Climate science’s ‘masking bias’ problem

by Judith Curry

How valid conclusions often lay hidden within research reports, masked by plausible but unjustified conclusions reached in those reports.  And how the IPCC institutionalizes such masking errors in climate science.

In the previous post, we discussed the motivated biases of individual climate researchers, stimulated by the paper by Lee Jussim, Joe Duarte and others entitled Interpretations and methods: Towards a more self-correcting social psychology

The Jussim et al. paper provides additional insights that are relevant to the motivated biases in climate change, which become particularly serious and problematic once these biases are institutionalized. Here are additional excerpts from Jussim et al. for the topic I would like to discuss in this post:

<begin quotes>

“In this paper, we consider how valid conclusions often lay hidden within research reports, masked by plausible but unjustified conclusions reached in those reports. These conclusions do not necessarily involve the use of questionable research practices. Invalid conclusions may be reached based, not on failing to report dropped conditions, failed studies, or nonsignificant analyses, but on selective interpretations of data that highlight researchers’ preferred conclusions while masking more valid ones.”

JC comment: This is basically the problem that I have with the IPCC assessment reports. Deep in the chapters, there is much good information that is reliable, although the reports relatively ignore some topics. The problem is with the conclusions that are reached (particularly in the Summary for Policy Makers), and inflated levels of confidence that are ascribed to these conclusions.

“We characterize situations in which the data justify a different conclusion than reached in a published report as situations in which that different conclusion is “masked.” Masked phenomena may constitute alternative explanations for a pattern of results, reasons to believe the published interpretations are true but exaggerated, or reasons to believe the published interpretation is simply incorrect. These conclusions are typically masked because the original report does not even consider or acknowledge them, and because the data that are presented usually create the superficial appearance of support for the presented conclusions.”

JC comment:  I touched on a related issue in my paper Reasoning About Climate Uncertainty, in context of the ‘framing error.’  In my recent reports and congressional testimony, I typically quote the IPCC chapters extensively, in context of different arguments or confidence levels than those reached by the IPCC.

“Phenomena may often be masked because researchers failed to include procedures that could reveal them. Researchers’ data may be clean (obtained without any questionable practices) and analyses performed statistically appropriately, and their conclusion may still be wrong.”

JC comment: The whole IPCC effort, under the mandate from the UNFCCC, has been framed in terms of assessing ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.’ This results in systematic masking of natural internal variability and ignoring other processes (e.g. solar indirect effects).

“Confirmation bias leaves other, often more viable, interpretations masked by virtue of being neither tested nor mentioned in the scientific articles. Confirmation biases (seeking information interpretable as evidence of motivational influences on perception, but not seeking to disconfirm such influences) has led to many unjustified or inadequately justified conclusions.”

JC comment: Bernie Lewin’s book on the IPCC  outlines the politics surrounding the manufacture of the IPCC consensus during the period of Second Assessment Report. Failure to identify a ‘discernible’ anthropogenic warming and dangers associated with the warming not only would have reduced the influence of the IPCC in climate policy deliberations, but in the early years would have justified its disbanding by the UNEP.

“Scientists should not be in the business of simply ignoring literature that they do not like because it contests their view. Nonetheless, our view is that overlooking a large body of research that appears to directly conflict with one’s conclusions is a problematic practice whenever it occurs. And the solution is simple — cite it, grapple with it, and, if one is claiming one effect is stronger than another, report effect sizes for both.” “We recognize that it is not possible for every researcher to be aware of every study that has ever been published in their field.” “[But] true sciences do not act as if data that conflicts with a preferred narrative simply do not exist.”

JC comment: Without endorsing the NIPCC in any way [see this previous post],  if you compare the bibliography/references for the IPCC versus the NIPCC assessment reports for comparable topics, you will find relatively little overlap in the list of papers in the bibliography. I understand that that some selection is appropriate, but the published literature is sufficiently broad to support multiple, different arguments and narratives.

Another point.  The scientist activists (Lewandowsky, Hayhoe et al) think that this paper debunks all of the skeptical papers (the so called 3%) Those 3% of scientific papers that deny climate change?  A review found them all flawed.  I have no idea how this twaddle gets published.

Each week (or every 2-3 weeks), most of the science papers (top third) in my Week in Review posts fit in with a narrative (at least in my own head) that challenges some aspect of the so-called ‘consensus.’  I wish I had time to write all this up.

“The incentives that reward the telling of compelling narratives in scholarship encourage cherrypicking. To some extent, the practice of cherrypicking presents a classic social dilemma: whereas it is in most individual scientists’ self-interest to tell compelling stories (facilitated by cherrypicking), it is clearly not in the interest of the scientific field as it undermines the field’s validity and credibility.”

JC comment: Scientists claim to have a privileged ‘seat at the table’ owing to their alleged higher levels of rationality that is associated with the scientific method. Cherry picking and other shenanigans negate that privilege, and activist scientists become no better than lobbyists.

“We anticipate several rewards for telling far less compelling narratives based on messy and contradictory data. First, we maintain our own scientific integrity. Second, we maintain the integrity of our field. Third, acknowledgement of conflicting results and messy data provides an opportunity for theoretical advance and new empirical research to resolve those conflicts, either by showing that one set of results are irreplicable, or by identifying conditions under which both sets of conflicting findings can be consistently obtained. Thus, the more traditional rewards may then become available to the researcher capable of resolving such conflicts.”

JC comment: Brilliantly stated. But all of this seems irrelevant to activist scientists who think they are saving the planet, or are addicted to careerist and financial rewards for sounding the alarm and ignoring (or worse) any science or scientist that doesn’t fit the narrative.

“We are merely arguing for a process that acknowledges and wrestles with data that does not comport with one’s preferred narrative.”

“The nature of scientific progress is that we will get many things wrong. A healthy science, however, will: 1. keep such errors to a minimum; and 2. quickly self-correct when errors have been made. Limiting its practices that camouflage true phenomena in the name of promoting Wow Effects and preferred narratives is one way to accomplish these goals.”

“These errors occurred, not because questionable research practices, but because of unjustified interpretations.”

JC summary: The masking bias and cherry picking isn’t research misconduct, but it misleads the science and policy makers alike. The IPCC, through its focus on ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’ has institutionalized the masking bias in climate science, with trickle down effects to the national funding agencies and what gets funded, how grant proposals and journal publications are framed, and what gets taught in university classrooms.

Viewpoint diversity and identification of alternative explanations and hypotheses

“When in doubt, we can seek out colleagues with very different views than our own. We do not have to agree with them or be persuaded by their arguments. But those who disagree with us will probably have very different blind spots than we have, and will usually be quite happy to point ours out. Of course, just because a colleague claims we have missed something important does not mean we actually have. The point is to reveal masked findings, studies, and explanations that our own blind spots have led us to miss. Once unmasked, nothing prevents us from critically evaluating them, too — we still can conclude that they are not as important as our critics presume. But at least we will have an opportunity to address them, rather than marching on as if they did not exist..”

“Ideally, when alternative explanations exist for a phenomenon, researchers will develop methodologies that pit alternative hypotheses against one another. The point is not to demonstrate that one is “true” and the other “false.” Indeed, some influential social psychological scholarship has advanced the position that most hypotheses are true under some conditions. If one subscribes to this view, it is downright silly to try to “disprove” any theory. Even if one holds this view, our perspective is that it is still invaluable to pit alternative perspectives against one an- other in particular research contexts. If everything is true under some conditions, then any particular hypothesis is probably not true under all conditions. To find out which conditions Hypothesis X accounts for all or most of the data, and under which conditions the alternative, Hypothesis Y does, we need to test both.

“This is why adversarial collaborations have considerable potential to advance the field. No matter how prone we are to confirmation bias, and how difficult it may be to be completely objective in our interpretations, we often have colleagues who are ready, willing, and able to tell us how wrong we are. To address these issues, then, we suggest social psychol- ogists play to one of their strengths. The field has long embraced diversity, in part on the grounds that people from diverse backgrounds bring different experiences to bear on psychological problems. In short, diverse people have diverse ideas, thereby enriching the “marketplace” of ideas.”

“Such collaborations are probably quite difficult, because those on opposing “sides” of some debate — whether theoretical or political — often hold considerable hostility for one another. Nonetheless, one of the few known solutions to confirmation bias is to adopt an alternative desired conclusion. It may not be easy, but our prediction is that it will usually be worth it.”

