care what you write. You will not damage Judith Curry but you do great damage to yourself.

      • Holly Stick

        There are commenters here throwing around all sorts of wild accusations against specific people and against climate scientists in general, and you choose to rebuke Martha? Wow.

    • Martha – your entire career was devoted to this, wasn’t it?

      • Kate,
        “Martha – your entire career was devoted to this, wasn’t it?”
        She probably works at the funding agencies, she has no choice but to defend.

    • Martha – OUCH your Shelby Steele like perspicacity is a wonder to behold!

  63. I love the slippery, pretzel logic of ACCs (Apocalyptic Climate Clowns) like Dave Roberts and Randy Olson. Oh, how they contort and twist. It’s wonderful entertainment.

    I hope you all will tune for Dennis Miller’s radio show ( to listen to a conversation with Sky Dragon Slayer Joe Olson on Thursday March 10th at 8:34 AM PST. Maybe ianash, thefordprefect or Holly Stick can get through on the phone and deliver some of their death star wisdom…that would be lovely. I’d love it. Here’s your chance…light up those phone lines, Warmists.

    • Pretzel Logic was good, but “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” was so overplayed that I can hardly listen to it anymore. Sorry, I’m a child of the 70s. Can’t beat Can’t Buy a Thrill in my book.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        You just Can’t Buy a Thrill.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        All this Steely Dan back and forth got me wanting to listen to them. And then when I traipsed intio happy hour today (it is Friday after all) the tail end of a Steely Dan song was playing.

        This was a sign so when I left I put on Can’t Buy a Thrill on the old car stereo (which after a 2K investment sounds awesome) and played it. Gawd, that is a great album.

    • I’m with you, PDA. Are you reeling in the years?

      I forgot Martha. I’d love to hear her spittle-flinging eminence on the DMZ. Do you need the call-in phone number, Martha?

  64. Randy Olson’s article is a complete disappointment.

    Good storytelling is based on 100% certainty.

    Perhaps, but we’re not talking about storytelling, here, are we. People really do understand uncertainty…do large groups proclaim that meteorology is a fraud simply because a hurricane didn’t follow the track first predicted?

    If there’s one thing that the ENTIRE American public now knows, very clearly, probably thanks in significant part to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Michael Moore — it’s that alarmism/fear sells. Which means you should be leery of anyone coming at you with tales of fear and loathing. And when it isn’t paid off, a level of cynicism emerges — just as it has for the color-coded terrorism warning scale which is now a joke.

    If there’s a lesson to be learned from this, it’s that uncertainty needs to be handled carefully.

    Um, perhaps it’s just me, but the lesson from that seems to be don’t oversell your “tales of fear and loathing” as sure things.

    • Gene,
      Olson accusing skeptics- who point out that in fact there is not a global climate crisis at hand- with the use of fear and loathing tactics is a great demonstration of how CO2 obsession lowers the intelligence of hardcore believers.
      And then he uses Stewart and Moore as examples of the cure and not the problem.
      Olson utterly fails to understand climategate, defends the indefensible, ignores reality and gives examples of why his belief system sucks. All in one article.
      It was a perfect article. One for the archives. Of how to weaken one’s position in foolish ignorant attacks.

      • It reminds me of a former co-worker whose child was experiencing a really nasty case of diaper rash. He and his wife exhausted all the usual over the counter remedies and then after several office visits was happy to announce that the doctor had diagnosed the child as having “non-specific dermatitis”. After I explained the definition of that, he changed pediatricians. He wasn’t particularly sophisticated medically, but he understood that someone who tried that hard to avoid saying “I don’t know” probably wasn’t someone he wanted to trust his child to.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “who point out that in fact there is not a global climate crisis at hand”

        In the spirit of “who shall police the police?” what’s the Latin for “who shall be skeptical of the skeptics?”

        (quis custodiet ipsos custodes)

        So, hunter (et al) know that there’s no crisis, eh? All tidy fact? Settled science?

        Skepticism is such a tiring endeavor.

      • Jeff

        You never actually respond with what specific concern you are worried about that could not be mitigated with a properly built infrastructure over the coming decades.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        “Properly built infrastructure” is a bit broad don’t you think? And sadly comic, too. This country has withdrawn from even properly maintaining its existing infrastructure since Reagan. (“government is the problem.”)

        “Properly built infrastructure” could be anything. I suspect it includes the bizarre engineering schemes that will be proposed when the time comes (as it will) to fix the problem that you all know doesn’t exist.

        The dizzying rhetorical ingenuity which puts tens of thousands of climate scientists worldwide into a conspiracy to gin up global warming will be as a summer’s idyll when the time comes (as it will) and the people who tried to warn us about the dangers will be the ones blamed. (“First up against the wall” is the memorable phrase.)

        “Properly built infrastructure” my Aunt Fanny.

      • Rob Starkey


        Once again you demonstrate an ability to make flippant comments, but you seem to lack the ability to actually contribute in a meaningful way to a sensible future.

        Proper infrastructure means sewer systems that provide for proper drainage and water treatment. Dams would provide for fresh water reserves adequate for potential extended dry periods and for flood prevention during potentially higher rains. The additional cost to a country for this type of activity is minimal. Infrastructure needs to be built every few decades regardless of changes in climate, so having slightly larges dams, reservoirs and drainage systems would be far more efficient than trying to eliminate worldwide GHG’s. Additionally, since GHG’s will stay around for decades these activities will need to happen anyway.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Me? I worry about agriculture. Russia, Pakistan, and Australia this year should have gotten more attention.

        Storm drains? Not so much.

      • Rob Starkey


        If the people in Pakistan of India cared as much as you state you do the would be in far better shape to increase production. I do extensive business in Asia and point out to you that due to corruption they invest very little in building and infrastructure as I describe. Tough for them imo…they should have to live with the consequences for their lack of foresight. It is not the duty of the US to resolve all the other countries problems

      • Jeffrey Davis

        That’s a real good example of what I call a “sounds like” response. It sounds like it addresses the issue since it uses many of the same words.

      • Holly Stick

        Kind of difficult to rely on infrastructure when flooding destroys it.

        “The 2010 Pakistan floods began in late July 2010, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan and affected the Indus River basin. Approximately one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area was underwater.[3][4][5] According to Pakistani government data the floods directly affected about 20 million people, mostly by destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure, with a death toll of close to 2,000.[1]…”

      • Rob Starkey

        Holly—I do not think you and Jeff have a single rational thought between the two of you.

        Flooding does not wipe out properly built infrastructure. Since you seem to lack knowledge about Pakistan and India I will point out that both countries currently do virtually no infrastructure planning and construction. Even a slight rain today in either country floods their major cities. (I travel to and do extensive business in both countries) Both countries are terribly corrupt and it requires massive bribes to get something built and you can not get infrastructure built.

