Week in review

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Nate Silver

Some follow-up to my previous post Nate Silver’s 538: inconvenient truths.

Nate Silver has posted a note to his readers:  538 to commission response to disputed climate article.  Excerpts:

Reception to the article ran about 80 percent negative in the comments section and on social media. A reaction like that compels us to think carefully about the piece and our editorial process. The responses have fallen into about four broad categories. I list these in order of most to least concern to us:

  1. Criticisms of Roger’s central thesis about disaster costs
  2. Concern about how FiveThirtyEight will be covering climate topics
  3. Criticisms of other claims Roger made in the article, such as those about the overall incidence of weather-related disasters
  4. Criticisms of things Roger has said or written in other venues, sometimes including ad-hominem attacks against Roger

As I mentioned, the central thesis of Roger’s article concerns the economic costs associated with natural disasters. But we also allowed a number of peripheral claims into the piece. For instance, Roger made a number of references to the overall incidence of natural disasters, as opposed to their economic cost.

We think many of these claims have support in the scientific literature, specifically including the 2013 IPCC report. But there is a range of debate among experts about others. Either way, these claims shouldn’t have been included in the story as offhand remarks. We should either have addressed them in more detail or scrubbed them from the article.

Roger’s article also contained an implicit policy recommendation in its closing paragraph. Whether or not the recommendation was justified by Roger’s thesis and evidence, we generally prefer to avoid these kind of recommendations, and instead allow readers to draw any policy conclusions for themselves. Furthermore, there was some loose language in the article. We pride ourselves on precise, matter-of-fact language. These things reflect a poor job of editing on our part.

Roger knows the literature on disaster costs extremely well, and I know he disagrees with many of the criticisms about his piece. But some dissenters feel just as firmly. The debate is hard for us to adjudicate without turning to experts for help.

Nevertheless, we see value in running a rebuttal to Roger’s article at FiveThirtyEight itself. So we are in the process of commissioning one from someone who 1) has not yet weighed in on Roger’s article and 2) has very strong credentials. 

We appreciate your patience in the meantime. Climate change is not going away as an issue, and we want to get this right. All journalism relies on trust — between reporters and sources, between editors and writers, between a publication and its readers. Any time that trust is undermined, it’s a huge concern for us. We thank you for your continued feedback. We’re listening and learning.

JC comment:  I find this to be an appropriate and  laudatory response by Silver to this situation.

Meanwhile, in climate la-la land, TalkingPointsMemo reports Nate Silver’s climate author threatening critics.  Excerpts:

The article drew an extremely negative reaction from the science community, including from Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth, both of whom were critical of Pielke in an interview with ThinkProgress.

Mann and Trenberth said that Pielke responded to their comments with what appeared to be threats. ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum informed Silver and FiveThirtyEight managing editor Mike Wilson of Pielke’s emails.

Legum told the Huffington Post that he interpreted the emails as threats “to pursue legal action against” Mann and Trenberth.

While Mann opted not to make the email public, Trenberth forwarded a copy to the Huffington Post.

“Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology,” Pielke wrote in the email that was sent to both Trenberth and his bosses. “If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further. More generally, in the future how about we agree to disagree over scientific topics like gentlemen?”

Pielke dismissed the notion that he was making a threat, calling the claim “ridiculous.” Nevertheless, Silver told the Huffington Post that he apologized to both Mann and Trenberth and made clear that “Roger’s conversations with them did not reflect FiveThirtyEight’s editorial values.”

JC comment:  it will be very interesting to see how Silver and RP Jr navigate all this, especially through the conspiracy theorists on the alarmist side that see threats everywhere.  In context of the ‘climate wars’, Silver’s apology to Trenberth and Mann is being viewed as throwing RP Jr under the bus.  It will be interesting to see what Silver comes up with in terms of a rebuttal to RP Jr’s piece.  Editorially, there may have been some issues with RP Jr’s article in terms of 538 expectations, but in terms of the key issues of RP Jr’s analysis of disaster costs, I think it will be difficult for Silver to come up with a convincing critique.


Times Higher Education has a post Science and Politics – Mix for Best Results.   Excerpts:

Successful policymaking partnerships between academics and politicians are possible if, as in a happy marriage, each party appreciates the strengths and limitations of the other.

For their part, researchers sometimes behave as if science has the power to make difficult decisions for society. Science can’t prove which policy option should be adopted. That’s what free speech, public debate and elections are for, and it’s dangerous to democracy for scientists to imply otherwise.

Academics and politicians need to stick to exercising their own, different strengths. Academics are particularly skilled at identifying emerging problems that elude casual observation, such as an increase in overdose deaths in particular neighbourhoods. The ability to convincingly document threats before they reach crisis levels is a literally lifesaving virtue of scientific enquiry. Without it, public policy responses may come too late to be of value.

[Politicians] know when and where a study can have an impact, who needs to see it, how the voters will react and how it can be leveraged in the policy world.

With this demarcation of roles, academics expand the impact of their work and politicians obtain access to new information that can aid them in defending their stances on issues. The even bigger winner is society, which benefits from empirically informed, clearly explained and rigorously evaluated public policy.

JC comments:  This article makes some goods, but ignores the dark side of mixing  science and politics.


The best ‘rant’ I’ve seen in awhile comes from Sultan Knish:  The end of science.  Well worth reading the whole article.  Excerpts:

The reemergence of Cosmos could not have come at a better time, not because it has something to teach us about science, but because we are living in Sagan’s world where real science is harder than ever to come by.

Carl Sagan was the country’s leading practitioner of the mythologization of science, transforming a process into a philosophy, substituting political agendas for inquiry and arrogance for research. 

There’s more money in predicting an apocalypse that can only be stopped with trendy progressive policies than the recognition that environmental debates are complex and often come down to a tug of war between competing interests. Reality doesn’t pay. Politicized and prostituted science does.

Science has become a substitute religion for secularists who imagine that they are more intelligent than religious people because they are more skeptical, when in reality the things that they are skeptical about are the ones that don’t touch on their own unexamined and unquestioned beliefs.

The Cosmos crowd have always been eager to mock televangelists predicting the end of the world, but have little to say about Sagan’s equally bogus predictions about the end of the world. They made science into a culture filled with ‘awe and wonder’ as if the universe were their own private church, while jettisoning the rational inquiry and reasoned debate.

There is nothing to cheer about the return of Cosmos. It’s not science, instead it’s more of the popularized punditry that distorts science into an absolute dogma with a cynical agenda.


Some satire from NewBiscuit: Scientists reveal Occam’s Razor with 3 blades.  Excerpt:

“With our original Occam’s Razor, our proposed theories were gaining outlandish and unverifiable statements within hours and, quite frankly by the end of the academic day they were looking pretty unprofessional. With the new three-bladed razor, our ideas still look clean and elegant all day long.”

Combining a pivoting razor head with anti-friction blades, the new Occam’s Razor can glide smoothly over any proposed academic paper, leaving only smooth scientific plausibility and a slight scent of aloe vera.

U.S. policy & politics

From the NYTimes:  White House Unveils Plans to Cut Methane Emissions.

From the National Journal, an article about threats to the electric grid:  Newt Gingrich’s Plan to Stave Off the Apocalypse.

From the WashPo’s Capital Weather Gang:  Sense of urgency needed to steady U.S. weather forecasting.


The big news is the forthcoming release of the IPCC AR5 WG2 Report.  I will have a post on this tomorrow, in preparation for some media interviews.  Looks like BBC is lining up an extensive discussion on Monday – I will be on at 8:30 a.m. (UK time; unfortunately 4:30 a.m. US east coast time).

253 responses to “Week in review

  1. The skeptics are winning the debate, but the other side has more political power.

    The situation is becoming dangerous. We share enough common goals and agreements to compromise rather than allow this debate to explode and cause permanent damage to social structure.

    • May I repeat the common goals of AGW skeptics and believers:

      1. We all want world peace.
      2. An end to nationalistic warfare.
      3. An end to the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation.
      4. Cooperative efforts to protect Earth’s environment and bounty.
      5. Governments controlled by the people being governed, including
      6. Transparency and veracity (truth) of information given to the public.

    • Paul Vaughan

      “The situation is becoming dangerous. “

      Agree. Sensible minds are needed for sober, careful interference.

    • I would like to believe that the skeptics are winning the debate
      but when you consider the pervasiveness of left liberal values
      in education, the media or in climate science with its emphasis
      on consensus, ‘reducing science to an absolute authority,’ as
      Sultan Knish states, makes me doubt this. In an open debate
      I’d feel more confident.

      Once again, thank goodness for Dr Curry’s open forum.

  2. A highlight this week for me was the publication of a paper which has been stalled for 20 months since submission, but has now been published in a solar physics journal so prestigious that it’s called… Solar Physics

    The paper lays out the observations that I’ve been blogging about for years, and quantifies the probability of the correlations between planetary motion and solar activity as being due to chance as being around 1 in 100,000.

    It’s written by solar science heavyweights, and is due some serious consideration and discussion.

    Details of the paper and some discussion underway here:

    • One of the periodicities involved plugs straight into Marcia Wyatt and Judy Curry’s ‘stadium wave’ paper’s conclusions too. Some fresh thinking on a possible origin for the 60 year periodicity is under discussion here:


    • tallbloke | March 29, 2014 at 11:16 am |

      Still pushing that astrology rag?

      Don’t get me wrong, a few really good papers have been published there; however, it’s the principle reason I became a fan of the Journal of Irreproducible Results (http://www.jir.com/).

    • Bart R says:
      “Still pushing that astrology rag?”

      The journal ‘Solar Physics’ is an astrology rag? Bart R?

      Lol. No wonder climate science is in such a desperate state.

    • Re: Bart R | March 29, 2014 at 11:36 am |
      Read more, denigrate less:

    • Thanks for that link, Roger.

      The unasked question is the fraction of cosmic rays that come from the Sun’s pulsar core, rather than from extrasolar sources.

      I saw another unpublished paper this week that may address that issue.

    • One suggests be more skeptical of things one reads without doing the actual math.

      For these claims of planetary motion correlations to be real and true suggests a force that becomes stronger as distance increases and mass decreases.

      For that to be true, the motions of distant planets surrounding other stars, of dust particles in interstellar space, of molecules in far galaxies, each must have such dramatic power as would tear apart the Earth and Sun both.

      So, yes, “astrology rag”.

      So, Pooh, when one hears criticism of a journal for being an astrology rag, pointing to the website of a well-known astrologer means.. what?

    • Bart R | March 29, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      For these claims of planetary motion correlations to be real and true suggests a force that becomes stronger as distance increases and mass decreases.

      I don’t know where you’ve picked that up, but you’re completely wrong.
      I suggest you start here:

    • How about just tides, forget about the planetary factors.
      We know tides are real and they can lead to temperature variations.

      The key thing to remember however is these effects are relatively small and contained by the constraints of the system.

    • WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | March 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      How about just tides, forget about the planetary factors.

      The period of Lunar declination cycle is 18.613 years
      The period of the Jupiter Earth Venus cycle averages 22.06 years

      Taking the tidal half periods and calculating the beat period:
      9.3065 x 11.03 / (11.03 – 9.3065) = 59.559 years
      3 x Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions of 19.858 = 59.574 years

      This is not coincidental. There are several lunar libration periods which amply demonstrate the effect of the Jovian forcing on its orbital elements.

