BEST implications for peer review

by Judith Curry

The issuing of the BEST press release prior to peer review of the papers raises some interesting and provocative issues.

From the BEST FAQ: Why didn’t Berkeley Earth wait for peer review?

Such traditional and open peer review has many advantages. It usually results in better papers in the archival journals, because the papers are widely examined prior to publication. It does have a disadvantage, however, that journalists can also pick up preprints and report on them before the traditional peer-review process is finished. 

Perhaps because of the media picking up on talks and preprints, a few journals made a new rule: they will not publish anything that is distributed as a preprint or that is discussed openly in a meeting or colloquium. This policy has resulted in more attention to several journals, but the restrictive approach had a detrimental effect on the traditional peer review system. Some fields of science, for example String Theory, objected so strongly that they refuse to publish in these journals, and they put all their papers online immediately.

The best alternative would be to have the media hold back and not report preprint material. Unfortunately they refuse to do that. The situation is made more difficult by the fact that many of the media misreport the content of the preprints. For that reason Berkeley Earth has tried to answer the questions given to us by the media, in hopes that our work will be more accurately reported. The two page summary of findings is also meant to help ensure that the media reports accurately reflect the content of our papers. 

WUWT: The Best Whopper Ever

Anthony Watts refers to the BEST FAQ as the Best Whopper Ever. An excerpt:

I call absolute total BS on that. Why?

Because BEST contacted media in advance of the release of their papers and provided preprints. The October 20th release by BEST was planned and coordinated with media, such as the Economist, Guardian, NYT, New Scientist, and Nature, all of which contacted me before the release on October 20th. This FAQ on peer review was added sometime after that date, I don’t know when, but the FAQ headline obviously refers to past tense.

Mike Hulme’s essay

Mike Hulme has written a very interesting essay on this, some excerpts:

So what does this do to the conventional journal peer-review process?  Those asked to review these manuscripts for JGR will now conduct their personal reviews in the full knowledge of the parallel public review which is on-going.  And unless they shut-off all their communication platforms for the duration they will hear and see what others’ judgements on the manuscripts are.  Whether for better or worse it’s difficult to see how this will not change the (conventional) peer-review process. 

This is rather similar to the situation with juries in court cases.  Jurors are sealed-away from extraneous media-based interpretations, speculations and judgements while they decide on the verdict of their case.  Scientists do not have the same obligations nor possibilities.

The BEST team didn’t have to play it this way, but they did.  What interests me then is how this illustrates the changing nature of peer-review in ‘hot science’ (see also my article in Science as Culture on Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, Guy Callendar and Al Gore).  What new name do we give this parallel form of peer review: it is certainly not conventional and it seems to me something more interesting than Ravetz’s extended peer review?  And whatever it is, does it make for more (or less) legitimate public knowledge?

One interesting parallel I can think of is with Maarten Haijer’s recent idea of ‘authoritative governance’: governance which establishes its legitimacy and authority on the basis of how well it performs in pressurised and real-time media spaces.

What we are witnessing with BEST is scientific knowledge which is being judged on its ‘performative’ successes in an open society as much as it is being judged on conventional scientific norms of thoroughness, clarity and logic.  Knowledge is here being made ‘in the open’ for all to see. 

Where does conventional journal peer review for ‘hot science’ go after this?

JC’s take on this in Mixing Politics and Science paper

I raised this issue in my 2006 paper Mixing Politics and Science in Addressing the Hypothesis that Global Warming is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity:

Some of the most relevant scientific debate on this topic is not being undertaken at meetings sponsored by the relevant professional societies and government agencies, but rather in the media and via blogs, and only slowly in the professional scientific journals. After reading The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (Friedman 2005), we were prompted to reflect on how broadly the new technologies are influencing the scientific process on topics of high relevance. As the media debate proceeded, and certainly in the process of researching the material for this paper, we made extensive use of online media articles, blogs,, and other Web sites. As pointed out by Friedman, the challenge is how to think about the new technologies and the associated changes that have irreversibly changed the intellectual commons and manage it to maximum effect. The new scientific process will eventually sort itself out among the new technologies, the need for the scientific review process, and the need for information by the public and policymakers. However, during this sorting-out period (which may end up being a period of continual evolution as new technologies emerge), the use of science to inform policy, particularly on issues of high relevance, will almost certainly become confused with the decentralization of scientific authority previously vested in scientists that have published on the subject in refereed journals. While this decentralization provides a better guarantee that the best possible information and analysis is out there somewhere, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify the best information and analysis in this new environment, providing more fodder for the politicization of science.

594 responses to “BEST implications for peer review

  1. Example of how the worm turns:

    According to McKitrick, “Since our work has begun to appear we have enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing we are winning over the expert community, one at a time. Physicist Richard Muller of Berkeley studied our work last year and wrote an article about it: ‘[The findings] hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others.’ Suddenly, the hockeystick, the poster child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.”

    The “Hockeystick”
    The Global Warming Scandal of the Decade


    By Michael R. Fox, Ph.D.
    February 25, 2007

    • The Hockey Stick continues to paddle global warming deniers. And they continue to cry like spoiled brats.

      • Read about the real Richard Muller on his own website…

        Muller and Associates

        Energy Security

        Energy security has become a top concern of many governments and businesses; and yet, achieving it sometimes conflicts with environmental concerns. These two issues can often be reconciled and addressed together.

        Clean Energy

        Muller & Associates demystifies the broad array of emerging technologies – everything from solar to nukes, wind and clean coal, and everything in between. In doing this, we can help to avoid costly “misinvestments” in approaches that are not truly ready for deployment.

        Carbon Trading

        The upcoming Copenhagen meeting [?], the successor to Kyoto, is expected to result in an elaborate international system of carbon caps and credits. It will represent a significant burden for some countries but a potential source of hard currency for others. In particular, the nature of the Clean Development Mechanism that is devised at Copenhagen can have huge positive consequences for developing countries with the right strategy.

        He was into all the green stuff before Copenhagen in 2009.

        Not really an honest broker after all…

      • The Muller types are destroying the credibility of western academia in the eyes of scientists in Japan, China, Russia, India, Brazil…

      • Mr. Jack Hughes, The same ‘Energy Security’ of Agenda 21, perhaps?

        All, safe & sound.

      • Pollution advocates trust only other pollution advocates.

        I guess that makes sense.

      • M. carey, Your statement makes perfect cents.

        With all of this waste from the well feathered, of course you prefer to stick together.

        Two coppers worth at the least.

        I also am very happy. to learn of your backup law degree.

      • Thanks for the information on Richard Muller & Associates
        Let’s hope Professor Curry considers this.
        Big Brother is clever and powerful.
        But ultimately “truth is victorious.”
        Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6
        Qur’an 17.85

      • Wow. This certainly seems like a huge conflict of interest.

        How is he funded to study climate science? It is generally not “allowable” to perform “for profit” consulting if you are employed or funded by the gov. in the same arena. (in effect increasing one’s profit due to the gov.)

      • Muller and associates identified some hot political topics and announced that their aim was to clarify technologies and competing interests. Each paragraph references competing interests. This does not impugn Muller at all. It does put him in the crossfire, as every honest broker is perceived by each interest as biased toward the other.

      • the hokey schitck is just that… a lie and fallacy…

        i guess when you “Pick” your data carefully you can get what every outcome you want… kind of like what Mann did..

        when viewed in its proper perspective our little upturn is normal and natural..

      • Vince whirlwind

        Which hockey stick are you referring to?

        I only ask because I’m aware that dozens of temperature recopnstructions have now been completed, and every one of them show agrees with “the hockey stick”.

        Are they all wrong? Every scientist in the world is wrong and you – no scientist – are cleverer than all of them?

        Lol. So funny.

  2. Hopefully the UK and other governments may learn something from the current shenanigans.

  3. A lot of the problems would be avoided if the scientific community was not so quick to assume that announced findings were always correct. If the mindset was that a new study MIGHT prove useful, but only after it had been audited/replicated/analyzed/etc, peer review prior to publication or blog review or pre-print release wouldn’t make any difference. They’d just be different aspects of the process.

    The methodology of publication and review is really unimportant. Jumping to conclusions, however, has created big problems.

    • “A lot of the problems would be avoided if the scientific community was not so quick to assume that announced findings were always correct. ”

      LOL. You could have just written “I’m not a scientist and have no idea how the scientific community behaves”.

      • Or I could have written that scientists keep doing remarkably stupid things because they have no concept of quality control. The more the public becomes aware of the lack of quality, the less respect they have for the science. The first and most basic step toward some semblance of quality would be to recognize the obvious — that mistakes get made.

        Or they can keep giving us studies like the polar bear study — “hey that looks like some dead polar bears; therefore global warming is going to wipe them out. Q.E.D.”

        You’re correct that I’m not a scientist. And I have no idea why they don’t clean up their messes. Science’s problem isn’t a big elephant in the room that no one acknowledges. It’s the big pile of elephant dung
        in the room.

      • You need to seperate industry and academic scientists here. Industry scientists operate under and are accountable to highly stringent QA.

        Also, some academic scientists also follow rough QA, it’s just most don’t.

      • This isn’t about whether individual scientists are careful about quality. This is about the inattention to quality on an institutional level. No one checks anyone else’s work. Announced findings are treated as if they are revealed truth.

        It’s the complete absence of curiosity by other scientists that is the scandal. Society isn’t hurt when Dumb and Dumber get a study published. Society gets harmed when all the other scientists blindly assume that the idiocy put out by Dumb and Dumber is accurate and vouch for it when they advise policymakers.

        I wonder if the best way to stop the rubberstamp of garbage would be to publicly embarass every scientist who claimed to be familiar with it and vouched for it to policymakers.

      • I think you’re getting confused here. The peer review process is by no means perfect, but you’re describing cargo science rather than science proper. You’re also describing something that is not at all wiedspread.

        I think you’re extrapolating too far.

      • Poppa um Mao, Mao…

        DC can’t wait… why not save time and money? Borrow a page from the far-out eastern way and have public:

        You will all be surprised to see how fast our labor costs, will drop.

  4. May I make a suggestion, Dr. Curry? It would benefit all of us if you could find someone who is willing to explain the value added through the use of journals, editors, and peer review. I think that all of us are excited by the idea of the internet improving if not replacing the traditional system. However, I think we need to learn what might be lost as part or all of the traditional system is replaced.

    • Latimer Alder

      Would it be overly cynical to suggest that the main artefact to be lost would be the venerated climatological tradition of career advancement by mutual backscratching?

      Though that only really works when the field is expanding and there are more jobs for the boys to occupy. As interest in, and expenditure on, climate issues decreases, the field will contract and those advantages will be lost anyway. Your esrstwhile reviewing buddy may become your deadly rival.

    • As a scientist I can tell you what the value added is in Psychology:

      Publishing a paper is a very involved, and dedicated process involving hours of head scratching and careful word choice. This then is passed through a peer review process which is admittedly imperfect, but does tend to identify 2 legitimate flaws in the paper for every spurious footnote that one is forced to add to compensate for a reviewers idiosyncratic hangup.

      Then I revise the paper (if permitted) and the paper elevates another notch in quality.

      What comes out at the end is a submission of substantially higher quality than what I started with.

      A blog post, on the other hand, is usually assembled in about 1/10th the time, and therefore is of about 1/10th the quality. All of the mistakes, typos and errors of omission that were in the first draft of my paper (and subsequently removed) are going to be present in most blog posts.

      So peer review provides a monumental improvement in quality, and for those of us in fields with dozens of new PR journal articles per week, I am very glad to have it. This would be compared against the hundreds or thousands of blog posts with varying quality that I would have to read instead.

      Of course this does not mean that peer review is perfect, and it’s also true that some fields try harder to maintain a standard of objective review than other fields. That doesn’t mean the system is flawed, just that it’s imperfect. But what isn’t?

      The real problem stems not from the imperfections of peer review, but from those who assume that a successfully peer reviewed article is synonymous with TRUE. To guess cynically, perhaps 80% of peer reviewed articles are badly flawed, but then 95% of blog posts are badly flawed, and I’d rather take my chances with the 80%.

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        Good point about psychology.

        Being forced to write down clearly what you did and why also gives people something definitive to argue against. A series of blog postings strung together along a particular theme are frustrating for someone to assess and criticise fairly because they are often self contradictory, or inconsistent, hastily written, full of snark, in jokes and innuendo. They have a value – a great deal of value – but it’s often considered as only having a kind of transient importance at the moment with the PRL being the venue of weight and gravity.

      • Well said. Each of my papers has been improved by the reviewers, or by my (and coauthors’) responses to them.

      • Brad raises some excellent points.

        Having had a few papers peer reviewed, I can say in hindsight that I wouldn’t want to foist the pre-review versions of those papers on anyone!

        One might discuss whether certain innovations (for example, having named rather than anonymous referees) might improve peer review but that’s a different matter.

    • Theo, Brad has explained how peer review helps improve clarity. As for journals, the journal system works to rank articles by importance. Of the 10,000+ journals, most are topic specific and there are high ranking journals and low ranking journals for each topic, with a spectrum from high to low. The high ranking journals get the best papers and have high rejection rates. Each article basically finds its own level. In the industry this is called filtering, and peer review plays a big part, as does editorial judgement about what is important.

      There is no search algorithm that will perform this importance ranking function. People have experimented with alternatives, such as social media, and non-ranking open access (author pays) journals, but so far nothing works very well.

      There is a blog that discusses this issue, called the Scholarly Kitchen, from the Society for Scholarly Publishing. I blog there. See

    • Thanks to Brad, Neb, and David. All of you make valuable points. Something more that I would add is that journal editors tend to be leaders in their fields and to carry with them a huge network of contributors, critics, reviewers, and various others. Also, the fact that an academic department has a journal editor or two among its professors is never lost on academic administrators. I would like to hear from others about these sorts of things.

      • A positive implication for peer review is that BEST’s ‘open science’ may result in a more rapid advancement of science.

        The proliferation of journals has created an enormous gulf between editors with the capacity to evaluate groundbreaking fringe papers and the journals that are willing to publish them. Einstein’s 1905 papers were reviewed by current and future physics Nobel Laureates Roentgen and Planck. Could brilliant papers submitted by a patent clerk (3rd class technical assistant) receive a competent review today, at any journal willing to consider them?

      • Einstein’s 1905 papers were reviewed by current and future physics Nobel Laureates Roentgen and Planck. Could brilliant papers submitted by a patent clerk (3rd class technical assistant) receive a competent review today, at any journal willing to consider them?

        I have a semi-challenge to one of his discoveries, the so-called Einstein Relation. The traditional version of this relation doesn’t work very well for disordered semiconductors as I and perhaps a few others have discovered. This wouldn’t have come to light had not the bulk of disordered amorphous material found use for photovoltaics (PV). One quickly finds that the efficiency and electrical transport characteristics are pretty crappy in these material and they reveal anomalous behavior between the diffusion and mobility coefficients. The ratio between these two is the Einstein Relation; electrical engineers remember this as the rhyme “D over Mu is kT over q”. This ratio is much larger for disordered material and it doesn’t vary with T.

        Compared to disproving the fact that nothing can go faster than the speed of light, this is a minor deal, but it does have a few practical implications. The classic Einstein Relation still works well in specific cases but is not as general as device engineers think, and you have to go the “modified” Einstein Relation with an arbitrary density of states to get it to work with disordered semiconductors. With an amorphous material the Maxwell-Boltzmann activation energy (i.e. bandgap) smears enough that the Einstein Relation is no longer kT/q but is fixed to the average bandgap.

        Einstein the explainer of the photoelectric effect and thus the first to quantize light as photons, leading to the energy balance GHG theory, and now because of FF energy scarcity, we have to contend with crappy PV material until the price comes down. Everything runs full circle.

  5. I think the implications for peer review would have been (or at least would have appeared to be) completely different had Muller let the results speak for themselves.
    The discussions prior to formal publication may have been entirely beneficial, as there appeared to be a huge amount of goodwill and expectation (from a wide range of perspectives) for the whole undertaking.
    As it turned out, the implications for peer review are mired amidst controversy and PR chaos.
    A great pity.

    • This is Ross McKitrick’s point, which I do respect. I also think the situation is retrievable. But it’s back to Rudyard Kipling and not losing one’s head when everyone around is losing theirs. (Kipling was at my old school, give or take a name change or two. Let’s hope some of that rubbed off via the brickwork.)

      • I also think the situation is retrievable.

        Richard, I agree; but the problem I have is that I have not seen any indication that Muller has taken the necessary steps towards retrieval. And in the meantime, the “fat tales” (pun intended!) are being spun out by the “churnalists” [who would be far better off spending their time reading and responding to Donna’s book, IMHO ;-)] on both sides of the pond.

        As an aside, how anyone who once wrote:

        Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate.

        could by any stretch of the English language (and, Gaia knows, we’ve seen many such stretches in the course of the “climate wars”!) be construed as the words of a miraculously redeemed former “skeptic” – (as many of the headlines are claiming) is beyond my comprehension!

        To my mind, this PR blitz was so unnecessary, so un-called for, so mis-focussed – and so unprofessional – that I still can’t determine why it was deemed to be so critical to the success of BEST. Regardless of whether it was the doing of Muller père or Muller fille!

        As has been noted in other threads (by me and by others), there were other options and avenues open to them – not the least of which is the approach used by our gracious and very much respected hostess. If BEST truly believes that their work can be improved by subjecting it to the scrutiny of the wider community, why not do so prior to submission? Judith had indicated when the papers were released, that she felt that two of them were not ready for prime-time. It would have been very out of character for her to not share this view with the BEST team, don’t you think?!

        So if they were prepared to proceed to submission without heeding the caution of one whose name they were using on their papers, gimme one good reason why I should believe that they genuinely care about the scrutiny of – and input from – the wider community?

        And, I for one, am having a really hard time reconciling this media blitz with the words of one who once wisely asserted:

        In most fields of science, researchers who express the most self-doubt and who understate their conclusions are the ones that are most respected. Scientists regard with disdain those who play their conclusions to the press. [emphasis added -hro]

        The above prompted me to conclude a relatedpost on my blog:

        To coin a phrase … physicist, heal thyself.

      • the problem I have is that I have not seen any indication that Muller has taken the necessary steps towards retrieval

        I don’t agree with this Hilary. Not that I see Muller out there night and day correcting every wrong report in every media outlet or blog. But once this became a media firestorm that’s quite impossible for one individual scientist with limited resources.

        I read Muller’s own words in the WSJ and I saw various things that were quite different from the old alarmist line. That was good enough for me at that level. As for claims that Muller was once a sceptic and now isn’t I never held any store by them. I wouldn’t expect the guy to correct something so nebulous.

        The proof or otherwise of this particular pudding are the four papers and supporting data and code. I hear reports that they are deeply flawed, in which case they’ll be rejected. But I also hear from Judy that the BEST team is listening hard to critics like McIntyre (and McKitrick as a peer reviewer, no doubt). All I’m advising is to wait and see.

      • Of course we shall have to wait and see!

        But in the meantime, Richard, I don’t share your opinion of the WSJ article; I found it simplistic and insulting. My takeaway was: “we’ve shown that the data is fine, so you you don’t have to be a skeptic anymore because of all the wonderful work we’ve done”. Is this not a variant of the “trust us, we’re the experts” line?

        Yes, Muller did acknowledge that they have not “independently” assessed the human contribution to the “observed warming”. But, since that does not appear to be part of their “mission” that part of the message was (understandably, I suppose, from their perspective) given very short shrift, IMHO.

        No, I don’t expect Muller to be running around correcting blogs and media reports. But would it be too much to ask for some acknowledgement and apology on their website for the confusion that’s been caused?

        As for the “media firestorm”, with all due respect, BEST brought it on themselves – because that’s what they wanted! Silence is acquiescence.

        It may well have been in BEST’s interests, but I fail to see how it could possibly serve the interest of greater openness in either the peer review process or the advancement of science.

      • Steven Mosher

        In my opinion a great opportunity was potentially squandered by over reaching. Rather than 4 papers, I would have suggested two.

        1. A new temperature database. People underestimate the importance of building a great collection. They also underestimate the difficultly. Getting all the primary data sources into one consistent useable format is an accomplishment. It’s not science, but it needed to be done.

        2. Defining the new method. Throwing a new database at new method?
        Well we’ve complained about that before. So, I would expect more synthetic tests and using a well understood dataset.

        neither of these is a climate science paper. no headlines. no drama. no congressional crap. boring accounting and boring stats work.

        However you probably cant get money to do that from anybody.

      • I strongly agree with this comment, and agree also that it is hard to get money for such building-block work, no matter how important it is. In the research-grant system, the intellectual value of such endeavours is seen as low to very low, and the likelihood of being funded is almost nil. That is why the funding for the BEST work was so interesting. You have to have a well-funded enterprise with plenty of free time for such work to be given the tick that it greatly needs. Without it, you go round with a begging bowl.

      • How many papers to divide the results among is always a contentious issue among authors. Some go for more, shorter papers, and some prefer fewer longer papers.

        For us, it’s a waste of time. They did as they did.

      • Mosh:

        In my opinion a great opportunity was potentially squandered by over reaching.

        I accept everything you say on this. The key word being potentially squandered. The fat lady not having sung just yet.

        However you probably cant get money to do that from anybody.

        That’s the other side. ‘Marketing’ is required in an imperfect world. And marketing (and PR) have to take account of current thought-patterns, not least of those who hold significant purse-strings. In that context I judged Muller’s effort in the WSJ as not too bad, whereas Hilary Ostrov found it “simplistic and insulting”. If there was any merit in my own evaluation it was in taking into account the Zeitgeist – one that is still affected by a far too rosy view of the IPCC.

        But disagreements on that are pretty irrelevant. Two rather different tasks arise from this:

        1. Persuading the right people to fund a new temperature database and method. I’d still be happy with the BEST label, given the original commitment to openness, as long as they come good on that with the first four papers. A switch to R as a fully open source language would also help to substantiate this claim, as you and Steve have argued.

        2. As Hilary’s said, persuading everyone to read The Delinquent Teenager.

        Muller also needs to apologise to his peer reviewers for the ridiculous position he put them in and distance himself from the more stupid media claims of what BEST has so far proven. Not too much to expect, is it?

  6. A legitimate use for early release would be to solicit comments from the technical and scientific world in general. That should have been made explicit with appropriate mechanisms, such as a project email addresses, made available for those comments. Instead we find out the McIntyre’s comments ignored.
    I do appreciate an early look at their work. I do, however, not care for them taking pot shots at folks they call skeptics while at the same time claiming complaints about the data are premature because it is only preliminary.

  7. Global warming was always about politics, not science. I’m as happy as the next person to get into a good discussion on a point of science but I’ve never lost sight of the fact that it’s all politics and spin. Muller’s style of “announcing” the BEST results is a shining example.

    “You see, the numbers don’t matter any more and the science is irrelevant; it’s all about propaganda. While you may be arguing the science, the big green killing machine just concentrates on creating an impression in the public consciousness, even if the impression is totally contradicted by the facts. Facts are irrelevant too.
    While you’re busy nailing them on points of scientific fact, they’re busy photoshopping Polar bears onto ice cubes floating in the Bering Sea. You’re aiming at them but they’re aiming at public opinion.”


    • Smoke em if you got em.

    • It’s so odd that now Coke are now planning to show Polar Bears on their cans. It seems the me the deniers are the new rebels against blind cynical corporatism and the left who have so eagerly taken on the cause of AGW are now increasingly part of big business but the even more corrupt. Selling products that have been overhyped to solve a problem that’s not there -wind turbines and all that nonsense, The further irony is China will become the biggest producer of these with no plans to change from fossil fuel to these contraptions or renewable’s as their main energy source.

      Won’t be long before the great satan of the environmentalist McDonalds will be funding cow counselling

      • Coca-Cola has been using ice bears since long before they’ve been ‘endangered’, or the poster boys for an ill-begotten, poorly scientifically supported, rapacious, and cynical grab for gold and power.

        Poor li’l critters; to be so bilthely used.

      • Kim,

        Is not money becoming an endangered species to 99% of the planets population?
        What’s with that?


      • Thus the fate of all revolutionaries…

  8. Brian G Valentine

    Richard Muller already gave it rave reviews,it doesn’t need any more

    Journal editor ought to return it to him with no comment

  9. Anthony Watts

    Hulne makes a good point about juries.

    If the jury members were exposed to the media hype surrounding a trial, they’d be dismissed. Judges do this regularly. Sometimes trials are moved to escape the taint of local media to ensure fairness.

    As I mentioned shortly after BEST made their media blitz, “We can’t just move the “jury pool” of scientists to the next county to ensure a fair trial now that is been blathered worldwide can we?”

    Where would we find a reviewer who hasn’t seen the BEST PR blitz?

    BEST wants the best part of peer review and PR, without any of the consequences of combining them. And they make this extraordinary claim in their press release:

    (sorry for the image, but the PDF’s produced by BEST don’t work well with copy/paste of text) Original document here:

    That’s some claim. Four papers that have not been peer-reviewed yet, and they KNOW they’ll pass peer review and will be in the next IPCC report? Is it just me or does that sound rigged? Or, is it just the product of an overactive ego on the part of the BEST group?

    Dr. Curry, did you help draft this press release? Did you get to review it before it went out?

    • Brian G Valentine

      When you’re doing important stuff like Richard Muller, you don’t “ask permission” from anybody for anything, you just do what you want

    • The point about juries isn’t really applicable. Juries are made up of ordinary citizens (peers of the accused) without legal training. Juries are directed to ignore media reports (and in some cases sequestered) so as to prevent their deliberations from being contaminated by information not in evidence. The rules require that facts not in evidence, regardless of truthfulness, are to be ignored. Jurors, being laymen, are not considered competent to determine what’s legally admissable (that’s the judge’s job).

      Judges, who are trained legal professionals, are not restricted in what they view.

      I doubt that a peer reviewer would find themselves in a similar situation (required to ignore truthful information).

      • I agree with Gene. The comparison to juries doesn’t really wash, and I think that says something about the whole issue.

        First, it is really rare for a jury to be sequestered. It occurs almost exclusively in criminal cases, and only when there is a possibility that widespread publicity will cause the jury to decide the case on something other than the evidence.

        Second, peer review is closer to a bench trial, where the judge decides the issues of fact. And I have never heard of a judge sequestering himself. They are legal professionals, and presumed to be able to decide the issues on the evidence presented in court. (The fact this is frequently not true is beside the point, the issue is the process.)

        In peer review, the whole point is to have peers, ie. experts, doing the reviewing. They should be expected to be able to review the paper based on the science (data and code) therein. With respect to the climate debate, publicity is already so widespread, and the positions so hardened, that it is hard to imagine anyone’s opinion being changed based on a news article or blog post anyway.

        Moreover, peer review is losing its ability to keep dissenting views from the public. Imagine a ground breaking paper that severely undermines part of the CAGW consensus. Does anyone really think it won’t see the light of day if reviewers keep it from being published because of adverse publicity (or any other reason)? Does anyone think the electorate (the real jury) won’t hear about it?

        Make the reviews public, and let them become part of the debate if you can. Light is a great antiseptic. The more open the process, the better. But the journals, and peer review itself, are likely to fall to the same factors killing other print media – the free flow of information, primarily over the internet.

        The AR5 is going to be controlled, written, and edited, by pretty much the same people as AR4, so why lose any sleep over how it could be made more objective? Same with the journals. Why worry, they’re not going to change any time soon anyway.

      • Anthony Watts

        In a perfect world, reviewers would not let external biases creep into the peer review process, but Climategate showed us clearly that was not the case.

        “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is! Cheers Phil”

      • Watts
        you/your accolytes have been calling for peer review by blog for a very long time (recent postings):

        Peer review is dead, long live blog review
        Posted on September 21, 2011 by Anthony Watts
        By Marc Hendrickx writing in ABC’s The Drum

        An opportunity for online peer review
        Posted on March 27, 2011 by Anthony Watts
        I have been asked to present this for review by readers here, and to solicit critical comments for the purpose of improving the presentation.

        Now, apart from the press release what is the difference with the BEST release?

        From my reading the press release is all about try to stop them misrepresenting the information (as happened with the CRU emails).