        Had Pakistan not been so corrupt and invested in actually building any infrastructure then they would not have had deaths due to flooding. They didn’t and hence cause and effect it rained, they had floods and people died. That “problem” is the result of the country not taking care of their local population and not the problem of the United States or anyone else.

      • Holly Stick

        Granted there is corruption, but don’t blame the victims of poverty for being poor. And the US is conducting a war inside Pakistan, in case you did not notice. You are involved.

        And from the wikipedia link:

        “…It has been reported by the International Red Cross that a large number of unexploded ordinance, such as mines and artillery shells, have been flushed down stream by the floods from areas in Kashmir and Waziristan and scattered in low lying areas, posing a future risk to returning inhabitants.[47] …”

      • Latimer Alder

        @holly stick

        Where did anyone blame the victims of poverty for being poor?

        What relevance does your comment have to weather effects?

        What relevance does the mines remark have to anything?

        I’m sure you think that just by quoting something we will all join the dots the way you do, but it ain’t like that. You need to show your working.

        OK – if you’ve spent years learning about climatology , I know that this will be an alien concept, but you could at least try.

      • Rob Starkey

        Holly—your Pollyanna view of the world as you would like it to be is astounding. With all due respect, I am knowledgeable about the about the region and you are not. Look up what amount Pakistan spends on their military in order to keep their current regime in power.

        Pakistan is a military dictatorship with fanatical religious zealots who are completely corrupt. I am by no means defending and US military actions as those actions are not germane to the issue being discussed. The issue is why people die in floods in Pakistan, and the answer is what I previously stated…lack of infrastructure…..which is due to internal corruption.

        I have said that Hansen and people like you are simply wrong when you advocate things like shutting down all coal fired power plants in the US as a “solution” to global warming. Yes, human actions will in all likelihood result in a somewhat warmer world. There are also sensible actions to take, or really stupid, wasteful actions….I propose the US take a sensible approach.

      • Jeff, some of us do not know either way since we are “unconvinced”. Your religious fervor in AGW perhaps makes you see things in black and white. Got to go slowon that AGW kool-aid

      • come on…we need the tropes…give us some ad hominem abuse

    • The very fact that we’re discussing the thoughts of someone who believes that telling stories doesn’t involve uncertainty boggles the mind. Does anybody cruising the blogosophere even understand what story telling is?

      Name a good story that doesn’t involve uncertainty.

      What kills a story is cheating the audience by misleading them about what is fact (the story’s premise, the character’s motivations) and what is uncertain–the outcome.

      Can’t anybody here play this game?

      • Tom,
        The Grist article sfails at every point taht involves comparing it to intellectual honesty, facts, truth, history and human anture.
        That believers are so far into their mythos that they believe stories are literal truth is a damning milestone.

  65. AGW-Skeptic

    An interesting article: Warmists Dilemma

  66. Judith,

    Any study can have whatever conclusion a science person wants by the current use of uncertainty. This all depends on how or where or what question you apply to scientists or society. Publish this and now it becomes a certainty as peers now accept this as fact. Then now this becomes a reference to any skeptics.

    I have been following the science for a number of years with the clues this planet and solar system has provided. It shows our current knowledge to be very tainted. Even our basic understanding of a circle can show a surprising amount of knowledge when it was not studied correctly. A standing circle with mathematical measurements is totally different to a circle in motion as now energy has to be included which was never considered before. This changes the whole structure of this circle in many ways.

  67. David Bailey

    I don’t think most people are even aware of climategate! Nowadays, they have to live with a constant barrage of scare stories, and they do what we all do with most scare stories.

    For example, a few weeks back, I read a report that people who spent 4 hours or more in front of a computer screen, were much more likely to die of a heart attack – regardless of how much exercise they did! What did I do – I made some rough mental assessment of its plausibility, decided I did enough exercise, and proceeded to ignore it!

    I think AGW took a nosedive when its proponents decided to blame AGW for everything bad under the sun, and when they decided to try unreasonable hype. The recent cold winters didn’t help either!

    • “The recent cold winters didn’t help either!”

      It hasn’t gone without notice, that they blamed that on AGW, too.

      The list.

      Obviously, this is a bit dated. But it serves a wonderful purpose. It states volumes and is an embarrassment to any CAGW proponent.

      • David Bailey

        I find non-scientists often show a lot of savvy about technical subjects like AGW. They are, perhaps less likely to fall for the myth that scientists are all hard working and honest, than we (people with a science background) are. They realise that blaming everything – including snow – on global warming is just absurd.

        They know that large institutions run on politics, not facts.

      • large institutions run on politics, not facts

  68. I was a sceptic of man-made global warming before ClimateLeak, but I am now its proud denier.

    Look at this one:

    Be awkward if we went through a early 1940s type swing

    • that was three years ago…

      I wonder how many years worth of data he is cutting out now.. ;)
      Once started a lie is hard to stop

      Don’t want the public to see that temps have plateaued / fallen do we

    • Girma,

      Thanks for the link exposed those low regard pseudo scientists. I want my tax money back!

  69. As a devote of Crime Scene Investigation TV show, I note that a crime scene is revisited when the evidence first collected and subjected to scientific investigation does not yield a clear path for further inquiry. Revisiting Climategate is just such a crime scene reinvestigation, and, in this case, is an impetus to the Berkeley/Lawrence Livermore Lab reconstruction of the temperature record. Over the course of the last year it has become apparent that there are considerable uncertainties regarding data used in constructing The Radiative Transfer Model; ie, clouds, the lack of equilibrium impact of water/water vapor, the statistical management of what had become foundational data, etc. etc. etc. The hydrology portion of the data set has become even more relevant. An emerging paradigm: spacio-temporal deterministic chaos has now been articulated from the blogosphere participant Tomas Milankovec which suggests that there is a lot we may never know, at least with the tools at hand.
    We have lost the “Glory” satellite to the same launch failure as the CO2 sensing satellite. Maybe, the outcome of Climategate, at least for NASA, will be to rebrand itself again, disassociate itself from all things climate, quit chasing the trace gas hypothesis, and refocus upon doing what it had done best, launch and recover satellite data. A useful function IMO.

  70. Some of the neglected emails that deserve more discussion in the media and in blogs are the emails that hint at unwarranted adjustment to the global temperature record. I’m certain emails like these are the motivation for Berkeley Earth System Temperature effort.

    How can anyone read the following sentence and not think researchers are trying to adjust the record to achieve a desired result?
    “So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip.”


    What is Climategate about? It is about researchers getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      How can anyone read the following sentence and not think researchers are trying to adjust the record to achieve a desired result?

      They could read the next email in the sequence
      in which Phil Jones tells him his speculations are incorrect and that the data are saying something quite different. In fact “the adjustments won’t reduce the 1940s blip but enhance it.” which is exactly the opposite of Wigley’s speculation.

      By the way, I don’t think the Berkeley team are looking at the ocean data. Yet.

