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  1. In the above post, the editor of the Guardian’s environmental website, Dr. James Randerson, replies to two RealClimate postings critical of the Guardian’s recent reporting on issues related to “Climategate”.

    Dr. Randerson deflects all criticism of the Guardian expressed in the RealClimate postings. A plain-English summary of his response would be: “The Guardian could not have done anything better. Others are guilty of poor reporting on Climategate – the Guardian is not”.

    I would like to take issue with one specific aspect of Dr. Randerson’s response. Dr. Randerson asserts that Fred Pearce (the author of the Guardian’s investigation)

    “…contacted numerous individuals in the course of his research. Many (particularly those at UEA) declined to comment.”

    This statement implies that Fred Pearce did everything he could to inform himself about the issues he reported on in his Climategate investigation. In the case of Mr. Pearce’s reporting about me, this is definitely not the case.

    I last spoke with Mr. Pearce several years ago. On February 9, 2010, Part 7 of Mr. Pearce’s 12-part investigation of Climategate was published in the online edition of the Guardian. Part 7 was entitled “Victory for openness as IPCC climate scientist opens up lab doors”. It dealt primarily with some of the more publicized aspects of the last 14 years of my scientific career.

    Prior to publication of Part 7, I was not informed by Mr. Pearce or by any Guardian editor that the Guardian intend to publish an article about me. I did not know that Part 7 would cover unfounded allegations of professional misconduct relating to my service as Convening Lead Author of one chapter of the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report. I did not know that Mr. Pearce intended to discuss how I responded to frivolous Freedom of Information Act requests I had received from Mr. Stephen McIntyre. Nor did I know that Mr. Pearce would bring aspects of my personal life into his story.

    Mr. Pearce did contact me several times before publication of Part 7. The first contact was by email on January 1, 2010. Mr. Pearce requested my response to allegations which had been made by Dr. David Douglass and Dr. John Christy on the basis of selective interpretation of some of the stolen Climategate emails. Drs. Douglass and Christy claimed that I had conspired with other scientists to delay publication of the print version of one of their papers in the International Journal of Climatology. This claim was false.

    I responded to Mr. Pearce (by email) on January 1, 2010, and sent Mr. Pearce a detailed rebuttal of the Douglass and Christy allegations. Unfortunately, Part 7 of Mr. Pearce’s investigation continued to propagate the myth that I somehow pressured the editor of the International Journal of Climatology. Again, this claim is simply false.

    On January 21, 2010, Mr. Pearce sent me an email requesting information about the data requests I had received from Mr. Stephen McIntyre in late 2008. I was on travel at the time, and responded to Mr. Pearce on January 29, 2010. I noted that I was willing to discuss Mr. McIntyre’s data requests in a telephone conversation with Mr. Pearce, but not by email. I sent Mr. Pearce my telephone number, and asked him to call me up. He never did.

    Mr. Pearce’s account of my interactions with Mr. McIntyre (in Part 7) suggests that I was initially unwilling to comply with Mr. McIntyre’s data requests, but that I then experienced “a change of heart”, and eventually released the requested data.

    In fact, my position on this matter was that Mr. McIntyre’s data requests were superfluous and frivolous, since Mr. McIntyre already had access to all of the raw climate model data my colleagues and I had used. Mr. McIntyre also had access to all the algorithms required to calculate intermediate “value-added” information from the raw climate model data. With some work – which he was unwilling to do – Mr. McIntyre could have replicated all of the calculations performed in the 2008 Santer et al. International Journal of Climatology paper.

    I released the model data requested by Mr. McIntyre not because I had a “change of heart” about the openness and transparency of my scientific research, as Mr. Pearce incorrectly implies. My research always has been – and always will be – conducted in an open and transparent manner. Instead, I released the requested data because I wished to continue with my scientific research, and did not want to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with the systematic email harassment I was receiving from visitors to Mr. McIntyre’s “ClimateAudit” blog.

    I strongly believe that Mr. Pearce could and should have engaged in more thorough investigative journalism before writing a major article about me. Finally, I note that the Guardian decided not to publish a very short (less than 150-word) letter I had written in response to Part 7. In this letter, I referred readers of the Guardian to my posting on RealClimate for a more complete and accurate account of some of the issues.

    In explaining their decision to reject my letter, the editors of the Guardian argued that I had already published a brief letter (jointly with Myles Allen) criticizing the Guardian’s “experimental online exercise”. The Guardian editors contended that they could not publish a second Santer letter a mere week after the appearance of the Allen and Santer letter. I find this explanation rather disingenuous, since my letter and the Allen and Santer letter dealt with very different issues. The Allen and Santer letter did not respond to any of the specific allegations against me.

    In response to my rejected letter, the Guardian editors incorporated a footnote in Mr. Pearce’s Part 7, pointing to my RealClimate posting. Clearly, this footnote in an online article was a much less effective means of alerting Guardian readers to my concerns about Mr. Pearce’s story.

    In conclusion, I would like to contrast the Guardian’s behavior with that of the Wall Street Journal.

    In the summer of 1996, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed (by Dr. Frederick Seitz) and a half-dozen letters highly critical of my role as Convening Leading Author of Chapter 8 of the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report. To their credit, the Wall Street Journal’s editors allowed me to publish three letters in which I defended myself against baseless allegations that I had engaged in “political tampering” and “scientific
    cleansing”.

    Unlike the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian only gave me a footnote with which to respond to Mr. Pearce’s lengthy (3,000 word) and inaccurate account of the last 14 years of my professional career. This is deeply disappointing. I suspect that in a decade’s time, when Climategate is viewed in a more complete historical and scientific context, the Guardian’s reporting on this issue will be the real footnote.

    Comment by Ben Santer — 24 Mar 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  2. I note with a chuckle that James Randerson and David Adam are now “Dr.” What brought that on ? And what are they “Dr.” in, pray ?

    Seriously, I have become seriously concerned with the way The Guardian are treating the whole “Climategate” episode. As far as I can ascertain from my limited informational resources :-

    a. Some people arranged to obtain and misuse informal documents (electronic mails) from a small but influential research unit (CRU), their intention being, from the outset, to fabricate a baseless case from this “grey literature” with which to discredit the CRU, the Scientists in the CRU and, in fact, Science itself.

    b. Phil Jones, who has personally been invaluable in the collective enterprise of Climate Change Science has been publicly humiliated by this whole exercise of spin and disinformation, which is turning into a complete parody with the public inquiries, for which there is no basis in any kind of fact.

    c. For George Monbiot to insist on Phil Jones removal from the CRU shows he has no idea how significant Phil Jones is and has been in the process of Climate Change Science. He has thus bought into the sceptic fiction, or should I say “The Saga of Steve McIntyre’s Fantasy To Slay Disturbing Data”.

    d. For Fred Pearce to undermine the work of Ben Santer also plays to the sceptic gallery, and buy into their narrative of data manipulation and shady practice, of which there has been none, in my view.

    What we need now is trust, but not without foundation. We also need productive dialogue, and not wrangling or dispute. It is critically important that the narrative of Science is not mauled by poor commentary, as we need to know that we can have faith in the data, faith in the analysis and faith in the prognosis for urgent political and social action.

    The Guardian fail in my opinion to provide an accurate overview of “Climategate”, and even if they’ve been “better” than the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, they still have to reorient their direction.

    They could start by offering to have a series of videoconferences with key Climate Change Scientists to establish the full views of what is happening in the Science field, from the Science frame of reference.

    It is critical that we hear more from the people working on the instrumental records, as this is the ultimate basis of our knowledge of the range of probabilities for future Climate Change.

    We could do with hearing less from the constructed narrative of journalists, regardless of how truthful they think they are being.

    Comment by jo abbess — 24 Mar 2010 @ 6:29 PM

  3. “in the concluding part of the investigation… Fred lays out unequivocally that nothing in the emails casts doubt on the case for climate change being attributable to human actions.”

    That is really burying the lede isn’t it? Part 12… come on.

    Comment by Richard Pauli — 24 Mar 2010 @ 6:39 PM

  4. Here are my edits of Ben Santer’s comment, so that it applies to me:
    In fact, my position on this matter was that Mr. McIntyre’s data requests were superfluous and frivolous, since Mr. McIntyre already had access to all of the raw climate model data my colleagues and I had used. Mr. McIntyre also had access to all the algorithms required to calculate intermediate “value-added” information from the raw climate model data. With some work – which he was unwilling to do – Mr. McIntyre could have replicated all of the calculations performed in the 2008 Santer Steig et al. International Journal of Climatology Nature paper.

    Anyone see a pattern here?

    Comment by Eric Steig — 24 Mar 2010 @ 7:04 PM

  5. Ben and Gavin,

    I applaud you guys for the effort you are putting in to counter the mis information team out there. Its just a shame you have to waste your time with this sort of stuff rather than focusing on your real work.

    Keep up the good work guys. Anyone who is ‘really’ interested in the issue of climate change, know the truth and the great work you guys are doing.

    Keep doing what your doing. In years to come, people will look back at these types of things and see how silly they were not to have listened to you all.

    Comment by luke Newcombe — 24 Mar 2010 @ 7:12 PM

  6. I agree with #5 It is a shame you have to waste your time and TAXPAYER’S MONEY with this sort of stuff rather then focusing on your real TAXPAYER’S work !!

    Comment by Bob — 24 Mar 2010 @ 7:35 PM

  7. Your efforts in my opinion are a sincere and in many ways successful attempt to present a fair-minded account of all this. But the question remains (as put by Allen and Santer’s letter to the Guardian) “What is wrong with the old-fashioned approach of checking facts before publication?” Without this key step, journalism becomes chaotic blog-ism.

    Comment by Curt Covey — 24 Mar 2010 @ 7:41 PM

  8. Mostly OT but press related: there is a poll on whether climate change is really a problem, here:
    http://www.usnews.com/articles/opinion/2010/03/23/did-climategate-expose-global-warming-fears-as-unfounded.html

    The framing makes Inohofe equivalent to a scientist.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Mar 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  9. The Gaurdian spinmaster should get an award for making it seem a crime for Dr. Santer to -gasp! publish a paper!

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Mar 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  10. Dr. Randerson,
    Suffice to say, I used to read and trust the Guardian. I do neither now. Not on climate science or anything else.

    The Guardian and every other news media outlet have failed utterly to report on the real story here–the relentless attack on science by corporate and political interests. I do not know whether your lack of courage stems from concern that you will lose advertising revenue or political interest. Frankly, I do not care. I only know that when the closest one can find to actual reporting is found on Comedy Central, the situation is dire indeed.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Mar 2010 @ 7:53 PM

  11. I encourage the involved climate scientists to participate in The Guardian’s project: The “climategate” story is out there and radioactive, and the only way to moderate it with truth is to get involved.

    Sticking one’s head in the sand is not going to help. Standing up for yourself can.

    Comment by Neal J. King — 24 Mar 2010 @ 8:08 PM

  12. I credit the Guardian’s indefatigable reporting on climate change over the years for getting me involved in climate science research in the first place. But both Monbiot’s over-reaction to the original email release, and Pearce’s 12 part investigation were a serious disappointment. Nothing in Randerson’s response addresses the appalling mess that Pearce made of describing how the peer-review process works in scientific research. And yes, some parts of the series were excellent. But to so fundamentally misunderstand scientific peer-review (and how scientists talk about it) reminded me just how big the gulf still is between the scientific community and even the best science reporting in the media. And no, the attempt to create a from of “journalistic peer-review” won’t ever work unless newspaper editors take the time to find out what actually makes scientific peer-review work. Please, please, please go and talk to some editors of scientific journals, and find out what they actually do.

    Comment by Steve Easterbrook — 24 Mar 2010 @ 8:08 PM

  13. I applaud the Guardian’s intent to look under every rock. Perhaps we can show them a few rocks for their next series. Here’s one:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2828195.htm

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Mar 2010 @ 8:13 PM

  14. Thanks to Messrs. Randerson and Pearce for a decent job of reporting on a complex and controversial issue. As expected, the principals on both sides of this conflict will complain about anything in the series which doesn’t totally support their side. But good journalism – like good science – isn’t about advocacy; it is an ongoing search for the nearest approximation of truth. The fact that people on both sides of the issue are whining about the Guardian’s coverage suggests that, on the whole, it was fairly well balanced.

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 24 Mar 2010 @ 8:13 PM

  15. I would be vey interested to read an investigative piece on the likes of McIntyre, McKitrick and Anthony Watts setting out their real motivations, tactics, actions and mode of operation, as well as the links with organisations, media outlets, governments/politicians and other influential persons and the money flows.

    There are real questions to be answered here as illustrated by the responses from Ben Santer and Eric Steig, as well as by the whole episode of why and how the emails were stolen in the first place, among all the other actions of these people over the years and the linkages already public.

    Is this on the cards or is it all too hard?

    Comment by Sou — 24 Mar 2010 @ 8:30 PM

  16. I have to say that I find one aspect of Mr. Randerson’s reply rather perplexing:

    “[I]t has been suggested that a line by line response to each of the points made would not be productive.”

    This is a very odd statement.

    (1) Why the passive voice – suggested by whom? Am I to gather that the editors of RealClimate are the ones decided this? I certainly hope not.

    (2) Given that The Guardian stands accused of making specific mistakes and misrepresentations, why not carefully respond to the points brought up? This letter is not short, but the majority consists of a defense of the series structure and organization, not an examination of the truth or falsity of specific facts. In other words, the trial of “peer reviewed” journalism is unnecessary, as the articles already published in RealClimate already constitute “reviews”. Had “peer review” been applied, the editor would have called for revisions or the sort of detailed responses that are being dodged here.

    Comment by Mitch Golden — 24 Mar 2010 @ 8:45 PM

  17. I find the entire response from James Randerson disingenuous, at best.

    After all, we are discussing a daily newspaper who’s business is to make money, to stay in business, in other words, to increase readership.

    How better to do that then to suggest a “public peer review” process, or some such.

    “The respected Columbia Journalism Review has praised the approach.”

    So one journalistic organization praises another journalistic organization.

    Go figure. Self serving. Inbred.

    A British newspaper publishes a lengthy series of articles on a manufactured British scandal.

    Many British publications publish on this manufactured British scandal.

    All the contrarian blogs are abuzz with utter nonsense or outright lies.

    Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, the utter silence on this manufactured British scandel is truly deafining, or almost so, relatively speaking.

    And the punch line is “buy our book” but don’t worry, we’ll have a 2nd revised edition that you can buy, than a 3rd revised edition that you can buy, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

    Nice try at advertising The Guardian here on RealClimate Mr. Randerson.

    But I’m not ever going to read The Guardian or waste my good money on your advertisement for your forthcoming book.

    I spend my time reading the science, not reading about the science, not reading about the scientists, and not reading other’s opinions about the science or the scientists.

    Comment by EFS_Junior — 24 Mar 2010 @ 9:00 PM

  18. Hats off for posting a rebuttal to your articles (rather than, say, appending a footnote to them).

    While the Guardian series omitted or downplayed some key points, I thought it managed to straddle the divide enough to interest climate skeptic as well as mainstreamer readers while scotching many of the false issues. It might not be the most accurate reflection of the multilogue, and that is lamentable, but it’s good in many parts, accessible to both ‘sides’, and does the most injury where it is warranted.

    Comment by barry — 24 Mar 2010 @ 9:03 PM

  19. Although I don’t think the word balance (in the modern, slack-jawed sense) appeared in this piece, the whole article reeked of it. There is no balance between incorrect views and correct views. The stolen e-mails represent nothing more than scientists going normally about their business (and compared to the acaemic e-mails exchanges I have been privy to, going about their business in a remarkably ethical and fair-minded way).

    This should have been the story of the Guardian reporting from day one, not the ridculous Monbiot reaction, followed by a lumbering multi-part “investigation” that failed to underline the real issues and made it seem as though the denialists had some truth on their side.

    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 24 Mar 2010 @ 9:21 PM

  20. “To claim that the emails do not throw up some troubling issues looks like the inward-looking mentality that is sometimes (perhaps understandably) expressed in the emails themselves.”

    I don’t see where he’s coming from here – any ideas? What sort of “troubling issues” is he referring to that aren’t taken out of context? I mean, some of the emails are not very nice, but I see nothing that influences the credibility of their work.

    Comment by Kate — 24 Mar 2010 @ 10:01 PM

  21. I always wonder if people such as the Guardian’s journalists pause to consider how they would cope if someone got hold of their internal correspondence on a particularly controversial topic (say this one!), selectively culled and then quoted it to fit an already-framed anti-Guardian narrative (there’s no shortage of people who hate the paper, after all), and then ran if through an echo-chamber with little-to-no opportunity for them to adequately respond.

    I can just imagine the grave shaking of heads, and the solemn declarations that while the Guardian may not have technically breached Journalistic guidelines and standards and were basically truthful, they still should be shamed for failing to meet the impossibly high standards set by their enemies – whose own conduct is not assessed – these latter standards then even being embraced by some of their erstwhile allies in order to buy ‘balanced’ respectability at their expense!

    Comment by Bill Doyle — 24 Mar 2010 @ 10:45 PM

  22. I never thought I’d see the day. Everyone’s on the same side but the skeptics have everyone attacking each other over little things. People make mistakes. The skeptics just magnify little slights and errors. Everyone here has good ideas and intentions. I think the Guardian’s policy shows innovation. Climate scientists have enough pressure – they are trying to save the world, after all. To be called a villain while trying to be a hero must be hard.

    Comment by RichardC — 24 Mar 2010 @ 10:46 PM

  23. I very much look forward to James Randerson’s investigation of the unprecedented assault on climate science by vested interests. It’s a much more interesting and important story.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 24 Mar 2010 @ 11:00 PM

  24. Sad to see James Randerson’s defence of the articles which were manifestly unjust to the scientists concerned and trivialised their work. I have been a Guardian reader for 55 years, albeit for most of them from the other side of the world, and simply could not understand how the paper had stooped to this kind of misrepresentation. I’m no scientist, but didn’t need to be one to see how appalling article six was, for example, under the headline “Emails reveal strenuous efforts by climate scientists to ‘censor’ their critics”. Investigation? Analysis? A determined effort to see the selected emails in the worst possible light was all I could see in the article. It seemed to go out of its way to cast slurs on Jones: “He sometimes wrote critical reviews that may have had the effect of blackballing papers criticising his work”, for example. It was superficial and prejudiced and totally unworthy of the paper I’ve trusted for decades.

    Pretty well as bad was Pearce’s subsequent report on Jones’ appearance before the parliamentary committee in which he claimed the committee didn’t ask the questions it should have done and quoted with approval from the Institute of Physics submission.

    The Guardian has indeed published a great deal of useful material on the subject of climate change. That doesn’t turn these articles into anything other than unfair and unjust to the scientists concerned. Making a book from them is a very bad idea – if they’re not prepared to apologise they should at least let the matter die.

    Comment by Bryan Walker — 24 Mar 2010 @ 11:13 PM

  25. 13 Pete, thanks for the article. I disagree with the conclusion. The right has started two wars. The left want to build windfarms. Both are trying to save the world. Fundamentally, it is a choice. We can’t do both.

    Comment by RichardC — 24 Mar 2010 @ 11:20 PM

  26. #15 Sou-
    You have hit the nail on the head – the real story here (and investigation) should be an in-depth series on McIntyre, McKitrick, Anthony Watts et al.!

    Comment by KeenOn350 — 24 Mar 2010 @ 11:46 PM

  27. I’d suggest weighing the “troubling issues” on the one hand, and the misrepresentations and exaggerations of the words on the other.

    Anyone figured out who hacked the file system yet, or what they omitted from their so-called “random” sampling of cherrypicked troublesome words?

    Figure that was the very worst they could make of the file, and weigh that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Mar 2010 @ 11:50 PM

  28. Remember what Bob @6 said when taxpayers claim the right to read every email:

    “It is a shame you have to waste your time and TAXPAYER’S MONEY with this sort of stuff [FOIA requests] rather then focusing on your real TAXPAYER’S work !!”

    Comment by Mark Shapiro — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:05 AM

  29. Like #15 above, I too would like to have a well-researched piece on the key skeptics … which I presume the Guardian would be able to do since their articles include the following comment, repeated above:

    All this happened against the backdrop of a long-term assault by politically motivated, and commercially funded, climate-change deniers against the activities of many of the key scientists featuring in the emails.

    Comment by Margaret — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:03 AM

  30. Like #15 above, I too would like to have a well-researched piece on the key skeptics … which I presume the Guardian would be able to do since their articles include the following comment, repeated above:

    All this happened against the backdrop of a long-term assault by politically motivated, and commercially funded, climate-change deniers against the activities of many of the key scientists featuring in the emails.

    Dr Randerson, it really would clear the air considerably if the funding and the political motivation of the likes of McIntyre, Watts, Mosher etc could be exposed, particularly given the mud that has been thrown at the chair of the IPCC and some of the people appointed to the various enquiries that are going on. Would you please urgently at very least publish the information that you collected to support the Guardians comments above?

    Comment by Margaret — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:07 AM

  31. The above I count as straw man arguments. The real problems are:

    1. That the average math IQ is only 100. [By definition, but let's not quibble over details.] The average person has neither the ability nor the training to understand the problem. Most journalists are included in the average group. We need the minimum math IQ to be where the 150 math IQ is now. We need every citizen to have what is now a B.S. degree in physics.

    2. Neither the Guardian nor RC is telling the average person the whole truth in the simple stark terms that the average person could understand.

    Which means: Nothing will be done until it is too late and something really severe happens. This is already the case, but not as bad as it will get. Which in turn means that evolution is going to happen. We will adapt by, as usual, dropping dead in large numbers. Adaptation and evolution MEAN death. That is the way Mother Nature works.

    Simple stark terms: “YOU are going to die a horrible death SOON unless we stop burning coal NOW.”

    person 1: I always treat my mule gently.
    person 2: Then why did you hit it over the head with a 2X4?
    person 1: First, I have to get its attention.

    If you don’t tell them it will kill them, you haven’t told them the truth and you haven’t informed them. It is just like warning labels on consumer products. It is wise to use the words “may cause death” liberally to avoid lawsuits based on lack of warning. Telling them just once doesn’t work. You have to tell them every day for years. Eventually, it may sink in. Nobody ever went broke by under-estimating the intelligence of the average so-called human.

    SOME people heed warnings that are rather implicit. Some people understand when they read about it. Some people understand it when they see it happen to somebody else. Some people don’t understand electric fences until they grab onto one.

    Most people would say that neither RealClimate nor the Guardian has adequately warned them about climate change even if they have read every post for a year. When it finally clobbers them, millions of survivors are going to say: “Why didn’t you tell us?”

    OF COURSE somebody is going to disinterpret every word anybody says no matter how it is said. So don’t ever say anything? No. You have already been found guilty of blaspheming against the Almighty Dollar. Nothing can change that. Blasphemy is a deadly sin. You may as well tell the whole story.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:08 AM

  32. If Mr. (Dr.? [edit]) Randerson really believes that his little experiment with blog science is no less of a failure than blog science in general, he only needs to look at his link to the Chinese weather station article. There, an eminent researcher in the relevant discipline fights it out on an equal footing with a known playground bully (another, psychiatric term comes to mind, but this is a moderated site). If you don’t have a problem with that, or a suspicion that this is perhaps not a recipe for arriving at a ‘definitive account’, then you have a problem mate!

    I considered at some point to get access to join in this ‘discussion’, then thought the better of it: let the nonsense simmer in its own juices. I see Gavin also gave up, and probably now thinks it was an error trying. Even with what little reputation I have in climatology, I would still be legitimizing the illegitimate: ‘journalistic balance’ as a proxy for the truth. Ugh.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:11 AM

  33. “What sort of “troubling issues” is he referring to that aren’t taken out of context?”

    I think it’s troubling him that he can’t find anything troubling without taking the emails out of context.

    The journo hack version of the “arrested for resisting arrest” trick.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 3:54 AM

  34. I agree that the Monbiot column in response to the CRU emails and the Pearce investigation were surprising but they were still much better than the rest of the British press managed. I also think its good that the Graun are engaging with RealClimate.

    PS

    Jo Abbess, comment #2

    From the “Meet the Guardian’s Environment Team”:

    David Adam has a PhD in chemical engineering.
    James Randerson has a PhD in evolutionary genetics.

    Comment by Andy Russell — 25 Mar 2010 @ 4:47 AM

  35. In spite of this response, I remain disappointed with the Guardian’s handling of this. As a scientist, the thing that has been most distressing about recent events has been the fostering of perverse misconceptions about the scientific process by the press. It’s not just climate science but our entire profession that is currently being subjected to a relentless smear attack by various individuals.

    There were numerous points in the Guardian series I took exception to, but none more so than their commentary on the peer-review process. I won’t dwell on the details (they’ve already been admirably covered in this blog) but their use of the dreaded phrase “supposed gold standard” was sufficient to sink the article for me. This in itself betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the scientific process and in reporting it like that, dangerous myths get perpetuated amongst the general public.

    I can see why the Guardian was trying to set itself up as the middle view in the argument, but it’s regrettable they felt the need to (intentionally or otherwise) dabble in shit-stirring. We’ve got plenty of other papers in the UK more than willing to engage in that behaviour and it disappoints me that the Guardian was willing to stoop to their level.

    Comment by James Allan — 25 Mar 2010 @ 5:03 AM

  36. Sloppy journalism seems to be a sign of our times–it should not be tolerated any more than sloppy science.

    Comment by Mitch Lyle — 25 Mar 2010 @ 5:12 AM

  37. #20 – Kate: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/the-guardian-responds/comment-page-1/#comment-167894

    This is a general point I’ve seen in several places. People who should know better (scientists from other disciplines) seem to want to point to the generalised condemnation of the emails and say “that’s not us, that’s not science, they’ve damaged science. Yet they never use explicit quotes, or can give explicit examples of this way of thinking. It’s as if they’ve read some press condemnation and just taken it at face value, even if they normally treat press science stories with proper scepticism. However – once one has said it, the others can look at them and think that that view is accurate.

    There are a lot of myths in modern life that will forever remain as such (mainly due to poor reporting in the press), I fear that this view will be one of them.

    Comment by Adam — 25 Mar 2010 @ 5:33 AM

  38. David Adam has a PhD in chemical engineering.
    James Randerson has a PhD in evolutionary genetics.

    Thanks Andy. I tried in vain to find this (and I’m pretty good with Google if I say so).

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Mar 2010 @ 5:42 AM

  39. I think the Guardian asked too much of Fred Pierce. His output over a fairly short space of time was enormous and the consequence of this was that the quality of the result was not as good as it could have been, there was clearly not enough time for fact checking resulting in the problem that Santer highlights above.

    The Guardian investigation varied considerably in quality and between articles was contradictory, it did however highlight some real issues that need to be discussed. I think worse than the articles themselves some of the original headlines were misleading. I think authors of articles need to take more responsibility for the headlines for the pieces they right. I know the newspapers have headline writers but article authors should be prepared to stand up to them.

    What I don’t get though is why behaviour like sceintists e-mailing each other about the competence or quality of a competitors research is seen to be unusual or unexpected, I would expect this in any field of science. In the end the results are not about what is in the e-mails but what gets published and if someone has real concerns about the quality of published research they have the opportunity to publish on the same topic highlighting the differences between your results and theirs.

    Comment by Oxford Kevin — 25 Mar 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  40. Kate (#20): I’m afraid to say that a lot of the personal emails between academics in any field are probably not very nice. We tend to be very blunt about what appears to us as ignorance, and intolerant of anything that wastes our time, or distracts us from our work. And when we think (rightly or wrongly) that the peer review process has let another crap paper through we certainly don’t hold back in expressing our opinions to one another. Which is of course completely different to how we behave when we meet one another. Most scientists seem able to distinguish clearly between the intellectual cut and thrust (in which we’re very rude about one another’s ideas) and social interactions (in which we all get together over a beer and bitch about the downsides of academic life). Occasionally, there’s someone who is unable to separate the two, and takes the intellectual jabs personally, but such people are rare enough in most scientific fields that the rest of us know exactly who they are, and try to avoid them at conferences!

    Part of this is due to the nature of the academic research. We care deeply about intellectual rigor, and preserving the integrity of the published body of knowledge. But we also know that many key career milestones are dependent on being respected (and preferably liked) by others in the field, such as the more senior people who write recommendation letters for tenure and promotion and honors, or the scientists with competing theories who will get asked to peer review our papers, etc.

    Most career academics have large egos and very thick skins. I think the tenure process and the peer review process filter out those who don’t. So, expect to see rudeness in private, especially when we’re discussing other scientists behind their backs with likeminded colleagues, coupled with a more measured politeness in public (e.g. at conferences).

    Now, in climate science, all our conventions are being broken. Private email exchanges are being made public. People who have no scientific training and/or no prior exposure to the scientific culture are attempting to engage in a discourse with scientists, and these people just don’t understand how science works. The climate scientists whom they attempt to engage are so used to interacting only with other scientists (we live rather sheltered lives- they don’t call it the ivory tower for nothing), that we don’t know how to engage with these outsiders. What in reality is a political streetfight, we mistake for an intellectual discussion over brandy in the senior commonroom. Scientists have no training for this type of interaction, and so our responses look (to the outsiders) as rude, dismissive, and perhaps unprofessional.

    Journalists like Monbiot, despite all his brilliant work in keeping up with the science and trying to explain it to the masses, just haven’t ever experienced academic culture from the inside. Hence his call, which he keeps repeating, for Phil Jones to resign, on the basis that Phil reacted unprofessionally to FOI requests. You don’t get data from a scientist by using FOI requests, you do it by stroking their ego a little, or by engaging them with a compelling research idea you want to pursue with it. And in the rare cases where this doesn’t work, you do the extra work to reconstruct it from other sources, or modify your research approach (because it’s the research we care about, not any particular dataset itself). So to a scientist, anyone stupid enough to try to get scientific data through repeated FOI requests quite clearly deserves our utter contempt. Jones was merely expressing (in private) a sentiment that most scientists would share – and extreme frustration with people who clearly don’t get it.

    The same misunderstandings occur when outsiders look at how we talk about the peer-review process. We’re used to having our own papers rejected from time to time, and we learn how to deal with it – quite clearly the reviewers were stupid, and we’ll show them by getting it published elsewhere (remember, big ego, thick skin). We’re also used to seeing the occasional crap paper get accepted (even into our most prized journals), and again we understand that the reviewers were stupid, and the journal editors incompetent, and we waste no time in expressing that. And if there’s a particularly egregious example, everyone in the community will know about it, everyone will agree it’s bad, and some will start complaining loudly about the editor who let it through. Yet at the same time, we’re all reviewers, so it’s understood that the people we’re calling stupid and incompetent are our colleagues. And a big part of calling them stupid or incompetent is to get them to be more rigorous next time round, and it works because no honest scientist wants to be seen as lacking rigor. What looks to the outsider like a bunch of scientists trying to subvert some gold standard of scientific truth is really just scientists trying to goad one another into doing a better job in what we all know is a messy, noisy process.

    The bottom line is that scientists will always tend to be rude to ignorant and lazy people, because we expect to see in one another a driving desire to master complex ideas and to work damn hard at it. Unfortunately the outside world (and many journalists) interpret that rudeness as unprofessional conduct. And because they don’t see it every day (like we do!) they’re horrified.

    Comment by Steve Easterbrook — 25 Mar 2010 @ 6:04 AM

  41. The fact that people on both sides of the issue are whining about the Guardian’s coverage suggests that, on the whole, it was fairly well balanced.

    Er, no, it doesn’t.

    If only because one side whines (generally without justification) as a manipulation tactic.

    Comment by Lotharsson — 25 Mar 2010 @ 6:43 AM

  42. At least you guys have been favoured with a response, pathetic though it is. I have written to the editor of the Guaridan Weekly to which I susbscribe to complain, as well as writing letters to the editor, which have been ignored. I’ve also written two articles on my blog on the collapse of journalism as a profession (now only a profession in the sense that prostitution is a profession):

    http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2010/03/fool-me-twice.html
    http://opinion-nation.blogspot.com/2010/02/time-to-defend-science.html

    … and also set up a petition in response to all this to support the right of scientists to work without harassment.

    I’m curious to know in what field James Randerson holds a PhD, and what practical experience he has of peer reviewing to think that his paper’s exercise is in any way reasonable. For the record, I hold a PhD in computer science, and am a researcher in a bioinformatics lab, so I have no expertise in climate science but do have some idea how science normally works. When not subject to organised and systematic harassment.

    Trawling over possible flaws in a paper from 1990 as if that’s the last word in a complex subject, I ask you with tears in my voice. I ended one of my letters with asking if The Guardian had been bought by Rupert Murdoch. I’m still wondering.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 25 Mar 2010 @ 7:17 AM

  43. calyptorhynchus says: “The stolen e-mails represent nothing more than scientists going normally about their business (and compared to the acaemic e-mails exchanges I have been privy to, going about their business in a remarkably ethical and fair-minded way).”

    See, I read this kind of thing now and again, but not often enough. Science, and especially research science, seems to have been put on some kind of faux pedestal making it easier to knock down. A straw man.

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Mar 2010 @ 7:22 AM

  44. Very well – but what about the Guardian’s double standards when it comes to “telling the public how scientists operate?”

    The Guardian has a whole section of its web site devoted to smarmy CCS propaganda:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/carbon-capture-and-storage

    In particular, you have this blurb, written by a think tank advocate for CCS:

    How carbon is captured and stored
    ‘Clean’ coal Explainer: The three main techniques for preventing carbon dioxide from coal-fired power stations contributing to global warming

    As noted again and again, this is not a technologically plausible approach, and that statement is backed up by the failure of the CCS boosters to present a workable CCS prototype that captures more than a small fraction of the fossil CO2 emissions and by basic thermodynamic & kinetic arguments about hydrocarbon combustion. Cold fusion is about as plausible. Add in the need to build enough piping infrastructure to carry all that concentrated CO2 around, plus the issue of where to put it – convert it to graphite?

    The energy cost is the issue – perhaps if you parked a nuclear power plant at the rear end of every coal plant, you could convert all the CO2 to some stable form, but it’d still be a filthy mess. Reducing air pollution from coal means increasing soil and water pollution.

    Nevertheless, the Guardian doesn’t have much credibility, boosting CCS uncritically while also promoting the “ClimateGate” email scandal out of all proportion. When the Guardian says things like this:

    “Carbon capture and storage encompasses a range of technologies that can cut CO2 emissions by up to 90%”

    Where’s the prof for that statement, blared across the top of the Guardian’s CCS page? Do we have to write a complaint to some British press oversight board to get a response, as Simon Lewis did with the Sunday Times?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/24/sunday-times-ipcc-amazon-rainforest

    The point here is that while the Guardian has given great space to climate science controversies, it presents carbon capture as uncontroversial, ‘proven’ technology – and that’s blatant disinformation.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Mar 2010 @ 7:36 AM

  45. “Dr Phil Jones, the head of the Climatic Research Unit at UEA has said in an interview with Nature that the handling of the records of the Chinese weather station data from his 1990 Nature paper (which Fred wrote about in part 5 of the investigation) was “not acceptable…”

    Oh, for crying out loud! Big deal! It’s a natural response all things considered! Where are the stories on how McIntyre’s second submission to Parliament may be seriously flawed? Is it because they’re amateurs that the Guardian takes it easy on the likes of him and Watts, but scientists are fair game? Pseudo-sceptics are influencing public policy and being used time and again to attack what is essentially sound science, or as sound as it can possibly be, with crap, and also being used to attack the scientists themselves. Where’s the story on Monckton and his flawed assertions (yeah right, NASA deliberately crashed a rocket – it’s all a conspiracy), and the investigation into the funding of the likes of Lawson & Peiser’s GWPF and other “think tanks”? How about the Cornwall Alliance and it’s openly stated agenda, with leading “AGW-sceptical” scientists taking vows to thwart “quixotic” attempts to reduce CO2 emissions? Good grief, only this week it was shown on camera how British ex-politicians with some level of influence are willing to sell themselves to high payers for around £3000 a day or more. Have any taken money from fossil fuel interests, directly or indirectly, to influence climate change policy? Phil Jones’ all too human reaction to the pressure he’s been deliberately put under is just a non-story. Where are the real in-depth reports?

    Comment by J Bowers — 25 Mar 2010 @ 7:45 AM

  46. I’ll add a second to the request that the Guardian return here and offer a detailed rebuttal/explanation/apology to specific criticisms. Particularly those that damaged the scientific reputations of those they wrote about.

    And I’ll add a second to the request that the Guardian offer a detailed examination of the chief coterie of accusers of the scientists who work in climate. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:00 AM

  47. “I can see why the Guardian was trying to set itself up as the middle view in the argument”

    See, this is why the denialist nutjobs are allowed out. The middle view is skewed by the insanity of these bozos and there aren’t any equally extreme bozos on the proAGW side (you’re attacking them for being mean, and the denialist dittos attack them for being mean, whereas you don’t attack the denialist nutters and neither do the denialists), making a skewed middle ground that is far over to what the denialists WANT.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:06 AM

  48. “Which means: Nothing will be done until it is too late and something really severe happens.”

    Nobody had the medical training to work out how Polio could be stopped.

    Yet something happened and Polio is practically eradicated.

    You are buying into the BS that everyone has an equally valid opinion and that EVERYONE has to agree before something can be done.

    Bull.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:10 AM

  49. “The right has started two wars. The left want to build windfarms. Both are trying to save the world. Fundamentally, it is a choice. We can’t do both.”

    Well, since one ends with people dead and the other one doesn’t, how about we choose the left-side?

    Hmm?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:12 AM

  50. To judge by the comments, the sad truth of the matter is that no part of the press will ever “get it right” if there is any criticism of the science or of scientists in the AGW arena.

    An even more sad truth is that the more the wagons are circled and scientists play the victim the less believable they are.

    The emails were stolen. They were published. They were written about. Guess what? A lot of stolen material has historically wound up in the press – or did y’all think the Pentagon Papers came from the White House briefing room?

    When I worked in government we knew that every single email written was recorded. Every. Single. One. Heck, we were keystroked. First lesson was that if you don’t want the whole world to read it, don’t write it. Second lesson was everything one writes can be used for harm. Third is that being a jerk can get one fired, no matter the rank, especially if one writes it down for proof.

    Unfortunately, there were some legitimate questions asked that hit close to the bone, and judging by the level of counter attack should have been asked internally long before the emails were made public. Unless we are to take scientists and their work as infallible and beyond the sphere of criticism.

    [Response: There is no claim being made -- not by any of us at RC at least -- that scientists are beyond the sphere of criticism, or are infallible. The bottom line is that the most important 'legitimate question', notably the allegation of data manipulation, is definitively answered by the facts and shown to be baseless. That the Guardian can do a huge amount of 'investigation' without discovering this is quite remarkable.--eric]

    Comment by Frank Giger — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:20 AM

  51. I can only say that, as a lay person with an academic background, I found the Guardian’s coverage of “Climategate” to be absolutely atrocious.

    As for their claim to be doing “peer-reviewed journalism”, given that the majority of contributions appeared to be from the appalling Douglas Keenan, I wish them well with that.

    Comment by Rohan — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:24 AM

  52. The fact is the supportive media such as The Guardian ‘bottled’ out of supporting the science because they thought their own butts were in danger.

    They have succumbed to the campaign against climate science like many others.

    The latest victim is the Science Museum in London that has renamed a ‘Climate Change’ gallery to ‘Climate Science’ gallery. Instead of fighting back and re-affirming the truth of the science, they cut their losses and run off.

    Basically these organisations are more interested in popular public opinion influenced by the denial campaign, than they are in the science.

    Comment by The Ville — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:39 AM

  53. Tangential: Some good news on the journalistic front: The Economist is still producing sensible stories:

    - On going green and geography: “It is getting harder and harder in conversation to raise one or other of the most basic subjects in geography—agriculture, glaciation, rivers and population—without a flicker of panic crossing the other person’s face. You are no longer talking about a neutral subject. At any moment you might be about to discuss water salinity in Bangladesh, or the acidification of the ocean, or desertification in sub-Saharan Africa. Whatever aspect of geography it is that you start with threatens to segue into a discussion on the most polarising topic there is: climate change. Miss Prism would be quick to notice that geography is no longer a polite subject for meal time.”
    http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/content/robert-butler/going-green-rest-geography

    - Ground-level view of the visible climate change in Greenland: “Gundel says that for 2,000 years, the Inuit–formerly known as “eskimos”, which to many is a derogatory term that means “eaters of raw meat”–have lived at the edges of the Arctic ice. It is their life and their world. “In all this time we Inuit have always had two seasons,” he says. “In winter, we go ice-hunting and dog-sledding. In summer, we fish and hunt in boats. But now we have lost the winter, and summer has changed completely.” Starting in the 1980s, with each passing year the winter ice has formed later in the year, and become thinner. Now it is just slush. “You can’t go hunting on ice like that. It’ll break. So now we can’t gather food in the winter at all. If you couldn’t get to the supermarket, you couldn’t get food. If we can’t get to the hunting areas, we can’t get food.” ”
    http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/content/johann-hari/last-days-arctic

    At least some of the elite media are still taking science seriously.

    Comment by Neal J. King — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:42 AM

  54. I’ll repeat Pete Dunkelberg’s pointer; that poll was a tie yesterday; today the Inhofes are creeping ahead of the Romms. It’s a view of the media face of the question, of course, not the science.
    http://www.usnews.com/articles/opinion/2010/03/23/did-climategate-expose-global-warming-fears-as-unfounded.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:02 AM

  55. “The stolen e-mails represent nothing more than scientists going normally about their business…”
    Comment by calyptorhynchus — 24 March 2010

    Really? Do scientists “normally” discuss ways to “hide” data that might call their proxies into question? Or ways to pressure journals into rejecting contrary views, even to the point of dismissing “unfriendly” editors? Or ways to evade legal FOI requests, and avoid challenges to their algorithms? Does this kind of behavior taint all of the sciences? Or is it just an anomaly, peculiar to a small clique of scientists at the heart of climatology? I sincerely hope calyptorhynchus is wrong.

    By any measure, the CRU emails have damaged public confidence in the climatology science community. Recovery will come, not with self-justification, but with ethical self-discipline.

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:05 AM

  56. J Bowers, it is the same corporatist claptrap that says that government cannot do ANYTHING right and that corporations are sacrosanct and perfect.

    As an example, though there are continued wails of “show us the code!” etc for UKMO code, the fact that Piers Corbyn forbids discussion of his data without a license agreement and has continually failed to describe his model (let alone show the code) is deemed acceptable because he’s a private company and he wants to make money from his work (though how this gels with USians wanting UK model code which can otherwise be sold to reduce the tax load of climate research for UK taxpayers, I cannot say).

    So Watts doesn’t have to be open because he’s a commercial person, not a government one.

    (NOTE: forget the fact that government includes the security services and defence contracts which are not open for discussion…)

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:20 AM

  57. #31: Edward Greisch:

    Yes, we need to make this personal but consider that despite the data about how it is killing them:

    1) People still smoke (I know nicotine addiction is tough to break even if there is will)

    2) People still eat garbage food

    3) People still do not exercise enough

    Why do they do these things with all of the data showing the foolishness? Because the bad outcome is not apparent now and down the road they will eventually look bad and think “wow, I was dumb because they told me so!”

    Human nature is tough to overcome.

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  58. #40 Steve Easterbrook:

    This is a brilliant summary! I would love to post this on my blog with your permission (or if you wish to send me a revised version).

    Global Warming: Man or Myth? blog

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:42 AM

  59. “Really? Do scientists “normally” discuss ways to “hide” data that might call their proxies into question?”

    No.

    But that isn’t what the message that had that “hide” in it means.

    Do you regularly misrepresent others’ words?

    “Or ways to pressure journals into rejecting contrary views”

    Yes. Everyone does. Every single person who complains of, say, the BBC of bias for AGW is doing so.

    When a journal is spouting crap, why is it wrong to call it such? Why is it wrong to say “avoid that journal, it produces crap”? Isn’t that EXACTLY what consumer watchdogs do? “Don’t buy toys from $CHINESE_COMPANY because they use leaded paint”?

    “Or ways to evade legal FOI requests”

    Please show where this is done.

    And the FOIA has plenty of places that state whether a request must be answered or not. Not answering a request that is not a valid FOIA request is not a breech of the act.

    Did you ever read the act in question?

    “avoid challenges to their algorithms?”

    You mean like:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/an-open-letter-to-steve-levitt/

    ?

    Or doesn’t that count because he’s denying AGW mitigation.

    “Does this kind of behavior taint all of the sciences?”