“And what about failed attempts at such collaborations? One criticism often leveled at adversarial collaborations is that they often do not work, because the adversaries are sufficiently hostile to one another, or one another’s views, that they cannot work together. This, we would argue, is a testament to just how powerful researcher confirmation biases can be. The lie is put to the ideal image of objective scientists reaching conclusions entirely on the basis of logic, method, statistics, and data by all such failures. Both sides may be equally culpable, or, perhaps, one side is biased and the other is not. Regardless, such failures are a strong signal that something other than the objective and dispassion- ate pursuit of truth is going on.”

“A recent article in astronomy (Loeb, 2014) has made important points about diversity of ideas.. Loeb (2014) highlighted example after example where prestigious astronomers “believed” something to be true on the basis of little or no evidence, obstructed the ability of younger scientists and others with new ideas to make progress on that problem because the alternatives were perceived as outlandish. In each case, many years later, it was ultimately discovered that the “outlandish” claim turned out to be true. In our terminology, unjustified but confidently-held conclusions masked the evidence, and sometimes even the search for evidence, of more valid ones. “Uniformity of opinions is sterile; the co-existence of multiple ideas cultivates com- petition and progress.”

“Of course, it is difficult to know in advance which exploratory path will bear fruit, and the back yard of astronomy is full of novel ideas that were proven wrong. But to make the discovery process more efficient … funding agencies should dedicate a fixed fraction of their resources (say 10–20%) to risky explorations. This can be regarded as affirmative action to promote a diversity of ideas….”

JC comment: Jussim et al.’s suggestion of collaborating teams of scientists with different perspectives simply won’t work for climate science. Activist scientists won’t debate climate scientists with different perspectives and even block them on twitter. If a non-activist scientist engages too enthusiastically with someone such as moi, Christy, Pielkes and the like, the activist scientists ‘pressure’ them into submission.

Gatekeeping and masking by journals

There have been many many instances of this recounted over the years, both in climate science and more broadly in academia.

I have a new anecdote to report that is relevant to this post, from reviews on a paper I recently submitted to a journal.   Without getting overly specific about the paper in question or any specific criticisms (I am still trying to figure out what to do with this paper), a few statements from reviewers and editor give the game away:

“Overall, there is the danger that the paper is used by unscrupulous people to create confusion or to discredit climate science. Hence, I suggest that the author reconsiders the essence of its contribution to the scientific debate on climate science.”

A further gem from Reviewer #1:

“Finally, it includes some errors such as: “Known neglecteds in 21st century global climate change scenarios include: solar variability and solar indirect effects, volcanic eruptions, natural internal variability of the large-scale ocean circulations, geothermal heat sources and other geologic processes.”: this statement provided without justification and obviously wrong since this is evaluated in e.g. CMIP5 model experiments.”

Bazinga!  Masking is fully successful; climate scientists now think that all this natural variability stuff (including geologic processes, volcanic eruptions and solar variability) are evaluated in the CMIP5 model experiments. (JC’s head explodes).

Based on these brilliant and hard hitting reviews, the Editor concludes:

“We regret that we cannot accept your manuscript for publication and will not consider it further.”

Even assuming that there are severe flaws in the paper (there aren’t; at least nothing approaching the misconceptions of the reviewers), explicitly stating that they would not even consider a resubmission is something I have never seen from an editor.

I need to find a journal with triple blind review system (which includes the editor).

Steve Koonin and red teaming

Hence the idea of ‘red teams’ and other similar methods to bring alternative perspectives into more prominence. See these previous posts for background.

Steve Koonin has been the most visible and prominent proponent of red teaming. Koonin recently gave a presentation on this at Purdue University.

Gavin Schmidt wrote a post at RealClimate on Koonin’s presentation .   To put it politely, Gavin’s post is highly dismissive of what Koonin has to say.

Since the Steve Koonin that I know is very intelligent and insightful, I suspected that Gavin’s post was way off the mark. Then I spotted a post by Koonin at WUWT that clarifies what he actually said in his presentation, and how this was misrepresented and misinterpreted by Gavin.

I think Koonin’s overall concern with the climate science assessments relates to this idea of ‘masking bias.’ Framing the issue in this way may help with the justification of the various red teaming efforts under consideration in the U.S.


117 responses to “Climate science’s ‘masking bias’ problem

  1. My husband was involved in trying to do a study on the effects of grant agencies on how scientists approach their science. His study involved questioning a bunch of scientists in a survey. Since this was a form of human experimentation he had to run it past the human ethics committee. They turned him down, not because of any bad effect on the scientists who would be asked to participate but rather because the results might be politically controversial and could harm the reputation of the university and thereby upset people, making it unethical.

  2. Ulric Lyons

    “The whole IPCC effort, under the mandate from the UNFCCC, has been framed in terms of assessing ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.’ This results in systematic masking of natural internal variability and ignoring other processes (e.g. solar indirect effects).”

    It is much worse than that. Weaker indirect solar is driving the warm AMO phase, driving the increase in lower troposphere water vapour and decline in low cloud cover which is being attributed to rising CO2 forcing.

    ‘Correlations of global sea surface temperatures with the solar wind speed’

  3. Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  4. The comment by verytallguy on the previous thread is a perfect example of trying to squash diversity of thought in climate science. The tactics are familiar from political activists. Smear tactics against individuals are common in politics. In science they have no place. But I forgot very tall guy is an anonymous non scientist who is incapable of furthering the scientific debate.

  5. Some media have made implicit bias a cause celebre’ on a par with climate change:

  6. Excellent post Judy. It points the way to a much needed healing of the scientific process!

    • An excellent example of of how alternative examples are being masked over is seen with wildfires. Judy is schedule to testify The Environment Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Natural Disaster Preparedness, Recovery in the Wake of Climate Change which they state the background reason for this hearing is “Due to climate change….“there are no longer distinct wildfire ‘seasons’—there are just wildfires all the time.””

      But the data shows the masked cause of an extended fire season is due to human ignitions as seen in this graph of human ignitions versus natural from Balch 2017:

      • afonzarelli

        What’s with April?
        (national light a forest fire month?)

      • afonzarelli

        There’s also that spike which would presumably be fourth of july celebrations. When i was living on Maui they wouldn’t have fire works for that very reason. (i wonder if things have changed since then)

      • Not sure about the cause of the springtime spike in human ignitions, and it was not really addressed in the paper. However the paper did mention human ignitions happened when fuel moisture was 50% greater than during natural fires. My guess is there is a lot of spring-time trash burning as people clear up debris from winter storms. Many fires are started by escaped trash fires

      • Several papers do talk about a 4th of July spike in fires due to fireworks and most of those fires are caused when fireworks land in cheatgrass or other invasive annuals. Cheatgrass usually dies and becomes combustible by May. Firefighters characterize those grasses as 1-hour lag fuels meaning when exposed to just 1 hour of warm dry air, it is highly flammable. Its fire weather, not climate change.

  7. Judith, this describes the polar bear biology community to a T. And your recent experience in publication mirrors my efforts to publish a scientific paper describing the failed 2007 hypothesis that reduced summer sea ice would be devastating to polar bear survival. In other words, it seems any sub field dependent on climate change dogma is marred by the same anti-science biases.

  8. Judith Curry, thank you for this essay. Best wishes for speedy recovery from exploded head (“Humpty Dumpty” syndrome?)

    The problem has been documented in medical research, and I have seen many examples: solid research results perverted in the abstracts of the papers..

    • afonzarelli

      (“Humpty Dumpty” syndrome?)

      Yeah, Matthew, and what’s with Bazinga? (looks like dr. c. has been watching batman reruns)…

    • “A recent article in astronomy (Loeb, 2014) has made important points about diversity of ideas.. Loeb (2014)”

      All the red team’s horses and all the red team’s men
      Couldn’t put cosmic ray cooling together again

  9. Since climate change is such an overt paradigm, hopefully its ultimate failure will change these things for the better. False paradigms have come and gone. But, climate change, the mother of all false paradigms, won’t be as easily forgotten. (although we will try) Its high visibility will be of great help to science when it ultimately fails…

  10. “Activist scientists won’t debate climate scientists with different perspectives….”

    An unwillingness to debate seems to extends to everyone on that side of the debate. I had lunch on Wednesday with a retired Reserve Navy Captain who I I worked with beginning in the 1970s. Our conversations and lunches since we retired have always been friendly and enjoyable.