      • Nebuchadnezzar,
        Nothing you said refutes my point of view at all. There is no question Wigley was suggesting an adjustment to temperature based solely on a desired result. Just as Hansen has been accused of cooling the past in order to increase the amount of warming in the 20th century, this seems to be the desired result Wigley is suggesting. Whether Jones agreed or not is entirely beside the point. And BEST does plan to reconstruct the ocean data. It’s part of their plan and I think one of the reasons is this email.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by refuting your point of view because it’s just that: your point of view.

        I was merely offering another ‘point of view’ in which two scientists who are made aware that there’s a particular systematic error in the data try and puzzle out what the actual evolution of global SST might have been based on their other knowledge of the climate.

        Something interesting happened in global SST at the end of the second world war that much is obvious. People are trying to puzzle that out based on what they know about the rest of the climate, other observations and intuition.

        Bob Tisdale seems to think it’s a real effect (apologies to him, if I’ve got this wrong) and the host of this blog seems to lean that way too. Other’s disagree. Steve McIntyre upshifted temperatures after the war because he thought the temperatures after the war were too low because buckets were still in use (contrary to the assumption made by Folland and Parker and others), which seems to be what Phil Jones was saying too.
        vs the diagram from the Independent

        Wigley thought the temperatures during the war were too high. No one agrees with him it seems.

        re the Berkeley bunch – I meant that it looks like their first priority is the land surface temperatures, hence my ‘yet’.

      • Nebuchadnezzar,
        You are ignoring the facts. Wigley did not say the data was “bad data.” He did not say he found evidence of instrument bias. He did not say he measured the bias and found it to be 0.15C. Here’s what he did say:

        I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from.

        Removing ENSO does not affect this.

        It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”.

        Let me go further. If you look at NH vs SH and the aerosol effect (qualitatively or with MAGICC) then with a reduced ocean blip we get continuous warming in the SH, and a cooling in the NH — just as one would expect with mainly NH aerosols.

        The other interesting thing is (as Foukal et al. note — from MAGICC) that the 1910-40 warming cannot be solar. The Sun can get at most 10% of this with Wang et al solar, less with Foukal solar. So this may well be NADW, as Sarah and I noted in 1987 (and also Schlesinger later). A reduced SST blip in the 1940s makes the 1910-40 warming larger than the SH (which it currently is not) — but not really enough.

        So … why was the SH so cold around 1910? Another SST problem?
        (SH/NH data also attached.)

        This stuff is in a report I am writing for EPRI, so I’d appreciate any comments you (and Ben) might have.


        Wigley’s suggestion had nothing to do with the way a scientist normally measures for a bias so he knows how much to adjust the data. No. Wigley chose 0.15 “deliberately.” He had a goal he was trying to reach. Was Jones offended by his blatant attempt to adjust data to reach a desired goal? No. Jones simply disagreed that the suggested adjustment was taking the data in the direction he wanted to go. Wigley and Jones are not practicing science. They are practicing advocacy. The victims are the data, the science and the public.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Hi Ron,

        I’m not ignoring the facts. They’re discussing the implications of a paper by Thompson that shows a rapid drop in SST at the end of WWII. Thompson suggests it is artificial. The evidence (I’m not saying it’s conclusive evidence) of the instrument bias, of the “bad data”, is there in the Thompson paper.

        Wigley is speculating (he says “Here are some speculations“) . He thinks that the temperatures in WWII might be too high and that the true SST was a bit lower. So he suggests an adjustment that would reduce temperatures during WWII.

        Jones says “Maybe I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying, but the adjustments won’t reduce the 1940s blip but enhance it. It won’t change the 1940-44 period, just raise the 10 years after Aug 45.” He’s talking about a different set of adjustments entirely. I suspect they’re the ones shown in the ppt’s he refers to, but I can’t access them to check.

        Note that he says “Maybe I’m misinterpreting what you’re saying, but” which is what polite people who have to work with each other every day say when they mean “I think you are completely wrong”. What it looks like Jones is saying is “actually Tom, the proposed adjustments that I’ve seen probably make the agreement between the data and your model worse”.

        Looked at like that it’s almost funny. Wigley comes up with this grand scheme in which everything fits together neatly and Jones says “er… no”.

        Concerning your last point about advocacy. It’s no more advocacy than when Steve McIntyre proposed his own corrections to the data (or Tisdale, or Curry propose that the data are just fine) and, given that neither Jones nor Wigley have published any corrections to the ocean data, it seems that this is one of those cases of a victimless non-crime.

      • Ron Cram 3/6/11 1:32 am; Nebuchadnezzar 3/6/11 7:13 am

        When IPCC changed its charter from the scientific investigation of climate to an investigation into the consequences and threat from human-induced climate change, it shifted to advocacy science. Cf. original 1988 mandate, AR4, ¶1.6, p. 118; IPCC, Principles Governing IPCC Work, 10/1/1998, p. 2. This advocacy is why the null hypothesis in the public climate question must be H0:AGW does not exist.

        The consequences of IPCC’s assumption are grim. It biased its reports and GCMs in favor of AGW, and against natural GW by neglect of natural phenomena, by distortion of physics, and by the high art of fallacy. Mann’s masterpiece is an example. Apparently he was seeking to show the modern temperature record was unprecedented. He was invoking a fallacy practiced repeatedly by IPCC: being unprecedented validates the cause-and-effect model between the industrial era and the coincident warming, respectively. See IPCC’s family of hockey sticks, chartjunk> for temperature, CO2, CH4, and SO2. Unprecedented was likely evidence in the minds of those in Judith Curry’s epistemic Level 4, including the science literacy-challenged Policymakers to whom IPCC addresses its presumptive and admittedly incomplete science. AR4, Preface.

        Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Jones, Wigley, et al., legitimately inherited the attributes of advocacy science from their parent organization.

        That was not the case with McIntyre. He was employing the high virtue of skepticism essential to scientists. He does not inherit advocacy for the null hypothesis.

        When the Coalition drove Saddam out of Kuwait, the left said the US was fighting for oil: the US was supposed to inherit Saddam’s motives. A left-right dichotomy also arose in AGW with Judith Curry’s epistemic level 4 and Roberts’ essay, above. These writings support the right wing argument that the AGW movement is a political adventure of the left. Roberts employed a similar na nuh na na tactic when he defended the exposed CRU conspiracy by fantasizing about a right wing conspiracy. These congruent errors of attribution add weight to the right wing’s argument, but leave the science unscathed.

        Validation of the politics is not validation of the science.

      • Nebu lover of Nabu you are not. Taken together the e-mails still paint a perverse picture of “data-driven” scientists figuring out how to fix the data. One suggest a way and the other stops him because it would exacerbate the problem, presumably both are trying to fix.

  71. And of course the definitive tragedy of it all was last fall when Bill Maher, who is also a climate science fan, propagated the right’s message when he said, “what’s the big deal, so a few scientitsts got caught fudging some data.” By then 5 investigations had cleared ALL scientists.