        Why are you so critical of best when they seem to be doing what you want (e.g. listening to McIntyre)?

      • The difference is Anthony Watt’s needs to find something to complain about in order to deny the BEST results.

      • Lolwut, what? have you actually looked at their conclusions?

      • In a perfect world, reviewers would not let external biases creep into the peer review process, but Climategate showed us clearly that was not the case.

        “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is! Cheers Phil”

        This quote demonstrates nothing about peer-review biases, just the frustration of Phil Jones expressed in hyperbole. The work he is referring to made it into the IPCC, so even if you characterised the IPCC assessment process as ‘peer-review’ (which it isn’t), Jones didn’t break it, nor does his exasperation indicate bias as he clearly thinks the papers are just bad work. ‘Climategate’ is blown way out of proportion, just like this.

        I have no doubt biases are in the reviewers, same as everyone, but that for the most part they do their best to be neutral. Bias is also addressed by having more than one reviewer.

      • I agree too. Judges appear to control what information juries may be exposed to by ruling some evidence in and out based on legal rules. In the real world, all evidence is evidence and can be weighed appropriately by those considering it.

  10. Anthony Watts

    Sorry Hulme not Hulne

  11. The BEST FAQ webpage should have a comments section if they truly want to be open.

  12. It seems a bit like a tempest in a teapot. A number of papers in my field circulate as technical reports before they are submitted for publication to a scientific journal. Peer review can make the published result look different than the technical report, and it’s understood that anything read prior to peer review is to be taken caveat emptor. The same should be true with the BEST papers. Peer reviewers should be expected to do what they usually do, and let the axe fall where it may. The final BEST papers should look different than they do now. I don’t see the jury analogy here: should we sequester the peer reviewers in TV-less, newspaper-less (and internet-less) motel rooms in Kalamazoo until they complete their work just because the authors decided to toot their horns? Perhaps it’s unseemly, but I don’t recall seeing in a journal’s instructions that an author has to observe the Mafia code of silence prior to publication. The authors do, however, risk embarrassment if peer review forces them to make changes that put a bad spotlight on them. But that’s the risk they’ve chosen to take.

    • This is by far the most sensible thing I’ve read today on this silly and at times remarkably obtuse blog.

      • If you know it is silly and remarkably obtuse, what possesses you to read it?

      • Brian G Valentine

        Well, you could try to straighten it all out for nitwits like me, but I’m guessing you’re far too busy with far more important things than silly blogs

      • Of course he’s busy – those posts on SkS don’t edit themselves!

    • Bob K.

      In whatever obscure field that you are in, do the pre-peer-reviewed papers usually come accompanied with a media blitz declaring the end of skepticism? And does anybody ever pay any attention at all, to whatever it is that you are talking about?

    • You know, I just can’t recall you’re oped in the WSJ. Can you point me at that technical paper of yours that got the Wall Street Journal oped treatment? I read the WSJ every day, and I have a great memory for those obtuse papers that get written up there. Sorry I missed your important oped. But do please refresh my memory on its date of publication.

    • Expect the result of the peer review will not get anywhere near the press coverage of BEST PR exercise no matter what the produces . In the world politics its not the ‘science ‘ that matters but how politicians think the public view things .

    • Bob K,
      Nobody cares that the papers were circulated. The issue is the PR blitz before any corrections could be made from having the papers circulated. The public does not understand “anything read prior to peer review is to be taken caveat emptor.” The papers conclusion are definitely subject to revision, but Muller’s comments make the results sound like they were carved in stone by the finger of God.

    • I think this matters a lot less than you imagine. The press doesn’t care what’s in the papers. God bless them, but most science journalists have the brain capacities of small birds, and an attention span to match. What has them enthalled is the drama of one of the main author’s conversion from skeptic to true believer: he’s found truth at last, cured of his denialist mental disorder.

  13. Lucy Mae Brown

    “Paging Donna”
    “Paging Ms. Donna Laframboise”

    “Your next book is writing itself . . . “

    • Brian G Valentine

      Not really, no market for it. This is a second or third rate soap produced, directed, and starring Richard Muller in the only role he knows

  14. I think the fact that it (As now seems reasonably clear) that the whole exercise was to attract the attention of the IPCC, makes this issue less clear cut.

    Without assigning motives to either side, it would seem odd that such a (on the face of it) significant re examination of the temperature records WOULDN’T get looked at seriously.

    I get very nervous when results are announced before proper scrutiny, and indeed when critical comments already recieved have not been addressed. It’s far to easy to claim something in a media furor, have it reported as fact and then quietly ignore any corrections/refutations that surface down the line; the media certainly won’t be interested by them.

    The Peer review process is broken, frankly. I’ve lost count of how many shoddy and poorley conceived papers i’ve come across in my own tiny field and some are published in very respected journals.

    Perhaps we should swap peer review for hostile audit? It’d certainly ensure only the best gets published- but i don’t imagine many academics would agree to that. their publication levels would drastically fall off…

    • Lab,

      Don’t you think you would also be affecting their grant money as well?
      There seems to be many bones for these dogs in the same field of data manipulation on a minor planetary process.

      • Yes i do, and i think it’s a good thing. If i c#ck something up, significantly enough (especially if i’ve been harping on about it to the press prior to the work being checked), then i’d loose my job. Plain and simple.

        It’s a brilliant way of making sure that the person presenting their work is SURE of their work. Your job literally depends on it if you’re wrong (or deliberatley misleading).

    • Latimer Alder


      ‘Perhaps we should swap peer review for hostile audit? It’d certainly ensure only the best gets published- but i don’t imagine many academics would agree to that. their publication levels would drastically fall off…’

      All depends on whether you think the purpose of academe ough to be the advancement of knowledge, or the continuance of job security of academics……

      What I, as an

      • Latimer Alder

        (…continuing ) one-time business orieted type find staggering is the lack of any real quality control or oversight in climatology. Anybody can publsh any old garbage as long as they can find two chums to assert that it isn’t utter bilge.

        There are no customers to refuse to pay if the work is shoddy. The methods and data are rarely published to allow any independent scrutiny. Nobody checks teh work, and the last thing abybody ever does is make a definite prediction – in case nature turned out to do something different and embarrass the Guild of Climatologists.

        In this they are very similar to horoscopes. The difference is that you pay 20p per day to read your horoscope in the tabloid press and don’t take it too seriously. But the cliamtologists stuff was once taken very seriously to the tune of tens of triilions.

      • “the lack of any real quality control or oversight in climatology. ” Might I add “…or any evidence of the moral hazard that ought to attend scientific work intended for far-reaching policy use.”?

      • Well this is the thing. Academia, structured as it is, IS very useful. The freedom they get to play around with things and actually make advancements is, i think, very important. However, the quality of their work MUST improve.

        It would take a very very modest change to fix this- the inclusion of an internal QA department at each university. Nothing too overt, but they would be given the responsibility of ‘clearing’ any publications prior to review- checking the data, references, basic conclusions etc.

        Industry uses this method all the time (although FAR more stringently), so i fail to see why academia cannot adopt a similar, more lax (though still usefull) method.

        It would only improve the quality of the science, therefore the only reasons not to include it are personal and career-wise.

    • It takes an enormous effort to give an in-depth peer review of a technical paper. To actually dig in and try to reconstruct the steps in the authors’ work can be almost a full-time job by itself. For many reviewers the time to do this is supposed to be made out of whole cloth somehow, on top of their own teaching and research commitments. This is why much peer review is cursory, valuable mainly in knocking the low-hanging rotten fruit off the tree, so to speak. Deeper errors, such as in the way information is handled, can be uncovered only by the reviewer trying to replicate the work. The idea of hostile audit is attractive, but this would require a major time investment and how would the auditor be compensated?

      • Yet industry manage it all the time.

        It’s in the direct interest of the science to do these things, so why not? As i mentioned above, just hae a QA department in each research institute- job done.

      • Latimer Alder

        Academics choose to structure their work and their reward systems the way they are now. Unlike most other enterprises there are very few external regulatory constraints on how they do so.

        They can change them if they wish to. but since academe is a deeply conservative place, they will squeal and moan and whinge about it forever until circumstances overtake them. The blogosphere looks like it will do that for them…viz this dsicussion here.

    • Hey IPCC, fancy that, GisTemp is the BEST.

      Who knew? Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Andy Lacis, etc. What a surprise!

    • “I get very nervous when results are announced before proper scrutiny, and indeed when critical comments already recieved have not been addressed.”

      Describes denier attacks on the surface record to a tee. Results announced before proper scrutiny and then they ignore the critical comments.

  15. The whole coordinated press release/briefing of journalists is rather like playing with a Ouija boards on the site of an ancient Native American burial ground. What could possibly go wrong?
    Well you have done the invocation and now you have to live with the journalistic interest for the rest of your lives.

  16. The posts at McIntyre’s blog and the comments make it very clear that the BEST team has a lot of questions to answer. Some of them unanswerable, dodgy data and even dodgier statistical methodology.

    So why did they they not anticipate some of these questions? Because at heart they are all believers in CAGW and know from experience that the MSM will report the first conclusions but not any subsequent criticism or retraction.

    Sorry to say so Prof Curry but you have been had twice. This is the last time that I shall read your blog as you have in one go totally blown the credibility that you have built up IMO.

  17. It seems like a number of folks are overly concerned about how the information was initially released vs. the actual improved quality of the temperature record. If the process for accumulating the data was good, or better than previous data; that is an improvement. If the folks who are in a better position to find fault with the data in fact find fault, point that out.

    The raw temperature data is only the beginning of the journey towards…that was deep

  18. “The situation is made more difficult by the fact that many of the media misreport the content of the preprints. “

    BS The whole BEST strategy relies on the fact that the media misreport the contents of the preprints.

    The media are currently misreporting the contents of the preprints, in exactly the manner that Muller wants them to misreport the contents of the preprints.

    And the media are also misidentifying Muller as “a prominent former sceptic” and other such lies, exactly like Muller intended them to do.

    And the Judy goat is doing her part to herd the sceptic sheep.

    • JJ tells us who the sheep and the goats are, with Judith Curry now in the latter category, without equivocation. How useful.

      And who is JJ? We don’t need to know that. We just need the message he’s been sent to convey. Trust me.

      Or perhaps … don’t. You decide.

      • Marcel Kincaid

        You must understand that being a “sceptic” makes one an incontrovertible authority.

  19. Another illustration is the McShayne and Wyner paper. By the time it appeared in print it had been much reviewed in the blogosphere; some bloggers contributed critiques, and the blog critiques themselves were referenced in the published paper. See The Annals of Applied Statistics, volume 5, number 1, March 2011 (actually mailed in June, iirc), pages 1 – 123, and supporting online material. there were 21 authors of 13 Discussions, plus the original (revised) paper and the authors’ responses to the Discussions.

    That whole collection certainly clarified an evidentiary issue on which Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann and Scott Rutherford disagreed (and disagree) with Blakely McShane and Abraham Wyner.

    • Yeah, useful reminder MS. We’ve been this way before. It’s never pretty the first few times but gradually good science and appropriate technology with marry, with tried and trusted social norms officiating. It will be fun to look back and say I was there when it all began.

    • Corporate Message

      Mattstat said:
      “Another illustration is the McShayne and Wyner paper. By the time it appeared in print it had been much reviewed in the blogosphere”

      Regarding the illustration:

      “Were M&W2010 claims and paper circulated after acceptance by the journal – or before ?

  20. Josh 126 says it all.

  21. JJ: BS The whole BEST strategy relies on the fact that the media misreport the contents of the preprints.

    I disagree. The BEST strategy enables all interested parties to immediately check whether each press account is reasonably accurate.

    • Ah yes, the “We arent lying if you can figure out what is really going on by checking the fine print” tactic.

      Disingenuous, dishonest, disgraceful. The press is is making all manner of innaccurate statements about the BEST data, and about Muller himself. Those innaccuracies were entirely predictable. Muller knew how his message would be interpreted and reported. Not only did he not attempt to counter those predictable responses, he encouraged them by his PR method and the content of the interviews he gave. And he has done nothing since to refute the “errant” message. Why would he? They are saying what he wants them to say.

      Print the damning healdline in two inch type on the front page, and the retraction in mouse letters, buried in the classifieds. Get the attention by exaggerating the sensational “preliminary results”, and achieve your goal before peer review and comment shows the errors. This is Mullers tactic. He is playing publicity and politics, not doing science.

    • Corporate Message

      Mattstat said:
      “The BEST strategy enables all interested parties to immediately check whether each press account is reasonably accurate.”

      Not so long as Muller’s word is worth squat…how would we know what he did or did not tell them ?

      Maybe his daughter put out things signed in his name and he can’t throw her under the bus yet.

  22. I am seeking any replies to a newspaper article RE: BEST I posted under
    “Discussion with Rich Muller”

  23. JJ writes :The media are currently misreporting the contents of the preprints, in exactly the manner that Muller wants them to misreport the contents of the preprints.

    And the media are also misidentifying Muller as “a prominent former sceptic” and other such lies, exactly like Muller intended them to do.”

    I’m not a conspiracy theorists, and the above requires a belief in a kind of Machiavellian brilliance on the part of Muller. But given Muller’s response to these misrepresentations, or lack of a response I should say, I don’t know what other conclusion to come to.

    • It isn’t “Machiavellian brilliance”, it is everyday, run-of-the-mill politicing.

      Fraudulent self promotion and message manipulation is neither difficult nor rare.

  24. Judith, one thing is for certain. As long as the Internet remains as free (information freedom that is) and open as it is today, there will be no way that scientists can collectively act on one issue for advocacy through PR and other unscientific shennigans en masse. As a scientific group metastasizes around an issue, idea or theory, and if that theory has wide social implictions; well then, so too the bloggers and other relatively independent individuals and groups will scrutinize and ultimately debunk or endorse whatever crazy or sane idea it is that the said scientific group might be trying to peddle. Whether its immunization, repressed memories, polar bears or carbon dioxide as pollution – the standard of proof has permanently changed. And also the standard for acceptable behavior has changed. This situation with Dr Muller is a case in point.

  25. JC’s take on this in Mixing Politics and Science paper
    “BEST implications for peer review”
    “Candid comments from global warming scientists”
    “IPCC and traceability”
    + many many more

    steven mosher | October 28, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply Nice speech. A little over wrought, totally devoid of facts, and utterly beside the point. I personally consider you to be wasting our time.

    Perhaps ‘devoid of facts’ means ‘politics’ or ‘subjective’ (illusion)

    Best to defer with ‘facts’ to those who are expert in specifics. Injecting bad facts causes confusion

    Wasting your time? … That would be a pleasant thought and a worthy compliment.

    There is ample confusion and uncertainty in the facts already. Settled science, beleaguered researches and passionate amateur participants aside, improving facts and more science is desirable.

    The problem in all this is that subjectivity (politics) has strongly overridden the science (objectivity) at every level.

    Judith who seems to refuse to discuss politics because the science is what is important and scientists don’t engage in politics when doing science is hugely engaging in politics (as per example by using this blog) as part of a targeted and focused effort to emphatically do objective science.

    This curious 50/50 mix of hidden disavowed advocacy and politicking with a public community melded to emphasizing doing factual science objectivity is the remedy for counterbalancing the predominantly overriding subjective gamesmanship.

    Skeptics have a paucity of facts. Scientists are richly endowed with facts. Politicians don’t care about facts. Lay off slathering the facts with subjective slime tags. Save the subjective component for ad hominem directed at individuals and constituencies.

    Most of the noise and waste regarding the AGW situation is caused by this co-mingling of subjective and objective consideration.

    Everyone is hugely subjective, even those sorts of people who are overly objective. (The excessive objectivity being necessarily a subjective thing) Subjectivity is a very potent force. The extent and success of the GHG movement demonstrates such.

    That the AGW debate is both forcibly overridden and counter-ridden by subjective persuasion and concerns demonstrates that the subjective perspective pertains appropriately.

    Objectivity is a potent tool for sorting out subjective distortions. Science is weaker than subjective skillfulness. It struggles to understand a complicated and incomplete situation. Stop flaunting the science as god given truth, suitably appropriate to subjectively bludgeon those who dare to disagree into submission. It conflates subject and object in the worst and most confusing way. It disrespects either viewpoint.

  26. Scientific journals themselves began to appear in the late 19th century, and did not begin with peer review: the editor made what he thought was the right decision (and it was ‘he’). Sending the article to experts came in the 20th century as the research system expanded, the numbers of journals increased, and fields became increasingly specialised. Research is now a profession (and higher education an ‘industry’ — so defined in Australia), and the number of journals has grown enormously. I have seen an estimate of 500,000, but do not know whether it is accurate.

    IMO the system is an internal one: that is, articles in journals are intended by specialists for other specialists, who are overwhelmingly employed in universities or other research environments. They are written in a pedestrian, graceless, jargon-filled language that outsiders find difficult to read, can be full of mathematics or other symbolic language constructions, and are largely uninteresting to everyone outside the field. They serve two purposes: ‘advancing knowledge in the field’, and building the status and career of the writer.

    Peer review has become an indispensable aspect of the academic journal, and of the research-grant system, with which the journal is closely connected. Like any other human system, it has its costs and benefits. Reviewers aren’t paid, so it is cheap, but reviewers differ a great deal in their preparedness to work hard, their capacity for disinterested criticism and their generosity of spirit. Peer review has both positive and negative ‘mafias’, reviewers who are excited that new people want to work in their area, and those defending their patch against intrusion from the unworthy.

    ‘Climate science’, because of its extraordinary importance in contemporary politics seems to me most unusual. In my own long experience in the world of peer review, I have never seen anything like it. The Climategate emails showed how one peer review system could be taken over, and journals ‘worked’ to produce a particular publishing outcome. Perhaps in consequence, we now have a large and growing website review system which is much faster than print. The BEST team seems to me to be trying to combine it with the traditional form — I leave aside motive and PR. The test will be the extent to which the published papers show the benefit of doing it this way. Judy has used the system herself, and constructively. I am doing the same with an essay I tried out here first.

    As I have said before, I do think that we are reaching the end of the old system, and welcome what seems to me a new, much faster way of reaching not only those employed in the research system, but the growing numbers of us who are not, but remain interested in the content.

    • Don,

      What happens when scientists miss a very significant piece of science for mathematical statistics that have ONLY a minor role on this planet. Temperature is a major role in our lives but has a very minor role to the planet itself.
      Such things that are missed is the velocity changes with the latitudes of this planet for what?
      A scale of night and day differences of temperatures???

      • Latimer Alder

        Velocity relative to what?

        Last time I looked Africa was still attached to Europe and Asia even though they are at different latitudes. Which would sort of imply that they were moving at the same speed. Coz otherwise they wouldn’t be still attached. They’d be flying off with an increasing gap between them.

        PS How did all that stuff with centrifugal force and heavier/lighter gases work out? You were pondering whether it meant that all the heavy gases would be at the top – or the bottom – of the atmosphere. Any conclusion yet?

      • Latimer, Latimer, Latimer…

        They are at different circumferences, smaller planet size. Still taking 24 hours in rotation but having a different distance in rotation.
        Hence, they have to have a different speed. Still taking 24 hours for a full rotation.
        The poles circumference is 3600km and still takes 24 hours so… It’s mathematical speed is 150km/hr compared with the circumference of the equator traveling at 1653.6km/hr.

        Did you not buy my book on mapping of the planets velocity?

        Oh ya, I haven’t published it yet and don’t plan to.

      • Sure. But none of this is new news. I don’t think anyone who has studied O level geography or physics would disagree – though in theory each pole is a static point around which everything else revolves so your pole velocity ought to be zero.

        But you seem to believe that these well-understood phenomena hide some mystical hidden properties known only to yourself. And which you are not able to describe to us.

        In other words Joe, ‘so freaking what’? Given that we all agree that your calculations (with the polar exception above) are correct, what consequences do you believe flow from them?

      • Latimer,

        The poles are flat, so, you have to go by 85 degrees back to the equator.
        The thing is each point north and south goes through the planet. So these points are cylinders of the same speed IF the planet was solid. But the planet has a hard coating with liquid inside. Which then these speeds are bent due to the different velocity of the magma.
        Next the speeds at the equator only drops 100km/hr to 20 degrees north or south. The rest drops 1400km/hr. These figures are without adding in the atmosphere.

        Next centrifugal force is strongest parallel at the equator. Our planet is bent and the speeds drop so this shows how centrifugal force gets weaker as going to the poles as the angle of the planet changes.

      • Latimer Alder


        Though I couldn’t quite follow your argument (..why 85%? how are each points ‘going thorugh the planet’?) which seems to be pretty loose to me, you still haven’t answered the quesion

        ‘so freaking what’, even if you are right and are just having difficulty expressing yourself in terms that are generally understandable – mathematics for example.

        And PS – the poles are no more flat than any other place on the planet. To a first approxiamtion, the Earth is a sphere…and no point is distingushable from any other point.

      • Such things that are missed is the velocity changes with the latitudes of this planet for what?

        You mean geostrophic “force”?

  27. An example of when reality is stranger than fiction: R. Muller now wants to wear the mantle of, e.g., “a renown skeptic who now believes the land has gotten hotter due to AGW.”

    ” Hansen I’ve known for many years. He’s a very good climate scientist, but he’s decided to do the politics. I feel that he’s doing some cherry-picking of his own [when it comes to the science]. At that point, he’s not really being a scientist. At that point, you’re being a lawyer. He’s being an effective advocate for his side, but in the process of doing that he’s no longer a neutral party and he’s no longer giving both sides of the issues.”

    ~Richard A. Muller


    Some raw answers about Gore and Hansen
    Posted on October 6, 2008 by Anthony Watts

  28. Dont think there is enough popcorn on the world for this spat :)

    I take it we have all seen Taminos blistering attack on Judith, and also by inference on Briggs lol.
    Of Coures Gregor is on Briggs site calling him out :)

    These two blogs were always such a quiet backwater of refinement. Looks like Muller and Best have widened the divide rather than closing it as was the case made by Muller.

    I think Both Judith and Briggsy need to respond to Taminos critique of their positions.

    • Another Tamino drone that doesn’t know how to read? ;)

    • Why would anyone care about what Tamino thinks? If he were the kind of person that you could trust, then he would also be the kind of person that moderated his site fairly. And of course his moderation policies are so one sided that only Romm can compete with him. Tamino is a pure propagandist. He uses pseudo science and pseudo statistics to pretend that only he uses a scientific approach while all skeptics are talking BS. And then he makes sure that his sycophants are never disillusioned by never allowing any real debate about his absurd posts.

      As far as myself and many other skeptics are concerned, Tamino doesn’t exist. He is free to scream in his echo gallery to his heart’s content. Nobody cares.

    • Why would anyone care about what Tamino thinks?

      Well, just in case they do………………….

  29. Nebuchadnezzar

    The way they’ve gone about it seems strange.

    There are now open access open peer review journals like Climates of the Past, which would have considered some or all of the papers. The papers would have been openly available and anyone could have commented and reviewed them. It would have given some definition to the process, including some defined period for comments and responses and some kind of editorial oversight.

    As it is, the papers have been submitted (in parallel, after or before the public splash?) and released into the ether where anyone and everyone can comment. However the authors aren’t obliged to respond to anyone and then only to their own satisfaction.

    None of the papers as originally released was journal ready and they all need major changes before they are. If they were submitted at the same time as the PR extravaganza, or before, then it might be seen to show a certain contempt for whoever ends up reviewing it. And whoever ends up reviewing it is likely to be aware that whatever manuscript they think they’re reviewing is liable to change in response to many other comments they haven’t seen, or will ever see.

    It’s just a bit of a mess.

    Which means it’s all jolly good fun.

  30. Isn’t Muller doing exactly what years ago he openly criticized Mann, et al. for many years before that?


    “Bradley, Hughes, and Mann did not report the adverse results in their submitted manuscript. In that studied silence is where the offense lays. Bradley’s own words indicate they knew their published work was a contrived misdirection to hide the invalidity of their conclusions. If they had been honest and had reported the true and disconfirming scope of their statistical indicators, they’d not have been able to claim a ‘robust’ reconstruction, would not have gotten published, and would not have been able to make spectacular millennial claims about 20th century temperatures.”
    ~Dr. Pat Frank, a research chemist, on Climate Audit February 21, 2011

    • So what would you do, if you were checking the land temperature record, and ended up with results which were very similar to NASA’s?

  31. Judith,

    “The situation is made more difficult by the fact that many of the media misreport the content of the preprints. For that reason Berkeley Earth has tried to answer the questions given to us by the media, in hopes that our work will be more accurately reported”

    The assumption here is that the media are misreporting scientific topics unintentionally, perhaps due to an inadequate knowledge of the subject material. That may be generally true outside the area of climate science. Not within it though.

    The misreporting we’ve seen in the WSJ (not the Muller piece), the Daily Mail, the Spectator, the Australian, Fox news, and many other outlets of a similar political persuasion is far from unintentional. It requires much more skill to get it wrong, in the way they want to get it wrong, than to report accurately.

    We can all hope that all scientific work will be accurately reported. We can’t expect it though. At least, not until the scientific community generally get tough with the likes of David Rose and publicly condemn these hacks in the way Joe Romm has. You may think Joe Romm has been wrong about you. He clearly wasn’t wrong about David Rose.

  32. @Kermit I am no supporter of Tamino, This is so typical of the judgemental tripe we see from all sides in this Debate.

    His comments are blistering in their ferocity .

    The team brought this on themselves inho by by totally mishandling the whole process.

    Please do not prejudge a posters overall position based on one post in isolation. There is way too much of this idiocy already.

  33. Dr Curry,

    I have been offline for most of this BEST debate and have a bit of catching up to do. Would you clarify something for me – what data did BEST use for the period 1800 to 1850 to produce the Fig 5 graph in the ‘Berkeley …Averaging Process…’ paper? I note the following section…

    [“As is shown in Figure 5, we extend our record all the way back to 1800, including 50 more years than HadCRU and 80 more years than NOAA and GISS. We feel this extension is justifiable though obviously, any such reconstruction will have large uncertainties. Our analysis technique suggests that temperatures during the 19th century were approximately constant (trend 0.20 ± 0.25 C/century) and on average 1.48 ± 0.13 C cooler than the interval 2000-2009.”]

    … but I am not sure what, or whether, any actual data was used. Could you clarify please?

    • There are a number of such records, just not a lot, or enough for a really global coverage. You can find at least some of them referenced in the MBH papers, basically going back to an earlier paper by Bradley. The grand-daddy is the Central England Temperature series, but that only goes instrumental in ~1740.

      • Eli,

        Thank you very much for your response. I am aware of the CET series and am able to access it It certainly does not support the conclusion of BEST fig 5 as the overall warming since 1800 is much less in the CET. Obviously it is not global, so I would have thought it was not relevant but it appears that there may not be ANY global datasets pre 1850, and therefore I am not sure which global set GHCN uses and I am as yet unable to open the files in Nick Stokes’ blog.
        Thanks again.

    • Arfur,

      The data which BEST uses is essentially what is in GHCN. Nick Stokes has a post on this at his blog (click on his name at any of his comments). FWIW, if you look at the BEST video showing the evolution of the record over time, it really doesn’t get enough coverage until the mid 19th century to be truly called global.

      • Rattus,

        Thanks very much for your response. Please see my note to Eli. I am still trying to open the links from Nick Stokes. However, I wonder why BEST used what appears to be very patchy data pre-1850 to produce a ‘global’ (if land only) graph. I also query the use of the word ‘reconstruction’ in their statement. Was not all the data actual?

        Anyway, thanks again.

    • BEST’s own dataset is pretty much GHCN in that time. But in fact in that paper they explicitly used GHCN. From the abstract:
      “In this paper, this framework is applied to the Global Historical Climatology Network land temperature dataset to present a new global land temperature reconstruction from 1800 to present with error uncertainties that include many key effects.”

      • Nick,

        Thanks very much for your response. I have visited your site but am unable to open the KMZ files running Safari. Maybe I need google earth? From digging in the GHCN site, it appears that the only data before 1850 is the Indian Ocean sea surface temperature set (COADS). I must be missing something…

        I very much appreciate your time. As I asked Rattus above, does the use of the word ‘reconstruction’ by BEST mean they did tot use actual data for this early period?