    Just because you say it is a taint doesn’t make it so.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:43 AM

  60. PS: “By any measure, the CRU emails have damaged public confidence in the climatology science community. ”

    Only because the CRU emails have been spun disingenuously to make it APPEAR (falsely) that there is a problem with putting confidence in the climate science community.

    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_manufacture_of_uncertainty
    http://www.powerlinefacts.com/Sciam_article_on_lobbying.htm
    http://attrition.org/~jericho/works/security/fud.html

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:45 AM

  61. Frank Giger,
    Now, I ask you, why should scientists who are simply doing their jobs be subjected to such harrassment?

    Why should science that has been accepted for over 50 years become the subject of a controversy?

    Why are ignoramuses given equal if not greater consideration than climate experts in the press?

    Why is the press not asking about the emails, funding and activities of denialists?

    Why is science being hamstrung and inhibited from running its normal course?

    Why are people with no publication or a single publication in climate science being quoted as experts in the press?

    Why are selectively edited hacked emails taken out of context allowed to derail important policy debates?

    These are the real questions here. And the press is not covering them. The denialists have not added one iota of understanding about Earth’s climate in 2 decades of obfuscation. Why are they not dismissed like any other anti-science fringe movement?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  62. Jack Baloney #55, you should aspire to the level of “dishonesty” of the scientists you’re criticizing. You know damn well that each and every one of the claims you make has been shown wrong, but you go on making them anyway. Have you no shame?

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:01 AM

  63. Frank Giger wrote: “Unless we are to take scientists and their work as infallible and beyond the sphere of criticism.”

    Of course scientists are fallible and their work is subject to criticism.

    That’s why the process of science includes constant criticism by scientists of each other’s work, in order to uncover errors resulting from fallibility.

    What the stolen emails “reveal” is just that: scientists criticizing each other.

    None of which has the slightest thing to do with the ExxonMobil-funded, multimillion-dollar, generation-long campaign of deceit, denial, obstruction, delay and most recently, vicious attacks against scientists themselves.

    What the deniers are doing is not “criticism”. Deliberate, malicious lies are not “criticism”.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:06 AM

  64. All publicly funded scientists have a duty and obligation to make their data, methods and results available to the public. In this day and age there is no excuse for doing otherwise. All that is required is to post the data on any ftp server and publish a link.

    Excuses that it is too much work to do raise the suspicions that the author knows the work will not stand up to scrutiny and thus wishes to limit access. Fundamental to all “real science” is that scientists remain skeptical and until results have been duplicated, using the same data and same methods.

    A private organization will lose money and go out of business if it gives bad advice to it customers. The Public Weather Service cannot go out of business, no matter how poorly it performns. Thus, much greater transparency is required by the Public Weather Service than by private organizations.

    [Response: I agree with your basic premise but a couple of points. First, as a non-climate scientist, I can state that the climate scientists are way out in front of a lot of other disciplines in terms of their openness of data and methods. Try replicating a lot of ecological research for instance (even if things are improving in that regard). Further, the legitimate concerns of the CRU regarding ownership/distribution of national climate data has been discussed many many times now. Second, it's not always so easy to make public as you make it out. In particular, a lot of work may be involved in the creation of usable metadata.--Jim]

    Comment by ge0050 — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  65. “An even more sad truth is that the more the wagons are circled and scientists play the victim the less believable they are.”

    Buulshit.

    If there were no wagon circling, the more people will proclaim that this PROVES they are wrong: else they would be supporting each other!!!1!11!oneoneleventyone!1.

    “Unfortunately, there were some legitimate questions asked that hit close to the bone”

    Where?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:18 AM

  66. I try not to get too lost in the present. The Guardian’s response is weak, being neither apologetic nor substantively argumentative. A little hand waving and mumbling, and what’s done is done, oh well.

    But in the end, time is going to pass. The world will warm. Eventually, when things progress as they will, people will look back on all of this and ask “how did we get it so wrong? Why did we fall for these obvious tricks?” It won’t be like tobacco, where the victims all died and those who were left could say “well, I knew smoking caused cancer, so I didn’t fall for it; I don’t know why anyone did.”

    In this case, in the future, everyone is going to be hurt by this. Everyone is going to get mad. Everyone is going to say “hey, wait a minute, they were right, the scientists and the science were right, why didn’t we listen to them instead of the hysterical crazies?”

    Except they won’t really say that, because that would entail personally accepting blame. What they’ll say instead is “why did the press fail us? Why did they misreport the facts? Why didn’t they get to the bottom of it, to the real underlying truth? Why didn’t anyone protect us from the liars?”

    A small number will probably still blame it on the scientists, for being less than angelically perfect and so having chinks in their shining armor which in turn allowed the facts be distorted. But in the end science will be vindicated.

    But the bottom line is that history is going to judge the press as a whole and the Guardian as a member of the press. They’ll all be judged as having been pitifully manipulated, and having failed miserably. The Guardian will be judged poorly, in the end, for having tried to hedge their bets. Being the best of the bad isn’t going to cut it. Everyone is going to look back at this and say that the system and the people’s best control over the system — the press — failed utterly when it was needed most.

    The Guardian has missed an opportunity to be, using the denier’s favorite if ironically misapplied analogy, Galileo.

    Comment by Bob — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:27 AM

  67. A bit OT, and I don’t know if Mr. Randerson is responding, but…

    The Guardian’s Tech guy Charles Arthur did a forensic analysis of the hacked emails, and produced a “concordance” of search terms that the hackers used when they searched CRU’s archives for the emails they wanted. This file was then apparently moved, but does not appear to be anywhere on the Guardian site. There was also supposed to have been some graphical material related to the analysis, but it too is either gone or was never posted.

    Are these items available anywhere?

    Comment by bigcitylib — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:42 AM

  68. #55 J Maloney
    “Do scientists “normally” discuss ways to “hide” data that might call their proxies into question?”
    No – who did this?

    “Or ways to pressure journals into rejecting contrary views, even to the point of dismissing “unfriendly” editors?”

    No – who did this?

    “Or ways to evade legal FOI requests, and avoid challenges to their algorithms?”

    No – who did this?

    “Does this kind of behavior taint all of the sciences? ”

    Are you still beating your partner and your children?

    “Recovery will come, not with self-justification, but with ethical self-discipline.”

    Yes – try it sometime.

    Comment by Hugh Laue — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:57 AM

  69. RE- Comment by Jack Maloney — 25 March 2010 @ 9:05 AM:

    You say– “Really? Do scientists “normally” discuss ways to “hide” data that might call their proxies into question? Or ways to pressure journals into rejecting contrary views, even to the point of dismissing “unfriendly” editors? Or ways to evade legal FOI requests, and avoid challenges to their algorithms?”

    For your statement to have any substance you will have to show what data was actually hidden, provide an example of an editor that was dismissed just because they were unfriendly, and provide evidence of a single Freedom of Information Request that was illegally rejected. This will be a big problem for you.

    If CRU personnel didn’t actually do anything unethical then your complaint- “Does this kind of behavior taint all of the sciences?” is little more than a smear based solely on your opinion of stolen e-mails that were edited and presented out of context. Any private conversation about a contentious topic might look ugly when taken out of context.

    Your opinion supports bad newspaper reporting and is just an echo of denial industry propaganda.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:09 AM

  70. Many thanks indeed for your comments. I’d like to deal with a few of them:

    #1 Dr Ben Santer is right to say that we did not publish his second letter on the series. This is the text he sent:

    “A story by Fred Pearce in the February 9th online edition of the Guardian (“Victory for openness as IPCC climate scientist opens up lab doors”) covers some of the more publicized aspects of the last 14 years of my scientific career. Mr. Pearce’s account illuminates some of the non-scientific difficulties I have faced. However, his story also repeats unfounded allegations that I engaged in dubious professional conduct. In a number of instances, Mr. Pearce provides links to these allegations, but not to my published responses. Guardian readers interested in a more complete and balanced discussion of my service with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, my recent interactions with prominent climate change skeptics, and my close encounter with a self-appointed climate science “auditor” should refer to the “Real Climate” website: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/close-encounters-of-the-absurd-kind/

    The article he was referring to was published online only. We have a general policy that responses to material that appears online only do not appear in the printed letters page. The readers editor (who is independent of editorial) decided that the best way to deal with this response was to make a prominent addition to the story with a link to his criticisms on Real Climate. It reads:

    “Ben Santer disputes several aspects of the account given above. For his account of events and responses to some of the points in Fred Pearce’s article, see this blog on RealClimate.org.”

    I do not agree that this was a less effective way of highlighting Dr Santer’s concerns because it means they are flagged up right next to the material that is in dispute – ie in the online article.

    #2 jo abbess
    As #34 Andy Russell has pointed out my PhD is in evolutionary genetics and David Adam’s is in chemical engineering. I only mentioned this to be honest to fit with Real Climate’s style of using honorifics. However, I think it is useful information in that both of us have done scientific research. I have 6 or 7 published papers (it was a while ago) from my pre-journalism career in science so I understand how peer review works.

    #3 Richard Pauli
    I would not characterise it as burying the lede. I would call it not pre-judging the outcome of our own investigation. In any case, the other chapters are peppered with statements that make clear that none of the issues Fred discussed affected the case for anthropogenic warming.

    #10 Ray Ladbury
    I feel like we are reading different newspapers. There was a piece in Fred’s series that specifically dealt with this question. And we have published a lot on, for example, the Bush administration’s attacks on science. Ben Goldacre writes weekly about commercial and politically motivated attacks. George Monbiot does the same with respect to climate change.

    #16 Mich Golden
    The request was made by one of the Real Climate editors. He asked me to “talk about the editorial issues and what happens next, rather than dealing with small points where the issue might be one of interpretation rather than fact.” I was happy to do that.

    #17 EFS_Junior
    You are entitled to your opinion on the series, but you are wrong to suggest that the Guardian pursues a profit at all costs approach. The Guardian is owned by a non-profit trust that exists to subsidise our editorial operations. Details here http://www.gmgplc.co.uk/ScottTrust/TheScottTrustFoundation/tabid/247/Default.aspx

    Also, I’m afraid I don’t recognise the “utter silence” on the climate emails issue that you suggest exists outside the UK. There is at least as much interest, if not more, in the US by my reckoning.

    Comment by James Randerson — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:15 AM

  71. I thank Randerson for the response, I am glad the Guardian is engaged with RealClimate, of course they’re off on this, and of course the key flaw is giving Keenan the undue influence they give him. Monopoly capitalist journalism, which is what the English-speaking world has, take it or leave it, is not going to do much better. I think IF the world comes back from the abyss that Iceland already fell over, some sane countries (probably not any of them English-speaking) will have to develop a new model – entirely – for creating and promoting journalism, and the irony is that just as in research science, it will probably be on the one hand socialized and on the other hand fiercely competitive because perpetually funding-starved.

    Discover’s Chris Mooney points out that we have, in the G20, more science degrees than things for them to do, and on the other hand, a complete dearth of science journalism, and a growing divide between scientists and the public, and laments that, after all, newspapers and mass media have to do what makes the most profit, so science journalism is inevitably going to be squeezed out as cheaper-to-produce internet sources cut into media ad revenue. But that’s the passive, if-a-solution-could-exist-the-market-would-already-have-manifested-it attitude that Americans are raised on.

    I say this as someone who was a working journalist for a while – it always struck me how wrong it was to be in the Society of Professional Journalists, because professionals are people who can accept or refuse jobs as they like, for whom peer review is the main control and for whom it has legal weight, etc. And journalists (reporters, editors, producers) are not professionals at all, but employees. In the United States, where economic policy was designed most of my working life to create a state of worker insecurity – in the words of Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan, who also said the policy was successful – professional standards are meaningless when no one is going to quit over them (and even if they do, where there are no consequences whatsoever for forcing employees to violate so-called professional standards – indeed, one Supreme Court case in the United States established the right of a media employer to fire employees for not lying to the public, and not presenting fake news).

    That’s the kind of thing no paper can say, but everyone involved in journalism KNOWS. So between the lines, I read Randerson as saying “Good luck getting a better job out of the modern media system, bucko. We’re as good as you’re going to find.” And I agree, if your goal is mass communication in an increasingly monopolistic capitalist framework – what Thomas Friedman approvingly calls a “golden straitjacket” where “your politics are constrained but your markets are free.” And by politics, he means public policies and the ability of people to influence them with anything but money. In fact, I agree, period. He’s right – outside of the Guardian, who is in fact doing a good job on this, that has a big readership?

    [Response: Check out the recent Economist article (and here)--very good indeed.--Jim]

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:22 AM

  72. Yakkity yak, all of this talk of parsing some emails. Have you noticed all of the investigations and columns, blogs and news time about the emails. If there was an actual investigation of the who, what, why, where and how of the actual illegal operation, you know the theft, the real answers would come to the surface. Instead too much time and effort is wasted on irrelevant nitpicking.

    Comment by Harry Applin — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:26 AM

  73. It seems to me that the timing of the 12 part investigation meant that it was flawed from the start. There were at least five inquiries going on already. Why did the Guardian think that it was in such a privileged position that it ought to jump in and pre-empt the outcome? Did it have special access to information which was not in the public domain? If so it should have submitted it to the inquries concerned. It could then have waited until the end, before publishing a thorough and less gossipy report.

    James Randerson starts by emphasising that Fred Pearce is a “veteran science journalist”. Perhaps that conceals a hidden assumption , ie. that he is so competent that he can be trusted to carry out an almost impossible job. If Fred thought that himself, I think it would have been a sign of arrogance. If Pearce had found nothing new, the project would have seemed like a flop, so he had an incentive to discover something juicy. If he made errors on the way, then he might have been reluctant to admit them, thus becoming the story.

    I wish science journalism went deeper. This applies to Fred Pearce’s work too, even though it may be better than average. For example in an earlier investigation , a few years back, in the New Scientist, Fred Pearce dropped a hint that he thought Mann might have been wrong over the hockey stick. Fair enough , except that I have some doubts about his understanding of the topic at that time. Later on his stance over this issue changed.

    The Guardian/Observer has done very well out of superficial, sensational reporting recently. For example Andrew Rawnsley’s book which came out a few weeks ago,was publicised everywhere because of its sensational accusation about Gordon Brown’s tendency to lose his temper. Rawnsley was given lots of time on BBC 2′s Newsnight simply to repeat the assertion. More significant topics such as Britain’s weak record on renewable energy were 100 miles out of sight.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:29 AM

  74. Philip (#42),

    Please lay off the sexist bigotry and show some respect for prostitutes! They’re doing a honest job.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:39 AM

  75. Re-reading my reply, I think I should soften the statement about the system having “failed utterly” when all is said and done. I don’t really think that is going to happen. As far as the planet goes, I think there will be some delay, and losses that could have been avoided, and expenses that will be greater than necessary, but in the end it will all work out as far as getting things under some degree of control, as long as people like Gavin and Santer are in there keeping at it, and sticking to their guns.

    The system won’t fail, it will just have to chug its way through the obstructions.

    But I do also think that, like McCarthyism, “Climategate” (man, how I hate that moniker) is going to become a history lesson on how wildly the truth can be twisted, and ordinary people can get suckered out of ignorance or fear, and more to the point how badly the press can get it wrong.

    Interestingly, when that does come to pass, after the absurd and misappropriate overuse of the “gate” suffix, it will probably be considered silly to attach “gate” to anything. It might even become a verb, meaning “to fabricate a controversy in order to sow distrust and hesitation,” as in, “can you believe that guy tried to ‘gate’ us on this?”

    Comment by Bob — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  76. For perspective — earlier I reposted the pointer to the US News and World Report “poll” asking people to choose between Inhofe and Romm. Inhofe is ahead about 55/45 right at the moment.

    Now, for context, look at these numbers.

    http://www.usnews.com/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2010/03/24/party-of-nuts-poll-shows-gop-thinks-obama-is-muslim-soc ialist.html

    (remove the space to make the URL work; the spamfilter here a ‘bertarian product intolerant of any mention of a “spec ialist” or “soc ialist”)

    Long ago, John Brunner wrote a novel in which the world’s environmental problems were solved by the richest ten percent of the world population self-destructing. Kind of a nation-level Darwin Award, to use newer terms.
    Another prediction well on its way to being fulfilled, that.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  77. About this part:

    “In the same spirit we have showcased diverse critical opinions on the issues and our own coverage of them, including from Dr Myles Allen, Dr Vicky Pope, Dr Mike Hulme and the Guardian’s environment correspondent Dr David Adam. Again few newspapers would have reflected such diverse viewpoints.”

    Martin Vermeer already said something above (#32)about “ ‘journalistic balance’ as a proxy for the truth”.

    On a former thread someone quoted a great Seattle Post editorial about this. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Here’s a typical script for a news account involving global climate change. A scientist (or more often, a group of scientists) rolls out new research for a congressional panel. Then someone, usually at the hearing, often a member of Congress, disputes the science. The story becomes one of conflict. The scientists said this, while the critics said that. The conflict overwhelms the research, reducing it to a sentence or two, reported without context.

    Perhaps fairness (or what passes for fairness) wins. But what about the truth?”

    http://www.seattlepi.com/opinion/248046_mtrahant13.htm

    Comment by Alexandre — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:08 PM

  78. Mitch Golden, comment 16, points out the odd claim:

    “it has been suggested that a line by line response to each of the points made would not be productive”

    Golden asks: Who suggested this?

    Question for RC: Did you suggest this?

    Thanks.

    Comment by paulina — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:09 PM

  79. The fact that people on both sides of the issue are whining about the Guardian’s coverage suggests that, on the whole, it was fairly well balanced. – Jack Maloney

    No, it most certainly does not. This is an intellectually and morally lazy response that is all too common among journalists: if “both sides” are complaining, that tells you absolutely nothing whatsoever about whether the coverage was good or bad, biased or unbiased. Canny but dishonest interests will deliberately make use of this common but absurd stance by complaining as a matter of course, without the slightest justification.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:11 PM

  80. ge0050 wrote, perhaps not thinking things through, entirely, that

    All publicly funded scientists have a duty and obligation to make their data, methods and results available to the public. In this day and age there is no excuse for doing otherwise.

    Even when the agency they work for prevents them from doing so? Military-related research is kept secret, despite being publicly-funded. In the case of meteorological data, national met agencies often make their data sets proprietary. You’re saying a publicly funded scientist should publish data even if her employer says “we own this data and no, you can’t publish it”?

    You state a fine principal, but in practice, scientists are often forbidden from doing so. It’s not necessarily their decision to make.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  81. Dr. James Randerson:

    Also, Dr Schmidt does not reproduce the most eye-catching quotes from a May 2009 email from Wigley to Jones in which he raises serious doubts about the quality of Jones’s scientific team and his handling of the Chinese weather station data.The hacked emails do not include a response from Jones if there was one.

    With all due respect, the fact that the stolen emails “do not include a response from Jones” should’ve raised a very large red flag at the Guardian. It’s *known* that the emails that have been released are a small subset of the total. While it’s not *known* that they were excised in order to maximize the appearance of malfeasance on the part of the scientists involved, it’s a very safe bet that they were. Treating this one-sided, edited for effect, e-mail conversation as being a truthful representation of what was being said is irresponsible. You’ve been played, and apparently you think it’s just fine.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:32 PM

  82. For the Chinese weather stations (Jones et al. 1990), an interesting source is Keenan’s paper:
    http://www.informath.org/pubs/EnE07a.pdf.

    What do you think about this?

    [Response: That it's unlikely to be worth spending any time on. You?--Jim]

    Comment by Sara Chan — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:35 PM

  83. Ray Ladbury wrote: “These are the real questions here.”

    And all of those “Why?” questions have one simple answer:

    Because ExxonMobil alone rakes in more than 100 MILLION DOLLARS PER DAY IN PROFIT from the sale of fossil fuels. And the fossil fuel industry as a whole stands to make TRILLIONS of dollars in profit from continued business-as-usual consumption of their products.

    Do the people who run those corporations care whether millions of poor people in Bangladesh become refugees from sea level rise? Or whether millions more poor people perish from lack of fresh water and crop failures?

    No. They don’t care.

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “And the press is not covering them.”

    “The press” is not covering the fossil fuel industry’s campaign of deceit, denial, obstruction and delay because “the press” is an active participant in that campaign.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:37 PM

  84. > disputes several aspects of the account given above.

    Well, that’s weak tea.

    “Mr. Pearce’s account … repeats unfounded allegations that I engaged in dubious professional conduct.”

    That should be easy to check. Was Pearce right or wrong? The Guardian should be able to figure this out and say if there’s any foundation.

    “Mr. Pearce provides links to these allegations, but not to my published responses.”

    And online you can’t claim there wasn’t space between the ads to fit that in, can you?

    Just look at the spin being made out of these things.

    Posting — belatedly — that Santer disputed *elsewhere* the allegations isn’t the same thing as either checking the facts or stating the facts of the disagreement.

    Look again at that US News and World Report link above, please.
    You can’t offer ambiguity and claim to be informing people who fall for crap so easily.

    Simplify, clarify, spell it out, spit it out, tell us trustworthy info.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Mar 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  85. Frank Giger @ 50:

    “…or did y’all think the Pentagon Papers came from the White House briefing room?”

    Ummm… yes?

    They weren’t stolen (as the earlier part of your quoted paragraph implies). They were *leaked*. And – to those of us who still care – that information rightfully belonged in the public eye. We *did* pay for it, you know.

    The truth is, of course, that the basic politics behind most deniers is that leftover from the sixties. It’ll be the dirty hippies/tree-huggers vs. Nixon until we’re all dead.

    Politics is money – and the money says you should smoke because it won’t hurt you, Thalidomide is OK for morning-sickness, DDT is a sovereign remedy for problems in the food chain, and a little Agent Orange or depleted uranium never hurt anybody.

    Oh – and that civilization is impossible without burning oil.

    *sigh* Here Gavin: I’ll start you out: [edit:…

    Why don’t we stick with the science?

    Comment by Jaime Frontero — 25 Mar 2010 @ 1:03 PM

  86. Dr. Randerson has invested a lot of time and effort in this posting. I could wish he’d avoided the need by instead slicing away the turgid dramatic interpretations Pearce wove into his narratives before they were published. Dr. Randerson’s title is after all that of “Editor.”

    The heavy freight of reader direction– suggestions so strong as to be overwhelm facts– larded onto the Chinese temperature business ended my reliance on Pearce’s work as a quick means to come up to speed on a given topic. I don’t want to waste my time doing my own fact-checking or attempting to winnow information from opinion when I’m supposedly reading straight reporting. I no longer read Pearce’s stories at New Scientist and he now gets my last, extra minutes if they’re available when I read the Guardian.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 25 Mar 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  87. “64
    ge0050 says:
    25 March 2010 at 10:14 AM

    All publicly funded scientists have a duty and obligation to make their data, methods and results available to the public.”

    Really?

    So the Chinese government who you pay NOTHING TOWARD should take THEIR CITIZEN’S taxpaid work and let YOU have it for buck-shee???

    WHY????

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 25 Mar 2010 @ 1:16 PM

  88. Oxford Kevin (39): …it did however highlight some real issues that need to be discussed.

    BPL: WHAT “real issues?” Specifically? Care to cite one?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Mar 2010 @ 1:26 PM

  89. Frank Giger (150)…

    Hey, Frank, do I have to remind you that in Watergate, it was the people who perpetrated the BREAK-IN who went to jail? Not the Democratic National Committee?

    [no more on Watergate, Pentagon Papers etc--thanks]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Mar 2010 @ 1:30 PM

  90. AC (74),

    I’ll gladly support a bill legalizing prostitution…
    [edit--absolutely no more on this or other severely stray topics. thanks. Jim]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 25 Mar 2010 @ 1:41 PM

  91. By “analyzing” the stolen e-mails, the Guardian has legitimized hacking, theft, and the other malicious tactics that the right uses in its attacks on science. Since the rules for what passes for political discourse have been loosened, if not dropped entirely (look at the death threats, violence escalating from spitting to brick throwing and attempted arson directed at politicians families[cut propane line at his brothers house]following the US health care vote), those of us who are fighting for the truth have an ugly choice; try to win the argument with one hand tied behind our backs by remaining civil and polite, or getting down in the mud [edit]

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  92. James Randerson,
    We are not reading different papers–mainly because I won’t be reading the Guardian any more. And while I will listen to the BBC, the radio goes off when they start to talk about science.

    The basic problem is that when you are looking at a dispute between scientists and professional liars, the truth is not to be found “in the middle”. You are too smart a man not to realize that. I can only assume that cowardice is an editorial policy.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:08 PM

  93. Thanks for reply in comment 70 re Mitch Golden’s question. Hadn’t seen that when I posted Q in 78 above.

    Follow-up question for James Randerson, just for clarification:

    How far along is the Guardian in the correction process, generally speaking? Can we expect additional corrections shortly, or should all corrections, based on notifications received up to this point, already have been made?

    Thanks.

    Comment by paulina — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:11 PM

  94. Would you believe it. Even the Science Museum of London is ‘going native’. IE, presenting a so-called ‘balanced’ view of climate science. Oh dear.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7073272.ece

    What is happening? I think Real Climate should tackle this one as well.

    Comment by oakwood — 25 Mar 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  95. Dr. Santer,

    When are you going to get it through your head that McIntyre wants all YOUR original data and YOUR original programming source, so he can check YOUR calculations to see if there any ERRORS that YOU made. He does not want to independently recreate your work. Yes, he is trying to find errors in your work. Yes, he is suspicious about the mathematical techniques, particularly the statistics, used in climate science.

    [Response: Right, in other words he has no intention of improving the science, but rather of tearing it down by tearing down individuals for his peanut gallery. This was patently obvious with his attacks on Keith Briffa last year.]

    He’s not the anti-Christ.

    [Response: He does have a way of getting people to yell "Christ Almighty" so you're probably right there.--Jim]

    [edit--take your diatribes elsewhere if you can't discuss the science or the issues raised in a civil manner.]

    Comment by Tom S — 25 Mar 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  96. @JamesRanderson, @DavidAdam

    James, you say your science discipline is evolutionary genetics and David Adam’s is chemical engineering. These are both young sciences, as is the Science of Climate Change.

    All science has “sticking points”, where, somewhere along their developmental evolution, people disagree strongly about some point or other.

    The Climate Change sceptics would like to keep the “debate” back at a sticking point that occurred in the late 1970′s – when it could not be shown, with any degree of certainty, one way or the other, that Anthropogenic Global Warming was in progress.

    To draw a parallel with the science of evolutionary genetics, it would be like continuing to rehash and rehash and restate the “argument” about whether there is in fact any kind of inheritance through the process of reproduction. Or that there is any probability of subtle but accruing alterations in a species going down the generations.

    It would be a throwback argument to several thousand years ago for the first case; or several hundred years for the second. Of course every creature is made by God, personally, so the fact the children look like their parents is purely accidental. And no, the species cannot mutate, for each kind of creature shall remain immutable.

    In chemical engineering, the sticking point that would make most sense as similar would be to go back to sometime in the Middle Ages and the dispute about how to turn base metals into gold. Of course it must be possible to do it with some kind of chemistry, we just don’t know how, yet.

    By drawing these parallels, can you possibly see how frustrated Climate Change Scientists might be by having to continually face a barrage of claimants that there is no evidence of Global Warming and that there is no proof of Climate Change ? And how difficult it must be to face social challenges that Climate Change Scientists are “obviously manipulating the data”, “hiding the truth”, Scientists behaving badly ?

    The fact is, Science has moved on from whether or not the Earth is warming up. It is. And we are mostly to blame. And all Media reports should reflect that basic truth, or the relevant journalists should be barred from writing about Climate Change Science in my view.

    And the Climate is definitely changing, in clear and also subtle ways. Anybody writing about Environment for newspapers, or speaking on TV or radio, who disputes this should be sent on a training course in the Science of Climate Change in my opinion.

    It’s not easy to write about Climate Change Science, and having a background in evolutionary genetics or chemical engineering does not guarantee that either James Randerson or David Adam get it right on every occasion. For example, the interpretative problems with just this one article were enough to make me reach for my web log :-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/22/wind-sea-ice-loss-arctic

    It conveys inaccuracies that are simply too annoying to catalogue here. And anyway, I don’t need to – Joe Romm has already been at it :-

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/22/thin-ice-arctic-winds-sea-ice-extent-global-warming/

    For anyone who has any kind of learning in Climate Change Science, to read the news is a constant struggle with disappointment and annoyance. We simply do not have time to respond in full to all the awful stuff out there.

    We hit the wall-of-dismissiveness when we try to approach journalists with corrections. We hit the who-are-you narrative when we try to point out research that categorically refutes various bad articles.

    There is a giant disconnect here between the reality of the Science and the inability of journalists to convey it to the wider public.

    This is the reason that people disbelieve the Science and why, from my analysis of the matter, Steve McIntyre finds it so easy to infect everybody with tales of malpractice and errors-in-the-research.

    He is spinning spin and casting invented blame, it seems to me, no matter how rational he wants to appear. He wants to stop the progress of Climate Change Science, in my opinion, and this should be recognised. He really should have the door shut on him more often, in my view.

    For Climate’s sake, wake up and look at the charts ! The data that gets issued monthly by the major agencies, where they take great pains to express things clearly, make the situation very, very clear.

    The reams and reams of data and reports that the IPCC wade through show clearly the scale and reach of changes we only thought possible, happening faster than we feared, and more aggressively than we modelled.

    This is not the time for teasing apart whether somebody may or may not have done something a bit untoward in their research process, or had problems dealing with Freedom of Information requests.

    This is the time for opening a broad channel for the communication of Science.

    Comment by jo abbess — 25 Mar 2010 @ 3:13 PM

  97. “…or did y’all think the Pentagon Papers came from the White House briefing room?”

    You [gavin I assume] asked for no more but … there’s a simple point to be made: Daniel Ellsberg was tried on federal charges and fully expected to go to prison for leaking the Pentagon Papers. Those who stole the CRU e-mails should stand trial, too.

    I will say no more.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Mar 2010 @ 3:28 PM

  98. Oh come now, its the reason why RC exists, because all media outlets can get it not only wrong but hype up the treat as well in order to sell the problem. Science is not comfortable with this type of analysis but humans need politics where the message is clear.

    Comment by pete best — 25 Mar 2010 @ 3:41 PM

  99. Jaime Frontero (85), this has little to do with anything relevant, of course, but all you say about the Pentagon Papers is incorrect. Then you pit the tree huggers against Nixon, the originator of the EPA. Then it just gets worse.

    Comment by Rod B — 25 Mar 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  100. In #59 and elsewhere, Jack Maloney is rebuked for his observation:

    “Jack Maloney: “Do scientists “normally” discuss ways to “hide” data that might call their proxies into question?”

    No.

    But that isn’t what the message that had that “hide” in it means.”

    Of course, that’s exactly what it means! Phil Jones chopped the tail off a tree-ring proxy temperature data series and replaced it with instrumental data, because the proxy data indicated a recent decline in temperatures. Had he used the original data, anyone looking at the graph would have seen that the recent proxy data gave incorrect temperatures, and would inevitably have questioned whether it was wrong at other times also.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 25 Mar 2010 @ 4:12 PM

  101. Mr. Randerson,

    I like reading RealClimate and I regularely read the environment part of The Guardian, although I live in Germany.

    Why? Because of articles like http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/22/copenhagen-climate-change-mark-lynas (nothing about that in german magazins) or articles by David Adam.

    In my opinion the critcs here were too harsh. People shoud consider, that the Guardian ist a newspaper, not a scientific magazine. And for a newspaper, the scientific standard is not perfect, but high.

    Well done and thanks!

    Comment by andreas — 25 Mar 2010 @ 4:14 PM

  102. Huh, the first paragraph sounded good, I thought we were in for an unconditional, grovelling apology, and I could start reading the Grauniad again, I miss it, having been a reader for 30 years before this business… No such luck. Shame.

    Comment by Gerda — 25 Mar 2010 @ 4:43 PM

  103. Steve Easterbrook’s comment #40 deserves to be crafted into a short newspaper (and blog) article and published far and wide. The propagandists are exploiting the public’s lack of understanding of the dynamics and motives that he describes, and this comment explains how the propaganda is a complete misrepresentation.

    Comment by Lotharsson — 25 Mar 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  104. @64 All publicly funded scientists have a duty and obligation to make their data, methods and results available to the public. In this day and age there is no excuse for doing otherwise.

    Erm, tell that to the vast army of scientists working on military projects.

    Of course context is important, but it has been well known for a while that some data from some nations has restrictions on it’s use.

    BTW in the UK the Met Office was set up by the ministry of defence and it is still a ‘military operation’. At a time of war, UK climate data could very well become ‘top secret’.
    A lot of ‘data’ held by nations has military value.

    Life isn’t as simple as you would like to think.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/history/index.html

    Comment by The Ville — 25 Mar 2010 @ 5:54 PM

  105. #70 James Randerson says:

    “#17 EFS_Junior
    You are entitled to your opinion on the series, but you are wrong to suggest that the Guardian pursues a profit at all costs approach. The Guardian is owned by a non-profit trust that exists to subsidise our editorial operations. Details here http://www.gmgplc.co.uk/ScottTrust/TheScottTrustFoundation/tabid/247/Default.aspx

    Also, I’m afraid I don’t recognise the “utter silence” on the climate emails issue that you suggest exists outside the UK. There is at least as much interest, if not more, in the US by my reckoning.”

    Your first comment is an obvious strawman, I did not say “at all costs” however you did.

    I can smell Bull*** from across the pond, and “suggesting” that you do not desire increased readership, that you are proportedly “neutral” is patently and abjectly absurd. You editorialize for the sake of editorialization, there is nothing “neutral” about editorialization because by definition it’s purpose is to take a position.

    As a very young person I learned to stop reading editorials because they were all biased-with-intent hit pieces. No properly cited references to fact ckeck as it were. Your “series” is no different. Thus, I have not read a single editorial and taken it seriously in thirty years plus and counting.

    “Were a non-profit and we don’t care if no one reads our pulp fiction.”

    Bull****!

    “We are not provocateurs trying to capture the public eye.”

    Bull****!

    On your second point you’re 100% objectively wrong. The US MSM in no way shape or form is covering this, as it did not happen in the US, it happened in the UK.

    I have followed this exchange quite carfully in the MSM since it’s beginnings, it is abundantly clear that since it happened in the UK, it is natural to expect much more coverage at the actual scene of the crime than elsewhere.

    And that’s just a cold hard objective fact.

    If that were not the case, then the UK press clearly has not done it’s job, however badly they do do that job, as you have done.

    Perhaps you should stop listening to the Inhofe’s, Faux Nouse, WSJ, the contrarian blog-o-smear et. al., as they are but a fringe wing of the US MSM.

    The inches of newsprint and minutes of airtime in the UK press/media must be O(10) to O(100) more so than the US press/media, particularly on a per capita basis (US has more press/media and people than the UK. D’oh!).

    Comment by EFS_Junior — 25 Mar 2010 @ 6:25 PM

  106. Everyone is bias, and nobody is completely objective. The problem comes when ANYONE claims to know that something is
    irrefutable. Only by constantly testing something do we further secure
    it’s validity. There should be nothing wrong with being skeptical. Science evolves that way. If everyone accepted the
    status quo, we would never grow our knowledge of how things
    work. Think of what we KNEW 1000 years ago. Think of what we KNEW 100 years ago. Think of what we will KNOW tomorrow.
    Anyone who reads this blog or writes for it should question themselves as to what they know verses what they believe. No ammount of criticism, skepticism, or debate will deter the truth. It is when people have vested interests, personal bias, and intentional or unintentional skew to their thinking. This goes for both sides of the isle. Global climate change has no political party or persuasion. Only when we are willing to look within and question ourselves can we be sure we are leading others in the right direction.

    One more thing. Gavin, or whomever the moderator is, do you think there is a chance that you may be bias in your assesment of the “Facts” regarding climate change? Is there a chance that you may one day change you mind if new or inconsistent data is found?

    Comment by Jay — 25 Mar 2010 @ 6:47 PM

  107. I am heartily sick of the guardian taking the undisputable facts of global warming and using it to fuel a fear campaign to scare everyone into cutting back on global emissions.’the seas will rise and we’ll all be drowned’ or ‘we all will fry’ when these assumptions are not established yet.We do not yet know what we are heading for and far too little practical experiments have been done on this.I know that if i place a dish of water into a greenhouse the water will rise initially because of thermal expansion but then it will evaporate and cloud up the greenhouse and the level in the dish will fall even if i keep topping it up.To take any action to cool the greenhouse then would precipitate the clouded greenhouse and cause a flood of condensation.Better to learn to adapt than try to turn the clock back to the 1900′s.

    Comment by donald moore — 25 Mar 2010 @ 6:50 PM

  108. Gerry Quinn, Well,… except he said exactly what he was doing in the paper, didn’t he? So, it wasn’t a very effective attempt to “hide” anything, was it? Wanna maybe think that conspiracy theory out again?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  109. 40 Steve Easterbrook says:
    “So to a scientist, anyone stupid enough to try to get scientific data through repeated FOI requests quite clearly deserves our utter contempt.”

    Of course, and it’s not rocket science to figure out that’s not the best way to behave. Unless you don’t want or need the data, but want to be a pest and generate a misleading stink. Remember that McIntyre had the tree ring data all along. Data is of no use the professional deniers. Innuendo is of great use.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 25 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  110. James Randerson, Let me try to explain this to you. Let’s say that you had a leak of emails from paleontologists, selectively edited by a bunch of creationists. And let’s say they were just as snarky, just as dismissive of the Discovery Institute. Would you have devoted a 12-part series to this incident? Would you have given equal time to Discovery Institute spokespeople? I think not.

    So, I ask, how are climate denialists any more credible than creationists? After all, the theory of the greenhouse effect is every bit as old as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. And there is every bit as much evidence showing that we are warming the planet as there is that we and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor. And just as there is no credible alternative theory to evolution, there is no credible model of Earth’s climate other than the consensus model. So, pray, why treat climate denialists any differently than any other anti-science cultists?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Mar 2010 @ 7:01 PM

  111. Spam by Completely Fed Up:
    Nutjobs…bozos…extreme bozos…denialist dittos…nutters…Polio eradication…BS…Bull.

    The erudite comments here which illuminate work by scientists “who publish in Nature and Science” is breathtaking.

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 25 Mar 2010 @ 7:46 PM

  112. 57 Scott A Mandia: “Human nature is tough to overcome.” Exactly.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 25 Mar 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  113. “‘Or ways to evade legal FOI requests’
    Please show where this is done.”
    Comment by Completely Fed Up

    I’m pleased to oblige, Completely Fed Up.

    “The University of East Anglia breached the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

    The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7004936.ece

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:20 PM

  114. RE- Comment by Gerry Quinn — 25 March 2010 @ 4:12 PM:

    The primary product of a scientist is a research publication in a peer reviewed journal. Please provide a citation for such a publication by Phil Jones in which he hid any tree-ring data. Otherwise, you are just blowing smoke.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 25 Mar 2010 @ 8:58 PM

  115. “McIntyre wants all YOUR original data and YOUR original programming source, so he can check YOUR calculations to see if there any ERRORS that YOU made.”
    Comment by Tom S

    “[Response: Right, in other words he has no intention of improving the science, but rather of tearing it down...]”

    A strange response. If McIntyre checks Santer’s data and finds no errors, then the science is confirmed. If he checks and finds significant errors, then the science is improved. Isn’t that the way science is supposed to work?

    [Response: You either don't understand McIntyre and the normal process of science, or are trolling, and I don't have the time to try to figure out which, sorry. --Jim]

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 25 Mar 2010 @ 9:41 PM

  116. @115 Jack Maloney: “If McIntyre checks Santer’s data and finds no errors” then McIntyre says nothing and no-one is any the wiser. But who checks McIntyre? He is not a scientist and by his spurious actions now has negative credibility in the scientific community.

    He’s just an ageing blogger who is obsessed with climate scientists (not climate science, just the individual scientists). McIntyre has nothing better to do than spend his retirement urging people to harass climate scientists with the sole aim of preventing them from doing important research. He has shown his true colours by his actions, by what he says and does, and by what he incites others to do.

    Comment by Sou — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:17 PM

  117. RE- Comment by Jack Maloney — 25 March 2010 @ 8:20 PM:

    You are incorrect. The University of East Anglia did not breach the Freedom of Information Act. Perhaps you should read the act in order to discover that it exempts requests for proprietary information, or information that is already available in the public sphere. The requested data was available at the source agencies and it was proprietary. The Information Commissioners Office has admitted that the only point to be investigated is an issue separate from the the requests for data. They are investigating, as is appropriate, and a finding should be available eventually. The statute of limitations only applies to criminal prosecution. Why don’t you try checking some of this stuff out before making accusations.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:21 PM

  118. @ #64ge 0050 says: 25 March 2010 at 10:14 AM

    All publicly funded scientists have a duty and obligation to make their data, methods and results available to the public. In this day and age there is no excuse for doing otherwise. All that is required is to post the data on any ftp server and publish a link.

    That’s just wrong on many levels. The CSIRO and many universities are required to get much of their income from royalties. They cannot and do not release data or information until all patents are approved and it is signed off by the Intellectual Property divisions and legal beagles, and rightly so.

    Government weather agencies get revenue from selling speciali-sed services to clients. This data is provided on a fee for service basis. They operate in a commercial market in competition with companies who also provide such speciali-sed services, incidentally using data from the government weather service!

    Making available data underpinning published scientific papers on climate is another matter. However as Jim has pointed out, climate research is probably the most transparent and free with its data of any scientific discipline.

    Overall, making research data publicly available is not as straightforward as some people would like to think.

    Comment by Sou — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:29 PM

  119. I should add to my post above, that Government weather agencies such as the Australian BoM make data freely available to all on the internet, and have done so virtually since the internet was publicly available. (The BoM has one of the best weather and climate sites in the world IMO, but I could be biased :).) Before that they published the information in the daily newspapers (and still do).

    Anyone who want’s raw data from hundreds of weather stations monitored by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, NOAA etc only has to go to the websites. Anyone who wants historical information only has to go to the websites of BoM, NOAA, NASA and other government sites – charts, tables etc are freely available. Not only the data, but model codes etc are also available for download from the global monitoring sites for those who want to spend time repeating analyses.

    It’s not hard, but some people want to make it seem so and spread so much information that the gullible, who don’t bother checking the facts, just lap it all up when it suits them to do so.

    Comment by Sou — 25 Mar 2010 @ 10:42 PM

  120. Jay says …

    Everyone is bias, and nobody is completely objective. The problem comes when ANYONE claims to know that something is irrefutable. Only by constantly testing something do we further secure
    it’s validity. There should be nothing wrong with being skeptical. Science evolves that way.

    OK. I propose we further the evolution of science by my 1) leasing an airplane 2) taking you along as a passenger and 3) I toss you out the door at 10,000 feet, without a parachute.

    This might put your claim that “there should be nothing wrong with being skeptical” into perspective, for the 20 or 30 seconds it takes before you hit the ground.

    Comment by dhogaza — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:29 PM

  121. I commend the suggestions @13, @15, @23. There’s plenty more for the Guardian to look at, and if they are as honest about it as they were about Climategate, they will be doing us, and the world, a great service.
    (Note that I am not quantifying their accuracy on Climategate; but I will be happy with the same level of service, since it was so much better than what we got, and get, from most of the media most of the time.)
    - Malcolm

    Comment by MalcolmT — 25 Mar 2010 @ 11:33 PM

  122. # 40 Steve Easterbrook

    Your post was about the most lucid, honest and thoughtful post about this whole subject that I’ve read to date. Thank you.

    I hope you might decide to develop this further as a formal essay. Your post says much about science in general, and I can say from first-hand experience that the same issues apply to my own specialty (conservation biology).

    High marks by describing how scientists actually work and think…or can be distracted. This was a 5 star post in a sea too often dominated by zeros and ones.
    Bravo.

    Comment by wanderers2 — 26 Mar 2010 @ 12:29 AM

  123. 113 Jack pasted, “that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times has learnt. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.”

    Brilliant idea. It’s not quite ex post facto law so it’ll probably fly. I have visions of scientists everywhere explaining every email while being flooded with FOI

    Comment by RichardC — 26 Mar 2010 @ 12:34 AM

  124. Jim:

    Thanks, those are good examples, although it’s mainly the Economist getting one element right in both stories, isn’t it? It’s possible that overall Economist has done a better job than the Guardian in news on climate, but even so, Randerson probably has a point.

    The irony that an essentially neoliberal magazine so often runs news articles contrary to neoliberal editorial enthusiasms reminds me of the pre-Murdoch Wall Street Journal.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 26 Mar 2010 @ 1:10 AM

  125. Nutjobs…bozos…extreme bozos…denialist dittos…nutters…Polio eradication…BS…Bull.

    The erudite comments here which illuminate work by scientists “who publish in Nature and Science” is breathtaking.