      The AMO and PDO are not little tides. Their positive phase accounts for most of the 1975-205 warming.

    • Hi WHT
      Let’s see, formula quoted here
      appeared in print more than 10 years ago, and what the world most respected solar scientist of the decade was saying at the time and subsequently you can find out here:
      In a short email exchange he dismissed the above formula as unrealistic. I decided to leave it for the sun to make final ‘peer review’ of two starkly different projections.

    • Paul Vaughan

      Minutes from now I’ll be sending tallbloke map animations of what Wyatt calls the “stadium” wave.

    • The AMO and PDO are not little tides. Their positive phase accounts for most of the 1975-205 warming.

      Instead of wishing for something to be true, why don’t you do the actual quantitative analysis. The land warming is around 1.3C since 1880 and the stadium wave oscillation is about +/- 0.1C of that amount. That makes it less significant than you claim.

      Better to look at the origin of something like the SOI, which is likely due to the direct interactions of the tides with periods of 6, 8.85, and 18.6 years.

      The solution of the wave equation with an oscillatory distortion creates the aperiodic SOI fluctuations that we see. This is interesting physics that has been barely tapped.

    • Cosmos is not the thing that is damaging to science.

      What is damaging to science are these pseudo-scientists with an agenda that are not in it to find the truth, but rather to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt in people that look at their stuff.

      So sure, there may be influences in orbital parameters, and the long-term Milankovitch cycles are accepted evidence of this. But until the amplitude of that effect is shrunk down to operate over a 100-year span, the alternate theories to explain the significant warming that we have seen are really best left as second-order.

      ABCD is the governing motto.

    • Webby: Instead of wishing for something to be true, why don’t you do the actual quantitative analysis.

      Earth-Sun 99% consensus. :)

    • WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | March 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
      The land warming is around 1.3C since 1880 and the stadium wave oscillation is about +/- 0.1C of that amount.

      Anyone perusing the data can see that that statement is both wrongheaded and factually incorrect. The ocean surface warming since 1880 is less than a degree and the major oceanic oscillations take the SST up and down around +/- 0.15C

      Here, I replicated it:

      So, around 0.3C of the 0.4C 1975-2005 warming was the positive phase of the oceanic cycles forced by the Sun and the Moon and the Jovian planets, and the people spreading the FUD are the co2 fetishists, alarming people about a trace gas that has added at most around 0.25C since 1880, 0.15 of that since 1975. (assuming the temperature record hasn’t been diddled with).

      I admit there’s plenty of uncertainty in all assessments and models, but I’ll bet you $1000 mine turns out to be more accurate than yours. Ready to put your money where your mouth is?

    • Bart R

      The scientific basis for the paper you pooh-pooh (correlations between planetary motion and solar activity) is no more “hairy-fairy” than the CAGW notion that ppmv atmospheric changes in a trace gas (CO2) will cause us all to fry.

      Both ideas seem equally ludicrous.

      But you enthusiastically embrace one while rejecting the other.



    • Max: “Both ideas seem equally ludicrous.”

      Even from this distance Jupiter looks a damn sight bigger than a co2 molecule. ;)

    • I did the work on this. The contribution of the stadium wave to global surface temperature is +/- 0.1 C over the last 130+ years. On land, the contribution is about half of this. Meanwhile, the land temperature anomaly is about 1.3C over the last 130+ years. Although not quite in the noise, since the effect is detectable, it is not very significant compared to the relentless warming due to the CO2 control knob.

    • This comment by Tallbloke was deleted:

      | 5:50 PM | tallbloke |

      you’re just repeating incorrect info now, so I’ll leave you to fiddle with your knob.

      The global temperature rise speaks for itself. The conspiracy theory is apparently that this was somehow manufactured by Organized Clime.

    • Why are you repeating a comment that Judith has deleted, webby? Don’t you think that is disrespecting your hostess?

    • “The global temperature rise speaks for itself”


    • tallbloke | March 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm |

      Hypotheses non fingo.

      You should try it.

      Finding some wild coincidences among the literally infinite possible ratios in the Universe and construing them to be meaningful is simply not Science. It’s mere superstition.

      This thread is a trainwreck of illogic. Get off it before it derails even further. You can’t make it work, or worth it. It’s exactly why astrology is mocked.

    • David L. Hagen

      Magnetic Fields at Hale Solar Sector Boundaries Leif Svalgaard, HEPL Stanford University, Huntsville Workshop, 25 March 2014

      The findings of Dittmer, Antonucci, Obridko, Wilcox, and
      Svalgaard are fully confirmed: Flares occur preferentially at Hale Sector Boundaries
      • The corona has maximal brightness over a Hale Sector Boundary
      • The magnetic field is strongest at Hale Sector Boundaries
      • More and stronger Active Regions occur at Hale Sector Boundaries
      • The findings have potential value for prediction of flare occurrence
      The warps of the Heliospheric Sector Structure originates preferentially from magnetic fields in one Hemisphere
      separated by a Hale Boundary where the polarity change matches that of bipolar active regions
      • There is a high degree of coherence in the organization of solar magnetic activity on large scales, which presumably links the sector structure to the deep interior of the Sun, reflecting a similar property in the creation of solar magnetism or its propagation to the surface
      • The solar sector structure is organized and long-lived, and flaring also has the same degree of spatial and temporal structure

      Compare WJR Alexander found hydrology in SOuthern African region is driven by the ~ 22 year Hale Cycle.
      Linkages between solar activity, climate
      predictability and water resource development*
      Vol 49 No 2, June 2007, Pages 32–44, Paper 659

      Similarly see:
      Exploratory Analysis of Similarities in Solar Cycle Magnetic Phases with Southern Oscillation Index Fluctuations in Eastern Australia ROBERT G.V. BAKER

    • Don Monfort | March 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm |

      Why are you repeating a comment that Judith has deleted, webby? Don’t you think that is disrespecting your hostess?

      I have no idea what you are talking about.

      The Organized Clime pun was for you Mafia Don.

    • You wrote that the comment that you attributed to tallbloke had been deleted. I assumed that you were being truthful. My mistake. Carry on with your foolishness.

    • David L Hagen, thanks for the link to W Alexander’s hydrology
      studies in Sth Africa charting the influence of the Hale Cycle.

      Those Cheshire Grin :: sunspots:: (kim) jest keep popping
      up in the debate,still-on-going and un-resolved regarding
      c-o-two and what historian Marc Bloch calls ‘the fetishism
      of the single cause’ in explanation.

    • Apologies to Judith. Knob gags are less offensive in the UK than the US I guess.

      Bart R | March 29, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
      tallbloke | March 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
      Finding some wild coincidences among the literally infinite possible ratios in the Universe and construing them to be meaningful is simply not Science. It’s mere superstition.

      He said, clearly not having read the work.

      The two biggest planets 5:2 resonance forms the basic beat pattern which modulates the solar cycle, with longer term modulation from the next two biggest. The transfer of angular momentum from the biggest pair to the smaller bodies in the inner solar system (Including our Moon) entrains them into timings which necessarily produce the 60 year beat which affects Earth via the ‘Stadium wave’.

      I’ve studied it, you haven’t.

      McCracken et al have now quantified the odds of the correlations being chance as 1;100,000, and they’re experts on long term solar variation evidenced through proxy time series of cosmogenic nucleides.

      There’s a whole branch of astrophysics devoted to orbital resonance and the transfer of angular momentum published in the literature. My discovery is that this energy transfer organises the solar system into a particular type of log-normal distribution which contains harmonically resonant ratios between the space-time distribution of the planets, moons, asteroids and sundry space rocks.

      Do some reading before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

    • WebHubTelescope (@WHUT) | March 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
      The global temperature rise speaks for itself. The conspiracy theory is apparently that this was somehow manufactured by Organized Clime.

      Even the IPCC now recognises that due to its heat capacity, the oceans are the best measure of Earth’s energy balance. The SST is a good proxy for OHC, and SST has exhibited the ~60yr cycle since records began. Proxy records show the ~60 yr cycle of varying amplitude is a permanent feature of the climate system.

      Underlying it are longer term cycles around 208, 974 and 2310 years. So the temperature rise is speaking at a variety of frequencies. Our job as climate researchers is to isolate and remove the natural cycles so we can determine the residual. Only then can the ghg question be settled. Unless it gets colder or at least no warmer with no major volcanos occurring while co2 continues to rise.

    • tallbloke | March 30, 2014 at 7:02 am |

      If knob gags are less offensive over the pond, how do screw gags go over?

      You’ve _studied_ it and I haven’t?

      WTF? How do you know what I have or haven’t studied?

      What sort of fallacious claim of special knowledge is that?

      For the specific objects you cite to have the specific effects you claim would require massively disproportionate effects of some force disregarding distance and mass relationships.

      For this mechanism to be credible would require us to believe some single molecule in a far off galaxy is controlling the bowel movements of pelicans, and a neutron on the far side of the Universe decides what breakfast cereal you eat.

      Play with numbers all you want, it’s still just astrology and numerology, superstitions, not reasoning.

  3. “Mann and Trenberth said that Pielke responded to their comments with what appeared to be threats.”

    WHat are these guys, 9 years old?
    Shameless, especially coming from the loonily litigious Michael Mann.

    • “This is the same old wrong Roger,” Trenberth said by e-mail. “He is demonstrably wrong and misleads.”
      “Pielke uses a very misleading normalization procedure that likely serves to remove the very climate change-related damage signal that he claims to not be able to find.” M. Mann
      “This post is surprisingly sloppy,” Abraham said. “I wouldn’t accept this kind of writing from my own students, even undergraduates.”
      “Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology,” Pielke wrote in the email that was sent to both Trenberth and his bosses. “If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further. More generally, in the future how about we agree to disagree over scientific topics like gentlemen?”

      I understand that Pielke takes exception to their comments.

  4. There is a dispute about whether Camille actually a Cat. 5 but there is no money in such disputes.

  5. “Silver’s apology to Trenberth and Mann is being viewed as throwing RP Jr under the bus.”

    Sure appears so to me, I have the sense he’s cracking under the pressure. The question for me is will RP be given a shot at rebutting the rebuttal

    “I think it will be difficult for Silver to come up with a convincing critique”

    Of course, “convincing” is in the eye and ear of beholder. The usual recitation of alarmist cant is the likely outcome.

    • You got it poker. Silver has already surrendered to the alarmist gang. RP Jr is to be disappeared to the Gulag.

    • Or, maybe Silver is balancing RP’s article out with other opinions, realizing that it should have been put under Op-Ed in the first place.

    • Another good question is whether the proposed Pielke Jr. rebuttal will be edited to meet the standards Silver now agrees should be applied to Pielke.

      In particular, no “offhand remarks,” only “precise, matter-of-fact language,” and no policy recommendations.

      In a warmist post.

      I won’t hold my breath.

    • Gary,
      Superb point.

    • If Silver allows RP Jr to reply to the rebuttal the alarmist gang will holler like stuck pigs. They don’t want a debate. They can’t stand a debate. They can’t win a debate, because their case is uncertain and unconvincing. See:


      Couldn’t even hold the green NPR crowd. This is the kind of disaster they want to avoid by shutting off debate.

    • Steven Mosher

      whoever rebuts Roger will likely change the subject.
      or they will bristle under any editorial control.
      But it would be nice to have a back and forth of SEVERAL rounds

    • If RP Jr is allowed to reply, the alarmists will demand balance; they get 97 turns and RP Jr gets 3.