    During this last lunch I brought up global warming and specifically SLR. I followed up with an email citing some studies.

    I just now read his email reply. Abruptly, he said he was done debating Sea Level Rise.

    Nothing surprising. Entirely predictable. It’s not the first time it’s happened.

  11. Another excellent post!

  12. Pingback: Seen Elsewhere… | Climate Scepticism

  13. Here’s an interesting post, tweeted by of all people, Naomi Oreskes:

  14. In the business world, perpetrated activities as reviewed above would have a strong 5 letter word associated with them. Fraud… IMHO

  15. In the 1955 Solomon Asch experiment 3 out or 4 educated Americans lied about the lengths of lines for no reason other than to go along with the crowd. Now, suppose those same subjects were PAID in addition, that is, given salaries, grants, speaking fees at taxpayer expense. Would they not think as they were paid to think all the more strenuously? Social pressure plus pecuniary benefit would prompt energy experts to conceal that nuclear reactors reduce risk per GWh (the opposite of a health hazard), cause freon/ozone researchers to ignore that only 1/9 of humanity lives in the antarctic hemisphere where a volcano sprays chlorine over the South Pole, and prompt climate ex-scientists to imagine misanthropic causes through a glass darkly. In economics this is called an added incentive, over and above the huge pressure of social conformity. Yes they rejected and regard your paper as thoughtcrime!

  16. Ireneusz Palmowski
  17. ianandrewmartin

    I would like to suggest that a good deal of what ails much of modern science has quite a lot to do with how differently science education treats itself from the humanities. I studied the humanities in college and never got interested in science until close to the very end of my time in school, so I’m clearly biased. In spite of that bias, I’ll state my case anyway. I think that modern science education suffers from a profound lack of introspection and humility that you gain by studying the history and philosophy of individual disciplines and science as a whole. My sense of the way it works is that you get most of your context from a survey class (which you may be allowed to skip if you are proficient enough in a given discipline), and from there it’s straight on to the shoulders of giants with your eyes on the future. History of science or philosophy of science classes are elective if they exist at all.

    Contrast that experience with, say, a violin performance degree. Anyone with that degree has spent 5 semesters studying music theory (which is essentially learning to write music in the style of Bach for 4 of those) and 5 semesters of music history, plus some 12 elective credits in one or both of those topics. It’s a somewhat peculiar aspect of the curriculum that you discover that most of the important music theorists going back to antiquity were also important scientists, logicians, and philosophers of their times as well as music theorists.

    Can you imagine the outcry—from faculty as well as students—if someone proposed that chemistry majors spend a semester wading through Plato’s Timmeus to walk through how he deduced something remarkably similar to modern atomic theory of matter from (almost) first principles? Or if there was another semester devoted to reading contemporary material from Lavoisier and recreating those painstaking experiments from scratch without the benefit of modern summaries? Where if it were a required class to spend recreating the experiments that led to ultimately incorrect theories like efflorescent aether?

    Obviously we don’t look at music history or theory through the lens of success or failure exactly the same way science looks at a theory that’s been disproven. But there are aspects that were more and less successful, particularly in the perhaps 6,000-year-old debate about that music theory is. Is it merely an analytical toolkit used to understand and interpret great (or not so great) works of art? Or is it a prescriptive set of qualities that must necessarily be present to creat a great work of art? One might ask similar questions about the nature of science? Is a tool for describing reality? Or is it a tool for creating a better reality?

    Similarly, yeah, we still perform Bach’s music. But no one writes in that style any more. That would be a failed way to embark on a career as a composer. There’s very little practical value in learning to write in that style the same as you might argue that there’s little practical value in reproducing failed experiments. It’s hard for me to put my finger on exactly what that value is, but for me, it has to do with placing myself in a different context and understanding a process and how it made sense in its time. Which leads one to think about your process in your current time.

    Perhaps this is only meaningful to me, but the thing I’m most grateful for in my scientific endeavors is my liberal arts education, most especially my study of music theory, music history, and philosophy. It gives me the confidence I need to be wrong. If there is one thing you can be certain about, it is that anyone who lives long enough operating as a scientist is guaranteed to be wrong about something. That certainty of humiliation, though, brings with it the freedom to be creative.

    I can’t say that putting more emphasis on science history and philosophy would fix everything, but we aren’t helping people to be thoughtful, honest, or introspective about their work when our curriculum places zero value on these qualities.

    • dougbadgero


    • Interesting thought. I’m not sure that’s the problem per se. Lack of proper theoretical foundations is surely a problem. But the modern world places great emphasis on instant gratification and amplifies even the offhand (and ill thought out) remarks and writings of people. Science has been following this trend also. Patience to work for a decade on a deep problem would be career suicide.

      • ianandrewmartin

        I agree it would be suicide. The trajectory of a scientist career must always be pushing inexorably forward. That’s how we’ve defined a successful career. I think the problems with that are magnified by the lack of historical insight that students are equipped with.

        To put it a bit more briefly, one of the main things scientists tend to flag as a point of superiority of the sciences over the humanities and liberal/fine arts is that scientists really aren’t bogged down by all that navel-gazing baggage that we tend to do. They are unfettered in that way. But I think of that as more of a weakness than I think of it as a strength.

        I wouldn’t seriously argue that anyone should completely revamp all of undergraduate science education and force students to spend 10-15 semester’s worth of classes on the history of science. That’s too unpractical. But I would suggest that more than the very little kids get now would be illuminating, and you get a double benefit because so much of the time spent in an effective history class is giving the student a solid grounding in theoretical foundations we are dealing with in the present.

        Anyway, I’m not sure I have a strong argument to make or exactly what the argument would be if I wanted to make it strong. I had a conversation with a colleague the other day along the lines of him saying, “Man, we do all this stuff, and we have all these procedures and methods and proofs. But we can’t all be right. Can you imagine what it would be like to do all this work and then end up being wrong?” It felt like a kind of a mid-career revelation for him. But I was kind of intrigued by how that wasn’t a thing that people don’t just know, right from the beginning.

        When I read this article it just tickled something and I started thinking out loud here in the comments. I do apologize if I’m too far off topic.

      • Good point. I took history and philosophy in college at the elective level, and it has certainly influenced my perspectives on this and my interest in reading the literature on philosophy and sociology of science.

      • If science is settled, we should have reached more agreement.
        If science is not settled, we should be working better together to settle it.

        We must listen and talk and debate because many of us have pieces of the right answers, but consensus dogma on any part of the issue kills any discussion or debate that might get closer to better answers.

    • I consider this good enough to read and reread and think about.

    • ianandrewmartin: If there is one thing you can be certain about, it is that anyone who lives long enough operating as a scientist is guaranteed to be wrong about something

      for another perspective, consider this ancient article from Science Magazine.

      Should the History of Science be Rated X?

      Ways of doing it well are two excellent biographies: “Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton”, by Richard S. Westfall; “Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics” by Ruth Lewis Sime.

      • ianandrewmartin

        That is fantastic and wonderful, and thank you for pointing it out to me.

        I’d like to say something this piqued in my mind.

        I argued in several papers (all unpublished. These were for coursework more than 20 years ago. I am not a professional academic) that in terms of music (theory) there is a direct line from the late Romantic era harmonic systems to what we think of as modern pop harmonic theory. That’s not super controversial in academic circles.

        What is controversial is what I suggested as the “why” part of classical music declining in popularity in the 1940s and pop music rising up to supplant it. Classical music by the mid-20th century was viewed as socially “upper”, “intellectual”, “sophisticated” . . . all of which is pretty wild when you consider that some of the same stuff was literally the pop music of the late 19th century. What changed?

        Academic classical composers. People like Arnold Schoenberg went post-tonal (Schoenberg’s work prior to this is called pan-tonal, and it’s a definite inevitability of the developments in music you see with late Brahms, Wagner, and Mahler. Pan-tonality is mathematically guaranteed once you realize the correct way to codify the music leading up to it).

        But what actually happened is that composers took away something the public liked and relied on and tried to replace it with something else. Something that was ultimately less satisfying. No one wants to listen to Milton Babbitt’s music. No one really wants to listen to any serialist music. You can respect it; you can admire the ingeniousness of the system; and you can talk all day long about how music theory should ascend to the level of theoretical sciences (which Babbitt did and was, in my opinion rightfully laughed out of his ivory tower, eventually).