    Rather than bring in a tu quoque like The Reference Frame, I’ll just say that, first, science has lots of talk like that – “Look, these bozos claim that …” Especially when dealing with competing theories, it can be very disrespectful. Comments in a science blog have more of that disrespectful conversational standard than the formal abstract/article/comment in a peer reviewed journal standard.

    The point about polio eradication and any number of other improvements being made despite scientific uncertainty was both germane and politely expressed.

    As for the rest of it, start with Australian mining geologist Ian Plimer’s endorsement of the theory (not his, but he leans on it) that the sun is a ball of iron? Plimer and the scientific theorizers he’s endorsing strike me as being part of something to which “nutters, nutjobs, BS, or bull” are somewhat germane, even if I can’t pinpoint to what degree.

    And what about Plimer’s demand that anyone who promotes climate science has to present to him million-year “time-flitches?” Again, “nutters, nutjobs, BS, or bull” strike me as very germane to that bit of gobbledygook.

    And to stick with that case, if, armed with the iron sun and million-year-time flitches author as a prime source, you come to science blogs and call people cultists for accepting a scientific consensus, well, why doesn’t “dittos” or “bozos” match that behavior?

    If I spam V**** ads to a blog, and someone calls me a spammer, and I respond that they’re not refuting my ad with their ad hominem attacks, I think I’m adding to the original offense.

    Also, for me, if I made a point and someone cited a couple of presented results in the genuine peer-reviewed literature (not E&E etc.) that showed I was wrong, that would refute what I said and I’d re-think both my opinion and conclusions I was deriving from it. But some people who now visit science blogs would not be affected by it at all, and that’s a problem. If your goal is to turn every venue into an American cable TV shout-festival, that’s dittohead behavior, first of all, and the term was coined by “dittoheads” or “dittos” themselves, not as a slur by outsiders. Second, there’s a persistent tactic of drowning out communication with a flood of noise, and it’s by far the most common and most effective form of censorship in the modern world. And it’s “bozo” behavior.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 26 Mar 2010 @ 1:40 AM

  126. By the way, steve easterbrook #40 said one thing I was trying to say, much better. Scientists talking among themselves aren’t restrained either way, if something’s boring or not new (it usually is) they say so. If it’s good, they say it’s brilliant. If it’s bad, they say it’s utter crap.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 26 Mar 2010 @ 1:50 AM

  127. Jack M. #113: ‘Or ways to evade legal FOI requests’.

    You’re wrong on multiple levels. First of all, this ‘statement’ by the ICO was made after being badgered by Jonathan Leake of the Sunday Times. The entire correspondence, for what it’s worth, is here. To sum up:

    1) No, they have no evidence; they have what they call a ‘prima facie’ case (i.e., it looks like it, sorta, kinda). FOI violation is a serious allegation; one would like a finding to this effect to come from a court of law, or meeting a standard of evidence that would apply in a court of law (i.e., the presumption of innocence and the opportunity of a defence, for starters). Don’t you think?

    2) The ICO behave like anyone would caught saying something embarrassing or speaking before their turn: no retraction and the very minimum of explanation. Their letter is almost hilarious reading for all the barbed-wire in it.

    3) The ICO don’t even understand their own law: scroll to Section 77, where it says

    any person to whom this subsection applies is guilty of an offence if he alters, defaces, blocks, erases, destroys or conceals any record held by the public authority, with the intention of preventing the disclosure by that authority of all, or any part, of the information to the communication of which the applicant would have been entitled.

    My emphasis. If you can play armchair lawyer, so can I, only I am better at it :-)

    The point of contention is the email correspondence relating to IPCC WG1 Chapter 6, which David Holland requested and Phil Jones in a weak moment suggested to be deleted. My point is that FoI legal practice on both sides of the Atlantic holds that this kind of information is off limits, and IPCC-related internal correspondence (not: comments and responses, which are a matter of public record) legitimately confidential. Mr. Holland ‘would not have been entitled’ to those emails, and Jones and colleagues would have been in their full right to build a bonfire from them.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 26 Mar 2010 @ 1:51 AM

  128. 48 Completely Fed Up: “You are buying into the BS that everyone has an equally valid opinion”
    Total nonsense. Of course most people’s opinions are somewhere between delusional and just plain wrong. The fact that most people have nonsensical opinions is the reason why educating them is necessary. The more they understand, and the saner they are and the smarter they are, the less nonsensical they will be.

    “and that EVERYONE has to agree before something can be done.”

    FALSE. But you have to gain a “plurality of the pressure” on Congress. Most people do not communicate with Congress, fortunately. The bad news is: You have to overcome the loud voice of money. And you have to overcome the voices of the misguided. In order to do that, it is generally a good idea to have more than half of the public on your side. Then you have to get a higher percentage of the people who communicate with politicians on your side. Money can be overcome, as shown by our new healthcare bill, when something like 79% of the voters want it. 79% isn’t intended to be an exact number. But notice how fiercely the right wing is still fighting.

    The bad news is, we live in democracies, to varying degrees. The US has a form of democracy that is usually plutocracy. So Congress can’t or won’t just do the right thing. Politicians are NOT scientists. A few of them understand it when scientists talk to them. But many politicians do not. To make things happen, you have to get a million or so people calling senators every day and saying the same thing. That doesn’t happen when most people don’t understand the situation.

    Polio is a bad example. Everybody hates polio.

    The problem we have with GW is overcoming a TRillion dollar cashflow. The health insurance industry cashflow is only $350 Billion. To overcome $1 Trillion/year, we are going to have to have a huge percentage of the people who call senators on our side. But not 100%.

    So I ask you, Completely Fed Up, what percentage is that and how would you get it?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Mar 2010 @ 2:38 AM

  129. Ray Ladbury (110) says:

    “After all, the theory of the greenhouse effect is every bit as old as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. And there is every bit as much evidence showing that we are warming the planet as there is that we and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor. And just as there is no credible alternative theory to evolution, there is no credible model of Earth’s climate other than the consensus model. So, pray, why treat climate denialists any differently than any other anti-science cultists?”

    This is a perfect example of why climate science is losing credibility. Not that RL is a climate scientist (I don’t know). The problem is that pro-AGW scientists will allow this type of view to sit uncriticised (because at least its ‘the right side’), while tearing into every ounce of AGW doubt (such as The Guardian’s series). RealClimate is known to be quick to delete or strongly reply to over the top anti-AGW comments, but leave such comments as this untouched. RC would do much for its credibility to show that this type of view has nothing to do with its own science and beliefs.

    Comment by oakwood — 26 Mar 2010 @ 2:41 AM

  130. Great post! I applaud RC for printing it and I applaud the Gardian for their genuine attempt to reinstate the lost art of investigative journalisim.

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 26 Mar 2010 @ 3:12 AM

  131. Woops: At least one politician is a scientist. But not many.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Mar 2010 @ 3:23 AM

  132. Steve: “Why don’t you try checking some of this stuff out before making accusations.”

    Because he wouldn’t be able to paint there being some form of controversy and thereby denigrate climate science (justifying his desire not to do anything about it).

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:13 AM

  133. “The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act but said that it could not prosecute those”

    WRONG.

    The DEPUTY stated that it was illegal to breech the act (tautology alert: illegal to break the law!!!) and that criminal sanction for any such breech is not possible.

    NEVER that the UEA failed in its duties.

    And NEVER the ICO. Just the deputy speaking out of his arse.

    [edit]

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:17 AM

  134. Hank (76),

    “The Sheep Look Up” (1972). Very cool book.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:22 AM

  135. “Everyone is bias, and nobody is completely objective. The problem comes when ANYONE claims to know that something is irrefutable.”

    So the sun rose yesterday is refutable?

    So if I were to place 10 tons of TNT under your bed while you slept, you would NOT be blown to bit if I lit it?

    BUUUULLLLL.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:22 AM

  136. Anand, you demonstrate my point beautifully you troll.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:23 AM

  137. “Of course, that’s exactly what it means! Phil Jones chopped the tail off a tree-ring proxy temperature data series and replaced it with instrumental data”

    Nope, it’s standard technique.

    Temperature measurements themselves are taken from instruments that do not act linearly. The temperature reading from a calibrated mercury thermometer is NOT the same as the one you get from, say, an optical pyrometer EVEN IF IT’S THE SAME SAMPLE!

    This is because each instrument for reading temperature has a range over which it is taken as the true reading.

    Therefore you don’t use mercury thermometers outside that range and a temperature reading outside that range is NOT the temperature reading. You use the RIGHT INSTRUMENT.

    “replaced it with instrumental data, because the proxy data indicated a recent decline in temperatures.”

    How can you have a decline in temperatures when the INSTRUMENTS don’t show it???

    Insane.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:29 AM

  138. Jay (106),

    Do you think there’s a chance you may be bias[ed] in your acceptance of heliocentrism–assuming you believe in heliocentrism? How about your belief in gravity? Challenged that lately?

    Yes, nothing is ever ultimately provable, as solopsism shows. But things can be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, and AGW is one of those things. It is NOT sensible to keep going back and examining stuff that was settled a long time ago. That’s not science, it’s obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:29 AM

  139. The Guardian did a reasonable job, one that needed doing. Basically someone reasonably fair, independent, competent, able to understand scientists, the scientific debate, and the public debate, needed to look thoroughly over the entire body of emails, and whatever was there, put it in the public arena.

    The emails might contain damning scandal, or they might contain merely trivia and indiscrestions. if they contain scandal – the sooner that is out in public, the better – science can adjust, correct, move on, and it is over. If they contain trivia – the sooner that is out in public the better too, as we can decide the science stands and again move on.

    The paepr’s articles, did this to the best of their ability, and it was i think a fair attempt.

    The paper doubtless understands well the alternative to their type of investigation. The emails as a body remain in the public domain for years; no one ever does a definitive thorough review; but one side can continue to cherry pick from them, drip feeding a supply of doubt, for years.

    There is a good article on the PR methods used by denialists in Eur J Public Health vol 19 pp 2-4. Denialismm is not limted to climate change – the same tactics were used for e.g tobacco + cancer; passive smoking + heart disease; in S Africa, AIDS and HIV; in the UK, the safety of the combined MMR vaccine, esp with respect to risk of autism. The denialists issue is always the same, to reject a proposition for which a substantial scientific consensus exists. The methods to do this, are usually the same also.

    Cherry picking is one of these. Their tactic is not only to pick the contradictory evidence – also to pick the weakest papers ( they can criticise them and thus fly a kite) or the older papers ( the science are is easy to criticise with the wisdom of hindsight; and denialists also claim that anything proceeding from those paeprs is false also).

    Comment by Mike Brisco — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:37 AM

  140. Jack Maloney@115
    No, science does NOT work by individual researchers repeating the identical calculations of others using the same data and equations. Rather, the researchers look at the method used and try to implement it INDEPENDENTLY and perhaps with a slightly different data. In so doing, such REPLICATION also tests for systematic errors and sample dependence, yielding a much more robust verification than mere “auditing” or repetition.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Mar 2010 @ 5:10 AM

  141. #106

    The problem comes when ANYONE claims to know that something is
    irrefutable.

    The more usual criticism is that the global warming science is rubbish because it is irrefutable. At least you appear to disagree with that silly assertion

    Is there a chance that you may one day change you mind if new or inconsistent data is found?

    I am just a reader, but I would certainly change my mind,but not necessarily at once. The rule observations trump ‘theory’ ,which includes earlier observations, is not always valid. Observations often involve clever and difficult science and can also turn out to be wrong. This has happened many times in the history of science. In fact the ‘theorist’ who retreats too quickly is in danger of making a bit of a fool of himself (herself). The temporary discrepancy between the tropospherical and surface temperatures was one such example. It is to the credit of the ‘theorists’ that they were skeptical of the tropospherical measurements which did indeed turn out to be wrong. One reason is that noone could make sense of them , not even the contrarians.

    As for ‘Gavin or the moderator’ , I notice that you provide no evidence in #106 for inconsistent evidence being ignored.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 26 Mar 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  142. #110 Ray Ladbury:

    What he said! :)

    Comment by Scott A Mandia — 26 Mar 2010 @ 7:37 AM

  143. Re the FOI requests:

    It perhaps should be mentioned once again that there is clear evidence that the requests became overt harassment.

    When McIntyre posted templates and asked his drones to submit them with any 5 countries filled in, there was no chance that that data would have an actual research use. How could it–no assured means of gathering the request results together, no realistic means of assuring complete coverage, no realistic means of avoiding massive duplication. And most of the data was already available. The only conceivable purpose for such an action was (probably coercive) harassment.

    The only conceivable outcome was a considerable waste of time, talent and taxpayer’s dollars (or rather, pounds.)

    See:

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/24/cru-refuses-data-once-again/#comment-188529

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Mar 2010 @ 7:45 AM

  144. “A strange response. If McIntyre checks Santer’s data and finds no errors, then the science is confirmed. If he checks and finds significant errors, then the science is improved. Isn’t that the way science is supposed to work?”

    Except that what has repeatedly happened so far is that picayune errors are found, then used as the basis of a blog campaign to either spin them as significant when they are not, or to use them as the basis of unsubstantiated smears.

    Neither of those outcomes is helpful to science.

    Still less, public policy.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 26 Mar 2010 @ 7:51 AM

  145. Oakwood:

    This is a perfect example of why climate science is losing credibility. Not that RL is a climate scientist (I don’t know). The problem is that pro-AGW scientists will allow this type of view to sit uncriticised (because at least its ‘the right side’), while tearing into every ounce of AGW doubt (such as The Guardian’s series). RealClimate is known to be quick to delete or strongly reply to over the top anti-AGW comments, but leave such comments as this untouched. RC would do much for its credibility to show that this type of view has nothing to do with its own science and beliefs.

    All that, and oakwood doesn’t actually tell us where he thinks Ray Ladbury was wrong. I looked closely, I saw nothing incorrect in Ray’s comment.

    So, oakwood, why should anyone criticize Ray’s comment? Don’t just say “oh he’s wrong”, you need to tell us where he’s wrong. You didn’t, I imagine, because you can’t …

    Comment by dhogaza — 26 Mar 2010 @ 9:06 AM

  146. Opinion polls show that climate change sceptics are winning the argument. Their arguments obviously have traction with the public at large. It is therefore appropriate for the Guardian to recognise this, to try to identify which of those arguments have credibility and to open the possibility of a reasoned response to those which do not.

    I’ve just been reading “Dire Predictions” by Mann and Kump and the “Hockey Stick Illusion by Montford”. I know there are big differences in the objectives of the authors; one is a general survey of IPCC climate science from a major publishing house and the other a focussed ‘hatchet job’. [edit- take your nonsense elsewhere]

    Comment by Ron — 26 Mar 2010 @ 9:13 AM

  147. Almost every day, I scan the online Media for Climate Change reporting. Some days, journalists cannot seem to find anything that’s “news” about Climate Change, so they don’t write anything.

    What counts as “news” ? Scandal, dispute, discoveries, overturnings, legal matters. Why is there so little of the actual Science in the news ? Is it not interesting enough for their readers that Life on Earth is in great peril ? This should be of interest to everybody, every day of the year.

    Climate Change is not a sub-set of the Economy, nor a campaigning pastime, as is the usual treatment of Environmental matters by the Media.

    Climate Change impacts on the Economy significantly, now and into the future. Climate Change IS the news, and journalists should be encouraged to break out of the frame of reference they have built for themselves and start treating Earth news as serious. Deadly serious.

    We should put ourselves and our Media on a “war footing” as regards the deep and lasting impacts of ecological damages we are currently witnessing taking shape.

    Things are not as they used to be. Inquiries into standards in the Life of Scientists are not the appropriate way to address the emergence of the real and dangerous risks of Climate Change.

    Journalists should pay attention : as the grim story unfolds, the Media should be watching closely, and unpack the significance and the repercussions implied; and translate this evolving Science research debate into a narrative that holds people to the facts; not just waiting for the odd Press Release and then allowing editorial normatives to make it look like the information has been tailored by the Climate Change sceptics.

    The Media are doing us all a disservice by not delivering the severity of the Climate Change problems in all areas of Society, Politics and Industry.

    There’s not much point to the news organisations if they can’t tell us the real news. Climate Change is already deadly, and damages to infrastructure, food and water supplies will only mount up.

    It matters that the Media get it right, and get it right on a daily basis. There should be journalists whose sole task is to follow the train of the important debates in the Science. And there should be more of such reporters. And they should have many, many more column inches devoted to the Science, and the policy, social and industrial responses.

    Comment by jo abbess — 26 Mar 2010 @ 9:20 AM

  148. I think you’d have done better to write something like:

    “Dear Guardian,

    We respect your usual high standards and are happy to see you devote continuing effort to the AGW debate. In the recent article by Fred Pearce, we think that Mr. Pearce made the following mistakes:

    1. Pearce wrote “mistake 1″; the evidence shows instead “correction 1 (ref1a, ref1b, ref1c);

    etc,

    Thank you for your attention, and thank Mr Pearce for his efforts.

    yours truly,

    signature”

    These repeated aspersions that other people are stupid, lazy, venal or whatever simply distract from your message. Besides that, you come across as immature and self-centered.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 26 Mar 2010 @ 9:30 AM

  149. As a very long-term reader of the Guardian and a much shorter one RealClimate I find that I think the Guardian got this wrong and it started with Mr Monbiot’s intemperate call for Prof Jones resignation .
    Monbiot is a journalist with in my opinion a very high regard for his own importance and there seemed to be some undeclared tension between him and the UEA ,in fact I think I remember a call for a named member of the PR staff to resign by him in the course of the controversy.
    One difficulty seems to be that the personalisation tendency in the media cuts across the need for facts to stand on their own no matter who is pointing them out

    [Response: Good point. Science tries very hard to depersonalize things as much as possible, so that personalities/egos etc don't get in the way of the goal. A large chunk of the media generally does the opposite, and hence gets nowhere.--Jim]

    Comment by M Roberts — 26 Mar 2010 @ 10:07 AM

  150. #114 Please provide a citation for such a publication by Phil Jones in which he hid any tree-ring data. Otherwise, you are just blowing smoke.

    a climategate email:

    I still think we will get comments about what changes with storms. If this
    is going to lead somewhere we don’t want it and cause problems, then the final part is likely best removed.

    Not showing data as it makes your assertion look flimsy isn’t an ethical way of doing science.

    [Response: This is ridiculous. The discussion is nothing to do with tree rings or even data of any kind. Instead, it is a discussion about what can and cannot be easily summarised for a bullet point. Jones' point that if you can't condense a particular issue accurately into a short sentence then it's best not to put something potentially misleading into the summary - something I really doubt you have a problem with. - gavin]

    Comment by BlogReader — 26 Mar 2010 @ 10:37 AM

  151. How can I get in touch with Chris O’Dell? I would like permission to reprint much of his letter as reproduced on RealClimate a few months ago:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/lc-grl-comments-on-peer-review-and-peer-reviewed-comments/#more-2710

    I’m writing a book called “The Case for Global Warming,” and Dr. O’Dell’s discoveries about the peer-review system failure in the case of Lindzen and Choi 2009 would be relevant.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 26 Mar 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  152. James Randerson
    Re. #110 Ray Ladbury, #142 Scott A Mandia: Here, here.

    This simple point is you are mistaken in the context represented. The earth as a system and the human race have significant challenges ahead and getting this story right is critical in relation to sustainability and survivability around the world.

    This story needs every aspect represented in relevant context.

    - Reporting he said she said is a disservice to the public.
    - Reporting any data, inference, or insinuation out of context is irrelevant and adds additional confusion.
    - The public needs to know what is going on and it is clear form the manner of reporting from the Guardian that you and/or your staff don’t really understand what is going on here.

    The story is not the email hack. The story is in getting the public to understand the critical juncture that the human race and all of its needs are at in relation to several key problems.

    Environment, energy, economy.

    - Climate change is serious and human caused.
    - The bees are dying and we are still not sure why?
    - Peak oil either has arrived or soon will.
    - Life in the oceans are under severe stress and 90% of the big fish biomass is already fished out, plus ocean acidification is occurring which threatens entire bio webs.
    - The monetary economy is tied to resource availability and capacity.
    - The earths economy is changing with the climate so resources will become increasingly more difficult to attain, package and distribute.

    All of this adds up to what the worlds security organizations are waking up to:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/security
    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2009/2009-may-leading-edge

    You have a job. Your job is to inform the public, not of the argument, but of the reality and potentials the human race is now facing due to the coincidence of large events converging in relation to human adaptive capacity. The more the public is aware, the easier it will be for us to get relevant policy from our policy makers since they don’t do anything unless they get votes for it, it is up to the media and the people to do it right.

    So inform the public and get it right, because your future also relies on how good a job you do. We have serious time pressure here so pretend your future depends on your actions right now, because in reality, it does.

    If you wish to discuss additional contexts, please feel free to contact me

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/contact-info

    It is critical that you not just interview people or scientists for your articles, but that you actually get the context correct and headline the context, not the confusion.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Mar 2010 @ 11:30 AM

  153. RE comment #33 by Completely Fed Up:
    ” ‘The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the Act…’

    “WRONG.

    “The DEPUTY stated that it was illegal to breech the act (tautology alert: illegal to break the law!!!) and that criminal sanction for any such breech is not possible.

    “NEVER that the UEA failed in its duties.

    “And NEVER the ICO. Just the deputy speaking out of his arse.”

    Deputy ICO Commissioner Graham Smith is responsible for FOI issues. His official statement represents the ICO’s view: “The prima facie evidence from the published e-mails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence.”

    The ICO statement was a response to the UEA’s attempt to minimize or dismiss the significance of CRU’s resistance to FOI requests.

    The letter also confirmed the ICO’s previous statement that the university had failed in its duties under the Freedom of Information Act by rejecting requests for data.

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 26 Mar 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  154. In #108 and #114, Ray Ladbury and Steve Fish respond to my #100 (about Phil Jones’s “hide the decline” email).

    Ray Ladbury claims that Jones “said exactly what he was doing in the paper”. Fancy giving a reference to this paper, Ray? As for the word “hide”, please note that it is Jones’s word, not mine!

    Steve Fish is a tad more cautious: “The primary product of a scientist is a research publication in a peer reviewed journal. Please provide a citation for such a publication by Phil Jones in which he hid any tree-ring data. Otherwise, you are just blowing smoke.”

    Steve, I suspect, is trying to blow a little smoke himself. As I understand it, the merged series appeared on the cover of a WMO report on climate change. Feel free to correct me with links if I am wrong; with spinners on both sides of the story, it is sometimes a little hard to be sure of the facts!

    Such covers may not have been Jones’s “primary product”, but they were his product, and are significant in impressing policy-makers, who might well not inquire too closely into the detailed genesis of authoritative looking graphs, but would have been alarmed by an obvious discrepancy in the proxy data. A discrepancy that in fact existed, but was hidden.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 26 Mar 2010 @ 12:25 PM

  155. Pachauri defends climate science on the Guardian site.

    Comment by Timothy Mason — 26 Mar 2010 @ 12:27 PM

  156. “This (Ray’s creationist/’climate denialist’ analogy) is a perfect example of why climate science is losing credibility.”

    Such analogies result in a loss of credibility only outside the RC bubble. The regulars and moderators here do actually and sincerely believe AGW skeptics and creationists to be of the same order of ignorance, thus there are relatively few “Inline Responses” to well-intentioned hyperbole or name-calling. Ray is not a climate scientist, but an accomplished physicist who is thoroughly and passionately convinced we humans and our emissions are doing great harm. The Guardian and Randerson have committed the sin of not being sufficiently passionate, thereby offering aid and comfort to [insert pejoratives here].

    Comment by Walter Manny — 26 Mar 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  157. Completely Fed Up #137

    But don’t you think that might cast doubt on the earlier proxy results? If they don’t work now, why should they be trusted to give us an accurate picture of past temperatures?

    Comment by Shibui — 26 Mar 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  158. It’s genuinely tragic to see “all that need be said” lost in a welter of dart-tosses wide of the mark. Here’s a post neatly capturing the essence of this issue and which bears repetition:

    Ray Ladbury says: 25 March 2010 at 7:01 PM

    James Randerson, Let me try to explain this to you. Let’s say that you had a leak of emails from paleontologists, selectively edited by a bunch of creationists. And let’s say they were just as snarky, just as dismissive of the Discovery Institute. Would you have devoted a 12-part series to this incident? Would you have given equal time to Discovery Institute spokespeople? I think not.

    So, I ask, how are climate denialists any more credible than creationists? After all, the theory of the greenhouse effect is every bit as old as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. And there is every bit as much evidence showing that we are warming the planet as there is that we and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor. And just as there is no credible alternative theory to evolution, there is no credible model of Earth’s climate other than the consensus model. So, pray, why treat climate denialists any differently than any other anti-science cultists?

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Mar 2010 @ 12:54 PM

  159. “The [stolen] emails as a body remain in the public domain for years…” Mike Brisco — 26 March 2010 @ 4:37 AM
    Just like all that stolen music released on Napster is now in the public domain?

    I think what you mean is now that the denialists have stolen the emails etcetera, they will have no qualms about abusing science, scientists, the political process with this illegally obtained information because the gutless wonders at UKICO will “investigate” the scientists instead of the thieves.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 26 Mar 2010 @ 2:29 PM

  160. Ed (128) writes:

    “The bad news is, we live in democracies, to varying degrees. The US has a form of democracy that is usually plutocracy. So Congress can’t or won’t just do the right thing. Politicians are NOT scientists. A few of them understand it when scientists talk to them. But many politicians do not. To make things happen, you have to get a million or so people calling senators every day and saying the same thing. That doesn’t happen when most people don’t understand the situation.”

    Wow. I had no idea that it is bad news that I live in a country with a representative form of governance. What form of governance would be good news?

    In other places it’s suggested that newspapers not be allowed to write on Climate Change – or at a minimum be censored to content to ensure that they only support scientists.

    If y’all think having to adjust to AGW is bad, try adjusting to a world without representative forms of governanace and a fully censored press (which usually go hand in hand).

    It is sentiments like this that make an awful lot of people very wary of the motivation of the AGW side of the argument.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 26 Mar 2010 @ 2:46 PM

  161. What shocked me most and same time revealing was the responses of George Monbiot which gave me to think that he actually had even the remotest understanding on the chief topic he was reporting on. At times in the initial xxxGates period I did also have the impression he was trying to moderate his initial kneejerks, but damage done. He’ll have to do allot before he’ll redeem credibility in my book. Reading the Guardian these days: NOT!

    Comment by Sekerob — 26 Mar 2010 @ 2:55 PM

  162. From Dr Randerson’s response, on behalf of The Guardian:

    “This account will eventually be expanded into a book.”

    A book, you say?

    From Dr Randerson’s post #70:

    “Also, I’m afraid I don’t recognise the “utter silence” on the climate emails issue that you suggest exists outside the UK. There is at least as much interest, if not more, in the US by my reckoning.”

    Lots of interest in the US, eh?

    Would a book which examined the stolen emails in their proper context sell as well in America as a book which panders, at least to some degree, to denialist blogs? Far more Americans than Brits are sceptical of AGW, so it probably wouldn’t.

    Did the potential US sales figures of the future book affect the accuracy of the Guardian articles?

    Comment by Dave G — 26 Mar 2010 @ 3:09 PM

  163. 152 John P. Reisman. You write generally good posts, and I am glad that you maintiain the OSS Foundation.

    About this,however: - Life in the oceans are under severe stress and 90% of the big fish biomass is already fished out, plus ocean acidification is occurring which threatens entire bio webs.

    Overfishing is a separate problem from global warming, and is being addressed independently of global warming.

    Peak oil and AGW are at least closely related in the sense that the proposed solutions have a lot of overlap. Each would still be a threat without the other, but they can be addressed together.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 26 Mar 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  164. > The [stolen] emails as a body remain in the
    > public domain for years…” Mike Brisco

    Bzzzt! If you go looking for the stolen email, have all your security settings prepared. Remember, while you’re likely to just get a warning from Google because it’s somebody’s poorly set up website, you may also be going to a site run by someone who, ya know, steals stuff online.

    When you’re looking for stolen goods, don’t assume the people offering them to you are doing so because they’re on your side.

    They may be using the stuff as bait for fools.

    Google gives you one warning at dicey sites. Don’t ignore it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2010 @ 3:21 PM

  165. Re #110 Oakwood RL tends to correctly and precisely state the settled science and thereby rarely is criticized by RC. I on the other hand tend to see problems with the climate models and I believe that that climate models significantly under predict AGW. Thus, while RC often publishes my comments, they do criticize them. RC has credibility because they are very fair.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 26 Mar 2010 @ 3:23 PM

  166. #150 -

    The page to which you linked is a perfect example of taking a discussion and selectively highlight parts to make it seem as if a conspiracy has been revealed while missing the forest for the trees. The discussion had nothing to do with hiding anything, but rather was people hashing over what the proper trade-off should be between precision and brevity in a particular bullet point. Scientists have to make this kind of trade-off all the time when communicating science to a group that is outside their field; there’s nothing nefarious about it.

    In particular, from my reading of the (stolen) e-mails, it looked like the problem was that there are conflicting studies on exactly what is going on with storms regarding whether they were getting stronger or weaker, so rather than saying something that potentially inaccurate (that storms were getting stronger, since there were apparently some studies suggesting that they were getting less numerous as the wind patterns shifted) or verbose (describing the whole situation about what differing studies have to say about storms) they decided to simply drop mentioning what was happening to storms altogether and instead focus the bullet point on the part that they were confident about, namely that particular wind patterns were changing.

    Comment by Greg C. — 26 Mar 2010 @ 3:27 PM

  167. I think The Guardian has done a generally good job, but this is a war in which the slightest mistake is magnified by the denialist machinery, so we have to be extremely careful, and, more than anytihg else, we have to correct every mistake. I’ll just say that I’ve seen denialists pointing at some of this articles in The Guardian as a proof that climate science is under question (because EVEN The Guardian has now concerns) and I think people who don’t pay much attention to it have actually been misled by the headlines and the comments from skeptics. That’s a pretty sad outcome.

    The support to the Guardian in this thread go along the line of “there are some minor things wrong, but they’re not scientists and it is a difficult task”. That might be acceptable. What is not acceptable is that you are shown to be wrong and, instead of making big and clear (in your original article) what’s wrong, you just add a comment saying “this guy says we are wrong (link)”. This is the “he says… the other says…” game in which journalists love to hide their head. Scientists are bothering to write you because they are able to speak to you in a way that you can understand. If you just copy & paste what both sides of the debate are saying you are just wasting the time of the scientists and messing the readers around. You evade the responsability of making a decision of whether you were wrong or not and leave the task to the reader. We already have the Internet as a blank page for that fake neutrality in which nonsense has the same privileges as science.

    This is a widely applicable, but more specifically, I think that these statements about Jones et al 1990 are not correct and should have been already corrected:
    “[Fred Pearce] reveals how researchers tried to hide flaws in a key study”
    “The paper became a key reference source for the conclusions of succeeding reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”
    “what data is available suggests that the findings are fundamentally flawed.”
    “[Jones et al 2008] raises serious new questions about one of the most widely referenced papers on global warming, and about the IPCC’s reliance on its conclusions.”
    “Energy & Environment, a peer-reviewed journal”

    Comment by Jesús Rosino — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  168. I read comment #1 (from Ben Santer) and I just couldn’t go on.

    I find Fred Pearce’s misreporting on McIntyre-Santer controversy sloppy and irresponsible. The Guardian’s refusal to allow Santer to set the record straight in its pages, let alone issue a much-needed correction, is reprehensible.

    I have not read a single Fred Pearce article in the Guardian that is not riddled with errors. Especially disappointing is his tendency to take contrarians’ speculations about climategate at face value, even when their statements are nonsensical or at odds with the known facts.

    David Adams, on the other hand, is one of the finest science correspondents around. I would strongly suggest that if a book is in the offing, it should be Adams who is given primary responsibility; perhaps, he can fix Pearce’s mistakes for the permanent record.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:11 PM

  169. oakwood says: 26 March 2010 at 2:41 AM

    RC would do much for its credibility to show that this type of view has nothing to do with its own science and beliefs.

    Here’s the shot that went below Oakwood’s waterline and penetrated planks and scantlings, thus pouring such an uncomfortable lake of cold water into Oakwood’s cargo of misunderstanding as to evoke an impassioned plea for fairness, a metaphorical mattress of false concern desperately thrust into a gaping hole too large to plug:

    “James Randerson, Let me try to explain this to you. Let’s say that you had a leak of emails from paleontologists, selectively edited by a bunch of creationists. And let’s say they were just as snarky, just as dismissive of the Discovery Institute. Would you have devoted a 12-part series to this incident? Would you have given equal time to Discovery Institute spokespeople? I think not.

    So, I ask, how are climate denialists any more credible than creationists? After all, the theory of the greenhouse effect is every bit as old as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. And there is every bit as much evidence showing that we are warming the planet as there is that we and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor. And just as there is no credible alternative theory to evolution, there is no credible model of Earth’s climate other than the consensus model. So, pray, why treat climate denialists any differently than any other anti-science cultists?”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury

    Oakwood’s response was necessarily elliptical, essentially an emotional appeal. Ladbury’s remark is impossible for climate science rejectionists to directly counter, his analogy being entirely appropriate.

    Just as those who reject biological evolution cannot present a useful alternative explanation, climate research rejectionists are unable to mount a coherent and robust alternative explanation for what mainstream climate researchers predict and observe regarding Earth’s climate system. Just as for those who reject biological evolution, those who reject the findings of direct research into the behavior of Earth’s climate must also selectively reject findings from a plethora of other fields of inquiry tangentially germane to climate research, further degrading the self-consistency of their argument.

    Inevitably, detailed attempts at contrary argument by the climate science rejection movement closely mimic the kind and quality of pseudoscience practiced by evolution rejectionists. Similarly to those who reject the multiple disciplines involved in confirmation of climate science findings, evolution rejectionists must ignore results from geology, paleontology, genetics and a host of other threads of inquiry for only by so doing can their superstitious beliefs remain intact.

    The similarity between the two groups of rejectionists is eerily amusing because various findings from the same primary fields of research must be rejected by each rejectionist camp though each faction seeks to reject different scientific findings.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:20 PM

  170. For Editor

    [edit. take it elsewhere, ok]

    Comment by Ron — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:37 PM

  171. A number of comments (#15, 30, 45, 116 etc.) discuss Steve McIntyre, and his methods and motivation. For the record, I have no idea what McIntyre’s exact motivation might be. It is likely that it is not primarily monetary, as he has made a lot less money out of attacking science, than, say, Pat Michaels.

    However, media accounts of McIntyre and his partner Ross McKitrick invariably gloss over their long-standing co-operation with think tanks and PR professionals, who most assuredly do earn their keep from financial support from certain fossil fuel companies and others implacably opposed to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

    So, here’s a short primer on those connections, which include the Marshall Institute, Friends of Science, APCO Worldwide and the Fraser Institute:

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/04/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-1-in-the-beginning/

    http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/08/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-2-barton-wegman/

    As for examples of McIntyre’s vicious and unjustified attacks on climate scientists, these two posts may be of interest:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/04/climate-auditor-steve-mcintyre-yamal/

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/08/14/dropping-the-p-bomb/

    It should be mentioned with regard to that last post, that the contrarians’ false and baseless accusations of plagiarism and fraud have received extensive airing, and even a sympathetic hearing, in the media coverage of “climategate”. And, yet the evidence for misconduct on the “other” side is infinitely more compelling. For an additional example, consider the clear evidence of apparent plagiarism (and worse) in the Wegman report.

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/22/wegman-and-rapp-on-tree-rings-a-divergence-problem-part-1/

    Or look at the gaming of the peer review system – not by mainstream climate scientists, but by fringe researchers with links to oil-funded lobby groups:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/02/in-the-beginning-friends-of-science-talisman-energy-and-the-de-freitas-brothers/

    The Guardian and other well-meaning media outlets have also been, for the most part, overly lax in criticizing clear ethical lapses in the right-wing media. For example, here is an account of the National Post’s role in the contrarian Bali open letter of 2007:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/10/bali-2007-revisited/

    And that was only one instance of a clear pattern of deception at the National Post:

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/08/in-the-beginning-the-national-post-terence-corcoran-and-tom-harris/

    There has been a massive media failure to investigate properly the contrarians and their claims. That’s the real scandal of “climategate”.

    Comment by Deep Climate — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  172. Jerry Quinn asks:”Ray Ladbury claims that Jones “said exactly what he was doing in the paper”. Fancy giving a reference to this paper, Ray? As for the word “hide”, please note that it is Jones’s word, not mine!”

    Shouldn’t you know the paper being discussed, and reading it, first?

    An analogy to “hide the decline”: My neighbors car recently stopped running in 2010 (certain tree proxies stopped tracking temperatures in 1960). It is unsuitable for use (unsuitable for use). Not using the car (proxies) because they don’t work after a certain time is not the same as hiding them, trust me!

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:44 PM

  173. #162 Septic Matthew

    Thanks, understood. My point being that the confluence of these multiple events have the strong potential to impede capacity for progress in mitigation and adaptation re. AGW, thus the serious time pressure problem. The breaking down of the oceanic biowebs in relation to land based systems will likely have serious ramifications.

    Though separate, these things combined will make for a challenge that from a perspective of magnitude of difficulty, as the costs increase exponentially as the degradation ripples and resonates through the global climate and biological economy in relation to the human and monetary economy, may become unaffordable on a scale that is difficult to imagine at this point.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:49 PM

  174. Ray Ladbury is right on about the AGW denier crowd being just as scientific as creationist crowd. Ever hear of scientific creationism? The young earth creationists even have a peer reviewed journal, with lots of sciency papers and mathematics. That is the whole point – it only looks like science to the gullible (which includes many scientists from outside the field in question, so it is exactly the same order of ignorance). Even down to the bogus arguments that the second law of thermodynamics is violated!

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 26 Mar 2010 @ 4:53 PM

  175. To James Randerson.,

    If you want to do something really unusual, which would gain you respect why don’t you organise an extended report into the consensus science of global warming? No , I don’t mean just repeating the conclusions, but the reasons why they have been reached. It would have to go rather further than a description of Tyndall’s experiment and the usual diagram showing infra-red bouncing off the sky.

    You would have to introduce it carefully, by advising readers not to give up if they encounter some difficult bits. It may be old stuff , but I can’t remember the media, including the BBC having done it before. If you did it well , you would find lots of hyperlinks to it. You are the editor , but I think it should be carried out by an experts in climate science not a geologist or particle physicist (like the BBC) , and not a journalist.

    It would of course have to include a remedial section for ex-chancellors of the exchequer which would show how to get a reasonably consistent estimate of a medium term trend from noisy data. The next stage might be to include some of the history of the subject and then proceed to the real experiment which would be to include some science, particularly the following topics,forcing, sensitivity, the role of water vapour, the oceans,feedbacks, delayed warming, finger-prints and understanding the ice cores.

    Others here will probably say that is too ambitious? But when the French exploded their first H bomb, le Monde carried quite a technical explanation of its mechanism. It didn’t cause the paper to go bankrupt.

    Why leave all the ‘science’ to the commentators who contribute after your blogs?
    Why must all the blogs all be geared towards hyping semi-political controversy or sensation of other kinds, instead of providing information? [Global warming is news and requires a better quality coverage].

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 26 Mar 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  176. Worrying about winning or losing the media debate is marginal. The issues are peak oil and population growth, which together demand an alternative approach. Where I am puzzled is why these self evident problems are not at the heart of the public policy debate, instead we are squabbling about whether xyz number of yarmal trees proves anything or not. Could it be the case that the geographers have been called into existence to gloss problems that are just too hard for politicians to frankly address (peak & population)?

    Comment by bill — 26 Mar 2010 @ 5:42 PM

  177. Septic Matthew notes: Overfishing is a separate problem from global warming, and is being addressed independently of global warming.

    Overfishing is being “addressed” alright:

    CITES fails to protect 5 species of sharks from overfishing and finning
    Rejected trade ban ‘sounds death knell’ for bluefin tuna

    A child’s garden of the latest overfishing news.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 26 Mar 2010 @ 6:02 PM

  178. Give me a break

    I WILL NEVER EVER READ THE GUARDIAN AGAIN.

    They very clearly have an agenda to push and their “journalism” is slightly below-par of the National Inquirer

    SHAME ON YOU GUARDIAN! SHAME! SHAME!

    You didn’t care about the truth at all, you only wanted to please your readers.

    GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!

    Comment by GuardianSucks — 26 Mar 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  179. CFU:
    It is people like you whose foul-mouthed hoo-ha and thoughtless ejaculations that drags down the level of what passes for ‘debate’ at RealClimate.

    Most of the replies of your ilk consist of monosyllabic cackles which do not bring out the true nature of your opposition – which therefore becomes petty grandstanding and nothing more.

    Your bullying in this playground survives, as I have said before, only because of the role you serve here. I have much regard for Jim Bouldin and Gavin Schmidt – not for their publications but for their conduct on their own blog, in spite of protections they may afford your kind by taking on their face, the rotten eggs flying your way.

    Maybe you can take a leaf out of their book.

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 26 Mar 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  180. > BlogReader
    Not reading carefully.

    Points to email about the SPM.
    Know what the initials stand for?
    The WG1 is not identical to the SPM.
    Why? “S” stands for “summary”
    The original is not changed and remains available.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  181. RE- Comment by Jack Maloney — 26 March 2010 @ 11:54 AM:

    You say- “Deputy ICO Commissioner Graham Smith is responsible for FOI issues. His official statement represents the ICO’s view.”

    The ICO is a serious agency and it doesn’t release its “official findings” by way of highly edited media interviews. There would be a document with a finding that included a discussion of exactly what actions of the University of East Anglia (UEA) Climate Research Unit (CRU) had violated the UK Freedom of Information Act. Please provide a reference to such a document.

    Because you will be unable to document your claim, you should consider apologizing for your misstatements before continuing with your, apparent, trolling.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 26 Mar 2010 @ 6:27 PM

  182. I think there are valid comparisons to be made between creationists and climate contrarians. I would also argue that the “9-11 truthers” and climate science “hoaxers” have much in common.

    But there is one important difference: The idea that basic climate science is not only yet to be “settled”, but based on a hoax and fraud, has itself become part of acceptable civil discourse. There has been a widening of the Overton window in this case that we don’t see in the case of the truthers and birthers.

    Yes, the science should be explained better (per Geoff Wexler in #175). But it also needs to be explained, how for example, Gwyn Morgan ex-CEO of Encana can write the following (about the U.N. conference in Copenhagen) and get away with it:

    The award for Best Actor goes to the scientists at University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) whose leaked e-mails show a pattern of remarkably unscientific advocacy and outright deception … These and some 800 other messages, available for all to read on the Internet, paint a picture of a conspiracy to cover up adverse data and discredit the work of those they label “global warming deniers.”

    “Outright deception”. “Conspiracy”. In the pages of the Globe and Mail, a newspaper that supposedly accepts the scientific consensus on climate change.

    That’s what happens when “climategate” is covered as a bona fide “science” story, rather than what it really is: an ugly, despicable attempt to smear the world’s top climate scientists and derail progress on dealing with the most pressing environmental problem of our time.

    The Guardian is simply not getting it right much of the time. Not on the science, and not on the science disinformation. And if the Guardian can’t get it right, what hope is there for the rest of the media?

    Comment by Deep Climate — 26 Mar 2010 @ 6:41 PM

  183. People need to be careful about nit-picking and hair-splitting with your friends. Nothing would make the skeptics happier. The thing is that we have two different professions here with different Modus Operandi, I’d even different loyalties. Traditionally the scientific is concerned purely with scientific discovery and supporting data, interested only in pure research. They’ve left the facts to others to sort out what they want to do with. The journalistic is concerned with making a variety of information, including science and the scientific process known and understandable to people.

    When people maliciously intend to obstruct scientists from doing their work as the professional skeptics do by continually throwing time consuming road blocks in their way that tends to be upsetting to those trying to do science. I mean, on the one hand the professional skeptics are deliberately doing everything they can to trip up climate scientists, they then turn around and scream about imperfections in the science. These are clearly not honest people who are only interested in the truth, they have an bought-and-paid-for agenda. When climate scientists (or evolutionary scientists) realize that it understandably tends to make them upset (they really should have legal teams to tackle this kind of thing for them). They rightly feel they didn’t get into this line of work only to have to continuously field bogus inquiries.