    To see sentiments like these still expressed is insulting to anyone who has actually been paying attention. See, for example, the following excerpts…

    from Climate Audit: letter from the ICO in the UK

    >>>”The prima facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence.

    The fact that the elements of a section 77 offence may have been found here, but cannot be acted on because of the elapsed time, is a very serious matter. The ICO is not resiling from its position on this.”

    Or consider this ‘well publicized’ revelation, again from CA :

    >>>>”4. The[Muir Russell] Review’s remit does not invite it to re-appraise the scientific work of CRU. That re-appraisal is being separately commissioned by UEA, with the assistance of the Royal Society.
    [Thank you for your message. What you report may or may not be the case. But as I have pointed out to you previously the science was not the subject of our study.
    Yours sincerly,
    Ron Oxburgh ]

    Read it again. The “science was not the subject of our study”. Why would anyone have expected that science would be the subject of study of the Science Appraisal Panel?”<<<<

    I agree with the sentiment to 'never attribute to malice that which can be attributed simply to ignorance or error.' However, continuing in the belief that these inquiries should have dispelled doubts from the minds of Bill Maher and others is, to me, simply staggering.

    • Michael, this whole episode has been about “move along, move along nothing to see here”. From CONSENSUS, PEER-REVIEWED PAPERS, GATEKEEPING, WHITEWASHING etc. IMO, what is fascinating this is the side that used to thrive on “Question Authority”

  72. Indeed, the ‘investigations’ only deepened in my mind serious doubts about how much I can trust the ‘scientific establishment’ (and governements), not because of some ’empirically closed loop’ but because I took the time to turn off fox news, do some reading and was appalled at what I found. I was appalled also that it generally went unanswered by the accused parties, or if it was answered, the answers tended to be slippery (Acton of UEA, Jones) or just shallow (Russel inquiry).

    • One last thing, let me just say that I have also seen from the likes of our hostess, scientists like John Niels-Gammon and many commentor here, that there is hope and there are still ‘establishment scientists’ who want honest, rational discourse.

  73. “Typical blame the deniers”

    There’s no “blame” there. He’s describing actions.

    • With a rather bizarre interpretive skew.

      “Don’t believe what you read. Believe what we say it means.”

  74. “Climategate illuminated a serious lack of leadership from the scientific and environmental communities”
    This is not correct, Climategate showed the following:-
    1 A group of scientists willing to prevent others publishing.
    2 Conspiring to pervert uk freedom of information law
    3 Deleting inconvenient data. Trick or cheat?
    4 Conspiracy to destroy government property
    I could go on, but the fantastic thing was it confirmed that the smell about their work was right all along and due rotten practices. Which I find cheering news.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Tell you what? Accuse individuals of specific actions. (I bet Judy Curry will appreciate it!) A whole lot of specious charges could be minimized if people didn’t hide behind the fact that you can’t libel a group. Assign names and actions.

      6 separate inquiries from the US and England have cleared the scientists of all but blowing up a weekend’s harassing deluge of FOI requests, but — hey — don’t let facts get in the way of a good scandal. (e.g. during the height of Clinton’s problems, the right wing even tried to blame Clinton for Ruby Ridge. Those were the days.)

      • Geez Jeffrey. By all means, don’t read the e-mails. And what ever you do, don’t look at the specifics of the inquiries. And you’re going to spew “don’t let the facts get in the way…..”? Why don’t you try to discover the facts instead of listening to some tin-foil hat wearer’s talking points. Oh, wait….. I’m talking to an alarmist. nvm.

        If you want to know, if you care to know, go to Climate Audit. There, you can have a conversation with people who were directly involved in your imaginary deluge of FOI requests. You can have first hand accounts of laws being violated. And you can properly context the intentional deception perpetrated by the various people. You can reference inquiries until the cows come home. It doesn’t change what was written nor does it change by whom.

        You do yourself a disservice by defending the indefensible.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        So, you don’t want to risk a libel suit. No. Really. I understand.

      • lol, Jeffrey, I have, in the past, pointed out people, and the wordings that show a direct violation of law. It has been found in Britain, that laws were violated, but they weren’t prosecutable because of time limitations. I have been very specific and have placed my name on the specifics. As have many others. That you don’t want to take the time to look at the specifics isn’t my problem, it is yours. I’ve shown you a place to go to see them. You can also get some good details at WUWT. As far as your Ruby Ridge reference, I think you are very confused. I am unapologetically conservative. I know of no “right-wing” persons or group that attempted to connect Clinton with Ruby Ridge. Maybe you could show the same courtesy I showed you and point me to some place that shows your assertion.

      • Jeffrey,
        Youcan take this to the bank:
        Not one principal in climategate is ever going to successfully or is even likely start a libel suit based on talking about interpretations of the leaked e-mails.
        If they were to do so, then those people would find out what real evidence demands look like, and what real interrogatories are like.
        And we would quickly find out what was said in context, what was erased illegally, and who got who to do what when.
        A libel suit by the ‘team’ is completely unlikely.
        What is likely is continued obfuxcation, misuse and denial of FOI requests, unlawful document deletions, stonewalling- iow what is going on now.
        And, disgustingly, you and your fellow true believers are so corrupted by your nobel cause rationalizations that you think that is OK.

      • Jeffrey, you are a good soldier. Nice work.
        Based on the “deluge of FOI requests”, I think someone (or multiple someones) did the work, hence the Climategate folder names FOIA “documents” and “mail”…but an executive decision was made to sit on the stuff. Here’s my take: this was a decision our unknown hero disagreed with. Whoever suggested we take Al Gore’s Nobel Prize and give it to the leaker? What an outstanding idea.

      • Jeffery,
        You are the one deciding that skepticism is all about 1000 wealthy families arranging a vast conspiracy to protcet their ill-gained interests, and you demand skeptics be specific? lol.
        As to your fact-free defense of the non-inquiries and whitewash of what they did, Ican only shake my head in disappointment that someone like yourself who claims to be so well informed could be either sincerely ignorant of the facts or cynically uncaring.

      • Dear Jeffrey – for your own sake, take a look at One Tiny Example.

      • Kate,
        A true believer must remain unblemished of facts.

      • The great irony is that ‘true belief’ is a result of evolution.
        In early man, belief was a survival mechanism – those who didn’t believe without question what they had been told, and decided to find out for themselves whether tigers and polar bears were as cuddly as they look, found themselves on the shallow end of the gene pool.
        This was reinforced in later times, when those who dared to question religious dogma were stoned or burnt at the stake – further removing unbelieving genes from the gene pool.
        So those who have unquestioning beliefs which they defend against all reason, can’t really help it – that’s the way we evolved.

      • “The great irony is that ‘true belief’ is a result of evolution.”

        Spoken like a True Believer, Peter317. ;)


      • Jeffrey Davis

        I wonder if Wegman knew that his results were invalid because he’d be paid for his trouble.