  6. Judith,
    Note, the UK is changing the clocks for summer time tonight. So the east coast time difference will be 5 hours starting Sunday.

  7. I have heard that UK time springs forward on April 1. Or so my local spy reports. If true, at least you avoid being late for breakfast Monday. Return flight might be affected, however.

  8. Concerned Citizen

    Wasn’t Silver just excoriated by Harry Reid and the left for predicting that the GOP has a 60% chance to take back the Senate. Did he apologize and roll over for that? The irony here (and consistency from certain quarters) makes me want to laugh out loud. “Reality” and objectivity are becoming increasingly foreign to a large segment of society.

  9. Small correction: The article at the Sultan Knish blog is written by Daniel Greenfield,

  10. Fossil fuels are an economic blessing. It is helping the poor, the middle class, and the upper class in the US. This is what the CAGWers and environmentalists want to kill.
    From the article:
    WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s cities are still growing, with the population boom fueled by people picking up and moving to find jobs in energy production across the oil- and gas-rich areas west of the Mississippi River.

    New 2013 census information released Thursday shows that cities are the fastest-growing parts of the United States, and a majority of the metro areas showing that growth are located in or near the oil- and gas-rich fields of the Great Plains and Mountain West.

    Neighboring cities Odessa and Midland, Texas, show up as the second and third fastest-growing metro areas in the country. Sara Higgins, the Midland public information officer, has a simple explanation: oil. “They’re coming here to work,” Higgins said.

    Energy production is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, the Census Bureau said. The boom in the U.S. follows the use of new technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, to tap oil and gas reserves.

    According to its data, revenue for mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction grew 34.2 percent to $555.2 billion from 2007 to 2012. It also was among the fastest growers in employment as the number of employees rose 23.3 percent to 903,641.


  11. And thanks to insane EPA regulations, the Federal Government just might kill the Fossil Fuel Goose that is lying the golden eggs – that’s the bird we need to protect.
    From the article:

    The Obama administration said Thursday it is placing a grassland grouse known as the lesser prairie chicken on a list of threatened species, a move that could affect oil and gas drilling, wind farms and other activities in five central and southwestern states.

    The decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service is a step below “endangered” status and allows for more flexibility in how protections for the bird will be carried out under the Endangered Species Act.

    Dan Ashe, the agency’s director, said he knows the decision will be unpopular with governors in the five affected states — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico — but said the agency was following the best science available.

    “The lesser prairie-chicken is in dire straits,” Ashe said in an interview. “The bird is in decline and has been in decline for more than a decade.”


    • I want to visit the cemetery where the bury all these dead golden-egg gooses.

      With all these reports of dead golden-egg gooses, maybe they should be listed as a endangered species.

    • JCH – good catch. Typo. Should have been laying. Oh well, the dangers of real time.

    • Hamp Simkins

      The bit about “threatened” status being more flexible than “endangered” is absolute BS! In reality it makes no difference whatsoever.

  12. Curious George

    Dr. Mann and Dr. Trenberth have a very keen sense of being threatened. In one episode of Judge Judy a defendant complains “he threatened to sue me”. Legally, it is not considered a threat, but it may get very expensive, as Dr. Mann clearly knows.

  13. I think Nate Silver should run a series of articles, say 5-9 in number, allowing Roger to respond to each critical article and giving him the last word. He can site research and probably wax the competition.

  14. Re: Sultan Knish (aka Daniel Greenfield). Wouldn’t going after Cosmos be the definition of anti-science, or is that program really part of the great conspiracy? Were the Fox network taken in by hosting such a program? If you Google Greenfield, the description that comes up is Islamophobe, so he and Steyn have that in common too along with his blogging qualification being journalism.

    • Cosmos is more of a documentary, has nothing to do with the meat and practice of science.

  15. My bumper sticker assessment of agw –
    ‘Not Real or a Hoax – Real AND a Hoax’

    Real in principle, hoax of extent.
    Radiative Forcing is not imaginary.

    But is GW -inevitable-?
    The factors which I can conjure up which would at least partially offset RF
    ( increased Stratosphere-Troposhpere energy exchange, increase convective energy exchange with the surface including precip, increased effective radiative surface of earth-atmosphere, etc. ) are all real but would appear to be less that RF in the aggregate.

    I know those factors are largely unknown, precisely. Could there be enough to totally offset RF? or is some GW -inevitable-?

    • Al,

      Your perspective a bit skewed. Total energy in the Earth climate system has been increasing steadily for many decades. The only thing to counter this external forcing is another external forcing of equal but opposite intensity over the same long term time frame. You also need to think of the other species of GH gases that are increasing. The increased forcing from N2O and methane are not trivial.

    • “The only thing to counter this external forcing is another external forcing of equal but opposite intensity over the same long term time frame. ”

      There are reactions to RF that are internal (‘negative feedbacks’) that tend to reduce the amount of RF:
      * Cooling the stratosphere and warming the troposphere makes STE more effective at energy exchange.
      * Heating the surface makes convection away from the surface more effective.
      * Raising the effective radiating level ( posited to be around 1km ) has the effect of increasing the emissive surface area ( and thus reducing the necessary intensity.
      * Cloud height? Albedo? etc. etc.

      These feedbacks are real and uncertain but probably small.

      “The increased forcing from N2O and methane are not trivial.”

      The growth in forcing from minor constituents has declined significantly.
      Annual growth of greenhouse forcing has declined by about 25% since peaking 20 years ago:


    • “These feedbacks are real and uncertain but probably small.”
      Positive feedbacks don’t seem small. Quite the opposite.

  16. Little dana and his crew of sks sycophants attack RP Jr, on little dana’s Faux 97% Consensus blog at the tired and tattered Guardian of Socialism and Purveyor of Soviet Style Propaganda:


    Little dana’s coup in getting himself propelled into the leftist limelight with that 97% BS is really not working out well for him. Unless he is getting paid well to spend his time preaching to the choir on a weightless blog. It actually looks to me like his efforts are backfiring. His propaganda is always picked apart by comments from intelligent and articulate realists. And that is despite the soviet moderators’ efforts to guard the dogma. It get’s really funny when the sks pinheads squeal about intelligent and articulate realist comments getting way too many Recommends. It has to be a conspiracy.

  17. Regarding the release of the WG2 report on Monday. There’ll be a bit of a splash, and both sides with have their string of experts. Dr. Curry sure to bring out her uncertainty monster for her interviews. Overall, not much to be expected in terms of actual policies, which is a net win for the “skeptics”. Maybe more fireworks later this year of the El Niño actually develops- certainly that will get at least as much, if not more press overall than the WG2 report, especially if comes during a low summer Arctic sea ice press feeding frenzy.

    • I thought cherrypicking weather events was what ‘deniers’ do; is it now part of your religious faith to pray for the appearance of cyclical warming events and perform a penance if you get a cold event?

    • The appearance of an El Niño and the resultant spike in tropospheric temperatures neither proves nor disproves anything related to AGW. Those who know and understand this, will unfortunately be drowned out by those who do not. The real long term effects of anthropogenic GHG increases don’t need a spikes in the flux of sensible and latent heat from ocean to atmosphere to validate.

  18. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/critique_of_pielke_jr_statements_on_drought.pdf for some context on why the response to 538 was so negative.

    Taken by itself, Dr. Pielke Jr.’s claim that everyone who reads Facebook is some sort of patsy having their perceptions manipulated could be seen simply as objective scientific observation. It has all the hallmarks of objectivity: rejection of observation, dismissal of inference, regard for erring on the side of least drama over getting to the truth. (THAT WAS SARCASM, BY THE WAY.)

    However, taken in a pattern that required a rebuttal by a scientist of the errors of a Congressman planted in that Congressman’s noggin’ by bad science, Dr. Pielke Jr.’s bad science requires something stronger, because minimizing his misbehavior will only encourage him to continue to spread obfuscation and error, which people in power will be confused into bad policy by. And that costs us all.

    Or are you soft on crime?

    • What crime are you alleging, barty?

    • John Carpenter

      The crime of ‘uncertainty’ that shrouds this tempest in a teapot Don.

    • John, I think barty is following the lead of the alarmist gang muckety mucks in trying to criminalize dissent/denial. I think he has more sense than to specifically accuse RP Jr of a specific crime.

    • John Carpenter

      No Don, it is merely the use of a red herring via appeal to emotion by wishful thinking. It could also be considered an ad hom attack on RPJr by inference that what he does is ‘criminal’. Funny, Bart prides himself on not using ad hominem attacks. But this is a good example of ‘poisoning the well’ in his attempt to discredit RPJr. Shame on you Bart.

    • Curious George

      I am grateful to Bart for a link to a paper by Dr. Holdren of many predictions. He starts in a usual pattern: “I replied that the indicated comments by Dr. Pielke … were not representative of mainstream views on this topic in the climate-science community.”

      He does not say Dr. Pielke is wrong; his sin is that he does not follow the herd. This from a President’s scientific adviser.

    • Bart R | March 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm |


      No one need seek discredit Dr. Pielke Jr.; he’s a man of above average integrity, so far as I can tell, and attacks on his character mean nothing to me, nor do I make any.

      However, as to what Dr. Pielke Jr.’s statements and conduct amount to, one must consider that Congress has acted based on what Dr. Pielke Jr. has said to them under oath to accuse Dr. Holdren of serious misconduct.

      Either Dr. Pielke Jr. intended to support action of that type by his testimony, or he did not intend it. If Dr. Pielke Jr. intended it, then either Dr. Holdren has perjured himself before Congress, or Dr. Pielke Jr. has. There is no universe of truthful and purposeful testimony in which one is true and the other is not false.

      Which means someone’s committed a crime, and being soft on that is being soft on crime.

      Now, you may have an opinion as to which is which, but I’d say the issue of deciding guilt is well beyond the competence of the Denizens, and certainly far beyond all our impartiality. Wouldn’t you want it to go to trial, to decide, before an impartial judge?

    • That is an interesting legal theory, barty. Two people state opposite opinions, under oath before a Congressional committee, so one of them is a criminal. I am guessing, it’s got to be the guy whose opinion you don’t like. You have sunk to a new low, barty.

    • Don Monfort | March 29, 2014 at 11:30 pm |

      You believe sworn testimony before Congress by experts is opinion, in general?

      That’s what Congressional hearings call expert witnesses for, opinions?

      Whatever happened to facts, reasoning, observations of actual phenomena, expertise and truth?

      Still, whatever the general case is, it cannot be said to apply to this particular case. Here, facts have been spun, statements altered from their original form, key exceptions minimized and key evidence left out entirely from the inventions of a witness, even after the witness was offered every opportunity to amend.

      That’s not ‘opinion’. Making excuses for crime is being soft on crime. And if you didn’t know right to your core who the criminal was, you wouldn’t be bending over backwards to go easy on the kid, he’s from a broken home, he’s economically disadvantaged, he’s had it rough.. SOFT. ON. CRIME.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Of course there is habeas corpus and the presumption of innocence – except in Bart’s court of shoddy opinion.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      @DM: I am guessing, it’s got to be the guy whose opinion you don’t like. You have sunk to a new low, barty

      While it hadn’t occurred to me that Bart had set a trap, now that Don has sprung it I’m impressed at its efficacy.

      Don judges people based merely on his guesses. This explains a lot.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Bart is judged and condemned on his own words – not by guesswork.