        Thank you. Regards,

      • Arfur,
        Yes, you do need Google Earth installed. Lots of people use GHCN combined with SST data, but GHCN itself is just land stations (with a little data from moored ships).

        Most of GHCN’s data pre-1850 is from Europe, some N America, and there are two early sets from Indian Ocean – Pamplemousse in Mauritius and Madras/Chennai in India.

        The main BEST analysis paper, “Averaging..” uses just GHCN and goes back to 1800. Using their own data wouldn’t make much difference. In effect their analysis is itself a reconstruction; it’s ultimately based on this data.

      • Nick,

        Once again, thank you for answering my query. The patchy nature of pre-1850 data does seem incongruous with what is meant to be an improved ‘reconstruction’ of true global temperatures. It might have been better for BEST to have left out any data pre-1850 so as to use only well-established datasets.

        I do have one other question about the BEST data if you have time…
        The BEST graph in their analysis page:
        shows that the temperature rise from appx 1979 is about 1.0 deg C. It also shows the Berkeley graph line to be warmer than any other dataset (GISS, NOAA, HADCru). Curiously, if you look at the actual GISS and HADCru data (and NCDC), the increase in temperature over this period is only about 0.5 C (slightly less for HADCru).

        Can you explain this difference?

        Thanks for your time once again.

      • Arfur,
        It’s the distinction between land-only and global. All studies show the land warming faster than the sea, and this extends to inland stations warming faster than coastal. The 0.5°C rise you quote is combined land and sea.

        I’m not sure whether in your earlier comparison you are talking about the land indices, but they too are affected by how they deal with the boundary. BEST (and NOAA) seem to be the purest, in that they weight strictly by land area. GISS weights (in their land index) according to total area, which upweights coastal stations. That’s not how they describe it, but that’s the effect Although that index (Ts) doesn’t use SST data, it still is dominated by the reduced warming of stations affected by the sea.

      • Thank you Nick,

        That’s all I’m going to bother you with. I very much appreciate you taking the time to help me catch up with the BEST papers.

        Kind regards,


  34. @ Kermit Yes found that thread, It would help if the Blog owners structured these threads a little better, we have multiple threads going on multiple blogs missing a thread is easy right now.. I had four from here open and refreshing so sorry Judith for missing that thread :)

    A simple adrdessed here in a response is a more polite approach I trust we can all agree :)

    I was Commenting on Gregors usually abrasive attitude we see elsewhere.

    Swearing at Briggsy is a little uncouth and is best left for the more extreme bloggs imho :)

  35. I think it is save to conclude using Mullers own words about Hansen back in 2008, that “… he’s decided to do the politics… At that point, he’s not really being a scientist. At that point, you’re being a lawyer. He’s being an effective advocate for his side, but in the process of doing that he’s no longer a neutral party and he’s no longer giving both sides of the issues.” Muller is merely an advocate for non-ending government funding of climate research and is using global warming alarmism to feather his nest and to curry favor within the liberal Governmet-Education Industrial Machine and the media and AGW True Believers on the Left.

  36. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. All that was available was peer-reviewed literature for scientists and a couple of lay interest group publications Scientific American, National Geographic, Popular Mechanics. The computer age placed information in the hands of many including the lay journalists with their great variance in their capacity to read science. We now have scientists, and focusing on climate scientists, who seek a global media stage. Tradition, do I hear Tevia in the background?, dictates the peer-review journal process, yet the lure of the Vegas lights tempts climate scientists to “report their findings” in lay interest publications, and when those get crowded, advocacy publication epitomized by World Wildlife Federation publications. Scientists have a myriad of outlets to “get the message out.” The media cornucopia is seductive all the while one remains and carries the mantle of “scientist.” Unfortunately, as one engages the various media, each demands an explicit set of rules, almost always controlled by the media publisher, to make money. I believe Cornelius Vanderbilt said: “never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” The scientist looses control when he/she steps out of their own realm, which is basically, peer-reviewed journals. All else has a different agenda than what is embodied in peer-reviewed journals. The blogosphere is a new media with the blog participants dictating the rules. When the host/hostess doesn’t engage the appropriate audience, then the blog has little or no traffic. Currently climate science as a topic has sufficient polarity that a number of blogs and followers exist. One can find analysis, really good analysis of data on any number of climate science blogs. So the educational value to the audience remains high and the rants are mostly tolerated by the many blog participants. However, the fundamental forum for scientists is still peer-reviewed journals. The ability to release to the blogosphere research preprints without comment, absorb critiques into manuscript revisions, will make for a much more informative article. I believe the process of science writing will move forward using both the blogosphere and peer-reviewed journals. What will need to happen on the academic institution side of the publish equation, will be better scrutiny of each and every publication with the agenda, “did this publication make a difference” a much more deliberate academic evaluation, and harder. Ultimately, “did this article make a difference”, will be the new standard of promotion. The usual 6 year intervals assistant professor to associate professor to full professor will have to be revisited and modified. The blogosphere will add much better scrutiny and result in better science. The current lure of instant recognition by a broad community is just plain theatrics, nice if you are in Hollywood, not so nice when one is trying to sort out problems with difficult and obscure data and endpoints.

  37. Judith, you were the talk on The Source here on Canada’s Sun News Network. It will likely be on line soon. Check here for it to show up, if it does. Quite positive for skepticism.

  38. Sorry but what’s the link to that Hulme essay?

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with public release prior to peer review – it’s a strategic move that needs to be made for the context. I can’t say whether it was the “right move” here, but it does make sense for BEST.

  39. The BEST articles are designed to support the consensus, and undermine the issues raised in Anthony Watts’ project. The probability of the IPCC ignoring them is about on the level of me ignoring an invitation to a romantic weekend in Barbados from Ashley Judd.

  40. Has global warming stopped? October tells the tale.

    Has the label, ‘warming hiatus’ become, The Tell-Tale Heart of the Left? Even the UHI effect may be insufficient to mask the reality of global cooling.

    In 2008, an October snowfall in the UK was the earliest in 74 years. According to NOAA, October 2009 US temperatures were the third coldest in 115 years and more snow fell than ever recorded the month of October. In 2009 Germany had the coldest October in recorded history. Siberia had its coldest winters in history in 2009-2010. The elderly in the UK burned books in the winter of 2010 to keep warm. The Northern Hemisphere had the largest snow coverage ever recorded in February 2010. The coldest day ever experienced in New Zealand was July 2011. With rare October snow to hit Germany we see the same rarity in New England and New York has just experienced the largest October snowfall since the Civil War.

    • Wagathon, October global temperature anomalies from UAH tell a quite different tale. Nine of the ten warmest Octobers in the thirty-two year history of UAH records occurred after the year 2000. The only exception being October of 1998.

      Ten highest Oct. temp anomalies(UAH)

      2005 0.35
      2006 0.31
      2010 0.31
      2003 0.30
      1998 0.30
      2009 0.25
      2004 0.24
      2001 0.19
      2007 0.15
      2008 0.13

      • The good citizens of WW2-era Germany also refused to admit to themselves the evidence of their own eyes, preferring instead a make-believe virtual world to reality. That is why the Left refuses to admit that the elderly burned books in the UK last year to keep warm and that the official thermometers in France only measure winter temperatures at French airports with their exposed tarmacs while the French countryside lies blanketed in snow.

      • Keep on denying the data that disagrees with you Wagathon

        2010 – UAH tied for warmest year on record

        April 2011 – warmest April on record in the UK
        Spring 2011 – warmest spring on record in the UK

      • We should respond to Wangathon with non-sequitors. Check this from a few days ago:

        Wagathon | October 29, 2011 at 7:59 pm
        One dead, thousands without power and the first October snow in London in 74 YEARS as Arctic blast sweeps across UK By DAILY MAIL REPORTER and DAVID DERBYSHIRE

        The particular year is cherry-picked to give maximum effect.
        The timing is cherry-picked to create an artificial coincidence and thus to arouse interest and then to FUD.
        London is actually unseasonably warm the last several days, but that anecdotal point does not matter.
        The real point is we get to see Wangathon’s hit&run framing strategy reduced to pure deceit.

      • Just such a pity that our Summer chose not to happen

      • The good citizens of WW2-era Germany also refused to admit to themselves the evidence of their own eyes, preferring instead a make-believe virtual world to reality.

        Thank you, Wagathon.

        Without “skeptics” like you around, who would be able to keep track of the neo-Nazi leftist use of the myth of AGW to impose their fascist agenda?

        Oh. My sides.

      • Please don’t group us all in with that person. He has gotten heat from those you know are highly skeptical of the IPCC’s conclusions

      • Rob –

        I really don’t put all “skeptics” into any one kind of group. I evaluate people’s arguments based on their arguments.

        On the other hand, I have seen many similar posts repeatedly written by Wagathon, hunter, Bruce, Jim Own, manacker (perhaps not quite as extreme) and quite a few other “denizens.” I can’t recall Wagathon being criticized by any “skeptics.” and I have rarely seen any “skeptics” take on any other “skeptics” that have overtly (extremist) political view of the climate debate like Wagathon.

        Not to say that I know it has never happened – perhaps it has, but I can’t recall any, and I explicitly look to see how other “skeptics” respond to posts like Wagathon’s. The closest thing to a negative reaction that I recall seeing from “skeptics” to that kind of post are the occasional post from David W. – who doesn’t really take on the content of these kinds of posts but more in reaction to what he sees as irrelevancy of such posts to the topic at hand.

      • Joshua
        I wonder that you seem to have an expectation one ‘sceptic’ would go out of their way to criticise another ‘sceptic’. As if you’ve seen some profoundly different behaviour at Tamino or Climate Progress. Bearing in mind, of course, that off-message comments at both those places get deleted or edited.
        Yes, I find most of Wagathon’s comments at best pointless and at worst offensive and puerile. But I don’t go out of my way to jump on them – I feel I’ve got better, and more motivating things to do.
        I know that doesn’t sound very convincing, but there it is.

        Is there not something self-referential about your common theme? Do you ask yourself why you only restrict yourself to criticism of one side of the debate? Is it because, as you say, you find it kind of fun? Would it be more like hard work to do exactly what you do here, say, at Tamino’s (were it allowed)? I sort of take your point, think about it, and always notice that you don’t behave any differently. I’m not sure ANYBODY does. I just wonder why you point it out here so often – as if it is somehow untoward.
        Have you ever pointed out to Robert that he has never criticised an AGW catastrophist however offensive, incoherent or nonsensical they have been? Of course not, and why would you expect him to.
        Is it because there are people here (like myself) who go out of our way to say we don’t necessarily share any views with other ‘sceptics’? If so, all I can say is that there is much less motivation to criticise someone facing the same direction as oneself even if they are making a different (or offensive) speech. It’s just the way we are.
        Are you any different? Do you have an alternative explanation?

      • Anteros –

        When I hang at a predominantly lefty blog, I do sometimes criticize extreme hyperbole. I do so often relative to the number of times I read rhetoric that is at the level of wagathon’s

        Even here, I do sometimes, for example, criticize Robert’s hyperbole. I’ve similarly criticized Martha.

        I this very thread, I criticized Tamino’s hyperbole.

        But please not that my comment was in direct response to Rob’s statement that wagathon has “gotten a lot of heat.” Perhaps he has, but I don’t recall seeing it.

        And further, when Robert – whose particular brand of rhetoric is relatively rare in these pages, (maybe Martha or occasionally Loise also reach such levels) writes over-the-top rhetoric, there are often a long series of posts taking him to task – if not by me. When wagathon, or hunter, or Jim Owen, or Bruce, or manacker (perhaps somewhat less extreme), or Gary, or stan, or some other number of the regular “denizens” go over the top, most of what we hear are crickets. There is a question of proportionality. Robert’s relatively few over-the-top comments (that is, relative to the total number of comments) are met with many, many critical responses. Wagathon’s posts, combined with hunter, and Jim, and stan, and Gary, et. al. are much greater in numbers relative to the overall number of comments, and they are met with many, many fewer critical responses.

        I don’t really expect things to be different, but I think the fact that they aren’t different reflects bias.

        Is a similar bias evident at Climate Progress? I don’t know – I don’t read the comments there often, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it might somewhat similar. But bias there does not justify bias here. And that said, I would question whether there are as many posts there that, in a parallel manner accuse all conservatives of being analogous to proto-Nazis or eugenicists (relatively speaking – many fewer comments are posted at that site than this one).

        Have you ever pointed out to Robert that he has never criticised an AGW catastrophist however offensive, incoherent or nonsensical they have been? Of course not, and why would you expect him to.

        That’s not the relevant parallel. The parallel to your construction would be like calling out hunter for not criticizing wagathon. Of course I wouldn’t do that – that would, obviously, be completely pointless.

        The parallel construction would be should I be calling out tempterrain or Bart R. or M Carey for not calling out Robert. But again, while you have a point, you should also consider the question of proportionality. Robert is an outlier and tempterrain is a minority. Wagathon is much less of an outlier and the non-overtly politically extremists “skeptics” are the majority. By sheer laws of averages, if there wasn’t a pervasive bias at this site WRT calling out extremism, then the comments from “skeptics” criticizing wagathon should be exponentially greater than those who do not identify as “skeptics” criticizing Robert.

        They aren’t.

        Is it because there are people here (like myself) who go out of our way to say we don’t necessarily share any views with other ‘sceptics’?

        How many times do you do that if not prompted to do so? I think that you doing so is a good thing, so if you wind up doing so in response to my posts, then maybe I should keep posting the types of comments that prompt you to do so?

      • Joshua is the closest thing to an unofficial ombudsman that this site has. An ombudsman doesn’t have to be neutral and can have a POV, but it is a more general level of introspection than a purely partisan defense.

        Who is the ombudsman on the skeptic side? Yes, probably David W.
        (Now here come the criticisms my way)

      • Thermageddon as prophesized by Al Gore never happened • Still, the Lefties keep the lie about global warming doomsday alive • Shocker………………!

      • “Joshua is the closest thing to an unofficial ombudsman that this site has.”

        Joshua is an ombudsman for this site like Mark Morano is an ombudsman for the IPCC and consensus. Someone doesn’t know what the word means,

      • Being an AGW believer means never having to prove it. It is amazing how many cannot handle that simple observation and yet still pretend to be objective arbiters of truth and capable of discerning of the innocent motives of others whose duplicitous behavior speaks louder than words.

      • Joshua –
        It took a while to sink in, but I think I understand why I have been confused by the angle of most of your comments. I missed its implication the first time I read it but you began your comment with –

        “When I hang at a predominantly lefty blog..”

        This gives me information that I’ve never had concerning your mindset – because you never offer a substantive opinion , belief, perspective or position. You exist here in the role of critic. Which is fine – and I agree with a large portion of what you say e.g. concerning Judith’s inconsistency. My problem has been that I’ve felt if dissection of arguments is what you are about, how can you not see all the same things on the other side of the debate?. I have found it very disconcerting. As if you’ve set out to uproot all inconsistencies and have found them only in one place. And the only motive I’ve heard you confess to is that it is ‘kind of fun’ to deconstruct faulty sceptic thinking etc. This ‘position-less’ impression I have received led me to the belief that you would find it equally fun to do the same thing to alarmist rhetoric.

        I don’t mean to presume anything about your politics, but I think there is an enormous disparity between us in terms of political INTEREST. I have very little – certainly concerning American politics. I come here for discussions about climate and the way we think about climate. I acknowledge a correlation between political positions and beliefs but do my best to step over them. If there is nothing interesting to say about climate then all I hear are prejudices. Tea partiers and hard core eco warriors(when those prejudices are informing someone’s thinking) to my ears are just making noise.

        This explains why the puerile nonsense from Wagathon or the OTT vitriol from Hunter just pass me by. They are neither about the climate or directed at me. Of course there is a great asymmetry here – when Robert mouths off he is being offensive TO ME. The liberal use of ‘denier’ and ‘fake sceptic’ I find personally offensive and it has nothing to do with politics – it is a fundamentalist denigration of who and what I am. Cf nigger/faggot. See my comment here –

        Anteros | November 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

        I simply don’t exist on a left/right continuum, at least not on this blog or in any debate about climate.I think I’ve misunderstood a great deal of your interest here – because you have offered no position on anything. Your reactions, though, are those of someone with a political perspective – which is I guess why Wagathon gets under your skin more than he does mine.

        I know this is a long-winded way of saying I have missed something vaguely obvious.
        If there were an AnteJoshua here complementing your anti-sceptic analysis I would be gratified, but then again there aren’t enough consensus advocates here willing to engage in debate – I bemoan the asymmetry too. Is there an even more balanced blog than this? If there were, that is where I would go.

      • “The parallel construction would be should I be calling out tempterrain or Bart R. or M Carey for not calling out Robert.”

        I really despise Godwinned threads. They’re just so cliche.

        I especially dislike the imputation that anyone ought be criticizing anyone else on a blog, for whatever reason.

        If I’m extraordinarily critical of a person, I simply don’t respond to them.

        I’m here for ideas.

        I like the analogy another poster made to the lounge in a science building on a campus where people from diverse disciplines can gather and talk about things, sometimes heatedly, but because it’s all colleagial, the incidental insults are not the focus of the discourse, which remains ideas.

        I don’t know anyone on this blog personally. I’ve never met anyone, don’t expect to seek out social contact, if by chance I run into someone from here I doubt I’ll recognize them or they me. I’m not about people.

        That said.. haven’t I fairly evenhandedly pasted just about everyone at one time or another?

        If I’ve missed you and you feel left out, consider this yours. ;)

  41. Considerate thinker

    Pokerguy, I think you might be observing a new and evolving trend – consider;

    Anthony Watts surface stations UHI project finally gets through the peer review barrier, providing traction for a review of the whole world temperature data base, but who can do this without evoking discredited “team” memories.

    Muller discredits Mann, offsides the team dons the skeptic cloak accepts funding to do the Berkley review, bringing on side Anthony Watts and yes Judith Curry, who is challenging the team and the IPCC and incidently attracting many skeptical scientists to her blog, a veritable climate Tea Party enthusiastically calling for change to re-establish the supremacy of actual science and put aside the bogus.

    In short a rallying cry for an all out assault on the team, while it is vulnerable and bunkered down, with its shrinking extremist’s views further sullying its collective reputation. Meanwhile emerging Cloud and Solar experiments, question the old team view and loosen their hold on the science and the political funding.

    Best mounts a political media blitz but offsides skeptics, and this starts a skeptical storm of criticism that gains rapid traction threatening to sideline the Best public relations machine.

    Judith Curry also challenges Muller, but allows a strategic religious based plea to be published on her blog site. Willis takes up the issue and the resulting inflammatory responses fly back and forth effectively dividing rather than consolidating sceptical scientific responses at this important time.

    Muller having effectively used sceptical doubts, now reinforces the warming trend to overide and sideline sceptical doubts of the validity of the land temperature series without actually tacking the “difficult” questions, but moving on, and making up with Judith Curry and capturing the high ground of Climate Change authority. Will this provide better BEST science or, what?

    • “skeptics” turned on BEST because they didn’t like the result.

      They wanted the record to be radically different from GISTEMP and so justify their smears that Hansen has “cooked the books”.

      They claim now they never denied it had warmed. Yet they had.

      • Oh please, the surface of the globe has warmed a bit but probably not as nearly as much claimed due to UHI and other problems with the surface temperature record. Your argument only applies to a few skeptics. The larger group of skeptics accepts some warming, questions how much and really wonders if CO2/humans caused it and if so, again by how much.

      • “Oh please, the surface of the globe has warmed a bit but probably not as nearly as much claimed due to UHI and other problems with the surface temperature record”

        Exactly. You think HadCRUT and GISTEMP both show too much warming. You expected BEST would show a result different to GISTEMP.

        It didn’t. You were wrong.

        “The larger group of skeptics accepts some warming”

        Nah. The larger group of skeptics thinks the surface records are so unreliable they are quite useless at telling us what has happened. Oh but they do claim it has warmed sure, they are just happy to contradict themselves.

      • From: P.Jones
        To: “Rick Piltz”>
        Subject: Re: Your comments on the latest CEI/Michaels gambit
        Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 18:03:13 +0100 (BST)
        Cc: “Phil Jones” , “Ben Santer” Phil and Ben–
        > Thanks for writing. I appreciate very much what you’re saying.
        > I’m going to be posting some entries on this matter on the Climate
        > Science Watch Web site. I’m sure others will weigh in on it in
        > various venues (Steve Schneider has supplied me with an on-the-record
        > quote), and I suppose that a more formal response by the relevant
        > scientists is likely eventually to become part of the EPA docket as
        > part of their rejection of the CEI petition. But that will drag on,
        > and meanwhile CEI and Michaels will demagogue their allegations, as
        > they do with everything. No way to prevent that. But I would like to
        > expedite documenting some immediate pushback, helping to set the
        > record straight and put what CEI and Michaels are up to in perspective.
        > I have taken the liberty of editing what you wrote just a bit (and
        > adding some possible URL links and writing-out of acronyms), in the
        > hope that, with your permission and with any revisions or additions
        > you might care to make, we could post your comments. This requires
        > no clearance other than you and me. I would draft appropriate text to
        > provide context. Please take a look at this and RSVP:
        > Ben’s comment:
        > As I see it, there are two key issues here.
        > First, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Pat Michaels
        > are arguing that Phil Jones and colleagues at the CRU [Climatic
        > Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK ] willfully,
        > intentionally, and suspiciously “destroyed” some of the raw surface
        > temperature data used in the construction of the gridded surface
        > temperature datasets.
        > Second, the CEI and Pat Michaels contend that the CRU surface
        > temperature datasets provided the sole basis for IPCC “discernible
        > human influence” conclusions.
        > Both of these arguments are incorrect. First, there was no
        > intentional destruction of the primary source data. I am sure that,
        > over 20 years ago, the CRU could not have foreseen that the raw
        > station data might be the subject of legal proceedings by the CEI and
        > Pat Michaels. Raw data were NOT secretly destroyed to avoid efforts
        > by other scientists to replicate the CRU and Hadley Centre-based
        > estimates of global-scale changes in near-surface temperature. In
        > fact, a key point here is that other groups — primarily at the NCDC
        > [NOAA National Climatic Data Center] and at GISS [NASA Goddard
        > Institute for Space Studies], but also in Russia — WERE able to
        > replicate the major findings of the CRU and UK Hadley Centre groups.
        > The NCDC and GISS groups performed this replication completely
        > independently. They made different choices in the complex process of
        > choosing input data, adjusting raw station data for known
        > inhomogeneities (such as urbanization effects, changes in
        > instrumentation, site location, and observation time), and gridding
        > procedures. NCDC and GISS-based estimates of global surface
        > temperature changes are in good accord with the HadCRUT data results.
        > The second argument — that “discernible human influence” findings
        > are like a house of cards, resting solely on one observational
        > dataset — is also invalid. The IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR)
        > considers MULTIPLE observational estimates of global-scale
        > near-surface temperature changes. It does not rely on HadCRUT data
        > alone – as is immediately obvious from Figure 2.1b of the TAR, which
        > shows CRU, NCDC, and GISS global-mean temperature changes.
        > As pointed out in numerous scientific assessments (e.g., the IPCC TAR
        > and Fourth Assessment Reports, the U.S. Climate Change Science
        > Program Synthesis and Assessment Report 1.1 (Temperature trends in
        > the lower atmosphere: steps for understanding and reconciling
        > differences), and the state of knowledge report, Global Climate
        > Change Impacts on the United States, rigorous statistical fingerprint
        > studies have now been performed with a whole range of climate
        > variables — and not with surface temperature only. Examples include
        > variables like ocean heat content, atmospheric water vapor, surface
        > specific humidity, continental river runoff, sea-level pressure
        > patterns, stratospheric and tropospheric temperature, tropopause
        > height, zonal-mean precipitation over land, and Arctic sea-ice
        > extent. The bottom-line message from this body of work is that
        > natural causes alone CANNOT plausibly explain the climate changes we
        > have actually observed. The climate system is telling us an
        > internally- and physically-consistent story. The integrity and
        > reliability of this story does NOT rest on a single observational
        > dataset, as Michaels and the CEI incorrectly claim.
        > I have known Phil for most of my scientific career. He is the
        > antithesis of the secretive, “data destroying” character the CEI and
        > Michaels are trying to portray to the outside world. Phil and Tom
        > Wigley have devoted significant portions of their scientific careers
        > to the construction of the land surface temperature component of the
        > HadCRUT dataset. They have conducted this research in a very open and
        > transparent manner — examining sensitivities to different gridding
        > algorithms, different ways of adjusting for urbanization effects, use
        > of various subsets of data, different ways of dealing with changes in
        > spatial coverage over time, etc. They have thoroughly and
        > comprehensively documented all of their dataset construction choices.
        > They have done a tremendous service to the scientific community —
        > and to the planet — by making gridded surface temperature datasets
        > available for scientific research. They deserve medals — not the
        > kind of deliberately misleading treatment they are receiving from Pat
        > Michaels and the CEI.
        > Phil’s comment:
        > No one, it seems, cares to read what we put up on the CRU web page.
        > These people just make up motives for what we might or might not have
        > done.
        > Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same as
        > in the GHCN archive [Global Historical Climatology Network, used by
        > the NOAA National Climate Data Center].
        > If we have lost any data it is the following:
        > 1. Station series for sites that in the 1980s we deemed then to be
        > affected by either urban biases or by numerous site moves, that were
        > either not correctable or not worth doing as there were other series
        > in the region.
        > 2. The original data for sites that we adjusted the temperature data
        > [Phil: for known inhomogeneities, or what?] in the 1980s. We still
        > have our adjusted data, of course, and these along with all other
        > sites that didn’t need adjusting.
        > 3. Since the 1980s as colleagues and NMSs [National Meteorological
        > Services] have produced adjusted series for regions and or countries,
        > then we replaced the data we had with the better series.
        > In the papers, I’ve always said that homogeneity adjustments are best
        > produced by NMSs. A good example of this is the work by Lucie Vincent
        > in Canada. Here we just replaced what data we had for the 200+ sites
        > she sorted out.
        > The CRUTEM3 data for land look much like the GHCN and GISS [NASA
        > Goddard Institute for Space Studies] data for the same domains.
        > Apart from a figure in the IPCC AR4 [Fourth Assessment Report, 2007]
        > showing this, there is also this paper from Geophysical Research
        > Letters in 2005 by Russ Vose et al. Figure 2 is similar to the AR4 plot.
        > [Vose et al paper]
        > All best,
        > Rick
        > Rick Piltz
        > Director, Climate Science Watch
        > 301-807-2472
        > Climate Science Watch is a sponsored project of the Government
        > Accountability Project, Washington, DC, dedicated to holding public
        > officials accountable for using climate science and related research
        > effectively and with integrity in responding to the challenges posed
        > by global climate disruption.
        > The right to search for truth implies also a duty; one must not
        > conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.
        > –Albert Einstein
        Orange, what did happen? All of that stuff too? Where did it go…

      • Gentlemen always clean up hard linefeeds when pasting large blocks of stolen correspondence, Tom… and wipe their feet when they come through the door.

        It’s common courtesy.

      • Orange, have you actually looked at the best Taverage database?
        It is riddled with incorrect values, like readings suddenly dropping 30-40 degrees.
        Winter average readings higher than Summer average readings.
        Have you read the paper on how the Raw data has been just slightly modified in a very similar way to GISS. So no wonder they get the same results.

      • bullsh1t A. C. Osborn

        BEST and GISTEMP are different enough that they shouldn’t have agreed as they did if either was spuriously in error for the reasons you mention.

      • And once again, someone wrongly groups all those who are skeptical about the IPCC conclusions and recomendations into their neat little preconceived catagories.

      • That’s just a convenient tactic to shield the denier echo machine from criticism.

        When you turn out wrong pretend it was only a small minority that was wrong.

        No it wasn’t. The SPPI published a document by Watt’s and D’Aleo for christ sake that made many claims that have been refuted by BEST. How much more “mainstream” skeptic can it get than a SPPI report published by those two?

        If you are reasonable you are in the minority. The large vocal band of skeptics are all for smearing the surface records. Too much warming they say. Those scientists have been fiddling the figures they say.