        When classical musicians and composers took away what people fundamentally liked (I-IV-V-I), pop culture was more than ready to give it back to the people. That’s not to say that all of pop music is entirely that. It’s an amalgam of classical functional harmony, multicultural call/response patterns, slave songs and spirituals, and new electronic aspects.

        But the functional (functional means I-IV-V-I, sort of. It’s complicated) core lies underneath it all, and it’s not really that hard to discover. People want this core. They–for reasons I can’t totally explain–want this.

        So what happened when the arbiters of the “classical” world went off in a different direction? The public, the people, said no. We know what we want, and this is what we want. And they got it, and as a professional violinist and also a scientist, I have no problem with any of this. Milton Babbitt was not only wrong about what music is, he was also wrong about what music should be.

        Now that we’ve established a little context, here’s my point: people will find what they want whether an academic community provides it or not. And people will find reasons to believe what they want about science just as they do music or art.

        The scientific method took away a lot of what rational people can think about in terms of religion. Maybe. And when academics take away what people want, they find ways to get back to what they want. . . what makes them feel comfortable. People overwhelmingly want religion. Even the people who claim they don’t. Because it’s comfortable.

        Since the early modern era in the 16th C., we have had a conflict between the scientists and the religionists, allegedly. But it’s not a real conflict. The reality is that science is a religion today because we took away religion. That’s not a bad thing inherently, but it’s a thing. We have priests and deacons in science whose words shall not be attacked.

        Scientists took away religion and replaced it with uncertainty. No one wants that. No one ever wanted that. What people have always wanted is religion and faith. Because that is, in many ways, easier than fundamental thought.

        Modern science in a number of realms has claimed certainty where none exists or even can theoretically exist. But the masses need certainty and religion, so that is what gets provided.

        I would like to see scientists operate on a similar basis that the Pope does. Lots of people mock the Catholic idea of infallibility, but Catholics know that this is a rare thing and invoked only occasionally: when the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra. The Pope is only infallible under an extremely limited set of circumstances, and those are subject to revision over time.

        I don’t believe in the teachings of the Pope or the holy catholic church, but when you think about it, the church does a better job of sequestering personal opinion from absolute dogma than modern scientists do.

        Bracket for a moment, in your mind, the difference between the Catholic pope and what he’s allowed to say about anything vs. the popes of pop-science, Bill Science Guy and Niell DeGrasse-Tyson, who are treated as though everything they say is canon.

        Modern science has created a literal religion, and the accompanying heretics get crucified as expected. There’s a good reason for that: people want religion. They get angry when they can’t have it. Much like approachable music: they will create what they can’t get from academia, ad they will prefer it regardless of any standard of quality.

    • Steven Mosher


      I have a degree in philosophy, with honors of course. validictorian.
      Northwestern. Phi beta Kappa, blah blah blah.
      Degree in English too, Honors, bunches of scholarships.
      woo hoo! its funny when people talk about humilty and brag about
      what they studied. Ironic.

      “I think that modern science education suffers from a profound lack of introspection and humility that you gain by studying the history and philosophy of individual disciplines and science as a whole. ”

      in your “humble” opinion.

      but wait, The most humble folks I know are scientists.! WTF?

      So how do we adjucate this. You have a liberal arts education
      Me too! undergrade and Grad. Then I switched to technical studies
      and recently science. Heck I even published a paper with Judith!

      So my experience is more broad than yours. what to do?

      I’d say your opinion about modern science education is an opinion.
      I’d say we don’t judge science by your opinion that scientists lack
      humility or by my OPINION that they dont lack humility.

      last time I reviewed a paper I wasnt trying to see if the guy was humble.
      I was trying to see if she was right.

      I’d say your philiosophy of science study was a waste of time.

    • I enjoyed your post.

      I think it might have been Democritus who came up with the atomic theory? Plato and Aristotle disagreed with it as they believed in the four elements. Their views held sway until Newton overturned it when studying at Cambridge.

      Studying the ancients it is evident they knew far more than we often give them credit for and that knowledge gets periodically lost or one branch of it becomes dominant for a time then fades.

      The Royal Society surely had it right with their motto ‘take nobody’s word as final’ Unfortunately climate science sometimes believe they are the exception to this.


    • The thoughts articulated by “ianandrew” reflect a perspective that does seem to me, admittedly an outsider, to be lacking in the culture of modern natural science: in short, I would propose, an impoverished sense of history further burdened by an arrogant “Modern is better, the past is backward” mentality which has discernible roots in the overly ambitious 18th century Enlightenment period. In addition to what he articulated, I would add that modern natural science has become deeply involved with the dizzyingly successful progress of technology, with an inevitable nexus to politics and economics as never before, discouraging the intellectual leisure and relative detachment of the scientists of previous eras of Western history.

  18. “…collaborating teams of scientists with different perspectives simply won’t work…”

    I am more optimistic. They will have to be confident enough to march to the beat of their own drum. Sure bring up the IDW. How did they do it? A new platform. An audience. Is there an audience?

  19. At the risk of being controversial – lol.

    “The study of the Earth system—the social and biophysical components, processes and interactions that determine the state and dynamics of the Earth including its biota and human occupants—has reached a point of transition. For the past two decades, our priority has been to understand the functioning of the Earth system and, in particular, the impact of human actions on that system. Science has advanced to the point that we now have a basic understanding of how human actions are changing the global environment and a growing understanding of how those changes will affect society and human well-being. This research has provided invaluable insights regarding the biophysical processes that determine the functioning and resilience of planet Earth, the sensitivities of different components of the system, evidence of the accelerated pace of global environmental change caused by the human enterprise, the possible consequences of those changes, and the human dimensions of how to address these challenges. This science also tells us that the rate of global environmental change is, so far, vastly outpacing our response and, thus, that our current path is unsustainable. We know enough to state with a high degree
    of scientific confidence that without action to mitigate drivers of dangerous global change and enhance societal resilience, humanity has reached a point in history at which changes in climate, hydrological cycles, food systems, sea level, biodiversity, ecosystem services and other factors will undermine development prospects and cause significant human suffering associated with hunger, disease, migration and poverty. If unchecked or unmitigated, these changes will retard or reverse progress towards broadly shared economic, social, environmental and developmental goals.”

    As a discipline – climate science has run its course. It is now confined to piddling little quibbles about every little study that emerges – with one side or the other counting coup in internecine battles. To be replaced by a more inclusive Earth systems science – with a foundation in dynamical complexity in everything from economics to biology and hydrology. And where carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is just one factor with limited impact thus far. .

    Andy tells me that this internecine warfare has great significance – but I believe that no real people put much store in these comings and goings. We are risk adverse and want pragmatic responses to the range of human problems.