    Journalists loyalties, on the other hand, lie with their readers (and sadly increasingly with commercial backers). They are charged with being the answer people, a big task. Since many of the public continue to question the science (thanks to professional skeptics) journalists feel that they have an ethical (and monetary) obligation to recognize and service those diverse readers. They feel pressured to provide “balance”, even when it is unwarranted. Thus many go out of their way to give a forum to nutballs. They feel pressured to prove that they are objective by questioning everything, even things that are unquestioned by the great majority of authorities. If a comparably large contingent of the population felt that the earth was flat and the sun is actually only a small ball 30 miles out in space journalists would likely give equal time and coverage to them. The science side tends to get frustrated with this and expects the journalist side to just parrot their talking points without regard to the impact on the paper.

    So when a paper like the Guardian does try to get it right the scientific side needs to appreciate the fact that they are sticking out their necks for the truth. And of course, science is never completely settled. Sometimes they are indeed wrong about issues (though they are self-correcting). I happen to think that for all the harm that creation “scientists” have done they have also done some good by keeping evolutionists honest, forcing them to prove, as far as possible, their assertions. Conversely, journalists need to realize that these scientists are people too, not robots, and as such are prone to the frustrations and failings of people. I happen to find it amazing that climate and evolutionary scientists have keep the degree of decorum that they have.

    Comment by Ron R. — 26 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  184. RE: Comment by BlogReader — 26 March 2010 @ 10:37 AM:

    Your quote from a stolen and edited e-mail of a private conversation is about how to deal with data. Your unenlightened opinion, for which you have no idea of the relevant context, doesn’t count for anything. In any case, because ALL of the data were ultimately presented in a peer reviewed research article, and the decline has become an active sub area of research, you are blowing smoke.

    A main point is that what scientists say in private conversation or anybody says in private doesn’t mean squat. What is important ethically and legally is what people actually do.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 26 Mar 2010 @ 7:02 PM

  185. Re #172 t_p_hamilton and Jerry Quinn:

    ‘An analogy to “hide the decline”: My neighbors car recently stopped running in 2010 (certain tree proxies stopped tracking temperatures in 1960). It is unsuitable for use (unsuitable for use). Not using the car (proxies) because they don’t work after a certain time is not the same as hiding them, trust me!’

    I too have reservations about using certain tree-ring proxies when they are known to breakdown at times but the cause is not understood. Perhaps the car above also stopped running in 2001!? Perhaps it recovered in 2002 but failed again for different reasons in 2004…

    Jerry, the salient point for me is that temperature reconstructions are broadly consistent whether tree-ring data is included or excluded. The recent sharp rise in temperature is prominent in multiple independent studies and begs an explanation. Hopefully this represents an example of healthy skepticism on my part, a weighing of complex and challenging specific information in a broader context with wider support. I don’t lose any sleep over problematic behaviour in individual tree-ring proxy studies. I do lose sleep over the decade on decade temperature rise unfolding in line with climate scientists predictions re AGW.

    Comment by Ammonite — 26 Mar 2010 @ 7:07 PM

  186. #153 Jack Maloney

    “The ICO statement was a response to the UEA’s attempt to minimize or dismiss the significance of CRU’s resistance to FOI requests.” Incorrect. The statement was given in response to “…persistent enquiries from the Sunday Times journalist, Mr, Leake.” and “…The ICO does not wish to encourage further media reports on the matter, indeed our original press statement was only drafted for one journalist in response to a specific enquiry.”

    “The letter also confirmed the ICO’s previous statement that the university had failed in its duties under the Freedom of Information Act by rejecting requests for data.”
    Incorrect on two counts. One, the ICO has clarified in their letter to the UEA that there was only prima facie evidence of an offence under section 77. However prima facie evidence does not mean that it is true. It only allows a presumption of fact unless it is rebutted. However the truth or otherwise via presentation of evidence and of arguments and rebuttals has been specifically ruled out since the ICO sees no point, since nothing can be done due to the time limits. Two, the matter at hand deals with ‘the Holland case’ and so “the FOI request at issue did not concern raw data but private email exchanges”.

    Therefore no conclusions can be drawn. The statement nowhere indicated that an offence had been committed under the FOI Act, which would require an ICO decision notice. In fact the letter from the ICO to the UEA specifically states “The statement was not inaccuate and the ICO is not responsible for the way in which the media and others may interpret or write around an ICO statement.”, and “Errors like this are frequently made in press reports and the ICO cannot be expected to correct them, particularly when the ICO has not itself referred to penalties or sanctions in its own statement.”

    The latter clearly indicates that the ICO considers Leake to have misinterpretted the press statement.

    As for complaint made under the section 50, that has still to be decided.

    ICO and UEA letters at – http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/ICOcorrespondence

    Comment by Andrew Hobbs — 26 Mar 2010 @ 8:10 PM

  187. Walter Manny says of my position “The Guardian and Randerson have committed the sin of not being sufficiently passionate,… ”

    It would seem that they level of passion does not extend all the way to telling the truth or practicing the normal standards of journalism.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Mar 2010 @ 8:24 PM

  188. #177, Steve Fish:

    Here: http://bit.ly/ctGtkq is an official letter from the Information Commissioner to UEA clarifying the press statement. (The link is to a Google copy, the original was on bishophill blog, but apparently it has been pulled). Relevant excerpt:

    “The prima facie evidence from the published emails indicate an attempt to defeat disclosure by deleting information. It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence. Given that this was in the public domain and has
    been discussed in the media and on various websites over a number of weeks, the
    ICO’s view, as I indicated when we spoke yesterday, is that the University must have
    understood that the question whether an offence under section 77 had been
    committed would be looked at. In the event, the matter cannot be taken forward
    because of the statutory time limit. ”

    This is subsequently reiterated:

    “The fact that the elements of a section 77 offence may have been found here,
    but cannot be acted on because of the elapsed time, is a very serious matter.
    The ICO is not resiling from its position on this.”

    Offence under section 77 is destruction of data under a FOIA request (Jones’ infamous email about deleting the AR4 emails). However, the deletion of data is only an offence if the requesting party was entitled to obtain the information.

    What I get from all of this is:

    - If the offence was commited or not depends on whether the information in question was or was not exempt from FOI, so
    - ICO would have to make an investigation to determine that, however
    - the statutory time limit has passed, so the ICO is actually not allowed to press charges (and hence will not investigate?)

    For Prof. Jones that may be actually worse than if he was charged, because then he could at least try to prove his case in court. Here, he is left with an allegation and no right to defend himself.

    Also, of interest is a statement to the parliamentary committee investigating the case made by the former Information Commissioner (http://bit.ly/afNr0K )
    and his oral testimony (http://bit.ly/abpi7Y ). He basically views the whole thing as a problem with the law itself and recommends to change it.

    Comment by Kris — 26 Mar 2010 @ 8:28 PM

  189. 173, John P. Reisman

    How would the fee and dividend address the carbon fuel content of imported goods? As written at your site, it would continue the push of manufacturing to “developing” nations like China and India, as the EU carbon offsets have done so much of. It becomes a net loss to the environment (consider their industrial pollution) and a net loss to the EU (and potentially to the US.)

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 26 Mar 2010 @ 8:29 PM

  190. Gerry Quinn, Well, since you are too lazy to go find the reference yourself, here it is:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v391/n6668/abs/391678a0.html

    And Jones cited it. If you had any decency, you’d apologize to Jones, but I’m not waiting up.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Mar 2010 @ 8:37 PM

  191. 160 Frank Giger: Of course you are right and I was sarcastic. The problem with democracy is that Congress didn’t pass ANY climate change legislation yet.

    Under the present circumstance, we as a species would have a much better chance of survival if Jim Hansen had been appointed world dictator for matters of climate in 1988.
    Since we have a democracy/plutocracy, survival requires that we scientists take political action. That is a fish-out-of-water thing.

    How would you proceed?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Mar 2010 @ 8:42 PM

  192. Oakwood,
    Oh, struck a nerve, did I? Well, perhaps you can point out where the tactics of the climate denialists differ from those of creationists. When I look, I see:
    1)Both creationists and denialists refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming mountain of evidence contrary to their position.
    2)Both concentrate on single studies or misinterpretations of studies to try to weaken the case of their opponents.
    3)Both seek to further their case in the courts, on editorial pages and in the political process rather than in the peer-reviewed literature.
    4)Neither presents any coherent alternative to the theories they oppose.
    5)Both are motivated in their opposition by ideology rather than evidence.
    6)Both allege conspiracy and censorship by the “mainstream science journals”.
    7)Both receive support from political or ideological think tanks.
    8)Both decry the role of consensus in science.
    9)Neither has advanced understanding of their subject matter.
    10)Both seek to change the scientific method (climate deniers by “auditing” rather than replicating results and creationists by introducing supernatural causation)

    I could go on. If you like, I could also substitute anti-vaxers or Moon-landing hoaxers. But I think this is sufficient to illustrate that anti-science is anti-science, whether motivated by a particular religious sentiment or by libertarian ideology. It’s time to tell the truth, whether it offends or not.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 26 Mar 2010 @ 9:01 PM

  193. #128 Edward Greisch:

    “The bad news is, we live in democracies, to varying degrees. The US has a form of democracy that is usually plutocracy. So Congress can’t or won’t just do the right thing. ”

    Well, the EU (supposedly a democracy) did manage to implement the RoHS (lead-free solder) and WEEE (electronic waste recycling) directives, effectively forcing ALL electronic industry in the world into a costly retooling, and despite the fact that everyone in the industry hates these regulations. The same EU also implements its own CO2 reduction policy (ETS and decreasing emission quotas), despite the protests from the industry and member states.

    “The problem we have with GW is overcoming a TRillion dollar cashflow.”

    The EU CO2 permits currently trade at around EUR 13 per ton (peak was EUR 32.90, but now we are in recession and mostly everyone fits within free preallocated quota hence there is no much demand for extra permits). The world emissions are 27Gt/y, at current price this is $0.35T. At $37 per ton you get a nice $1T… Now show me a government which will not be seduced by a prospect of taxing THAT.

    Which is why I believe that some form of a CO2 taxation scheme will be ultimately pushed through worldwide — it is, after all a tax on air, an ultimate dream of every government. The only question, in my opinion, is how effective it will be — i.e. how much emission reduction it will actually accomplish. I, personally, would not bet on the 450 ppm target.

    Comment by Kris — 26 Mar 2010 @ 9:15 PM

  194. > using certain tree-ring proxies when they are known to breakdown
    > at times but the cause is not understood

    Yeah, but why do you believe that’s a fair description of reality?
    Could you say which proxies, out of how many available proxies?
    Could you say what kind of tree, out of how many kinds of trees?
    Could you say where this occurs, out of how many locations looked at?
    Could you say _when_ this occurs, out of what span of time studied?
    Could you, in other words, show you understand what’s known so far?

    If so you’d be up to about equal to what any senior in high school should be able to find out in half an hour at the library. Can you attain the level of writing a school science paper about this issue?

    It ain’t much to ask.

    If not, you’re probably reading Blog Science and very confused.

    Suggestion: find out what the science has to say, instead of believing what some guy on a blog tells you about it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Mar 2010 @ 9:25 PM

  195. 152 John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation): Agreed that the journalists have got to get it right. How do we get the journalists to get it right?
    Do you want Gavin to take a job at the Guardian? [I doubt if that would be OK with Gavin.]
    Do you want free tuition for journalists in science and math courses at night?
    Do you want RC to ghost-write articles for the Guardian?
    Do you want RC to edit articles before the Guardian publishes?
    Do you want the Guardian to hire only scientists as reporters from now on?

    None of these seem likely to happen. Is there anybody out there who could help, maybe by offering free courses to journalists? I don’t see any short term solutions that are likely to happen.

    Since journalism school does not require the courses that would enable journalists to get it right on their own, just telling them to get it right isn’t going to work. They don’t have that ability. I mean they have not taken the Engineering and Science Core Curriculum, never mind degrees in science. The journalists also have no experience as researchers in science. Science majors don’t take journalism courses.

    Long term solutions to the problem:
    Run for the school board.
    Get appointed to the State Board of Regents. Change the requirements for graduation.
    Get appointed to the University Board of Trustees. Change the requirements for graduation.
    Create a new major in science journalism.

    Longer term solution: Just wait for evolution to take care of it. Woops! evolution was what we were trying to avoid since evolution involves a lot of death.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 26 Mar 2010 @ 10:00 PM

  196. I would urge James Randerson to read Jeff Masters of Weather Underground on the creation of the “manufactured doubt” industry by Hill and Knowlton in 1954:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389.

    “Create doubt, uncertainty, and confusion. Throw mud at the anti-smoking research under the assumption that some of it is bound to stick. And buy time, lots of it, in the bargain.”

    The controversy over the East Anglia emails reeks of Hill and Knowlton.

    Hill & Knowlton have undermined public confidence in the science around asbestos, lead, cadmium, the ozone hole, you name it.

    “In 1954, the tobacco industry realized it had a serious problem. Thirteen scientific studies had been published over the preceding five years linking smoking to lung cancer. With the public growing increasingly alarmed about the health effects of smoking, the tobacco industry had to move quickly to protect profits and stem the tide of increasingly worrisome scientific news. Big Tobacco turned to one the world’s five largest public relations firms, Hill and Knowlton, to help out. Hill and Knowlton designed a brilliant Public Relations (PR) campaign to convince the public that smoking is not dangerous. They encouraged the tobacco industry to set up their own research organization, the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), which would produce science favorable to the industry, emphasize doubt in all the science linking smoking to lung cancer, and question all independent research unfavorable to the tobacco industry. The CTR did a masterful job at this for decades, significantly delaying and reducing regulation of tobacco products. George Washington University epidemiologist David Michaels, who is President Obama’s nominee to head the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), wrote a meticulously researched 2008 book called, ‘Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health.’ In the book, he wrote: ‘the industry understood that the public is in no position to distinguish good science from bad. Create doubt, uncertainty, and confusion. Throw mud at the anti-smoking research under the assumption that some of it is bound to stick. And buy time, lots of it, in the bargain’. The title of Michaels’ book comes from a 1969 memo from a tobacco company executive: ‘Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy’. Hill and Knowlton, on behalf of the tobacco industry, had founded the ‘Manufactured Doubt’ industry.”

    “Suffice to say, the Manufactured Doubt campaign against global warming–funded by the richest corporations in world history–is probably the most extensive and expensive such effort ever. We don’t really know how much money the fossil fuel industry has pumped into its Manufactured Doubt campaign, since they don’t have to tell us. The website exxonsecrets.org estimates that ExxonMobil alone spent $20 million between 1998 – 2007 on the effort. An analysis done by Desmogblog’s Kevin Grandia done in January 2009 found that skeptical global warming content on the web had doubled over the past year. Someone is paying for all that content …

    Comment by Len Conly — 26 Mar 2010 @ 11:03 PM

  197. Like #15 above, I too would like to have a well-researched piece on the key skeptics … which I presume the Guardian would be able to do since their articles include the following comment, repeated above:

    All this happened against the backdrop of a long-term assault by politically motivated, and commercially funded, climate-change deniers against the activities of many of the key scientists featuring in the emails.

    Dr Randerson, it really would clear the air considerably if the funding and the political motivation of the likes of McIntyre, Watts, Mosher etc could be exposed, particularly given the mud that has been thrown at the chair of the IPCC and some of the people appointed to the various enquiries that are going on. Would you please urgently at very least publish the information that you collected to support the Guardians comments above?

    Comment by Margaret — 25 March 2010 @ 2:07 AM

    Look up Naomi Oreskes, among others. The research has already been done.

    Comment by ccpo — 27 Mar 2010 @ 12:31 AM

  198. 193 Kris: “Now show me a government which will not be seduced by a prospect of taxing THAT. Which is why I believe that some form of a CO2 taxation scheme will be ultimately pushed through worldwide — it is, after all a tax on air, an ultimate dream of every government.”

    CO2 is NOT air. We can only hope that they do in fact tax CO2, and soon and steeply.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Mar 2010 @ 2:20 AM

  199. Reference: “Fighting Identity” by Michael Vlahos

    Question: Are we creating identity for the denialists?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Mar 2010 @ 4:33 AM

  200. #194 Hank, my understanding is informed through summary reviews by authors such as D’Arrigo regarding recent (post ~1970) changes in tree growth temperature sensitivity at various locations in northern forests and their possible causes. To be clear, I claim no expertise and in no way seek to cast aspersions on tree-ring analysis or any of the scientists involved. I intend to educate myself further on the topic but probably won’t be aiming at the ‘school science paper’ level.

    Comment by Ammonite — 27 Mar 2010 @ 4:46 AM

  201. @EdwardGreisch (#195)

    In the past, with a variety of organisations, I have co-facilitated open, free workshops on the Science and social aspects of Climate Change, in London. We have attracted a smattering of journalists, who seemed to come looking for signs of political movement. I mean, what’s the story here ? We can’t write about Science, can we ? Nobody will read it ? It’s not like there’s an overarching narrative, is there… ?

    I think Climate Change offers the most significant and all-encompassing continual storyline of all time. There’s the ongoing scandal of outright, financed denial of the facts. There’s the smear campaign against Scientists and even the Science itself. There’s the deep structural problems implied by such things as higher incidence of major drought and, perversely, major flooding and storms in the same regions. There’s the inability of the economists to stop squabbling about the theory of Carbon markets. There’s the genuine debates taking place at a very high level in the Science communities, as conflicting research evidence is refined by further investigation. There’s the resistance to accepting the one underlying “sine qua non” essential of emissions reductions in industrialised countries. There’s “something happened to our satellite” problems going on, as well, and added into the mix is the normal political shifting sands.

    I am ready to offer, once again, to facilitate free, open workshops for journalists on Climate Change, in London. The first workshop would be something like “Climate Change : Is it important ?” because this framing of environmental issues as marginal or dead weight in newsgathering and newsmaking still needs to be challenged, and it starts with individual responses to some basic, stark facts. That can only be done on a face-to-face, taking-time-to-consider basis, not through published opinionation.

    Comment by jo abbess — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:21 AM

  202. Thanks to RC for printing the Guardian’s response. Here’s hoping that Dr. Randerson condsiders the thoughtful criticism. Speaking of thoughtful criticism, Kate has reprinted Steve Easterbrook’s comment at her web site here.

    Comment by Deech56 — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:45 AM

  203. #186 Andrew: “Therefore no conclusions can be drawn”

    This is incorrect. If you read the statements of the former ICO I linked in #188, he makes it clear that the SPIRIT of the law was broken. Section 77 is intended to penalize deletion of information in order to defeat disclosure — which is EXACTLY what Jones did with respect to the AR4 emails. Now, he MIGHT have been lawfully entitled to delete this information. And even if he was not, he cannot be charged due to the time limit. Such conclusions CAN, in fact, be drawn. The former ICO has even made a specific recommendation how the law should be changed to avoid such situation in the future.

    Next, I don’t live in UK and I don’t know UK law; however, I have looked at the laws in my country. It looks like if something like that has happened here the accused would be in much more trouble. Our law defines basically requires how long official documents (including CORRESPONDENCE) should be retained. The law says that a document CANNOT be destroyed unless the time limit for a given document class has elapsed, and even then it must be destroyed in accordance with the established procedures. Each institution must have an internal regulation dealing with document/data retention. This regardless of whether the document is under FOIA or not. So where I live, unauthorized destruction of documents is at minimum a violation of institutional regulations and at worst a criminal offence (up to 2 years in prison), depending on the document in question.

    In conclusion, I believe that Jones’ actions regarding the AR4 emails are simply indefensible and arguing with the denialists over the legal technicalities of FOIA law is simply giving them more ammunition. It is much better to use your time explaining that there is nothing in the CRU case which would significantly undermine the scientific evidence for AGW.

    Comment by Kris — 27 Mar 2010 @ 7:25 AM

  204. Anand you again manage to prove my point absolutely perfectly. Troll away.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Mar 2010 @ 7:53 AM

  205. “This is incorrect. If you read the statements of the former ICO I linked in #188, he makes it clear that the SPIRIT of the law was broken.”

    This is a personal opinion as proven by his status as FORMER ICO.

    And as a personal opinion (note too how it’s moved from “the law has been broken” to “the spirit of the law”, watch those goalposts fly!) it has as much relevance as mine that you are a concern troll.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Mar 2010 @ 8:01 AM

  206. “Deputy ICO Commissioner Graham Smith is responsible for FOI issues. His official statement represents the ICO’s view: ”

    WRONG.

    If it did there would be a genuine report from the ICO.

    He’s talking out his arse, lapping up the fame. He has a cushy job coming up, I bet…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Mar 2010 @ 8:02 AM

  207. “157
    Shibui says:
    26 March 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Completely Fed Up #137

    But don’t you think that might cast doubt on the earlier proxy results?”

    No. In exactly the same way as misreading 300C temperature with an alcohol thermometer means that using a resistive thermometer instead means that the resistive thermometer is wrong too.

    i.e. not at all

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 27 Mar 2010 @ 8:04 AM

  208. One thing that drives me crazy, and maybe someone who administers or even a commenter can clarify for me is, why are there so many contradictory claims on climate change? I have read studies what predict more rainfall and less rainfall, more snow and less snow, and so on and so on. I understand that with any constantly evolving theory there will be new revelations but the amount of variability borders on lunacy. To a layperson it seems like every little thing gets blamed on AGW without a true test of merit. Wading through all the disinformation to get at the truth is beyond the time most people have. Perhaps the studies need to be better reviewed before being made public.

    [Response: You are confusing headlines with science. If you look into most of the seemingly contradictory claims, you'll find that they are talking about different places, different seasons or different metrics altogether. This has nothing to do with the need for better scientific review, but everything to do with the need for headline writers to simplify things and the lack of context that is often found in news stories. Occasionally, there are some issues where the science is uncertain and really contradictory studies are published, but that is just part of the process. Would you prefer that those studies which contradicted another were suppressed in some way? - gavin]

    Comment by Jay — 27 Mar 2010 @ 9:37 AM

  209. Would I be moderated out if – on a fairly cursory skim of this discussion – I said that some people here are being a bit like the sceptics/denialists, so a small number of errors are being used to demolish all of the extended reporting of the Guardian?

    Bit like the way that the sceptics/denialists are using a small bit of the IPCC’s work – say on Indian glaciers – to demolish all of their report?

    Please step back and then tell us how, in light of the entire 12 article series, you feel about the entire series.

    Comment by Theo H — 27 Mar 2010 @ 10:04 AM

  210. Len Conly (196), which assumes prima facie that those first few studies of tobacco smoke were perfectly factual science — I suppose because they were on the ‘right side.’ Much like the EPA’s original study of second-hand smoke, maybe, which almost got them a fraud charge (actually contempt of court) from the Federal District Court.

    Comment by Rod B — 27 Mar 2010 @ 10:15 AM

  211. Kris #203, if you want to define by assertion the spirit of the law, please allow me to play the same game: I assert that the spirit of the law, which Jones tried to physically enforce, is that IPCC internal correspondence is confidential. Established legal practice in two countries at least. The proposed deletion was a victimless crime — a ‘technicality’, to use your language.

    Heck, legalistic technicalities are all the denialists have. In my book, being passionate about the science and irreverent/naive about the law is a feature, not a bug!

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Mar 2010 @ 10:32 AM

  212. Theo@209, So how would you feel if a newspaper started running the Horoscope under a big “SCIENCE” banner? Don’t you think it might diminish your respect for the judgment of the publication?

    That The Guardian deemed it appropriate to pass judgment on Phil Jones, CRU and much of climate science based on a selectively edited sample of emails says to me that they either have no ability to discern fact from propaganda or that they don’t care. In either case, I’ll be getting my news from The Economist and NPR from now on. The Guardian can continue on its path to become Faux News Lite.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Mar 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  213. Theo H #209: perhaps that is the reason why the proprietors of this site are trying to interact with the Guardian in a positive way — could you imagine this kind of guest post from the Telegraph or the Wall Street Journal?

    Yes, several of the Guardian articles are well written and make necessary points, like that nothing in this undermines the science itself. Unfortunately the errors they do make are serious, and, factually, serve to undermine the future of the science.

    A world in which research scientists can be hounded out of their jobs for political reasons, by politically motivated campaigns of lies and misrepresentation by folks not having the faintest about how science works yet hating its conclusions, would be an ever-so-slightly more dangerous world, in which one more group willing to speak truth to power would be chilled out of existence.

    As Steven Dutch puts it:

    Once professors get tenure, it pretty much takes a thermonuclear weapon to remove them. That protection is there because a significant part of our job is to tick people off. We tell them things they don’t want to hear, like the earth is 4.6 billion years old, there is a finite amount of oil in the ground, you can’t provide government services without taxes, we really did go to the moon, or they didn’t learn enough to pass the course. So when a university grants tenure, it basically makes a lifetime commitment.

    (Disclosure: I am one of those research scientists feeling the chill.)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Mar 2010 @ 10:49 AM

  214. Theo@209 – Stepping back:

    Sad state of affairs, like many human endeavors. Commentors here at RC have been calling for “scientists” to step up and lead the charge educating the public on the facts (which RC is actually doing, for that segment of the public that is educable). A media group puts forward “PhD’s” claiming to do better. Those PhD’s then proceed to dwell on the manufactured controversies around the politics, as if J&J Public can meaningfully parse a 12 part series about the politics of science over morning coffee, further muddying the public perceptions of the objective reality we face by opening the discussion to opinion in the name of “balance”. And effectively “blaming” climate scientists for the murky public perception of climate politics. Does that convey any of the information that voters, and the policy makers they elect, need to actually take action? There are legal and political processes underway to deal with ‘emailgate’, let them run their course. If Mr Randerson wishes to convey the science he should get on with that and leave “a comprehensive and carefully researched attempt to get to the bottom of the emails affair” to the legal channels where it belongs. Having a doctorate in something is really meaningless when MSM articles are devoted to opinion and hand waving, appearing more like the PhD was useless in the field for which it was intended. I can easily imagine the Guardian series being used as “evidence” in the legal proceedings, where it would of course further muddy the waters.

    Comment by flxible — 27 Mar 2010 @ 11:01 AM

  215. CFU
    A climate troll is a goat-like beast that guards bridges that lead to climate enlightenment. It has lot of time on its hands, it assiduously demands coin from every comer standing at the gate. The coin is acquiescence to the theory of anthropogenicity. Paradoxically, the coin is available in abundance on the other side of the bridge.

    Let your guard down and maybe we can all see “the point” that you fondly refer to. Let people in for free. :)

    Regards

    Comment by Anand — 27 Mar 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  216. > almost got them a fraud charge

    Ah, Rod, Rod, you’re back in ‘bertarian parrot mode again, claiming that if the first report of something is disproved, that undermines the science. You know better, you get corrected each time you revert to this “founder” notion.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=EPA’s+original+study+of+second-hand+smoke
    “Almost” counts throwing horseshoes and hand grenades, not in law.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2010 @ 11:33 AM

  217. #203 Kris

    The statement you refer to does NOT make it clear that the spirit of the law was broken. It makes it very clear that only a prima facie case (albeit a strong prima facie case) exists to suggest that the law was broken. However it is only a prima facie case. As such it could be proven wrong with appropriate evidence. Therefore you cannot make such a claim or conclusion.

    In my opinion it was very wrong of the ICO spokesperson to be talking to anyone with the assumption that Jones had broken the law without an official decision notice having been published. I see the letter you refer to as being their pathetic attempt to wriggle out of the hole they dug for themselves.

    Comment by Andrew Hobbs — 27 Mar 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  218. #189 Septic Matthew

    I’m not entirely sure of your reference as to “as written at your site”? Could you specify. Is there something I need to re-examine?

    As to “carbon fuel content of imported goods” several points come to mind

    - The primary goal is to address the major sources of industrial CO2 output
    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/co2_human.html
    [compare non-energy use of fuels to fossil fuel combustion]
    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/globalghg.html

    Electricity Generation and Transportation are the largest and Industry is a major component
    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usgginventory.html

    Agriculture and Commercial are lower on the allocation list. So, yes it is a target, and there should be a way to address CO2 emissions used to product production. SInce the tax is on point of origin or point of import, this can be included in the mix and will need to be paramterized.

    - Carbon content in imported goods that are not to be burned might be considered sequestered carbon, but CO2 release form production should be included.

    Since this is a global petition, let’s hope that we can make some progress in those nations as well or raise the importance of the issue so the UN takes notice.

    The chief goal of the proposal is to target fossil fuel energy imports/exports in order to provide a mechanism for pushing us into sustainable renewable energy sources and hopefully consumption reduction and efficiency as well.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Mar 2010 @ 11:49 AM

  219. #203 No, the claim that the ICO finally settled upon was that there was a primie facie argument for the law’s having been broken, not that it had been broken. Jone’s claim, made in several venues now, is that no emails were in fact deleted. If he’s right,no law was broken, and ICO looks foolish for having made some rather inflammatory statements based on a selection of stolen emails.

    Also, a point not fully appreciated: the UEA policy in regards to the various FOI requests was developed in consultation with the ICO. So there is plenty of opportunity for the latter agency to be embarrassed over the next couple of months. Ie. are they now attacking the UEA for following their own advice?

    Comment by bigcitylib — 27 Mar 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  220. Ben Santer: “With some work – which he was unwilling to do – Mr. McIntyre could have replicated all of the calculations performed in the 2008 Santer et al. International Journal of Climatology paper.”

    Unwilling or, perhaps, unable? I wonder…

    Maybe knowing these people and their motivations some have been less than 100% forthcoming, and in hindsight that was wrong. Yet it’s clear that the skeptics requests went well beyond what is reasonable. More than simply requesting the same data the way any other scientist would do they wanted every last bit of paper that a thought might have been jotted down on, every impromtu snippet of conversation ever uttered even every thought if they could have gotten it. Can you imagine Darwin having to turn over every single thing that he’d ever said or wondered about in the formulation of evolution theory? His “I think” when trying to put it all together would have made headline news these days:

    DARWIN NOT CERTAIN ABOUT EVOLUTION!

    What the skeptics have demanded amounts to an invasion of privacy. And the reason they wanted every last jot and tittle was quite lawyer-esque, they hoped that in the less careful wanderings of casual conversation they might find at least some little bit of uncertainty that they could then blow out of all proportion in the minds of a suspicious people. And so they’ve done with the emails.

    One last comment about the Guardian, just my 2c worth of course. People need to remember that journalism is more than ‘just the facts ma’am’. It’s also a business. Unlike science it’s funding source is private and by no means sure, especially in this economy. Again, in our internet age of instant verification we can pick just about anything to death but (not knowing all the details) I do believe that the Guardian has been doing an admirable job, way better than others. The reason they merited several posts so far discussing some of the details recognizes that. Of course where mistakes have occurred they must be willing to correct them immediately, and my guess is that they will be more careful in the future just as climate scientists will be about how to deal with the professional skeptics. Carefully, and thoroughly.

    I don’t like the pussyfooting around that journalists often do with regard to notions held by fringe groups (or in their less than damning coverage of corporate abuse). Maybe it would be better to take the philosophy of certain middle eastern countries when attacked – strike back ten times harder. Go for the kill. The papers have learned though that they have to be diplomatic, which sometimes translates as waffling. It’s a pity. The options are government reporting (Pravda anyone?) or reporting from the scientific institutions themselves. But then you’d have then people screaming about bias. So what we’re stuck with is this hopefully independent “forth estate”, even if that’s in perception only.

    Comment by Ron R. — 27 Mar 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  221. @ 214 flxible

    “”Theo@209 – Stepping back:

    Sad state of affairs, like many human endeavors. Commentors here at RC have been calling for “scientists” to step up and lead the charge educating the public on the facts (which RC is actually doing, for that segment of the public that is educable). “”

    Scientists _should_ “step up and lead”. But steeping backwards is an integral part of leading.

    Well – I think so.

    Comment by Theo H — 27 Mar 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  222. Gavin,

    Thank you for your response to my earlier post. One example of the contradiction I was talking about is the decrease in Accumulated Cyclone Energy to levels around the early 80′s after peaking in the mid-late 90′s. I have read a lot of studies that say the hurricanes will become more numerous and stronger. I have also read a study that says Atlantic hurricanes will become less intense. Kerry Emanuel has said that the models don’t follow the observations. Also Christopher Landsea with the NOAA Hurricane Research Division found less intense intense hurricanes. I just wanted to maybe have some links for information to clarify stuff like this. I am sure that you may have covered it before on a previous blog entry.

    Comment by Jay — 27 Mar 2010 @ 12:23 PM

  223. Anand – What would you think of someone who posted on anandtech that “There has been no increase in CPU performance since 2004 and the Pentium 4 570j running at 3.8 GHz proves it!”?

    Comment by JiminMpls — 27 Mar 2010 @ 12:55 PM

  224. 218, John P. Reisman: I’m not entirely sure of your reference as to “as written at your site”? Could you specify. Is there something I need to re-examine?

    Unless there is an effective tax on the carbon content of the manufacture etc of imported goods, then the tax on domestic producers gives money to consumers to buy cheaper imported goods. But the new production facilities in China (India, whatever), are generally more polluting than the facilities in the EU and US that are driven out of business. This isn’t the only reason that China is doing well in international trade, but it contributes.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 27 Mar 2010 @ 12:56 PM

  225. Ray Ladbury writes in #190:

    “Gerry Quinn, Well, since you are too lazy to go find the reference yourself, here it is:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v391/n6668/abs/391678a0.html

    And Jones cited it. If you had any decency, you’d apologize to Jones, but I’m not waiting up.”

    What are you blathering about, Ray? That paper was submitted more than two years before Jones wrote in an email “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick…”. We may safely infer that the email did not refer to the contents of that paper.

    Tip: when posting in future, double-check to make sure you have not blundered, especially if you wish to incorporate gratuitous insults to other correspondents.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 27 Mar 2010 @ 1:04 PM

  226. RE- Comment by bill — 26 March 2010 @ 5:42 PM:

    It is true that overpopulation is the big elephant in the room. The solution to both the global warming and peak oil problems is converting to renewable energy ASAP. Global warming and ocean problems by themselves have the potential to create enormous misery for the most vulnerable people in the world, and like peak oil would make any real efforts to solve the population problem impossible.

    I know of only one way to deal with overpopulation (other than a mass die off) and that involves helping undeveloped nations to educate their people, especially women, and provide health and food security. This doesn’t seem very likely, but it would be impossible if both global warming and peak oil aren’t dealt with.

    The frustration and squabbling you see regarding much smaller problems has to do with the organized corporate disinformation campaign regarding both the warming and fossil fuel problem. The inability of the press to put this campaign into perspective for all of us is a major problem.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 27 Mar 2010 @ 1:06 PM

  227. Jay says: 27 March 2010 at 9:37 AM

    One thing that drives me crazy, and maybe someone who administers or even a commenter can clarify for me is, why are there so many contradictory claims on climate change? I have read studies what predict more rainfall and less rainfall, more snow and less snow, and so on and so on.

    Gavin refers to the need of the popular press to simplify. In all fairness redaction of this kind is simply unavoidable as a story grows in scope and content; the job of the press is not to repeat the entire background of a story with each new development. Newspapers cover “news”, the new. At best a story will provide a coherent synopsis of the previous narrative and then move on to providing detail about the newly emerged part of the story.

    For a story of global scale this system is sorely tested, stressed to the point of strain. Climate change will in fact result in more rainfall in some places and less in others, changes in the distribution of snowfall, scads of seemingly contradictory observations. There’s simply no way a brief newspaper article can convey this level of detail, not when the subject is so enormous.

    Ultimately the interest and memory of the newspaper reader is a vital part of conveying a developing story of this scale. Confusion will happen unless readers are able to retain facts and integrate new information into their mental models. The challenge for newspapers is to make a reader’s job more successful by avoiding careless introduction of content either inauthentic or not relevant to the central story, that is to say “fluff.”

    The need to avoid bogus and useless content, to help readers understand an extraordinarily complicated story is why fake dramatics such as Pearce’s sexing up of the Chinese temperature data story are so intolerable. Getting the story of climate change across to the public is an enormous challenge even in the best of circumstances, so dreaming up and reporting controversy where none exists is corrosive to the public intellect and a breach of faith on the part of a journalist.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Mar 2010 @ 1:07 PM

  228. Yes, several of the Guardian articles are well written and make necessary points, like that nothing in this undermines the science itself. Unfortunately the errors they do make are serious, and, factually, serve to undermine the future of the science. ,

    I agree with all of that.

    The media has asymmetric power. They can ask questions , like Roger Harrabin, but do not get cross examined in return. They can promote opinion and gossip by re-packaging it as an ‘investigation’ to which they can give enormous publicity.

    I am not aware of any risks entailed by irresponsible use of this power. What will happen if the inquiries do not corroborate the Guardian’s investigation , except perhaps to a minor extent? Will anyone come back to apologise? What will happen if there are some unforseen consequences caused by this interference with natural justice? Have the media (Guardian not excluded) ever considered what it must be like to have to face at least five inquiries if you are totally untrained for that sort of thing? Have they learned nothing from past case studies of bullying in the UK?

    http://greatthinkers.suite101.com/article.cfm/alan_turing_a_short_biographyhttp://greatthinkers.suite101.com/article.cfm/alan_turing_a_short_biography

    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Kelly_(weapons_expert)

    (no analogies intended, except for the bullying)

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Mar 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  229. #219: “Jone’s claim, made in several venues now, is that no emails were in fact deleted. If he’s right,no law was broken”

    Thank you, I was not aware of this.

    I rescind my previous position and admit that most likely there was no offence committed. For the record, can you provide a link to Prof. Jones’ statement?

    Comment by Kris — 27 Mar 2010 @ 1:27 PM

  230. Re: My previous comment.

    The first link should be halved.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Mar 2010 @ 1:36 PM

  231. #198: “CO2 is NOT air. ”

    But in most cases, it is produced by a reaction involving a carbon-based fuel and atmospheric oxygen. So CO2 tax _can_ be viewed as a tax on the use of air (O2). The denialists have that right. The thing is: industrial use of mineral resources is already taxed so it’s somewhat logical to tax the use of atmospheric resources as well.

    “We can only hope that they do in fact tax CO2, and soon and steeply.”

    Actually, when I think of it, I am not afraid that they won’t. I am afraid of a taxation scheme that doesn’t work — i.e. money changes hands but the emissions keep on rising. Nightmare. Absolute horror.

    Comment by Kris — 27 Mar 2010 @ 1:39 PM

  232. > CO2 tax _can_ be viewed as a tax on the use of air (O2)

    See, Guardian editors? This is the level of understanding you’re facing.
    It’s not a _carbon_ tax, it’s an _oxidation_ tax.

    It will just drive people to using chlorine or fluorine for combustion, instead, since those aren’t taxed.

    Oh, wait …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2010 @ 2:12 PM

  233. #229, Kris: “I rescind my previous position and admit that most likely there was no offence committed.”

    WHOA! That’s a rare line to hear nowadays. :-)

    Comment by Greg C. — 27 Mar 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  234. Martin Vermeer very rightly said:

    A world in which research scientists can be hounded out of their jobs for political reasons (…) would be an ever-so-slightly more dangerous world, in which one more group willing to speak truth to power would be chilled out of existence.

    Addendum: And then, they’ll come for the journalists.

    Comment by CM — 27 Mar 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  235. #224 Septic – The fee would apply to imports, as well.

    What I don’t like about Fee and Dividend proposal is the idea that dividends would be paid out equally to everyone. That gives the general public a strong disincentive to conserve. Any dividends (tax receipts) should be dedicated to projects that would improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

    I am in agreements, however, that cap and trade won’t work for carbon mitigation. It’s too complicated. A simple tax – that IS passed through to the consumer like a value added tax – is the most effective means to influence consumption choices thoughout the supply chain. In the end, products with high carbon costs won’t be competitive in the market place.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 27 Mar 2010 @ 2:37 PM

  236. 201 jo abbess: THANK YOU very very much. I hope you have very full classes/workshops.

    Can you also teach them the math? Let’s hope we get another volunteer who can teach math, especially probability and statistics, to the journalists. Statistics words and concepts are often the stumbling blocks that cause an article in a newspaper to miss the mark.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 27 Mar 2010 @ 2:40 PM

  237. Gerry Quinn #225, you may want to stop digging when in a hole. Ray pointed you to an article in a top journal, indeed two years old at the time, where the thing that was supposedly being hidden was being explained in gory detail for all the world to see. Your bluster fools nobody.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 27 Mar 2010 @ 3:10 PM

  238. Re: first link of #228.

    Very odd what a cut and paste can do. The corrupted version of the link to “Alan Turing: A short biography” is liable to go to a different version from the one I saw and to get to that different article , you might have to pass a prominent advert for an article opposing Darwin.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Mar 2010 @ 3:14 PM

  239. Y’all act as though the Guardian put out a hit piece, when in fact is was favorable to the science and the process in general – if critical of particular behavior by some scientists.

    If this is how the friends of AGW get treated, no wonder anyone with any doubt at all is labelled a “denier” or a straight up shill for [insert industry] interests.

    The waters are quite muddied by “environmental activists” as much as by any other group, yet there seems to be little concern when they skew or misrepresent the science.

    Why is that?

    Comment by Frank Giger — 27 Mar 2010 @ 3:18 PM

  240. Kris@229 The statement from UEA should be enough:

    “No record has been deleted, altered, or otherwise dealt with in any fashion with the intent of preventing the disclosure of all, or any part, of the requested information”

    And other official communications listed here might clarify things a bit more then the Guardian series does.

    Comment by flxible — 27 Mar 2010 @ 3:34 PM

  241. Kris (203): Section 77 is intended to penalize deletion of information in order to defeat disclosure — which is EXACTLY what Jones did with respect to the AR4 emails

    BPL: Where and when did he do that? What, specifically, did he delete? And what’s your source for that accusation of criminal misconduct?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 27 Mar 2010 @ 4:03 PM

  242. #195 Edward Greisch

    Without a strategic capacity, we need to do this piecemeal. We need to help journalists become educated as to how to understand the contexts. They need to become more aware on their own. It’s the old ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’ problem.

    In the mean time we can address our town and city councils. I am attending one in my area in two weeks.

    We need to get out their on foot and help people understand.

    I went to our local school board last week and the person I spoke with said two things:

    1. Volcanoes put out more CO2 than humans.
    2. Did you know that more and more scientists are saying global warming is not human caused.

    It was disappointing to hear and clearly we have a long way to go. Of course the easy answers don’t penetrate the religious mindset. I explained volcanoes CO2 output in relation to human and of course, which scientists?, but then she was called away from the front office and I went home.

    For those not so indoctrinated, most can be turned around rather easily with reasoned contextual arguments. For the indoctrinated, I have found that once a meeting is established and I can do a full briefing on the subject with pictures, the success rate is 98 to 99% turnaround. But all this needs to be scaled up and we still have no funding for a strategic approach to ending this debate, while of course the denialists are well funded and organized in their communications.

    One of the problems is establishing enough time to present the contexts, depending on your audience.

    I have gone to my local paper for example and met with the publisher. He was willing to hear my briefing on AGW and realized the serious nature of the problem, but he can not repeat what I said to his boss (owner). He said the owners of the papers (plural) have a policy not to report on global issues. This is a convenient out. What they don’t realize yet is that global warming will affect the entire planet including their local region. But it is an easy way for them to say no, we just don’t report on things that don’t concern the locality.

    I will attempt to talk to the owners of the papers next.

    Conclusion, without a strategic plan, it’s a ground war (urban combat), and urban warfare is notoriously difficult. So until someone recognizes the need for a true strategic communication, we will have to muddle along with fighting against the IED’s and snipers that are picking away at the argument with religious fervor until such time as it is obvious (to late) or someone out there with money wakes up and says we need a strategic ‘effective’ approach.

    I have a structured plan. The problem is I can not share it until I meet someone trustworthy with appropriate funding capacity that wants to help, and that has not happened. The simple reason it can not be shared is that once the enemy knows your plan they can counter it more easily. It’s as simple as that.

    So, keep fighting in the streets and alleys. We will take a lot of hits but any fight worth fighting is going to have challenges. Let’s just hope we make better progress.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Mar 2010 @ 4:04 PM

  243. #224 Septic Matthew

    I would then say that the fee needs to consider the CO2 emissions of the production process. Once the amounts are quantified, then the applicable fee can be applied. That would have a ripple effect in product cost that would work backwards to the producer due to sales pressures.

    Drops in sales due to increasing fee costs would give incentive to producers to look towards alternative energy to produce goods.

    Of course, raising awareness in India will help as global warming will have a massive effect in their country, including the drop in fresh water from the Himalaya and the eventual flooding of Bangladesh and other low lying areas.

    China will also experience the same problems from the Himalaya fresh water loss and Shanghai and other low lying areas, including Hong Kong and Kowloon, which is a major industrial hub.