      • Jeffrey,
        The NAS panel agreed with Wegman on all the disputed points of science. Read Gerald North’s testimony before Congress. He says the NAS panel agrees with the Wegman Report. And so did the NAS statistician who testified with North. I don’t understand these crazy attacks against Wegman.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Wegman was asked if the MBH98 tests would reveal a hockey stick shape if the data were hockey stick shaped. One word answer.


        The area of scientific dispute was the handling of PCA 1. Fine. Do away with PCA1.

        Same result.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Let’s also look to the NAS report.

        “The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes the additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and documentation of the spatial coherence of recent warming described above (Cook et al. 2004, Moberg et al. 2005, Rutherford et al. 2005, D’Arrigo et al. 2006, Osborn and Briffa 2006, Wahl and Ammann in press), and also the pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators described in previous chapters (e.g., Thompson et al. in press). Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium.”

        In for a penny, in for a pound, eh? You guys want to turn disputes into personalities, but the disputes aren’t about personalities.

      • Jeffrey…”accuse people of specific actions” inde3ed! That is not how the KGB works. You need the attack ad hominem, the smear indirect, the appeal to authority. use terms like “hand-waving”, “denialist chum” – then you would beon safer ground with your shewonka friends…and the noccasional reference to “big oil” always plays well.

      • Jeff, I accuse you of a stupid post. Sue me.

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Stupid post? You have no idea.

  75. ferd berple

    This site continues to be very slow and unresponsive. I received a 408 message today. Is this due to increased traffic following climategate postings or is it possible something else is going on? Any possibility this is due to DOS attack?

  76. JAE,
    Thanks for your comments. To repeat from previous posts, I’m a social liberal and an old style conservationist/environmentalist, but I’m unafiliated politically and find ideologies of all stripes part of the problem. Yes, I know the “follow the money” meme, but it’s just one more soundbite and doesn’t convince my liberal friends unless I can get them to educate themselves with some sort of “climate science 101” and then get them to read the climategate emails, perhaps The Hockey Stick Illusion, and then spend countless hours at the climate blogs that we junkies do. Only then might “follow the money trail” take on as much meaning as “big oil money” or the opinions of Holly Stick (4:10 AM) which they are so often exposed to. And JAE (10:43 AM) yes, again, I know the the theories why professional scientific societies position (posture) themselves as CAGW alarmists: careers, repututations, saving the world, basking in the warm glow of the Nobel Prize, finding Post Normal Science as justification for abandoning normal science. Again, I have spent thousands of hours studying and processing all this, and I have 58 years of weather and climate interest and study including publishing articles on troposheric weather induced VHF propagation and space weather induced VHF propagation, but how many friends can I persude to spend the thousands of hours that you and I have in coming to our understandings? So the scientific societies positions are overdetermined by so many factors; I am still amazed by how dug in they are. However, my problem is not that. It’s the problem of communication of a very complex and nuanced critique of a very complex and poorly understood science to friends who are educated and usually open-minded, but not willing to immerse themselves in the study. Similarly, I have almost no success in modefying the entrenched positions of my conservative friends about socialistic or communist govenrment takeovers and imposed one world rule . I know that my friends are gererally well educated and well intended. I would be interested of your and other’s success. I hope you have had more success than I have.

    • batheswithwhales

      “Yes, I know the “follow the money” meme, but it’s just one more soundbite and doesn’t convince my liberal friends unless I can get them to educate themselves with some sort of “climate science 101″ and then get them to read the climategate emails, perhaps The Hockey Stick Illusion, and then spend countless hours at the climate blogs that we junkies do.”

      I have the same problem with my friends. It is impossible to convince someone of the faults of the climate complex over lunch, or even on a long night at the pub. So I don’t try. I recommend books and websites, but I don’t push or evangelize. Skepticism requires an open mind and hard work, an interest in politics and in how the world works. It requires intellectual curiosity, dedication and individuality in the face of social pressure.

      Warmism is imposed.

      Skepticism is earned.

  77. batheswithwhales

    Concerning David Roberts:

    Thank god for Fox news.

    The ideal would of course be that all media and all reporters are as balanced as possible, but this not being the case, it is essential that some media counterbalance this tendency.

    The hardliners on each side of the political spectrum don’t understand this, and only see fault with the opposition media. They fail to realize that a healthy democracy needs a wide spectrum of coverage. A heavy media bias TO EITHER SIDE will always lead to a weakened democracy.

    CNNs coverage of the Tea party movement is nothing to be proud of. In a mass movement there are always many colourful characters, but why always focus on the clowns instead of finding out if there could be any rational reason behind the protests?

    CNNs coverage of the whole climate complex is nothing to be jubilant about either.

    So at least there is FOX to show the other side of the story, even if they fall into the ditch on the opposite side of the road.

    If it wasn’t for FOX, we would have people like Roberts, unopposed, simply telling us what the world is all about and what we should think about it, which would be a nightmare for everyone in the end, because these people don’t mind ruling the world. So they get very angry when someone opposes their attempts to do so. Because they are right. Not just sort of right in some cases, but objectively and inherently right in all questions based on their self-perceived political, intellectual and academic superiority.

    Roberts states: “Beck, Palin, and the rest of Fox News and talk radio operate on the pretense that they are giving consumers access to a hidden “universe of reality,”

    Well, in fact they are. Unfortunately the liberal media don’t like to question what they believe is “right” and so it is up to others to dig the corpses out of the back garden of “the good guys”. We have seen it in the climate debate, regarding the (very real – in my mind) short comings of Obamacare, even in Beck’s coverage of George Soros’ philantropic empire.

    Of course Beck goes over the top, but still – Soros is no cozy old uncle. He is a ruthless businessman, he has political goals and he has the means and financial power to swing national policies in his intended direction. And now he is also heavily into climate change, being a personal board member of UN’s panel for climate change finance along with several heads of state and wall street bankers.

    So what does he actually want? What are his goals?

    It was high time someone asked this question.

    Of course a few weeks later he was allowed to come on CNN to redeem himself and make a few jokes. No critical questions asked.

    So more power to those who ask questions.

    Less to those who cover up.

    Whoever they might be.

  78. For facts on global warming, don’t miss this.

  79. disagrees with ferd…it returns 200 posts an hour to me

  80. Batheswithwhales,
    So what does Soros actually want? That seems a fairly easy question to answer.
    Start here-
    Interestingly, he seems to have made most of his fortune the way Keynes did. Are they the capitalists conservatives hate du jour?
    I used to like Hukebee until he lost all sense of integrety this week. Does that always happen to those who become talking heads at FOX?
    Climate change skepticism surely makes strange bedfellows! I’m on the same side as FOX which has even less credibility, in my opinion, than the IPCC. Wish it weren’t so. News as enertainment, news as tribal reinforcers, news as propaganda. Unfortuately, it isn’t just FOX.
    Despite the biases each one of us has, these blogs are so much saner and profound in their attempt to to reach toward truth than most anything in the public media (I’ll exempt PBS, but not NPR). My opinion.