      • The concensus is that best did not actually look at the Rural/Urban problem. But of course you won’t believe that.
        As I posted to your earlier remark, have you personally looked at the database values you so rightously defend?

      • Conveniently deniers always have a problem with every analysis of the surface record. Work is never perfect, so there’s always a cheap get out clause for deniers.

        BEST has been a non-climate scientist independent analysis that has vindicated GISTEMP and HadCRUT. Noone is going to buy your style of whiny crp anymore.

        It’s put up or shut up time. Blogs like WUWT are simply going to get ignored if they keep up the silly smears on the surface records. Either get with your denier pals and do the work yourselves and show us the amazingly different result you believe you’d get when it’s “done properly”, or prepare to be ignored.

        You have all the data. You presumably think you know where BEST, GISTEMP, NOAA and HadCRUT have gone wrong. So do it yourselves and demonstrate it makes a jot of difference.

        I tell you why none of you deniers have bothered do the work yourselves, despite years of opportunity and whining about the data that’s been available to you for so long – it’s because deep down you all know the result will vindicate GISTEMP and HadCRUT and that’s the last thing you want.

      • Paul Daniel Ash, I have never said I was a gentle man. I painted red barns, in my youth. Next time I may be bare foot. Whooo knows.

  42. Considerate thinker, A very good BDA.

  43. …or, is this BESTgate?

  44. In my opinion, any facts or science will not matter in this religious debate. The data will be adjusted or the models adjusted to provide the desired answer.

    Replication, the hallmark of science, is not important.

    There seems to be a human need for believing in a ‘doomsday’. This need may be linked to the psychology of our own mortality. With the end of the Cold War, a new doomsday was needed and ‘Global Warming’ filled the void in their psyche. The same people promoting and exaggerating fears about ‘Nuclear Armageddon’ have moved on to ‘Global Warming’. After ‘Global Warming’ passes, they just pick up another doomsday. What’s next the fear of the return of parachute pants?

    These doomsayers mask the beliefs with a veneer of science but in the end it’s a religious belief.

    Nobody could possibly have any definitive, scientifically based answer. The system is too complex, the knowledge is too poor, and the data is insufficient.

    Oh, BTW. I figured out how to forecast the stock market, exchange rates, and commodity prices. I live on my own private island. I am so rich that Bill Gates is my chauffeur and Melinda Gates is my maid.

    I do not think that my fantasy is very different.

    • Old Navy. Its nice to hear the Bill and Melinda are now gainfully employed instead of jet setting around the world doing “good works.”

      In another vein, the current Doomsday perceptions are most likely the continuance of our Judeo-Christian concept of “origin sin.” We are all sinners and need to be forgiven to ascend into heaven when our final day comes.

      Whether or not someone is “religious”, the culture in which most in Western culture grew up is that of a Judeo-Christian tradition. Add in a dash of socialism, naiveté, clueless youth, and the polyglot masses, certain of their educational superiority, translate social issues into their world perception based upon their cultural up-bringing. As each social issue is raised: Wall Street robber barons, Big Oil denier propaganda, the greed of Big Pharma, the injustice of world poverty, etc., etc., etc., the issues’ perspective is viewed through the same lens. Social Justice always means taking something away from the sinner, and giving to someone more deserving. That’s how one mitigates one’s own original sin. Isn’t this why mitigation in part is pursued with such fervor in the CO2 Climate story having a cultural and religious hue?

      • In another vein, the current Doomsday perceptions are most likely the continuance of our Judeo-Christian concept of “origin sin.” We are all sinners and need to be forgiven to ascend into heaven when our final day comes.

        Judith – are you reading this nonsense?

      • Cryptic?

        Invisible deadly gas; fine.

        You are qualified

      • Joshua

        It does not seem over the top, or something Judith should be concerned with; to state that those who support the IPCC’s conclusions do so based on a “religious like faith” vs actual data. It really seems like and accurate assessment

      • I don’t think it is over the top either. Many people would choose a more secular explanation instead but SOME explanation is needed.
        This is usually completely missed if the climate issue is taken in isolation. If it is given a historical perspective – that it is the one thousand and seventeenth doomsday meme to gain traction it looks very different.
        The leap from ‘this is what some thermometers say’ to ‘something very very bad is going to happen, and it is the fault of greed/evil/stupidity’ takes place with imagination, not with reason.

        The perspective of psychology works just as well as that of Judeo-Christian (or other) archetypes. And both help identify aspects of the madness of the crowds, hysteria, guilt and of course fundamentalist demonisation of dissenters. One of the most pernicious aspects of calling everyone you disagree with a ‘denier’ is that it reinforces the prejudice that one’s beliefs are absolutely true. You don’t ‘deny’ something that is an opinion or a perspective, you ‘deny’ what is perceived as an obvious truth.

        A dogmatic mindset cannot contemplate the possibility of reasonable disagreement – there can only be those who have understood the truth (the righteous believers) and those who remain fallen/in denial. And people who deny the truth are obviously very bad people. Do not engage with them. Simply compare them to other evil people of the past and be re-assured that as long as you spread the word (the alarm) you are doing the morally right thing.

      • Brilliant dissection of “denier” and the mindset using it leads to. Thanks.

      • I think that ‘confirmation bias’ is often a weak sounding expression for the way in which most of us misunderstand the world around us ALL THE TIME.
        Matt Ridley gave a talk a day or two ago pertaining to just this phenomenon. BTW I don’t think he has much of an idea of the history of science and overplays the distinction between ‘science’ and ‘pseudoscience’. Nevertheless I think there is much to applaud –

        Lets say that by next June two (or more) of the global temperature datasets will show 15 years of cooling {That’s a prediction BTW – call me on it as appropriate}, but next year more than ever before many millions of people will SEE weather events as being caused by global warming. Not just influenced, or enhanced – caused. Reason and understanding have nothing whatsoever to do with faulty perception and amazingly are no defence against it. One of Dan Gardner’s findings in ‘Future Babble’ (referenced by Ridley BTW) is that experts are even more susceptible than others to confirmation bias – and worse at predicting the future.

        My understanding of the degree of hysteria about climate ‘change’ is that it differs less than we imagine from Aztecs cutting out the hearts of their human sacrifices to appease the ‘weather gods’. Who was it said “Every time a Bangladeshi dies in a flood, an airline executive should be taken out and drowned”? I don’t know, but I know that George Monbiot initially liked the idea and also that it was James Hansen who said he sees coal-laden wagons as ‘death trains’.

        Religious hysteria/psychological hysteria – take your pick. Whether we get our hysterical misperceptions from priests or scientists matters not a jot. What is important is that they are erroneous, based on imagination and pernicious in that they justify irrational actions (corn biofuel anyone?) and the persecution of sceptics. Those that ‘denied’ the witchcraft in Salem suffered the same fate as the ‘witches’.

      • “[AGW] models do not realistically simulate the climate system… some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results… This is clearly contrary to how science should be done… Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy.” (Dr. John S. Theon)

      • The Ridley speech,cited by Anteros, is a ‘must read’ deserving of its own post (Judith note). Highly recommended.

  45. I don’t really care about peer-review anymore.
    I work professionally as an engineer and what an engineer does is to take the ideas of physicists and scientists and puts them to some practical use.
    So having a data-dump like available freely available is great IMHO. I don’t care if the stuff doesn’t get peer-reviewed as I can look at the papers myself and figure out which ones pass the smell test for good ideas. Tough luck for other engineers or scientists that need everything sanitized for their protection. I can take watching the sausage getting made and thrive off that. YMMV, but peer-review as it now exists is dead and open-access journals and archives are the future (along with data and code, when it applies).

    Further, what everyone is forgetting is that what the BEST report is going through right now is a peer review of a million eyeballs. It’s essentially crowd-sourcing for verification purposes. It’s messy but it does advance the scientific yardstick and that is probably what the Berkeley team intended all along..

    • Welcome to the 21st century. FWIW arXiv and the open review at the EGU journals are the future.

    • “what everyone is forgetting is that what the BEST report is going through right now is a peer review of a million eyeballs”

      Eyeballs, yes. Just peer’s eyeballs, no. Is this a good way to review Best? Maybe, maybe not. We’ll have to wait to see.

  46. A million eye-balls is the future of science in my opinion.

    It is going to be very messy; but, it will be far more productive and innovative in the long run.

    Replication will emerge as the paramount concern as it should be now.

  47. Steve McIntyre’s findings that change point detection is biased does not surprise me in the least. Any real scientific investigation would check for bias in the adjustments.

    But, previously, I was even more surprised that the various climate models use ‘calibrated parameters’ based the results of ‘experimental chambers’. This is what got me interested in the debate.

    You have got to be kidding me. Come on!

    • Old Navy,

      I used to have the highest trust in our scientists that they were absolutely correct and the knowledge I was getting had absolutely no uncertainty in it.
      Reality set in when I started investigating on my own. I have gained massively with knowledge by dumping ALL theories and go with just evidence.

    • Even if the bias is tiny and doesn’t matter, we can always say this thing is inaccurate, and we should insist on absolute accuracy.

      • M.
        You don’t get people like steve. Its not a matter of insisting on absolute accuracy. Its
        1. best practices.. we are saving the planet after all
        2. closing a discrepency between satellite records and the land record.

    • It is not a FINDING it is a postulate. Somebody needs to test it formally

      • Yes, but if I assume or propose something is true, it may be as good as a finding to a person who wants to believe it’s true.

  48. Muller has been a greenie for the last decade. His “conversion” is bogus.

  49. The vital (and sometimes vitriolic) public discourse on BEST pre-review has to be a good thing.

    It gives reviewers a lot more material to consider, should they choose; it gives a world of participation in the improvement of the material; it illumines the process for the public.

    While I’m glad there’s disagreement — more fertile ground for diversity from which comes innovation and improvement — I hope we can all remember that the upshot will be something better if we choose.

    • “it illumines the process for the public”

      Hopefully, it will instead of just muddying the water.

      • M. carey

        Our dialogues will survive a little mud.

        The empty vacuum of the void is what kills.

  50. OK, I will sum this up: There aren’t any implications for peer-review. Consensus climate science peer-review has already been re-defined, by Kevin and Phil. Who do you think will be the reviewers for the BEST papers? You guessed it; Kevin, Phil, Mikey, (insert your own candidates from among the roster of Team members).

    This episode is not about the peer-review process, it is about the political process. The deadline is not the IPCC AR5, it’s Durban. Muller is in the Big Climate business. He is a confirmed serial alarmist hack. He had an opportunity to grind an axe and make himself famous at the same time. Good for business, good for the earth, good for Muller’s rep, and good for his ego. Stay tuned for the next chapter, on shameless propaganda.

  51. Considering Dr. Muller`s past associations and viewpoints who would ever want to align themselves with him for anything. At the very least he has proven himself to be an egotistical, publicity-seeking individual and if it is true he released the results of this study before consulting with his co-authors his integrity must also be questioned.

  52. Interesting article about the bubbles in ice cores over at WUWT. They seem to have been manipulated ! as if….following the links makes interesting reading.

  53. The following is from the FAQ at the BEST web site:

    “It appears that Berkeley Earth’s analysis shows a temperature rise greater than others had previously published. Is this so? Can you explain?

    Berkeley Earth has not yet begun to analyze ocean temperatures (we hope to do this in the next year), so the plotted data is land only. Land warms more than oceans, so when we include the ocean we expect the total global warming to be less.”

    Does “land warms more than oceans” mean long-term trends in land and ocean temperatures should have different slopes and a growing gap between them?

    • “Land warms more than the oceans” is clearly seen in all the various datasets.

      This is a physically unsurprising consequence of the fact that oceans have a huge capacity to absorb heat. The land responds much more quickly than the ocean to any extended rise or fall in available energy for heating; you can see this even in the day night cycle. By the sea you get cooler days and milder nights, while a couple of hundred kilometers inland can get much warmer daytime and much colder night time extremes.

      The physical way to think of this is that the land responds faster to any change in temperatures. In the presence of a continuously increasing heating influence (or, conversely, a continuously decreasing heating influence) you should expect to see the land respond quickly, and the ocean more slowly. If the increase/decrease of available heat continues you should expect the rate of increase in temperature of ocean to catch up in time to the rate of temperature increase on the land, and thereafter proceed at about the same rate but with the ocean lagging somewhat.

      • Ipso facto, given that more than 70% of the Earth is covered by water you wouldn’t concede the accuracy of land-based temperature data in France based on the results of locating official thermometers at French airports, and then extrapolating that data to guesstimate the average winter temperatures of French contryside, right?

      • Not sure what you are asking here; but note that all the data is expressed as anomalies, not as temperatures.

        This is precisely because of the point you mention; there can be very large differences in temperature within a very small region. You can get significant differences in temperature reading just by going up or down a hill, or at varying distances from a lake, or a beach, and so on.

        On the other hand, the anomalies are far more consistent over significant regions. Anomaly means the difference between a reading, and the “climate norm” for that weather station. Two stations a couple of hundred meters apart may record a degree or so difference; but on a hot day, or cold day, they both tend to be about the same amount above or below the normal at the respective station.

        If you want the actual temperature, you have to put the station RIGHT at the place where the temperature is of interest. If you want the anomaly, which is what BEST and everyone else doing this is using, then you can use the airport station, or the country station, and there’s not a lot of difference. (The issue with the airport is finding and removing the small but significant local jump in microclimate norms at the time the airport was built. A lot of the work in this area concerns dealing with such changes in the record for a single station; this is all discussed in the papers.)

      • Your ‘climate norm’ is an illusion. Temperature is an intensive variable.

        The warming you are talking about is caused by political friction. The secular, socialist government-funded education complex has failed reason and objectivity, and it has failed humanity by undermining the objective search for truth as a means to overcome superstition, fear and totalitarianism.

        The nation’s dropout factories have given wings to the global warming hoax. We don’t need worshippers of Al Gore, Ward Churchill, Mao, Castro and Chavez French-frying American brains and declaring jihad on capitalism and Judeo-Christian ethics and morals.

        “The IPCC assessment reports do not contain any mathematical analysis based on the laws of physics to support their formulae or hypothesis. We are reduced to statistical correlation [like MBH98, aka ‘the hockey stick graph which is a proven scientific hoax] between the CO2 content of the atmosphere [The data coming from the site of an active volcano and measured by a father and son team who have turned falsification of data into a cottage industry] and the average global temperature [which is an intensive variable which cannot be meaningfully averaged and has no meaning in the real world] …

        “According to the satellite data, since 1979 there has been no significant increase in global temperature. We have had 20 years of increasing temperature and 10 years of decreasing temperature, while the CO2 content has shown a uniform increase. Hence there is no correlation. If there was, I would ask the question: ‘Is the CO2 causing a temperature change or is the temperature change causing a CO2 change?’” (Barry Moore)

      • Yes, I know land responds quicker than water to changes in temperature. But over a long period (say 50 years) would ocean temperature just lag behind changes in land temperature or would the gap between their temperatures increase?

      • It behaves like a damped response. In a sudden step jump in the available heat; the land temperature shows a quick step, and the ocean shows a smoother rise and level off. But both rise pretty much the same amount.

        In practice (since the ocean cools the land somewhat when temperatures are rising) you get the land temperature rise slowed down a bit by the effects of the ocean, but they eventually get to a new equilibrium in line with the new heating input.

        In the case of a continual increase in available heat (which is very roughly what we have now) you should see both rising at the same rate, but the ocean taking a bit longer to get up to that rate, and thereafter lagging a bit.

        To a first approximation, it is simply that the ocean shows a damped response to whatever changes there are in the available heat.

      • Thanks, Chris. I would expect what you describe.

        I thought the BEST statement I quoted (“Land warms more than oceans, so when we include the ocean we expect the total global warming to be less.”) might have meant something else.

    • This might not make sense, but my hunch here is you would have 49 steps toward equilibrium, and 1 step, the net increase in GHG forcing added that year, with very little movement toward equilibrium, so the gap would gradually shrink toward equilibrium.

  54. I am certainly a nobody, not even a scientist, on global climate issues. Friends, however, know that I am “concerned” about the issues, the integrity of the science.

    In the past two days, I have received links to Seth Borenstein’s AP article about the end of the climate debate from *four* friends. I’ve read Bornenstein for years, starting with “nothing to see here in the Climategate emails and mangled code…. I’ve read it all and there’s nothing at all here….”

    It is hard to believe that such a partial advocate might be considered a science journalist. I’m esp impressed with this “gotcha” paragraph in his latest:

    “One-quarter of the $600,000 to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Sadly, this is the message that most people will hold about the BEST work. Yesterday, it was polar bears dying. Today, it’s that the Koch Foundation got tricked into confirming the truth of CAGW. Judith, and others fighting for science, are going to be left with the dregs of that very powerful message. ….Lady in Red

    • Lady in Red

      You cite Charles Koch as being a major funder, but is it not more relevant to quote Mullers own company?

      Whether having his own green co that helps Govts with energy solutions is or isn’t any sort of vested interest I wll leave it for others to decide, but certainly it ought to be as much part of the knowledge mix as is the Koch reference.


    • Not to worry Lady. Thanks to the rise of skepticism, most people are no longer on this bandwagon. Many yes, but not most. Most now read the little green stories with a degree of skepticism.

    • Last I knew Koch Industries was the second largest US privately held company, behind Cargill. See They fund a number of libertarian think tanks and policy shops, some of which I have done studies for. I still value my Koch Industries coffee mugs. $200k is small money so I doubt the Koch brothers were involved. But they did get taken.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Muller’s activism for non-partisan science is consistent with libertarian goals – especially concerning policies and taxes.

  55. Judith Curry, you have made the following statements:

    “Our data show the pause”

    “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped”

    “There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998”

    Clearly you’ve read my post on the subject, in which I laid out the scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped. It consisted of actual data analysis, using exactly the data you refer to (from the Berkeley team).

    You stated explicity that warming has stopped, your latest is vague enough to be satisfied by “slowdown” but the first two say “pause” and “stopped.” Either way — slowdown or stop — you need to provide some actual evidence that the trend has changed. The one thing that nobody has yet seen, is your scientific basis for any of these claims.

    Question #1: Do you still maintain the above statements? No ambiguous answers, please, it’s yes-or-no for each statement.

    Question #2: If any answer to #1 is “yes,” then what’s your scientific basis for claiming that the trend post-1998 (or post-2001 or whatever) has changed?

    • What makes you so confident that Judith has read your abusive ranting attack on her?
      FYI, this post is about pre-review data release.

      • What makes you so confident that Judith has read your abusive ranting attack on her?

        I made no “abusive ranting attack.” I gave a scientific basis to contradict her claim, consisting of actual analysis of the actual data she refers to. She said she read it.

      • I think it is entirely appropriate to ask Judith to clarify ambiguous statement that she makes. I do the same (although quite often, I don’t get answers).

        Your analysis of the ambiguity and questionable scientific basis for Judith’s remarks are helpful.

        That said, I think it’s disingenuous to qualify your post simply as giving a scientific basis to contradict her claim.

      • If you want to consider it abusive, you’re entitled to your opinion, I don’t agree. As for “ranting,” that’s just hyperbole. If you want to call it an “attack” then I’d agree.

        But none of those are scientific questions. What everybody — seriously — deserves is an answer to the scientific questions. Judith Curry, do you or don’t you still maintain your claims, and what’s your scientific basis?

      • I don’t think it was “abusive,” I don’t think of it as “ranting.” I don’t even really think of it as an “attack,” quite honestly.

        Just saying that describing it so simply as “givi[ng] a scientific basis to contradict her claim is not terribly accurate.

        It isn’t that big a point – except that I do think that if all folks involved could dial the hyperbole back a bit the science would be better served.

        You could have made similar points about Judith’s statements without personalizing them to the extent that you did. Judith often doesn’t answer my requests for clarification of ambiguity even with they aren’t infused with hyperbole – but chances are better that she’ll respond when my requests are hyperbole-free. Adding in hyperbole can, perhaps, sometimes raise the point total at the expense of useful dialog.

      • Tamino,

        A question for you. Why do you think Judith Curry should bother to answer your questions given your rude, hysterical rant (“…Judith Curry Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot…”; “…I didn’t expect Judith Curry to embarrass herself more than she did…”) ?

        You should feel lucky she even lets you post here. I’ve seen you ban people for a lot less on your own echo chamber site. Anytime you feel you are overmatched (e.g. when Lucia kicked your tushie), you refuse to answer questions and resort to banning the questioner. So it is rather rich that you feel you can demand responses on another blog.

      • tamino,

        Now you claim:

        > I made no “abusive ranting attack.”

        No, you’ve just written a post entitled **Judith Curry Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot**.

        Here is the first sentence:

        > I didn’t expect Judith Curry to embarrass herself more than she did with her fawning over Murry Salby’s folly. But she’s topped (perhaps I should say “bottomed”) herself by a huge margin.

        Here is another sentence:

        > With this statement, Curry reveals how little she understands the data created by the team of which she is a member, let alone the “other sets of data.”

        Here is a last sentence:

        > It seems to me that there are only two possibilities. Either Judith Curry hasn’t bothered to analyze the data from her own team — or she’s not competent to.

        I’m not sure this qualifies as a rant. But I’m quite sure this qualifies as abusive attacks.

        We can concede that you made no abusive attack.

        Can you concede you made an abusive attack?

        If you don’t answer to this question, what are we to conclude?

        Many thanks!

        PS: I like your question, by the way.

      • Willard – I’ve always thought Judy Judy Judy had a very interesting, and very good, set of blog rules. She included a set of tips on effective commenting:

        Strategies for making effective posts:

        Respond to the argument, not to the person. What another participant stated on another blog in another context should not be used to discredit or otherwise challenge the participant. …

        I tried to take the spirit of her blog rules to heart, but I’m not so good on interpretation.

      • JCH,

        I would agree that tamino’s abusive attacks are unrelated to his questions, if that’s the point you want to make. I think this is a very good set of questions and that Judith ought to clarify her stance.

        But now what matters to me is that tamino claimed:

        > I made no “abusive ranting attack.”

        I believe he would have to settle to

        > I made no “abusive ranting attack”, but I might have coated my scientific analysis with some abusive attacks.

        I would even settle for the consideration of the remote possibility that he might have just done that. That would give me the opportunity to add more sentences from the same article.

        If tamino wished to stay on the topic of his questions, he should have done so.

        As for the concluding question, viz:

        > If you don’t answer to this question, what are we to conclude?

        it’s inspired from tamino’s own question about an eventual silence from Judith that you can read there:

        Hoping this satisfies your missing question,

        Many thanks!

      • Rum pots, crack pots…& how are you today Mr. W.

      • Willard.
        Though you might like this tool.

        ( never mind the particulars of the debate on this page but the tool was kinda neat

      • Willard –

        This is the way it works. If you want to be taken seriously as a scientist, then when you make statements such as ‘the warming trend has paused’, you should be able to back them up correctly. Otherwise, there would be no difference between a scientific statement and a simple personal opinion.

        So if someone makes a statement as a scientist which they cannot back up with evidence, then it is absolutely correct that their professional competence be called into question as in Tamino’s post. Science can be pretty harsh at times..

      • Steven,

        Thanks for the mindmapping resources!

        If you like mindmapping, there are lots of stuff over the Internet.

        My favorite these days is

        Anything that is compatible with Freemind is good for me.

        * * *

        Andrew Dodd,

        If you think tamino is harsh there, you should look at how philosophers debate. There are ways to call someone’s competence into question, and tamino’s blog post is not one of them. This is just blogging with an attitude.

        Bloggers with attitudes are not to be taken seriously. Querents that ask tough questions are to be taken seriously. What are we to make of querents that ask tough questions backed up by blog posts containing abusive attacks?

        But this is quite secondary to the topic of my question to tamino. Are we to take seriously interlocutors that swich topics? By chance I am not a scientist, that would give me the right to shame you.

        Had tamino owned his schtick, I would not have minded much. But he contested that his blog post contained abusive attacks, I would have not asked the question. Had I read Joshua’s post and tamino’s answer to it, I would not have bothered. Boys will be boys, I guess.

        If you think tamino is a tough customer, try answering Andy Lacis’ comment reproduced here:

        Somehow, when I read Andy Lacis’ comment, I hear a scientist at work. When I read tamino, I mostly read a blogger with an attitude. He should at least wait to be in the end zone to parade.

        Quite frankly, I’m getting tired of bloggers with attitudes.

      • The sentence

        > But he contested that his blog post contained abusive attacks, I would have not asked the question.

        should be read

        > But he contested that his blog post contained abusive attacks.

        The name is Andrew Dodds, with an s.

        More coffee.

      • Willard –

        This isn’t philosophy, it’s science. In science there are wrong answers.

        Calling someone’s competence into question is perfectly valid if they make statements that appear incompetent. Stating reality is not abuse. Protesting about robust criticism being unfair is what pseudoscientists do; real scientists show that their critics are wrong.

      • Andrew Dodds,

        Believe it or not, there are wrong answers in philosophy. I could argue that truth matters little in science, but that will have to wait. My point is that good social manners can be a more incisive weapon than touchdown dances.

        If you don’t trust me, ask your girlfriends.

        If I were to put money into a debate between a scientist and a philosopher, I’d be very picky on the scientist I choose. That would certainly be a blogger with an attitude. If you prefer harshness, this is not very difficult to imitate:

        You have no idea what you are talking about.

        You now seem to disagree about my claim that tamino made abusive attacks. You contend that tamino was simply calling Judith’s competence into question. I agree that he did that: I just quoted a sentence to this effect.

        But I believe that he did a bit more than that.

        I could pursue my inquiry by showing all the things tamino did in this blog post that can be adjudicated as abusive attacks. This would be easy to do. Take for instance:

        > To spew this kind of absolute nonsense is shameful.

        Would you consider that a scientific evaluation? This sounds like an ethical statement to me. Now, let’s wonder who are those that dedicate their lives to ethical analysis. Scientists, no doubt.

        Since you have no idea what you are talking about, I suggest we leave it at that.

      • willard, Would you dump trash on a neighbors lawn?

      • I never did, but I suppose I could.

        What about you?

      • Willard,

        Interesting that you now seem to be attacking me with what by your standards at least appears to be an abusive rant.

        As I said, science involves robust criticism and the correct answer to this is to demonstrate that your critic is wrong, not to have a bit of a whinge about social graces or rants or somesuch.

      • Willard – on this blog I cannot see he made an abusive attack.

        Maybe I’m interpreting the spirit of her blog rules incorrectly, but I take her to be saying dragging things in here from other blogs may not be effective commenting.

        Obviously if somebody brings in information from another blog that informs the topic, it’s good commenting. I’m not very good at drilling down on these things. Did dragging in the sideshow inform the topic? I can’t see that it did.

      • Dear Andrew,

        As you were saying, scientists are so harsh that they should build a tough skin. If they can’t stand the heat, they stay out of the kitchen. Et cetera.

        But if you had a tough skin, you would have seen that I’ve utterly debunked all the crappy arguments you hurled at me, in such a way that you now have no leg to stand on, except cry like a baby.

        Aren’t you a scientist? Aren’t you able to stand personal attacks, especially those made for illustration’s sake? How shameful of you!

        Do you get what I am hinting, or will I have to really crush all your stupid arguments while touchdown dancing like a blogger with an attitude?

        No, you now seem to refuse to talk to me.

        Let’s wonder why.

        PS: Just to remind you of my arguments in a more rational way, your impression of philosophers is wrong, your conception of science is wrong, and tamino is doing a bit more than simply call a spade a spade.

      • JCH,

        All this started when pamina asked tamino:

        > What makes you so confident that Judith has read your abusive ranting attack on her?

        This is a good question, if you ask me. One can say it’s off topic, but it seems that tamino also thinks it’s a question worthy of reply. So as I already said, this is fair ball.

        He fumbled the ball by saying he was not abusive. You don’t deny this, but simply reply that he was not abusive here. Fumbling the ball while touchdown dancing looks bad for a blogger with an attitude.

        That does not mean his questions should not be answered. Judith said she will answer them.

        It is thus possible to answer tamino’s questions and forgive tamino’s blogger attitude. This answer pamina’s question. This satisfies Andrew’s requisite that scientist to act tough. This satisfies me. Let’s hope this will satisfy tamino.