    Since EU and US are still major consumers, this indicates that Fee & Dividend will still be highly effective on a progressive scale.

    It is a balancing act. The economy needs to remain functional and we need to move as quickly as possible. No one thinks this will be easy to accomplish, but that must not stop us from trying.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Mar 2010 @ 4:17 PM

  244. #235 JiminMpls

    I understand your concern. When I first considered it now a few years ago I had the same concern and thought we should have monies flowing into solution development.

    But upon further consideration, handing monies to politicians to divvy out would more than likely inhibit good efficient/effective solution development. Remember, politicians want jobs in their district so the will have incentive to allocate funding to just about every hair-brained scheme that comes along and they will lobby hard on those schemes.

    On the other hand, if we actually allow the market system to develop the solutions. The solutions developed will mostly likely have a higher probability of working since the solutions will not be money thrown at the problem but rather a problem that needs to be efficiently and effectively solved. This reduces the hair brained incentive and translates to what’s the actual best way to do this.

    We need to remove the special interest potential as we all know how that works.

    As to returning it to the consumer, it will provide much needed economic stimulus and the product mix will be moving more and more toward utilitarian and away from non utilitarian. This will help keep the economy functioning, and that is one of my greatest concerns; if the economy ceases to function in a manner conducive to implementation of needed solutions, we all fail.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Mar 2010 @ 4:34 PM

  245. Martin Vermeer wrote in #237:

    “Gerry Quinn #225, you may want to stop digging when in a hole. Ray pointed you to an article in a top journal, indeed two years old at the time, where the thing that was supposedly being hidden was being explained in gory detail for all the world to see.”

    This is irrelevant obfuscation. We are all aware that the ‘divergence problem’ was mentioned in some scientific papers.

    The question at issue is what was Jones up to a couple of years later, when he was manipulating data in such a way as to hide that very divergence? For what purpose was he preparing the ‘adjusted’ proxy series?

    Not all the world reads Nature. Politicians and policymakers get their scientific information from reports prepared by people like Jones. Was he perhaps preparing such a report, or part of one, but for this purpose sweeping the data discrepancies of which he was aware under the carpet? It seems the obvious interpretation, and the attempts of you and others to evade the issue do nothing to make me doubt it.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 27 Mar 2010 @ 5:18 PM

  246. The question at issue is what was Jones up to a couple of years later, when he was manipulating data in such a way as to hide that very divergence? For what purpose was he preparing the ‘adjusted’ proxy series?

    He wasn’t “manipulating data”. He was asked to provide a graphic summarizing our best understanding of the temperature record to be used as a cover of a WMO report. Not a scientific report, not even a policy report, just a cover graphic that accurately reflected scientific thinking at the time. And it does. The divergence problem isn’t interpreted by anyone who’s serious as “proving” that recent temperature observations are shown wrong. Some of the proxy series began diverging a few decades ago, after matching previous observations and proxies very closely before that. The combination of proxy and observed temperatures *are* our best estimate of the record. There’s nothing wrong with the graphic he produced. It reflects the best view of reality we have.

    Comment by dhogaza — 27 Mar 2010 @ 5:32 PM

  247. Gerry Quinn said (245):
    “The question at issue is what was Jones up to a couple of years later, when he was manipulating data in such a way as to hide that very divergence?”

    He did no such thing. Everything he did was out in the open, in published papers. It was only *hidden* to those who don’t know the relevant literature.

    “Not all the world reads Nature.”

    Certainly not the denialists. Is Phil Jones to blame because some people are too lazy to actually read the scientific literature before they make baseless, inflammatory accusations?

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 27 Mar 2010 @ 5:36 PM

  248. #240 flxible: Thank you very much.

    #241 BPL: I have incorrectly (albeit logically) assumed that if he asked his colleagues to delete information he did it himself in the first place. He did not. See #229.

    Comment by Kris — 27 Mar 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  249. #239 Frank Giger

    It’s not about friends of AGW (or ‘Friends of Science’, a denialist web site). It’s about context and relative accuracy in communications. If people are to understand relevance they need to know the relevant contexts. Otherwise, confusion will abound for some years to come.

    It is critical that reporters understand the contexts in this debate. Any facts out of context are irrelevant.

    It is about getting the story right. Global warming is human caused and understanding the issue will enable effective policy. Without effective policy, we are looking at the difference between catastrophic climate change and less worse scenarios.

    It is the job of the media to get it right and their survival along with that of the rest of our human economy relies on their ability to communicate relevant points.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Mar 2010 @ 5:39 PM

  250. Ed (242) wrote:

    “For those not so indoctrinated, most can be turned around rather easily with reasoned contextual arguments. ”

    And then mentioned volcanoes.

    Here’s what’s missed in most AGW discussions: nature. Excluding natural background CO2 emissions from discussion is an illogical approach, and counter-intuitive to the average layman.

    Oddly enough, the starting point of most discussions isn’t nature’s own balance, but jumping head long into pointing fingers and demanding that industrialized nations be punished. It’s a very dumb approach.

    The second is an implied assumption that climate is static, and therefore climate change is something new and wholly dependent on us. Whenever someone states that we must “stop climate change” it makes me cringe – they’re talking out the wrong end from the start, and is far too absolutist (and impossible). We need to soften our influence on the current cycle of climate change.

    Far and away most people understand that tinkering with systems – even dynamic ones like climate – can produce bad effects.

    I travel in very politically (US style) conservative circles, and the topic of GHG’s and influencing climate is very simple to approach and even get agreement on. One simply has to dismiss the radicals and the alarmism and speak to the root issues.

    Efficiency, diversification of energy sources, and lower emissions are all desireable goals no matter the political persuasion of a person.

    Carrots, not sticks, is the way forward, IMHO. Punitive taxes just to tax people for living in a prosperous nation (in order to make them less prosperous and therefore less polluting) is politically and ideologically impossible to the majority of people – and yet this seems to be the prime solution offered for AGW (carbon taxes, etc.).

    The reason the stolen emails cut so deeply is the unreasonable expectations and PR picture given to scientists and the IPCC. Regardless of what an individual scientist will say, the truth is that the IPCC and the reports have been billed as infallible canon, and with that everything and everyone associated with it. And since it is canon, every political ruling must adhere to its principles.

    It might be factual, but it’s not canon, and no, we really don’t have to adhere to it. It is in our best interest to take the facts laid out in the reports, but there is no real imperative to do so.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:10 PM

  251. Gerry, (#245) please go back and read the RC post on “CRU hack: more context.” As I recall, it answers your question fairly directly.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:12 PM

  252. If this is how the friends of AGW get treated, no wonder anyone with any doubt at all is labelled a “denier” or a straight up shill for [insert industry] interests.

    You need to learn to count beyond two. Your disregard of the substantive points being made above just illustrates the failure of your binary model to cope with whats going on here. As far as I remember, Fred Pearce was criticised in one of the Emails for being too sensational. You may classify that behaviour as being friendly to AGW but I would call it sloppiness.

    The accuracy (up)/sloppiness(down) axis is at right angles to to the friendly (right)/unfriendly(left) axis although I have noticed that most contrarian contributions belong to the lower left quadrant. The Guardian needs to make a much greater effort to stay in the upper half of the plane. The friendship bit will then look after itself.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:31 PM

  253. So — would the Guardian care to come out with one more installment, one written with Gerry Quinn in mind as the audience?

    Seriously, Guardian people — what can you say to Gerry Quinn?

    Gerry Quinn, would you believe the Guardian if they told you what happened?

    If not the Guardian, would you name _any_ source you consider likely to give you an honest answer about what happened?

    Then we can ask them what they’d say, to explain it to you.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:43 PM

  254. Gerry Quinn says, “Not all the world reads Nature.”

    Well, clearly, YOU don’t, but politicians and policy makers have advisers who do–and as you say, the problem was well known. What is more, I would contend that the figure showing a decline would be much more misleading than one that changed to instrumental data.

    Frankly, I think the fact that even YOU can’t come up with a motivation for Jones to be doing something underhanded really ought to tell you something. But I suspect it won’t.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:43 PM

  255. Gerry Quinn says: 27 March 2010 at 5:18 PM

    This is irrelevant obfuscation.

    True, that. Obsessing about Phil Jones, jamming one’s entire consciousness into the mental space occupied by an ancient email message is indeed the very picture of swerving into irrelevance and allowing minutia to obfuscate awareness.

    Here’s a an article you ought to read, Gerry, about the degrading and even dangerous effects of pernicious obfuscation and irrelevance. I suggest you do read it and then spend some time reflecting on how it relates to your focus on Phil Jones.

    http://eurpub.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/19/1/2.pdf

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  256. Frank Giger says, “Here’s what’s missed in most AGW discussions: nature. Excluding natural background CO2 emissions from discussion is an illogical approach, and counter-intuitive to the average layman.”

    Huh? Uh, Frank, you do realize that anthropogenic (e.g. fossil fuel) CO2 has a different isotopic signature than CO2 from other sources, don’t you? And you do realize that atmospheric CO2 has shifted strongly in that direction, right?

    Look, nobody is asking you to sing Kumbaya with Greenpeace. Just accept the established science, realize that there is a credible threat and start trying to come up with solutions. If you truly believe in markets, then shouldn’t there be some market based solutions out there? Shouldn’t industrialized nations make “punishing their citizens” a moot point by moving past carbon to a real 21st century energy infrastructure? Shouldn’t they also realize that assisting developing nation in doing the same is in everyone’s interest–not to mention a potentially very profitable venture?

    And perhaps you might want to avoid the passive voice when making accusations. WHO has billed the IPCC reports as infallible? They are merely a fairly good summary of the best science available on the subject–and as such a reasonable starting point for policy.

    And I’m sorry, but I would consider the need to pass on a functioning society to our progeny a much greater imperative than any sort of canonical declaration. Maybe that’s my heathen nature showing?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Mar 2010 @ 6:57 PM

  257. Martin and Theo, I hold out less and less hope that science will get any help from popular media in explaining the science to the public. To start with, the reporters do not understand the science–neither the content, nor how it is done nor why it works. Media operations are cutting back if not eliminating their science desks, and in the future, we’ll be seeing mainly unedited PR releases masquerading as science reporting.

    At one point, I had held out hope that papers like The Guardian might stem that time. However, their willingness to place more faith in releases from nameless and faceless hackers than in scientists has pretty much crushed those hopes. Randerson’s utter failure to even realize that this is an error has done nothing to increase my optimism.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Mar 2010 @ 7:16 PM

  258. Politicians and policymakers get their scientific information from reports prepared by people like Jones.

    Which policies would have been affected by the divergence problem and why?

    Anyway, Ray was correct at #254. The rest of my original comment is therefore unecessary.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 27 Mar 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  259. Ray Ladbury says:
    “I would consider the need to pass on a functioning society to our progeny a much greater imperative than any sort of canonical declaration. ”

    You’re just the type that would favor that sort of social-istic nonsense. Worse yet is that you’re not satisfied to give stuff to our current loafers you advocate give-aways to future loafers!!!

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 27 Mar 2010 @ 7:46 PM

  260. 3244 John

    You make good points. Having the universal dividend would probably make it easier for the general public to accept. And those making wise purchasing decisions will still save money and those that don’t won’t.

    What is essential either way is that the fee or tax be assessed at each stage of production and passed on through the entire supply chain to the end consumer.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 27 Mar 2010 @ 7:58 PM

  261. #250 Frank Giger

    Huh? The first thing I bring up in a discussion is natural cycle, so what are you talking about.

    I, nor anyone I know of have ever said climate is static, so again, what are you talking about?

    I also travel in conservative circles, because I am a conservative. As I said, when there is enough time, depending on the audience, people almost always get it.

    Carrots and sticks can work. Sometimes a feather is more effective than a hammer, and sometimes not. It depends on circumstance. Carrots are important though but it helps to know why the carrot is the tastiest option.

    The reasons the stolen emails cut so deeply is because the message was spun out of context and repeated ad infinitum in the media and denialist circles. I call it irresponsible reporting in the media. What do you call it, misunderstanding.

    No where has any scientific publication been considered canonical. That is ‘your’ straw-man.

    Understanding climate is about reasoned science and the error bars surrounding that as well as potentials and that can inform policy.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Mar 2010 @ 8:21 PM

  262. John Pearson says, “Worse yet is that you’re not satisfied to give stuff to our current loafers you advocate give-aways to future loafers!!!”

    Sir, I take issue with with your aspersion. I have always favored tennis shoes!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Mar 2010 @ 8:31 PM

  263. Frank Giger (#250), I don’t think that mainstream climatology is assuming climate to be static. In fact, I’m damn sure it doesn’t: CO2 climate theory arose in the the first instance out of attempts to understand the Ice Ages. That was in fact Svante Arrhenius’s research question back in 1896, and his buddy Nils Ekholm took an even more sweeping view a couple of years later.

    For popular accounts, see:

    (Arrhenius)
    (Ekholm)

    Ice ages past and future have rarely been out of the climate discussion since.

    For example:

    <a href="http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Long-Thaw-A-Review&quot; rel="nofollow"(The Long Thaw–Review)

    It’s not clear to me how you intend your statement about “tinkering with dynamic systems”–but if you mean a 30% augmentation of the atmospheric concentration of CO2, I’d say that qualifies, all right.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Mar 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  264. Sorry about the busted HTML! I do miss preview for stuff like that. . .

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 27 Mar 2010 @ 9:52 PM

  265. #260 JiminMpls

    As written, fee is collected at point of origin or point of import.

    Have you signed on yet? If not I encourage you to do so and please help others understand and join.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 27 Mar 2010 @ 9:55 PM

  266. My point about the static climate position is the notion that we have to “halt global warming.” No, we’re already on that trend naturally. We have to stop speeding it up.

    It seems somewhat pendantic, I know, but language matters, as it frames debate.

    While none of us are political decision makers, it was an error to plop down a date for emissions targets. Five percent below 1990 levels implies that in November of 1990 (or was it 1989? I can’t figure which end of 1990 they’re using) we were all a-okay on the emissions front. Yet in 1990 we were told we were emitting too many GHG’s.

    The casual observer then makes the incorrect leap that there is a climate ideal – a homeostatis of balance in climate – that is the goal.

    Hey, I’m just the guy that believes the science and disagrees with most of the solutions offered, particularly the international ones. That doesn’t make me a “denier,” or one who’s head is in the sand; it means I have a different opinion on the current proposals.

    Our family telecommutes, recycles, and lives somewhat frugally (though not when judged against the global median, which is pretty much abject poverty). Hammering us with additional taxes just for living in the First World is capricious and arbitrary.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 27 Mar 2010 @ 11:01 PM

  267. Go on digging Gerry… what dhogaza #246 said.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Mar 2010 @ 1:05 AM

  268. @ #209 Theo H says:

    Please step back and then tell us how, in light of the entire 12 article series, you feel about the entire series.

    The series of articles reads like an indepth background of climate scientists, based on hours of observations and interviews.

    But it’s not!

    Instead it’s based on a perusal of stolen personal emails going back several years, taken out of context (despite some attempt to place them in some context). It is not supported by hours of interviews or observations of interactions between scientists. It’s a distorted view from a narrow, out of context perspective.

    It also gives the impression that climate science = CRU. The Climatic Research Unit is rightly renowned for its excellent research of critical importance in shaping our understanding of the climate and their research has contributed hugely to policy development. However as far as I know the CRU employs only three full time researchers. There are thousands of scientists working in areas relating to climate research.

    There are special-ised climate research units in many research institutions around the world that have also made extremely important contributions. And thousands of researchers contribute to our understanding of climate change, including botanists, zoologists, entomologists, agricultural scientists, forest scientists, oceanographers, marine scientists, ecologists, glaciologists, inland water researchers etc etc.

    The series of articles could have been so much better had the journalist chosen to do an indepth series on climate scientists, even if it only focused on a few key scientists. Instead it chose to do a 12 part series on stolen emails, and ending up with a distorted picture as evidenced by the annotated comments and responses of people like Ben Santer.

    If there’s a book, I hope this series is merely a footnote at best, not the substance of the book. The scientists and the world deserve the whole picture, not a distorted view through the eyes of a thief.

    Comment by Sou — 28 Mar 2010 @ 1:31 AM

  269. A few comments for the Guardian. I’m not going to say anything new, but here goes anyway. Like many others I’ve done a lot of online reading from a wide variety of news sources. Some of them, like the WSJ really suck. Their spate of articles covering health care legislation was nothing short of Hearst style yellow journalism IMO. I mean you could really see Murdoch’s hand during the whole phase. Grossly distorted articles by anonymous authors screaming armageddon should it pass, the comments turned off of course. They have become the print version of Murdoch’s other notable “news” outlet at Fox. And the Moonie Times, well no need to even mention them. WaPo is another, albeit perhaps less extreme example. These are outlets that are firmly in the back pocket of corporate America.

    On the other, more honest side there are papers like the NYT, Newsweek and online alternative media. And there’s the Guardian and Observer. Over the years I’ve always been impressed with the coverage of the issues by your paper. You have fearlessly taken on the powerful when others were too afraid to touch them. Big Tobacco, Big Energy and Biotech come to mind. I want to thank you for that.

    You’ve a lot of competition and times are tough. Papers are closing their doors every day (which I happen to think is a good, no a great thing, at least as far as actual newsprint=trees cut down goes). There is obvious pressure to sensationalize stories to bring in the readers, and that sometimes translates into an overzealousness; an overzealousness to see scandals where none exists. To get ‘the scoop’ before someone else does. Of course you have a commission to seek out and print the news. And more than that, people like me expect you to dig up the ‘news behind the news’ as well. But please don’t sacrifice integrity for dollars, journalistic laziness for excellence or “balance” for truth. By no means squelch coverage of legitimate scandal, but please don’t throw Majorica before swine. As the wise man said, they will trample them under their feet then turn around and trample you. Nuff said.

    Comment by Ron R. — 28 Mar 2010 @ 1:51 AM

  270. Did anybody notice 155 Timothy Mason?:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/mar/26/dont-hound-the-climate-scientists

    If the Guardian continues to get guest articles from climate scientists like Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), rather than from journalists, the problem is solved for the Guardian. Now “all we have to do” is to get other newspapers and MSM to do the same. Let’s congratulate the Guardian for publishing the article by Rajendra Pachauri. As they say, sugar attracts more flies than vinegar does.

    Congratulations, Guardian! And THANKS!

    Notice that Pachauri says: “As inhabitants of planet Earth, our lives depend on a stable climate.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 28 Mar 2010 @ 3:17 AM

  271. And the sloppy reporting continues.

    This is from today’s Observer (effectively the Guardian’s Sunday edition):

    “Politicians and negotiators are preparing another assault on the issue, though this time talks will be very different. For a start, climate science has suffered damaging setbacks. There was the leaking from the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit of email exchanges between some of the world’s top meteorologists as well as the discovery that a UN assessment report on climate change had vastly exaggerated the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers.

    The former revelation suggested some researchers were involved in massaging the truth, sceptics claimed, while the latter exposed deficiencies in the way the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – authors of the report – go about their business. The overall effect has been to damage the credibility of the large number of scientists who fear our planet faces climatic disaster. Trying to restart stalled negotiations will be very hard.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/28/un-climate-change-meeting-london

    No, Guardian writers, the science itself has not suffered any setbacks (though the reception of the science may if they continue writing about it like this.)

    And proper reading of the hacked emails shows that the “revelation” does not in fact suggest any massaging of the truth. The caveat “sceptics claimed” does little to counteract the false impression conveyed here.

    Can the Guardian really not do better than this?

    Comment by Martin Robinson — 28 Mar 2010 @ 4:04 AM

  272. But facts don’t matter anymore, especially not in a “war”, what matters is propaganda and ideology. Both of these trump facts.

    Rationality, science, facts… are all under attack because they increasingly and inevitably, question and scrutinize the fundamental structures of “marketed democracy” and the rapacious economic dogmas that underly the entire system.

    In this war, science will lose, simply because power doesn’t give a damn about “right” or “wrong”, but only what serves the interests of the powerful who own and control society. As long as science is willing and ready to serve power, everything is fine and smooth; but if science, as in relation to climate change, beigins to challenge fundamental aspects of how wealth and power and weilded and distributed, and the consequences of our socio/economic system; then science had better watch out, because, those who, for whatever reason, threaten the status quo are the enemy.

    Comment by Michael K — 28 Mar 2010 @ 4:45 AM

  273. It’s worth pointing out that “Fee & Dividend” is functionally a negative income tax. If implemented, it would tend to lower real wages for unskilled work (as well as the premium for skills and qualifications that are plentiful). Domestic businesses which do not emit much CO2 would therefore have an easier time competiting with foreign businesses and unemployment would most likely be curbed. Depending on the makeup of imports and exports, an import fee might not even be necessary to improve the carbon footprint of international trade as well as the national balance of trade.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 28 Mar 2010 @ 5:45 AM

  274. All this concern trolling about “hiding the decline” as the denialists phrase it, yet NOTHING on TGGWS when they posted a graph that seemed to show solar changes and temperature changes were concordant in the records beyond 2000, when the data shown never went that far.

    NOT
    ONE
    THING

    Where are all you concern trolls like Frank on that issue?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Mar 2010 @ 5:45 AM

  275. Frank Giger (250): Punitive taxes just to tax people for living in a prosperous nation (in order to make them less prosperous and therefore less polluting) is politically and ideologically impossible to the majority of people – and yet this seems to be the prime solution offered for AGW (carbon taxes, etc.).

    BPL: No one has proposed “Punitive taxes just to tax people for living in a prosperous nation (in order to make them less prosperous and therefore less polluting).” Carbon taxes are not going to make the nation less prosperous, they are going to make it more so, since the economic damage from environmental degradation and pollution-caused diseases and death will finally be properly attributed in carbon prices. And carbon taxes can be rebated to the people. The aim is to raise the price of one commodity, not all commodities, thus making alternative sources of energy more attractive.

    If we do nothing and rely on the kind of jawboning you seem to prefer, very likely nothing useful will be done and human civilization will collapse altogether in the next forty years or so. That seems even more “punitive” to me.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 28 Mar 2010 @ 5:47 AM

  276. #256 Ray: you do realize that anthropogenic (e.g. fossil fuel) CO2 has a different isotopic signature than CO2 from other sources

    This is irrelevant. The problem in communicating is this: human emissions are 26Gt/y, while natural emissions are 770 Gt/y, i.e. we contribute only about 3%. So it is counterintuitive that our 3% more does in fact pose a problem. You have to say that the nature can sink only 780 Gt/y, so out of our emissions 16Gt/y stays in the atmosphere and THAT slowly builds up the CO2 content. [My numbers may be off, feel free to correct me]. Only when you say that and throw in the isotope ratio as a bonus you get a coherent argument.

    Unfortunately, no mainstream media report I have seen frames it this way. So when people are confronted with the argument that natural emissions are over 30 times more they get confused and buy that. Because NOBODY, NEVER, has told them about SINKS.

    I had to start reading RC to learn these completely basic facts.

    P.S. If you need a nice graph for explaining this to someone see: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11638-climate-myths-human-cosub2sub-emissions-are-too-tiny-to-matter.html

    Comment by Kris — 28 Mar 2010 @ 6:41 AM

  277. Greg C, Kris #229,233:
    > WHOA! That’s a rare line to hear nowadays. :-)

    Indeed. But still, to rain on your parade, I disagree ;-)

    I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference for culpability whether the deletion took place or not — for a leading civil servant to recommend legally or ethically questionable behaviour is bad, period. What I challenged was that it could be so construed. In fact I would argue a forteriori that protecting the integrity of scientific processes — in this case, the confidentiality of an authoring team’s internal correspondence — is a legitimate and proper thing for a scientis to do. And if you read the stolen correspondence — remember to shower afterward — you’ll see that they all feel very strongly about this: Jones, Wigley, Santer, Osborn, Ammann — the lot.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 28 Mar 2010 @ 9:14 AM

  278. Re :#276.

    This is irrelevant.

    No it is not. Even to a beginner, because as you concede yourself, it is a vital finger-print.

    In addtion populist carbon accounting really makes no sense, especially as you have described it. If as you claim, their theory contained no sinks, the 660 Gt (or whatever) natural emissions would have appeared in Keeling’s measurements which show only a fraction of that rate of rise. Conclusion : there must be huge natural sinks . End of that version of story. We now have ‘improved populist theory’ (IPT) , in which large amounts of CO2 are going both ways.

    Question for IPT. If humans come along and add to the rate entering the atmosphere what happens to the human contribution? It could of course be absorbed by the natural sinks we have just invoked. If so where does the measured rise come from? Your populist will soon be having some difficulty.

    Next. Get your populist to explain the isotope effect and the ocean acid effect which reveals that the net CO2 flow is directed into the sea. That acounts for half of the human bit and disposes of a whole section of Channel 4′s Swindle.

    By the way the distinction between net flow and detailed flow occurs everywhere in science. In the case of electricity, it is the net flow of electrons which constitutes an electric current. The fact that this is tiny compared to the balanced flows in opposite directions is normally disregarded. You get a similar effect in many chemical reactions.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Mar 2010 @ 9:26 AM

  279. Martin Robinson #271. I agree. In most areas extreme care in the wording of an issue is not that critical, but with something as important and politically charged as climate change where there are powerful interests determined to make sure nothing changes and who freely manipulate public opinion through corporate outlets every word, every turn of a phrase, every nuance needs to be carefully considered. We’re not talking dishonesty here but, rather, the opposite, honesty to a fault.

    Comment by Ron R. — 28 Mar 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  280. Re #276.
    It should be “…disposes of a whole section of Channel 4’s Swindle and Plimer’s encyclopedia of nonsense”

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Mar 2010 @ 9:55 AM

  281. #261 John, remember our talks on Arctic sea ice melting away. Seems the Danish graphs show it’s almost back to normal.

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

    Your thoughts, before I sign your petition?

    Comment by J. Bob — 28 Mar 2010 @ 10:02 AM

  282. Frank Giger says, “My point about the static climate position is the notion that we have to “halt global warming.” No, we’re already on that trend naturally. We have to stop speeding it up.”

    Huh, where do you get the idea that the natural trend would be warming? Quite the contrary, in the absence of anthropogenic influences we’d on our way to a Stade.

    Seriously, Frank, someone is seriously misinforming you on the science. I do not blame you for that, but I would strongly recommend a perusal of sources closer to the original scientific literature.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Mar 2010 @ 10:03 AM

  283. #266 Frank Giger

    Language does matter, but context is key.

    You can’t just rule out international solutions. This is a global problem and actually requires international solutions. I don’t like all the proposals either. Subsidizing corporations to pursue development of inefficient or inadequate ideas to bolster pockets, bottom lines, and green images is not a good solution.

    Your assumptions on dates also contains contextual problems.

    You do seem to have a First World centric mentality though and that is myopic. Example: America is not really first world, we were among the last country system to develop. Bit of a misnomer but I understand your point.

    Based on your post I must assume that you do not believe in taking responsibility for ones actions. Am I correct in this assumption?


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Mar 2010 @ 10:17 AM

  284. #275 Barton Paul Levenson Frank Giger

    Barton has made a most cogent point that you should take to heart. While large scale collapse of civilization as we know it could certainly occur by 2050 to 2100. The degradation of human civilization begins essentially right away. Effects of AGW combined with other large scale problems in the earth system (related or not), in relation to the human system such as peak oil, bees dying, ocean degradation, soil nutrient loss, soil moisture loss all point to the punitive effects of mankind’s collective tax upon himself.

    An effective fee on carbon that is returned to the public (Fee & Dividend) in an ailing economy is not punitive in this context. In fact, it is the opposite. It is better framed as the price of the ticket to a better future.

    Read the synthesis report on global security and I highly recommend downloading the security reports. They all indicate that international cooperation will be required.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/summary-docs/leading-edge/2009/2009-may-leading-edge

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/security


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Mar 2010 @ 10:38 AM

  285. #276 Kris

    You are mixing natural respiration of the carbon sink and absorption (natural systems) with humans CO2 emissions vs. volcanic emissions.

    It is not counter intuitive to see that humans emit, these days, around 7Gt to 9Gt per year, vs. volcanic emissions of around .13 to .23 Gt.

    It is important to separate the respiration and absorption systems from the emitting systems to explain it properly.

    Context is key.

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/myths/volcanoes-emit-more-co2-than-mankind


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Mar 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  286. #281 J. Bob

    If I read you right, you are asking about why the Arctic ice seems to be recovering every year. Important to note that ice extent is not ice volume/thickness.

    There is no sunlight in the Arctic in winter and thus the surface ice refreezes each winter.

    To get a clear picture of the context I made a video specifically for the Arctic Ice Melt. It may help you visualize what is happening up there:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp4m2Xs1iv0

    Also see:

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/arctic-ice


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Mar 2010 @ 11:13 AM

  287. #286–

    Yes, after an autumn in which the sea ice extent curve has tracked pretty closely with 2007–which ended up with a record-low minimum–we have had a sharp increase in extent over the last few weeks. That doesn’t mean that we have some sort of “recovery” that we can feel secure about. Especially since the NSIDC graph show that we’re still close to two standard deviations below the long-term norm. (Ie., since ’79.)

    As John R. says, ice thickness is very important, and it’s doubtful that this new ice is very thick.

    I’d add that there is a lot of variability in the sea ice extent (or area, for that matter)–it can and does change quite capriciously in the short term. So it would be foolish to bank on this latest increase as meaning much. We continue (AFAIK) to have some high sea surface temps; the troposphere continues at record- or near-record levels; and we may or may not have reached the seasonal maximum yet.

    Let’s see what happens next.

    (One post-script thought: the next couple of months are typically the months with the lowest year-to-year variability. As the melt season progresses, the extent tracks usually diverge more.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 28 Mar 2010 @ 11:42 AM

  288. John, remember our talks on Arctic sea ice melting away. Seems the Danish graphs show it’s almost back to normal.

    Yes, just like last year, which it’s closely tracking, when your friends over at WUWT were trumpeting “recovery!”. Yet by summer’s end, the ice extent and area were both far below “normal”, if you take “normal” to mean within one or two standard deviations of the 1979-whenever average (different groups use different end dates for “whenever”).

    Never fear, minimum extent this year will be far below “normal”, because as someone above mentioned, ice volume has not “recovered”, and this thin stuff will melt like gangbusters as daylight hours lengthen up there.

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 Mar 2010 @ 11:43 AM

  289. “I rescind my previous position and admit that most likely there was no offence committed.” Comment by Kris — 27 March 2010 @ 1:27 PM

    I disagree.

    According to http://www.out-law.com/page-1409 in an article titled “UK law makes hacking an act of terrorism”
    hacking “…will be a terrorist action only if it is both –

    Designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
    Made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.”

    The CRU hack has clearly been used to influence UK government policy on AGW, fossil fuel marketing, and international negotiations about these issues; it has clearly been used to intimidate climate scientists as well as the section of the public that thinks we should pay attention to the science they have presented; and it has clearly been used to advance the right wing anti science pro anything goes free market greed is good ideology.

    It is hard to imagine more cogent prima facie evidence that this was an act of terrorism. No doubt ICO deputy commissioner Graham Smith imagines different threats than I do.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 28 Mar 2010 @ 1:21 PM

  290. #287 Kevin McKinney

    Yes. New ice is not very thick. The older the ice the thicker it tends to be. In the picture

    http://www.ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/arctic-ice/arctic-ice-melt/image/image_view_fullscreen

    You can see that the ice is looked at, in this context, in terms of age. For example, ice >5 years old is not very rare.

    It is simply not cold enough to reform thicker multi-year ice in a sustainable fashion. That does not mean you won’t see thicker ice forming, but rather that it is becoming more and more improbably that the multi-year ice will form and sustain.

    It is safe to say we will be without the Arctic ice (virtually ice) free within 30 years, and there is a reasonably good chance we will be virtually ice free within 10 years, or possibly less.


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 28 Mar 2010 @ 1:43 PM

  291. #286, John, ice volume could be a good metric. However what is the accuracy of your final ice volume value?

    Remember in determining ice area or extent, with the long perimeter, area/extent accuracy might be around 5-10%. Determining thickness has a different wrinkle. As the beam is not looking at a nice flat surface on either side of the ice, but a discontinuous upper and lower surface, compounded by melt water.

    Comment by J. Bob — 28 Mar 2010 @ 1:46 PM

  292. @EdwardGreisch (#236)

    At the present time, I don’t see any journalists or Media organisation prepared to admit that they need to train their environmental reporters in the actual Science of Climate Change, so I very much doubt that my offer of free facilitation for workshops will be pursued.

    Interestingly, compared with weather forecasting, which needs complicated aerodynamic modelling, Climate Change forecasting has much more approachable mathematics. t’s quite simple to explain such things as basic models of the atmosphere with simple formulae, to explain in detail how the Greenhouse Effect works. I find David Archer’s book and video lecture series inspiring on that front. It’s true that to run a global Climate model takes up acres of computer racks, but the essential elements of the current situation are quite simple to portray : there are many helpful diagrams included in the IPCC reports and in a number of general readership books. I particularly like the work depicting radiative forcings – very simple to comprehend.

    I think the Statistics required are quite rudimentary. Climate Change sceptics often use arguments that sound like statistics, but are just bamboozling garbage (thinks : Monckton versus Lambert YouTube debate). Analysis of trend lines, over large enough sample sizes, and considerations of the bounds of uncertainty, and analysis of past data usually points the right way for people if they care to look at it reflectively. It really is quite straightforward to understand what is meant by “statistically significant”, although that didn’t stop the Daily Mail and several other newspapers getting it wrong recently, when quoting something probably mangled by a Climate Change sceptic first, wrongly based on what Phil Jones said to the BBC.

    The main stumbling blocks for the Media in my view are lack of appreciation of two things :-

    1. The ongoing narrative of evolving Science

    The quantity of research in geosciences is voluminous, literally, and it takes a constant dip into the current state of play to follow what is changing and emerging. Thus, it was unhelpful, in my opinion, for David Adam to write an about “wind-blown sea ice” in the Arctic recently without including the wider knowledge about what is happening to the volume of sea ice, and multi-year ice loss. Plus, he did not include anything about how the research on changes in Arctic weather patterns and climate, mostly due to Global Warming is affecting the winds there (which affect the sea ice accumulation or loss). The whole picture somehow has to be given, or the readership are receiving very few pixels, and cannot evaluate what may or may not have changed or be significant. However, it’s a huge area of knowledge, so one writer cannot be expected to have a general overview. Why don’t reporters take it upon themselves to make teams, and split their research and then co-write articles ?

    2. What the Climate Change denier-sceptics do

    The use of language is essential to be careful about, as a poorly worded report can be mis-quoted, twisted, spun, then that analysis replicated and recited until the end of the world.

    The Climate Change denier-sceptics also have a modus operandi that seeks to (a) take attention away from important emerging truth by making unwarranted attacks on people and research and (b) focus attention on disputed details to stop people seeing the wider picture. They have been able to shape the story of Science very nicely to suit their purposes recently, as even very respectful journalists such as those at The Observer, are using the denier-sceptic framing of the world in discussing the situation. For Fred Pearce, George Monbiot and others at The Guardian to write about Climategate as if the problem is in the electronic mails is a complete inversion of the real issue.

    I do really think that Science journalism needs to improve as regards Climate Change. Journalists should be primed to dodge denier-sceptic tactics and have read widely enough to make sure they place their reports in the right framework in the ongoing development of the Science.

    The best way that The Guardian could support the work of Climate Change Scientists is to stop talking about Phil Jones’ informal communications and start reading the results of his extensive collaborative and personal research. He is a hero, not a scoundrel, and I want to hear The Guardian admit that.

    Comment by jo abbess — 28 Mar 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  293. Kris, your education is not served by stating “That is irrelevant”.

    Explain why YOU ***think*** it is irrelevant.

    What about the isotopic signature of biological carbon as compared with the isotopic signature of fossil carbon is irrelevant to human (fossil fuel led) CO2 increases?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 28 Mar 2010 @ 3:31 PM

  294. Hank (216), No, I’m simply saying that the argument that the supporters of AGW are just like the good guys from the tobacco studies, or that the skeptics are just like the folks that didn’t buy off on the tobacco studies is not a compelling argument for or against, though for some reason it is viewed by some as a absolute proof of the validity of climate change studies.

    Comment by Rod B — 28 Mar 2010 @ 4:15 PM

  295. I was able to find the WMO report for which Phil Jones was preparing the series referred to in his “hide the decline” email (no thanks to RealClimate posters who directed me everywhere *except* to this report. For anyone interested, the URL is [URL]http://www.wmo.ch/pages/prog/wcp/wcdmp/statemnt/wmo913.pdf[/URL]. When you look at it, you’ll have no difficulty in seeing why Phil Jones’s apologists would prefer you not to do so!

    The report is called “WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999″. The cover image consists of three temperature series, purportedly from Jones, Mann and Briffa (although in fact it appears they were all altered by Jones).

    On the inside, a vague and almost unreadable cyan legend gives no clue that the proxy data has been modified. The graph is discussed further in a sidebar on page 4. At no point whatsoever is any indication given that Jones has dumped the last twenty to forty years of each proxy series and replaced it with instrumental data.

    Furthermore, both the legend and the sidebar talk about uncertainties in the proxy data being greater earlier in the millenium “due to the sparse and uncertain nature of the proxy data”. Uncertainties are quoted as a “95% confidence interval of 0.3 degC from 1000-15000 AD,reducing to 0.1 degC by the beginning of the 19th Century”.

    Given the recent proxy data that had to be eliminated because it contradicted the instrumental data by a large multiple of this supposed 95% confidence interval, how can this description of the accuracy of the data be described as other than blatantly false? If the data in all three series has dramatically spiralled away from the instrumental record over the last few decades, it cannot *possibly* be reasonable to claim an accuracy of 0.1 degC two centuries ago, when the instrumental records basically did not exist!

    I’m not trying to hang Jones or anyone else here, just trying to ascertain the facts relating to his “hide the decline” email. I think it’s very clear indeed that the purpose was precisely what I had first assumed, i.e. to produce a report in which the reliability of certain proxy data series – or at least, that of Jones’s preferred proxy data series – was overstated. What I had not realised until I followed up the issue was quite how grossly it was overstated…

    [Response: Aside from the fact that we've been down all topics on this road about 600 million times now and that the goal of the image was to portray the most likely temperature history up to the present, and that the increase in standard error going back in time is exactly to be expected as sample size drops, and that your post is off topic, and that you say you're not out to hang Jones while you describe a litany of supposed dis-honesties and cover-ups on his part...

    Mann et al, 2008, PNAS

    READ IT!--Jim]

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 28 Mar 2010 @ 4:25 PM

  296. I cut the 2010 extent line (in red) from the arcticroos website given by J. Bob 28 March 2010 @ 10:02 AM, and pasted it to scale on a graphic from http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20100303_Figure3.png and posted the result at http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/arctic_sea_ice_trend-dkzSt.jpg.
    I posted a similar image http://www.imagenerd.com/show.php?_img=sno_cover_anomaly-gZZqa.jpg to a WUWT discussion “What NOAA Isn’t Saying About Snow and Ice” where the skeptics were all excited about the heavy snow on the east coast earlier this year. Mr Goddards’ response was “I’m guessing that you aren’t located in Washington D.C.”

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 28 Mar 2010 @ 5:11 PM

  297. CFU: “Kris, your education is not served by stating “That is irrelevant”. Explain why YOU ***think*** it is irrelevant.”

    Your criticism of his post was incredibly unfair; Kris was not criticizing the science, he was making a clear point about communication and the misunderstandings people have and how they need to be addressed. He was explaining that no one will care *how we know* how much CO2 we are emitting if it seems like even if we got this right the number is so small that it couldn’t possibly be making a difference anyway; thus, the most important thing is to explain there are also carbon *sinks*, and even though our contribution is small it turns out to be just enough to overwhelm them so that the amount of CO2 is increasing.

    Now, I am not an expert in this so perhaps the point that someone here was trying to make is that by isotopic signatures allow us to trace the fraction of CO2 *currently in the atmosphere* that comes from people, rather than only giving us a tool to track the amount that is being *emitted*. In this case, Kris’s post would be wrong because it turns out that all you need to explain to someone is, “Look, we know exactly how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is because we put it there because of it’s isotopic signature,” and then in theory discussions of how much we are emitting versus nature become irrelevant because we already know that we must be emitting enough to be significant. But if this is the manner of his mistake then it needs to be emphasized that he was not dismissing the science as you are making it sound like he did but rather he simply misunderstood the point that someone else was making.

    [Response: Guys, sounds like someone needs to be reading our posts on isotopes of carbon dating a few years back.--eric]

    Comment by Greg C. — 28 Mar 2010 @ 5:13 PM

  298. > Rod
    > skeptics are just like the folks that didn’t buy off
    > on the tobacco studies

    You misread that as an analogy?
    Many of the older ‘skeptics’ _are_ the folks
    who did PR for the tobacco companies.
    Not “like” — they are the same people.
    It’s called “advocacy science” for a reason.

    > “viewed by some as a absolute proof of the validity”

    Rod, some crackpot can probably be found using _anything_ you can suggest as “absolute proof of the validity” of some notion.

    This doesn’t mean the fact or observation has a problem.
    If it’s “absolute proof” then it’s someone’s theology or it’s mathematics.

    Radiation physics isn’t proof of a conspiracy for world domination, just because someone can’t understand it. Nor is the fact that some people _do_ understand it evidence they view it as “absolute proof” of anything.

    Science doesn’t do absolute proof.

    If you figure anything you can’t understand is someone’s conspiracy, you live surrounded by conspirators.

    Go with the probabilities.

    [Response: Hank, a slight correction: I don’t refer to what Fred Singer doesas “science”, advocacy or otherwise!

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Mar 2010 @ 5:37 PM

  299. Rod B says: the argument that the supporters of AGW are just like the good guys from the tobacco studies, or that the skeptics are just like the folks that didn’t buy off on the tobacco studies is not a compelling argument

    You might have a point, if it weren’t the very same people and organizations playing the denialist role, e.g., Fred Singer and Heartland Institute.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 28 Mar 2010 @ 5:43 PM

  300. re :#292.

    Good luck with your educational project.

    People are not only ill informed about the science but are unaware of the intensity of the propaganda against it. That is one reason why Channel 4′s Swindle and Plimer’s book got off so lightly. Many people know that the energy industry is funding anti-AGW views, but they balance that with claims that some environmentalists exaggerate. These people need to be educated about the type of distortions which are in regular use by the CO2 emitting lobby.

    Most people start life being trustful.. They might begin with the view that the Swindle is an expression of sincere alternative opinions and deserves to be given space. They might agree that TV programmes contain spin but would be reluctant to accept that any ‘documentary’ consists of one deception after another. That is because they start with too little prior knowledge.

    So it is with the email hysteria. The default position is once again that some but not all of the accusations may be wrong. That remains to be seen. But the propagandists have gone over the top with “in your face” misinformation, every step of the way. As someone wrote, they must eventually be made to own all this misinformation. This is rather tangential to an educational program about the science, but it may be important in helping researchers to do their job.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 28 Mar 2010 @ 7:25 PM

  301. Great, thank you very much for the helpful link Eric! :-) That clarified what was going on for me.

    Comment by Greg C. — 28 Mar 2010 @ 7:27 PM

  302. After 300 posts, nobody has mentioned this Guardian sentance:

    …the calculations by physicists that for every square metre of the Earth’s surface, 1.6 watts more energy enters the atmosphere than leaves it.

    The 1.6 watts per square meter is obviously the net anthropogenic forcing, not something calculated by a physicist. And if the statement were true the Earth would be accumulating one joule of energy per second, and would soon be burning up.

    If I understand correctly, the 1.6 W/m2 has caused the temperature of the Earth system to rise, so now it is emitting close to 1.6 W/m2 more than before. A small part of that (how much?) is being absorbed by the ocean, so the system is slightly out of balance. Among its other sins, the Guardian writer lacks basic scientific literacy.

    Comment by Blair Dowden — 28 Mar 2010 @ 8:01 PM

  303. “Certainly not the denialists. Is Phil Jones to blame because some people are too lazy to actually read the scientific literature before they make baseless, inflammatory accusations?”

    Yes, it must be because he is a bad communicator.

    Comment by t_p_hamilton — 28 Mar 2010 @ 10:32 PM

  304. Good point, Blair.

    Guardian folks, can you square that quote with this one?