  20. Norman Page

    Here are portions of my Blogpost which reviews briefly how biased agenda-driven scientists got us into this mess. The 1985 UNEP Villach meeting was a key turning point.
    ” A very large majority of establishment academic climate scientists have succumbed to a virulent infectious disease – the CO2 Derangement Syndrome. Those afflicted by this syndrome present with a spectrum of symptoms .The first is an almost total inability to recognize the most obvious Millennial and 60 year emergent patterns which are trivially obvious in solar activity and global temperature data. This causes the natural climate cycle variability to appear frightening and emotionally overwhelming. Critical thinking capacity is badly degraded. The delusionary world inhabited by the eco-left establishment activist elite is epitomized by Harvard’s Naomi Oreskes science-based fiction, ” The Collapse of Western-Civilization: A View from the Future” Oreskes and Conway imagine a world devastated by climate change. Intellectual hubris, confirmation bias, group think and a need to feel at once powerful and at the same time morally self-righteous caused those worst affected to convince themselves, politicians, governments, the politically correct chattering classes and almost the entire UK and US media that anthropogenic CO2 was the main climate driver. This led governments to introduce policies which have wasted trillions of dollars in a quixotic and futile attempt to control earth’s temperature by reducing CO2 emissions.
    The origins of this disease can be traced to Ehrlich’s 1968 book “The Population Bomb”. He said:
    ” In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate”
    Such apocalyptic forecasts are a prime indicator of the CO2 Derangement Syndrome. In “The Limits to Growth” 1972 the disease metamorphosed first into a search for “sustainability” and then rapidly into a war on CO2 . This is a bizarre turn of events because CO2 is the basis of all organic life and the increase in CO2 alone is the cause of 25 % of the increase in world food production in the 20th century.
    The UN and Sweden organized a meeting in 1972 in Stockholm to discus the interaction of humans with the environment. Maurice Strong was appointed by his UN friend U Thant , to be the General Secretary of the meeting. Strong, produced an incredibly detailed 109 point action plan designed to give the UN input and even control over individual Government environmental policies world wide. As one of the actions, the United Nations Environmental Program ( UNEP) was organized in 1973 with Strong himself as Executive Director.
    Ten years later it was obvious that the predictions of imminent death and disaster were wrong but Hansen et al NASA 1981 in “Climate Impact of Increasing Carbon Dioxide” resurrected many of the doomsday establishment scenarios :
    “A sea level rise of 5 m would flood 25 percent of Louisiana and Florida,10 percent of New Jersey, and many other lowlands throughout the world. Climate models (7, 8) indicate that 2°C global warming is needed to cause 5°C warming at the West Antarctic ice sheet. A 2°C global warming is exceeded in the 21st century in all the CO2 scenarios we considered, except no growth and coal phaseout.”
    “The global warming projected for the next century is of almost unprecedented magnitude. On the basis of our model calculations, we estimate it to be 2.5°C for a scenario with slow energy growth and a mixture of non-fossil and fossil fuels. This would exceed the temperature during the altithermal (6000 years ago) and the previous (Eemian)interglacial period 125,000 years ago(53), and would approach the warmth of the Mesozoic, the age of dinosaurs”… Hansen said :”The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”
    ….” if we burn all fossil fuels, we will destroy the planet we know. Carbon dioxide would increase to 500 ppm or more. We would set the planet on a course to the ice-free state, with sea level 75 metres higher.”
    For political and selfish career reasons the UNEP bureaucrats wanted to take control of the global economy. They realized that if they could use Hansen type forecasts to show that the CO2 produced by burning coal and oil to make electricity and drive cars might cause a dangerous warming of the earth they would be able to scare Governments and peoples into writing laws giving the UN (and themselves) control over the world’s economy by controlling the type of energy used and its price.
    To this end in 1985 UNEP organized a meeting of scientists at Villach in Austria in 1985 to see if they could show that CO2 was dangerous. The scientific report said :
    “Although the observed global-scale warming experienced over the past ~100 years is compatible with model estimates of the magnitude of the greenhouse effect, unequivocal, statistically convincing detection of the effects of changing CO2 and trace gas levels on climate is not yet possible. An important problem in the positive identification of a greenhouse gas effect on climate is to explain the medium to long time scale (~decades or more) fluctuations in the past record. Attempts to model such changes have, to date, suffered from a number of deficiencies.”
    By contrast the official summary statement said:
    “As a result of the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, it is now believed that in the first half of the next century a rise of global mean temperature could occur which is greater than any in man’s history. ”
    The Villach report made two important recommendations. As one result the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up to select from the evidence and from time to time produce reports which would show that CO2 was the main driver of dangerous climate change. A second recommendation resulted in a meeting in Rio in 1992 chaired by Maurice Strong himself which produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,later signed by 196 governments.
    The objective of the Convention is to keep CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that they guessed would prevent dangerous man made interference with the climate system.
    his treaty is a comprehensive, politically driven, political action plan called Agenda 21 designed to produce a centrally managed global society which would control every aspect of the life of every one on earth.
    It says :
    “The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or
    irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures” Apocalyptic forecasts are used as the main drivers of demands for action and for enormous investments such as those in the new IPCC SR1.5 report and in the work of Nordhaus who advocates a carbon tax .Nordhaus is quoted in the NYT as saying “If we start moving very swiftly in the next 20 years, we might able to avoid 2 degrees, but if we don’t do that, we’re in for changes in the Earth’s system that we can’t begin to understand in depth. Warming of 4, 5, 6 degrees will bring changes we don’t understand because it’s outside the range of human experience in the last 100,000 to 200,000 years.”…………Those proselytizing the warming scenario are closely following the UNFCCC Agenda 21 political plan of action. Bernie Sanders says :” Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet. The debate is over, and the scientific jury is in: global climate change is real, it is caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels and it poses a catastrophic threat to the long-term longevity of our planet. If we do nothing, the planet will heat up five to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. That would cause enough sea level rise from melting glaciers to put cities like New York and Miami underwater – along with more frequent asthma attacks, higher food prices, insufficient drinking water and more infectious diseases.”
    Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed taxing the wealthy as high as 70% to fund a climate change plan she’s pushing called the “Green New Deal.” She also says “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change”
    Fortunately, Reality is finally beginning to intrude upon the dangerous global warming meme.
    Curry, 2017 in “Climate Models for the layman” says:
    “GCMs are not fit for the purpose of attributing the causes of 20th century warming or for predicting global or regional climate change on time scales of decades to centuries, with any high level of confidence. By extension, GCMs are not fit for the purpose of justifying political policies to fundamentally alter world social, economic and energy
    Scafetta et al 2017 states: “The severe discrepancy between observations and modeled predictions……further confirms….that the current climate models have significantly exaggerated the anthropogenic greenhouse warming effect”
    Hansen et al 2018 “Global Temperature in 2017” said “However, the solar variability is not negligible in comparison with the energy imbalance that drives global temperature change. Therefore, because of the combination of the strong 2016 El Niño and the phase of the solar cycle, it is plausible, if not likely, that the next 10 years of global temperature change will leave an impression of a ‘global warming hiatus’.
    Page, 2017 in “The coming cooling: usefully accurate climate forecasting for policy makers.” said:
    ” This paper argued that the methods used by the establishment climate science community are not fit for purpose and that a new forecasting paradigm should be adopted.” ……… See the Energy and Environment paper The coming cooling: usefully accurate climate forecasting for policy makers.
    and an earlier accessible blog version at See also
    and the discussion with Professor William Happer at

  21. Before retirement from my college, I co-taught an introductory environmental science class, where I gave the lecture on the evolution and state of climate science. Another faculty member, firmly in the ‘it’s only anthropogenic’ camp, harassed my co-teachers and me for considering additional hypotheses. He misrepresented the material in my lecture while refusing to attend it to see for himself. Over time I refined the lecture to incorporate more details on the state of research on alternative hypotheses, using the IPCC Working Group 1 report itself. Since he recognized the IPCC as ‘the’ authority, this left him with only one criticism – he stated that uncertainties in science should not be addressed when teaching undergraduates. Eventually he was required to avoid all contact with me and to cease discussing my lecture with his students.

    • Uncertainties should be required material at all levels of science education. Loud and dictatorial personalities should be resisted. Every small skirmish in the battle for freedom of thought is important.

    • “…he stated that uncertainties in science should not be addressed when teaching undergraduates.”

      Certainly sad. I would also say UNbelievable like Judith did in the other post about the McKitrick situation. In another time both would be unbelievable but now they aren’t and they have become par for the course.

      The problem transcends climate science and science itself. It’s become a general societal challenge. I’m not sure where we went wrong but somehow younger generations believe that life needs to meet their expectations rather than them meeting life’s expectations. That includes not wanting to hear adversarial opinions. Or even facts that have become distasteful to the individual. To wit, a high school is removing a mural of Washington because of objectionable depictions.

      College is supposed to go beyond rote. (Leave rote to the North Koreans.) College should prepare students for all eventualities of adulthood. Life is not a piece of cake.

      I wonder how your colleague would have done in economics where uncertainty is all they deal with. Like what is going to happen with global negative debt at $13 Trillion. No perfect solution to that problem.

  22. Here we go again. As with John Ioannidis, there is nothing here about climate science or climate scientists.

    From Jussim’s blog:

    A Climate Scientist’s Talk at the March for Science

    Jussim speaks in the comment section.

  23. David Appell

    Judith wrote:
    “How valid conclusions often lay hidden within research reports, masked by plausible but unjustified conclusions reached in those reports. And how the IPCC institutionalizes such masking errors in climate science.”

    What “plausible but unjustified conclusions” come from the other, none or little-AGW side? (Please be smart enough not to say “none.”)

  24. Dan Pangburn

    The irony is that reducing ‘carbon footprint’ would have no significant effect on climate. Patrick Michaels of Cato discusses the colossal mistakes being made by ‘climate science’ here .

    Analysis accounting for increased water vapor in place of increased CO2 matches measured average global temperature 98+% 1895-2018. At risk of annoying both the alarmists and skeptics it shows no significant further change in average global temperature for a couple of decades. .