        Thank you for your concerns,


      • pamina – looks lke a pretty straighfoward question on the science.

        What’s the problem?

      • Demanding yes or no answers to the interpretation of scientific statements is never straightforward. It is also exceedingly rude.

      • This is non-sense, giving direct answers to direct questions is the most rapid route to the truth, which is the goal of all good scientists; a scientist should ask direct questions and should always be happy to give direct answers to them. In this case, the question about scientific evidence boils down to qestions of statistical significance, which have yes/no answers, so asking for an answer in that form is perfectly reasonable and the methods for obtaining the answers both objective and straightforward.

      • Dikran: Nonsense (no hyphen). Questions about statistical significance are about as far from simple yes/no questions as one can get. Do you know the literature on this topic? It is extensive. Moreover, this rhetoric move is a well known form of abuse. Nor is saying yes or no to complex questions the rapid route to truth. Try sentences.

      • Tamino is asking for a yes-or-no on whether she still agrees with her own statements: one of which was made right here. It’s not “a complex question.” It’s generally referred to as adducing evidence.

      • Tamino is a fool who deletes comments from his blog that show his position is unsupportable.

      • Maybe he watches too many Perry Mason movies.

      • Censors can ask good questions.

        Even Perry Mason fans can ask good questions.

      • David Wojick Yes, I am familiar with the litterature on statistical hypothesis testing, becuase like Tamino I am a statistician. The evidence for an hypothesis is either statistically significant at some level of significance (traditionally 95%) or it isn’t. It is a bit like being pregnant, you either are or your aren’t, you can’t be slightly pregnant, and a hypothesis can’t be slightly significant.

      • Dikran,

        Do you know what loaded questions are?

      • Kermit, yes I do know what a loaded question is. For example when Prof. Jones was asked whether the trend since 1993 (or whenever) was statistically significant, that was a loaded question (on the very topic we are discussing here). To Prof. Jones’ credit he gave a direct answer “no” and then proceded to try to explain why that was the case (on short timescales someone who understood statistical methods wouldn’t expect the trend to be statistically significant as there isn’t enough data to be able to discern the trend beneath the noise). If Prof. Curry is on good form, I would expect he to answer the question equally directly and honestly.

      • Yes.

        But of course, statistical significance is not identical to scientific significance. Jones demonstrated shotgunning hindsight bias very well that time.

        One persons noise can be another persons music.

      • Kermit, statistical significance is a requirement for scientific significance. For an effect to be scientiically significant there myst be convincing evidence that the effect actually exists. This has been a part of modern scientific practice for a long time. The “one mans nouse is another mans music” is a soundbite, but nothing more, it has no bearing on the science or the statistics.

      • Statistical significance was a term coined by Ronald Fisher less than a hundred years ago. If you think that “statistical significance is a requirement for science significance” then you think there was no science before that. You must therefore think Gauss, Newton, and Copernicus were not scientists because they would have been incapable of doing statistical significance as it was not yet known.

        You’ll also have to go ask most the Psychology department to move out the science building.

        BTW, don’t you write for the skepticalscience webpage? You seem like a good match for that webpage.

      • Whether Tamino is a guy who people like is one question. Whether the questions are worth answering is another.

        Do the questions have merit? If they have merit, do they lose that merit if they are posed in a way you consider rude? If they have merit, do they lose that merit if they are asked by a person you think is not very nice?

      • We should ask Bart V. to ask the same questions and see if Judith ignores them.

      • No problem.

    • Hi Tamino, I always find your statistical manipulations entertaining. Speaking of which, bear in mind it appears that BEST has redefined “land” such that their data now shows warming in recent years. But of course none of this is global. Your rudeness is less fun. I personally would not reply to your questions, as put. In any case, Dr. curry is probably at the Santa Fe conference, where she spoke yesterday and the BEST folks are speaking this afternoon. I am surprised you are not there (just kidding).

      • David. I didn’t know BEST had redefined “land” so their data would show warming in recent years. Can you elaborate?

      • See my and Dr. Curry’s original post on her discussion with Muller.

      • David,

        The discrepancy in relation to Gistemp was that BEST showed more warming. The reason Gistemp is generally cooler is that its ‘land-only’ data is actually a historical attempt to capture as much of the total global picture as possible, including much of the ocean area, using only met stations. It was developed before reliable ocean SST datasets became available.

        You can apply spatial masking to the datasets to make them more of an apples to apples comparison, which sounds like what was performed.

      • David, in Dr. Curry’s post, she says this:

        “Apparently the original discrepancy was associated with definition of land; this was sorted out and when they compared apples to apples, then the agreement is pretty good. This leaves CRU as an outlier.”

      • Paul, if BEST has always showed recent warming than why were people upset about the 10-year averages hiding the lack of recent warming? It makes no sense.

      • M: You are simply repeating the sentence I included in my original comment. What is your point?

      • David,

        I won’t comment on whether or not it makes sense for people to be upset about 10-year averages “hiding a decline” but what I’ve said is very easy to check: Download the BEST Averaging paper and look at Figure 8 on Page 30.

      • David, I quoted Dr. Curry from your link because she doesn’t seem to think there is a problem with how BEST defines land. If BEST has “redifined land” as you claim, how is it that McIntyre and others can compare the BEST temp data with the land temp data from UAH and RSS? Are that making invalid comparisons?

    • Tamino

      You write on your blog that you linked to

      “The estimated slope is 0.14 deg.C/decade — more than four times as large, just from removing two errant data points. Its standard error is 0.11 degC/decade, so the real trend rate could be as high as 0.36 deg.C/decade”

      The standard error works both ways, does it not? If so, then the slope could be as low as 0.03 deg.C/decade. This is from your own analysis.

      Tamino, Could 0.03deg.C/decade be considered a lag/slowdown? YES or NO answer if no, then what is a slowdown?

      • For the high you went up by standard error times 2. So then with your method the “real trend rate” could be as low as -0.07 deg.C/decade. Is that a slowdown from the BEST claim of 1 degree since 1950? (YES or NO, no ambiguity)

      • Kermit, I’m afraid your question doesn’t make much statistical sense. if you create a synthetic time series which has a “1 degree since 1950” trend *by construction* with autocorrelated noise similar to the BEST data, then you could still pick a timescale over which to compute a trend that was so short that the lower end of the confidence interval was as low as -0.07 deg.C/decade. Would that be evidence of a slowdown in the time-series? No, of course not, it has a “1 degree since 1950” trend built into it by construction. Tamino has an excellent grasp of time-series analysis, so he is able to ask questions that can be answered with a yes/no. Unfortunalty the same cannot be said of your question.

      • Dikran,

        This is Tamino’s method I am using. I wonder if Tamino agrees with you?

      • Kermit, I suspect he would as the idea of testing the validity of an argument using a synthetic time series with a warming trend present by construction is one that I borrowed from him, from an article explaining why short term trends are not evidence of a drop in the rate of warming (from around 2008 IIRC).

      • Dikran,

        The “real trend rate” are his words, not mine. Ask him, not me.

      • Kermit, I have politely attempted to point out the error in your reasoning. I would recommend that you carry out the analysis of a synthetic time series outlined above and you will find you can get the same result even if you use a synthetic time series where you know by construction that there has been no decrease in the rate of warming. When you understand why that is the case, you should be able to see the flaw in your question.

      • Dirkan,

        You still don’t understand.

        Tamino’s slope = 0.14 deg.C/decade with standard error of +/-0.11 deg.C/decade

        This gives
        Tamino’s “real trend rate” high = 0.36 deg.C/decade (calculated from 0.14+[2*0.11])

        But this must means there is also a
        Tamino “real trend rate” low of = -0.07deg.C/decade
        (calculated from 0.14-[2*0.11])

        Therefore using Tamino’s numbers, phrases, and methods there could be a slow down in Tamino’s “real trend rate”. QED

        You are not Tamino and I have quoted him directly. The quotes and numbers are on his blog.

        You are able to post on his site, why don’t you ask him if
        -0.07 deg.C/decade is a possible “real trend rate” as per his quote?

      • Kermit, Tamino is a statistician, so if you ask a queston about whether somthing has happened or not, his answer will probably depend on whether there is statistically significant evidence that it has happened, not on the possibility that it could have happened. There is a good reason why statisticians (and scientists) adopt that approach, which is that it is a cautious approach that makes it more difficult to over-state the evidence for our hypotheses.

      • I am a logician, not a statistician, so my view of Tamino’s work (his abusive rhetoric aside) is that he is very good at cooking up strange statistical arguments, but these are generally pointless.

      • Dirkan,

        Except that is that way Tamino said it. He said : “the real trend rate could be as high as 0.36 deg.C/decade” and “Its standard error is 0.11 degC/decade”.

        What low “real trend rate” do you get from that? Please give me a number, if not then you don’t know and the only one that can tell us what he means is Tamino.

      • What the hell are you talking about Kermit.

        If the trend has such uncertainty that it could be anywhere within a range -0.07C/decade to 0.34C/decade then you can’t conclude the warming has slowed down, stopped or any other such nonsense.

      • Lolwot,

        Exactly! With that range you cannot make a conclusion. What you just said is what Curry’s comments meant.

        Thank you.

      • Don’t think so:

        ““There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998″”

      • lolwot,

        That’s okay, it’s easy to explain.

        If you had a rate at a certain time(t1).
        We could write the rate as r(t1).

        And if you had a rate at a later time(t2).
        We could write the rate as r(t2).

        And if the rate at r(t2) was less than r(t1) would you object to someone calling that a slow down?

      • Brandon Schollenberger,

        If you use enough a long enough span of data to attain statistical significance and if you use standard statistical methods — oh, like those in the study that Curry is a co-author to — the trend continues as before. If she doesn’t want to be a co-author, she certainly had enough time to withdraw before the study was submitted. Why, it almost looks like a case of vita padding and trying to have her cake and eat it too.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Jeffrey David, the first thing I’d like to say is my name doesn’t have a ‘c’ in it, not that it really matters. The second thing I’d like to say is the same thing I pointed out to orange. That you can find a trend over a period does not mean all subsets of that period will have a similar rate of change. A 30 year warming trend including the last few years does not rule out the possibility of the last few years showing no warming. Because trends are (effectively) averages, there is a limit to their resolution. You cannot use them to speak about actual changes smaller than that resolution.

      • “You cannot use them to speak about actual changes smaller than that resolution.”

        Pick a lane.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Jeffrey Davis, I have absolutely no idea what your response is supposed to mean. Could you explain?

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Tamino, your blog post is utter rubbish. Consider this paragraph of yours:

      The slope of the trend line (from ordinary least squares) is only 0.03 deg.C/decade. It’s fair to call that “flat.” But the standard error from that calculation — even if we use a white-noise model — is 0.13 deg.C/decade. So the real value could be as high as 0.29 deg.C/decade — which, curiously enough, is a tiny bit higher than the trend rate in the Berkeley data from 1975 to the present — a period for which you can only deny warming if you’re both blind and insane. And yes, it could easily be an even higher slope since we’ve used a white-noise model, which underestimates the uncertainty. Hey Judith: there’s a scientific basis for you.

      You say it’s fair to call one particular trend line “flat.” However, you then go on to argue the error margins are large enough that a real warming trend cannot be ruled out. You then boldly state this is the “scientific basis” for Judith Curry. Of course, this makes no sense as Curry had said:

      ‘There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’

      So you’re claiming a “scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped” is the error margins on a trend line are large enough that they cannot rule out a warming trend. Not only is this completely illogical, it’s extremely biased as you only discuss the possibilities of errors which are favorable for you.

      There is much more I’d like to say about your post, but this is enough to show anyone your post cannot be trusted. You could easily have said that data was inconclusive, which is true, but you didn’t. Instead, you falsely claimed inconclusive data offered support for your position by highlighting the possibility of error only in the direction you liked.

      The best anyone could accurately label your post is inept and biased.

      • Think you will get a reply from him?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I doubt it. Look at what he said in his inline response to this comment:

        [Response: I disagree. That’s certainly not what she said. I think she wants to assert that global warming has definitely ceased (according to her latest comment, in 1998 no less!). But so far she hasn’t given a “scientific basis” for such a claim. Not one peep.]

        The claim being discussed is, “Global warming hasn’t stopped.” Judith Curry says there is no scientific basis for this claim. Tamino portrays this as her saying global warming has stopped. He is obviously wrong. This means the entire basis for his blog post, and all of his criticisms, is his failure to understand a simple sentence.

      • I think that if you use a double negative in a sentence you open a large door to the possibility that your point will be misunderstood.

        Her sentence could be interpreted to mean that there is scientific evidence that global warming has stopped.

        But that evidence isn’t very good.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        bob droege, there is no sensible way to interpret Curry’s sentence the way Tamino did. The claim being discussed is “warming hasn’t stopped.” Is there a scientific basis for this claim? Curry says no. That’s all. Tamino’s interpretation is completely baseless.

      • Brandon, it is likely that what you interpret Curry is saying is what she meant, but I wish I could get the clarification from her and not you, because that interpretation doesn’t make her look any better to me. If she just meant to push her own version of the “no statistically significant warming since…” canard, then she’s just playing a game of setting impossible goal posts. I don’t know that any time period of less than a decade has ever shown statistically significant warming, and I doubt any ever will no matter how long warming continues.

        Where things stand is that we are in a statistically significant warming period if you use a long enough period, and there has been no statistically significant deviation from that trend. If you want to push a claim that we should be skeptical that it’s still warming or that there has been a pause, rebut that claim, otherwise your evidence is simply not good enough. Statements like “Warming since ____ has not been significant” will always be possible to make, so they have no value if advancing scientific knowledge is your aim.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Eric L, your response makes little sense. You say you want clarification from Judith Curry because if she’s trying to “push her own version” of a “canard,” but nothing I’ve said has anything to do with what you refer to. The “canard” you refer to isn’t saying there has been no (statistically significant) warming since a certain period. The “canard” is saying that to create a false impression. That’s not what happened with Curry’s comment.

        People claimed global warming has stopped. Other people said it hadn’t stopped. Curry said there was no scientific basis for the latter’s claim. This is a rebuttal to a specific point, so there’s no false impression created. She didn’t say warming has or has not stopped. She just responded to a specific point by saying there isn’t evidence for it. Pointing out the uncertainty in data is nothing like “setting impossible goal posts.” Ironically, you are guilty of basically the same “canard” you referred to when you say:

        Where things stand is that we are in a statistically significant warming period if you use a long enough period, and there has been no statistically significant deviation from that trend.

        You say “there has been no statistically significant deviation from” a trend, but you fail to point out the time period involved is so short one shouldn’t expect such a deviation to be statistically significant. This gives more of a false impression than anything Curry said.

      • Tamino says, and shows, that there is significant evidence that global warming hasn’t stopped in the results of the BEST analysis. He asks (in a manner that seems highly unlikely to get a hearing from Dr. Curry, but asks nevertheless) what scientific basis there is for such a claim. This seems a reasonable question, whether its posed in a way one might consider rude or not.

        Tamino also says, in response to one of the comments on his own blog post that he “think[s] she wants to assert that global warming has definitely ceased.” How a comment to a blog post can somehow be the “entire basis for [a] blog post” is left as an exercise for the reader, but it doesn’t seem an unreasonable conjecture. It does seem unquestionable, however, that this is Tamino’s conjecture (rather clearly telegraphed by the phrase “I think…”), not something he is attempting to present as fact.

      • “The claim being discussed is, “Global warming hasn’t stopped.” Judith Curry says there is no scientific basis for this claim.”

        That’s wrong, there is a scientific basis for the claim:

        Until global warming has statistically stopped it hasn’t stopped.

        Plus the claim being discussed also included: ““There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998″”

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        PDA, I’d be happy to discuss with you what Tamino says regarding the BEST results, but first, I’d like to ask about the example I gave. Do you agree Tamino failed to provide a scientific basis with it? Also, do you agree his discussion regarding it was illogical and biased?

        Tamino claimed, four times, to provide a scientific basis Judith Curry says doesn’t exist. If you and I can reach an agreement on the first one, then we can move on to other ones. I don’t agree with what you said in your comment here, but I don’t see any sense in discussing it if we can’t both agree on the fact Tamino’s first example was completely fallacious. If we can’t agree about a point so simple, it’s unlikely we would agree on a more complicated point.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        lolwot, you just made two absurd comments. The first:

        Until global warming has statistically stopped it hasn’t stopped.

        I’m willing to assume you meant we cannot say it has stopped until it has “statistically stopped” rather than meaning statistical analysis actually determines physical truths. Even so, your comment is absurd. You are just reversing the burden of proof. Effectively, you’ve just claimed global warming must be happening at any given moment until it is proven not to be happening. From here, it gets worse:

        Plus the claim being discussed also included: ““There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998″”

        This is absurd enough I initially wondered if your username was meant to indicate trolling. Judith Curry was quoted in an article. Tamino discussed that quote in a blog post. Later, he added an update to his post in which he said she made a different comment after reading his post. You now claim this last comment of hers was being discussed. A comment which added to Tamino’s blog post after it was written. A comment which Tamino specifically said was written after his blog post was published. Heck, the comment wouldn’t even be covered by anything in Tamino’s blog post.

        With that said, if you can resolve the absurdity of your remarks here, I’d be happy to discuss why what you claim is a “scientific basis for the claim” is nothing of the sort.

      • Brandon,

        For whatever your standards of scientific evidence happen to be, give me a hypothetical scenario where there was evidence that would allow you to say, “There is a scientific basis for saying global warming hasn’t stopped.” If you cannot give such a scenario, or such a scenario has been quite rare and will continue to be quite rare even if warming continues, then there is no useful meaning to the claim “There is no scientific basis for saying global warming hasn’t stopped.” She doesn’t have any point to make by saying this, and she either doesn’t understand that, or she intended her remark for others who don’t understand it.

        And there is nothing misleading about noting the statistical insignificance of a claim that hasn’t been established to be true over any amount of data. Sure, if global warming does actually pause there won’t be conclusive evidence of it for over a decade, but Occam’s razor should bias us toward assuming nothing has changed unless we can provide evidence otherwise.

        (Of course, the real test isn’t deviation from trends but deviation from model projections and whether alternative hypotheses can better explain the evidence. If nuclear war broke out and caused nuclear winter, it may cause statistically significant cooling but not invalidate anything about our understanding of the climate.)

      • Brandon, I can’t answer for what Tamino meant; only he can do that. The way I read his first example is that the GWPF data shows that warming might (assuming, of course. a normal distribution) have been as high as 0.29°C/decade. And that is a scientific basis for saying warming hasn’t stopped. The fact that it’s also a scientific basis for saying there was -0.23°C/decade cooling doesn’t negate that. My reading is that Tamino was tweaking Dr. Curry with that, and setting up for his “Hey Judith: there’s a REAL scientific basis for you” with the confidence intervals trend graph at the end.

        So, I don’t see the fallacy, much less a “complete” fallacy, but I’m about six years past my last stats class and it’s getting late in my time zone. I might be missing it.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Eric L, you ask me to provide a hypothetical scenario, which I have no problem with, but unfortunately, you didn’t give as much detail as I’d have liked. Primarily, I think it would be important to establish the amount of time the scenario would have to cover. I don’t know that it would be possible to provide such a scenario for say, five years, but for fifteen? This context is important, and it brings me to the next point.

        You discuss the possibility of Curry’s comment having no useful meaning, but unfortunately, you seem to be making a rather large assumption. Your comments seem to suggest you think what Curry said was a prepared remark intended to convey some particular meaning to readers. We can’t know that to be the case. She said the interview was done over the phone. If we assume that comment wasn’t meaningful, it is quite possible she made that comment knowing so. Without context, we don’t know if that quote was just something she said to bridge two sentences. Of course, this distinction only matters if her comment was without useful meaning, so this brings me back to the first point.

        I don’t think you’ll find my views on what scenario would answer that question to be very different from most. The way to determine whether or not global warming has stopped for a period is to take what measurements we have of the planet’s temperature, and see if the changes in them over whatever period you want to consider are different from what the changes would be without the planet warming. Doing so requires accounting for the full* range of uncertainties which depend upon a number of things, including the amount of time covered by the period being analyzed.

        Of course, we don’t need to determine anything with certainty. If there is an 80% chance of something happening, it’s reasonable to say there is a scientific basis for believing it will happen. Because of this, I think I’d be content with saying there is a scientific basis global warming hasn’t stopped if one could show the period being discussed (usually the last 10 or so years) is more consistent with the planet warming than the planet not warming. Conversely, I’d be content if one could simply show a high enough chance of the statement being true.

        You’ll note both of these conditions require calculating the “odds” of the statement being true. To my knowledge, nobody is doing that. People argue about what is consistent and what is not, debating the effects of cherry picking and the like, but there is no real analysis of the actual “odds.” To me, that justifies saying there is no scientific basis for the claim.

        *Of course, the full range of uncertainties is never actually accounted for in these exchanges.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Yikes. That lost comment of mine rambled too much. Sorry about that Eric L. I hope that doesn’t make what I said too unclear.

        PDA, apparently we cannot agree on this point. You’re claiming there is a scientific basis for taking the extremes of error margins as though they are true values. That isn’t how error margins work. If I measure a 0.5C change with an uncertainty of +/- 7C, I cannot say there is a scientific basis for claiming I measured a change of 7.5C, and it’s not because of some statistical lesson you may have forgotten. It’s basic logic.

      • You conflate “statistical” with “scientific”. There’s plenty of scientific evidence that AGW hasn’t stopped. For one, the laws of physics haven’t been suspended. So, greenhouse gases continue along their merry ways. And the concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to rise.

        Statistics aren’t the process.

      • “Effectively, you’ve just claimed global warming must be happening at any given moment until it is proven not to be happening.”

        This is about continuation of a longterm warming trend, not simply whether warming exists in a period of data. That trend only stops continuing if the data starts to significantly diverge from that trend.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Jeffery Davis, I’m not sure who you’re responding to with your first sentence, but you should direct it at Tamino if you’re not already. He is the one who provided statistical values as his “scientific” bases. Personally, I don’t think the distinction is important for this discussion, but if you do, you should take it up with him. As for the rest of what you said, global warming can stop or slowdown without the laws of physics being suspended. That is the nature of confounding factors.

        orange, a trend over a period is effectively just an average over that period. You can have a warming trend over the last 100 or so years, but that doesn’t change the fact the warming slowed down/stopped toward the middle of the 20th century. In the same way, we could have a warming trend covering the current period without there being warming in the last however many years.

        Of course you can assume a trend will continue until it is proven not to continue, but that is just an assumption, and it doesn’t speak to reality. The reality is we are not seeing what we would expect to see if the rise in measured temperature had continued at the same rate as before.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        As a matter of clarification, at the time I made my initial comment about Tamino’s blog post, I hadn’t read any of the comments on his page. That’s why I didn’t point out his “misunderstanding” before.

      • You’re claiming there is a scientific basis for taking the extremes of error margins as though they are true values.

        A fairer statement would be “it seems to me that you’re claiming…”

        I’m not.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        PDA, you just disagreed with my statement describing your position, but you didn’t rebut it. You also didn’t even bother to discuss the explanation I provided as to how your position was wrong, even though that was the meat of my comment, Ultimately, this is nothing more than saying, “You’re wrong” then leaving. There is no substance to your comment, so I’m at a loss as to what the purpose for it could be. If you just wanted to stop having a discussion, I could understand, but this would be a strange way of going about it.

        In any event, I think anyone can look at my example I gave and see it is equivalent to what you said regarding Tamino’s numbers. From this, they would readily see the absurdity of your position. If you think I’m wrong, I’d be happy to hear an explanation, but as it stands, I doubt anyone will be convinced by what you’ve said.

      • Brandon, if you wanted to stop having a discussion, I could understand, but putting words in my mouth would be a strange way of going about it.

        Point out anywhere in my reply to you where I said or implied that “there is a scientific basis for taking the extremes of error margins as though they are true values.” If you can do that, I’d be happy to rebut. Until then, please don’t pretend that we’re having a conversation or that it’s my fault it’s come to an end.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        PDA, before I do so, let me ask you this question. Do you even know what I meant by that sentence?

      • An interesting question. Can any of us really “know” what another “means?”

        I got into a very interesting debate on Google+ about that very topic; Michael Tobis from the University of Texas had shared a blog post by Sam Harris ( that cast considerable doubt on the question of whether science will ever be able to really know what consciousness truly is. Emergent phenomenon or ghost in the machine? How could we ever really know?

        Anyway, as a Buddhist who’s married to a neuroscientist, these are terribly fascinating questions to me, but it’s probably far enough off topic that we should forgo that discussion for now.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        PDA, you just failed to answer my question, and consequently, you missed my point entirely. You accused me of putting words into your mouth, but I did nothing of the sort. The intended meaning of my comment was the same meaning found in your comment. Poor phrasing in a sentence may have masked such, but I think the rest of my comment made that clear. That’s why I emphasized the fact you only responded to the description I provided, not the explanation.

        In any event, I think it’s quite clear my intended meaning was the same meaning as what you had said. If you want to rebut (or just question) the point I raised in my explanation, I’d be happy to discus sit, but otherwise, I don’t see much point in continuing this exchange.

      • Brandon, the intended meaning of my comment was not the same meaning found in your comment. I’m not sure where you got the meaning you imputed to it and so I don’t know how I can “rebut” that: my comment stands on its own. There is a virtually limitless number of statements that also do not have the same meaning as my comment – “the sky is green,” “my bicycle has gills,” e.g. – and I don’t know how I would “rebut” those, either.

        If you care to point out what in my comment you object to, I’d certainly be more than happy to engage on that point. But I’d suggest it’d be simpler and more fruitful if you do so with reference to what I said, rather than some restatement of what I said.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        PDA, I’ve made this point several times, yet you’ve done absolutely nothing to clarify matters. I’ll try again. You said:

        warming might… have been as high as 0.29°C/decade. And that is a scientific basis for saying warming hasn’t stopped.

        I said:

        If I measure a 0.5C change with an uncertainty of +/- 7C, I cannot say there is a scientific basis for claiming I measured a change of 7.5C,

        Please tell me how my portrayal differs from your comment. You keep acting as though the two are grossly incompatible, but they are effectively the same. The only notable distinction (aside from the numerical differences) is I discussed a single measurement rather than a trend. Of course, that is relevant to the issue being discussed.

      • Yeah. Saying something “might (assuming, of course. a normal distribution) have been as high as X” is not even remotely the same as saying “I measured a change of X.” I mean, you want to wave away statistics, but we are talking about statistical analysis. Grant Foster – or whoever Tamino might be in his secret identity – is a statistician. Stats matter to this discussion.

        Tamino objected to Dr. Curry saying there was “no scientific basis” for the claim that warming hadn’t stopped, when even the analysis most favorable to that conclusion admits decadal warming greater than the 1975-present trend line within 3 sigma! Like it or not, that is a scientific basis for the claim. It’s not conclusive, or especially convincing that warming definitely did occur, and as I noted above, I don’t think it was intended as such. She said something didn’t exist. He showed it did. QED, as they say.

        If there is a fallacy in this, you’d help me by pointing out – specifically – where it lies. If you don’t get what I’m saying, please ask.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        PDA, I’m done responding to you. We’ve reached the point where you are (I charitably assume) misundertanding me in such an absurd way as to be unjustifiable. I’ve gone through this same ordeal with you before at Keith Kloor’s blog, and I don’t expect it to turn out any better here.

        The disagreement between the two comments you pointed out is completely irrelevant (though I mistyped that as “relevant” in my comment). Whether one is discussing a single measurement or a trend makes absolutely no difference for my comment. If, for some reason, one took issue with my use of a single point, the example could easily be modified to discuss an average or trend without any change in meaning. Despite this, you act as though it is so great a difference as to make it impossible to discuss my example.

        Just as baffling, you never brought this difference up yourself. You claimed I put words in your mouth ,that I hadn’t understood you, yet you never even pointed out this difference. It was only after I brought it up as irrelevant you discussed it at all.