    • You are playing a dirty game, barty. And your continuing insinuations that RP Jr committed perjury before Congress are blatant enough that Judith should have trashed them and sent you on you way.

    • I forgot to mention that you are a coward, barty.

    • Dr. Pratt,

      You have had a long and distinguished career in academia. You shouldn’t be associating yourself with characters like barty. It’s not dignified.

    • Don Monfort | March 30, 2014 at 3:36 pm |


      It’s a flat out mathematical certainty. Either Pielke Jr. et al perjured before Congress, or Holdren et al did. There is no other plausible flat reading of the sum of all the testimony on Climate.

      SOFT. ON. CRIME.

    • Don Monfort | March 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm |

      Dr. Pratt, it is true what Don says. And if you wish testimonials, I can refer to the deans and presidents of several dozen academic institutions who can personally vouch for what an undignified rogue and scoundrel I am. Consider your reputation endangered.

    • Let’s stipulate that your contrived interpretation is correct, barty. Do you have the guts and the decency to say which one of the suspects has committed perjury before the Congress of the United States? I am guessing that you have don’t?

    • Don Monfort | March 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm |

      Asked and answered; but then, what we say here on this blog makes no difference in such a finding: what you say, because clearly your reasoning is deficient, and what I say, because I’m saying it here, to you.

      Calling for an objective official investigation to clear the air and determine if the patent existence of perjury is grounds for criminal charge isn’t defamation, as you appear to want to insinuate, but the highest duty of a citizen. When Mann et al were investigated, and cleared of all but the most trivial of complaints (what, nine separate times?), I applauded. Well, at least the first three or four times. After that, clear abuse of process and infamous harassment by elected officials breaking their oaths of office had to be recognized for what it was.

      So, yes. One investigation. One set of trials. One finding. No double, triple, nonetuple jeopardy.

      Who perjured to Congress on Climate, and was that perjury severe enough to warrant charges laid?

    • You obviously don’t care if you have any credibility on this blog, barty. That boat has sailed anyway.

      You persist in insinuating that RP Jr committed perjury. I wonder why Judith allows it to go on. I won’t aid you any more. Carry on with you cowardly foolishness.

    • Don Monfort | March 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm |

      Again with ‘insinuate’. Are you sure you know what the word means?

      I’ve said it flat out.

      Are you trying to diminish the claim?

      And why won’t you address it?

      Either Pielke Jr. perjured, or Holdren did.

      Are you too cowardly to state which one you believe it to be? Nevermind insinuation, come out with it.

    • Then if your convoluted logic means anything, you have admitted to insinuating that RP Jr committed perjury before the Congress of the United States. We knew that, already. What I am asking you, barty, is:
      Do you have the guts and the decency to outright accuse RP Jr of committing perjury before the Congress of the United States? Carry on coward.

    • Don Monfort | March 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm |

      You really don’t get how this works, do you?

      If you’re calling it ‘insinuation’, instead of outright assertion (which it is), then you are insinuating that Holdren perjured.

      Will you come out and directly say Holdren perjured?

      Do you consider it cowardly that you won’t?

      Where the heck does the ‘coward’ thing come from anyway?

      I’ve been saying this about Lomborg for months now, too. Or did you miss that?

      SOFT. ON. CRIME.

    • You have been asserting that either RP Jr, or Holdren has committed perjury before Congress, based on your ridiculous DIY legal theory that if expert witnesses don’t testify in the same way, one of them is a perjurer. And you are acting as Holdren’s faux lawyer by presenting the case for his innocence. You are doing all this to discredit/smear RP Jr, by making it clear that you are insinuating that he is the perjurer. We get it. We know what you are insinuating and you know that we know. That’s your dirty game. You are a snake in the grass. I keep challenging you to slither out of the weeds and explicitly accuse RP Jr of committing perjury before Congress. But you prefer to do your smearing the cowardly way. You are not fooling anybody and you are not doing the cause any good. You are pathetic. That’s all I have for you, barty.

    • Don Monfort | March 31, 2014 at 12:08 am |

      SOFT. ON. CRIME.

      Misrepresenting what’s gone on as no more than ‘expert witnesses not testifying the same way’ tells us all we need know of your coddling attitude.

      Plus you keep demanding over and over again what’s already been provided, as if you lack the ability to READ HARDER.

      What do you have against a judge and jury hearing the case?

      If I’m wrong that two sets of statements so opposite as one of them must be intentional deception, not mere difference of expert interpretation of all the same facts but deliberate leaving out of facts commonly known by experts, then that would clear the way for us to understand Congress is a house built on lies. If I’m right, then a clear wrong is attended to and America made whole in a small way. It’s a win-win.

    • Robert I Ellison

      We have one Presidential ‘science advisor’ opining that the drought is anthropogenic and another opining that that at best it is something that can be discerned against background variability over centuries of observations – from his own peer reviewed study of this topic and – indeed – reference to the IPCC.

      “In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated. However, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of drought has increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950” ‘

      So really does a prima facie case exists to impeach Holdren – and by extension Obama because he bloody well ought to have known – for lying to the American people?

      The question is as ludicrous as this perpetual farce foisted on climate etc by the perennially disingenuous Bart. There really should come a stage where such risible defamations as this repeated over and again has no place in civilized discourse.

    • Bart R,

      I started to write a comment asking you to stop embarrassing yourself with your disturbingly comic notions of perjury. But I reconsidered. It’s better than your typical xenophobic comments against the Aussies.

      So have at it. The world needs Falstaffs too.

    • Gary, don’t you remember in the OJ trial when a battery of expert witnesses for the prosecution testified that OJ “done it” and a battery of expert defense witnesses testified that “oh, no he didn’t”? Well, it turned out that OJ was objectively declared innocent and all the prosecution witnesses were jailed for perjury, except one lady who plead down to a misdemeanor white lie. There was a shortage of expert prosecution witnesses for years. A lot of trials had to be postponed.

  19. Existence of potential is not evidence of existence of outcome.

    For examples:

    The potential for the Earth’s climate systems to attain radiative energy-exchange balance is not evidence of radiative energy-exchange balance.

    The potential for increased atmospheric concentration of CO2 to increase the energy content of the Earth’s climate systems, and an associated some-kind-of Global Average Temperature, is not evidence of increased energy content or temperature.

    The potential for the Earth’s climate systems to attain steady / stationary states is not evidence that the systems have attained steady / stationary states. Whatever the state of energy storage, transport, exchange, and inter-change, energy is conserved. Always.

    The potential for increased atmospheric temperature to retain increased water is not evidence that the atmosphere contains increased water.

    The potential for increased atmospheric water content is not evidence that extreme rainfall events will occur.

    The potential for increased atmospheric temperature to lead to increased strength and frequency of topical storms is not evidence that topical storms have increased in frequency and strength.

    The potential for increased atmospheric temperature to lead to increases in driving potentials is not evidence of increased potentials. Processes that are driven by potentials, and that means just about all of them, can experience the same driving potentials at increased energy content and temperature level.

    Radiative energy exchange balance at the top of the atmosphere implies energy-exchange balance ( not limited to radiative exchange ) at all the interfaces between the sub-systems within the Earth’s climate systems. The potential for radiative energy exchange balance at the top of the atmosphere is not evidence of energy exchange balance at sub-systems interfaces.

    • Rising oceans, warmer oceans, declining global continental glacial ice, especially in Greenland and Antarctica is evidence the system is retaining more energy. This is not just potential or theoretical, but actual and measured over many decades.

    • increasing total sea ice, increasing Antarctic Ice, a stop in warming for 17 years, no atmospheric hotspot, a cooling sun is evidence the system is retaining less energy. This is not just potential or theoretical, but actual and measured over many decades.
      After all if the seas were warmer the atmosphere would have to heat up [copyright R Gates].

    • Indeed. If warmer air leads to more extreme rainfall, then why do we, in the UK, experience our most extreme rainfall events during winter and early spring, rather than in midsummer – when the air is a lot warmer?
      Those who bang on about more energy in the system rather miss the point that there’s always a huge amount of energy moving about the system, and always has been, so a relatively tiny statistical increase in the overall average amount is probably not going to make much difference to anything.

    • For R. Gates March 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      A comment by Professor Curry on this post provides actual numbers about the “rising oceans”.

      Seems like rising oceans are not doing much rising.

    • Dan Hughes | March 31, 2014 at 9:27 am |

      For R. Gates March 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      A comment by Professor Curry on this post provides actual numbers about the “rising oceans”.

      Seems like rising oceans are not doing much rising.

      The steric rise of sea level is close to what is anticipated for the current warming. If it was much larger than what the measurements say, it wouldn’t match with the theory. Much more would need to be due to melting which is unlikely with the current observations.

      No need to exaggerate. Nature is always self-consistent.

    • Webby

      Wrong. It is unexpected that there has been no significant change in the rate of sea level rise for over 21 years since there has been reasonably reliable means of measurements. Try to be as obtuse as you want, but the fact is that the rate of sea level rise is unchanged and that is a surprise.

    • The Greenland ice mass loss rate is double now what it was ten years ago, and today accounts for 1.5 mm/yr of sea-level rise. You can imagine what happens if it keeps doubling every decade or even if it just goes up linearly.

    • Jim D– When you imagine things do they always occur? Do you know what the worldwide ice melt will be in the future? The truth is, the rate of sea level rise has not been alarming. It has been very manageable.

    • Rob Starkey, well you can look at Greenland’s total ice mass, and draw your own conclusions. I think the loss is even accelerating.

    • JimD

      Yet in spite of all that melting there has been zero change in the rate of sea level rise since 1992.

    • The melting rate of Greenland in 1990 would probably have caused less than 0.5 mm/yr, which is the point. It became this significant fraction of sea-level rise in just two decades. Things are happening to rates that are best not ignored.

    • Ringo is rongo. Sea level continues to rise as predicted by the steric contribution due to OHC rise. The scientific evidence is consistent.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Comparisons of global steric height 10 trends based on different gridded fields of Argo in situ measurements show a range of 0–1mm/yr which can be lead back to data handling and climatology uncertainties. Our results show that GOIs derived from the Argo measurements are ideally suitable to monitor the state of the global ocean, especially after November 2007, i.e. when Argo sampling was 100% complete. They also show that there is significant interannual global variability at global scale, especially for global OFC. Before the end of 2007, error bars are too large to deliver robust short-term trends of GOIs and thus an interpretation in terms of long-term climate signals are still questionable, especially since uncertainties due to interannual fluctuations are not included in our error estimation. This will certainly change with the growing set of Argo measurements as also denoted by our calculations.’ http://www.ocean-sci-discuss.net/8/999/2011/osd-8-999-2011.pdf

      So somewhere between 0 and 1 mm/yrear in a period when SW forcing was trending modestly up and ocean freshwater content was declining.

      What happens when net TOA radiative flux doesn’t trend up?

      Looks like we will find out.

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/HadCRUT4vCERES_zpse5107cfd.png.html?sort=3&o=49 .