    This analysis method is easily adaptable to calculating future temperature using data up to any year in the past. The prediction using water vapor, SSN and a simple approximation of SST up to 2005 calculated the measured, 5-year smoothed, temperature trend for 2018 within 0.05 K.

  25. Steven Mosher

    I reread the NIPPC on observations.
    It’s pretty pathetic Judith.

    It all boils down to 1 argument which they just declare is wrong

    A) The IPCC claims that the land temperature record could have as much
    as a 10% bias due to UHI.
    B) The IPCC cites 3 types of studies
    1. Individual city studies which show larger values for large cities
    2. Regional studies which show much smaller values for large regions.
    3. Global studies which show the smallest values for UHI.

    The key datasets are GISS, NCDC, BEST, and CRU.
    for these datasets they estimate an upper limit of 10% bias due to UHI.

    So just to recap, the argument is
    1. INDIVIDUAL CITY studies show the largest values
    2. Studies of regions ( more stations) show much smaller values
    3. GLOBAL STUDIES, show the smallest values.

    Since we use GLOBAL DATA, its the global records we care about.

    So what did NIPCC do?

    Did they show that #3 was wrong? nope.
    they wrote pages and pages about #1 and #2.
    Nobody disagrees about #1 and #2.
    The question is about #3.

    The biggest difficulty is getting folks who do studies like #1 and #2
    to use the data that is actually used in #3

    Many skeptics think the stations form GLOBAL series are all in big cities.
    They arent.

    Now, can I have my time back for wasting it on the NIPPC report?
    It would be great if they had an OPEN review, but they dont.
    Not open. not transparent. Hmm I thought that stuff mattered
    For their chapter in my field they had a couple guys who are sore
    about losing the science fight, blathering on for pages but never really touching the key issue.

    • Steven Mosher:

      Your above. You made probably the same point in your recent post at WUWT. UHI doesn’t have much of an impact on global averages. There are going to be some outliers. But focusing on them is a diversion. The money is in the rural areas. That’s what we count. I thought you won the point and we can hopefully move forward in a productive way.

  26. Adam Gallon

    “I have no idea how this twaddle gets published.”

  27. Pingback: Experts say there is no ‘climate emergency’ | Tallbloke's Talkshop

  28. Derry McCarthy

    Hi Judith. Thank you sincerely for your tireless efforts to bring some balance to this topic. Maybe you might have the answers to a few questions that have come to mind and have been unable to locate the answer for. As I understand it the IPCC reports use qualitative confidence and likely hood intervals, from virtually certain to exceptional unlikely or very high confidence to very low confidence.
    Within this framework does a finding of say highly unlikely then mean it’s reverse is highly likely?. Does the framework and context in which these qualitative judgement are expressed necessarily skew the very same judgement? How would would one test for this issue?. How does the IPCC address this is issue if it is indeed one. Apologies for the poor framing.

  29. Pingback: Climate science’s ‘masking bias’ problem | Watts Up With That?

  30. Ireneusz Palmowski

    In the following years, due to the decrease in the magnetic activity of the Sun, the amount of stratospheric intrusion will increase. The result will be an increase in weather anomalies and a decline in agricultural production in medium latitudes.

  31. Very spot on.

    This may be seen as a case of Goodhart’s law .

    Good science(ethics) leads to good outcomes (and outcomes with wow effect). Targeting good outcomes and “good” wow effects directly messes the ethics up (climate science, affirmative action, communism, therapy …) and finally spoils the outcome.

    With the reign of mass media and democracy the thing that gets amplified is engagement (the eternal problem of orthodox Marxism). Stirring up the passions. The aesthetic side of being.
    If different interpretations are possible the ones that mobilise the most engagement are amplified. Similar to symmetry breaking where the fluctuation that is amplified most dominates at last. Always there in the nonlinear regime of thermodynamics.

    Usually this kind of madness only ends when something breaks as with revolutionary movements. Someone has to preserve the ethical tradition until the mess is over. Usually religions have done this.

    This thing has been going on for maybe three centuries and is the driving force of our culture. So difficult to tackle. Good to see ethical attitude survive here and there.
    In my country things are just speeding up in the wrong direction.

  32. “Overall, there is the danger that the paper is used by unscrupulous people to create confusion or to discredit climate science. Hence, I suggest that the author reconsiders the essence of its contribution to the scientific debate on climate science.”

    If ever there was a sentence that encapsulates the essence of the mentality of the protectionist establishment, that is it.

    It’s gorgeous.

    I think I will have the quote bronzed and made into a plaque to be placed on my living room wall with the 5 plaques for my 5 holes in one.

  33. there is the danger that the paper is used by unscrupulous people to create confusion or to discredit climate science.

    As surprising as it might sound, editors are extremely sensitive to this unscientific type of comments, as they know from example that it is one of the few decisions that can hurt their standing as editors.

    • I think editors are extremely sensitive to un-consensus comments, they have no problems with unscientific, not agreeing with consensus is what hurts their standing as editors.

  34. I was taken aback with the rejection story of Dr. Judy’s paper. May I suggest that she or someone in this science community start a new publishing enterprise. “Open Science”. Make it a non-profit company, crowd funded, with a mission to publish in an unbiased, unpolitical, non-connected way with no special interests to answer to. The editors are to be appointed, paid little and to be rotated on a limited term basis. Ongoing funding with volunteer donations and minor publishing fees. No pay walls; run a book publishing service in paper and with Kindle® types. There are numerous online sources to facilitate setting up a publishing house, and providing other guidance. First, cover the science of climate, with sub-sets of weather and oceans. Later expand into other subject matter. This could become a major alternative voice for those who are forced to remain obscure a present, and those shunned by the scientific publishing establishment. Lastly, any future operating surplus could be routed into scholarships.

    • If you think it worth doing, You Do It. If it works or not is a measure of it being a good idea.

      How could anyone start something this way? Make it a non-profit company, crowd funded, with a mission to publish in an unbiased, unpolitical, non-connected way with no special interests to answer to.

      No one would care, who would put money in?

      It would be like supporting the study of natural causes of climate change.
      No one would profit from an understanding that climate change is natural, normal and necessary and unstoppable, so no one would sign up for it.

      I have tried. In order to succeed, you must scare people.

    • Perhaps a better idea is to devote perhaps 5% of research funding to replication of the most referenced papers in the field. There are a relatively small number of such papers. The replication efforts should go through all the details. This would help improve quality substantially.

    • potsniron – I believe you are dead on!

      I have edited & shaped your paragraph a bit here, to align with what I know to be true – because I’m doing this exact thing – and believe it is what’s necessary to bring the necessary focus and “lift” to this important subject matter – everything is too hidden, un-available for scrutiny, review, and… advancing, currently. And no, I’m not a scientist – I’m an expert on “the chemistry of community,” however…

      The collaborative version of Potsniron’s Idea –

      A new enterprise, “Open Source Science.” A non-profit that aggregates the highest & best – most current, most accurate – climate science (knowledge) available and brings it forth, makes it available to the whole world in an unbiased, un-political way. Editors are both paid & unpaid (volunteer) with ongoing transparent funding available to research, explore, assemble, and fill gaps in the existing model(s). No pay walls. Numerous online sources to facilitate global information gathering & distribution. Focus is on the universe of climate science. Expands into related subject matter. This becomes a major voice for the true science.

  35. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Circulation in the lower stratosphere has a huge impact on the jet streams in the upper troposphere. Therefore, scientists underestimate the changes in chemical composition in the lower stratosphere in the period of low magnetic activity of the Sun. These changes result from an increase in the ionization of the lower stratosphere by galactic radiation.

    • You promote ideas that have not been proved right or wrong. The convection due to temperature differences and spin of the earth rule. Ocean currents must follow ocean paths and land blocks flow. These influences, oceans, mountains, lakes, all influence flow. Something carried along with the atmosphere is along for the ride.

  36. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Circulation in the lower stratosphere is perfectly visible in the troposphere. What’s more, it is a very stable circulation. This is due to the constant distribution of ozone in the lower stratosphere.

    • Circulation is due to temperature differences and actual spin of the earth, why would ozone matter, it just gets carried along with the rest. How does it possibly feed back to cause anything? That is much like CO2 is a control knob, now ozone is another control knob.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        Ozone is not dispersed in the lower stratosphere above the polar circles. Occurs in specific areas in large clusters. In the period of low magnetic activity of the Sun, the distribution of ozone depends on the strength of the magnetic field over the polar circles.
        “In satellite imagery, Stratospheric Intrusions are identified by very low moisture levels in the water vapor channels (6.2, 6.5, and 6.9 micron). Along with the dry air, Stratospheric Intrusions bring high amounts of ozone into the tropospheric column and possibly near the surface.”