    Science 3 June 2005:
    Vol. 308. no. 5727, pp. 1431 – 1435
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1110252
    Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications

    “… Our climate model, driven mainly by increasing human-made greenhouse gases and aerosols, among other forcings, calculates that Earth is now absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 watts per square meter more energy from the Sun than it is emitting to space….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 Mar 2010 @ 11:25 PM

  305. Hank (216), No, I’m simply saying that the argument that the supporters of AGW are just like the good guys from the tobacco studies, or that the skeptics are just like the folks that didn’t buy off on the tobacco studies is not a compelling argument for or against, though for some reason it is viewed by some as a absolute proof of the validity of climate change studies.

    Oh, it’s not absolute, but given that your personal disbelief in evolution vs. creationism is similar to Roy Spencer’s, and that Lindzen’s disbelief in evidence that smoking causes cancer and heart disease is reflected in his belief that AGW isn’t a problem, we can say with certainty (as has been said above) that it’s not people whose position is “just like” anti-science types, but that they’re often the *same people*.

    Like you. You’re a creationist. Your anti-science stand on AGW isn’t “just like someone who’s a creationist”, because you *are* a creationist. No matter how much you try to nuance it by saying “I’m an intelligent design creationist, not a real creationist” (as though “real creationists” pretend that God is not intelligent).

    Comment by dhogaza — 28 Mar 2010 @ 11:34 PM

  306. Congratulations Gerry Quinn #295, you were able to find something on the Interweb!

    Now the next step in your learning process is to make real, clickable links,like this.

    You know, we here have been trying to give you pointers for learning about the science also. What is it about ‘if you want to learn the science, read the primary literature’ that you don’t get? This is a brochure, for crying out loud. A summary for non-experts of the state of the science anno 1999 (and a pretty good one too). It doesn’t even boast a list of references!

    Come back when you’ve read up on, and understood, how multi-proxy reconstruction studies are actually done. Mann et al. (2008) as referenced by Jim is as good a starting point as any, and Open Access (and don’t forget to look at the Supporting Information). Hint: no, nobody relies of tree rings exclusively.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Mar 2010 @ 12:46 AM

  307. Frank Giger #266: what is your evidence for your claim that we’re on a natural warming trend?

    Here are a few places that could set you right:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/stalking-the-elusive-solar-cycletemperature-connection/
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    Another hint: before wading into a debate on a site chock-full of experts in a subject, check whether your assumptions are correct and your questions have been answered before. Try the “start here” link at the top of this page.

    Gavin et al.: would it be a relatively simple thing to set up, to paste in a “start here” button as a quick response to people who raise old issues? I’d try it now but I don’t know to what extent the HTML mangler would let my effort through.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Mar 2010 @ 1:11 AM

  308. “Kris was not criticizing the science, he was making a clear point about communication and the misunderstandings”

    Nope, Kris wasn’t doing that with the sentence I pointed out.

    Your criticism is extremely unfair.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Mar 2010 @ 3:05 AM

  309. #302.
    Sorry but I disagree with this particular criticism. Unless I have misunderstood, your comment would make things worse. I would not take off many marks for that phrase.

    It was just a short hand. A more careful account would add that this calculated imbalance is removed , partly very quickly and partly slowly, by global warming? I suppose you could add a whole page after that about the warming of the oceans etc. but it would have been another article.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/attribution-of-20th-century-climate-change-to-cosub2sub/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/06/ocean-heat-content-revisions/

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 29 Mar 2010 @ 5:20 AM

  310. #307, I know that suggestion has been raised before, it would sure cut down on the noise generated by the trolls and let uninformed readers know that these are mummified zombie arguments.

    Comment by Dappled Water — 29 Mar 2010 @ 7:18 AM

  311. Blair, (#302) you wrote that “And if the statement were true [that a net energy imbalance of 1.6 W/M^2 exists at TOA] the Earth would be accumulating one joule of energy per second, and would soon be burning up.”

    According to WIki,

    One joule in everyday life is approximately:
    -the energy required to lift a small apple one meter straight up.
    -the energy released when that same apple falls one meter to the ground.
    -the energy released as heat by a person at rest, every hundredth of a second.
    -one hundredth of the energy a person can receive by drinking a drop of beer.

    -the kinetic energy of an adult human moving at a speed of about a handspan every second.
    -the kinetic energy of a tennis ball moving at 23 km/h (14 mph).

    Considering the mass of the Earth–or even just the top couple of hundred meters of ocean–would you care to reconsider the “soon burn up” idea?

    And didn’t you mean that the Earth would accumulate 1.6 joules per M^2 per second?

    Now what was that you were saying about the Guardian writer’s “basic science literacy?”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Mar 2010 @ 7:22 AM

  312. Philip #307,
    I can’t post a draggable link, but try making a bookmark for the location:

    javascript:void(document.getElementById('comment').value+='<a href=\'http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/\'>Start here</a>')

    It should add a Start here at the end of your comment text. May not work in IE.

    Comment by CM — 29 Mar 2010 @ 7:32 AM

  313. @ Philip (307), who asked “what is your evidence for your claim that we’re on a natural warming trend?”

    and to

    “check whether your assumptions are correct and your questions have been answered before. Try the “start here” link at the top of this page,”

    I can only respond with the very first link provided in the “start here” area.

    From it we find out “About 10 thousand years ago, Earth entered an interglacial phase, which we are still within today. However, the rate of warming that we see today is much faster than expected and may be a threat to societies and ecosystems around the world.”

    http://www.eo.ucar.edu/basics/cc_3_d.html

    Who, again, needs to read the “start here” section of the site?

    [Response:We entered an interglacial phase about 10,000 years ago, and it reached a peak about 6000 years ago. On these timescales, the 'natural trend' would currently be cooling, not warming. Of course, these glacial-interglacial cycles operate on very long timescales (tens of thousands of years), and it is possible that superimposed on the natural cooling trend there is some 'natural warming trend' that is part of a shorter-timescale variability, but no one (no one) has found any evidence to support this yet.--eric]

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Mar 2010 @ 8:17 AM

  314. RE: 306 Martin, and every similar plea we make here and elsewhere, and with apologies to Cheech & Chong: “Read ze journals.” “I–I cannot read ze journals.” “READ ze journals.” “But–but I–I cannot read ze journals.” “READ ZE SCIENCE!” “(whimpering) I cannot read ze science.” “Why can you not read ze science?” “I can not see it because it is buried under stacks of bribe money and propaganda, and the leaflets say bad things will happen to me if I read ze science.”

    Comment by ghost — 29 Mar 2010 @ 8:23 AM

  315. Frank Giger does point out an error at the NCAR page. Thanks Frank. I sent this comment and suggestion to NCAR using their site’s Comment form. Let’s see what they make of it:
    ————————-
    On this page:
    http://www.eo.ucar.edu/basics/cc_3_d.html

    It says: “About 10 thousand years ago, Earth entered an interglacial phase, which we are still within today. However, the rate of warming that we see today is much faster than expected”

    That’s wrong. Better information on a similar public education page here:

    http://www.esr.org/outreach/climate_change/intro/intro1.html
    illustrated: http://www.esr.org/outreach/climate_change/intro/vostok.jpg

    “We are now well in an interglacial period. In fact, the present interglacial (called the “Holocene”) has already lasted longer than any of the 3 previous interglacials. Based just on orbital forcing, and following previous ice age cycles, we are due for a long period of gradual cooling to the next ice age. However, note that past CO2 concentrations have never been as high as they are at present (currently above 360 ppm), which changes the basic conditions under which our climate operates and makes it difficult to base future predictions on past behavior.”

    ——
    Gavin et al., know anyone at UCAR to nudge about that sign error problem?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2010 @ 9:44 AM

  316. PS, I also emailed the ESR contact about _their_ error on their page even thought I recommended it — CO2 is almost up to 389 ppm as of last month!
    I recommended they use the widget:
    http://co2now.org/images/stories/widgets/co2_widget_charney_130.png

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2010 @ 9:56 AM

  317. Re #314 ghost: to be fair, it is a problem that many important journal articles are behind paywalls. IMHO not a good thing for public understanding, but — it’s complicated.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 29 Mar 2010 @ 9:59 AM

  318. Overfishing is a separate problem from global warming, and is being addressed independently of global warming.

    Peak oil and AGW are at least closely related in the sense that the proposed solutions have a lot of overlap. Each would still be a threat without the other, but they can be addressed together.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 26 March 2010 @ 3:11 PM

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Underpinning everything is resource constraints via population. Further,acidification is having, and will continue to have, negative effects on the oceans. When you attempt to separate out any aspect of the global system, you are making a grave mistake. Recent report: Dying corals = destabilized nations.

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:13 AM

  319. #296, Brian, try these sites to relate Arctic temp & sea ice. I think they give some interesting perspectives.

    Arctic Temperature:
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Arctic sea Ice:
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    #290 John, you may swing by Watts’ site, they have a interesting discussion on sea ice, including volume considerations.

    Comment by J. Bob — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  320. Another Guardian article.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change

    This is a report by another of the Guardian’s regular bloggers, Leo Hickman, on an interview he conducted with Jim Lovelock. Lovelock’s main topic is despair , but he can’t resist joining the mob he criticises.

    he has little sympathy for the climate scientists caught up in the UEA email scandal. He said he had not read the original emails – “I felt reluctant to pry” – but that their reported content had left him feeling “utterly disgusted”.

    “Fudging the data in any way whatsoever is quite literally a sin against the holy ghost of science,” he said. “I’m not religious, but I put it that way because I feel so strongly. It’s the one thing you do not ever do. You’ve got to have standards.”

    Note that he relies on their “reported content”.

    (I might tell you later why I went back to the Guardian)

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:22 AM

  321. Re #281, 286,287 erc / Ice stuff.
    The cryosphere view today looks like this :
    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=03&fd=29&fy=1999&sm=03&sd=29&sy=2010.
    Interesting if look across 10 yr data or more !!

    Comment by william — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:28 AM

  322. Eric@313 response

    How about Little Ice Age? Is there not some evidence beginning to be developed that we might still be exiting from LIT(Mann,Akasofu). Could this be just the sort of superimposition you suggest?

    Comment by John Peter — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:40 AM

  323. Re: My last comment.
    The last two paragraphs should not have been inside the blockquote.

    I went back to the Guardian to check up on their coverage of the Gulf stream which I remember as being poor and a rather sensationalist , (out of touch with RC!). Anyway there is something just out in GRL pouring cold water on the slowdown of the THC.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8589512.stm

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:44 AM

  324. More nonsense appearing on the Guardian with the pieces giving far too much voice to Lovelock and his bizarre opinions and his now clearly lacking ability to critically analyze fud and internet noise from what has actually happened. Why Leo Hickman has given him so much space is a mystery.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock

    and

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change

    Kevin

    Comment by Oxford Kevin — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:52 AM

  325. Thanks for the correction – and that is how it should be done. Not “in your face stupid head, read a book, dummy!” but in a calm manner.

    Martin is dead on. I was reading yet another summary of a paid article that was saying that even if we shut down all CO2 emissions from man we’d still face warming in the near future. Linking to a summary quote on a blog isn’t really quoting anything but a blog, and therefore is highly suspicious. I cut RC slack in this regard for all the obvious reasons.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:52 AM

  326. Vermeer, #317
    Ghost, #314,

    I myself have mentioned, previously, that it is difficult to get at journal articles. A few people here have pointed out that some are available through public libraries, but that involves a lot more effort than cruising the Internet (not that I’m lazy, far from it, but I have a job, and many other responsibilities, etc.).

    I had sent a note to Nature suggesting that they provide some mechanism for people to cost effectively subscribe cross-journal to articles of interest in a topic (e.g. “climate change”),but I got no response and doubt that will come to pass.

    Beyond that, I know that I can read the original science most of the time, although some papers require two or three readings, and many require that I then visit two or three other papers that they cite to build the required foundation knowledge.

    But this ability in turn is founded on my having a fairly good understanding of multiple branches of science, mathematics, and the scientific method. I just don’t believe many people can or would even try to do what I do.

    Which brings to me to my point, my idea… It would be great if either the original scientists, or the staff of the journal, or another body (say qualified, truly qualified, journalists at a particularly involved and science oriented news outlet, like, er, the Guardian) wrote “layman’s versions” of the papers. NOT little fluff news reports like we see that barely scratch the surface, misunderstand or misrepresent the studies, exaggerate them to make them more tasty, and generally make things worse instead of better. Put the proposed layman’s version through a peer review process (i.e. ask the original authors or reviewers of the study to critique, comment and offer revisions and explanations to make sure that the layman’s version is accurate) and then make them easily available on the web.

    Imagine how differently the issues about the IPCC statements about the Amazon would have played out if everyone involved could be pointed to an easily understood version of the Nature paper from which the 40% figure was derived. Imagine all of the responses on this comments page if you could provide a direct link to a readable version of a specific paper, instead of just saying “go read the original science.”

    I think this is very doable, and very valuable. It just needs a body with the resources to make it work, or for the scientists involved to recognize that the best way to keep their own efforts from being mangled, misrepresented or maligned is to make sure that a solid “consumer friendly” version of their study is readily available.

    Comment by Bob — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:53 AM

  327. #291 J. Bob

    If I recall properly, confidence levels were discussed last year when you raised the same questions. You could go look there. I will try to get more solid numbers and post on my Arctic page.

    In the mean time, best way to say it now is that we are virtually certain that the ice mass is:

    - dropping
    - multi year ice will disappear in summer minimum likely within 30 years
    - rate of change based on current knowledge is that ice loss is unprecedented, at least within the last million years.
    - I think the error range on the ice mass loss was around 15% so maybe that gives us a confidence level of 85%

    I’m fully open to correction as I have not dug in on this and this time I will write it all down on the OSS Arctic page and provide source info.

    But J. Bob, also as I recall, you did not listen tot he confidence numbers then. Why would you listen now?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Mar 2010 @ 11:00 AM

  328. Sorry for the double comment, but I need a backcheck on my understanding of both the Little Ice Age and the Warm Period in Europe as it relates to global climate.

    In both cases, they appear to be continental (or hemispherical) climate trends of short (in geological terms) durations, an exaggeration of anomalies in a dynamic system.

    So while Ice Fairs were being held on the Thames in London in one case and grapes growing not far from there in the other, the larger trend went on its merry way.

    The economic equivalent is the Great Depression and the boom of post WWII; both were radical swings for and against the larger trend of greater trade and prosperity for the USA from founding to today (And if one substitutes public debt to CO2 emissions and switches arguments oddly similar debates arise with the same amount of acrimony on solutions).

    I’m cautious of pointing out either phenomenon, as we tend to be victims of our Eurocentric viewpoints, owing to historical accounts via written records, and pretty narrowly so. Here in North America we had a very wet winter; the folks in Australia have a different opinion of how their summer went.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Mar 2010 @ 11:23 AM

  329. Re , Kevin McKinney: The best metric is from the Science paper (Science 308, 1431 (2005)); that Hank referenced

    An imbalance of 1 W/m2 maintained for the last 10,000 years of the Holocene is sufficient to melt ice equivalent to 1 km of sea level (if there were that much ice) or raise the temperature of the ocean above the thermocline by more than 100-C.

    The paper claims the actual imbalance is about 0.85 W/m2, as Hank stated. So I was wrong about the impact of such an imbalance (there is a lot of water in the ocean to absorb energy), but I am not a science journalist with 20 years of experience writing an article that will be read by millions of people. The statement by Fred Pearce is wrong, showing a lack of understanding about the issue he is supposed to be covering.

    Comment by Blair Dowden — 29 Mar 2010 @ 11:41 AM

  330. CFU: “Nope, Kris wasn’t doing that with the sentence I pointed out.”

    Yes he was; you are cherry-picking from his post to make it sound like he was saying something that he wasn’t and then calling him unreasonable based on this, just like the denialists do.

    Comment by Greg C. — 29 Mar 2010 @ 11:55 AM

  331. [Response:We entered an interglacial phase about 10,000 years ago, and it reached a peak about 6000 years ago. On these timescales, the 'natural trend' would currently be cooling, not warming. Of course, these glacial-interglacial cycles operate on very long timescales (tens of thousands of years), and it is possible that superimposed on the natural cooling trend there is some 'natural warming trend' that is part of a shorter-timescale variability, but no one (no one) has found any evidence to support this yet.--eric]

    I do believe that Moburg et al. 2005 finds that there are some natural warming trends on shorter timescales. This is also found in Viau et al. 2006. I think that it would be impossible to argue that there couldn’t be shorter timescale natural warming trends based upon evidence presented in both these studies. Do these studies confirm that natural warming trends have occurred, not exactly, but they do provide evidence which supports stronger centennial scale variability than is readily accepted.

    Comment by Robert — 29 Mar 2010 @ 12:02 PM

  332. “So while Ice Fairs were being held on the Thames in London”

    Which was an effect caused by London (?) bridge being built and slowing the flow of the Thames, enabling it to more easily build up ice.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Mar 2010 @ 12:21 PM

  333. Re #320 and #324.

    I only saw the link to the shorter article. The second one , which is described as transcript of the important points, gives a different impression. First a comment about Hickman’s abbreviation. I refer to the last paragraph in quotes in #320. In the longer version it is unclear whether this even refers to global warming since it follows an accusation about the measurements of the ozone hole. Is this a justified omission on Hickman’s part?

    Is there anyone around who can comment on Lovelock’s version of the ozone hole? Returning to the CRU, Lovelock speculates about the meaning of the Emails without having read them or the context. How about some speculation about him? Why does he now sound sound so bitter? Perhaps because he thinks that he has not been treated well enough by the scientific community? He never got the Nobel prize over the ozone hole crisis. But that may have been because he is supposed to have played down the risk of the CFC’s. I have no time to read it all up again.

    There is a strong plug for Nigel Lawson who has no doubt informed Lovelock all about the Emails and how it has not warmed recently etc. I’m afraid that there are many environmentalists who worship Lovelock and will now be very confused. He also appears to be advocating a suspension of democracy. But what would he do as dictator? It looks as if he would go for better flood defences. London, New York etc. will do that anyway without his take-over.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 29 Mar 2010 @ 12:28 PM

  334. Just a quick additional thought on my proposal for “consumer friendly” (or “layman’s”) scientific papers… I think you could pretty easily pair a grad student and a journalism intern as a team to write such versions fairly cheaply and effectively. This would actually also be fantastic training for both; let the grad student learn how to talk science to a journalist, and let the journalist learn how to listen and realize how easy it is to misunderstand.

    I’d also think that some institutional body with funding in climate science could organize this, and could work out with the publishing journals what would or would not be allowed to be said (since obviously the original paper is in some way the property of the publishing journal).

    It would also be important to add seemingly obvious guidelines, like “summarize only what is in the paper; do not embellish, or add interpretations not explicitly stated by the authors in the paper itself.” This would help avoid the things that just went on with the Samanta et al BU press release; even the authors themselves should not add things to the consumer friendly version that are not in the original, full, peer reviewed and published version.

    In fact, I think a fairly small group could make a lot of headway in generating consumer friendly papers very quickly… with the first recipients of the output being places like the Guardian, so they get it right the first time (i.e. give them something more involved and accurate than a “press release” to work from).

    Comment by Bob — 29 Mar 2010 @ 12:44 PM

  335. #327, John confidence levels are not accuracy levels. Accuracy is based a summation of errors in the instrumentation and processing of the test results. I may be confident of something, but I feel better if I know the accuracy of that something I am measuring.

    Comment by J. Bob — 29 Mar 2010 @ 12:57 PM

  336. > Frank Giger
    > economic equivalent

    Arguing that a more or less steady growth trend in the economy is like the stability of the Holocene climate without human activity?!? Too weird.

    Whoah. You can’t compare a longterm stable climate to a rapid trend in economic activity and argue both are normal with fluctuations.

    And the economy was also consuming a relatively intact continent and all the big fish in the ocean while burning fossil fuels during the last few centuries, so you’re not even comparing different things.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2010 @ 1:00 PM

  337. 304
    “… Our climate model, driven mainly by increasing human-made greenhouse gases and aerosols, among other forcings, calculates that Earth is now absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 watts per square meter more energy from the Sun than it is emitting to space….”
    Comment by Hank Roberts — 28 March 2010 @ 11:25 PM

    My climate expert had this to say about that.

    “At what temperature profile? At what albedo? At what latent heat flow? At what total optical depth of the troposphere in clear sky flux?

    This is such contrived BS. The calculations can only be made in steady state temperature conditions, with the inability to model water vapor or clouds. That ruins the entire thing, and I am sold on Miskolczi’s paper that because of the conservation of energy, Eu at the top of the troposphere must be 1/2 of Su or hydrostatic stabilty will be affected and lower the effective emission height of the troposphere from convective overturn and release latent heat and clouds which have the same effect. Adding more Co2 will either increase this process slightly ( the Walker circulation ) or limit water vapor’s presence in the upper troposphere by radiational cooling. Both processes are at work here.

    Co2 proxies water vapors optical depth by cooling the upper troposphere.
    It cannot and does not modify the earths IR flux to space. This was all in the original works of Elsasser, which these clowns ignore. Their model may work on planets like Venus and Mars, but it will not work on earth.
    CW”

    [Response: Your climate expert does not have a clue. I would go back to the store and see if you can get a refund. If you are stuck with him, at least get him to read the paper being cited and some of the background references, all of which are online. - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Oregon — 29 Mar 2010 @ 1:09 PM

  338. # 333 Geoff Wexler

    I have no knowledge of the “scandals” associated with the ozone hole but I addressed the issues of both the e-mails and the idea of some sort authoritarian government in a comment on the first piece.

    I don’t know why but I’ve always felt that Lovelock wasn’t someone I would trust as a reliable commentator, someone I could go to get their interpretation of what is happening. This piece confirms my view of him. I suppose even if the theory of Gaia is not about a living organism as we would understand it, I just didn’t like the idea of it as an analogy.

    Once again the Guardian disappoints.

    Kevin

    Comment by Oxford Kevin — 29 Mar 2010 @ 1:54 PM

  339. Re Recent report: Dying corals = destabilized nations, here’s the story:

    Death of coral reefs could devastate nations, have ‘tremendous cascade effect for all life in the oceans’

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 29 Mar 2010 @ 2:13 PM

  340. Frank Giger says: even if we shut down all CO2 emissions from man we’d still face warming in the near future.

    In fact, we’d face warming for another couple of centuries.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 29 Mar 2010 @ 2:16 PM

  341. @ Hank (336)

    “Whoah. You can’t compare a longterm stable climate to a rapid trend in economic activity and argue both are normal with fluctuations.”

    Um, what stable climate are you talking about? If we know anything it’s that climate isn’t “stable,” as it is ever changing.

    Analogies aren’t always perfect, but mine shows a general trend can have seemingly wild swings and still remain a general trend.

    @ Fed Up, in regards to Frost Fairs.

    While the bridge did pile up ice, the River Thames froze below it as well, and thick enough to bring elephants onto it as an attraction.

    The larger hindrance was the reduction of the shoreline, which made the river narrower, deeper, and faster running – but it definately was colder in the UK at that time. At the time of the last of the fairs the construction improvements had already been done for a number of years.

    Since the colder climate anomaly was also felt in New England, one wonders if something odd wasn’t going on with the Gulf Stream.

    I’m going to dig about and see if Murmansk ceased being ice free during that time (since it is the end of the line for the Gulf Stream and the reason the Russians have a nice set of ports there).

    Comment by Frank Giger — 29 Mar 2010 @ 2:30 PM

  342. I’m glad to see some more substantive debate happening here.

    Gavin– [Response: Your climate expert does not have a clue. I would go back to the store and see if you can get a refund. If you are stuck with him, at least get him to read the paper being cited and some of the background references, all of which are online. - gavin]

    I certainly will, but have you read Miskolczi’s paper?

    [Response: Of course. It's nonsense and off-topic. Crank stuff like this is not worth anyone's time. Sorry. - gavin]

    [edit]

    The paper you refer to has no real measurements to back it up. It’s all theoretical.
    So where does that leave us?

    When theory meets measurement, doesn’t measurement win?

    Also, the OLR has not decreased as projected by all the Climate Models proving they are failures.
    Yet you and others here appear to rely upon them as if they are not.

    The list or errors in the Climate Models are extensive and can easily be provided if you were so inclined to address them.

    Something which you’ll have to do sooner or later.

    They aren’t getting any better.

    [Response: Except that they are: Reichler and Kim (BAMS, 2008). - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Oregon — 29 Mar 2010 @ 2:34 PM

  343. “Yes he was; you are cherry-picking from his post ”

    Yes, this is called “quoting the bit you wish to complain about”.

    Often used in discussions when someone says something that you disagree with: you quote it and then disagree and counter it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 29 Mar 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  344. Hank, Jim, dhogaza, …, “Like” is not critical to my argument. It can be the same people. Because one believes 100% in 100% evolution does not warrant his (same guy) assertion that AGW is without material blemish. One believing that evolution science is not absolute doesn’t mean, logically, that his (same guy) scepticism toward (some of) AGW is prima facie wrong. Yet that is the evidence sometimes offered. IMO it often backfires: I (for one) am hesitant (though not completely unwilling, given other relevant stuff) to accept AGW in total at its word when it comes from a guy that also espouses all of the hype and hyperbole and exaggerated statistical analyses of evolution, second hand smoke, DDT, etc. (This does not discount the parts of those examples that are valid.)

    Comment by Rod B — 29 Mar 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  345. Rod may still trust Heartland Institute, but there’s an apt saying: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 29 Mar 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  346. > Robert
    > Moburg … Viau …

    Moberg. Easier to find.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/past-reconstructions/

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/02/moberg-et-al-highly-variable-northern-hemisphere-temperatures/

    http://www.image.ucar.edu/~nychka/manuscripts/JASALiPaleo.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2010 @ 3:11 PM

  347. Rod, talking in absolutes: “100% … without material blemish … absolute …”
    That’s hype and hyperbole. It’s contagious. Don’t spread it. Don’t fall for people selling it to you, whether in their own remarks or claiming others believe that stuff and are still doing science. That ain’t science. It’s the language used for delay and denial.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2010 @ 3:19 PM

  348. This is slightly OT but Greenpeace has released a report about the “denial industry.” RC is the first blog recommended “…to get past the junk science:”

    Thanks RC!

    Editor – sorry that this is not hyperlinked – help?

    http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/dealing-in-doubt.pdf

    Comment by Mac Crawford — 29 Mar 2010 @ 3:39 PM

  349. #335 J. Bob

    I believe those are confidence levels in the accuracy of the estimations, so yes, confidence levels are accuracy levels.

    I think this is the same argument you presented last time. Why can’t you understand that you can have a confidence level in a set of numbers?


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    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 29 Mar 2010 @ 4:19 PM

  350. [Response: Of course. It's nonsense and off-topic. Crank stuff like this is not worth anyone's time. Sorry. - gavin]

    [edit]

    [Response: What part of the above was not clear? - gavin]

    Comment by Steve Oregon — 29 Mar 2010 @ 4:58 PM

  351. I just took a look at the Nature interview that The Guardian response links to (note the provocative URL of The Guardian article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/15/phil-jones-lost-weather-data ). Part of Prof Jones’s response that they ignored is:

    “The science still holds up” though, he adds. A follow-up study verified the original conclusions for the Chinese data for the period 1954–1983, showing that the precise location of weather stations was unimportant. “They are trying to pick out minor things in the data and blow them out of all proportion,” says Jones of his critics.

    Remember also we are talking about a 1990 paper; anyone relying on a 20-year-old paper that has not stood up to subsequent follow-up studies is doing very poor science. The Guardian is guilty of picking over the bones of a very old story to find some juicy bits the jackals left behind. Jackals are very efficient scavengers. You have nothing to report, and would do well to go back to doing what you do best, reporting the news accurately, and telling it like it is, not the way some lobby would prefer it to be.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Mar 2010 @ 6:21 PM

  352. Bob #326: much as I like your idea of “consumer=friendly science” (which is the gap some magazines like New Scientist and Scientific American try to fill but obviously not in time for the media spin cycle), I can’t see it happening on a wider scale than this site because scientists are not funded to do that kind of thing. Another problem is that, as we see with media releases, dumbing down the science creates the risk of inadvertently making points not supported by the evidence, or having to explain things laboriously that are clear to scientists (or should be) like statistical significance. Get any of this wrong, and you are back where you started, so the work involved would be significant, possibly more than writing the original paper.

    RC meanwhile is not a bad resource for what you want.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 29 Mar 2010 @ 6:53 PM

  353. Does Fred P misunderstand energy balance?

    We need to get this right or there is a risk of diluting the message we need to send to the Guardian.

    #252 I criticise Fred Pearce for shallow, initial understanding of the hockey stick (years ago)which I thought I remembered.

    ##302 Blair criticises Guardian phraseology concerning energy imbalance; claims that author shows no understanding. But comment looks wrong to me.

    #304 Hank’s comment (missed by me) quotes a paper which he thinks supports Blair. (No change to my view).

    #309 I criticise Blair for muddle and give partial support to Guardian’s phraseology

    # 311 Kevin McKinney weighs in with numbers

    #329 Blair comes back with more numbers and repeats orginal claim. It appears that Fred P is responsible for the Guardian’s remark.

    I don’t think anything has changed.
    I searched for old copy of his “The Last Generation”. His book has 5.5 pages devoted to the topic of energy imbalance, Chapter 17. Still no real change. Fred P’s wording is a bit ambiguous and can be interpreted to be both correct and incorrect.
    He likes to quote interviews.This time it is Jim Hansen. He quotes values of 1.8 W/m^2 and 0.8 W/m^2 respectively. If you read him carefully you can deduce that 1 W/m^2 has gone into heating the atmosphere and the quoted figure of 0.8 W/m^2 will be going in the next 30 or 40 years to heat the oceans. That will see the end of the imbalance, except that we are well on course to replace it by more forcing and Fred P does not put it that way. I think that he did and does probably understand this topic although his wording is not ideal. Remember this is a a popular book. I have seen much worse than these few pages.

    The melting of ice referred to in #329 is an interesting thought experiment or warning to us of what would happen if we keep repeating the forcings for a whole millenium.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 29 Mar 2010 @ 6:58 PM

  354. While I respect James Hansen as a man of science and think he is accurate most of the time, I think it’s inappropriate for a NASA chief executive to keep mentioning the Indian religious ascetic and fanatic Gandhi. Why not Thoreau instead? a more science oriented historical figure.

    Comment by Henry — 29 Mar 2010 @ 7:23 PM

  355. Aside — Did the Guardian ever mention that measurements of outgoing infrared from satellites have been measured and recently it’s clear this has changed as predicted? Or have a pointer that would help readers discover that this is has been observed? Studies are listed here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2010 @ 7:44 PM

  356. > Henry
    > why not Thoreau

    Chuckle. There’s a useful science lesson in answering that.
    Have you read this?

    “… Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in himself. He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced. At the time of the abolition of slavery movement, he wrote his famous essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”. He went to gaol for the sake of his principles and suffering humanity. His essay has, therefore, been sanctified by suffering. Moreover, it is written for all time. Its incisive logic is unanswerable.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Disobedience_(Thoreau)#cite_ref-16 and 17

    and see http://www.jstor.org/pss/362139

    Remember, science doesn’t build on and rely on the _first_ writing or on ae _founder_ or _originator_. The more recent work is relied on by current workers in the area. Science looks to see “how many grandchildren an idea has had” — how much good work has been done later by people extending and deepening the idea. The later work is the better work. That’s how it works.

    It’s quite appropriate to often cite later workers (like Gandhi), who have cited earlier workers like Thoreau.

    This is the habit always to practice when reading science. Look at the footnotes, look at the cited work, check that — and then look for more recent work citing the paper you have.

    Science grows like the kudzu, wherever it can — not like the mighty oak with a single taproot on which all else relies.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Mar 2010 @ 7:56 PM

  357. James Radison’s reply was surprising to me.

    I mean, he’s an editor at the Guardian, right? the last bastion of real news for many of us,

    [edit]

    Comment by Tenney Naumer — 29 Mar 2010 @ 8:27 PM

  358. Phillip, #352:

    I agree, and I disagree. I agree that it’s a lot of work, and that if you get it wrong it will lead to the same problems we’re seeing now. But I do think it would be done right more often than wrong, especially if it became common practice. Along those lines, it would be great if the publishing journals took the responsibility or, in the case of climate change, if any invested party or parties took the responsibility. It’s a sad world when the funding is basically there for the anti-AGW lobby to do this (and to purposely get it wrong), but no one on the side of the truth can afford to do it.

    I’m a software developer, primarily for businesses. Most software projects go bad in lots of ways, but the same ways over and over again. Every failure, however, can always be traced to miscommunication that results from the fact that the two communicating parties share minimal if any common ground. The system designer doesn’t really understand the business while the business doesn’t understand systems, or the programmer doesn’t understand the intricacies of the design while the designer doesn’t understand the specifics of the programming environment.

    Bridging all of these gaps is the key to successful projects. It’s also, I think, a lot of the problem being experienced in communicating climate change, at least as far as the impact and meaning of individual new papers. There are too many interwoven areas of science, plus mathematics, which must be communicated to journalists who in turn communicate it to “the masses.”

    I mean, I know it won’t happen, because in our “free market based society” only things that are profitable get done, and this wouldn’t generate any profits for anyone. But I do see a need, and the fact that it won’t get done (except piecemeal, as time and effort and passion allow, by sites like RC) is a shame, and hopefully not a tragically fatal shame.

    Comment by Bob — 29 Mar 2010 @ 8:59 PM

  359. John here is an example that might help explain the difference between accuracy and confidence level.

    Assume one has a thermometer to record temperature. If the observer takes say 100 readings in a short time interval (no temp change), he will have a certain level of confidence in his readings.

    However the temperature sensor will have a certain error. This can be do to initial manufacturing tolerance (+/- 0.5 deg.), aging,etc. That error will remain, no matter what the level of confidence in the readings. Hence to TOTAL ABSOLUTE ERROR is the combination of errors due to sensor accuracy and the readings. That is, one may have 100% confidence in the readings (samples)
    but still have the inherent sensor accuracy error. Hope this helps.

    Comment by J. Bob — 29 Mar 2010 @ 9:51 PM

  360. 318, ccpo: You have no idea what you are talking about. Underpinning everything is resource constraints via population. Further,acidification is having, and will continue to have, negative effects on the oceans. When you attempt to separate out any aspect of the global system, you are making a grave mistake. Recent report: Dying corals = destabilized nations.

    If you can not solve one problem without first solving every problem, then you can not solve any problem.

    That’s my paraphrase of a quote from Bertrand Russell.

    All achieveable solutions in the shared world are partial and temporary, and for political purposes require majorities (or at least large and persuasive minorities) in support but not unanimities. My suggestion was that you (actually, John P. Reisman) could solve CO2 accumulation faster if you didn’t alienate too many large constituencies at the start, deep ocean fishermen and fish-eaters being two of those constituencies.

    290, John P. Reisman: It is safe to say we will be without the Arctic ice (virtually ice) free within 30 years, and there is a reasonably good chance we will be virtually ice free within 10 years, or possibly less.

    I think that you mean in the summer. “Virtually” ice free requires some additional definition. Even then, the trends over the last 30 years and last 3 years don’t forecast imminent disappearance of the ice, only the trend from about 2002 to 2006. Right now, ice continues to form in the Arctic, past the average peak date.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:22 PM

  361. Ghandi a fanatic? Right. In comparison of what? The one who shot him? Rush Limbaugh calling for scientists to be “drawn and quartered?”
    Please, don’t use words indiscriminately. The result can really look like stupidity.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:34 PM

  362. Philip Machanik, the problem is actually even bigger.

    It resides in the deep cluelessness of the general public. Once you have done some (not even a lot, or advanced) maths and science in general, you develop a quick appreciation of certain things, like what is quantitatively appropriate. If you do some mechanics, you will easily perceive at first glance whether a structural part somewhere is grossly undersized and not viable. Or oversized, creating an unnecessary burden. It becomes second nature. Some engineers can immediately tell if something is questionable in an airplane design just by looking at it, and they’ll ask you just the right questions about it too.

    At a more general level, a less developped but existing sense of what makes quantitative sense used to be common. It no longer is. Some people sincerely think that the heat mechanically generated by human activities could be a significant contributor to GW.

    The cluelessness runs deep. On that terrain, you can sell any ol’ scientific sounding snake oil.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:48 PM

  363. Re: #353–

    I had no opinion on the Pearce quote per se–just knew Blair’s point was not well-taken and said so. I did look around a bit to see if I could spot the source Blair referred to and understand a bit better what he intended–I didn’t quite get why Blair was so critical of Pearce. No luck, so I appreciate the explanation or summary you provide, Phillip.

    Since arriving at the .85 w/m^2 involves lots of calculation (see Hansen et al, 2005), and since Dr. Hansen is in fact a physicist, those parts of Pearce’s statement seem defensible to me–at least in the context of a brief, popular description.

    Where the 1.6 w/m^2 came from, I don’t know. (And am not excessively worried about.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 29 Mar 2010 @ 10:52 PM

  364. #359 J. Bob

    Hence the 85% number I mentioned as opposed to 100%.

    By the way, I don’t have strong confidence in the number I gave you because I am relying on my memory which I don’t have complete confidence in pertaining to the conversation form last year. It will likely take a little time for me to resolve it unless someone else knows.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 30 Mar 2010 @ 12:58 AM

  365. #360 Septic Mathew

    Yes, I do mean summer minimum, typically September.


    Our best chance for a better future ‘Fee & Dividend’
    Understand the delay and costs of Cap and Trade
    http://www.climatelobby.com/fee-and-dividend/
    Sign the Petition!
    http://www.climatelobby.com

    Comment by John P. Reisman (OSS Foundation) — 30 Mar 2010 @ 12:59 AM

  366. This may not be the right place to ask, but for a book I’m writing I’d like to list the best three climate-change websites OTHER THAN THIS ONE. Any suggestions?

    Comment by Hunt Janin — 30 Mar 2010 @ 2:36 AM

  367. “While the bridge did pile up ice, the River Thames froze below it as well, and thick enough to bring elephants onto it as an attraction.”

    Nope the bridge slowed the water so that ice would more easily form.

    That ice then slowed down the water more so that more ice would more easily form.

    This is called a “feedback loop”.

    Tell me, if the bridge “piled up ice”, how did the ice get formed? Why did the known mechanism of “slower water flow” not allow something called “cooling of the water” to happen in situ more than before and, by the magic of “getting cold enough to freeze” cause ice to form?

    Given that you now admit that the bridge building had an effect, I posit to you that your assertion that it was cold therefore the thames froze is incomplete and therefore unsupportable. Before attempting to reassert this fallacy, please include in your model the missing unknowns like slower water, etc.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Mar 2010 @ 2:38 AM

  368. 292 jo abbess: Just because you think the statistics required are elementary doesn’t mean that the average person or average journalist understands statistics at that level. They don’t. Nor do they understand any of that other stuff that you think everybody understands. To be blunt: Compared to you, the average person is quite stupid and very little educated, especially in math.
    The statistics that you assume everybody knows is in the first statistics course in sophomore undergrad PHYSICS programs. It is the course that sorts out who is going to get a degree in physics and who isn’t. Statistics is not required and not taught in almost all college degrees. A very small percentage of college grads have taken ANY statistics at all. Those who did not go to college of course did not take statistics.

    But a lot of people think they know a lot that they don’t.

    There is no such thing as “much more approachable mathematics” for most people. They stop reading at the first mathematical symbol. They just give up. There is no such thing as a “simple formula.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 30 Mar 2010 @ 3:59 AM

  369. Steve Oregon (337),

    1) Miskolczi confuses emissivity with emission.

    2) He treats the Earth-atmosphere system with the virial theorem, which is grossly inappropriate since the Earth and the atmosphere are not in orbit about one another.

    3) His theory depends on more carbon dioxide in the air leading to less water vapor. This contradicts the Clausius-Clapeyron law, and all the measurements show the two have been rising together:

    Brown, S., Desai, S., Keihm, S., and C. Ruf, 2007. “Ocean water vapor and cloud burden trends derived from the topex microwave radiometer.” Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Barcelona, Spain: IGARSS 2007, pp. 886-889.

    Dessler AE, Zhang Z, Yang P 2008. “Water-Vapor Climate Feedback Inferred from Climate Variations.” Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L20704.

    Held, I.M. and B. J. Soden, 2000. “Water vapor feedback and global warming.” Annu. Rev. Energy Environ., 25, 441–475.

    Minschwaner, K., and A. E. Dessler, 2004. “Water vapor feedback in the tropical upper troposphere: Model results and observations.” J. Climate, 17, 1272–1282.

    Oltmans, S.J. and D.J. Hoffman, “Increase in Lower-Stratospheric Water Vapor at Mid-Latitude Northern Hemisphere Site from 1981-1994,” Nature, 374 (1995): 146-149.

    Philipona, R., B. Dürr, A. Ohmura, and C. Ruckstuhl 2005. “Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and strong water vapor feedback increase temperature in Europe.” Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L19809.

    Santer, B. D, C. Mears, F. J. Wentz, K. E. Taylor, P. J. Gleckler, T. M. L. Wigley, T. P. Barnett, J. S. Boyle, W. Bruggemann, N. P. Gillett, S. A. Klein, G. A. Meehl, T. Nozawa, D. W. Pierce, P. A. Stott, W. M. Washington, M. F. Wehner, 2007. “Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 104, 15248-15253.

    Soden, B.J., D. L. Jackson, V. Ramaswamy, M. D. Schwarzkopf, and X. Huang, 2005. “The radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening.” Science, 310, 841–844.
    http://www.gfy.ku.dk/~kaas/forc&feedb2008/Articles/Soden.pdf

    4) Miskolczi’s equation (4) setting downward atmospheric IR emission equal to the absorbed longwave flux from the ground implies that the atmosphere can somehow tell which heat comes from infrared and which comes from conduction, convection, or evapotranspiration. If you think it through, this requires the atmosphere to be self-aware, intelligent, and possessed of magical powers.

    For more detail, try here:

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Miskolczi.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:49 AM

  370. While, as a Christian, I have to reject Gandhi’s syncretism, it is much more reasonable and humane than the Hinduism of, say, the BJP. Gandhi would never have sanctified pogroms against Christians and Muslims.

    Ragupati ragava Rajah Ram,
    Putita bhavana sita Ram!
    Ishura Allah terenam,
    Duvco sun mutti de Bahagavhan!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:55 AM

  371. Random selections from The Guardian Environment web page of today :-

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/28/un-climate-change-meeting-london

    “The trillion-dollar question is: who will now lead the climate battle?
    Political and business leaders gather this week in an attempt to revive the world’s faltering challenge to global warming. But they face a battle to lift the cloud of scepticism that has descended over climate science and chart a new way forward : Paul Harris in New York, John Vidal and Robin McKie, The Observer, Sunday 28 March 2010″

    Excuse me ? A “cloud of scepticism” ? Only people working in the Media can think that the vapours currently emerging from the mouths of denier-obstructers constitute a significant “cloud”. Climate Change Science still stands in the bright sunlight, just like it did a couple of months ago.

    “…Politicians and negotiators are preparing another assault on the issue, though this time talks will be very different. For a start, climate science has suffered damaging setbacks…”

    Er, no. Climate Change Science hasn’t suffered any “setbacks”. In fact, Climate Change Science has been advancing apace.

    “…There was the leaking from the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit of email exchanges between some of the world’s top meteorologists…”

    You what ? The use of the dubious word “leaking” hinted that it cannot be established who was behind the liberation of the e-mails. The implication is that it could have been an inside job. As far as can be established, the “leak” was in fact a “hack”, a deliberate attempt by those outside Climate Change Science to steal something they could use to beat Scientists up with.

    “…as well as the discovery that a UN assessment report on climate change had vastly exaggerated the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers…”

    Again, no. There is clarity in the evidence that Himalayan glaciers are indeed melting. An Indian report of 16% loss over the last 100 years is not “exaggerated”.

    “…The former revelation suggested some researchers were involved in massaging the truth, sceptics claimed…”

    Why bother to repeat the claims of Climate Change sceptics ? They are unfounded and mischievous.

    “…while the latter exposed deficiencies in the way the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – authors of the report – go about their business…”

    No, no, no. The IPCC reports have contained “edge” problems, but the process is still excellent.

    “…The overall effect has been to damage the credibility of the large number of scientists who fear our planet faces climatic disaster…”

    Oh for crying out loud’s sake ! Climate Change Scientists are no less credible than before Climategate. In fact, the reason that this conference is happening in London on Wednesday is proof of that.

    It’s no good. I don’t want to read any more. It could risk a bout of high blood pressure.

    Do The Guardian realise that they are having this effect on their formerly devoted and believing readership ? Where’s the trust ? Why do The Guardian, and more ludicrously, The Observer have to be seen to be pandering to the viewpoints of the sceptics – who don’t have a cotton-picking leg to stand on (or even fall from) ?