  20. The comments under Pielke’s 538 post are appalling, almost as bad as Abrahams”rebuttal.” I wonder if Abraham realizes that Silver did him a favor by not publishing that weak sauce of misdirection. Doubtful, since he found a different publisher.
    Silver will be fun to watch. I worked as a journalist for over a decade. At the Washington Post level, most don’t realize how cocooned the writers are. They are liberal, their editors are liberal, the people they hang out with are liberal. Any conservative criticism is ignored- those people are wrong and stupid by definition. But tell a liberal something they don’t want to hear and….oh, my! That’s serious business- something must be wrong with the story! Can you imagine anyone commissioning a rebuttal to a Michael Mann screed? It wouldn’t occur to them.
    What’s fun to watch though is not just the liberal cocoon, but the absence of any awareness of how the media works financially. Silver is about to learn that liberals will read only if you never print things that challenge their assumptions. Conservatives know all us ink stained wretches were fools writing from messed up perspectives and learned how to read between the lines.
    From a business perspective, if you try to appease liberals, you’ll be just one of thousands of media outlets doing the same thing. That worked in my day- we had a local monopoly, before the internet was big. Today, not so much. Today, Think Progress does red meat climate misinformation better and for free (using political donations) and conservatives already know there aren’t any climate impacts (or rational policy ideas). So what’s going to pay for Silver’s groceries? Either he’ll try to make a go of it as liberal outlet #455,678 with extra stats! Or he’ll go the route of playing it straight (now with even less exciting writing!) Doesn’t bode well, unfortunately.

    • You got it, Jeff. Silver should have stayed where he was getting a paycheck. It looks like he is going to get pushed into being another MSNBC/huffpo, or substitute any other of the left-wing non-profit media outlets. Not a promising market niche. He should try his hand at country music.

    • I’m a moron. I’m unable to tell the crucial difference between the question of whether Christians or atheists are right and that of whether conservatives or liberals are right.

      If there’s a crucial difference I’d be thrilled to have someone bring me up to speed on it.

  21. It seems that Roger Pilke Jr. and Warren Buffett have some similar thoughts (see the link below). Roger got slammed for his thoughts, but no one said an unkind word about Warren.


  22. That 538 article is interesting in more ways than one. It seems Mr Pielke isn’t a climate scientist because he is a professor of political science while Mr Abraham is because he is a professor of engineering. As JeffN points out a reading of Huffington Post article shows why it wasn’t wanted. Nate doesn’t give a breakdown of the number of responses that were in category 4, but a reading of the first 500 or so indicate that the majority seem to be there.

    Roger quoted the IPCC correctly, as a comparison of texts show, but the Category 1 and 3 types seem to be arguing that he misquoted or didn’t put in context. They don’t explain how, just state that black is white. For those people, “1984” was thirty years ago

    • Chris: saying that Pielke is a political scientist is rather like saying that Babe Ruth was a pitcher. Here’s how describes his academic background:

      I am currently a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. At CU, I am also a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and was director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research from 2001-2007. Before coming to CU in 2001, I spent 8 years as a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in their Environmental and Societal Impacts Group (which no longer exists). I have a B.A. in mathematics, an M.A. in public policy and a Ph.D. in political science, all from the University of Colorado. In 2007 I was on sabbatical at the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization (now called the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society) at Oxford University.

  23. Stephen Segrest

    What caught my eye this week was a promo for a new movie on Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defense during Iraq war). His famous quote on knowns and unknowns made me chuckle as it also applies to this blog & the AGW debate.

    When asked: What evidence do you have that Iraq is supplying terrorists with W.M.D.?

    He responded: As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

    • Stephen Segrest

      Yes. That was a wonderful quote.

      Rumsfeld (like him or not) is no dummy.

      The WMD story turned out to be bogus, and Bush/Cheney (plus Rumsfeld) were blamed by some for misleading the public. Whether or not this was intentional deceit, is a matter of conjecture, but it was very likely to a large extent simply a case of bad intelligence.

      The same sort of doomsday hobgoblins were used by politicians at the time to justify the war in Iraq (“mushroom cloud over Manhattan as a smoking gun”) as are being used by alarmist politicians today to justify “action”, i.e. a carbon tax (“climate change is the single largest terrorist threat we face”)

      Will the CAGW story of IPCC be judged in the same way, if and when it turns out not to be true?

      IMO our hostess is on the right side of history here, by cautioning that we still far too uncertain that there even is a CAGW problem (due to known as well as unknown unknowns) to jump to mitigating actions whose unforeseen negative consequences we are unable to assess today.

      IOW, let’s get our “intelligence” (or “science”) straight first.


    • @manacker: IMO our hostess is on the right side of history here

      Had WW2 gone the other way Neville Chamberlain would have been on the right side of history.

      Max likes to count his chickens before they’re hatched.

    • Sudetenally, all my trials seem so Nuremburg.

    • I like this from Alan Bullock: Looking back, I cannot think of a better preparation for writing about Hitler and Stalin than a close study of Thucydides, Tacitus, and those sections of Aristotle’s ‘Politics’ that deal with the Greek experience of tyranny.

    • Heh, Vaughn woke his early sophomore.

    • Hey, them’s spartan words, Kim.

    • We call Vaughn Pratt as witness to the right side of history. You know, V, my perfect bracket gave me a perfect headache: What to do with all that money?

  24. In a way, I almost feel feel sorry for the sappy, credulous believers who genuinely, if pathetically believe “deniers” are destroying the planet.

    The real culprits are the propagandists, and some of the institutional scientists, and those who are getting rich. They know the extent of their own dishonesty…at least deep down… as they continue to whip their idealistic dupes into a frenzy of anger and fear.

    The threat of exposure at the hands of skeptics fills the fraudsters with terror, and they’ll stop at just about nothing to make sure that doesn’t happen. I agree that the situation is becoming dangerous. I think it’s just a matter of time before some lunatic…or perhaps a group of them… does something violent.

    • @pokerguy: The real culprits are the propagandists, and some of the institutional scientists, and those who are getting rich. They know the extent of their own dishonesty…at least deep down… as they continue to whip their idealistic dupes into a frenzy of anger and fear.

      Well done, pokerguy. You’re obviously doing a great job whipping your idealistic dupes into a frenzy of anger and fear about these wicked propagandists.

      The best propaganda is to accuse the other side of propaganda.

      @pokerguy: The threat of exposure at the hands of skeptics fills the fraudsters with terror, and they’ll stop at just about nothing to make sure that doesn’t happen

      Some 20,000 attendees of the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union regard you as one of the “terrorists” here, myself included. There is no conceivable way I’m going to get rich off a scientific fact about the impact of rising CO2 on global climate, and I’d be amazed if there were any way those other 20,000 could either.

      If I’m wrong about that I’d love to know how they’re going to get rich so I can be part of it.

    • Vaughan, you have to realize that these people are going through a stressful time at the moment with the IPCC WG2 report coming out and making headlines all over the place. Some much to deny in so many places all at once. It must be tough for them.

    • Thanks for the heads-up, Jim. Sorry to be so insensitive at a time like this. I’ll try to be more respectful of people’s feelings.

    • Naw, there is no money in catastrophizing the danger in AGW, there never was, and there never will be. No power or fame, either.

    • There are two points to be made here.

      First, there’s a relatively fixed pot of funding for research that’s distributed according to the judgment of the program managers. An academic becomes “rich” by beating out the competition for these limited funds. The outcome has relatively little impact on the academic’s salary, serving instead to allow the academic to spend more time on research instead of teaching, and to support more graduate students.

      Second, if there were some world-wide conspiracy, involving thousands of scientists and program managers in dozens of countries, to pretend that CO2 was a major problem in order to enrich climate scientists, the losers in the ongoing battle for funding would be the first to complain about this scientific dishonesty. Instead the complainers about dishonesty are those who weren’t in that funding competition to begin with, and who therefore have no standing in the matter.

    • It is also good to realize that uncertainty helps funding, certainty doesn’t, so claiming that the IPCC is not uncertain enough is not the way to stop funding for sensitivity refinement. The way to stop it would be ‘yeah, we know its warming and how much, so why spend more to refine it?’ So, as it is, they are saying ‘thanks, skeptics, this uncertainty thing helps funding’.

    • Dr. Pratt,

      You straight man to jimmy dee? Is this the way you want to be remembered, after a long and distinguished career?

  25. Pielke also had a falling out with Stefan Rahmsdorf of Realclimate, about a paper that showed Moscow’s record hot July 2010 was 80% probably due to warming in the temperature record. Rahmsdorf goes through Pielke’s critiques here under the 29th March postscript. Warning: this is actual statistics here, but he says that “Pielke using the word “gentlemen” struck me as particularly ironic” (in that letter from Pielke to Trenberth.) Bottom line was that Pielke kept misrepresenting their work as cherry-picking despite attempts to correct him.

    • Jim D

      Anyone who states that the hot July 2010 in Moscow was “with 80% probability a result of human GHG emissions” is simply spreading unsubstantiated BS, and you know it Jim.


    • manacker, yes, this is why they didn’t attribute it except to the warming trend. The study was about how to evaluate the changing rate of new temperature records against a changing background trend. There is also a tutorial about their method here. It’s good for people who want to think. If you can understand it, you are a step ahead of Pielke.

    • “Anyone who states that the hot July 2010 in Moscow was “with 80% probability a result of human GHG emissions” is simply spreading unsubstantiated BS, and you know it Jim.”

      The thing is, he doesn’t know it. True believers suffer from some sort of cognitive impairment whereby critical thought is no longer operative. The minds of true believers acts as a filter which keeps out all information contrary to the CAGW party line.

      Even NOAA, the very belly of the beast, came out with a paper debunking the role of GHG in that heat wave.


    • Max,
      Thanks, that is a good reference.
      Jim D,

      please stick to telling us the time in the UK rather than serial misinformation and weather denialism.

      Just kidding, the time in UK was useful.

    • Read this account from Rahmsdorf before judging their argument. Pielke is not looking very good in this one. It is just statistics, not attribution, so Pielke doesn’t even need to know any science to understand Rahmsdorf’s work.

    • It’s nice that Rahmsdorf showed there isn’t enough data to be conclusive.
      And that’s especially that case in that the warming could just be due to a climate cycle longer than 70 years.

    • The Rahmsdorf and Coumou paper I linked refers to and refutes the Dole et al. paper that manacker linked. It wasn’t just natural variability, because background warming multiplied its probability by four.
      “Fig. 4 clearly shows that the warming trend after 1980 has multiplied the likelihood of a new heat record in Moscow and would have provided a strong reason to expect it before it occurred. Our results thus explicitly contradict those of Dole et al. (16), who did not find any basis for anticipating the Russian heat record of July 2010. “

    • jimmy, jimmy

      Actually, the conclusion of the paper you worship as gospel merely asserts that it’s results contradict those of Dole et al. We don’t really have to believe that paper refutes Dole et al. Of course, you are free to be mesmerized by any paper that reinforces your belief in the foretold doomsday. You should be spending more of your time on figuring out how to get off the planet, jimmy. You ain’t doing the cause any good with your incessant yammering here.

    • And jimmy, what is the probability that human GHG emissions would have caused no global warming for the past 17 years? Or is Russia July 2010, serving as a proxy for the world and the last 17 years?

    • According to the NOAA:


      Despite all the alleged warming from human GHG emissions, no record high temperature has been broken for any continent, since 1974. What are the odds on that, jimmy dee?

    • donnie mo, I would be surprised if you had actually looked and understood what Rahmsdorf did. Your comment doesn’t give any clue that you did. It turns out Moscow, like many continental interior areas, warmed by well over 1 C in the last 30 years, making this kind of regional record less surprising, and much more likely. I know that this idea of general warming leading to more likely records is conceptually at the edge of your understanding, but maybe you can put it down to being typical of those way-out warmist ideas that you will never understand or agree with.