      • So, the ozone is most likely a result of something, more than a cause of something. How would you prove that wrong?

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        Ozone as a diamagnetic is repelled by the magnetic field.

  37. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Surface temperature waves in the eastern equatorial Pacific correspond to waves in the lower stratosphere.

  38. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Please see how another wave of dry cold air from the south reaches Australia.

  39. Very insightful observations. No one expects to be killed for being a skeptic of AGW theory but still… Al Gore had no qualms about sticking a knife in the back of his mentor Revell…

    Hippasus is sometimes credited with the discovery of the existence of irrational numbers, following which he was drowned at sea. Pythagoreans preached that all numbers could be expressed as the ratio of integers, and the discovery of irrational numbers is said to have shocked them.

  40. “Invalid conclusions may be reached based, not on failing to report dropped conditions, failed studies, or non significant analyses, but on selective interpretations of data
    that highlight researchers’ preferred conclusions while masking more
    valid ones.”

    Drawing conclusions on climate seems problematic in general – yet people do it with diverse simple stories.

  41. I’ve also soured on peer review in the last 10 years. My experience is similar to Judith’s in that a paper was rejected by the reviewers because we didn’t take enough account of previous work. The previous work mentioned was using a different method and didn’t have the wealth of data we presented. Basically my conclusion is that stating too strongly the high levels of uncertainty continues to be an issue with “leaders” in the field.

  42. IPCC does not mean International Panel on Climate Change but Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: politically tainted from the get go (or before).

    You mention “a journal” editor replying you: “We regret that we cannot accept your manuscript for publication and will not consider it further.”

    Just spell out the name of this editor and this “journal”: they deserve it.

  43. Ireneusz Palmowski

    Professor Valentina Zharkova gave a presentation of her Climate and the Solar Magnetic Field hypothesis at the Global Warming Policy Foundation in October, 2018.

    Principal component analysis (PCA) of the solar background magnetic field observed from the Earth, revealed four pairs of dynamo waves, the pair with the highest eigen values are called principal components (PCs).

    PCs are shown to be produced by magnetic dipoles in inner and outer layers of the Sun, while the second pair of waves is assumed produced by quadruple magnetic sources and so on. The PC waves produced by a magnetic dipole and their summary curve were described analytically and shown to be closely related to the average sunspot number index used for description of solar activity. Based on this correlation, the summary curve was used for the prediction of long-term solar activity on a millennial timescale. This prediction revealed the presence of a grand cycle of 350-400 years, with a remarkable resemblance to the sunspot and terrestrial activity features reported in the past millennia: Maunder (grand) Minimum (1645-1715), Wolf (grand) minimum (1200), Oort (grand) minimum (1010-1050), Homer (grand) minimum (800-900 BC); the medieval (900-1200) warm period, Roman (400-10BC) and other warm periods.

    This approach also predicts the modern grand minimum upcoming in 2020-2055.

    • This approach also predicts the modern grand minimum upcoming in 2020-2055.

      Zharkova’s model was already shown wrong in hindcasting.
      Usoskin, I.G., 2018. Comment on the paper by Popova et al.“On a role of quadruple component of magnetic field in defining solar activity in grand cycles”. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, 176, pp.69-71.

      “The work contains several flaws devaluating the results: (1) the method is unreliable from the point of view of signal processing (it is impossible to make harmonic predictions for thousands of years based on only 35 years of data) and lacks quality control; (2) the result of post-diction apparently contradicts the observational data. (3) theoretical speculations make little sense.”

      The prediction of a solar grand minimum for the mid-21st century goes against the analysis of solar activity during the Holocene based on cosmogenic isotopes proxy data. Solar cycle 25 should break the trend in declining solar activity according to both cyclical studies and the polar fields method. We should know in about 5 years.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        Look better at what is happening with the solar dipole.

      • I don’t have to. Prof. Leif Svaalgard that correctly predicted SC24 activity does that far better than I could.

        Bottom line: SC25 should be somewhere between SC24 and SC20.

        There is no support in the data for a 21st century solar grand minimum.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        Javier, there is no reliable method to predict the changes in the strength of the magnetic field of the sun.

      • The inferred solar dipole moment appears to be quite reliable for the following cycle, as the figure in the last page of the linked document shows:

        And it has already correctly predicted SC24.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        You did not convince me. For me, the real observations of the solar dipole are more important.

      • Ireneusz Palmowski

        I believe that due to the location of the large gas planets in the Solar System, the magnetic activity of the Sun after 2020 will be weakened.

      • You did not convince me.

        I don’t have to. You’re welcome to your beliefs. Myself, I’ll go with Leif Svalgaard proposal, as he has been proven right before on this.

        The planetary hypothesis of solar variability is far from accepted due to lack of substantive evidence. If it says that SC25 should have less activity than SC24, then it could be refuted if SC25 turns to be more active.

      • Ulric Lyons

        I have substantive evidence. Javier is ignoring it.

      • You believe you have it. Most others disagree. That’s because their bar for convincing evidence is higher than yours.

        I am open minded. I don’t reject that planetary cycles might be the cause of solar activity cycles, but I reckon that finding a planetary cycle that fits a solar activity cycle is very far from demonstrating that it is its cause. Maybe, or maybe not. Most hypotheses end up being wrong. I remain skeptical until convincing evidence is produced.

      • Ulric Lyons

        “You believe you have it. Most others disagree.”

        You don’t believe that I have it, and your ‘most others’ have not looked at it either. I know I have it, because the event correlations are so consistently good, and the compound periods are so exacting and explain exactly why and where centennial minima occur.

        “That’s because their bar for convincing evidence is higher than yours.”

        You are only projecting your own standards.

        “but I reckon that finding a planetary cycle that fits a solar activity cycle is very far from demonstrating that it is its cause.”

        I know that the correlations provide the best clues as to what the cause must be.

      • and explain exactly why and where centennial minima occur.

        No, they don’t explain why because the mechanism by which the planets could affect solar activity is not known. And the centennial minima happen every ~100 years.

        What you forget is that you selected those planetary cycles because they fit the known solar activity variations, and therefore they cannot explain the solar activity variations, as that constitutes circular reasoning. This is something most everybody sees, and constitutes a serious obstacle. You cannot look for a cycle that fits and then claim that the fit constitutes evidence. Basic theory of science.

      • Ulric Lyons

        “No, they don’t explain why because the mechanism by which the planets could affect solar activity is not known. And the centennial minima happen every ~100 years.”

        The quadrupole phase relationships between the synodic pairs do in fact mathematically and geometrically explain the occurrence of centennial solar minima, which can be between 80 and 120 or more years apart. They also explain the occurrence of grand minima series every 863 years on average, as will occur again from the late 2090’s and onward. I have enough correlative evidence to show the effect is real, and warrants further study to understand the planetary-solar linkages and mechanisms.

        “What you forget is that you selected those planetary cycles because they fit the known solar activity variations, and therefore they cannot explain the solar activity variations, as that constitutes circular reasoning. This is something most everybody sees, and constitutes a serious obstacle. You cannot look for a cycle that fits and then claim that the fit constitutes evidence. Basic theory of science.”

        I did no such thing. I searched for consistent correlations for the timing of each sunspot cycle maximum, and found it. No one had selected Uranus, because its cycle was not known to fit the known solar variability. Mainly because the standard non centennial minimum cycle is based on a 0.75 Jupiter-Uranus synodic period, and no one had thought of that, not even me. Your straw man argument is the only circular reasoning here.

      • I’ll try to explain again simpler. You are using solar variability to validate your planetary cycles, therefore your planetary cycles cannot explain solar activity. The cycles have been defined on terms of solar activity so they must necessarily match even if your hypothesis is wrong.

        So you predict something that will validate your hypothesis by 2100. I’ll wait until then to be convinced.

      • “You are using solar variability to validate your planetary cycles, therefore your planetary cycles cannot explain solar activity.”

        No the discrete correlations reveal which planetary progressions order solar cycles and their variability. I didn’t have any cycles to validate. In science one should begin with observations not speculations.