    Comment by jo abbess — 30 Mar 2010 @ 6:56 AM

  372. “…There was the leaking from the University of East Anglia’s climate research unit of email exchanges between some of the world’s top meteorologists…”

    Meteorologists? Who would they be? When the reporters mess up the basics…

    Comment by Robert Murphy — 30 Mar 2010 @ 7:36 AM

  373. RE Comment by jo abbess #371

    Reminds me of the Black Knight in Monty Python And The Holy Grail, as his arm is hacked off: “It’s only a flesh wound!”

    Denial thrives on both sides of the climate issue.

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 30 Mar 2010 @ 7:52 AM

  374. #366 Hunt Janin,

    I assume that by ‘best’ you mean offering useful information to someone seeking to understand the science and what is going on around it. My pick would be

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/
    http://www.desmogblog.com/
    http://thebenshi.com/

    Very different sites, and interesting for very different reasons.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 30 Mar 2010 @ 8:04 AM

  375. Hunt (#366),
    I’ll offer four links instead of three because I can’t choose:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/
    http://dels.nas.edu/climatechange/
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/
    http://www.climate.gov/
    Yes, this is a US-centric list. Welcome to the unipolar world.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 30 Mar 2010 @ 9:11 AM

  376. As Jack Maloney says, denialism thrives on both sides. The comments from Jo Abbess @371 are charming, but show just how out of touch this community is. Jo is preaching to the converted here, so is assured of a sympathetic hearing, but in the Real World, things have changed. It’s no use claiming that the pure lambent light of science shines brightly, because it patently doesn’t. Mo matter what the truth, or otherwise, of the claims of climate science, the reputation of science is damaged. Period. That’s it. I spent a lot of time in earlier threads showing what climate science could do to rescue itself (and there was even some reluctant acceptance from some quarters here) but the brand is badly damaged, and the press and their readers understand that.

    The Guardian’s interview with James Lovelock is instructive. He explains in very simple terms what’s wrong. On data: “You’ve got to be honest about it and explain why you’ve done what you have done.” On modelling: “If you make a model, after a while you get suckered into it. You begin to forget that it’s a model and think of it as the real world. You really start to believe it.” And so on.

    The community here would do well to listen to the man. He’s hardly a denialist, and he can see what’s wrong with “the science.” As he says, “The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet.”

    So let’s have a bit more – if not humility – then realism, at least, Lovelock-style. After all, this is supposed to be Real Climate.

    Comment by AxelD — 30 Mar 2010 @ 9:31 AM

  377. @ #366 Hunt Janin
    Probably need more specifics, but to add to the excellent suggestions from Martin Vermeer and Anonymous Coward, here are a couple more:
    http://climateprogress.org/
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

    And to add an international flavour:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/
    http://www.csiro.au/science/Climate-Change.html

    Comment by Sou — 30 Mar 2010 @ 9:40 AM

  378. “Nightmare’ rains drench East Coast – Second major storm this month expected to topple records for wettest March ever.”

    No discussion of water vapor response issues? That’s a legitimate scientific topic, isn’t it?

    On this:

    The Guardian’s interview with James Lovelock is instructive. He explains in very simple terms what’s wrong. On data: “You’ve got to be honest about it and explain why you’ve done what you have done.” On modelling: “If you make a model, after a while you get suckered into it. You begin to forget that it’s a model and think of it as the real world. You really start to believe it.” And so on.

    A few points on Lovelock:

    1) He’s never acknowledged the very real criticism of his “Gaia Theory” which has teleological issues. The notion that Lovelock promoted was “the evolution of the Earth as a planetary organism” – it might apply to Pandora, the Avatar world with the sentient biosphere, but what we really have here is what Steven Schneider called the “Co-evolution of climate and life”, which seems to be a much clearer way of looking at it.

    2) Blanket promotions for nuclear ignore the issues – fuel supply, waste disposal, construction costs, and need for large amounts of cooling water. Nuclear alone is not even close to a “global warming solution” but that’s the drum that Lovelock’s been beating.

    3) The coal carbon capture claims are a far greater scientific fraud case than anything related to the climategate emails and the truncated tree ring dataset – but neither RC nor the Guardian will discuss this.

    Why? Beats me… But it does raise certain questions about the overall agenda here.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 30 Mar 2010 @ 9:49 AM

  379. #376.

    Summary. The propaganda is correct, and has always been.That if the press go on a witch hunt that it is the fault of the ‘witches’. Another obvious lesson from the CRU hack is that the climate modelers in the Met Office (who do a different sort of research in a different place) should resign and hand over responsibility to Jim Loveluck who is of course highly experienced in writing and testing big computer models.

    Finally they should stop being so arrogant and take Jim Lovelock’s advice that Nigel Lawson has written a good book. They should revise their view of Nigel’s statistical ability and scientific knowledge. Next
    step ?, they should apply Schrodinger’s cat theory, to climate science and assume that the science is a linear combination of Lovelock’s earlier wild alarmism and Telegraphese denialism.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Mar 2010 @ 10:09 AM

  380. RE- Comment by Bob — 29 March 2010 @ 8:59 PM, and previous:

    Check out Science News.org for an example of good science reporting. I have been getting their print publication for more than 40 years. I don’t think that the lack of sources of good science explanation is as big a problem as the lack of general media outlets and reporters who care, and the rising prominence of religious, market/economic, nationalistic, and technologic fundamentalism in the general public.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 30 Mar 2010 @ 10:14 AM

  381. My sincere thanks to the authors of posts 374, 375, and 377 re climate change websites. These are the kinds of quick, calm, informative responses which are so useful to a rank beginner like me.

    Comment by Hunt Janin — 30 Mar 2010 @ 10:37 AM

  382. Ike, you might be interested in Peter Ward’s complementary idea, the Medea Hypothesis.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 30 Mar 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  383. “As Jack Maloney says, denialism thrives on both sides.”

    It does???

    As much as in the G&T paper that says that greenhouse theory violates the second law of thermodynamics?

    Or the nearly 1000 denials listed here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    which include such things as “it’s cooling” to “it’s warming because of cosmic rays which are increasing”, which can’t both be true, yet both proponents ignore that disagreement and merely concentrate on The Big Picture: IPCC is wrong, doesn’t matter how. This is how you spot denialism rather than skepticism.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Mar 2010 @ 10:54 AM

  384. Re Jim’s commentary on my post #295:

    If the goal of the image had been “to portray the most likely temperature history up to the present” there would have been a single curve, not three!

    [Response: Wrong. Three gives a better sense of the likelihood of the mean and variance, and anyway my point was wrt the best estimate of proxy-based and instrumental T.--Jim]

    Clearly the goal of the image was to portray multiple independent proxy series agreeing with each other and with instrumental data. So the image was supposed to portray not only the most likely temperature history, it was also supposed to portray the consistency and reliability of that history. The portrayal of the most likely history is legitimate, but in the context of Jones’s manipulation of the original data, which is nowhere referred to, the portrayal of the consistency is certainly very dubious.

    [Response: Been discussed to death. "Clearly" only to those who've decided to interpret it that way.--Jim]

    My point about the standard error is simple and I am astonished that you have difficulty seeing it. Given that Jones knows that the proxy data series have diverged from the measured temperatures by several tenths of a degree over the last few decades, and that the reason is unknown, the claim that the data is accurate to 0.1 degree two centuries ago is quite impossible to substantiate. He simply cannot be 95% confident that they were not diverging then or at other times in the same way.

    [Response: You in fact made more than one point wrt variable standard error, and I addressed the one relating to sample size effects. WRT to divergence's possible influence, do a sensitivity analysis incorporating reasonable estimates of pre-historical divergence if you're concerned about it. This will require very careful attention to methods of course.--Jim]

    My post was completely on topic as it related to the interpretation of one of the ‘ClimateGate’ emails, the Guardian’s coverage of which is the thread topic. I have not at any time accused Jones of doing anything other than what he has admitted to doing.

    [Response: Very McIntyre-esque. What do you think scientists do if not endless manipulations of data? But somehow Jones doing so needs to be mentioned for some reason.--Jim]

    Nor do I think my interpretation is in any way unfair. Quite simply, Jones was overstating the accuracy/consistency of the presented temperature reconstructions.

    [Response: I thought you hadn't accused him of anything he's not admitted to.--Jim]

    How serious this was is a matter that everyone can come to their own judgement on. For some posters, it would appear that anything goes so long as it does not appear in a peer-reviewed paper. But this sits ill with the oft-made assertion that it is journalists who overstate the work of researchers, or with criticisms concerning lack of objectivity in other non peer-reviews sources.

    You also give a link to a recent Mann paper on proxy reconstructions. It is an interesting paper, but it has nothing to do with the topic at hand, which relates to the ‘ClimateGate’ emails and the events and reportage relating to them.

    [Response: It has everything to do with it, as Ray points out. If you were really interested in what the science has to say about past millenial temps instead of criticizing Phil Jones, you'd see it instantly--Jim]

    Martin Vermeer’s #306:

    The report is “a summary for non-experts of the state of the science anno 1999″. Yes. And as I have shown, it is a flawed one that overstates the accuracy of reconstructions and hides (Jones’s own word) a major issue with the proxy data.

    You say “if you want to learn the science, read the primary literature”. Thank you for that brilliant gem of advice.

    [Response: How about you follow it then.--Jim]

    However, in this thread we are not discussing how multi-proxy reconstructions are or should be done, we are discussing how certain multi-proxy reconstructions were in fact done, and related controversies.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 30 Mar 2010 @ 10:56 AM

  385. Re Jim Galasyn #340:

    Frank Giger says: even if we shut down all CO2 emissions from man we’d still face warming in the near future.

    In fact, we’d face warming for another couple of centuries.

    As I understand it, this is untrue. If anthropogenic CO2 emissions ceased, atmospheric CO2 would start to fall as the oceans continued to absorb at a rate proportion to the difference between the current concentration and the equilibrium concentration. Models indicate that the temperature would in this case stabilise and even fall slightly, rather than continue to increase.

    cf. Climate Change Commitments

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 30 Mar 2010 @ 11:07 AM

  386. Re: 379. (continued).

    (Using the same quantum metaphor.)

    The cat state may look incomprehensible, until you realise that it is an eigenstate of the inactivity operator

    .. in ordinary language, if the cat is dead it is already too late, if it is alive there is no problem , so that we can relax and continue as before except for some adaptation. If the Telegraph of Lawson and Monckton has anything to do with it,this will involve building tough immigration controls, higher flood defences and rigorous news management to keep out climate refugees, water, and bad news from the lower latitudes, respectively.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Mar 2010 @ 11:16 AM

  387. AxelD,
    It really is a pity that you don’t have a sufficient sense of irony to see how ridiculous it is for you to proclaim science to be damaged over a medium that exists precisely because science works.

    You remind me of the creationists who decry science while proclaiming the virtues of technology.

    Axel, the mountains of evidence that showed that we are warming the planet in November are still here in March, and they’ll be here next November, too. What the CRU hack really shows is that science produces reliable knowledge even when wielded by fallible humans. The science will be there waiting for people to confront it as soon as they’re done with their temper tantrum of denial.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Mar 2010 @ 11:24 AM

  388. Gerry Quinn says

    “You also give a link to a recent Mann paper on proxy reconstructions. It is an interesting paper, but it has nothing to do with the topic at hand,”

    Well actually, it does. It shows that you get pretty much the same result even if you don’t include the proxies you find questionable. So, it would appear that the topic is only of interest for those with a personal vendetta against certain scientists.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Mar 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  389. Ike, Lovelock rebutted the people reading teleology into his idea–long ago.
    I don’t know how old you are. Older folks may remember this:

    … against the charge that Gaia was teleological Lovelock and Andrew Watson offered the Daisyworld model (and its modifications, …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

    … His theory has been called teleological by many critics. In his newer version of Gaia, Lovelock avoids saying that life regulates anything. …
    http://www.panspermia.org/gaia.htm

    http://www.google.com/search?q=daisyworld+coevolution

    Online versions of the simple model, comments by Sagan and many others.

    This was a long, long time ago–lost in the mists of time I fear.

    Lovelock may well have gone emeritus, I dunno. But I was around when he first started publishing and don’t like seeing misstatements about him.
    Please take this in the spirit of primate grooming, a nitpick offered.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2010 @ 11:54 AM

  390. “the claim that the data is accurate to 0.1 degree two centuries ago is quite impossible to substantiate”

    It is quite easy to substantiate.

    There’s 140 years of records with actual thermometer measurements to track against where the concordance is good.

    Just like when Linford Christie runs we KNOW he was a fast runner, but if someone has just given him squiffy water, we know he won’t run anywhere near as well (even if we don’t know that the water he’s been given is squiffy). That he can’t run whilst he has the trots doesn’t mean he was never a good runner.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 30 Mar 2010 @ 11:56 AM

  391. @GerryQuinn (#385)

    As you rightly point out, if humankind Greenhouse Gas emissions were to cease tomorrow, then gradually, over time, Carbon Dioxide would be taken out of the air. This is the kind of curve :-

    http://www.tececo.com/images/graphics/climate%20change/Hansen1DecayCO2.gif
    http://www.ciesin.org/docs/011-463/fig.gif
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/4/48/Carbon_Dioxide_Residence_Time.png
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-10-3.html

    However, as you can see, a large fraction of the Carbon Dioxide that has been added to the atmosphere by humankind over the last couple of centuries will continue to stay up there for quite some time, where it will continue to warm up the Earth :-

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-7-2.html

    And the oceans will continue to rise :-

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-7-4.html

    And the ice cover will continue to melt :-

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-7-4-3.html

    Comment by jo abbess — 30 Mar 2010 @ 1:06 PM

  392. #390, go to http://www.rimfrost.no/
    and correlate the longest running temp records (i.e. Uppsala, Paris, Berlin, etc.) with the Central England and DeBilt data. You might find some interesting patterns.

    Comment by J. Bob — 30 Mar 2010 @ 1:18 PM

  393. RE Comment #390 by Completely Fed Up
    “‘the claim that the data is accurate to 0.1 degree two centuries ago is quite impossible to substantiate’

    “It is quite easy to substantiate.

    “There’s 140 years of records with actual thermometer measurements to track against where the concordance is good.”

    How can those “140 years of records with actual thermometer measurements” support a claim of accuracy of 0.1 degree? According to NOAA’s USHCN Climate Reference Network (CRN) Site Information Handbook:

    “The research community, government agencies, and private businesses have identified significant shortcomings in understanding and examining long-term climate trends and change over the U.S. and surrounding regions. Some of these shortcomings are due to the lack of adequate documentation of operations and changes regarding the existing and earlier observing networks, the observing sites, and the instrumentation over the life of the network. These include inadequate overlapping observations when new instruments were installed and not using well maintained,calibrated high-quality instruments. These factors increase the level of uncertainty when government and business decision-makers are considering long-range strategic policies and plans.”

    [Response: He was talking about the correlation of instrumental with proxy.--Jim]

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 30 Mar 2010 @ 1:40 PM

  394. [Response: He was talking about the correlation of instrumental with proxy.--Jim]

    Correlation to 0.1 accuracy between thermometers and proxy seems rather meaningless when neither measurement is reliable even to +/- 1.0 accuracy. And when that correlation falls apart, what does that mean?

    [Response: Nonsense. Issues with neither data set, nor of their relationship to each other, invalidates the uniqueness of the current situation--Jim]

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 30 Mar 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  395. @ Fed Up (Frost Fairs)

    Localized geography had an effect, but short term climate trends definately were driving the freezing of the Thames. While not a scientific model, we see colder and longer winters during the timeframe reflected in art, literature, and historical accounts.

    At the other side of the Gulf Stream, New York was freezing over as well, with pedestrian and vehicular traffic to and from Staten Island over ice at the same time. It wasn’t bridges causing it.

    In Italy, tree rings back up the long cold spell, which in turn effected the quality of wood, making it more dense. A certain violin maker of great skill took advantage of it (though not cognizant of why), and even today his works are regarded as the best ever made.

    Saying there wasn’t a LIA (to use the label) in the northern hemisphere that particularly effected Europe and North America is as incorrect as saying it is proof that AGW doesn’t exist.

    Comment by Frank Giger — 30 Mar 2010 @ 2:45 PM

  396. > You might find some interesting patterns.
    It’s the easiest way to fool yourself, by seeing patterns very easily.
    If you were at risk of leopards lurking in the brush, that would be useful.
    The penalty for missing one is total; the penalty for imagining many is nil.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=primate+pattern+recognition

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  397. Gerry Quinn and Jo Abbess,
    There was an interesting discussion about the recent paper showing little warming if CO2 emissions stopped. Some folks here pointed out that if CO2 emissions stopped, so would SO2 emissions–and you would have increased insolation. Not as clear as it first appears.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Mar 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  398. # Re 363 (and #353) Kevin McKinney

    the total forcing from 1750 to 2000 is about 1.7 W/m^2

    from the first link in #353.
    Geoff.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Mar 2010 @ 3:03 PM

  399. Steve Easterbrook and George Monbiot discuss scientists, journalism and their mutual intersection with the public at Climate Progress as followup to a reprint at Climate Progress of Dr. Easterbrook’s earlier post here.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Mar 2010 @ 4:07 PM

  400. Here’s some news more important than a few rude emails:

    “A Greenpeace investigation has identified a little-known, privately owned US oil company as the paymaster of global warming sceptics in the US and Europe.

    The environmental campaign group accuses Kansas-based Koch Industries, which owns refineries and operates oil pipelines, of funding 35 conservative and libertarian groups, as well as more than 20 congressmen and senators. Between them, Greenpeace says, these groups and individuals have spread misinformation about climate science and led a sustained assault on climate scientists and green alternatives to fossil fuels.

    Greenpeace says that Koch Industries donated nearly $48m (£31.8m) to climate opposition groups between 1997-2008. From 2005-2008, it donated $25m to groups opposed to climate change, nearly three times as much as higher-profile funders that time such as oil company ExxonMobil. Koch also spent $5.7m on political campaigns and $37m on direct lobbying to support fossil fuels.”

    (much) More:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/30/us-oil-donated-millions-climate-sceptics

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Mar 2010 @ 4:20 PM

  401. Jack says in #394:

    Correlation to 0.1 accuracy between thermometers and proxy seems rather meaningless when neither measurement is reliable even to +/- 1.0 accuracy.

    You’re missing the difference between precision and accuracy. If you want to know the exact temperature you need accuracy. If you want to know changes in temperature you need precision. Accuracy is how close the measurement is to the actual thing being measured. Precision just means how many decimal places one can consistently measure.

    For example, my bathroom scale may weigh to the ounce and still be off 10 pounds. That scale would be quite precise but not accurate at all. As long as I use the same scale I can tell very well whether I’m gaining or losing weight – just not how much I actually weigh.

    That’s what the scientists have done with the temperature record. Say they get the diary of someone who lived in the 1800′s who recorded the temperature every day. The thermometer has long since been lost, and you don’t really know how it was sited. But if you have 100 of them scattered about and you average them appropriately you can determine that some years were hotter or colder than others, and by about how much.

    Comment by David Miller — 30 Mar 2010 @ 4:24 PM

  402. Re #391:

    If CO2 emissions stopped tomorrow, certainly the CO2 would remain abouve pre-industrial levels for a long time (forever in theory, ignoring all other factors), but the Earth would not get hotter, as the current CO2 forcing would be continually reduced. This would more than compensate for any increased saturation in the ocean’s ability to absorb heat; that is to say, the theoretical ‘backlog’ of warming due to the ocean not having reached thermal equilibrium would not matter. That is the basic logic of the situation as I understand it. The backlog only becomes the deciding factor in a scenario where atmospheric CO2 concentration remains constant.

    Sea level would indeed continue to rise as more heat went into the oceans. But then they’ve been rising at a fairly constant rate for most of a century, and until recently it bothered nobody, even in Tuvalo.

    Your link relating to the ice is too pessimistic, it relates to higher emission scenarios. Doubtless melting at current rates would continue (though depending on ice dynamics a new steady state could emerge) but that does not seem very serious; it is only a fraction of current sea level rise.

    Re #397:

    Of course you are correct about the SO2, and I guess a sudden stop in CO2 emissions without a concomitant drop in aerosols is even more unlikely than a sudden stop in CO2 emissions. Still, the question here is the thermal inertia related to CO2, and it seems correct to me to isolate such presumed inertia factors to determine the real meaning of each. Anyway this was all pretty much thrashed out in the related thread.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  403. # Re 398

    It should have been from “the first link in #309.”

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:02 PM

  404. Re: Jim’s comments on #384:

    I won’t comment on the first two comments because I think I cannot put my points more clearly and people can choose to agree either with me or with Jim.

    “WRT to divergence’s possible influence, do a sensitivity analysis incorporating reasonable estimates of pre-historical divergence if you’re concerned about it. This will require very careful attention to methods of course” – Jim

    Cheap and cheerful method: instrumental records available for 140 years or so. Divergence has been observed for 20 years in the case of two series and 40 in the case of the third. Furthermore the proxies are to a large extent calibrated to the rest of the instrumental data. But even if we ignore this, the divergence covers almost one fifth of the time when instrumental data was available, and the cause is unknown. If I sample 6 swans and one is black, I can’t state with 95% confidence that an unknown population of swans is white!

    [Response: Cheerful is good. Not even remotely close to rigorous enough unfortunately. See here for some ideas and references, esp Cook et al., 2004.--Jim]

    “If you were really interested in what the science has to say about past millenial temps instead of criticizing Phil Jones” – Jim

    Can’t I do both?

    [Response: As long as it's legitimate and unbiased.--Jim]

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:14 PM

  405. @RayLadbury (#397)

    >
    > There was an interesting discussion
    > about the recent paper showing little
    > warming if CO2 emissions stopped.
    >

    I assume you are making reference to this :-

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/climate-change-commitments/

    “CO2 concentrations would start to fall immediately since the ocean and terrestrial biosphere would continue to absorb more carbon than they release as long as the CO2 level in the atmosphere is higher than pre-industrial levels (approximately). And subsequent temperatures (depending slightly on the model you are using) would either be flat or slightly decreasing. With this definition then, there is no climate change commitment because of climate inertia.”

    This does contrast with this view :-

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-7-2.html

    “Using a similar approach, Friedlingstein and Solomon (2005) show that even if emissions were immediately cut to zero, the system would continue to warm for several more decades before starting to cool. It is important also to note that ocean heat content and changes in the cryosphere evolve on time scales extending over centuries.”

    However, the key point is that it’s not going to happen, is it ? There is actually no way that emissions can be cut to zero overnight. Well, there is, but it wouldn’t be pretty.

    The best we can hope for, probably, is roughly stabilisation of the concentration of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere, hopefully under 450ppmv, although it might have to be under 400ppmv to stop Greenland’s terminaly melt; although if we can find a non-poisonous Geoengineering technique (thinks…blue champagne ?) then we might be able to go below to 350ppmv which some seriously think the only safe future.

    This is where the “CC” constant concentrations scenario comes in. There would definitely be future warming under CC, so we had better stabilise sooner rather than later. Here is an “idealised” later :-

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-10-34.html

    Comment by jo abbess — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  406. Re #388:

    I have no vendetta against Phil Jones. In fact I have some sympathy for him. Nor am I trying to elevate the relatively small issue of the WMO cover graph into a great conspiracy.

    However I do believe that the truth of the issue should be clarified. There are many here who wish to insist that there was nothing incorrect about Jones’s procedures, because it aids their own vendettas against those who have criticised him and others.

    [Response: If your point was that prominent graphics should be clearly labeled as to what they depict, we can definitely agree to that. The problem is people ascribe nefarious intent to these kinds of things and that's where the real trouble comes in--Jim]

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:23 PM

  407. Comment by Bob — 24 March 2010 @ 7:35 PM

    “I agree with #5 It is a shame you have to waste your time and TAXPAYER’S MONEY with this sort of stuff rather then focusing on your real TAXPAYER’S work !!”
    —-
    What???!!! Who funds the Real Climate website? Is it taxpayers? Get a grip!

    I am pleased to see how upset many of you AGW believers have been by the Guardian articles. Maybe now you will have a better sense of just how frustrated many sceptical, legitimate climate scientists have felt for the last couple of decades.

    P.S.
    The Gulf Stream is doing fine and Arctic sea ice extent is doing very nicely thank you!!

    Comment by Jimbo — 30 Mar 2010 @ 5:26 PM

  408. Jimbo, it’s the end of March.
    Is the Arctic sea ice extent near maximum?
    It’s barely getting almost to average right now, at its peak.
    Remember how low it went last winter?
    Remember what they said 51 weeks ago?
    For your review, this year is like last year, when they wrote:

    “April 6, 2009
    Arctic sea ice younger, thinner as melt season begins.
    Arctic sea ice extent has begun its seasonal decline towards the September minimum. Ice extent through the winter was similar to that of recent years, but lower than the 1979 to 2000 average. More importantly, the melt season has begun with a substantial amount of thin first-year ice, which is vulnerable to summer melt.”
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2009/040609.html

    I don’t know if you’re the same “Jimbo” who’s posted the same mistake before, but in case you are looking for educational material, consider:

    “…. sea ice remains much thinner than in the past, and so is more vulnerable to further decline. The data suggest that the ice reached a record low volume in 2008, and has thinned even more in 2009. Sea ice extent normally varies from year to year, much like the weather changes from day to day. But just as one warm day in October does not negate a cooling trend toward winter, a slight annual gain in sea ice extent over a record low does not negate the long-term decline.

    In addition, ice extent is only one measure of sea ice. Satellite measurements from NASA show that in 2008, Arctic sea ice was thinner than 2007, and likely reached a record low volume. So, what would scientists call a recovery in sea ice? … In a recovery, scientists would also expect to see a return to an Arctic sea ice cover dominated by thicker, multiyear ice.”
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq.html

    You can copypaste wrong information more easily than you can look up good information. Make the extra effort.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Mar 2010 @ 6:11 PM

  409. #40 Re: the P.S.

    It seems that you now expect all the papers will soon be giving “fair treatment for all trends”. Place a mirror on the horizontal axis and show every trend together with its reflection. That will show the climatologists Whats What and be really fair.

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/sea-ice-hyperbole/

    As for the Gulf Stream , the implications of that scare was misunderstood by the Guardian, (outside its main reports) but not by Realclimate.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Mar 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  410. Point taken, Gerry. I need to go back and re-read that thread on climate change commitments.

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 30 Mar 2010 @ 6:36 PM

  411. Jimbo says: 30 March 2010 at 5:26 PM

    “…Arctic sea ice extent is doing very nicely thank you!!”

    Well, extent once again is not looking so great compared to the historical record. Those encouraged by the last few weeks’ upswing would do well to ask how thick is all that suddenly apparent ice? By extension of what Hank points out, it’s better to reserve any judgment until September or October; the significance of extent is diminishing as volume increasingly becomes the issue.

    Extent versus volume is not complicated to understand. Try driving on a frozen lake too early or too late and you’ll quickly realize with a cold sinking feeling how deceiving first appearances can be.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 30 Mar 2010 @ 6:44 PM

  412. RE: Comment #401 Comment by David Miller

    “That’s what the scientists have done with the temperature record. Say they get the diary of someone who lived in the 1800’s who recorded the temperature every day. The thermometer has long since been lost, and you don’t really know how it was sited. But if you have 100 of them scattered about and you average them appropriately you can determine that some years were hotter or colder than others, and by about how much.”

    To 0.1 accuracy? That’s a very precise “about how much”! By “averaging” a wide variety of non-standard and often uncalibrated instruments, in a wide range of uncontrolled and sometimes changing sites, monitored by persons of widely varying training? “Averaging” inaccurate data does not necessarily make it more accurate! Even today’s USHCN sites, with calibrated instruments and controlled siting, can have errors far greater than 0.1.

    It is the blithe certitude with which claims like this are made that allows skeptics to cast a shadow of doubt on the AGW hypothesis and the state of today’s climate science.

    [Response: Your fundamental points/understanding are wrong. Please, read up on this topic, dropping the fixation with 0.1 as a magic number.--Jim]

    Comment by Jack Maloney — 30 Mar 2010 @ 7:27 PM

  413. Jack Maloney,
    What happens to the error on the mean as your number of measurements, n, increases? It decreases as 1/sqrt(n), right? For this not to happen, you would have to have systematic errors that biased ALL of the measurements.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 30 Mar 2010 @ 7:46 PM

  414. Jack, #412

    You’re still missing the point. Averaging a bunch of inaccurate thermometers doesn’t make the result accurate.

    Averaging the *changes* to each individual reading tells you what the average change is, and that’s what we’re all trying to measure.

    It’s like my scale being off 10 pounds, and yours being off 5 pounds, and someone elses being right on the money. Averaging our weights on these scales doesn’t tell us how much we really weigh – individually or collectively. But if all three of us weigh ourselves every day and note the results it’s easy to determine whether we, as a group, are gaining weight or not.

    [Response: Well said. This is the difference between precision and accuracy. If you are measuring change, you don't need accuracy at all, you just need precision.--eric]

    Comment by David Miller — 30 Mar 2010 @ 10:46 PM

  415. I downloaded the seasonal data from here, and the daily data for 2009 through the 30th of March2010 from here, and created seasonal averages to fill in 2009 and “winter” 2010(one day short). The plot from Appleworks is here, and doesn’t show what I would call a nice recovery. The top plot is the seasonal averages through 2009 plus the yearly average, and the bottom plot is average winter sea ice cover through 2010.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 31 Mar 2010 @ 1:24 AM

  416. To-day’s report by James Randerson on outcome of Parliamentary inquiry into UEA.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/31/climate-mails-inquiry-jones-cleared

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 31 Mar 2010 @ 3:49 AM

  417. the cause is unknown

    This refers to the width of tree rings which involve a contribution to the carbon sinks.
    I notice that the anti-AGW crowd don’t ask questions about any implications this might have for the future climate, especially if the divergence were to increase drastically and spread. By the way I am no expert in such matters.

    It is obvious that the hockey stick skeptics would like everyone to speculate about the handle rather than looking at the blade.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 31 Mar 2010 @ 5:05 AM

  418. Hunt Janin (366),

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

    http://tamino.wordpress.com

    http://BartonPaulLevenson.com/Climatology.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Mar 2010 @ 6:01 AM

  419. With regard to the saintly James Randerson and his sanctimonious point:

    “There are few, if any newspapers in the world with a stronger commitment to action on climate change than the Guardian and our sister paper the Observer. We have a team of 6 full-time environment correspondents as well as three editors and a collection of bloggers and columnists.”

    It is worth pointing out why the Guardian is able to afford to employ so many full-time hacks to cover the environment (and even then pay for a freelance, Fred Pearce, to write up stuff its own journos don’t have the time to cover). The Guardian group sold off a 50% stake in a second-hand car magazine called Auto Trader, which does nothing more than publish ads for selling/buying automobiles. The sale raised a neat £200 million which Alan Rusbridger,the Guardian’s Editor, is now happily burning through. So, hardly an environment-friendly income stream, and one that The Guardian and its hacks rarely, if ever, talk about.
    The newspaper is written by, and read by hippocrites — I should know because I live in Islington and I read it!

    Comment by Islington Diner — 31 Mar 2010 @ 6:10 AM

  420. What have you done to the cat? It looks half dead!
    –Mrs. Schrodinger

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Mar 2010 @ 6:17 AM

  421. Jimbo: I am pleased to see how upset many of you AGW believers have been by the Guardian articles. Maybe now you will have a better sense of just how frustrated many sceptical, legitimate climate scientists have felt for the last couple of decades.

    BPL: Yeah, the same way I’m sympathetic to “physicists” who want to disprove relativity or quantum mechanics.

    Read my lips: AGW Denial is on a scientific par with believing aliens built the pyramids. Got it?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 31 Mar 2010 @ 6:23 AM

  422. To crunch this thread back on topic the Guardian has today published a rather nasty piece from Pearce on the Parliamentary Report .There really seems to be some unspoken animus around.
    I wonder if there may be tension around the British FOI act and this story is being used as proxy .

    Comment by M Roberts — 31 Mar 2010 @ 7:49 AM

  423. Comment by Hank Roberts – 30 March 2010 @ 6:11 PM

    “Jimbo, it’s the end of March.
    Is the Arctic sea ice extent near maximum?
    It’s barely getting almost to average right now, at its peak.
    Remember how low it went last winter?
    Remember what they said 51 weeks ago?”
    —–
    RESPONSE:
    Use your own lyin eyes Hank!
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png
    http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.recent.arctic.png
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

    Comment by Jimbo — 31 Mar 2010 @ 8:12 AM

  424. Jack Maloney:

    You have strayed from merely having a different interpretation to making errors of basic fact. Please look at the actual precision used by, for example, the HadCET record (one of the few temperature records sparse enough and old enough for this to be a real issue). You will see early values are to 1 degree or 0.5 degree precision, not 0.1.

    By fixating on a minor detail, you have glossed right over all the real difficulties and challenges in working out the probable error range for early temperature records, which include uncertainty about the properties of the thermometers used and gaps in the records.

    As a result, if you look at the error bars for HadCET (or any of the global products such as GISS) you will see bigger error bars earlier on. Exactly as we expect.

    If you want more detail, you are going to have to start reading the actual papers.

    Comment by Didactylos — 31 Mar 2010 @ 8:17 AM

  425. Jimbo, your eyes are misleading you.
    Use more of your brain than the pattern recognition part.

    Our brains are pre-loaded to detect patterns even when they don’t exist.

    Do you believe in evolution? Consider where you came from and why. Pattern detection kept our ancestors alive by detecting threats like leopards in the dappled shade. Extremely hypersensitive pattern detection was vital, because there was little cost for frequent false alarms but a great risk of becoming a snack by missing detecting a real leopard.

    Our brains find patterns but can also think through what we’re seeing. You can do this.

    NSIDC — the gray band marks 2 standard deviations. Know what that means?
    Think of anything that matters to you; if the measure is off by even one standard dev. do you notice? Do you know _how_far_off_ 2 st. dev. is???
    Take Statistics 101, and your view of the world changes. Seriously, man.

    ijis — most recent eight years.
    arctic-roos — that’s the most recent four years
    cryosphere — that’s the most recent two years
    ocean.dmi.dk — that’s the most recent five years

    If you’re only comfortable looking at pictures, look at the trend pictures.
    You know how to find them. Read the links and quotes I already gave you.

    32 years: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.jpg
    Trend: http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20100303_Figure3.png

    Think: http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2010/03/wuwt-trumpets-result-supporting-climate.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 31 Mar 2010 @ 9:54 AM

  426. Here is one method I used to see how much data one can wring out of long term results, where the data accuracy is not that great. In this case I started with the longest record (Central England 1659-2008), found the anomaly from the 1961-1990 period,adjusted the raw data and compared it to the Hadcet data from 1850-2008. I then filtered both anomalies with a Fourier Convolution filters, with a cut-off of 0.025 cycles/year or 40 year period.
    I chose this method in that it includes the end points, better then the MOV and recursive filters. Also it reflects many of the periodic or almost periodic physical processes. This resulted in the following graph:

    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1650-2008-1-Rxrdy.gif

    Here one sees the interesting periodic motion in the 50 year period, in the Central English data, and somewhat similar motions in the Hadcet data. With the Hadcet data, the additional of stations along the way from different parts of the world could modify the periods. Also thre is a apparent peaking of both sets of data about and after 2000.

    The next step was to include the four longest running data sets before 1750 (England, DeBilt (1706-2008), Uppsala (1722-2008), Berlin (1701-2008). The latter two from Rimfrost –
    http://www.rimfrost.no/

    Each data set was anomalized to it’s 1961-1990 average . This anomalized group was then averaged on a yearly basis, ignoring missing data. This resulted in the following graph:

    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1750-2008-4-EyvXd.gif

    Here we see again the ~50 year cycle, and a increase in the most recent 50 years from the single Central England data set. Urban effects of Holland, Uppsala, Berlin (?).

    The last group used temperatures whose records started before 1800. These included the previous plus Geneve (1753-2008), Praha (1775-2005),Stockholm (1755-2005), Budapest (1780-2008), up to Warsaw (1792-2008). At total of 14 in all, and all from weatern or central Europe.

    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1800-2008-14-9ZSv8.gif

    Again the ~50 year cycle keeps showing up, and this this case the last 25 years is down from the previous group, closer to the Hadcet. So while the temperature series are from different location, and unspecified accuracy, some of the patters seem to hold pretty constant.

    Comment by J. Bob — 31 Mar 2010 @ 9:56 AM

  427. JBob,
    I see oscillation, but no evidence of periodicity. Have you run tests for statistical significance?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Mar 2010 @ 10:20 AM

  428. Re #404:

    “WRT to divergence’s possible influence, do a sensitivity analysis incorporating reasonable estimates of pre-historical divergence if you’re concerned about it. This will require very careful attention to methods of course” – Jim

    Cheap and cheerful method: instrumental records available for 140 years or so. Divergence has been observed for 20 years in the case of two series and 40 in the case of the third. Furthermore the proxies are to a large extent calibrated to the rest of the instrumental data. But even if we ignore this, the divergence covers almost one fifth of the time when instrumental data was available, and the cause is unknown. If I sample 6 swans and one is black, I can’t state with 95% confidence that an unknown population of swans is white!

    [Response: Cheerful is good. Not even remotely close to rigorous enough unfortunately. See here for some ideas and references, esp Cook et al., 2004.--Jim]

    But note that 2004 > 1999. Jones didn’t know much apart from Briffa’s report that before the divergence started, agreement was good back to 1860, i.e. 140 years. That puts the issue much closer to my swan analogy. I do not accept that a 95% confidence interval of 0.1 degC could have been justified in the circumstances.

    Even now, given the nature of proxies – for which the word ‘independence’ must often seem like the concept of a crazed idealist – I doubt that it is possible to say with anything approaching certainty that the current ‘divergence’ phenomenon has never happened before during the last millenium.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 31 Mar 2010 @ 11:18 AM

  429. Re #405:

    “CO2 concentrations would start to fall immediately since the ocean and terrestrial biosphere would continue to absorb more carbon than they release as long as the CO2 level in the atmosphere is higher than pre-industrial levels (approximately). And subsequent temperatures (depending slightly on the model you are using) would either be flat or slightly decreasing. With this definition then, there is no climate change commitment because of climate inertia.”

    This does contrast with this view :-

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-7-2.html

    “Using a similar approach, Friedlingstein and Solomon (2005) show that even if emissions were immediately cut to zero, the system would continue to warm for several more decades before starting to cool. It is important also to note that ocean heat content and changes in the cryosphere evolve on time scales extending over centuries.”

    The “system” presumably includes the oceans, which will still be absorbing heat under all scenarios. I don’t think that contradicts the notion that surface temperatures would be expected to fall immediately.

    However, the key point is that it’s not going to happen, is it ? There is actually no way that emissions can be cut to zero overnight. Well, there is, but it wouldn’t be pretty.

    True enough, these are all idealisations – but they can help make the physics clear.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 31 Mar 2010 @ 11:37 AM

  430. “I doubt that it is possible to say with anything approaching certainty that the current ‘divergence’ phenomenon has never happened before during the last millenium.”

    Got any reason for that doubt?

    After all, why would some tree ring proxies be giving the wrong temperature since 1960 and be divergent from other proxies now, whereas in this hypothetical past incident where the tree ring proxies were divergent, every other proxy was also divergent IN THE SAME DIRECTION and AT THE SAME TIME.

    Or just hoping, were you?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 31 Mar 2010 @ 11:51 AM

  431. “JBob, I see oscillation, but no evidence of periodicity. Have you run tests for statistical significance?”

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 March 2010 @ 10:20 AM

    Already done, and in the peer reviewed literature.

    “Peaks at 23.5-yr,36-yr, and 65-yr dominate only in one or the other of the shorter intervals, thus showing the features are not periodic.”
    “Figure 2 shows the temporal variation of the two dominant spectral components, 23.5 yr …and 102 yr … These components are not strictly periodic; they are strongly amplitude and phase modulated.” [maths that I can't retype omitted - BD]

    Time scales and trends in the Central England Temperature data (1659-1990): A Wavelet analysis, Baliunas, Frick, Sokoloff, and Soon, Geophys. Res. Lett., 24, 1351–1354
    http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/~wsoon/myownPapers-d/BFSS97GRLwaveletonCET.pdf

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 31 Mar 2010 @ 1:11 PM

  432. #427 Ray, periodicity would depend on the tolerances one puts on it. If you want to get fussy about it, sunrise and sunset may or may not be periodic, depending on the tolerance, or accuracy one wants to use. Sunspot activity is considered periodic or almost periodic, same as a normal heart beat. One does not need a statistical analysis to recognize that. A simple ruler will do.

    Comment by J. Bob — 31 Mar 2010 @ 1:22 PM

  433. JBob,
    If you don’t know a driver for your periodic phenomenon, you’d better get fussy, or you’ll delude yourself.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 31 Mar 2010 @ 2:43 PM

  434. Re #429:

    “I doubt that it is possible to say with anything approaching certainty that the current ‘divergence’ phenomenon has never happened before during the last millenium.”

    Got any reason for that doubt?

    After all, why would some tree ring proxies be giving the wrong temperature since 1960 and be divergent from other proxies now, whereas in this hypothetical past incident where the tree ring proxies were divergent, every other proxy was also divergent IN THE SAME DIRECTION and AT THE SAME TIME.

    Perhaps you should take a look at the proxy data. You seem to have a somewhat naive idea of how consistent the different proxies actually are!

    Look for example at Figure 3 of Mann 2008. The different proxies wibble and wobble considerably, often agreeing with each other, but often disagreeing, too.

    So my reason for the doubt is that it would take some pretty heavyweight argument and statistics to get anywhere near certainty on this issue. There is certainly some evidence that this particular form of divergence, at least, is novel – but does it reach near-certainty? Can you tell me?

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 31 Mar 2010 @ 3:04 PM

  435. #431 Brian
    Interesting ref.. I haven’t used the wavelet that much to comment one way or the other. However in this Fourier case, frequencies above 0.025 cycles/year ( 40 year periods) were nulled out. So how could components with periods below 40 years contribute to the filtered result? In this case, I’m looking for longer period patterns to correlate between the three different time series.

    Here is a comparison of the different filter types, using the raw Ave14 data. Three filter methods are used, 40 yr MOV, 40 yr Fourier, and a two direction 2 pole Chebushev with 0.025 cycle cutoff. The Chebushev was run forward and then backward so as to compensate for the phase delay. It, doesn’t work great around the end points, like the MOV, but works well in the center. This is known as the “filtfilt” in the MATLAB signal conditioning Toolbox.
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/ave14-smoothed-rev_cheb-j0m9Y.gif
    Note that in the center the “filtfilt” is very close to the Fourier, and is smoother then the MOV.

    Again, the presence of those longer period oscillations could indicate that the method of merging these long term European temperature stations may not be far off. Even though we don’t know how accurate the stations were, they do seem to follow long term trends. Which was my basic point. These old stations may not be the best, but it’s all we have been delt.

    #433 Ray, could be AMO effects or even the PDO. Remember we are dealing with a very non-linear system here. Non-linear systems have a way of changing response frequencies from the forcing frequencies.

    Comment by J. Bob — 31 Mar 2010 @ 10:28 PM

  436. “James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change
    In his first in-depth interview since the theft of UEA emails, the scientist blames inertia and democracy for lack of action” article continues at:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock-climate-change

    The Guardian gets an A for the day for publishing an interview of James Lovelock.

    Since I find it difficult to disagree with James Lovelock, . . .
    Almost all humans are too stupid to prevent climate change. The remainder are scientists. Only Scientists should move to Mars, just in case.

    I just started reading “Denialism” by Michael Specter. The bad news is that Michael Specter is NOT a psychologist or psychiatrist. So far, there is one thing worth mentioning: Most people confuse what corporations do with what scientists and engineers do. It is very important that we point out that it is the CEO, the managers and the stockholders, NOT THE SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS, who make those fatal [for you] decisions. Cases: Vioxx, Pinto gas tank, Corvair suspension system, Thalidomide, space shuttle disaster, etc. etc. etc. We had better say this loudly and often. In order for things to go better for the people in general, the scientists and engineers have to be in charge. Scientists and engineers in charge would be upside down from the present situation.

    Scientists and engineers ARE EMPLOYEES. Managers ARE DECISION MAKERS. Managers over-rule the better decisions made by the scientists and engineers. That is where disasters come from. Pinto gas tanks and Corvair suspension systems were designed with the extra parts. Management removed those parts.