        I have no explanation for your behavior, but I won’t indulge you any further. I will simply say your position is so wrong as to be silly, and suggest anyone who is reading this make up their own mind as to which of us is correct. For convenience, I’ll repost your remark:

        The way I read his first example is that the GWPF data shows that warming might (assuming, of course. a normal distribution) have been as high as 0.29°C/decade. And that is a scientific basis for saying warming hasn’t stopped. The fact that it’s also a scientific basis for saying there was -0.23°C/decade cooling doesn’t negate that.

      • Hey Brandon, I didn’t say anything about the difference being between a single point and a trend. Those are words – sorry to say it again, but it’s so – that you put in my mouth. I was talking about a statistical distribution, which is about as different from a single measured data point in the context of this discussion as a screw is from a Boeing Dreamliner.

        Anyway, I’m just wondering if you really don’t have much of a background in stats. If no, it’s really not a big deal. As I’ve said, my grasp of it is tenuous indeed, and I’d appreciate being set to right if I’ve made a mistake here. But maybe it’s not something you studied, so perhaps you could ask someone you trust. I think anyone who’s ever taken a stats class can tell you that there is a world of difference between “I measured X” and “this data set has a standard error of M which yields a normal distribution +/- N and therefore it’s statistically possible that the true value is X, where X is within N of the mean.”

        It’s a bit jarring to see you continually assume bad faith when you’re in a disagreement, and the frequency with which you characterize people’s positions as “absurd” doesn’t encourage me that this assumption isn’t a kind of projection on your part. That being said, I hope you can accept my assurance that I am and have been carrying on this discussion in good will, and would still welcome a specific correction of any errors in my presentation.

        If you still prefer to end this discussion here, I’ll certainly abide by that, and will give you the last word if you wish it.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        PDA, I said I wouldn’t respond to you again, but I owe you at least this much: I did misunderstand your position, and thus I did give a false portrayal of it. This wasn’t due to assuming bad faith, despite you falsely claiming it was. In fact, I specifically stated I was assuming a lack of bad faith. This creates a strange situation where you make a big deal about me putting words in other people’s mouths, yet flagrantly misrepresent what I’ve said (it’s worth pointing out this sort of misrepresentation was common the last time I dealt with you).

        In any event, I misunderstood what you said because the “correct” interpretation of your comment is even less sensible than the incorrect interpretation I came up with. This can be seen where you say:

        I was talking about a statistical distribution, which is about as different from a single measured data point in the context of this discussion as a screw is from a Boeing Dreamliner.

        My example involves a statistical distribution, so this makes no sense at all. Still, I did misunderstand you, and I apologize for that. If I ever have a disagreement with you again, I will try not to assume your comments make any sense when discussing what you mean.

      • Brandon, I thought “you are (I charitably assume) misundertanding me in such an absurd way as to be unjustifiable” was a fairly clear imputation of bad faith. If I misread this, I must apologize, but I don’t see anywhere in our colloquy where you “specifically stated [you were] assuming a lack of bad faith.” On the contrary, you’ve been pretty free with dismissive and insulting terms like “absurd” and “so wrong as to be silly,” so I hope you can understand why I feel a bit bewildered that you are acting like the aggrieved party. I’m at a loss at how I could have been more patient and cordial, quite frankly.

        Further, I’m having difficulty understanding how “I measure a 0.5C change with an uncertainty of +/- 7C” is a statistical distribution. Perhaps if we were having a civil discussion, we could unwind that, but it seems pretty clear we are beyond that, and equally clear that it’s not through any failure in courtesy on my part. I have expressed at every juncture a willingness to have my limited understanding corrected, and you have responded with arrogance and insult.

        Certainly a statement like “I will try not to assume your comments make any sense when discussing what you mean” expresses explicitly where you stand on civility.

    • If your blog was not so heavily censored, and some commentators do not descend to vulgarity I am sure she would respond

      • She has the opportunity to respond right here, right now, at her own blog. I notice that she has not.

    • Too much BS on tone, moderating style, orthogonal metrics and whatnot. This is all diversionary. Let’s keep it simple.

      Judith has made a number of statements to the effect that she believes there has been a slowdown in the ‘rate’ of warming for the last decade/13 years, or that there is “no scientific basis” to say that warming has continued apace in the last decade or so.

      Judith has provided no analysis to substantiate these assertions.

      Tamino contends he has demonstrated that they are false and has asked Judith to provide analysis to back up her statements or withdraw them.

      One hopes this would have been done by Judith in the first place, and perhaps she did. Whatever the case, the next straightforward step is for Judith to substantiate her statements with analysis (preferably in a standalone post).

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        barry, if you want to keep it simple, you shouldn’t say things which are obviously untrue. You claim “Tamino contends he has demonstrated ” there has bee no “slowdown in the ‘rate’ of warming for the last decade/13 years.” He does nothing of the sort. He does say she should substantiate that claim, but he never says he has demonstrated it to be false. His blog post was only about a “stop” in warming, not a “slowdown.”

        Incidentally, for all the people saying Judith Curry should substantiate her claims, I haven’t seen anyone discuss this link. I find that strange as Curry provided the link right after she made her comment about there being “a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998.” Obviously the link doesn’t provide any statistical analysis, but it does substantiate her claim quite well.

      • Brandon,

        You claim “Tamino contends he has demonstrated ” there has bee no “slowdown in the ‘rate’ of warming for the last decade/13 years.”

        Wrong. You’ve had to reverse the order of my comments to misconstrue me so badly. Tamino contends he has shown the statements to be false, NOT demonstrated the opposite.

        Judith is talking about a change in the long-term trend of warming:

        “There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998″

        Rate = trend. Her assertion needs to be substantiated at least with some statistical analysis.

        Her link does not confirm a change in long-term trend, and indeed verifies Tamino’s position that short-term variability can mask long-term trends.

        The hiatus was not unexpected. Variability in the climate can suppress rising temperatures temporarily, though before this decade scientists were uncertain how long such pauses could last. In any case, one decade is not long enough to say anything about human effects on climate; as one forthcoming paper lays out, 17 years is required.

        In any case, the link is not about BEST data and contains no original analysis.

        Judith asserts:

        “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped”

        Presumably we can all agree that simply quoting what other people say is not sufficient. Let us see her original work corroborating this statement.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        barry, I’m afraid I cannot make any sense of much of what you say. You claim I have greatly misconstrued you, yet I cannot see how. Judith Curry said there was a slowdown in the rate of warming. You say “Tamino contends he has shown [this] to be false.” That is exactly what I said in my comment. I pointed out you claimed he contends this, but Tamino does (or at least has done) nothing of the sort. My confusion is only heightened when I read the sentence as a whole:

        Tamino contends he has shown the statements to be false, NOT demonstrated the opposite.

        I never said a word about Tamino demonstrating the opposite of anything. All I said was Tamino’s “analysis” deals with the claim of there being no (scientific) basis for saying warming hasn’t stopped. This is a different issue than whether or not the warming has slowed down. As such, I have no idea what you could possibly be referring to. Perhaps it would help clarify things if we look at where this disagreement started. You originally said:

        Judith has made a number of statements to the effect that she believes there has been a slowdown in the ‘rate’ of warming for the last decade/13 years…

        Tamino contends he has demonstrated that [this is] false

        This is what I disagreed with. My contention was Tamino never claimed to have demonstrated such. I say he addressed a different issue with his blog post. That’s all.

        Now tell me, how have I misconstrued you? Also, if you still stand by your claim, please substantiate it by pointing to where Tamino has done what you claim. Finally, please reconsider this sentence of yours:

        Judith is talking about a change in the long-term trend of warming:

        It is unclear what you mean by “long-term trend,” but if you mean anything longer than approximately 13 years, you are simply wrong.

      • Brandon,

        we are saying the same thing, You confused the issue when you wrote.

        You claim “Tamino contends he has demonstrated ” there has bee no “slowdown in the ‘rate’ of warming for the last decade/13 years.”

        Can we agree that Judith’s assertions (contrary to her co-authors’) have not been backed up by substantive analysis of BEST data? Can we agree that it would be fair for her to respond to the content in Tamino’s request?

        It is unclear what you mean by “long-term trend,” but if you mean anything longer than approximately 13 years, you are simply wrong.

        Judith said:

        “There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998″

        She is saying that the slowdown occurred from 1998, which means she’s comparing it to the trend beforehand. Or what trend rate do you think she is saying we are ‘slowing down’ from?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Barry, we are not saying the same thing. You said Tamino contends he has shown Judith Curry’s statement about a “slowdown” in warming to be false. I say this is false. Given that blatant disagreement, there is no way both of us could be saying the same thing.

        As for whether or not BEST’s results back up Curry’s claim, it’s clear they do not contradict her remarks. If one checks the actual temperature record from BEST, it actually seems to support her contention. As do all the other major temperature records.

        As for your comments about the “long-term trend,” it would have been nice if you said just what you mean by the phrase. Since you didn’t, all I can say is this. A short-term divergence from a long-term trend does not necessarily indicate a change in the long-term trend.

      • Brandon,

        A short-term divergence from a long-term trend does not necessarily indicate a change in the long-term trend.

        Exactly. Judith’s statement is that there has been a change in the long-term trend – a “slowdown” in the “rate” of warming from 1998. The period and terminology is clear to me. The 13 years of data (since 1998) is not statistically significant, not enough to establish a deviation in trend, either within the period or WRT the long-term trend. Any positive assertion about a change in ‘rate’ utilising this period is false. This is the precise point.

        But even if it were a matter of semantics, then she has the opportunity to clarify. A simple. “I didn’t mean that the long-term trend had changed” would suffice. And it’s worth pursuing this because the matter is a particularly sharp bone of contention (misunderstanding) in the climate debates.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        barry, I’m going to step out of this conversation after this comment. Your have said too many things which were obviously untrue, and you’re apparently making no effort to resolve the disputes over them. Given that, I don’t think progress will be made.

        However, I want to point out why your latest comment makes no sense to me. You claim Judith Curry has claimed there is a “change in the long-term trend.” However, you agree a “short-term divergence from a long-term trend does not necessarily indicate a change in the long-term trend.” This means if Curry was discussing a short-term divergence, you would agree she is not necessarily discussing a change in the long-term trend.

        You then effectively say Curry is discussing a short-term trend. You say she is discussing a 13 year trend, which cannot be statistically significant due to it’s limited time coverage. That must necessarily be a short-term trend we’re talking about. This means you are basically saying Curry is discussing a short-term divergence from a long-term trend which you agree does not mean she is saying there is a change in the long-term trend.

        But you also say she is claiming a change in the long-term trend. I don’t see how you can reconcile these two positions. If Curry is discussing a short-term trend, and 13 years is necessarily short, then she is not (necessarily) discussing a change in a long-term trend. Your own comments seem to indicate she isn’t guilty of what you accuse her of.

      • Obviously untrue things can still be simple.

        Sometimes, they can even be the simpler things to say.

        Talking about “untrue things” is simple enough.

        It makes little sense, but who cares?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        willard, I agree obviously untrue things can be simple. I didn’t caution barry as I did because obviously untrue things are complex. Instead, I cautioned him as I did because it is easy to see how untrue obviously untrue things are.

        When having a simple conversation, obvious mistakes will be very obvious.

      • Brandon Shollenberger,

        You seem to disagree with barry’s use of the word “contends”.

        While this is a fascinating debate, I am not sure it deserves our attention right now.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        willard, this has little to do with any issues of wording. The issue is just that barry claimed Tamino did something he had never done. There were several comments from Judith Curry. Tamino’s blog post sought to demonstrate one of those comments was false. barry claims Tamino contends to have shown multiple comments false, including a comment not covered by Tamino’s blog post. I agree with barry about Tamino contending to have shown one comment false, but I say he did not do the same for a different comment.

        Specifically, Tamino discussed the issue of whether or not warming has stopped in his post, contending to have shown it has not. Tamino did not contend to show warming has not slowed down, but barry claims he did.

      • Brandon Shollenberger,

        Your replies are nothing but smokescreens. I really wonder who but me took the time to parse them a conversation you describe. The only reason I did is to collect more of your characteristic ways to address your interlocutor, which I tried to imitate with my very first sentence.

        That your comments are smokescreens is easy to see. We never have any direct quotes that bear relevance with the discussion. Speaking of quotes, here is the quote from the article about which you wrote lots of words to date:

        > That shows just how mistaken, how foolish, how downright boneheaded it is to say that “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped.”

        “That” refers to the analysis tamino made in his blog post.

        “That” refers to the main point of contention. Notice that “contention” and “contends” are two words that look alike. Here is the quote from barry that contain the word “contends”:

        > Tamino contends he has demonstrated that they [Judith’s claims] are false and has asked Judith to provide analysis to back up her statements or withdraw them.

        Look how barry’s quote makes sense when you read tamino’s.

        We could quote from your comments where you use the word “contends” and show you how you danced around this simple claim from barry.

        My only interpretation why you keep dancing around “that” is that you and barry disagree about the word “contends”.

        As far as I can see, all your comments have been smokescreens.

        Judith told us that she’ll explain what she meant.

        Thank you for your chivalrous defense.

        Now, be my guest and explain to your readership why you can’t have a conversation with me. You can have the last word. I don’t have this site in RSS reader anymore.

      • The sentence:

        > I really wonder who but me took the time to parse them a conversation you describe.

        should be cut to

        > I really wonder who but me took the time to parse them

        The sentence I did not completely delete was:

        > I really wonder who can follow a conversation you describe.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        willard, as is typical of your comments, I cannot understand what you are trying to say. However, I can understand a portion of your comment, and that much I can tell is simply wrong. You say:

        “That” refers to the analysis tamino made in his blog post.

        “That” refers to the main point of contention. Notice that “contention” and “contends” are two words that look alike. Here is the quote from barry that contain the word “contends”:

        In this case, the word “that” does not mean what you claim it means. The original sentence was:

        “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped.”

        In this sentence, the word “that” is completely superfluous. It’s a meaningless addition to the sentence. This is a common mistake in writing/speaking. People often say things like, “Bob said that….” Bob did not say “that.” Bob simply said whatever he said. People often include the word “that,” but there is no reason to, and it certainly doesn’t cause “that” to refer to anything in particular. When “that” is included superfluously, one should simple discard the word.

        Aside from this, which you clearly got wrong, I’m not sure I understood what you said. However, I can assure you nothing I’ve said has been a “smokescreen” for anything else. I can also state, with confidence, Judith Curry did not say

        [She] told us that she’ll explain what she meant./blockquote>

        As far as I can tell, you have simply made this up. As for not being able to have a conversation with you, I don’t need to offer much of an explanation. The only things I’ve understood of your comment are ones you’ve gotten obviously wrong, so there is not much of a conversation to be had. I don’t care about having the last word, but I really cannot see anything of value in your response here. You seem to have simply made things up, then left the conversation before such could be exposed.

      • Well, for willard’s sake (since he has taken his leave), I’ll point out the fairly obvious fact that that there were several “that”s in the quoted sentence:

        That shows just how mistaken, how foolish, how downright boneheaded it is to say that “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped.”

        The first “that,” clearly, is a demonstrative pronoun referring to the chart which appears directly above the quoted sentence in Tamino’s post. The other “that”s are subordinating conjunctives; Tamino’s use of it to introduce the quote from Dr. Curry was probably superfluous, though hers inside the quote itself was not: the use of that in phrases like “he or she said that…” is entirely standard for what’s called “reported speech.”

        Did Brandon really not understand that willard was referring to the first “that” in his exposition? Only Brandon can say.

        Among Schopenhauer’s “38 Ways to Win an Argument” is found the suggestion that a disputant “ignore your opponent’s proposition, which was intended to refer to some particular thing.” Rather, he says, “understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it.” One wonders if Schopenhauer would have thought to include this obvious ploy had there had been an internet in the 19th Century.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Huh, that’s interesting. My mind apparently looked at the text inside quotation marks as the “quote,” ignoring the text outside of them. I doubt that would have happened if willard had used some standard form of quoting the text, but a mistake is a mistake.

        Apparently willard wasn’t referring to a superfluous that (and yes, two of the three are superfluous). Instead, he was simply ignoring the distinction between the two issues barry had mentioned, the one which I stressed multiple times.

        What can I say? I guess I’m just bad at understanding which mistaken position people are advancing with unclear text.

      • For todays TV News anchor; every producer cares about their Q’s.

    • i would like to take a shot at your point of view..

      As a skeptic of the whole CAGW circus i can say that YES the world is warming! has been for some 10,000 years or so.. since the exit from the last cooling.

      Now to address the real meat of the problem… Question 2 is it! point of view or as I like to call it “cherry picked view”. this is one are of crap that just needs to be booted.. depending on where you choose your start point you can be warming or cooling… this is one of those gotcha things that is scientific BS…

      What is necessary it to find out what the trend of warming has been LONG TERM…Then find the average above or below that trend and plot it forward. when you do this you will find that our current warming is not only within natural boundaries but remains on its steady gradual rise. Even the last uptick is within normal/natural variation.. its happened before..

      With CERN showing that CO2 heat retention forcing has been overstated by some 300% the actual GHG forcing has been reduced to below 3% of total KNOWN forcings. With mans contribution being some 6% of the 3% it shows the irrelevance of man being the cause let alone the sole cause of the current warming…

      CAGW is nothing but a charade and a lie.. BEST is nothing more than a distraction and attempt to discredit those who are not keeping the FAITH.. As you do not allow dissenting points of view in your echo chamber your posting here is a welcome chance to challenge the lie…

      Is the world Warming?… Yes

      Is man causing it? only a miniscule part of it..and not enough to change the normal warming trend in existence. .. .03 / .06 = .0018 <mans contribution to TOTAL GHG FORCING


  56. Huh, Tamino, this is not your bullying blog. You don’t set the rules and demand ” yes ” or ” no ” answers at your convenience. Judith will answer at her convenience and as per her convenience. You are a guest in her house and she’s gracious enough to let you post after your abusive rants about her in your blog.

    Learn to behave properly first.

    • Tamino’s arrogance is breathtaking.

    • Venter now speaks for Judith?

    • Of course it’s up to Judith Curry to decide whether or not to answer the questions. But after having made such unambiguous claims and provided no evidence to back them up, many — including me — believe she has a duty to do so.

      If she won’t provide scientific evidence to back up her own scientific claims, then what are we to conclude?

      • Tamino

        I would guess you are hawking to get more hits on your blog. It worked I looked and saw some of the absurdities that you post and support. So let’s see if you will respond to and answer questions.
        1. Do you believe that the warming rate is known with a high degree of certainty? What is that rate in your opinion and the margin of error?

        2. Do you believe that you KNOW what portion of that warming is attributable to human released CO2?

        3. Could you please explain how you came to that conclusion and how you determined any variances in non human CO2 emissions and absorption over time?

        4. Do you believe in the outputs of the current GCM’s? Which models do you believe provide accurate results and what characteristics (outputs) of those models can be relied upon within what margin of error over what timeframes? Can you explain the order of magnitude variances in the same models outputs when run multiple times? How many times should each model be run in order to effectively smooth its outputs? Why does it make sense to use the outputs of multiple different models if the relative accuracy of individual models are known?

        5. If the IPCCs impact assessments were written based upon the outputs of the current GCMs (per the questions in #4) should these impact assessments be relied upon? If the outputs were/are not reliable how can the impact to different regions of the world (positive and negative) be accurately assessed?

        6. Can you provide any reasonable cost benefit analysis of you proposed action plan that takes into points 1-5?

      • Bit odd that your first question should be one that Tamino has answered very directly on his blog, given that he has on more than one occasion given a plot showing the error bars on the estimates of trends on various timescales. Perhaps you should read his blog articles with a bit more of an Open Mind ;o)

        Seriously, Taminos blog is a mine of useful information on statistical analysis of time-series data; the vast majority of us here would greatly benefit from learning from him on basic topic such as statistical signifance, so tired old canards, such as “no warming since 1998 … no make that 2001” were not repeated quite so often.

      • Dikran

        I agree that question #1 is the easiest to answer, but I think you would also agree that there are differences of opinion on the rate of warming and the margin of error for any estimate.

        Questions 2-3 are more meaty and I would like to see Tamino’s (or others) opinions on #3 since it is generally assumed to be know without reliable data to support the conclusion.

        Questions 4, 5 and 6 are straightforward and the main reasons I personally do not believe in the IPCCs stated conclusions.

      • Dikran

        BTW-since you appear to support the IPCCs conclusions I assume that you could answer the questions I asked. Anyone who does believe what the IPCC has written should be able to answer these questions, or change their position and not support the IPCCs conclusions

      • Rob,
        Anyone who does believe what the IPCC has written should be able to answer these questions, or change their position and not support the IPCCs conclusions

        Wow. So you are only allowed to defer to the consensus of experts on the matter if you have investigated the matter so thoroughly yourself as to be an expert yourself; if due to having a day job you are not as informed you should assume the consensus view among the relevant experts to be false?

        Not to get too meta here, but I think it works the other way around; if you believe and intend to act on the belief or promote in discussions the belief that the broad consensus of expert opinion on a subject is wrong, you have a duty to be very well informed and only present arguments you’ve investigated so thoroughly you would be embarrassed to discover you are wrong.

      • Rob Starkey, yes I am happy to go along with the general findings of the IPCC (they are far more expert than I am and I am conident the WG1 report is a fair reflection of the mainstream scientific position). So if you want answers to the questions, then read the WG1 report.

        For question 1 equilibrium climate sensitivity is a more important question as unrealised warming is likely to be a significant problem. But to give a direct answer, the current rate of warming can be estimated by the thirty year linear trend and its associated confidence interval. That seems a reasonable estimate.

        Question 2 is invalidated by the use of the capitalised word “KNOW”, it is impossible to have any certain knowledge relating to causal relationships in the real world, this has been known since the work of Hume. IIRC the range of values considered plausible, CO2 explains 9-26% of the greenhouse effect, and I have no real problem with that.

        For question 3 for the justification, see the IPCC report, the natural variation in CO2 can be established from measurements o atmospheric CO2 and anthropogenic emissions via the mass balance argument.

        For question 4 – yes, I am comfortable with the use of models. There are a lot of sub-questions posed there, most of which would be answered by some background reading on Monte Carlo statistical techniques, which have been very ssuccessul in a wide range of tasks in statistics and physics. The purpose for having many models is to properly express the uncertainty in our knowledge of climate physics, and thus we should use all of the models and pay attention to the spread of the model ensemble rather than just the multi-model mean. As to how many runs to use, the answer is “as many as you can afford to run within your computational budget).

        For question 5, I am far less confident of the political/economic issues and do not have a confident position, largely becuase I don’t have sufficient faith in human nature to think that a cost-benefit analysis will seriously affect the (in)action utimately taken. By and large the electorate generally won’t vote for anything that is in the long term interest of us all over their own short term interest. Sad, but I fear true, the state of the world economy is fairly good evidence of that.

        Sorry I can’t give more detailed answers here as the blog software sucks, however if you want to discuss individual topics in detail, I would be happy to join in at (which works rather better).

      • Dikran

        Thanks for your attempt at responding. Let me point out where I believe you reasoning is flawed.
        Point 1- This one is pretty easy and I won’t bother to get into details about how much the planet is warming but there certainly is some disagreement about the long term rate.
        Point 2- You duck an absolutely key question because I used caps. It is important to be able to determine how much of the warming to caused by additional atmospheric CO2 vs. other causes.
        Point 3-this point is critical because many “climate scientists” have assumed that the non human caused release of CO2 remains constant over time. It is also now known that absorption rates vary over time in response to availability. If we make an error about the other 95% of CO2 emissions, and overall absorption rates, how can the other parts of the forecast be accurate?
        Point 4- GCM- this is potentially the largest single area of concern. The models have not been shown to reliably predict actual observed conditions—yet people used them to write analysis of the net harm to humans, and many want fundamental changes in how energy is produced based on the outputs of these models. How about they be demonstrated to be able to accurately forecast real conditions that matter to humanity before we do that?
        Point 5- This is extremely simple- if the models do not accurately predict the future conditions for different regions of the planet- the reports based on the outputs of the models have no value—isn’t that pretty much inarguable?
        Point 6- The IPCC recommended specific actions by nations. If the models don’t produce accurate results, then the reports based on the models are bad. How any analysis of what individual nations can should do be correct (except by random chance) escapes me. The IPCC did a terrible job in justifying its recommendations and did not analyze simple things like improving infrastructure vs. lowering CO2.

      • Rob Starkey, I didn;t duck your question 2 in any way, nite I gave the 9-26% figure, if you want a more precise answer you need to ask a more precise question.

        ” many “climate scientists” have assumed that the non human caused release of CO2 remains constant over time.” I very much doubt that (having looked into carbon cycle modelling in some detail), I cannot recall any paper making tha assumption. The anthropogenic influence on atmospheric CO2 is very well understood, the rise is 100% anthropogenic, I’d be happy to discuss this with you at Skeptical science, where the principal arguments have already been laied out,

        If you are not happy with GCMs, on what basis will you be making projections of regional climate?

      • CERN recently found that mans contribution to CO2 forcing was exaggerated by some 300 % …

        I wonder why they dont want to discuss the fact that the earths systems fluctuate just as any other system.. but lets use static numbers…

        trying to give a dynamic system a static number is rather foolish in my opinion…

      • Tamino

        I actually said something quite nice about you once and I even think that Hansen and Mann were good scientists, although I don’t agree with everything they say,.so I don’t intend to hurl abuse at you.

        This debate about whether its been warming ir cooling over the last ten years or so always seems incomprehensible to me.

        It is either warming to some extent
        Or cooling to some extent
        Or the trend is static for all intemts and purposes.

        Perhaps that could be an interesting topic here whereby those capable of doing so could submit their work in support of a graph showing one of the three states I’ve described. It wiould be great if you were one of the participants.

      • Or there is insuficient data to determine the trend for such a short time period, which is the gist of the matter in my opinion.

      • Tony,

        As Andy Lacis said on a recent thread, many of the statements concerning recent warming or recent cooling are simply talking about different things.

        Those who talk about continued warming are inferring a continuous underlying trend which may or may not show at every chosen time interval but can be seen in the difference between comparable natural fluctuations e.g. temperature difference between 1990 and 2002 solar maximums; 2011 being warmer than 1999-2000 despite a more strongly negative ENSO indicator.

        Those who talk about cooling or a warming pause are making specific reference to particular time intervals for temperature anomaly data – e.g. 2002-2011 – and drawing a trend line. Note that the group above don’t dispute a flat or negative trend (depending on which record you use) across this selection of datapoints. What they’re saying is that it isn’t meaningful for determining whether or not their underlying trend exists, or how strong it is.

        As an illustration I can point you to this post, detailing a model incorporating 4 climate-driving components which finally produces the orange graph in this image. The blue line isn’t a calculated trend – it’s an intrinsic part of the orange data, representing a possible anthropogenic forcing change over time.

        Despite this continual upward trend embedded in the data you can see there are periods which would produce negative or flat trends. Indeed I can project a 2011 anomaly using the model and the 2002-2011 trend is -0.11ºC/Decade despite the fact there is an upward trend embedded in this same data.

      • Dispatch from Tamino’s CAGW War Front: My flanks are turned, my center collaspes, I attack!!

      • You do know that the original version was sent by Foch during the battle of the Marne, during WW1, and it was the French, under Foch, who were part of the victorious allies?

      • Well we might conclude that she thinks you’re an ass and don’t deserve an answer. I dunno maybe she talked to Lucia and now understand mysogeny better. maybe we look at her claims and realize that they are not that un ambiguous.

      • post coming soon on the “pause”

      • What I would hope is you trace the “pause” back to the scientific papers that were predicting there would be a pause/interruption/offset/cooling/whatever/etc.. The ones I know of are Tsonis-Swanson and Keenlyside et al and Smith et al. This would give people a notion of what science thought the pause would be like.

        It can be compared to the various temperature series to date.

      • Steven Mosher

        One issue is that we really dont have good language ( other than charts and numbers) to describe a momentary pause in an otherwise uptrending variable.. pause seems to get it well because I know that you think the upward trend is continuing.

      • Steven Mosher

        here judith

        This is how tamino handles a math question from a qualified tenured statistician

        That provides some good context.