      Use the search box there. Type in”community organizations” or “global warming” or “progressive” or my favorite: “democracy”

    • batheswithwhales

      An article @ Wikipedia is not the conclusive answer to what Soros wants.
      Wikipedia doesn’t answer a number of things. Not even the climate sensitivity to emissions of CO2.

      People in power, especially people in power for reasons other than public trust, as in democracy, must always be questioned. If CNN or any other media outlet fails to do so, then more power to FOX.

      Politics is for sale these days, and this means taking a hard look at the financiers. Who are they, what are their goals, what organizations do they own, what are their stated goals, what do they actually do, which people are involved, what ere their backgrounds?

      If the liberal media refuses to do this job, but still keeps inviting Soros for a trivial chat, then thank god someone else at least attempts to unravel some of these questions, even if it is FOX news with all their faults and bias.

      Anything is better than a gullible consensus, where no critical question can be asked as long as a certain amount of money is given to the right charity.

      It is downright scary.

      Why is Soros now into the climate financing business along with the wall street geniuses?

      Money? Or when you have all the money you could reasonably spend…


      Over what? In what way? To what ends? Liberal media is not interested in these questions.

      So thank god there is an opposing force.

      So thank god for FOX, otherwise America would be a dictatorship.

    • FOX news is no different than any other one topic channel. Look at Food TV, some real cooking shows ad quite a few food as sport shows. IMO all those people who wax eloquent about understanding Fox but feeling icky about its opinionated parts are trying to show how open they are – sort of like the angst filled white liberals professing the “crimes” of their own race. “See how open I (vacant?) am to be even handed about my own people”.
      FOX does this genre well and does not hide it. Take it for what it is. CNN does it but not too well, and MSNBC, let’s not even go there.

  81. As to the mythology of the “deluge” of FOI requests,

    This shows a rather limited, albeit not all inclusive, number of FOI requests. It also shows how science and understanding of climate science has improved because of the very limited amount of requests.

  82. Judith

    Your comments are spot on.

    The answer to “What have we learned from Climategate?” appears in some circles to be: “Nothing”.


    • Latimer Alder

      Even worse, it is

      ‘Nothing and we’re not going to because there’s nothing to learn. Nanaananananan, we’re not listening’

  83. guys…Soros waits till he sees a consensus forming around something irrational…eg the UK govt trying to support the value of sterling in 1992 nb- which the market will not support. He is amoral. he is just waiting for a chance where someone with lots of money tries to buck the markets.

  84. Willis Eschenbach

    steven mosher | March 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    there is nothing noteworthy in the harry readme.

    I keep lots of data. I keep it in a block. Generally, rows are years, and columns are variables.

    This has some huge advantages. I can run a whole host of operations on the data block, on on any subsection thereof.

    When I wrote to Phil Jones asking him for his data, I naively assumed he would send me such a block of data, 150 years long or so and three thousand stations wide.

    What I found out in the Harry_ReadMe file was that instead of that system, or any reasonable alternative, the data was scattered among hundreds of hundreds of individual files. Many of them were un-named, and depended on the folder name … but then there were folders with duplicate names and different data.

    Perhaps in your world, steven, finding that out about the data, in the only file in the released emails that even mentioned the problem, is … what was it you called it, … oh, yeah, “nothing noteworthy”.

    In my world, it was a revelation of the abysmally poor, grade school level effort that was going into maintaining and upgrading the dataset. And for me, that’s quite noteworthy, since I was the guy who was asking for the dataset.

    UEA guys that are too dumb to collect their data into one datablock, so that they can run checks and analyses on it and provide it as necessary and update it as needed, are too stupid to be in charge of valuable data. That’s what Harry_ReadMe proved to me … and I found that noteworthy.


    • Latimer Alder


      • Peter Smith

        I followed your discussion about this with PDA earlier in the thread.

        I think both you and Wills have nailed it.

        As a programmer and manager of programmers myself, there is nothing more important than the data. And by that I mean the raw figures.

        I got two things myself from the Harry readme file. The first being the same feelings as you about the data handling.

        I also came away completely unimpressed by the standard of code. Sure a case can be made about academia and not having time or resources to write things using best practices- but it usually sounds like an excuse to me. I can telly you that no programmer that wrote code like that would make it as far as an interview with me.

        Sloppy code is easy to write, but extremely hard to get right, and even harder to adapt and maintain, and harder still to verify as being correct.

        There is a reason why business software tends to be written with emphasis on readability, simplicity and future maintenance. A business cannot afford to get its figures wrong, because there are real world consequences.

        Excuses aside. For me the question everyone should be asking themselves.

        Should we be taking any major international actions based upon software written under anything less than the most rigorous best practices?

        Seriously. If you were asked to cross a busy road blindfold based upon predictions from a computer program, what standard of coding and testing would you want it to have been subjected to?

    • hear hear

      I have too often been the guy who sifts this crap.

    • Willis,

      I’ve advocated for years that what climate science needs is a couple of good DBA’s and good programmers. AND THEY NEED TO PUT THE DATA IN A REAL DATABASE! I find it a bit ironic that some scientists derisively comment about amateurs “doing it yourselves”. The Harry read me file was more than interesting, it shown a light where none had been before. Like you, when I try to use data provided, I’m often frustrated to the point of abandoning the effort because some of the mannerisms they use to keep data. There is no reason, nor excuse for the sloppy unprofessional way they treat data. Well, other than obfuscation.

      • Peter Smith

        Absolutely agree, especially the real database bit.

      • Steven Mosher

        Personally I have never had much of a problem with any of the ways they
        store data. Perhaps that comes from a good long time working with OPD.

        other peoples data.

        The biggest issue is that their work can be reconstructed very easily.
        Its more of a documentation issue. Typical for research grade software

    • This IT incompetence wouldn’t be tolerated in any private enterprise. What I see here are dilettantes dabbling with technology they barely understand and employing mathematics beyond their level of skill in an academic sandbox. If Jones had anticipated that one day he would be called to account for his science and actions he would have left a much better and possibly different paper trail. He certainly would have been more prudent in his emails.

      One competent lay mathematician laid Mann and Briffa low without breaking a sweat. Mann’s collaborators and his colleagues in paleoclimatology accepted Mann and Briffa at face value. What does that tell us about the competence of purported experts in that field?

      What it tells me is that there are a good number of climate scientists in over their heads. I can imagine Mann fiddling around with statistics programs he didn’t fully understand until he found one that confirmed his hypothesis and then he ran with the ball. Opportunism and confirmation bias? Well, at least some of that.

      Much of what has passed, in terms of intelligent commentary, in this and other threads amounts to “We know enough to say this” and ” No, you don’t”. The first argues from preponderance of evidence like any good prosecution attorney. The defense looks for items of evidence entirely incompatible with the prosecution’s argument — and it only takes one of those to change the jury verdict. Inasmuch as climate scientists are loathe to criticize each other due to cowardice, sloth or complicity, the only defense available is from those outside the climate science discipline. The naysayers have done quite well and the jury of public opinion is going their way with the help of a series of extraordinarily harsh winters.