    • It’s amazing how they can tease out such robust statistics from tiny numbers (relatively) drowning in a sea of noise.
      It’s even more amazing when they can so confidently predict the fate of apples by analysing the data for oranges.
      But what’s most amazing is how scientists appear to be ignorant of the fact that the strongly periodic nature of energy entering the Earth system, coupled with the relatively steady nature of energy leaving the system, is bound to lead to more high-temperature records than low-temperature ones being set over time, even with the average temperature remaining steady.

  26. Max

    This old chestnut again. I wrote about the 3 or 4 extremely hot summers in Russia during the mid 1800’s here.


    Mind you, the hottest period in Russia was probably around the 1530 to 1560 period when records I have seen in the Scott polar institute in Cambridge seem to suggest that the northern sea route opened up for the first time. One of these days I hope to get around to writing an article on that possibility.


    • tony b

      Thanks for the link to your article.

      I enjoyed it then and now, as well.

      I’d be interested in reading your study on the northern sea route opening in the early 16thC.

      Based on Viking records, it was very likely also open in the 10thC. Have you ever looked at that period?


    • You know, tonyb, if it was possible for the monsoons to stall for a couple of centuries after 2000 BC – and it’s likely from paleo studies as well as history that it happened and brought down civilisations – it’s not too much of a stretch to believe in some fluctuations of temp and ice levels in Russia in the last few centuries.

      Seems humanity endured an awful lot of really drastic climate change before we had this rather mild affair called, well, Climate Change.

    • Very apt at the moment Tony, in 1530s and subsequent decades Crimean Tartars were raiding and pillaging Russia all the way to Moscow, in comparison Putin has been rather restrained, west shouldn’t complain to much or for too long.
      All decrees by the tsarist Russia are now annulled, including one for sale of Alaska for $7.2 million in 1867.

    • Mosomoso

      Yes, today’s climate change seems to be a mild affair compared to the extremes of the past, especially the SCC (scary climate change) that was sandwiched between the medieval warm period and the modern warm period.

    • I can see the Sudetenland from my Crimea.

  27. Jim D

    Got it.

    It was warmer in Moscow in July 2010 because it was warmer globally.

    So it’s no longer a result of AGW, but just of global warming.

    But that’s not what the study I cited showed. It showed that this was a local or regional phenomenon, not a result of a global one.

    Hint: Go to the original papers rather than rehashes by outfits like RealClimate or WUWT when you want real information.


    • manacker, records are always regional, so I don’t know what you are talking about. This is about probabilities of records. One year it is one region, another year it is another region, but the frequency goes up with global warming, and it can be quantified, such that heat records can be given probabilities that they resulted from the background warming. These are becoming quite significant, 80% for July 2010 in Moscow, for example. Pielke sees how damaging it can be to his own cause to have numbers like this in debates, so he is doing is best to blur his own view of it.

    • Jim D

      You are missing the point.

      The study I cited states:

      Analysis of forced model simulations indicates that neither human influences nor other slowly evolving ocean boundary conditions contributed substantially to the magnitude of this heat wave. They also provide evidence that such an intense event could be produced through natural variability alone. Analysis of observations indicate that this heat wave was mainly due to internal atmospheric dynamical processes that produced and maintained a strong and long-lived blocking event, and that similar atmospheric patterns have occurred with prior heat waves in this region. We conclude that the intense 2010 Russian heat wave was mainly due to natural internal atmospheric variability. Slowly varying boundary conditions that could have provided predictability and the potential for early warning did not appear to play an appreciable role in this event.

      Got it this time?

      “Natural internal atmospheric variability” and NOT “global warming” (and certainly not “anthropogenic global warming”).


    • Jim D,

      I’ll apologise in advance, because I am of the opinion that you will take offence at what I’m about to say.

      Probabilities, in this case, are completely useless. Fact is fact, and what has happened has happened – unless you wish to recast history, as is practised by Warmists – and others – from time to time.

      The probability of an RPT aeroplane crashing is extremely small. This is of no comfort whatsoever to the relatives of people who die in such an improbable event. Probabilities do not apply to an event that has occurred. It happened. No doubt whatsoever.

      So Moscow was hot. So what? Even if you know detailed reasons for the event, what good will it do? Do you avoid going to Moscow on the 22nd June 2020?

      If the Climastrologist reads the entrails and predicts that swathes of the Russian steppes will become fertile due to weather changes, what do you intend to do about it? Precisely nothing, I’ll wager.

      Apparently 97% of climate experts agree there is a 95% chance of something or other occurring as a result of something not well understood. It can’t be global warming, as that doesn’t seem to have occurred over the last few years.

      I haven’t the faintest notion of what else it might be, or what effect it will have on me. Nor, I warrant, do you. I might suggest that if you think it likely to rain, you take an umbrella. Or maybe not. The choice is yours. But please don’t try and inflict your choices on me. I might not share your opinion.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • manacker, I linked the Rahmsdorf paper’s comment on the Dole work elsewhere here. Basically, Dole said it is completely within natural variability and unpredictable, while Rahmsdorf said it was four times more likely to happen now just because of the warming trend, so in that sense it is not all random fluctuations, and more predictable.

    • Mike Flynn, yes it is statistics. It may be useful to know that the record July temperature in Moscow was four times more likely to happen, just because of the general warming trend there. From the odds, they can even say it was 80% likely due to the warming trend. Not much use to you personally, but this is a good debating point for policymakers to hear, that the impacts from warming are already here.

    • @MF: The probability of an RPT aeroplane crashing is extremely small. This is of no comfort whatsoever to the relatives of people who die in such an improbable event. Probabilities do not apply to an event that has occurred. It happened. No doubt whatsoever.

      Excellent point. This fact is what allowed Air Vice-Marshall Donald Bennett to operate his airline British South American Airways, BSAA, for several years. After the loss of 10 aircraft and 96 lives during 1946-1949, a comparison of BSAA with BOAC’s relatively spotless record showed that BSAA was a decidedly unsafe airline. Each individual crash however proved nothing.

      Likewise one storm, or one heat wave, proves nothing. Any one intense event not only could be produced through natural variability alone (the wording in the study cited by Max), it surely was.

      In order to link adverse weather to global warming one would need to look at many weather events over many decades. This point is entirely in agreement with the study cited by Max. It is also entirely in agreement with what Jim D has been saying. Individual storms arise through natural variability, only their long-term frequency and intensity can be linked statistically to global warming.

    • Dr. Pratt,

      Jimmy dee says:It may be useful to know that the record July temperature in Moscow was four times more likely to happen, just because of the general warming trend there. From the odds, they can even say it was 80% likely due to the warming trend.

      NOAA says:http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalextremes.html

      Since 1974 there have been exactly zero continental high temperature records broken. If the general warming trend has made it four times more likely that record high temps will happen in Moscow, should that not also apply to the rest of the world?

  28. Tonyb
    Wow, Thanks. Great paper. When you monitor things you tend to bang us back on track on the rails of reality. Still lots of unknowns but we have to go back to the historical record before leaping off into the unknown.

    Thanks for what you do. Can’t wait for article II about sea level rise from the Roman or when ever you stopped. I have to go back to look but I keep these articles and treasure the information.

    • Scott

      Thanks. I need to finish my research on the period from 1200AD to join up with my reconstruction of CET to 1538 as This will then demonstrate temperature changes, which in turn will be useful as background for likely sea level changes.

      At present it is looking like there was a peak in sea levels around 1600 which coincides with the warm period I just referenced and was immediately prior to the rapid slide to the coldest periods of the LIA in the 17th century.

      However, that is just a preliminary estimate and may well change as research continues.


  29. Max

    Yes, i agree the route was possibly open in the 10 th century. The difference in the 16th century is that there were definite attempts by the russians and the british to open it up as a trading route to china, whereas we have no evidence that the Vikings ever attempted to open up the route.


    • nottawa rafter

      Just want to pass on my appreciation for your efforts in giving us a fuller understanding of the historical records on climate. This area is in great need of more research and you are doing science a great service.

      I look forward to future work.

  30. michael hart

    “In context of the ‘climate wars’, Silver’s apology to Trenberth and Mann is being viewed as throwing RP Jr under the bus.”

    Like I said, giving him the full Lomborg for disagreeing with the solutions even though he agrees with them about the (alleged) problem.

    In their restaurant there is no à la carte, only table d’hôte.

  31. “Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology. If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further.”

    So what exactly do Curry and Pielke consider that if not a threat, albeit an empty one?

    And what an awful hatchet job by Daniel Greenfield (Sultan Knish) on Sagan. That Curry recommended it at all casts her own judgment into question… again.

    • Magma,
      That is not a threat as much as a challenge to future discussions. A threat is something like we should put deniers in jail. This sounds like pursue the matter further such as disagree with the comments.

      No jail time threatened. That is a CAGW tactic.

    • What puzzles me is how the loonily litigious Michael Mann thinks he has the standing to complain about a threat to sue him. How many lawsuits has he instigated to date? How can a human being be so lacking in self awareness.

      The Michael Mann of climate science has elevated hypocrisy to something close to an art form.

    • “threat to sue him.”

      If that’s what it was.

    • Magma

      Sagan started out as a scientist but over time (and with added fame) he became a showman and writer of entertaining tales.

      I read (and enjoyed) all his books and other writings. They were ~90% good entertainment and ~10% science.

      Crichton was arguably closer to 50/50.

      My opinion, of course.


    • Apart from his popular science books and articles, Sagan authored technical papers up to the year of his death. Crichton mainly wrote cartoonish science fiction-themed potboilers.

  32. Dr. Curry, OT but Mann has new paper which purports to prove that “Stadium Wave claims is likely artifact.” Will you or Dr. Wyatt be responding?

    • Yes, coming soon

    • Let the games begin!

    • I’m sure he approached the subject with the utmost objectivity.

    • Now mikey wants to eliminate natural climate oscillations, unless they happen to be in a cool phase at a convenient time. It will be interesting to see what he has censored or gotten upside down, this time.

      By the way, the pause is still killing the cause.

    • @DM: By the way, the pause is still killing the cause.

      Out of curiosity I checked this at WoodForTrees.org. Turns out it depends on how many years back you look. The five trend lines plotted here show considerable variation. Here are their slopes in degrees per century for the past n years, with n from 5 down to 1.

      n: slope
      5: −0.86
      4: −0.80
      3: +4.20
      2: +4.05
      1: +9.78

      I don’t know how you would read this, but to my eye it looks like the climate is currently exiting the pause rather strongly.

      Loehle and Scafetta’s climate model in their paper “Climate Change Attribution Using Empirical Decomposition of Climatic Data” predicted this turnaround back in 2011. The steepest of the four components of their model is the 20-year oscillation that peaked back in 2000. L&S predicted that this oscillation would turn upwards in 2010. They were very close: looks like it turned upwards starting in 2011, the publication date of their paper.

      Let’s check this again in a year’s time. If L&S’s model is right the temperature should continue to climb throughout the present decade.

    • ” If L&S’s model is right the temperature should continue to climb throughout the present decade.”
      In trying to measure changes in Earth’s climate energy system using the proxy of tropospheric temperatures, a decadal average is about the absolute shortest period you could hope to see a signal against the noise of natural variability. ENSO dominates anything less than a decade, and of course the PDO can dominate longer periods. Depending on how strong the anthropogenic signal is, it might be detectable in the troposphere by comparing each succeeding decadal average. Thus, we would expect 2010 to 2019 to be warmer in the troposphere across the decade than 2000-2009. Of course, using more broadly based measurements for energy in the climate system, we see a pretty steady rise in energy (without a pause) for at least 40+ years.