        Moshpit as Judith:

        “If I were to handle Tamino as Tamino handles others and do unto him and he does unto others – — his question here would never see the light. But he asks a good question and despite his abusive language, I’ve decided to be the better man and answer. Not that it’s hard to be the better man when dealing with Tamino.”


      • Too much on my plate to bother dealing with nasty snark from the climate dittoheads. I am considering some sort of “pause” thread for the weekend.

    • No, if a scientist makes a dubious claim on their blog, then they should expect the claim to be challenged, especially on a contentious issue such as climate change where much is potentially at stake, and misinformation could easily be costly. The most effective answer to the question would be based on a test for statistical significance of the evidence for Prof. Curry’s hypothesis, which has a yes/no answer, so the “demand” is perfectly reasonable.

      BTW, in science equivocation and evastion in response to a direct question is behaving badly, asking a direct question that facilitates a direct answer is common sense and in no way impolite – it is the most direct route to the truth of the matter, provided both participants want to get to that destination.

  57. Yes, I like to stand up for decent people against arrogant bullies.

  58. My question was not directed at the other readers. It was submitted to Judith Curry. SHE is the one who made such strong claims about what the Berkeley temperature record shows.

    So I invite the rest of you to enjoy yourselves insulting me. I invite Judith Curry either to disavow her claims, or to show us the scientific basis for them.

    • It’s directly above, but here;

      “Judith Curry, you have made the following statements:

      “Our data show the pause”

      “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped”

      “There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998″

      Clearly you’ve read my post on the subject, in which I laid out the scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped. It consisted of actual data analysis, using exactly the data you refer to (from the Berkeley team).

      You stated explicity that warming has stopped, your latest is vague enough to be satisfied by “slowdown” but the first two say “pause” and “stopped.” Either way — slowdown or stop — you need to provide some actual evidence that the trend has changed. The one thing that nobody has yet seen, is your scientific basis for any of these claims.

      Question #1: Do you still maintain the above statements? No ambiguous answers, please, it’s yes-or-no for each statement.

      Question #2: If any answer to #1 is “yes,” then what’s your scientific basis for claiming that the trend post-1998 (or post-2001 or whatever) has changed?”

      • Errr……. that was posted in reply to Judith’s post saying that she had no idea what Tamino was asking for (and that she couldn’t tell from the “screed” on his website), but it’s now vanished.

        Maybe a resposne is coming……..

      • …from Tim? Not very likely mate.

      • Who’s Tim?

      • Yes. Sorry.

      • I would agree with Judith Curry that given the BEST data –
        “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped”

        However I am sure that she would agree that it is equally accurate to say that –
        “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming HAS stopped.”

        Because the data from the last ~10 years shows a great deal of interannual variation that swamps ANY scientific basis for statements about the longer-term small trend over periods longer than 10 years.

        For that you need to look at a temperature record of several decades and have a physical hypothesis for the trend seen.

      • yes, that is rather the point. The BEST data only covers land. The other 70% was not addressed by BEST. So BEST has nothing to say, one way or the other, about GLOBAL warming.

      • Thanks Dr.Curry. One only wishes that Dr.Muller can now correct his press release statements and stand up to say this exact same thing you have said.

      • So then neither can it show a “pause” in warming , as you had claimed.

        You can’t have it both ways.

      • Michael, How about being ‘still’?

      • The Mail article had several quotes from me that were not provided in full context. I am working on a new post with a clarification.

      • Didn’t you already say that the quotes thermselves were accurate?

        Though coming from David Rose, I’d have little hesitation in believing that he is the source of confusion.

        And it being David Rose, it could well be deliberate in the interests of a ‘better’ story.

      • Judith –

        It seems to me that some of the Mail article quotes would benefit from clarification – but so would some of the earlier statements you made when trying to clarify the Mail article quotes. I hope that you’ll also consider clarifying some of the statements you made subsequent to the Mail article, (in reference to the quotes from the Mail article).

        Please note that there are headlines being written that you have said that “global warming is over.”

      • Judith

        You did know that there was a follow up article in the Mail the following day?

      • Tony, do you have a link to it? But this issue has had its 15 minutes. It is washed away by the AP leak on the IPCC’s upcoming disasters to come report. This by the way is how the IPCC media machine works, We have the leak but no report to assess or criticize. They do this all the time. Muller is a novice compared to the IPCC.

        Note too that AP (Seth B) refers to the IPCC as a panel of the world’s leading climate scientists and as Nobel Prize winning, without mentioning that it was the Peace (or advocacy) prize, not a science prize. AP and the IPCC are a team.

      • David

        My reply to you came wildly out of sequence so here it is again;
        ——- —–

        The first article appeared in the Mail on either on Saturday or Sunday.

        This second article (different reporter) appeared on Monday’s Mail under the headline;

        ‘Climate Claims ‘a huge mistake.’


      • Now the unflattering photo of Curry is balanced by an unflattering photo of Muller.

      • OK, nesting is broken, so for clarity;

        “yes, that is rather the point. The BEST data only covers land. The other 70% was not addressed by BEST. So BEST has nothing to say, one way or the other, about GLOBAL warming.: – JC.

        So then neither can it show a “pause” in warming , as you had claimed.

        You can’t have it both ways.

      • This was meant to be a reply to your comment, but ended up elsewhere. My apology for the double posting.

        You said “Our data show the pause.” One can only interpret “our data” as referring to the the Berkeley data, and “the pause” as referring to the “lag/slowdown/whatever” which you claim has occurred.

        Do you now disavow that statement? If not, what’s your scientific basis for claiming that the Berkeley data show a pause?

      • Do you believe the rate of temperature change has been the same in the last 10 years as it was measured in the prior 10 years?

      • Do you believe the rate of temperature change has been the same in the last 10 years as it was measured in the prior 10 years?

        Sorry I initially posted in the wrong place.

      • Well, the great thing lost in the brouhaha is the demise of the alleged “Urban Heat Island Effect”.

      • Pat Michaels has plenty to say on that topic, i assume his comments will be made public soon

      • Professor Curry,

        Comments posted here are being scrambled.

      • Michaels says it will take long time to reestablish a warming trend.

        I thought a warming trend had already been established. Perhaps Michaels takes a shorter view.

      • So – Pat Michaels is yet another “skeptic” who doesn’t doubt that the “world is warming” – well, except that he says that there are no data that support the contention that the “world is warming.”

        Interesting logic.

      • Crying, Out Loud! What happend to to all the stuff? What was the timeline?

      • M & Joshua: Pat Michaels is a lukewarmer. He accepts AGW but thinks warming will be benign, or even good, mostly on cold winter nights. By re-establish he means start to warm again.

      • David –

        I have read that Michaels says that he accepts that the world is warming – but doubts the degree of warming and the extent to which the warming will be harmful.

        But what I find interesting is this:

        “..BEST is not about global temperature averages, and if we are interested in global temperature in recent years, let’s go back to global analyses, and use the MSU and the surface record it most corresponds to during the period in question, the CRU history.


        In the University of Alabama MSU [the time period since there has been significant warming] is 13.9, and in the Remote Sensing Systems version of the MSU it is 15.6 years.

        Observation #6: A significant trend since these periods began is not going to emerge anytime soon. MSU temperatures are plummeting and are now below where they were at this time of the year in the 2008 La Nina.

        To his credit, he does say that

        While is not scientifically appropriate to start a trend analysis at one selected point, that is precisely what the political process will do.

        Yet – he does exactly that also in his post.

        Interesting, isn’t it?

        Honestly, David – I find your argument to be among the relatively few among “skeptics” that are logically coherent.

      • josh,

        You are tireless, and tiresome. You need to find a job.

      • By re-establish he means start to warm again.

        And David – how is it logically consistent to say “to warm again?” If it isn’t scientifically appropriate to “start a trend analysis at a selected starting point,” then how does one say that warming needs to “start again?” In order for something to “start again,” it has to have stopped. How does one conclude that it has stopped without “start[ing] a trend analysis at a selected starting point?”

      • It isn’t that complicated, and nobody is obfuscating…

        Remember Phil Jones saying how he was ‘very pleased’ that during the summer of 2010 warming had become statistically significant over the previous 15 years? Well, since then, it has become statistically insignificant again. Presumably Phil Jones is ‘very unhappy’

        I think Pat Michaels point is that in any reasonable near future, there will not be any statistically significant warming.

        So, saying ‘starting to warm again’ merely means ‘becoming statistically significant again’

      • Anteros –

        You can’t say that it will become “statistically significant again” without saying that it stopped being statistically significant. You can’t say that it stopped being statistically significant without “start[ing] a trend analysis with at one selected point.”

      • Joshua –

        Of course, but then there has never been any statistically significant warming – ever. I don’t know who began this pedantry, but isn’t it missing the point somewhat?
        Phil Jones arbitrarily picked 15 years, Ben Santer calls for 95% significance at 17 years.

        There’s a different approach. If there has been some warming or some cooling, we can ask from TODAY, how long has it been doing so? And we can discuss how significant that length of time is. For Hadcru and RSS it is ‘more than 14 years’

        Cooling, that is.

        You choose how you want to characterise that.

      • “Phil Jones arbitrarily picked 15 years,”

        Not true. The question he was asked on BBC was:
        “B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming”

        That was after he had quoted a number of longer periods where the warming was significant.

      • Nick Stokes – fair point about the question to Phil Jones. I’d forgotten that.

      • Yes, we can pick a year to start that will make warming not statistically significant, but “no statistically significant warming” doesn’t necessarily mean no warming.

      • M.Carey –

        Of course, but see my point below.
        Also Phil Jones went out of his way to say something IMPORTANT had happened with the appearance of statistical significance. My point, and it is one Joshua would make if the warming was on the other foot, is that if it is important for something to come into significance, then it is important for it to go out again.
        Pat Michaels is just being pragmatic.

        And as I say below, at least 2 of the temperature records have more than 14 years cooling from a non- arbitrary date ie today.

      • Point below? Anteros, like me, you are having trouble posting in the right place

        I posted the following out of place in reply to you:

        Anteros, if whether a trend is statistically significant or not can change every year, I am skeptical about the usefulness of this statistic. It suggests the period being measured is too short.

        A lot of non-consecutive “not statistically significant” 15-year changes can combine to make one big statistically significant change.

      • M. Carey

        I take your point entirely. The lack of statistical significance is only what it is! I don’t claim any more for it than that. I am not of the opinion that AGW is a hoax or a lie or has finished :)
        My point is a Joshuaesque one – Phil Jones made a big deal about a particular time frame and it becoming statistically significant. Surely the reverse is true – it can only have the same weight?

        Also if there were going to be a genuine 30 year long period of no warming (as Girma is so fond of predicting) then its first 15 years would have to be exactly like the last 15 years. It is not claiming significance (though I admit some people are trying to), merely consistency. The last 15 years have been consistent with at least two narratives. However had there been a rise of 0.3 degrees C per decade over that time, Girma’s narrative wouldn’t have been consistent with the evidence, and boy would we have heard about it!

        I hope this reply finds you – it’s like hunt the comment in here.

      • Got it, Anteros. Thanks.

      • “Phil Jones made a big deal about a particular time frame and it becoming statistically significant. ”

        No, he didn’t. Richard Lindzen did via Anthony Watts. Jones was bushwhacked by Lindzen’s dogwhistle.

      • Man – some wacky stuff going on with posts here at Climate Etc.,

        I’ll try again here:

        I know less than nothing about statistics, but it seems to me that saying that there has been no statistically significant warming over the past 15 (20?, 50?, 1/2?, 1/12th?) years is not the same thing as saying the trend (or lack thereof) over that 15 (20? 50?, 1/2?, 1/12th) years reaches a bar of statistical significance.

      • Yes, but the long-term view by BEST has caused a sudden interest in short-trem changes. Roy Spenser has gone so far as to look at the last few days.

        I posted before how emphasis on the short-term got me to thinking about how the UAH global temperature anomaly for the most recent month available (September 2011) compares with the same month in previous years, but I put the post in the wrong place.

        I found the anomalies for Sep 2000-2005 summed to 0.96 and those for Sep 2006-2011 summed to 1.67. So average September global temperature in the last six years (2006-2011) was 0.28 or almost twice as high as the 0.16 average for the previous six years(2000-2005). I wonder if annual averages for the two periods would show 2006-2011 was warmer than 2000-2005.

      • Are you not just wilfully misunderstanding what Pat Michaels is saying?

        He believes that the earth has warmed over the last 50, or (and ) 100 hundred years.
        He believes (correctly) that there has been no statistcally significant warming recently (press him for a definition if you like, but if it was me I’d say ‘the same 15 years that Phil Jones thought was important)

        How much effort do you have to make to find something reasonable and logical in that? Significant over a long period, not significant recently – no confusion, no inconsistency.

        At least none in my mind, but maybe I’m simple..

      • Dr. Curry

        BEST has nothing to say?


        I’d say BEST has roughly 30% to say.

        As it’s the 30% that’s been to college with Nobel laureates, regardless of its hewn-from-illegitimate-parentage, it’s the 30% I’d tend to give the more certain and resolved voice.

        Not that one trusts completely any one voice over any other, however when the bulk of both constituencies are in general agreement, it’s no contest.

        There’s zero basis from BEST — which has the statistical qualities to barely produce a graph since 1998 that can be compared with a reasonable length of time graphing of both BEST and HADSST2 for some purposes — to claim any hiatus, pause, slowing, change, shennanigan, braking, decelleration, stoppage, backing down, negative movement, weakening or whatever balderdash term people throw around so meaninglessly.

        There might be a big 1998 SST upward step that the system’s still catching up with, but that’d require extraordinary evidence.

        I don’t have any.

        Do you? Besides BEST, which contradicts you?

      • Well, since 10 years is BY DEFINITION well shy of statistical significance, it’s insane, stupid, or manipulative to argue about 10 year trends. Basing science and political policies upon tautologies is preposterous.

      • Jeffrey: There is no time frame for statistical significance. Look at the math. Or if you have such a definition I would like to see it.

    • I had a relevant technical question above for your first post in this thread above.

    • tamino | November 1, 2011 at 10:16 am

      My question was not directed at the other readers. It was submitted to Judith Curry. SHE is the one who made such strong claims about what the Berkeley temperature record shows.


      is email more private for your stated communication needs? given your arbitrary demanding of restrictions against having commentary from other than JC


    • truly a legend in your own mind…

      Did it ever occur to you that YOU do not hold all of the worlds knowledge?

      That others have brains and use them giving a very robust look at differing view points?

      The arrogance you push here is one that tell people you are right and they are wrong even when the data isn’t in your favor!

      Ive dealt with many types of people in my life..the arrogant ones will never listen to others. Ive known arrogant ones with PhD’s who had the commonsense of a rock and Timid people who never made it through High school who not only were very smart but had commonsense to understand the very complex. Judging one because they dont have a PhD or schooling is a very stupid thing to do.. Even high dollar engineers talk with the lowly workers to find out what is working and what isn’t.. Many of those workers have made modifications to equipment that they NEVER THOUGHT OF and made the endeavor successful.

      “Who is the greater fool? The Fool or the fool that follows?”

      While the above is a quote from star wars its meaning is clear… trust carefully and with due diligence.. many of us lowly people are seeing through the BS..

      I wonder if its time to grow up and leave the arrogance of a child behind?


    • Others can say what they want but Tamino has a skill at propelling an argument with the right mix of graphical aids, understandable math, and dramatic elements.

      On blogging, this style is an art form, and it needs to be completely rewritten if or when it turns into a research paper. But it works fine for blogging.

      I think the pushback is just sour grapes from people that would draw blanks if challenged with a math or statistics problem. This is really hand-to-hand combat at this level. Has no one ever seen the commentary section from a world-class statistics journal? Cripes, that stuff is brutal, stopping just short of name-calling. The only paper I had rejected was a paper submitted to some stats journal, and the beating we took was merciless (I have an excuse of being the naive co-author ;)

    • As long as you’re defending the hockeystick mr. Foster, no cigar in sight.

    • Then write her an email if what you care about is the answer. Look tamino you would not even LET RomanM come to your blog to ask a question.

      Shall I bring that up

    • “Okay, slick.” Richard P. Feynman (QED)

  59. For sure Tamino, it’s a pleasure to exactly let you know what we think of your posts, unlike your bog where you can get away with your behaviour and censor opposing posts. Here this is a free and open place and we call a spade a spade. Polite questions from everyone have always been welcome in this blog. Arrogant behaviour will be commented upon and called out.

    • Well then you should welcome Tamino ‘calling a spade a spade’.

      Wrong spade perhaps?

      • He gets it back in kind here, unlike his blog where he deletes posts and stifles debate. Here is where he can see that a spade gets called by it’s name.

      • It’s his blog. He gets to run it however he wants. It’s not unfair in any way. Judy Judy Judy runs this blog the way she wants. She’s not being unfair; it’s her blog.

      • JCH

        Censorship of positions that disagree with what one supports is wrong…period. To judith’s credit she does not do that, but the same can not be said of tamino. I’ll be interested to see if he answers my (reasonable) above

      • Exactly, he runs his blog the way he wants, However blog is run by a decent and honest person and this is a blog which allows equal and fair chances for all to comment. This blog is also a honest and fair blog. Bad, rude and arrogant behaviour will be called out here.

      • This is from her blog rules:

        The following will not be tolerated here:

        Comments using offensive words will be flagged by the spam filter.

        No ad hominem attacks, slurs or personal insults. Do not attribute motives to another participant.

        Snarkiness is not appreciated here; nastiness and excessive rudeness are not allowed.

        Don’t grind your personal axes by filling up the comments with extensive posts that are not deemed relevant or interesting in the context of blog objectives.

        Apparently around this blog there has has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the intolerance of blog-rule violations.

      • Yes, unfortunate isn’t it when an uninvited guest comes in with arrogant behaviour?

      • I agree with JCH, but the commenters here are allowed to their opinions about Tamino’s blog too. What’s wrong with that?

        (Now watch JCH go over to another blog now and write how unfair Judy is. LOL.)

      • JCH

        I don’t understand the apparent complaint about Judith’s rules. She does delete comments where someone personally insults another person vs. pointing out where their position is flawed.

        She also deletes some comments from Oliver that state the same thing again and again, but do not relate to the topic of discussion.

        What would you suggest she does differently?

        I’d suggest all blogs on the topic not delete posts that disagree with the moderator’s viewpoint. Curry does not do that and I think that is great.

      • Bob – I was being sort of sarcastic. Used her own words.

        I think the only consequence of the way she runs this blog is she sort made a monstrosity for herself to administer, which makes it hard to maintain an environment (the one hinted at by the blog rules) where many of the people I think she would like to comment here will have little interest in doing so.

      • Why don’t Venter and the rest of you yappers shut up and let people who want to talk about science talk about it. Stop writing your juvenile insults; you look like idiots and you make Curry look like an idiot for allowing this BS to go on on her blog.

      • @ Holly Stick – well said, the ball is in Prof. Curry’s court, and there is little of real interest to say until we have seen her return of serve. Lets hope it is a set of direct answers to the direct questions.

  60. Hmmmm…..nesting is now AWOL.

  61. “We are bringing the spirit of science back to a subject that has become too argumentative and too contentious,” Muller says, over a cup of tea. “We are an independent, non-political, non-partisan group. We will gather the data, do the analysis, present the results and make all of it available. There will be no spin, whatever we find.”

    Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change? The Berkeley Earth project say they are about to reveal the definitive truth about global warming

    Ian Sample, Sunday 27 February 2011 15.29 EST

    “There will be no spin, whatever we find.” – Really? You have got to be kidding me!

  62. Lest we forget, one of the lessons of CRUgate is that the AGW True Believers of secular, socialist, government-funded academia use ‘peer review’ to stifle truth. Remember?

  63. “. . . “there is a ‘well documented tendency’ for scientific committees to overstate the confidence of their guesstimates.” For instance . . . the “balance of probability” indicated humans had caused recent global warming. But when pressed they say this “balance of probability” amounted to nothing more than an informal poll among themselves. Clearly, this misleads the public . . .

    “One usually assumes that scientific analysis is objective, so it may come as a surprise that examples of prevarication are not hard to find. In the 1960s geophysicists believed that with enough resources they could predict where and when major earthquakes would occur. It was not long before prediction programs blossomed in rich countries in earthquake prone areas . . . ”

    ~ Chris de Freitas, UNCERTAINTY IN SCIENCE: What should we believe?


  64. “. . . It is now common practice to teach in schools that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that is dramatically warming the Earth’s climate with dire consequences such as rising sea levels and severe weather changes . . . and even El Nino events are proof of global warming. Global warming has become the scapegoat for climate variability and natural climate change…” (Ibid.)

    • The EPA (in the US) has designated CO2 as a pollutant so a teacher teaching students that seems reasonable. If you disagree, then become more active poltically and work to get the EPA changed, or modify your views if additional data warrants a change.

      • The poltical rants are really unnecessary.

        It is just science and economics. Either it can be supported or not. I don’t care if someone is democratic or republican, but I do care why they believe what they believe

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Just what exactly is it that your are hinting at?

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Oops. Left off the :)

        I guess what you are saying is that you want Judith to start a thread for the “liberal fascist agenda of the EPA” . That is not funny.

      • At this point it is impossible to tell if the hubris of the EPA is mind-numbing or mindless. Let’s put things into perspective:

        Dear AGW True Believer:

        My message to you is written in the geophysical record of the Earth. On any given day the world may be witness to the power of nature–such as a disaster of Biblical proportions–like an 8.9-magnitude quake, causing a tsunami, with waves that reached California within twelve hours and move the island of Japan by about eight feet and shift the Earth on its axis by about four inches. Compared to nature you are puny little man. There is no global warming that cannot be explained by nature and that is the null hypothesis of AGW theory. Temperatures and sea levels have not needed man’s help to rise and fall over the last 1,500 years and without being caused by changes in atmospheric CO2 levels either. Who are you little man to tell me that you believe current warming is unusual?


      • Wagathon got promoted. Now speaks for God.

      • M. carey | November 1, 2011 a 9:06 pm

        “Wagathon got promoted. Now speaks for God.”

        I believe you may be mistaken. I talk to God all the time, and Wagathon’s never come up.

      • Then Wagathon may just be pretending to be God when he’s not pretending to be Lord Monckton. Did you see where he suggested Spenser and Christy emulate Nazi propagandists by using UAH data to create a make-believe virtual world of reality? That’s pure Monckton.

      • ‘Now speaks for God.’ M. carey. Looks like your Shift key is broke too.

      • Rob, permit me to disagree with your statement “The EPA (in the US) has designated CO2 as a pollutant”. This is a minor point, but it deflects attention away from the real culprit: Congress.

        1) The Congress of the United States defined CO2 as a pollutant by writing a Clean Air Act so “Broad”, “Sweeping”, and “Capacious” that it covers everything airborne. (“It follows that everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies as an “air pollutant.” – Scalia, dissenting).

        2) The EPA (under a new administration and an Energy Czar) was more than pleased to designate CO2 as a “dangerous” air pollutant. This gave them “command-and-control” over about 70% of our energy supply, according to the Input-Output tables for the United States.

        Here is my point: the solution lies with Congress. The goal is to write clear and specific legislation not subject to “scope creep” by bureaucracies.

        Garrett, Major, and AP. 2009. Administration Warns of “Command-and-Control” Regulation Over Emissions. News. December 9.

        Anon. 2009. Net Generation by Energy Source by Type of Producer, 1996 through 2007 (Table 1.1). Governmental. Energy Information Administration. January 21.

      • Poo

        I understand how the EPA was empowered by Congress and am not really sure that I think that was a bad way of doing the job, even though I strongly disagree with the EPA’s determination regarding CO2. I don’t think we would want Congress making determinations about every potential chemical’s degree of harm. They should imo delegate that power to an agency. Congress can and should consider overruling the EPAs decision in this case through new/revised legislation however.

        I would personally love to be the trial attorney defending the case of CO2 not being a “dangerous” air pollutant. I understand how the determination was made. It was done because the science used to be settled, but now when we peel the onion more and more, we find it isn’t settled at all, and the IPCC’s “case” is completely flawed.

      • “I would personally love to be the trial attorney defending the case of CO2 not being a “dangerous” air pollutant.”

        So would I – they get paid by the hour win or lose, and their hourly rate is…well…high.

      • Change is inevitable, except in global warming theory.

      • uh maybe it would be that with over 30,000 hits in the last day and half and who knows how many comments, that I haven’t been able to keep up with moderating. Not to mention that I have been offline much of the day, chairing a session at the conference and preparing for my keynote address tonite.

      • Good luck! You’re swimming in shark infested waters.

      • curryja:

        maybe it would be that with over 30,000 hits in the last day and half and who knows how many comments, that I haven’t been able to keep up with moderating

        Only just seen this. Completely sympathize. My very best wishes. (Not my BEST wishes. They can keep for later :) )

      • Richard Drake

        That’s all very well excusing Judith for not moderating the blog 24/7 but I’ll think you’ll find she’s been sleeping AND working and thereby DELIBERATELY doing things other than constantly pander to her denizens.

        I don’t pay good money to….Oh wait. I don’t pay any good money at all :)

        Seriously Judith, I don’t know how you find time for everything


      • Tony, indeed, there’s been a disgraceful lack of pandering, to me more than anyone. I demand my money back. (My weak attempt at humour hopefully now follows yours!)

      • Money? There’s money involved in this mess? Who’d a thunk it? I thought the physics was bad enough.

      • Dr Curry said that she put a ‘Climate Science and Money’ on her list of posts to do.

        I feel it’s coming any minute now… I’ll go get another cup of coffee and see if it’s here when I get back. ;)


      • Robert
        of all the people to complain about unmoderated comments, you have the least justification. I’d wager that a democratic vote would result in your offensive sneerings getting censored first.
        You should be grateful that Dr Curry operates a relatively free and open blog here. And the consequence is, of course that once in a while you read something you find offensive, but at least your comments also see the light of day. It cuts both ways.

  65. Yes.

  66. ?

  67. Western academics think that they can mislead the public with the fiction that schoolteachers are capable of discerning a human footprint on the average global temperatures. Western academics also expect the public to believe that schoolteachers’ predictions of a catastrophe as a result of human influence is inevitable unless the Left is given socio-economic control over the planet. Of course, everyone living outside Western civilization is getting a good chuckle over the hubris of these Western witchdoctors.

  68. Oliver says: “I will endorse the BEST reports to help end the divisive debate over global warming, if BEST authors candidly address experimental data and factual observations on Earth’s variable heat source”…

    … followed by a lot of stuff which is off topic.

    A scientifically respectable approach would be to endorse the BEST report if and only you have read them and determine them to be correct.

    Horse trading to endorse something IF you get some kind of support in something else the kind of thing you should leave to politicians.

    • Thanks, Chris.

      It is the best interest of society to end the “the divisive debate over global warming.”

      I will gladly do what I can to help restore public confidence in government science if we “candidly address experimental data and factual observations on Earth’s variable heat source – the Sun – observations and data that were deceitfully avoided after 1965 [1].”

      I.e., the deep roots of the global climate scandal have been growing “out-of-sight” since 1965 and generated false information about the:

      a.) Origin; b.) Composition; and c.) Source of Energy

      That sustains us as a part of life in the Earth-Sun system.

      Government deception has produced distrust and unease worldwide. It is in everyone’s best interest to end that deception as soon as possible.

      I will gladly “horse trade” to avoid social eruption.

  69. McIntyre’s take on BEST. Addresses the obvious concerns:

  70. The emperor has no clothes regarding Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    According data from NASA and the Hadley Center, the global mean temperature pattern has not changed since record begun 160 years ago.

    This single pattern has a long-term global warming rate of 0.06 deg C per decade and an oscillation of 0.5 deg C every 30 years (due to ocean cycles: as shown in the following two graphs.

    Before the 2000s:

    After the 2000s:

    It is a travesty that the educated class has not yet said the emperor has no clothes regarding Anthropogenic Global Warming.