      The convergence of evidence argument has been advanced by at least one climate scientist making comments on various threads. He has argued that one cannot challenge the conventional wisdom without thoroughly reading and understanding all of the relevant source material. In fact, I have not been able to identify a scientific polymath capable of doing so. An honest climate scientist, like JC, will admit to having special expertise in one or two areas but quickly disabuse all of the notion that he or she knows or understands it all.

      In the end, the preponderance of evidence argument should prevail when there is no credible evidence inconsistent with that argument. However, it takes just one piece of indisputable contrary evidence to blow apart the prosecution’s case. That is true in court rooms and in the Popperian view of science at its epistemological best. That, I think, is where we are in the ongoing criminal trial of CO2 and the loathsome human beings who create more of it.

      JC has done a great service to many of her denizens in emphasizing uncertainty. She is saying, in effect, this isn’t all as cut and dried as some people would have you think. That’s right. “There are more things in climate and weather than dreamed of your philosophy, Horatio” may have been what Shakespeare might have said if warmism was a fad in his time.

    • I don’t know, Willis:

      Are you sure you’re not the ‘abysmally poor, grade school level dumb’ one? :-(

      • Sorry, but Tim Lambert has proven himself to be such a monkey that neither do his claims convince anything. He is a pathological defender. One annyoing example here:
        He declared M&W as a “replication” of the hockey stick, which actually wasn’t. Unless you want to rotate the graph circa 20 degrees counter-clockwise.

        BTW, just that BOM and NOAA show the same result for Darwin, does not prove the “official” Darwin record to be correct. But honestly, I don’t know if Willis is right, but still Tim made a bad argument.

      • You are being dishonest. The word “replication” does not even appear in my post.

      • Ok, so, when you state, “Their reconstruction appears to be closest match to a hockey stick shape yet seen: “ Perhaps you didn’t mean to convey replicating….perhaps reproducing?

        Of course, your quoting of the 36% figure was either intentionally misleading, or you didn’t understand what the paper stated. In the very next paragraph or the paper, …..”…..we should temper our alarm somewhat by considering again Figure 15 and the fact that the proxies seem unable to capture the sharp run-up in temperature of the 1990s. That is, our posterior probabilities
        are based on derivatives from our model’s proxy-based reconstructions and we are comparing these derivatives to derivatives of the actual temperature series; insofar as the proxies cannot capture sharp run-ups, our model’s reconstructions will not be able to either and therefore will tend to understate the probability of such run-ups.”

        Tim, what do those words mean to you?

      • damn……“of the paper” “not or the paper”.

      • Martha,
        After reading many of your posts, the datum are clear who the abysmally poor, grade school dumb one is.

      • Martha, did you read the story? And did you bother to read Willis’ posting to check the veracity of Lambert’s assertions? I’m betting you didn’t. Go here…

        Willis went through great detail about the thermometer changes at Darwin…….oh Lambert didn’t say anything about that did he? He left the reader with the impression there was only one. Way back in 1940. Well, he misrepresented the truth. There were 5 thermometer changes and they overlapped. None of the thermometers used ever attained to the temperatures NOAA states.
        Lambert entirely misrepresented Willis’ post. I dare say Lambert didn’t even read it. I did. But, even if you didn’t read Willis’ post, all you’d have to do is look at the graph Lambert provided to know their “adjustments” are arbitrary.

        Because there was a step change approx -1 degree, temps get arbitrarily adjusted +2 to 3 degrees? Because the BOM agrees with NOAA indicates they use the same or similar types of “adjustment” methodologies. Look at the graph Lambert showed you and reason about why those adjustments were made that weren’t congruent to the step change.

        You guys really need to get out more. Quit listening to only the ones you want to hear. Lambert intentionally misleads his readers. So does Romm. So do many others. Which is why so many skeptics have their posts go directly to the trash bin w/o even moderation.

        Heh, they haven’t learned anything……..Martha, care to venture why skeptic blogs exist to begin with?

      • Lambert’s (and Romm’s, and the likes of them) formula is this:
        1) disagree (with wrong arguments)
        2) attack the man, call him a liar (this is the most annoying part)
        So typical.

        And this type of responding makes readers like me wonder “ok, so there is no legitime rebuttal to this. I guess the skeptics were right”. So the effect of their “rebuttals” does excactly the opposite on convincing people.

      • I admire Lambert for his high quality blogging. Deltoid is a great resource for distinguishing between denialist BS and solid arguments.

      • That’s an odd statement if you’d read the thread. Martha has given you a wonderful opportunity to test your opinions of both Lambert’s “high quality blogging”, and “denialist BS”. Lambert entirely misrepresented Willis’ presentation.

        Read the link Martha gave,

        And then read the story he was commenting on. Willis is an easy read, so I’m not asking you to get bogged down into something that takes a few days to run down. Its all fairly straight forward.

        And then see if your opinion of Lambert matches with reality. And then, Holly, I’d be interested to hear your opinion on Willis’ “denialist bs”.

      • Given the whipped cream nature of your posts, hope you do not mind if we ignore what you simply assert.

      • Holly Stick,

        ” Deltoid is a great resource for distinguishing between denialist BS and solid arguments.”
        Unable to quantify 324W/m2 back radiation is warmist BS. So don’t BS before you can account for 324W/m2 back radiation.

      • Latimer Alder

        And the relevance of this to good data admin practices is exactly what?

      • Martha could you just not help yourself and had to add more words after the link. If you were seeking some facsimile of balance, you would have given Willis side as a link, as others have done. Then FOX like you would have let us decide, or give an argument of why Willis’ response was useless and Deltoid was better. That would not have been dumb.

    • I want to add that Willis and others have it completely right. I’m in the technology business (most of you use products my company makes) so upon the Climategate release I immediately loaded up the Harry Readme file and went through the whole thing. My first reaction was simple disbelief. In fact, it caused me to question the entire Climategate data release in the early days. Based on the Harry file I started suspecting it all might be satire.

      It conclusively showed evidence of incompetence on a fundamental level. I found it interesting that even Harry himself knew enough to realize that the pile of dung he was patching up was unfit for any purpose. In my educated opinion, Harry was merely the last in a long line of unqualified part-time amateur coders (under-paid grad students on loan from another department, etc). It’s actually pretty difficult for one person to create something that bad. It’s more likely to be a string of different people who worked on that data and code sequentially with little or no interaction with each other. They were under-resourced and woefully under-skilled for the task. There was obviously no regimented quality control process in place. In the real-world of commercial software, any code that is written without a QC system running in parallel doing constant verification on multiple vectors is not actually considered “software”. The typical standard in the industry is one trained, well-equipped, full-time QC technician per programmer. Anything less and you are certain to get bug-ridden, non-functional code that generates invalid output. I’ve heard the claim that one reason climate scientists don’t want to release data or code is because it is of such poor quality it would call into question all of their results. After seeing the Harry file I believe it. To me that Harry file was the most damning part of Climategate because the slapdash guesswork, missing-data-so-make-something-up approach was first hand, irrefutable evidence.