      Now a more interesting question is how might the rapid increase in all species of GH gases be affecting natural internal variability?

    • Vaughan: Let’s check this again in a year’s time. If L&S’s model is right the temperature should continue to climb throughout the present decade.

      Scafetta has since improved his model with our planetary theory:

      Tracking nicely since the forecast was made in late 2011

  33. Now the id e ot ik EPA is going to save use once again.
    From the article:
    White House looks to regulate cow flatulence as part of climate agenda
    2:50 PM 03/28/2014
    Michael Bastasch

    As part of its plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the Obama administration is targeting the dairy industry to reduce methane emissions in their operations.

    This comes despite falling methane emission levels across the economy since 1990.

    The White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25 percent by 2020. Although U.S. agriculture only accounts for about 9 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, it makes up a sizeable portion of methane emissions — which is a very potent greenhouse gas.

    Some of these methane emissions come from cow flatulence, exhaling and belching — other livestock animals release methane as well.

    “Cows emit a massive amount of methane through belching, with a lesser amount through flatulence,” according to How Stuff Works. “Statistics vary regarding how much methane the average dairy cow expels. Some experts say 100 liters to 200 liters a day… while others say it’s up to 500 liters… a day. In any case, that’s a lot of methane, an amount comparable to the pollution produced by a car in a day.”

    “Of all domestic animal types, beef and dairy cattle were by far the largest emitters of [methane],” according to an EPA analysis charting greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. Cows and other animals produce methane through digestion, which ferments the food of animals.


    • The People need to reduce emissions from the Dem-o-wit Party.

    • I went to the White House web site and the only thing I found related to methane emissions from dairy farms was this:

      In June, in partnership with the dairy industry, the USDA, EPA and DOE will jointly release a “Biogas Roadmap” outlining voluntary strategies to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other cost-effective technologies to reduce U.S. dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

      Why do you bother citing this crap from an obviously biased source?

    • OK, you followed the link in the article. Very good. The EPA has tried to tax cow flatulence in the past, around 2008, and failed. So it pays to keep an eye on them.

    • Why would you trust anything you read at the Whitehouse website, especially wrt to greenhouse gas regulation?

    • When it comes to methane and the dairy industry, it’s easy to separate the sheep from the goats: just see who talks about flatulence, the reliable laugh riot topic for pre-adolescents.

      The two main sources of methane attributable to the dairy industry are decomposition of manure and eructation or belching. Flatulence comes in a distant third, contributing 5-10% of what eructation produces.

      In the past century we humans have been eating more beef. To support this taste we currently maintain one cow for each five humans, that is, 1.4 billion cows for 7 billion people. It’s a nice question whether this ratio will continue to rise or start to decrease in response to health concerns about red meat. In any event dairy methane is currently tied to human population.

      Whether per capita dairy methane production is increasing as fast as per capita energy consumption is another nice question.

    • Heh, heh heh. He said ‘Tom Steyer’, heh. Heh, heh.

    • Let’s see, if we want to integrate waste disposal, agricultural labor, human nutrition and cooking fuel in one handy, dandy container, let’s try worshipping the Cow. I know, I know, an outrageously outlandish idea, but c’mon, folks; shouldn’t we try this somewhere?

  34. WRT the 538 piece about Roger and 80% negative comments.

    It would seem early on they’ve set a dangerous precedent by allowing data, objectivity and rational debate to be trumped by who is the shoutiest. Oh dear!

    • HR,

      The almost chairman of a Warmist something-or-other said words to the effect that Warmist experts have methods of agreement that the public don’t understand.

      The public seems to be anybody who doesn’t follow the Warmist Manntra.

      Shouting, pouting, throwing a hissy fit – all Warmist methods supposedly proving the world is warming. How stupid are these people? One, just one, instance of a reproducible scientific experiment demonstrating the temperature increasing ability of CO2 would rapidly convert me from my unbeliever status.

      So far, experimental proof – nil. Evidence of warming evidenced by rising global temperatures – nil. Evidence to demonstrate validity of so-called climate models – nil.

      So back to shouting, pouting, comparisons with Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin and all the rest. Wearing a white coat while you’re spouting nonsense helps no end. And they wonder why they attract scorn and ridicule!

      Oh dear, I’m shaking in my boots! Somebody might threaten to sue me! A Warmist might break into such intelligent speech as Wow just wow! Duh! Take note! Write this down! and so on. I cower in abject terror at the feet of the self proclaimed Climatologists. Well, not so much really. Any reasonably competent 12 year old can average columns of numbers. I would expect any mathematician claiming to be a Climatologist to be at least as competent. Maybe I’m wrong.

      To sum up, I agree with your sentiments – mores the pity!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Mike Flynn

      Well put.

      No doubt, you’ve got a way with words.


    • Robert I Ellison

      Yet Flynn’s idea of climate science is so vastly off target – he may as well be a sky dragon. Just without the pseudo maths and science.

      Be careful of your own credibility Max.

    • Robert I Ellison,

      If you are insinuating that I profess disbelief in the supposed global increase in temperature due to alleged greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, you need insinuate no longer. I disbelieve, in the absence of cogent arguments to the contrary.

      Does this help?

      As to your comments about my supposed use of pseudo maths and science, obviously you will afford me the courtesy of pointing out the occasions where I have used pseudo maths and science.

      When I have pointed out specific instances where you have been in error, by either exaggerating the truth, or committing some totally understandable mathematical error, you have admitted the error, to your credit.

      I have of course refrained from pointing out some of the more egregious errors, both scientific and grammatical, contained in your posts from time to time.

      I believe your characterisation of me as a moron and an idiot – and possibly worse – does you no credit, but I accept your obvious penchant to play the man, rather than the ball, when you have no facts to support your assertions.

      Possibly Max will be shaking in his shoes in terror at the prospect of losing credibility in your eyes. Do you really think your opinion matters to him so much? If so, I would be interested in hearing why you think this is so.

      Possibly someone like Lewandosky could use their expertise in trying to establish whether the apparent delusional psychosis evidenced by the more devout Warmists is actually transmitted to others, or whether innate gullibility plays a part. There never seems to be a shortage of otherwise sane and rational people to look in their cupboards for pitchforks and torches, when any passing looney decides that black is white, or that prefrontal lobotomies will cure the mad, and restore sanity.

      Popular delusions and the madness of crowds seems to be apart of the human condition. It all adds to the rich tapestry of life, if you can avoid the torches, pitchforks, and wild eyed crowds baying for blood!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • manacker,

      Thank you. I try.

      Possibly our gracious hostess will allow me to participate a little longer – who knows?

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Oh please.

      In Flynn’s case history the whole mythic construct – the entire myopic confusion – the complete garrulous rant – revolves around the observation that it cools at night. Thus I refute you Berkeley – he appears to say – based only on this flimsiest of rationales. We may as well give up the field of science to barbarians as to not to laugh at the outlandish and nonsensical Flynn.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Well it was actually the lack of any maths and physics even the pseudo variety.

      We have yet another garrulous compendium of lies and misdirection from Flynn.

      If I understand correctly – I corrected a typo – lost a decimal point in a calculation of a very minor term in the Earth’s energy budget. Flynn is not merely incapable of understanding the finer points – let alone correcting – but imagines that the finer points are in fact what dominate the system. The global temperature is driven by cooling from the core and CO2 physics in the atmosphere is disproved by cooling at night. Fantastic verbosity substitutes for knowledge.

      Flynn can keep his stylistic affectations to himself as far as I am concerned. It is cloying, boorish, a clumsy use of English and of not much use in actual, rational communication. It reminds me of the technique of FOMBS – techniques inimical to real discourse – merely a charade – a form letter in the same terms repeated endlessly – for obscure purposes of their own. Usually – in cases such as these – it is only to create the self delusion of moral and/or intellectual superiority – that they have smitten the enemy mightily like some blogospheric Don Quixote. Although in Flynn’s case – to mix allusions – the pitchforks. torches and mad eyed crowds seems more Frankenstein’s monster.

    • Robert I Ellison

      To be precise – any rational sceptic – not just Max – should regard askance the workings of the skydragons. Even one sans the pseudo math and physics.

  35. pottereaton
    I was not casting aspersions on Roger’s qualifications. That background you quote and his publications record show his significant merits. I was just throwing back the argument his detractors made that he can’t know what he is talking about because he did his PhD in the wrong subject. Of course, the same arguments don’t hold when you look at the qualifications of a lot of the people the CAGW rentacrowd quote. Isn’t one of the definitions of a hypocrite “do as I say, not as I do”?

    • I know that, Chris. I was just shining the light on how these people work. If someone is highly credentialed, they still find a way to suggest he’s not.

      Most of the half-wits making these statements don’t have one-tenth the credentials Pielke Jr has. Dana Nuccitelli, for example.

    • Well, he is political scientist – what, he’s branched out into social impacts of environmental issues.

      I guess he has some experise in somethnig, it’s just not clear what it is.

    • As opposed to you, Michae,l who just spends your time denigrating anyone you don’t agree with. Classic tribalism.
      And if you actually looked, his first degree was in maths which is why he is a lot more numerate than most “climate scientists” who seem to have trouble with Excel.

  36. Steyn as usual has a a humorous take in the fivethirtyeight.com contretemps:


  37. Of most concern 2. Concern about how FiveThirtyEight will be covering climate topics.
    Alienating a reader base is by far the most serious issue.
    MSM coverage is more likely to notice and reprint this article because of Dr Pielke’s recent congressional stoush.
    The controversy will attract more readers on both sides.
    Overall it should be a win/win situation for the journal.
    An option to present opposing views will be even more grist to the mill.
    Best options is for skeptics to write to the blog and support Dr Pielkes’ right to his views.

  38. D o u g.    C o t t o n 

    This week it was revealed for the first time in human history that radiation can in fact pass only one way between two objects. /sarc

    Of course there is thus “something wrong with the NASA calculations” (as one commenter discussed) because they apply S-B when they should not.

    If you have a black metal ball just under the surface of some water, and the Sun is shining on it through the water, raising its temperature, where is the simultaneous reverse radiation from the submerged ball going back to the Sun?

    Radiation can be one-way. But the one-way radiation from a colder atmosphere is not going to raise the temperature of that ball – not even by a trillionth of a degree, because it doesn’t get past the surface of the water. Nor will it affect its rate of cooling that night.

    • Make a thermally isolated water tank out of a completely transparent material and fill.
      Place in sun light and measure the water temperature. You will find that the water is capable of thermalizing only a small fraction of the illumination radiation.
      Now place a sheet of graphite in the water. The graphite will absorb almost all the incoming radiation. The warming graphite will heat the water in the tank, raise the water temperature and the water will radiate more IR.

  39. Just two or three days ago, Zakaria wrote in the Wapo insisting that since 1950, conflict and violence are way, way down. And now this:


    • Wow, is there NOTHING that CO2, the wonder gas, CAN’T do?