        “The cycles have been defined on terms of solar activity so they must necessarily match even if your hypothesis is wrong.”

        The solar variability defines which progressions are ordering the variability. From the timing of each cycle maximum and minimum, to the actual and highly variable start and end of each centennial minimum, over many hundreds of years. All based on a simple set of rules between primarily four bodies. Speculative approaches based upon average synodic periods cannot capture the variability, because of periodic slips in the synodic progressions and because of the elliptical orbits, both shifting events away from mean periods. It’s the actual heliocentric geometry at each event that matters.

        “So you predict something that will validate your hypothesis by 2100. I’ll wait until then to be convinced.”

        There is plenty of time before then to inspect the quality of the hindcasts. And wonder about the mechanisms, which relate directly to the ordering of major heatwaves and cold-waves by the four gas giants in various quadrupole configurations.

  44. Ireneusz Palmowski

    I am sure that the average temperature in Australia will now fall below the winter average.

  45. Ireneusz Palmowski

    0 named storms in the eastern North Pacific (to 140W) in 2019 so far. Only 2 prior seasons in satellite era (since 1966) had their 1st named storm form in eastern N. Pacific after June 21: 1969 and 2016. NHC now forecasts 30% chance of TC development in next 5 days. #hurricane

  46. Pingback: Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove

  47. The biggest issues where “masking bias” operates are (1) attribution and palaeoclimate reconstructions, and (2) the catastrophe narrative and concealment of greening by CO2.
    (1) The IPCC reports give reasonable overview of palaeoclimate, although they favour reconstructions where past temperature variation is ironed flat by various tricks. The pinnacle of this is Mann’s hockey stick.

    So the debate has been between a Greenland style Holocene reconstruction on one hand, with an early optimum several degrees warmer than today, or a smoother slightly skewed reconstruction in which variation in the last 2 centuries dwarfs variation earlier in the Holocene. Achieving this latter ironed-flat reconstructions by the likes of Shakun, Marcott and others employs mixing in of dozens of weak biological proxies which scarcely resolve the Holocene from the last glacial maximum, Recent speleothem research reported in Judith’s latest “week in review” supports the Greenland type Holocene history, not the ironed flat version:

    (2) warming is happening, whether anthropogenic or not. But this is not enough, it has to be warming with doom to have political force. It is far from inevitable that mild warming from a glacial period – starting at the coldest point in the whole Holocene, the end of the LIA, is harmful in any way. This is where the most fantastic distortions of science have been made to try to force catastrophe onto warming. Most egregious is the effort to conceal the beneficial effects of CO2 fertilization of the atmosphere by unbalanced and selective flails at issues such as protein content.

    The biggest maskings are thus in attribution and in the bogus catastrophe narrative. Issues such as UHI and urban-rural temperature stations are much more minor.

  48. Ulric Lyons

    The fictional uniformly heated black body temperature of Earth with 30% albedo is 255K. We are led to believe that the radiative greenhouse effect makes up the additional 33K, as if heat capacity does not matter.
    If the Lunar surface had negligible heat capacity, its global mean surface temperature would be around 45K lower, whether it was rotating faster, or if it was tidally locked to the Sun rather than to Earth. Because it does have some minor heat capacity, rotating it faster would just reduce the difference between dawn and dusk temperatures.

    The Lunar sunlit side is roughly in equilibrium with solar irradiance. Twice the illuminated disk area gives a mean equilibrium temperature for the sunlit side of 331.3K, or 322.7K with 10% albedo. With a dark side mean temperature of around 95K (4.6W/m^2), that gives a global mean of 208.8K. Close to what is observed. I am not buying what Willis Eschenbach and Roy Spencer say about the Moon being so cold because of its slow rotation. The impossible uniformly heated body model discounts both night time and rotation, and results in an artificially high black body equivalent temperature, by +113K globally.

    Earth has the handicap of 30% albedo on its sunlit side, but manages a far higher global mean than the Moon, by keeping its dark side so warm. Primarily by the huge thermal reservoirs of the oceans, and their hyper greenhouse effect of convecting to the surface at night, so that their surfaces barely cool during the night cycle.

  49. “the oceans… hyper greenhouse effect of convecting to the surface at night, so that their surfaces barely cool during the night cycle.”

    That’s exactly backwards. The mixed layer mixes because the surface water grows denser at night,as it cools, transporting solar heat downward, keeping overall SST relatively low– until the thermohaline circulation slowly but surely carries the heat deeper. one of the few things worse than being wrong is being incorrigably wrong on borrowed time.

    • Ulric Lyons

      Water cooling at the surface sinks and is continually replaced by warmer water from the subsurface. Cooler sinking, warmer rising, that is convection.


  50. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #364 | Watts Up With That?

  51. (Back in the ‘west’ after two weeks overseas… and a few months of medical recovery. I don’t have a lot of time to engage right now, partially because I’m building up energy to do some of my own writing on related topics… yet feel compelled to share a little bit.)

    I want to commend you for your reflections here. A few related thoughts for the hopper, some of which may be of interest to other commenters:

    I. An ancient resource on humility in science
    Sir Francis Bacon had more than a little to do with the foundations of science. One of his postulates has largely been ignored, perhaps because we simply don’t like the implications. A “translated” version from 1605 English: “let men endeavor an endless progress or proficience in both; only let men beware that they apply both to love*, and not to pride; to use, and not to boasting.” (The Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Book I, p5)

    In essence, true humility rather than arrogance.

    2. An enlightening example relating to the many dimensions of uncertainty, particularly *model* uncertainties.

    Some supposedly-so-scientific commenters have used various other “settled science” examples to drive home their point. Yet… new discoveries have a tendency to explode our overconfidence.

    Case in point: the idea that consuming saturated fats and cholesterol is a sure path to heart disease oblivion.

    Serious users of a healthy Keto diet have shown remarkably dissonant results to what has been assumed to date. This is an arena well worth further study. A close relative is a case in point. Her diet for the last half year:
    – less than 20g net carbs daily, mostly in the form of veggies (yes, even veggies have carbs)
    – for a variety of reasons, her primary breakfast has been eggs – 2 or more – daily, plus some veggies, and high fat meat – usually some bacon. Yes, high in cholesterol and saturated fats.
    – She struggles to eat *enough* fat to stay in ketosis… but has done reasonably well.

    Result: radical improvement in every heart-health and blood lipid related category. And… a doctor with a shocked and surprised look on her face.

    My point: it’s quite likely that yet again, the entire model we’ve assumed to be true is completely bogus.

    3. Another example from reasonably recent history

    In the early 1970’s, my best friend (high school) had an uncle gathering data on plate tectonics. He struggled mightily to get published. Why? Plate Tectonics (aka Continental Drift) was an Unacceptable Theory to the Settled Science in geology.

    Less than a decade later, everything had changed. And today, we can’t imagine that geologists ever ignored Plate Tectonics in modern history.

    But I was alive at the time, and easily remember.

    4. I suspect that new developments in the scientific method may be quite helpful, perhaps even in climate science.

    Of primary interest to me: Registered Research. (Perhaps with triple-blind submission so the review panel has no idea who is submitting the research plan?) Gaining a publication commitment, before a study is even performed, seems to be a powerful step forward.

    5. The real-world uncertainties and error rates in climate research are sobering to me.

    I looked at the NCAR/NCEP errata pages and was both pleased (that they’re transparent with what has been discovered) and saddened (in my world of SW development, we understand that *all* software has bugs, and attempt to be quite humble about any perception of accuracy or reliability going forward.)

    Based on several decades of experience, I strongly sense that we’ve barely touched the surface of uncertainties in climate science and related analyses.

    (Just for example, I have an unpublished manuscript from a friend that I could share privately. He proved that certain types of repeated calculations involving small differences between large numbers are inherently inaccurate… in such a way that the inaccuracies tend to accumulate in astounding ways. He invented methods for correction, but they are not simple. We used his techniques in creating one of the first GIS systems. I suspect this issue likely affects many climate calculation systems… and we would have a hard time detecting it.)


    * agape love based on sincere appreciation and high regard

  52. I have stated before that I blame educational malpractice for teaching intellectual dishonesty as standard practice. It most clearly manifests itself in the methodology known as “debate”, where opposing views are presented with masking bias and cherry-picking. Students grow up to apply this intellectually dishonest technique to everything, and we even institutionalize it into how law is practised and how legislatures operate. Should we be surprised that this cancer has permeated scientific research?