      Going forward, the solution is not to continue to hide the abysmal state of the data and code but rather to insist that all of it be released into the daylight. That’s the only way to rapidly elevate the quality of the work and hence the veracity of the conclusions. I suspect that the forthcoming Berkeley project will at least have minimally decent coding verification and data integrity practices throughout. Why? Simply because they knew from day one that all of it would be released. Half-assing it was simply not an option.

      The average open-source, amateur, freeware hobby project has infinitely better development methodology and processes than that evident in the Harry Readme file. Good thing the code wasn’t being used to establish “settled” conclusions driving decisions worth billions

      • Here’s what everybody’s dancing around. While there’s a lot being made of the “is it criminal/malfeasant/corrupt” angle, they’re missing the point. It’s mediocre. So much so that if that were being used for any important public welfare related purpose by someone in the private sector, it would be grounds for a very serious lawsuit. There are such things as standards for performance. If Ford of GM were that sloppy in the design of their fuel tanks, would it be so forgivable?

        What’s being missed in the argument over whether the behavior is criminal is that that’s not the proper standard for determining if the scientists involved and the government bodies involved, such as the IPCC are behaving in a professional and ethical manner. And when public policy of this magnitude is impacted, there’s an ethical responsibility to do the best that can be done.

        The conduct in the emails shows a lack of seriousness and professionalism that the public has a right to expect. That’s the real issue. I’ll leave it to others to argue whether or not the FIOA dodging was in good faith.

    • Wills,

      Certainly one would expect better data handling than Harry described and what you found out. I also second the opinions about storing data in databases instead of files. Why they have the flat files and poor practices is just speculation, as is the generalization of this behaviour to cover the entire field of research. As has been stated elsewhere, the UEA is not exactly an Ivy League institution – my impression is that is actually a former polytechnic (i.e. not a ‘real’ university but one only able to hand out BSc:s?) – which would also explain the shortcomings. If it this mail leak hadn’t happened, most of us wouldn’t even know such an University even exists.

      Yes, they probably don’t have the data in real DB because they (the original programmers) don’t know how to do it, the data access (from Fortran) appears harder than from flat files, and most probably just because they have tons of programs that are dependent on flat file handling – and of course, they don’t have any real abtraction layer to isolate the data format from the rest of the program.

      Question remains, does this all matter? Of course the state of affairs described in the mail partly explains why they were so reluctant to give you the data (embarassment, some data missing etc) and code, but on the other hand, has it been shown that the program output/dataset in question is somehow faulty? As I see it, this is the relevant question.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        I don’t mind flat files, that’s generally not a problem. A “years by stations” 2-D array is generally all that’s needed.

        But a thousand individual files in different locations?


    • Steven Mosher

      It was nothing noteworthy. When you go to CRU and get data from them, you’ll find that it is well organized. same with ghcn, same with any climate data. You will also find that the answers you get writing your own code matches their answer.

      So nothing NOTEWORTHY. no errors in the science. no errors in the final answers. ( a couple minor errors of no CONSEQUENCE)

      nothing NOTEWORTHY. nothing we didnt know before. we knew that jones didnt keep good records. we knew that science code was not up to snuff. BEFORE climategate we KNEW THIS. thats why for example in 2007 people like me and you called for better practices. we KNEW THIS. the harry readme contains NOTHING NOTEWORTHY.

      1. No science changed
      2. No hypothesis was over turned
      3. the MWP didnt re appear
      4. The UHI issue is still there.
      5. we didnt LEARN that CRU was a sloppy shop, we knew that already
      we knew if from Jones letter of 2002 to MC
      6. we didnt learn that science code was not produced to commercial practice
      we knew that. hell I pointed out sloppiness in modelE code in 2007.
      big effin surprise. ( gavin has improved it considerably)

      The only noteworthy thing was harry’s name.

      That NOT where the story of climategate is and people who fill the air with NOISE about this issue have only themselves to blame when the real issues get overlooked.

      Let me put it this way. for people PAYING ATTENTION, for people who have worked with reasearchers before, there is nothing noteworthy in the file.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Steven Mosher | March 5, 2011 at 8:15 pm

        It was nothing noteworthy. When you go to CRU and get data from them, you’ll find that it is well organized. same with ghcn, same with any climate data. You will also find that the answers you get writing your own code matches their answer.

        Huh? When I went to CRU to try to get their data, even an FOI wouldn’t winkle it out of them. I think part of the reason they didn’t respond to my request is that they simply could not put all the data together. They didn’t know what was where. They didn’t know what they had. They didn’t know where what they had came from. Files lacked labels. Folders with duplicate names contained different files.

        Now, I’m not like some sophisticated folks. When I’m surprised by something, I don’t like to pretend I saw it coming. I expected their recordkeeping would be poor. I didn’t expect it to be a slaughterhouse shambles. Call me naive, I just tell it like it is.

        So for me that was noteworthy. Station data is generally one-dimensional, with the dimension being time. That lets me put it into a 2D block, with years being rows and stations being columns. In other words, the datablock form of neat data that you say above that you get from CRU … but that’s their output. I wanted their input data, which I expected to be in the same form.

        Now, I expected the metadata to be poor, and that the records of what agreements they acquired the data under might be in disorder. When (as you said above) I thought early that they were poor recordkeepers, that’s what I expected, that level of sloppiness and disorder.

        But their data’s not in a 2D block? On my planet that’s grade school stuff … so I found that noteworthy. And not only not in a 2D block, but not even all as separate files in one folder.

        I truly did not expect that level of abysmal incompetence. I guess it’s because I’ve spent my life away from academia, in places where failure has serious consequences. Really, mosh, how can they efficiently answer questions about their dataset and investigate the properties of the dataset and analyze the data without having it in a 2D block?

        You may have known about the state of their data. For me, finding that out, that was noteworthy in my world, that was way worse than my most fevered imagination …


  85. yeah…one month’s worth of mobile phone billing data in one undifferentiated stream…you climate guys have it made by comparison

  86. luckilyn we were a amll netwr=ork…only 250,000 customers…asks UEA for help

  87. yes…one good dba….see if this datashit can be reconciled

  88. Two points:
    I disagree with the “lack of effective Leadership” statement. Climate researchers in Great Britain were closely following Michael Mann as they deleted emails and made appeals to authority, etc.
    An issue which has yet to be articulated: what will happen with the young climate and basic science researchers in GB and the rest of Europe when money that might have been allocated to burgeoning science is now taxed away to pay for subsidies on non-economically viable alternative energies? What happens when the global temperatures do not catastrophically sky-rocket? and the coal power plants have been torn down? Where will these young minds go? Out of