    Engineers who design cars and other things to last too long are known as “hard core unemployable,” or government employees in my case.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 1 Apr 2010 @ 2:10 AM

  437. Fred Pearce was let loose again. He can’t help himself.

    Has he got a personal grudge against Prof Jones or is he just trying to save his upcoming book? This is one very nasty article. I won’t be reading anything he writes again. He’s clearly not quite rational on this topic.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/mar/31/hacked-climate-email-inquiry-phil-jones

    Comment by Sou — 1 Apr 2010 @ 12:24 PM

  438. Jimbo wrote: “Maybe now you will have a better sense of just how frustrated many sceptical, legitimate climate scientists have felt for the last couple of decades.”

    Yes, it’s true — skeptical, legitimate climate scientists like the ones who run this site have been very frustrated by the deliberately deceitful pseudoscience, outright lies — and most recently vicious personal attacks against them — that have been cranked out for the last couple of decades by fossil fuel industry-funded frauds and cranks and given unwarranted legitimacy by the mass media, and regurgitated ad nauseum on blogs everywhere by Ditto-Heads who unquestioningly believe whatever drivel is spoon-fed to them by the phony “conservative” media, and call themselves “skeptics” for doing so.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 1 Apr 2010 @ 1:34 PM

  439. “Perhaps you should take a look at the proxy data. You seem to have a somewhat naive idea of how consistent the different proxies actually are!”

    Perhaps you didn’t check out the work done to correlate the different proxies and how a SUBSET of tree ring proxies IN LIMITED AREAS deviate from ALL OTHER PROXIES AFTER 1960-ish.

    Nothing there to say that the deviations happened before.

    You made that claim, prove it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 1 Apr 2010 @ 2:14 PM

  440. “Remember we are dealing with a very non-linear system here. Non-linear systems have a way of changing response frequencies from the forcing frequencies.” J. Bob — 31 March 2010 @ 10:28 PM
    I agree, but I would go even further. The non-linearities are emergent properties of the complex interconnectivity of the many parts of the earth climate system – The presence and amplitude of El Nino changes the rainfall in the southeastern US, which affects evapotranspiration and cloudiness over the warm parts of the Atlantic, which affects the amount of sensible and latent heat which goes into the atmosphere, which the prevailing winds carry to Great Britain, and so on through a chain of events which eventually influence the barometric pressure differences between the Eastern and Western Pacific which drive the ENSO. The strength, duration, and timing with respect to seasonal shifts in the ITCZ affect the rate and magnitude of propagation of the events, and the feedbacks at various scales. How many Atlantic hurricanes, what their tracks, intensities, and timing seasonally and with respect to the phase of el Nino eventually effect the rate and magnitude of the wobble to the next La Nina and following El Nino. Because the system has large (and non-linear) dissipation, we don’t see 40 degree ENSO SST swings, or 300 meter tall wind driven waves, or 500 km/hr sustained hurricane winds. Even though the strongest determinants of things like the ENSO periods filter the responses to a range of frequencies, the variable sum of the other influences means that the duration of an El Nino event can be from about 6 to about 18 months. We learn about period, frequency, time constants, phase, amplitude, from simple systems – pendulum; a mass, a spring, and a dashpot; an inductor, a capacitor, and a resistor – and we want to use those words and the tools that go along with them (Fourier transforms, wavelet analysis) even though we know they are inadequate, limited, and inexact when used to describe climate events.
    Even deceptively simple systems can have devilishly complex behavior – here’s a simple demonstration that anyone can set up in their living room:
    Take a roll of electrical tape, stick the free end to a doorway or light fixture, an unroll about a meter – viola, a pendulum with simple harmonic motion.
    Take a spool of thread, unroll about 3/4 meter, refix it so it wont unroll further, and tie the free end to the spool of tape; two simple pendulums, coupled, periods not harmonically related unless you are very lucky. Give the tape roll a poke to set the system in motion, and watch the path of the thread spool – sudden complexity, especially if you put the tape spool in an elliptical instead of straight path.
    Stick a light pie pan to the tape just above the spool, an position a fan so that it’s blowing on the pan and the tape. Now the motion is chaotic, but bounded. It’s not fractal, because the filtering effect of the masses limits the high frequency motions. even though the tape flutters at high frequencies because its aerodynamic properties (flat, thin, flexible). It doesn’t transfer much energy to the masses, because it’s stretchy; and flat, thin and stretchy* aren’t variables in the equations of harmonic motion. As the pie plate twists in the breeze, it captures or dissipates variable amounts of energy, and changes the orientation and dynamic tension on the tape, which changes the amplitude and frequency of the tape flutter, and causes the thread spool to swing in different directions and trajectories. In the setup I have in my living room, the path of the thread spool covers a range of about 1/4 meter, plus it bounces up and down as the tape flutters, about 1 cm, about 1 Hz. *[ "stretchy" does enter into the mass+spring bouncy harmonic motion, but electrical tape stretchiness is a very nonlinear and dissipative spring - I did warn you about deceptively simple yet devilishly complex &;>)]. I can post a picture if anybody’s that interested.

    If we spend too much time trying to find explanations for what might be 4 or 5 cycles of what might be a periodic climate forcing in the time over which we have data (CET), which we know is a measure of one state variable (temperature) at one location (Central England) of a complicated non linear climate system, we risk spending our time chasing hares hidden in the weeds instead of shooting the geese flying overhead.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 1 Apr 2010 @ 2:52 PM

  441. Re my #353.

    When I tried to do a brief but fair summary of Fred P’s previous errors,that had come my way, I only mentioned his earliest reports of the hockey stick controversy. But I completely forgot the Latif affair:

    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/of-moles-and-whacking-mojib-latif-predicted-two-decades-of-cooling/

    which I think was I think a rather serious lapse. This did not involve the technicalities of the hockey stick. Since Fred P’s method depends so much on the reporting of conversations, and since Latif was perfectly willing to communicate why did Fred P fail to check ? e.g by email or telephone? Andrew Gilligan was sacked by the BBC (perhaps unfairly) because of that kind of charge. It was the about the WMD issue.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 1 Apr 2010 @ 6:26 PM

  442. #440 Brian, remember, the basic point was old temperature records, lack of accuracy data, and how it might be possible to wring some more information out of that data. The method I used was a way to compare long term data sets of different record lengths, and how adding stations distorts the average. However with filtering, some periodic or almost periodic oscillations still seem to show up, that might indicate there is a reasonable amount of correlation with the stations of central and western Europe, 200 to 350 years ago. That is, expand the individual station data from that era to maybe get a broader picture of what was going on in that era.

    Yes I have seen some very unexpected non-linear responses. It is exceptionally difficult working through the basic partial differential equations, to the practical application of how many of these systems are linked together. On the compound pendulum, you can make it much more interesting if you replace the thread with “soft” springs.

    A good systems person lives in two worlds, the micro/macro and the overall view. Not easy always, but interesting.
    Happy Easter.

    Comment by J. Bob — 1 Apr 2010 @ 6:50 PM

  443. Re ‘Completely Fed up’ #439:

    “Perhaps you should take a look at the proxy data. You seem to have a somewhat naive idea of how consistent the different proxies actually are!”

    Perhaps you didn’t check out the work done to correlate the different proxies and how a SUBSET of tree ring proxies IN LIMITED AREAS deviate from ALL OTHER PROXIES AFTER 1960-ish.

    So “LIMITED” that they skewed the entire data series? It would seem that these “limited areas” comprised most of the trees under consideration. But yes, they found that trees in some regions tracked instrumentally measured temperatures. And they even found that the two sets of tree proxies matched each other “reasonably” well further back than 1860.

    Some evidence, then, that this may have been a one-off recent event.

    Nothing there to say that the deviations happened before.

    You made that claim, prove it.

    I didn’t make that claim. What I said was that it would be difficult to prove that such a divergence did not happen before. Can you prove that?

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 1 Apr 2010 @ 7:46 PM

  444. And this thread’s Paul R. Ehrlich Apocalyptic Award goes to:

    “YOU are going to die a horrible death SOON unless we stop burning coal NOW.”

    Comment by J — 1 Apr 2010 @ 11:43 PM

  445. Sou says: 1 April 2010 at 12:24 PM

    Fred Pearce was let loose again. He can’t help himself.

    Stick your neck out too far and it tends to get stuck. Climbing down is hard to do, virtually impossible for most of us.

    George Monbiot put in an appearance at Climate Progress just a couple of days ago, playing a mournful violin sonata about how Phil Jones had disrespected the work of selfless journalists by losing his patience with toddlers bearing reams of FOI requests. Monbiot’s got his neck stuck on “Out”, too, and can’t pull it back.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 2 Apr 2010 @ 1:53 AM

  446. 378 Ike Solem: “Blanket promotions for nuclear ignore the issues – fuel supply, waste disposal, construction costs, and need for large amounts of cooling water.”

    We have 5000 years worth of fuel if we recycle and breed fuel.

    There is no such thing as nuclear waste. It is perfectly good fuel that is being wasted for political reasons.

    Construction costs are almost total cost. Averaged over a 40 year life, you get a 30% savings in price compared to coal.

    Cooling water is NOT needed. Air cooling is a perfectly reasonable substitute. Water cooling is used when it is easy.

    Quit shilling for the coal industry. Did you realize that you were repeating coal industry propaganda? Did you know that coal fired power plants put 100 to 400 TIMES as much radiation into the environment as nuclear power plants are allowed to? Coal contains URANIUM, ARSENIC, THORIUM, LEAD, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Thorium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc. There is so much of these elements in coal that cinders and coal smoke are actually valuable ores. We should be able to get all the uranium and thorium we need to fuel nuclear power plants for centuries by using cinders and smoke as ore.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Apr 2010 @ 3:11 AM

  447. 444 J: And how are YOU going to get their attention?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Apr 2010 @ 3:13 AM

  448. 379 Geoff Wexler: “Lovelock’s earlier wild alarmism”:
    Lovelock’s ideas may be unpopular, but he is too smart to dismiss. If Lovelock’s intuition says there is a non-linearity, go look for it, just to be safe.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Apr 2010 @ 3:39 AM

  449. “What I said was that it would be difficult to prove that such a divergence did not happen before. Can you prove that?”

    Yes. Go to the literature that explains the divergence problem.

    Bingo.

    Now prove that your statement about how it’s not possible to proclaim accuracy from proxy records.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Apr 2010 @ 4:01 AM

  450. “So “LIMITED” that they skewed the entire data series?”

    They didn’t.

    They left the data out.

    This does not proclaim that the data would be skewed by their inclusion any more than the surfacestations assertion that bad stations were the cause of the warming trend in the US temperature record.

    When those “bad” stations were taken out, the dataset was not skewed there either.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Apr 2010 @ 4:02 AM

  451. “What I said was that it would be difficult to prove that such a divergence did not happen before. Can you prove that?”

    Yes. Go to the literature that explains the divergence problem.

    I’ll take that as a no.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 2 Apr 2010 @ 8:33 AM

  452. “So “LIMITED” that they skewed the entire data series?”

    They didn’t.

    They left the data out.

    What I meant was that the “trees IN LIMITED AREAS” (as you put it)comprised such a large proportion of all the trees used that they skewed the results.

    By “they” I meant the divergent proxies.

    This does not proclaim that the data would be skewed by their inclusion any more than the surfacestations assertion that bad stations were the cause of the warming trend in the US temperature record.

    When those “bad” stations were taken out, the dataset was not skewed there either.

    Um… the tree proxy the data WAS skewed by their inclusion. So much that, as we know, it had to be hidden, at least for the purposes of a particular WMO report. The decline was that obvious.

    The weather station issue is different; I haven’t followed the details closely, but my impression is that the results from China may have been significantly skewed by stations of dubious provenance, but apparently the ones from the US weren’t.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 2 Apr 2010 @ 8:43 AM

  453. Doug (# 445),
    Pearce and Monbiot aren’t bloggers. They’re professionals. Their editor is supposed to make them climb down. He’s paid very well for the job. But it seems the editor is not interested in giving the paper’s readers good information. Perhaps that’s because it’s not the readers who are paying the editor so well…

    Comment by Anonymous Coward — 2 Apr 2010 @ 10:45 AM

  454. Brian Dodge (440), very interesting and apt post. But the conclusion is a bit off. The fact that an observation is inexplicable, seems to not materially alter the basic science, and that might be very difficult to assess could reasonably be excluded for further work if the overall resultant effect is clearly piddling. This is not the case with climate change and, as such, demands serious attention to figure out why. It still might be too daunting and objectively deemed (but impossible to be “determined”) unlikely be significant, and put on the back burner so to speak. The problem as I see it (and am interested in) is that the “curiosity” is discarded out of hand with very little or just superficial scientific thought. At the extreme many cover their eyes and proclaim “I can’t see you,” and deny the curious oscillations don’t exist, or define it out of existence with semantics (as in the arcane debate over “periodic.”) All of this because, as little potential significance that might be there, it counters the orthodoxy. And must die.

    I think it deserves serious study.

    (Though I do understand the political hazards of being truthful in these kinds of things: any little blemish, let alone chink, in the armour that scientifically properly deserves study has some probability of being unreasonably jumped on and pounded into the ground by some — a dilemma; but a natural hazard that none-the-less ought to be faced.)

    Comment by Rod B — 2 Apr 2010 @ 11:19 AM

  455. @ 445 Doug Bostrom says:

    George Monbiot put in an appearance at Climate Progress just a couple of days ago, playing a mournful violin sonata about how Phil Jones had disrespected the work of selfless journalists by losing his patience with toddlers bearing reams of FOI requests. Monbiot’s got his neck stuck on “Out”, too, and can’t pull it back.

    Monbiot by his comments was effectively supporting the abuse of FoI regulations.

    The intended primary purpose of FoI is to ensure transparency of government decisions, and to let people know what personal information is held about them by government agencies. It was never envisaged that it would be used by Canadians to frivously prevent important research paid for by UK taxpayers.

    It will be interesting to see if he keeps his side of the bargain he made with Steve Easterbrook.

    Comment by Sou — 2 Apr 2010 @ 11:21 AM

  456. > Gerry Quinn

    You’re just reposting talking points. If you’d read the science you’d realize this. The divergence problem is pretty well studied. It’s not what you think it is.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Apr 2010 @ 11:36 AM

  457. “What I meant was that the “trees IN LIMITED AREAS” (as you put it)comprised such a large proportion of all the trees used that they skewed the results.”

    Nope, they didn’t. Where do you get the idea that they do? They didn’t use the data from a limited set of a regional set of tree ring proxies. Not all tree ring proxies were dropped and those proxies more southerly from the same species were still used.

    “By “they” I meant the divergent proxies.”

    Well if that’s rather a tautology isn’t it. Though I’m left wondering how a divergent proxy diverges from itself…

    “Um… the tree proxy the data WAS skewed by their inclusion”

    You mean the tree proxy that was the divergent proxy? Well, we’re back at that tautology again.

    As for the other tree proxies and the southerly versions, they were not divergent, so they were left in.

    “The weather station issue is different”

    How? In that it was stated that some sites were bad proxies for volumetric temperature readings and so should be left out because they were promulgated as the source of the warming effect in the US? Isn’t that EXACTLY what you’re saying about the pine proxy temperature readings in the northern temperate latitudes?

    Or is the difference in that they don’t prove your central need: to prove the temperature record fallible?

    “but my impression is that the results from China”

    Surfacestations weren’t concerned with results from China.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Apr 2010 @ 12:48 PM

  458. ” Yes. Go to the literature that explains the divergence problem.

    I’ll take that as a no.”

    No, it’s a yes.

    If you wish to take it as a “no” then it cannot be proved to YOU that the divergence problem is as you wish it to be, not as reality has it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Apr 2010 @ 12:48 PM

  459. “We have 5000 years worth of fuel if we recycle and breed fuel.”

    This doesn’t address the risks.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Apr 2010 @ 12:49 PM

  460. “Quit shilling for the coal industry. ”

    So saying that nuclear isn’t the answer to power needs and the rapid change in CO2 production is shilling for the coal industry???

    How do you work that one out?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 2 Apr 2010 @ 12:50 PM

  461. Re: 305 “Lindzen’s disbelief in evidence that smoking causes cancer and heart disease …”

    Is Lindzen actually on record as disavowing a link between smoking and cancer?

    Len Conly

    Comment by Len Conly — 2 Apr 2010 @ 6:23 PM

  462. Gavin – Re: 342

    When I click on the Reichler and Kim link, I am taken to a web page of the AMS with this message:

    “No record found with DOI ’10.1175/BAMS-89-3-303′ [production]”

    [Response: Except that they are: Reichler and Kim (BAMS, 2008). - gavin]

    Len Conly

    Comment by Len Conly — 2 Apr 2010 @ 6:46 PM

  463. 459 & 460 Completely Fed Up: What risks? Be specific. There are none.
    “How do you work that one out?” Very simple:

    Every time you dis nuclear, you are working for the coal industry and shooting yourself in the foot. What the coal companies know that most people don’t:

    As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it. Hydrogen fusion could, if it worked. Hydrogen fusion has been “hopeful” for half a century so far. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

    If you quit being afraid of nuclear, the coal industry is doomed. Every time you argue in favor of wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is happy. ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business. Nuclear power HAS put coal out of business in France. France uses 30 year old American technology. So here is the deal: Keep being afraid of all things nuclear and die either when [not if] civilization collapses or when H2S comes out of the ocean and Homo “Sapiens” goes extinct. OR: Get over your paranoia and kick the coal habit and live. Which do you choose? I put quotation marks around “Sapiens” because it is not clear that most “people” have enough brains to avoid extinction when it is clearly predicted and the safe path has been pointed out. Nuclear is the safe path and we have factory built nuclear power plants now. A nuclear power plant can be installed in weeks. See:
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com

    Pretend the year is 1850 and your doctor has just given you a choice: Amputate your leg or you die tomorrow. Anesthetics have not been invented. Will you have your leg off sir?
    Your psychological pain is imaginary, not real. Get over it and live. Don’t get over it and your grandchildren die.
    Nuclear power ends global warming and the human race lives.
    No nuclear power causes the coal industry cash flow to continue to be $100 Billion per year in the US and Homo Sap goes extinct. The choice is yours, unfortunately.

    You are reciting coal industry propaganda. You may be paid by the coal industry, or your emotions have been hijacked by the coal industry propaganda over the past half century. Coal has killed over two hundred thousand Americans and is still doing so. Nuclear power has killed ZERO Americans. Power reactors do NOT make Plutonium239 that is needed for bombs. Power reactors make Plutonium240. It takes a very special reactor to make Pu239.

    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb:

    Bombs are completely different from reactors. There is nothing similar about them except that they both need fissile materials. But they need DIFFERENT fissile materials and they use them very differently.
    A nuclear bomb “compresses” pure or nearly pure fissile material into a small space. The fissile material is either the uranium isotope 235 or plutonium. They are the reduced bright shiny metals, not metal oxide. If it is uranium, it is at least 90% uranium 235 and 10% or less uranium 238. These fissile materials are metals and very difficult to compress. Because they are difficult to compress, a high explosive [high speed explosive] is required to compress them. Pieces of the fissile material have to slam into each other hard for the nuclear reactions to take place.
    A nuclear reactor, such as the ones used for power generation, does not have any pure fissile material. The fuel may be 0.7% to 8% uranium oxide 235 mixed with uranium 238 oxide [uranium rust]. A mixture of 0.7% to 8% uranium 235 rust mixed with uranium 238 rust cannot be made to explode no matter how hard you try. A small amount of plutonium oxide mixed in with the uranium oxide can not change this. Reactor fuel still cannot be made to explode like a nuclear bomb no matter how hard you try. There has never been a nuclear explosion in a reactor and there never will be. [Pure reduced metallic uranium and plutonium are flammable, but a fire isn't an explosion.] The fuel is further diluted by being divided and sealed into many small steel capsules. The capsules are usually contained in steel tubes. The fuel is further diluted by the need for coolant to flow around the capsules and through the core so that heat can be transported to a place where heat energy can be converted to electrical energy. A reactor does not contain any high speed [or any other speed] chemical explosive as a bomb must have. A reactor does not have any explosive materials at all.
    As is obvious from the above descriptions, there is no possible way that a reactor could ever explode like a nuclear bomb. Reactors and bombs are very different. Reactors and bombs are really not even related to each other.
    Reccomendation: Nuclear power is the safest kind and it just got safer. Convert all coal-fired power plants to nuclear ASAP. See the December 2005 issue of Scientific American article on a new type of nuclear reactor that consumes the nuclear “waste” as fuel.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Apr 2010 @ 1:49 AM

  464. Rod (454): any little blemish, let alone chink, in the armour that scientifically properly deserves study has some probability of being unreasonably jumped on and pounded into the ground by some — a dilemma; but a natural hazard that none-the-less ought to be faced.

    BPL: Rod, that’s how science is SUPPOSED TO WORK! EVERY idea gets jumped on, as hard as possible! The ones that survive make it into the consensus. Go read “Asimov’s Corollary” or “My Built-In Doubter”

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 3 Apr 2010 @ 5:36 AM

  465. #464 Barton, good comment. Since you seem so interested in open discussion, maybe you could shed some light on the subject. Enclosed are two additional graphs, using the same method described above (#426). These include averaged anomalies from records before 1850 and 1900. The records from 1850 and before now include U.S. data (i.e. Ft. Snelling), while the records from 1900 and before cover the globe to a certain extent.

    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1850-2008-27a-UtBGD.gif

    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1900-2008-50a-PhLn0.gif

    The more recent filtered curves from 1850 on, still contain the ~50 year cycles, the curves using data from 50 stations before 1900 start to resemble the Hadcet shape. So here we have a progression of long term station reports, that to me anyway would indicate the old records may not be that far off, by a interesting oscillation, or pattern, they seem to have.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 Apr 2010 @ 10:50 AM

  466. BPL (464), you’re right, of course, but I was referring to the despised group, scientists or not, that’s taking the statements out of context and running wild with them.

    Comment by Rod B — 3 Apr 2010 @ 11:58 AM

  467. “Every time you dis nuclear, you are working for the coal industry and shooting yourself in the foot.”

    Nope, I’m pretty certain I’m not.

    Nuclear power has 10 year lag and MUST run for 20 years.

    Renewables generally have a ROI of less than 10 and can start within a year or two.

    In what way is ignoring Nuclear a problem?

    Your assertion doesn’t fit with reality, just with what you hope for.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Apr 2010 @ 12:04 PM

  468. Oh, and crashing an A380 into a wind farm has much less of a problem than whanging one into a nuke plant. Neither is there a problem with people sneaking out germanium deposits as opposed to uranium ones…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Apr 2010 @ 12:05 PM

  469. > Len Conly
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Lindzen+lung+cancer+cigarette+smoking

    > Nukees
    aieeeee…..

    > RodB
    > … scientists or not
    Again the notion some scientist somewhere may be ‘running wild’
    But it’s only a hypothesis, right? Not something you actually know about.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Apr 2010 @ 1:35 PM

  470. Edward Greisch

    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb…

    Not that anybody said they were at risk of so doing, so why you’re presenting a detailed description of how reactors cannot explode is an unsolved mystery.

    As to the rest of your remarks on nuclear power, overweening affection for one technology or another is counterproductive. Glossing over the issues attendant to any particular power technology while exaggerating disadvantages of another invites poor policy decisions.

    I’m not particularly opposed to nuclear plants being operated in those relatively few suitable places and relatively small possible numbers dictated by reality. But, as you well know, the more vociferous opponents of the technology are concerned not with explosions but instead with the uniquely durable and difficult to handle mess reactors create when they malfunction in a serious way. Consider for a moment the statistical picture presented to us by the relatively tiny numbers of reactors so far deployed by actors that could not be more supportive of the demanding requirements of safe reactor operation. We can be quite certain based on past experience that if these machines were deployed by the many thousands willy-nilly without regard to operational context– a requirement for them to substitute for present day generation capacity, let alone future demands– we’d end up with some serious mitigation problems on our hands. Extrapolating the French experience to other parts of the world is popular among nuclear aficionados but is not really helpful to policymakers faced with a more complicated picture in other parts of the world.

    By the way, last time I checked there is only a single air-cooled commercial nuclear generation plant in operation. That suggests a significant economic problem with air cooling, but perhaps I’m wrong.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 3 Apr 2010 @ 2:17 PM

  471. Check the Wall Street Journal, 2/22/2010 -Energy Report – The Long Road to an Alternative-Energy Future.

    Comment by J. Bob — 3 Apr 2010 @ 4:56 PM

  472. “Not that anybody said they were at risk of so doing, so why you’re presenting a detailed description of how reactors cannot explode is an unsolved mystery.”

    I think I can solve it for you:

    Ed NEEDS Nuclear to be on the table. Therefore those AGAINST nukes must be thrown out of the discussion. Therefore run a strawman and then accuse them of making things worse.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 3 Apr 2010 @ 5:05 PM

  473. Re: ‘Completely Fed Up’ #457 and #458

    Just saying “look at the science” doesn’t point to any proof. I’ve acknowledged that some evidence has been found to support the theory that the recent divergence may be unique. However, I have not seen anything that comes near proof of it. If you can point at some specific such proof, please do so – otherwise, I feel safe assuming you know of none. As I said, such proof would be difficult to find, given the nature of proxies.

    With regard to the divergent tree ring proxies not skewing the reconstructions, I am not sure I know what you are saying, and I am not even sure that you know.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 3 Apr 2010 @ 5:22 PM

  474. “Power reactors do NOT make Plutonium239 that is needed for bombs.” Edward Greisch — 3 April 2010 @ 1:49 AM
    They CAN produce weapons grade Pu239 simply by manipulating the fuel cycle, and it would be fairly simple to design a power reactor for hot refueling(Chernobyl was built for hot refueling, although it was not the same design as US power reactors.)

    “To achieve the high percentages of Pu-239 required for weapon grade plutonium, it must be produced specifically for this purpose. The uranium must spend only several weeks in the reactor core and then be removed. For this to be carried out in a LWR – the prevalent reactor design for electricity generation – the reactor would have to be shut down completely for such an operation; this is easily detectable.” http://www.fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/plutonium.htm

    “After 3 years in a reactor, a fuel rod assembly containing 264 rods weighing 1,450 lbs would contain 12.9 pounds of plutonium, 5.07 pounds of fission products, and 1,367 pounds of U-238″
    “The fuel extracted from power reactors where fuel rods remain for extended periods of time contains concentrations of Pu-240, which makes the plutonium unsuitable for use in a weapon. The plutonium produced in reactors which are refueled frequently contains lower concentrations of Pu-240 and is suitable for use in weapons.” http://www.chemcases.com/nuclear/nc-08.html

    I’m not opposed to nuclear power, especially the development of something like lead cooled actinide burning metal fuel thorium breeder reactors. The problems are that no one has built the first Gen IV prototype yet (Soviet subs use(d?) lead cooling, but very highly enriched fuel and high power densities), and simply replacing the existing coal fired electrical generation capacity in the US(313 GW) with current generation reactors would consume ALL the worlds production capacity(80% one company – Japan Steel Works, recently expanded from 4 to 12 forgings/yr) for reactor containment forgings for the next 20+ years. We could spend the gigabucks necessary to expand capacity($864 million for the 8 per year increase at JSW): that will increase the cost while decreasing the lead time for nuclear deployment, and faster deployment will cost more money per unit deployed. The Chernobyl and Three Mile Island incidents have put us 30 years too late politically and economically. We really need to start doing many things about global warming, peak oil/coal/uranium, N/P limits on agriculture, and a whole host of population, development, and resource issues, and we need to start in 1980; unfortunately, it’s 2010.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 3 Apr 2010 @ 6:28 PM

  475. > Gerry Quinn
    > … doesn’t point to any proof….
    > … not seen anything that comes near proof
    > … point at some specific such proof …
    > … I feel safe assuming you know of none.

    You’re at least looking in the right places; if you found a claim of proof, you’d be way outside the scientific work. That’s good news.

    This will help you understand why this is so:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=proof+in+science%3F

    > I am not sure I know what you are saying

    Ask for pointers to the actual papers and discussion by science.

    Otherwise, even here, you get people like me who aren’t practicing scientists writing down what they think they remember, and aside from the value of recreational typing, all you get is more opinion.

    Once someone points you to the real science, you have a good start, and you can ask questions based on your own reading.

    Beware other people’s summaries and opinions about what the science says, until you have some time reading in the particular field.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Apr 2010 @ 9:05 PM

  476. http://www.pnas.org/content/106/48/20348.full

    Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) at 3 sites in western North America near the upper elevation limit of tree growth showed ring growth in the second half of the 20th century that was greater than during any other 50-year period in the last 3,700 years. The accelerated growth is suggestive of an environmental change unprecedented in millennia. The high growth is not overestimated because of standardization techniques, and it is unlikely that it is a result of a change in tree growth form or that it is predominantly caused by CO2 fertilization. The growth surge has occurred only in a limited elevational band within ≈150 m of upper treeline, regardless of treeline elevation. Both an independent proxy record of temperature and high-elevation meteorological temperature data are positively and significantly correlated with upper-treeline ring width both before and during the high-growth interval. Increasing temperature at high elevations is likely a prominent factor in the modern unprecedented level of growth for Pinus longaeva at these sites.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2010 @ 12:23 AM

  477. 468 Completely Fed Up: “crashing an A380 into a nuke plant” Did you notice that they did NOT do that on 9/11? Ever wonder why? It is because the A380 could NOT cause a radiation leak. The containment building is 39 inches thick of the best concrete and HEAVILY REINFORCED. The A380 would do little more than scratch the paint. If it DID put a hole in the containment building, SO WHAT? The core is still inside a 5 inch thick stainless steel container inside the containment building. NO RADIATION WOULD BE RELEASED.

    “Neither is there a problem with people sneaking out germanium deposits as opposed to uranium ones”
    OK, there was a recycling plant at a company named NUMEC near Pittsburgh PA [Apollo PA.] where spent fuel somehow found its way to Israel. [I almost got a job at NUMEC designing nuclear batteries for heart pacemakers.]
    The CEO paid a $900,000 fine and Israel fueled up a reactor with the spent fuel. Israel pirated fuel from French ships on the high seas as well. Israeli bombs are, strangely, identical copies of American bombs.
    But the solution to the problem is to do the recycling in Government Owned Government Operated [GOGO] facilities. This is one case where private enterprise cannot be trusted.

    472: “Ed NEEDS Nuclear to be on the table.” No I don’t. What I NEED is a survivable climate. If you can figure out another way to do it RIGHT NOW, Great! But you can’t. Wind is a pipe dream and solar is pie in the sky. So invest Your money in them.

    470 Doug Bostrom: Of course I had to make some assumption as to what Completely Fed Up’s Gish Gallop was all about. Did I guess wrong? NO. There are so many lies to tell it is hard to cover them all.

    “Glossing over the issues attendant to any particular power technology while exaggerating disadvantages of another invites poor policy decisions.”
    WE ARE DISCUSSING CLIMATE CHANGE in case you hadn’t noticed. COAL ACCOUNTS FOR 40% OF OUR CO2 PRODUCTION. There is only one technology that is currently mature that can provide BASE LOAD [24 hours per day every day] power that is NOT coal and it is NUCLEAR. We want to replace coal. The only one available is nuclear. There is no other policy decision available. Wind never works on calm days and solar never works at night, in case you hadn’t noticed. And batteries are orders of magnitude too expensive. Geothermal only works for producing electricity in certain places.
    So here it is: DO you want to solve GW or don’t you?

    As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it. Hydrogen fusion could, if it worked. Hydrogen fusion has been “hopeful” for half a century so far. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

    If you quit being afraid of nuclear, the coal industry is doomed. Every time you argue in favor of wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is happy. ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business. Nuclear power HAS put coal out of business in France. France uses 30 year old American technology. So here is the deal: Keep being afraid of all things nuclear and die either when [not if] civilization collapses or when H2S comes out of the ocean and Homo “Sapiens” goes extinct. OR: Get over your paranoia and kick the coal habit and live. Which do you choose? I put quotation marks around “Sapiens” because it is not clear that most “people” have enough brains to avoid extinction when it is clearly predicted and the safe path has been pointed out. Nuclear is the safe path and we have factory built nuclear power plants now. A nuclear power plant can be installed in weeks. See:
    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com

    No dispute with 474 Brian Dodge, except to say that 32 countries have nuclear power plants, only 9 have the bomb, including North Korea. 23 countries are making no attempt to shorten the fuel cycle to make Pu239.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Apr 2010 @ 2:49 AM

  478. “Just saying “look at the science” doesn’t point to any proof. ”

    So what sort of proof is there, then?

    The Bible?

    Tealeaves?

    Fox News?

    The proof is in the reports from scientists.

    Read it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Apr 2010 @ 5:22 AM

  479. EG 463: There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it.

    BPL: Sure there is. There are many ways: Wind turbines, solar thermal plants, photovoltaics, site geothermal, hot dry rock geothermal. Wave is a minor source, but it can certainly help. And the best way of all would be to combine all renewable sources in wide-area smart grids.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Apr 2010 @ 6:08 AM

  480. A lot of good wind turbines do on a -20 still Jan. night in the northern plains.

    Comment by J. Bob — 4 Apr 2010 @ 9:50 AM

  481. > J Bob
    And when you’re on the northern plains, you can eat buffalo so ocean pH change doesn’t hurt you. No man is an island, when he lives free and independent like a cowboy on the plains. Say, where’s your dental floss made?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2010 @ 11:00 AM

  482. “Many ways”–I think that’s the essence. It may be the case that wind is still more per kwh if you figure in capacity factor, line losses, etc. However, discussions such as the following lead me to question how nuclear could possibly be scaled up adequately to carry the load alone:

    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/447/

    Where will the waste go? Where will the financial incentives come from? What about the politics?

    Maybe most critically, perhaps, where will the trained personnel to build and operate all the new plants proposed come from?

    Wind, on the other hand, is currently being built at pretty startling rates. We know we can add it, because it is happening in front of our eyes. But it’s true that baseload is valuable.

    My guess is that we are going to need a whole variety of technologies, as Barton’s post implies. And we need integrated planning, not turf wars among proponents of this or that technology.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Apr 2010 @ 12:07 PM

  483. “A lot of good wind turbines do on a -20 still Jan. night in the northern plains.”
    Comment by J. Bob
    unless you have a complete system of course ;)

    Comment by flxible — 4 Apr 2010 @ 12:18 PM

  484. Re ‘Completely Fed Up”, #478:

    In my previous post I said: “If you can point at some specific such proof, please do so – otherwise, I feel safe assuming you know of none.”

    You replied “The proof is in the reports from scientists. Read it.”

    You gave no reference whatsoever to the location of “it”.

    I rest my case.

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 4 Apr 2010 @ 12:52 PM

  485. Re Hank Roberts, #476:

    From the paper:

    “Above the transition elevation (≈3,320 m to 3,470 m in the White Mountains), ring width is strongly positively associated with temperature and also is weakly positively associated with precipitation. Below the transition elevation, ring width is strongly negatively associated with temperature and also is strongly positively associated with precipitation.”

    So, yet another form of divergence in tree-ring temperature proxies? And this form, it appears, goes back centuries…

    Seems like there’s a lot of research to be done still before we can have great trust in tree-ring proxies!

    Comment by Gerry Quinn — 4 Apr 2010 @ 1:13 PM

  486. “A lot of good wind turbines do on a -20 still Jan. night in the northern plains.”

    Why? You didn’t mention that it was becalmed.

    All the wind turbines need is wind.

    PS A lot of good nuclear power stations do when you don’t have any fissiles to play with…

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Apr 2010 @ 1:56 PM

  487. “There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it.”

    No, Eddie, that’s what YOU “know”.

    This is not what *I* know.

    And so far reality seems to disagree with you.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 4 Apr 2010 @ 1:57 PM

  488. Edward, calm down, deactivate caps lock, and once you’ve taken a deep breath how addressing the issues I brought up?

    Make a case; show how you’d staff and protect a nuclear plant in– for instance– Bosnia during the civil war there.

    How about Iraq, after the invasion? Fossil fuel generation plants can be turned off and left unattended, so can most other systems. Would you please explain how a similar scenario will work with nuclear reactors? How about when restart is needed?

    Will human nature end as nuclear reactors spread across the planet?

    There are places where the end of civil society is inconceivable, others where it’s imminent. Reactors don’t fit in all contexts, that’s my point. Don’t get angry about it, instead describe how you can make reactors work without leaving big messes, in the face of persistent human nature.

    Once you’ve done that, we can turn to sloth, complacency and even good intentions (Chernobyl?) and sort out those problems.

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Apr 2010 @ 2:07 PM

  489. Loath though I am to fuel yet more discussion here about power liberation/capture technologies, it’s an ironically amusing fact that the petroleum industry has advanced our drilling techniques to the point where it is conceivable we may be able to routinely and safely dispose of high level waste in deep boreholes.

    For more information, here’s an abstract to provide search terms:

    Deep Borehole Disposal of High-Level Radioacitve Waste

    Comment by Doug Bostrom — 4 Apr 2010 @ 2:26 PM

  490. > Gerry Quinn

    No, you didn’t read even the abstract before you posted your misstatement.

    Please, we need real skeptics here, not baloney.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2010 @ 2:51 PM

  491. #481 Ah, the intelligentsia have spoken. If you can’t answer a question, try a less then intelligent remark.

    #483 fixible, have you ever been in a grid control room and observed what it takes to get various parts on or off line under the best of conditions? As Han Solo said “It ain’t like dusting crops”, ( or quoting a general topic article ). I remember reading a IEEE report on the Great NY Power outage. When you are moving that much power, strange and unexpected things happen. Not only to the local station, but the ripples through the whole grid and associated grids. As the grid complexity increases, the problems increase, and can propagate, in a highly non-linear, and unpredictable manner.

    #486 CFU. Still (adj) 1)being without movement, 2)motionless – Webster’s. OK?

    Comment by J. Bob — 4 Apr 2010 @ 3:06 PM

  492. JBob, you’re right — wind power doesn’t work when the wind doesn’t blow.

    Also, your solar cells don’t work when it’s dark.
    Your hydro, coal, or fission plant don’t work when the river’s too low, or too warm, for cooling water.
    And none of them work very long without highways and railroads.

    Electrification — it’s the grid that makes it work for everyone.

    If you want a separate, isolated system, these days, you have to ask yourself why bother — because so much else you also want requires interconnection with the surrounding areas.

    Unless you’re making your own dental floss, you’re connected.
    No single answer is _the_ answer, for the high plains or anywhere else.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2010 @ 5:48 PM

  493. PS, J. Bob — are you thinking of this article?

    http://www.aip.org/tip/INPHFA/vol-9/iss-5/p8.html

    “In the four years between the issuance of Order 888 and its full implementation, engineers began to warn that the new rules ignored the physics of the grid…. the key error in the new rules was to view electricity as a commodity rather than as an essential service.

    … The solution advocated by deregulation critics would revise the rules to put them back into accord with the grid physics. “The system is not outdated, it is just misused,” says Casazza. “We should look hard at the new rules, see what is good for the system as a whole, and throw out the rest.”

    Many proposals to completely rebuild the electric grid want it overbuilt and kept deregulated — so they can use the electric grid like they do the financial system: making secret trades, big gambles, and big profits.

    Doing that requires pushing any hugely interconnected single machine to its limits. And it will crash if it’s fought over instead of collaboratively run.

    Or, you can run it as an essential service, a single machine, a use that is consistent with the physics.

    We are as engineers.
    We ought to get good at it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Apr 2010 @ 6:01 PM

  494. The CRU comments on Mr. Pearce, and also his misleading account of Tom Wigley’s Email. Mr. Randerson, might take a look.

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 4 Apr 2010 @ 6:20 PM

  495. 493 Hank, no I wasn’t thinking of your ref. to order 888. What I am thinking of is the physics involved in distribution and reliability of delivering electrical power. Not weather electrical power is a commodity or not. My personal view is to treat it as a essential utility.

    What I do find interesting is the idea of General Atomics’ medium scale reactors. At this point, they may facilitate air cooling of the rector. With the proper configuration, it could act as a modified breeder, “burning” nuclear waste from the larger plants, reducing the waste problem. You might consider a grid using smaller plants, as similar to the internet. If one IMP, or node goes down, it would effect the local area, but minimize the disruption over the greater grid. This was one of the rules in the design of the original ARPA net.

    Comment by J. Bob — 4 Apr 2010 @ 8:36 PM

  496. “What I am thinking of is the physics involved in distribution and reliability of delivering electrical power. ”

    Ever heard of a “brown out”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownout_(electricity)

    This is with coal and nuclear.

    You beg the question as to whether these will be a new thing when we stop using fossil fuels.

    They won’t.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Apr 2010 @ 5:13 AM

  497. “If you can’t answer a question, try a less then intelligent remark.”

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, JP.

    Try making an intelligent remark instead.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Apr 2010 @ 5:14 AM

  498. “You gave no reference whatsoever to the location of “it”.”

    You have given no evidence of what “it” is.

    Hank has given you one:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/the-guardian-responds/comment-page-10/#comment-169257

    And you’ve shown no sign you’ve read it.

    You’ve shown every sign of NOT reading the papers that show the phenomena you are specifically complaining about. You are merely parroting what you’ve heard elsewhere, uncritically. Yet are unwilling to read of what you’re critical of.

    When you don’t know what you don’t believe, how do you know it’s wrong?

    Because you DENY it.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Apr 2010 @ 5:19 AM

  499. “If you quit being afraid of nuclear, the coal industry is doomed”

    Coal is doomed even if you’re not “afraid” of nuclear.

    It is YOU who equate nuclear with the ONLY answer to coal.

    And that axiom colours all your perception to the extent of blinding you. And, to make your blindness acceptable, you proffer that blindness on to others, painting them as blind as you, so that there may be no one-eyed man to be king.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Apr 2010 @ 5:21 AM

  500. “#486 CFU. Still (adj) 1)being without movement, 2)motionless ”

    Still not seeing the point.

    Why the -20? Please record for me a time when the entire North Plains were becalmed.

    And please tell me how a nuclear power plant works without nuclear fuel. If you can’t, I guess that nuclear power is worthless too. Begging the question, how does a coal power station work without coal? I guess there’s no such thing as an electric power station, then, yes..?

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Apr 2010 @ 5:24 AM

  501. EG 477: Wind is a pipe dream and solar is pie in the sky.

    BPL: I told Wilbur and I told Orville and I’m telling you: That contraption will never work!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Apr 2010 @ 6:00 AM

  502. #496-#500 CFU – you might have saved energy just posting one message, rather then putting more strain on the internet with a mass mailing. I’m not sure of some comments, hopefully I might enlighten you on –20 deg. on a great plains still night. Sounds like you never lived in that area, especially in the winter. However what happens when a large polar high, drops out of Canada, it can move very slowly. Now these polar highs do not cause a significant amount of wind over a wide area, hence no, or little, wind generated electric power. In addition, when it gets that cold, lubricants tend to get hard, so one just does not flip a switch to turn on a wind turbine in very cold conditions, even when some wind does blow.

    As a past member if the IEEE, I am well aware of “brownouts”, and the reasons behind them, I don’t have to get my info from wikipedia. However you might do well to read some of their publications on the subject. They have much greater depth and authority.

    Your comment “And please tell me how a nuclear power plant works without nuclear fuel“, would indicate you failed to comprehend my comment “With the proper configuration, it could act as a modified breeder, “burning” nuclear waste from the larger plants, reducing the waste problem.”. Being a avid commentator I would assume you would understand that the “waste” of one reactor could be the fuel for another type.

    Comment by J. Bob — 5 Apr 2010 @ 10:24 AM

  503. Is Dr. Randerson of the Guardian still reading here?

    Please reply (see Eli’s site for more)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Apr 2010 @ 10:29 AM

  504. J Bob (495), but there is a world of technical difference between switching addressable bit packets and switching non-addressable bulk electric fields.

    Comment by Rod B — 5 Apr 2010 @ 11:27 AM

  505. Jim Bob, you may save even more electricity by not posting your insane gibberish at all.

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Apr 2010 @ 4:08 PM

  506. “Your comment “And please tell me how a nuclear power plant works without nuclear fuel“, would indicate you failed to comprehend my comment “With the proper configuration, it could act as a modified breeder”

    And note:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/the-guardian-responds/comment-page-10/#comment-169307

    and I quote:

    “A lot of good nuclear power stations do when you don’t have any fissiles to play with…”

    Or don’t breeders produce fissile materials???

    Comment by Completely Fed Up — 5 Apr 2010 @ 4:09 PM

  507. aside: ESR updated the CO2 level given on their intro page
    http://www.esr.org/outreach/climate_change/intro/intro1.html
    (rewarding my emailed nudge 29 March 2010 @ 9:56 AM):

    “… CO2 … (currently above 389 ppm)”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Apr 2010 @ 11:19 AM

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