  71. Hi Tamino, old boy
    This highly ‘respected comment’ you appear to approve and appreciate gets pride of place on your blog:
    Ah, the victim card … she played it so well when called out on her sh.t the very first time she put it on parade at Real Climate, too.
    but this factual comment:
    maximum insolation, high radiative heat transfer and CO2 back radiation
    temperature response: flat
    minimum insolation, the low radiative heat transfer and CO2 back radiation
    temperature response: rise 0.35 C/ century
    I have strong reasons to think that the climate change in the CET area has lot to do with the ocean currents moving heat from tropics polewards and vice versa.

    gets rejected more than once.
    Dr. Curry has more sense than engage on the blog often strewn with vulgarities.

    I’ve noticed you were fishing for ‘clientele’ on the ‘Real climate’ too.

  72. Wow!


    Prof Richard Muller had spent two years trying to discover if the mainstream scientists were wrong but concluded they were right. Temperatures are rising and his results, he concluded, “proved you should not be a sceptic, at least not any longer”. Case closed.

    But is it? Not according to Prof Judith Curry, a member of Prof Muller’s team, who claims the same findings have shown that global warming has stopped – plunging the rest of us into a quandary of what and who to believe.


    . In a serious clash of scientific experts Prof Curry has accused Prof Muller of trying to “hide the decline in rates of global warming”.

    Seems to me like Judith’s comments have fueled unnecessary controversy. Not created it. Fueled it. Of course, the same could be said about Muller’s comments.

    Judith – just a suggestion: Run a post with a simple title:

    I do not think global warming is over

    And with one simple sentence contained in the post itself:

    Anyone who thinks I do believe global warming is over misunderstand my views

    • er…. except edit your sentence better than I did mine.

      • 13 years, 156 months

        Yes or no; black or white.

      • Is the difference between those trends and the long term (e.g. 30 year) trend statistically significant, yes or no?

        Hint: if the difference is not statistically significant then it would be unscientific to make the claim that the rate of warming has slowed as the possibility that the underlying trend has remained the same but is obscured by the noise (the null hypothesis) has not been rejected.

    • Is it that difficult to understand that there has not been any apparent warming in recent years (certainly not to the degree predicted by the models) but that does not mean that additional CO2 would not warm the planet over the long term if all other things remained constant.



        Dude. I didn’t write the headline I excerpted.

        Judith’s statements are being widely misinterpreted. You have the evidence.

      • Sorry, the comment was not really directed at you, and the caps were an accident

      • No probs.

  73. The silence is deafening. Curry waited no time to feed an anti-science journalist some quotes that can already be googled at thousands of sites around the world, as she must have known they would be. But asked to back up her quotes with any kind of analysis, she disappears while her followers toss scat at Tamino.

    But Tamino’s questions are straightforward. Does she have any statistical evidence at all for her declaration, now quoted everywhere, that global warming has paused? Was the “uncertainty monster” just a stick to hit scientists whose results disagreed with her politics, and now put aside because mentioning (much less analyzing) uncertainty would be inconvenient for publicizing this global-warming-has-paused meme?

    • BA: Both HadCRU and UAH show zero warming for the last decade or more. That is more than a pause it is a full stop. Pause suggests it will resume, which is pure conjecture. It may just as well have peaked. What more evidence do you want? You are asking for the obvious.

      • You may be right, David. It stooped, even declined, several times in the 20th Century. So why wouldn’t we expect it to stop some in the 21st Century. But it never stayed stopped in that century, so why expect it to stay stopped in this century?

      • In my previous post, I didn’t mean “stooped,” but I guess that’s similar to stopped anyway.

      • I’m in the process of reading through all of the articles, abstracts, and papers I can find that were predicting or describing the purported pause/offset/stopping/lull/flattening/etc. of AGW in the 2000s and beyond.

        I will add stooping to the list!

        The point is I do not think what has happened in the 2000s bears much resemblance to what was being predicted or described in scientific papers and articles.

      • Caught its breath, then got a second wind.

  74. “… at the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC. These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise.” ~Judith Curry

  75. Just for some relief from the snark.

    What new name do we give this parallel form of peer review:

    Why don’t we call it “Parallel Review”? With the advent of the information age, this new process makes sense. Peer review should ultimately weigh more in the grand scheme of things, but I think in time we will find “blog review” to be very valuable.

  76. Frankly, I fail to see what all the fuss is about. I am of course looking at the results, so it is possible that I may have overlooked the process.

    As far as I can tell, Prof Muller was completely correct in stating that global warming continues unabated (as deduced from his surface temperature trend analysis). And, it seems that Prof Curry is also completely correct in maintaining that uncertainty is rampant throughout the climate system (always has been, and will continue being so for the foreseeable future). So, what else is new, and is there really a problem that is in need of some sort of reconciliation?

    It’s not like we can come to understand the state of the national economy by simply analyzing the price of beans in Kansas City. And even if a very detailed and thorough cross-correlated multi-variate statistical analysis were to be performed on the price of only the fully certified beans (and not just any old lentils), and if it was conducted without exception in every dorf with 24/7 electricity, we would still not have a once-and-for-all definitive understanding of the national economy. This is because there are more factors other than just the price of beans that go to define the state of the national economy.

    There are some similarities (and even possible causal relationships) between deciphering trends in the national economy and analyzing those in the global climate record. Global mean surface temperature is but one of many climate change indicators, but it is, nevertheless, a key parameter in that the observed surface temperature trend extends over more than a century, and summarizes in a single parameter much of what is happening with global climate. Other parameters of importance would be changes in precipitation, and changes in cloud, water vapor, ozone, surface albedo, tropospheric and stratospheric temperatures, as well as changes in ocean heat content and regional soil moisture, among others.

    The Mail summary of the BEST data, as listed on an earlier post, shows what appears to be contrasting perspectives by the authors on the global surface temperature trend relative to the 1950-1980 time period. The first plot shows the global temperature increasing by about a degree over the past century, and about a half-degree over the century before, in basic agreement with the expectations for climate modeling results for the ongoing global warming trend. The second higher resolution plot appears to show a relatively flat temperature trend over the past decade. Is this perhaps the possible source of the perceived problem?

    Oh, and I forgot to tell you that the bean price analysis was performed only over the red-state areas where real people live, and not over the blue regions of the globe where only transients reside – those regions of the globe will be looked at later.

    In comparing the posted global temperature trends (GISS, NOAA, HadCRU, BEST) it is reassuring that the BEST temperature trend was not at all identical to the previously determined temperature trends. It was also reassuring that the BEST temperature trend was actually quite similar to the previously determined temperature trends, thus indicating that a competent and independent study was performed. While the BEST analysis was conducted only over continental areas, it is unlikely that including the ocean areas will materially alter the basic results of the study. Gratitude to the Koch brothers for helping to fund this study – perhaps they will feel encouraged to do similar good deeds in the future.

    From the discussion, I see that Prof Muller ‘admitted’ that it was true about the BEST data suggesting that world temperatures have not risen for about 13 years. But in his view, this might not be ‘statistically significant’, although, he added, it was equally possible that it was. To some in the blogosphere, this has been taken as ‘proof’ that global warming has finally stopped warming. But, to the credit of the authors, the label on the Y-axis of their plots clearly show that the quantity that is being plotted is the global temperature, and not global warming, aside from worrying about what ‘statistically significant’ may or may not mean when focusing on a few years of an otherwise noisy global temperature record.

    A clear definition of terms is very important. Since Wally Broecker coined the ‘global warming’ term back in 1975 to describe the predicted rise in global surface temperature as the result of increasing atmospheric CO2, the terminology for this phenomenon has been transformed and re-labeled for whatever reason as the possibly more politically palatable terminology of – global climate change, global climate disturbance, or the global surface temperature anomaly.

    It seems preferable to have the term ‘global warming’ refer to the warming of the global surface temperature that is due to the growing strength of the terrestrial greenhouse effect in response to the rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gases, as described by Wally Broeker. This is something that is well understood as a direct cause and effect relationship that is taking place in the climate system. Global climate change is the broader umbrella term that can include all of changes that are occurring in the climate system, in particular, the different kinds of ‘natural variability’.

    Natural variability has often been referred to as ‘unforced’ climate change. But that is probably a poor choice of words since there is nothing in the climate system that is ‘unforced’. ‘Unforced’ in this context really means not ‘externally’ forced. Perhaps ‘virtual forcing’ might be more descriptive of what is driving the natural variability of the climate system. Unresolved changes in ocean circulation can result in warmer (El Nino) or colder (La Nina) sea surface temperature to provide a ‘virtual forcing’ that impacts atmospheric water vapor, clouds, and radiative fluxes. This then results in changes in the global surface temperature. But these changes are temporary since all ‘virtual’ energy imbalances have to be eventually paid for.

    So if there was a ‘flattening’ of the global surface temperature in the past decade, we should expect a corresponding increase in ocean heating, since the energy in and out of the climate system must be conserved. All other indicators of global warming, such as the continuing increase in greenhouse gases, show no let-up in global warming. The problem is that we don’t have the necessary instrumentation in place to make the required measurements with sufficient precision to keep us fully informed of what is happening with all of the climate system variables and indicators.

    So, I see nothing in the BEST study that is really new and unexpected, or that is in any way disturbing.

    • Are you aware of any particular GCM that have accurately predicted the lower observed warming over the last decade? Which one(s)?

      If the current models did not accurately predict this temperature trend, does it call into question those same models abilities to accurately predict conditions with adequate fidelity for them to be used to determine where or what types of harms to humanity will come about from a warmer world?

      • In the AR4 A2 21st Century projections the spread of model trends for 2000-2010 is -0.03 to 0.42ºC/Decade. However, the GCMs at the lower end of this range can’t meaningfully be said to have made an accurate prediction. I doubt any of the modellers would expect their projections to match reality over such a short period.

        The problem is that the natural ‘internal’ variability Andy is talking about is chaotic, or even catastrophic. Even if a GCM could perfectly recreate ENSO fluctuations it couldn’t accurately predict fluctuations without also being fed with accurate initial conditions for a variety of climate-driving variables.

      • Well, my hunch here has been that GisTemp, if it’s closest to BEST land, as Muller told Judy Judy Judy yesterday, will end up the most “accurate” series once oceans are included, just got bolstered.

        Paul S – if a climate model includes the effect volcanoes, I think Bob thinks they should be able to predict the date of the eruptions.

      • JCH or Web–since he claims to see the “big picture” so well
        Aren’t you referencing a temperature data set and not a GCM (GisTemp)?

        I am trying to learn more about General Circulation Models (GCMs) which are really the key piece of the puzzle regarding the impact on humans from a potentially warmer world and Lacis is reported to be an expert.

        From what I have read these models provide very inconsistent results. It is not just variances in the outputs of different models, but there are significant changes depending on the number of times an individual model has been run. From everything I have read, there is nothing published on these models to demonstrate what specific characteristics these models are expected to be able to accurately predict (within what margin of error) over what timeframes.

        If there is no reliable information on the reliability of these GCM to predict future conditions, why are they being used for governmental policy decisions? Isn’t it as likely as not that the output of these models completely misrepresent future actual observed conditions? All the reports regarding potential harms to humanity 20+ years into the future are based on these models, and they have not been demonstrated to accurately predict even future temperature or rainfall accurately.

        Why is it you or Web thinks it is valid science to use them for predicting conditions for policy implementation? Can you think of ANY other time that a computer model with such a low degree of demonstrated accuracy has been used in such a manner?

      • Rob,

        The only major set of projections that occurred far enough in the past to discern a reliable trend for comparison are from the IPCC’s 1990 FAR. They produced four projections based on different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, of which the closest to reality has been Scenario B (though there’s very little difference between B, C and D at this point). From 1990 Scenario B made a best estimate projection there would be a ~0.3-0.35ºC increase in global average surface temperatures by 2010. That has indeed turned out to be the case. Is that accurate enough?

      • Paul

        Let us be very open and honest here.

        The relative accuracy and repeatability of the models has been done against the models themselves and not against actual observed conditions. A model could very easily be set up to the conditions that existed in 2005 (for instance) and could be run to see what it predicted as conditions in 2012, and then we could measure what it predicted vs. actual observed conditions such as real temperatures and rainfall in different parts of the globe. We would then be able to start reporting the relative accuracy of the different models abilities to predict various characteristics over different time periods.
        Now it that was done and the model could be demonstrated to accurately predict these observed conditions I would be much more likely accept their future forecasts for similar timeframes. That has not been done, yet “climate scientists” are willing to publish papers stating the certain parts of the planet will be harmed due to future higher temperatures or lower rainfall.

        How is that good science?

      • Rob,

        A model could very easily be set up to the conditions that existed in 2005 (for instance) and could be run to see what it predicted as conditions in 2012…Now it that was done and the model could be demonstrated to accurately predict these observed conditions I would be much more likely accept their future forecasts for similar timeframes.

        Then we’re talking about very different things. The general GCM runs shown in IPCC reports are intended for projecting changes multiple decades into the future so there’s no interest in predicting interannual or subdecadal fluctuations – the majority of models don’t even include a solar cycle in projection runs, they just use a constant for solar input. As such there is no great attempt to set up initial conditions to specific values since these don’t matter much over longer timespans.

        What you’re essentially talking about is long-range weather forecasting rather than climate projections. My confidence in the models for long-term projections isn’t affected at all by their ability or inability to track real interannual fluctuations: it’s a completely different skill.

      • Paul
        I think you are being very misleading.
        The Community Climate System Model Version 4, as well as other GCMs provides estimates of changes in circulation patterns and as a result of these changes, expectations for changes in future temperature and rainfall.

        Those who have written analysis of future conditions relied upon these same models to conclude that a warmer planet would be harmful to humanity. So why is it that we cannot see the actual reliability of these models?

      • Paul
        If I understand your point, you believe that it is appropriate to use a model that estimates that as a result of additional atmospheric CO2 that the climate will be harmful to humans 50 years from now, but we should just accept this on faith. It is not necessary to understand the specifics of what the model can accurately predict within what range. We should it will be right 50 years from now.

        I have reviewed the results of CCMS4 and it was not inspire confidence in GCMs to be used for government policy implementation.

      • Rob,

        For future reference if you don’t understand what someone is saying you should say “I don’t understand” rather than accusing them of being misleading. Simply put: Yes, GCMs have internal variability with short-term fluctuations at both regional and global levels. No, there is no expectation that the internal variability in a basic GCM run should match short-term global, and certainly not regional, fluctuations seen in the real world for the reasons given above i.e. chaos, initial conditions etc.

        AR4 WGI is quite clear that GCM results are not robust at regional scales so basically: No, GCM results shouldn’t be used to make confident statements about regional changes even over longer periods. As far as I’m aware studies which do look at potential regional changes use Regional Climate Models (RCMs) – a different beast altogether, and one I don’t know much about.

        Lastly, GCMs do not contain little virtual people with harm indicators attached to them. The predictions that climate changes will cause problems are based on interpretations of the results. e.g. GCM outputs Arctic ice melt. Sociologists, environmental scientists, biologists etc. interpret that this will have major consequences for Arctic-dwelling communities.

        Oh, and I’m not so sure about CCSM4 myself. It’s certainly not one of the better GCMs around, with some key features like indirect aerosol effects missing at present.

      • Read the paper by Easterling and Wehner

        The models do predict that there will be such periods of little or no warming (or even cooling), they can’t predict exactly when they will happen as they are a chaotic feature of the climate system (i.e. weather noise). The inability to predict the short term unforced variability of the climate does not call into question projections of long term forced claimate change, the effects of short term variability are included in the spread of the model runs.

    • I see no reason to equate a collection of surface temperatures with atmospheric heat content. The issue here is what, if anything, these various collections tell us. This has nothing per se to do with the greenhouse effect.

      • David,
        All of the climate parameters are related by the energy balance and energy transports within the climate system. The strength of the greenhouse effects tells us what the equilibrium surface temperature should be. If the ocean circulation spins up a blob of cold sea water to the surface, this will make the surface temperature colder than the expected equilibrium temperature. Energy has got to be conserved, so the atmosphere will be sending heat into the ocean to warm this cold blob of sea water p to the equilibrium temperature. If we have the right measurements in place, we should see the ocean warming whenever the surface temperature is not keeping up with the equilibrium value, which is determined by the strength of the greenhouse effect (i.e., the continuing increase in the column amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases).

      • Andy, first of all, the BEST issue is precisely about the fact that we do not have the right measurements, and the bad measurements are being used as though they were correct. We have very little idea what is actually going on in the system and almost none before the satellites and buoy systems. The satellites show no GHG warming at all (which I consider sufficient to falsify AGW, by the way).

        Second, we are talking about the boundary layer which need have little to do with what is going on in the atmosphere. But third, and most deeply, this is a far from equilibrium system, on scales up to at least thousands of years. So these equilibrium considerations, upon which AGW is clearly based, are basically irrelevant and, as with the bad temperature numbers, it is actually wrong to depend on them.

    • Actually Andy, I pretty much agree with your analysis. A lot of this is a tempest in a teapot. I would be interested in your take on Steve McIntyre’s latest post on this contrasting the surface temperature records with the satellite record. It seems to me to confirm once again the importance of resolving the “hot spot” controversy.

    • Andy, like others I see nothing to disagree with here, but I think you are missing the broader picture from this analysis and that is that urgent policy decisions are being advocated predicated on rapid “uncontrollable” warming. What you are essentially saying is pretty much what many skeptics (scientifically minded rather than the breathless politicised types) point to as a limiting factor on the rate of warming. While they question attribution for some of the warming and many other questions that are highly uncertain and certainly not resolved, the key issue from the point of developing or supporting policy is whether or not the rate of warming is such that we cannot adapt to it in an orderly way.

      So if there was a ‘flattening’ of the global surface temperature in the past decade, we should expect a corresponding increase in ocean heating, since the energy in and out of the climate system must be conserved

      Provided that your previous assumptions are correct. according to NOAA, the flattening is occurring in Global Ocean temps as well:

      All other indicators of global warming, such as the continuing increase in greenhouse gases, show no let-up in global warming

      This statement is a touch sloppy in my view. But I think I know where you are coming from and don’t have serious problem with it. However it behoves you to make a distinction between natural CO2 flux and anthropogenic because otherwise the statement makes it to easy to infer that you mean anthro-CO2 means global warming and that, while not 100% incorrect, is misleading.

      The problem is that we don’t have the necessary instrumentation in place to make the required measurements with sufficient precision to keep us fully informed of what is happening with all of the climate system variables and indicators.

      Well I think you are probably right on this. But you could very easily say the same thing about all the Land temperature records that BEST and all of the others have drawn from. The reliability of the data is and has been for a long time questionable at best, but more importantly the coverage is very poor. No matter how clever the statistical techniques used to infer a global temperature anomaly, it is still drawn from less than half of the actual surface.

      I think the most you can really say from data such as that is that the portion of the earths surface that has been measured has continued to warm.

      • Andy, like others I see nothing to disagree with here, but I think you are missing the broader picture from this analysis and that is that urgent policy decisions are being advocated predicated on rapid “uncontrollable” warming.

        I always find this line of reasoning rich in not being able to see the bigger picture. You claim that you have the broader picture, yet you don’t. Avoid the science of global warming to concentrate on policy and what do you know but you run smack into the systems science of oil depletion. Policy decisions regarding energy alternatives have to be made in either case, whether it is AGW or peak oil, we have to do something collectively.

        AGW skeptics have nowhere to go to. They can’t hide from the science by claiming uncertainty, and then cry over uninformed policy decisions because the specter of fossil fuel depletion is always lurking in the background. It sounds like we are crowing about the seriousness of the situation, but the environmentalist side is in a WIN-WIN position on projecting the future outcomes. Either outcome, whether it beh “uncontrollable” warming or reduced fossil fuel levels will require policy-based mitigation. (if you think individual decision making ala libertarianism will cut it, that is another topic)

        Not that we are wallowing in misery, as it looks bleak yet we remain hopeful on applying our non-renewable resources to solve the two-headed beast of a problem.

      • I think your problem here is that you mischaracterise the skepticism. For example

        – “Avoid the science of global warming to concentrate on policy and what do you know but you run smack into the systems science of oil depletion.”

        I am guessing that your view of skepticism is the US-bound one. If you look further afield, most scientifically aware skeptics (I am trying to make distinction between the more politically motivated ones) are as keen as anything to see alternative energy sources developed. But they should be realistic and cheap and not inefficiently selected or developed based on a non-emergency. Fossil fuels, whether we reach peak or not, are not an ideal source of energy, not because the emissions from burning them contribute to global warming, but because of whole raft of other reasons. So claiming that skeptics are against this is what I think is termed a ‘straw man’.

        It is precisely the science that leads to skepticism about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. The evidence from science does NOT support it, except by the most tenuous connection.

        “environmentalist side is in a WIN-WIN position on projecting the future outcomes.”

        I wish this were true – I would characterise myself as an environmentalist, in that many of the concerns and my own behaviour modification are motivated along those lines, but unfortunately I do see advocacy and idealism damaging pragmatic approaches to conservation. The GW alarmism is one of them and is a distraction from far more important conservation issues, such as deforestation and over-fishing.

        I beg of you – stop characterising skepticism through the narrow lens of US politics. There is a bigger world out there.

      • Agnostic –

        It is nice to see a “skeptic” write with an appropriate level of care so as to avoid hyperbole.

        I have a question for you:

        “If you look further afield, most scientifically aware skeptics (I am trying to make distinction between the more politically motivated ones)…”

        When I look at what “skeptics” say in the U.S., I some contributions to the debate written by participants with obvious political influences, some written by contributors questionably influenced by political motivations (e.g., something is said that does not contain overt political causation but significantly under-evaluates the degree to which politics motivates “skepticism” as a whole), and some where the contributors work hard to control for political influences.

        Separating scientifically aware “skeptics” from those who are politically motivated is both: (1) extremely difficult and, (2) often a false dichotomy.

        How do you see the balance in your environment (are you in Europe?), and how do you make the distinction you describe above?

      • Fossil fuels, whether we reach peak or not, are not an ideal source of energy, not because the emissions from burning them contribute to global warming, but because of whole raft of other reasons.

        You have just got to be kidding me. There is absolutely nothing out there that can take the place of jet fuel with our current technology. Petroleum is the most ideal fuel in terms of convenience and concentration that mankind has ever produced. If you can describe an alternative fuel that can propel an airliner, I am all ears.

        I wish this were true – I would characterise myself as an environmentalist, in that many of the concerns and my own behaviour modification are motivated along those lines, but unfortunately I do see advocacy and idealism damaging pragmatic approaches to conservation. The GW alarmism is one of them and is a distraction from far more important conservation issues, such as deforestation and over-fishing.

        I beg of you – stop characterising skepticism through the narrow lens of US politics. There is a bigger world out there.

        Wow, you are just like one of us realists after all. Could have fooled me by your initial rhetoric. I swear that everytime I bring up the peak oil argument the skeptics true colors shine right through.

      • Web
        IMO you once again do what you accuse others of doing- in this case missing the big picture.
        You are correct that the use of carbon based products for the production of energy will ultimately come down dramatically as they inevitably are reduced and the laws of supply and demand make other forms of energy production more cost effective. Where I believe you are dead wrong is your statement that skeptics try to avoid the science to concentrate on policy. I think you miss the big picture on the issue of AGW.

        Science is a series of steps that ultimately lead one to a conclusion with a reasonable certainty of accuracy. The concept of AGW is no different, but the IPCC has used a flawed scientific process to reach its conclusions. To demonstrate the point, please see my comment above- if the GCMs can not be demonstrated to be consistently reliable and accurate, how is it scientifically correct to base policy decisions or peer reviewed assessments on these models outputs?

        I never seem to get those that support the IPCC’s recommendation to discuss this simple point openly and reasonably.

      • I am replying to Joshua here to keep in line:

        Separating scientifically aware “skeptics” from those who are politically motivated is both: (1) extremely difficult and, (2) often a false dichotomy.

        Having read many of your posts here Joshua, I am inclined to view your skepticism of skeptics (as it were) as almost entirely against the political motivations. But from my point of view it is really only the in the US were the debate is so sharply divided by political ideologies. Sure, you will find politics influencing the debate elsewhere – most notably Australia. But I have to say, it is a real struggle to get US based folks (not just here) to shrug off their parochialism and see that the rest of the world operates entirely differently to their preconceptions. Indeed I find it really frustrating.

        My own politics is probably way left of anything to the left in the US. Most people I know that are skeptical of the orthodox viewpoint are educated and relatively neutral in their politics. I see no strong correlation between politics and views on climate change. It just doesn’t come into it. That said, I cannot deny there is some correlation with those I know that have strong environmental concerns and couple that with concern about climate change. They tend to be politically active as well. But that’s about it. I don’t even know anyone as right wing as the likes of the tea-partiers – who, if I am honest, come across as a complete joke over here.

        Steve McIntyre has said himself, that if there was a pressing need to take action on emissions, then he would expect governments to act – it is in fact their first duty to their citizens – and I agree with that.

        I am a supporter of the UN and what it stands for, and for a while although my skepticism about CC was growing, I thought that it represented an opportunity to unify the world as it would require common purpose to defeat a common threat to all mankind. I now believe however, that a cause such as that however noble, will never succeed if it is based on something as fundamentally problematic and uncertain (I could have said ‘flawed’) as what has been proposed by the immature science of climate.

        So in answer to your 2 questions:
        1) It’s not only not difficult, but outside the US it is a non-issue.
        2) If there were no policy decisions predicated upon the science there would be no problem, but many of the policy decisions are utterly ridiculous and counter-productive. And this is my problem – I am a true conservationist – I believe in true conservation and care for the environment and not things that damage it or distract from it in the name of ‘going green’.

      • You are correct that the use of carbon based products for the production of energy will ultimately come down dramatically as they inevitably are reduced and the laws of supply and demand make other forms of energy production more cost effective.

        Bam! Another closeted realist. Bring up the peak oil argument and they drop their cover just like that.

      • Agnostic,

        Not to start up a political discussion, but merely to point out that political references often provide a marker for how well someone perceives reality. You make the observation: “I don’t even know anyone as right wing as the likes of the tea-partiers – who, if I am honest, come across as a complete joke over here.”

        This would seem to indicate that your knowledge base is pretty weak. To help you understand reality in the US, here’s a quick pointer — the tea partiers were a totally grass root spontaneous development sparked by a rant by a TV reporter on CNBC about Obama’s massive increase in government spending and regulation. The rallies took place all over the country, consisted mostly of people who had never been active in politics, and drew support from tens of millions of people including substantial percentages of Democrats and independents.

        If you are as left-wing as you write, you may very well disagree with the tea party types and favor larger government. I’m curious how that justifies a conclusion that those who disagree with you (consisting of tens of millions of Americans who are better educated on average) are a complete joke. Although Obama is proud of his expansion of the role of government, a majority of voters in 2010 agreed with the tea partiers.

        Again, my point is not the politics, but to point out that you only harm your own credibility with throwaway lines that show a lack of knowledge (or at least a complete lack of respect for people whose views are generally considered to be well within the mainstream of contemporary and historical political thought).

        Now, if you really are looking for a ‘complete joke’ to laugh at, I could direct your attention to spoiled rich kids who hire homeless people to demonstrate for them about how unfair the world is.

      • Again, my point is not the politics, but to point out that you only harm your own credibility with throwaway lines that show a lack of knowledge

        I daresay there are perfectly valid reasons for being a member of the political movement known as the tea-party. It is indeed a throwaway line, and I completely accept that my knowledge of US politics is more than lacking. I only referred to the impression you get watching the extraordinary spectacle that is US politics as it is shown to us here in Europe.

        But as far as climate science goes it is utterly beside the point. I am not that interested in US politics. I am very interested in British and European politics and I know a good deal about it. My credibility regarding my views on climate change are utterly unaffected by my views on american politics and really that is entirely the point I am trying to make. My views are climate change are NOT influenced at ALL by my politics and absolutely not in any way relevant to US politics. Yet I continually read objections to valid skepticism framed in that way, or breathless panting about how it’s all a scam to control our lives.

        Here is another big problem I with with this myopic and parochial view of politics that is formed by not having an understanding of how politics works outside of the US:
        If you are as left-wing as you write, you may very well disagree with the tea party types and favor larger government.
        You presume that anyone who does not favour ‘tea-party types’ favours large government. That is not the case. I do not blame you for making that error, since politics is so sharply divided in the US, and you are certainly n