    • ‘United Nations ‘Science’ – ???!!! – Report – ???!!!
      Warming worsens security woes – ???!!!
      In an ‘authoritative’ – ??? !!! report due out on Monday,
      a United Nations climate panel is connecting hotter
      global temperatures – ???!!!’ (wot happened ter the
      Pause – ???) … W – O – T K – R – A – P – !!!

  40. I have to disagree with the rant of Sultan Knish. I was in college when Sagan’s COSMOS came out, I have it on DVD and I still find it fascinating. I am enjoying the new COSMOS as well.

    The theme of the new COSMOS, in my opinion, is a reaction to the anti-science of a large part of the American population. There is nothing negative to say about learning how to think and basing one’s opinions on data.

    • I just watched the 2nd installment of the new Cosmos, I liked it.

    • @rmdobservations

      “The theme of the new COSMOS, in my opinion, is a reaction to the anti-science of a large part of the American population. There is nothing negative to say about learning how to think and basing one’s opinions on data.”

      I absolutely agree.

      Unfortunately, the anti-science part of the American population are the progressives who have been screaming for 25 years that ACO2 is causing the temperature of the planet to rise catastrophically and that the biosphere and all that dwell therein is going to be destroyed if we don’t give them ‘Mother may I?’ control over every activity in the world that has a ‘carbon signature’. Said ‘carbon signatures’ to be identified, quantized, taxed, and permitted–or forbidden by themselves.

      Now, after running three generations of citizens through the re-education centers masquerading as ‘public schools’ they have the political power and obvious intent to ‘make it happen’.

      All accomplished with no DATA supporting their cries of alarm. (See the response by the ‘Thinking Climate Scientists Who Base Their Opinions on Data’ to the poor unfortunate former members-in-good-standing like Dr. Curry who actually attempt to do so.)

      The ‘New Cosmos’? I haven’t seen it, but if it is anything like its predecessor it is a progressive political ad using ‘science’ as a prop.

    • @Bob Ludwick Why comment on the new Cosmos if you haven’t seen it? How do you “know” what it is? What is your source of information? By what criteria do you consider it better than the information to which progressives are exposed?

    • @rmbobservations

      “Why comment on the new Cosmos if you haven’t seen it? How do you “know” what it is? What is your source of information? By what criteria do you consider it better than the information to which progressives are exposed?”

      I didn’t comment on the new Cosmos, since I HAVEN’T seen it. I only commented on the old Cosmos.

      I merely disagreed with you as to which faction of the American public was ‘anti-science’.

      In my view, that faction would be the one that has been decreeing ex cathedra for 25 years that the ‘science was settled’, demanding that public dissemination of apostasy be forbidden, and apostates prosecuted. And which is selling carbon offset ‘indulgences’, currently purchased voluntarily, while demanding that their purchase be made mandatory.

    • “The theme of the new COSMOS, in my opinion, is a reaction to the anti-science of a large part of the American population.”

      What large part of the American population do you believe is anti science?

    • @Bob Ludwick You have not seen the new COSMOS but you say that if it is anything like the old one it is a “….”. So, technically, you did not have an opinion about a show that you did not see. You just said, ‘” if it is anything like”. What is that sort of comment, if not useless for anyone who wants to discuss the new show?

    • @Rob Starkey Well, for starters, how about those who cannot deal with the metric system?

    • @ rmdobservations

      This will make the second time that I have reminded you that I am specifically not commenting about the New Cosmos, but in response to your assertion that a large part of the American public was ‘anti-science’. I DID say that in, my opinion, the OLD Cosmos was in large part a political ad for progressivism (by whatever euphemism du jour), using science as a prop.

      Rob Starkey asked you to elaborate on how to identify the portion of our citizenry who are ‘anti-science’, with this “Well, for starters, how about those who cannot deal with the metric system?” (Really????) from you, while I merely agreed with you, but suggested that my idea of how to sort us into ‘pro-science’ and ‘anti-science’ groups was likely to differ from yours. With a short explanation as to why I thought my criteria were valid.

    • @ rmdobservations

      You write “how about those who cannot deal with the metric system?”

      That is your example of Americans not being scientific? LOL

  41. Regarding 538 blog, one of the frustrating aspects of science writing is the use of “may”. I have seen something like this in the response to Pielke, Jr’s article. i.e. “Pielke,Jr. is DEFINITELY wrong because there MAY be a link to catastrophic climate change”. It seems to me the wrong approach to informing non-scientists.

  42. April, the big IPCC released at the end of the biggest cold freeze in the USA for decades. Lucky the attention span of a human being is somewhat shorter than that of a goldfish, possibly only a week and it will coincide with a mild warm spell and we can all turn out the lights.
    Steyn, a Connecticut Canadian seeking justice in the US courts of King Obama, don’t hold ones breath.
    Lewindowsky heading towards a Nobel prize for fiction or psychology may be the first to win in two fields for the one subject.
    Just when you don’t think it can get any worse, it does.
    The light at the end of the tunnel? it’s not the train, it’s CO2 back radiation.

  43. Jim Cripwell

    I was lying in bed awake last night, and thought of 2 questions.

    Is the stadium wave a pure sine wave, or does it have harmonics?

    Does it even make sense to ask this question?

  44. Alexej Buergin

    Dr JC can choose who writes on her blog all by herself.
    Can Mr Silver do the same? Or is he stuck between a rock and a hard place?
    The easy (and best) solution for him is to let everybody have his say, so the reader can decide. Worked fine for FOX.

  45. Something I found noteworthy was the change in Scientific American’s editorial policy on climate comments. They appear to have banned a number of commenter’s who disputed that AGW is a dire issue that demands immediate climate mitigation actions. I managed to get myself banned and my comments there were no more offensive than any I have made here.

    What do readers think of the actions of SA? Does it seem that the policy is more common on one side of the discussion/debate?

    • I dumped my SA sub many decades ago due to its lurch to the left. Once it became politicized, it was no longer worth my money. So, needless to say, I would urge anyone with a subscription to not renew it.

    • I was surprised that a major, at least formally; scientific publication would implement a policy of blatant censorship of a position that is now seeming to be much more in-line with the IPCCs advice to policymakers

    • “I was surprised that a major, at least formally; scientific publication would implement a policy of blatant censorship”

      I don’.
      Seen it all before, many time, on meany issues

    • I am against banning but I do feel that several writers on Judy’s blog abuse the purpose of the blog. They go off on tangents that are completely unrelated to the subject at hand. And then they argue with each other.
      Is there a solution to this, short of banning?

    • rmdobservations- I suggest ignoring them.

    • Banning is the way you squash opinions that you disagree with.
      The consensus climate people are really good at this.
      When you want to ban an opinion, you should, first, consider it carefully.

    • @Rob Starkey I am very interested in the topics that Judy presents and I know that there are a few here who have some interesting and informed comments. Therefore, I have decided to NOT ignore what I feel is nonsense. Well…actually, that includes my own message as it is unrelated to the above articles (as was your mention of the SA).

    • @Herman Alexander Pope I agree with you about the banning, but what to do about the excess speculation. I can deal with “this report is nonsense because they did not include article xyz.”. I do not have time to read “this report is nonsense because of the conspiracy of abc”.

  46. Paul Vaughan

    Animating Solar-Governed Multidecadal Climate Waves

    Paul L. Vaughan, M.Sc. — March 31, 2014

    Marcia Wyatt introduced the “stadium wave” concept to climate science. Co-author Judy Curry describes the multidecadal climate wave as “internal”, suggesting solar activity “projects” onto its “modes”.

    Semantic quibbling aside, the sun governs multidecadal climate waves. Solar activity — via insolation, including insolation pattern — controls both the global base state and the gradients – and hence circulation.

    What follows is a series of illustrations conveying the minimal background needed to interpret the animations further below. It will be a trivial exercise for an agency with superior computing facilities to direct paid technicians to refine these animations and extend them to other fields.

    (map notation key below)


    Map Notation:
    x = SCD = Solar Cycle Deceleration
    y = RI = Sunspot Integral
    00 = y – x = RI – SCD
    animation phase-step increment = (1/16)*wave

    Map Credit: KNMI Climate Explorer

    • Paul Vaughan

      New Animation:
      (polar views added 2014-04-05)

      Sun-Climate Multidecadal (MD) Wave
      = Wyatt’s “Stadium” Wave

    • Paul:

      It would helpful if you defined your “solar cycle deceleration” and “sunspot integral” and provided a description of the underlying data. Also, please explain how you construct “the stadium wave,” whose 1/16ths of phase you exploit in animation.

    • Paul Vaughan


      phase correlation with
      solar-governed MD wave = 0.975


      These questions have intuitive answers, some of which have been provided previously. Competent, capable parties can answer all of these questions independently.

      I wish you and others efficiency.

      extension of animation to SLP (sea level pressure) (2014-04-10):


      Alert: Misinformation is being circulated that this is an animation of the annual cycle.

    • Basically she says that RP is right [ there is no rebuttal of his statistics] but theoretically he will be wrong because the models are in agreement with the theory ????.
      One hopes she is a Professor [sorry Judy] because if models do not agree with theory then the assistant is a dud at programming.
      The models do not agree with observations for > 20 years so obviously the observations are wrong [again]
      She neglected to note that while theory predicted increased hurricanes and did so last year it was the quietest hurricane season for many years.

    • Kerry Emanuel says Pielke’s statistics are too uncertain for him to be so definitive. He also has a good ‘bears in the woods’ analogy about what Pielke has done. Pielke only looks at the number of people bitten by bears (landfalling hurricanes) rather than total bears in the woods (hurricanes) and how their numbers have changed. Total hurricanes give a much more definitive measure of the changing risk, than the number actually making landfall. Insurance rates would be based on the more robust figure which is how total hurricanes change in the Atlantic.

    • angech,

      “She” ???

      “Basically….RP is right” – angech


      “I don’t see how the data he cites support such a confident assertion…”
      ” it’s not necessarily appropriate to normalize damages by gross domestic product…”
      “More seriously, a casual inspection of both graphs (normalized and non-normalized damage over time) presented by Pielke leads me to question the statistical significance of either”
      “In view of data like this, it’s very hard to accept Pielke’s confident assertion…”
      “There is an even more significant problem with Pielke’s analysis. In a nutshell, he addresses trend detection when what we need is event risk assessment. ”
      “One would be foolish to make plans that have to deal with U.S. hurricane risk without accounting for the evidence that the underlying risk is increasing, whether or not actuarial trends have yet emerged at the 95 percent confidence level.”
      “Those who wait for actuarial trends to emerge at the 95 percent confidence level before acting do so at their peril.”

      What was it Judith said?;
      “It will be interesting to see what Silver comes up with in terms of a rebuttal to RP Jr’s piece…. but in terms of the key issues of RP Jr’s analysis of disaster costs, I think it will be difficult for Silver to come up with a convincing critique.”

      Maybe not.

      • I’ll have a post later this week that clarifies the differences in thinking and framing of the problem between RP Jr and KE

    • Sorry Kerry – only one ‘m’

  47. David Springer

    From Sultan Knish “End of Science”

    Without the scientific method, science is just another philosophy where anything can be proven if you manipulate the terminology so that the target is drawn around the arrow. Add statistical games and nothing means anything.

    I thought of Steven Mosher when I read this.

    • I’m sure Mosher is proud of all the work he’s done to promote whatever it is he’s promoting. I can’t say for sure I know what that is, but I’m sure his motivations are good.


  48. Pingback: Weather, climate change, the risk to our expensive infrastructure – and our lives | Fabius Maximus

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