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Curve manipulation: lesson 2

Filed under: — stefan @ 14 June 2007

Two weeks ago, we published the first lesson in curve manipulation taught by German school teacher and would-be scientist E.G. Beck: How to make it appear as if the Medieval times were warmer than today, even if all scientific studies come to the opposite conclusion. Today we publish curve manipulation, lesson 2: How to make it appear as if 20th Century warming fits into a 1500-year cycle. This gem is again brought to us by E.G. Beck. In a recent article (in German), he published the following graph:

Notice how temperature goes up and down in beautifully regular cycles since 800 B.C.? At the bottom, they are labelled “Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles” – this refers to the Dansgaard-Oeschger events found in Greenland ice cores during the last Ice Age (but not during the last 10,000 years), about which there is a serious scientific discussion whether they are paced by a 1500-year cycle (see my paper in GRL). Beck’s curve shows a warm phase 400 BC and the next one 1200 AD – that’s 1600 years difference, so it just about fits. (I’m not endorsing his curve, by the way, I have no idea where it comes from – I’m just playing along with it for the sake of the argument). So the next warm phase should be in the year – oooops… 2700 or 2800? Hang on, how come it looks like the current warmth fits so nicely into the cycle? Shouldn’t we be right in the coldest phase? Now I see it… two little lines across the x-axis indicate that the axis has been broken there – tick-marks after the break are in 200-year intervals and before the break in 400-year intervals, and there’s also a gap of 200 missing years there. So that’s how we make the current global warming fit past climate cycles – it’s so easy!

p.s. Beck appeared on German TV last Monday, after the “Swindle” film was shown, and he is announced to appear on the program “Report München” in the first channel of public German TV next Monday (18 June), to educate the viewers about another of his fantasy graphs, namely his CO2 curve. It promises to be a must-see for friends of the unintentionally farcical.

346 Responses to “Curve manipulation: lesson 2”

  1. 251
    John Mashey says:

    re: #249
    Ooh, missed that somehow, didn’t go all the way to White Pages. Still, may or may not be real.

  2. 252
    John L. McCormick says:

    RE # 251

    Only the mail carrier knows.

  3. 253
    Hank Roberts says:

    An associated IP number is a good clue — either to a regularly used machine, or to posts from a widely shared machine, or via an anonymizing service. We ordinary readers have to trust the hosts to pick up patterns, at least over sufficient time, and deal with sock puppets however they like.

    As to recognizing bogosity or ideas that won’t fly, I wish RC (or climatology generally) were ready to do what the cosmologists are able to do — set out criteria to recognize possibly useful theories. Here for example:

    “… what are the most common cosmological areas in which one currently looks for further constraints on one’s new particle physics idea? What new questions do you need to ask yourself?
    1. Does your theory contain any new long-lived elementary particles? If it does … “

  4. 254
    bjc says:

    If you had a model of the stock market with an R^2 of .748, I can assure you that you would become very rich, very quickly.

  5. 255
    ray ladbury says:

    Re 254. BJC, not if you allowed adjustable parameters to obtain that model. And no, you would not. I believe that there is a strong correlation between a good year for the stock market and an original NFL team winning the Super Bowl. Great, you gonna sell the farm next time the Bears win? For a model to be credible, you have to have understand what mechanism underlies the correlation.
    Moreover, this is not finance, but rather science, and a 0.748 R^2 is crap. Two variables both of which are increasing or both of which are decreasing are sufficient to achieve that.

    [Response: You need to be a bit more careful here. 0.748 R^2 could be great in a different context. In this case it’s pretty meaningless since it is simply a reflection of the dominant trend in both time series, but blanket statements about significance are rarely justified. – gavin]

  6. 256
    Jeremy says:

    Re 243, ray wrote:

    “The authors claim that an R^2 value of .748 implies that the theory
    explains 74.8% of the trend.”

    Yeah, I noticed that. I wonder what explains the other 25.2%?

    If anybody wants to buy a used conspiracy theory, I seriously wondered
    for a while whether this was a hoax by a bunch of people at the USGS
    designed to show that the denialist blogosphere would indiscriminately
    pick up on any old nonsense that seems to support their case. I didn’t
    find ANY references to the Global Defense Network or Global Security
    Affairs & Analysis on the web apart from their own websites, which is a
    bit odd.

    But on second thoughts, I decided that it’s unlikely they’d have gone to
    that much trouble.

    I’m going to feel really guilty now if I was right and I’ve spoilt their
    fun. :-(

  7. 257
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jeremy wrote:
    > I didn’t find ANY references …

    How did you search? Google finds both terms immediately. Put quotes around the strings to get less chaff.

    Global Security Affairs & Analysis is a journal of the Global Defense Network. The journal accepts submissions from qualified practitioners, academics, …

  8. 258
    Jeremy says:

    Re 257. Hank Roberts wrote:
    >How did you search? Google finds both terms immediately.

    Yes, I found them. I said I didn’t find any reference *apart from* their
    own websites. Did you?

  9. 259
    David B. Benson says:

    I like tamino‘s idea: somebody please run the correlation between world beer consumption and global temperatures for the last fifty years or so…

  10. 260
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jeremy, yes, though you’ll have to page through a lot of chaff to find other references. The computer game, and what appear to be some military/veteran sites (that may also be computer game pages) are far more common users of the phrases.

    Here’s a real reference, first item here, for instance:

    Sorry for the digression, folks.

  11. 261
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re 257 Hank, I’m still confused – what exactly is the Global Defense Network? Aside from a computer game, that is. Is it a legitimate organization? A think tank, perhaps? Can you (or someone) provide a link to a credible source that explains what it is all about and who is involved? I’m still trying to figure out if this, and its journal, are legitimate. There is little I could find on the journal’s web site that would convince me that it is a credible peer-reviewed journal. It sounds more like an in-house web-based journal that is trying to pass itself off as something that it is not.

  12. 262
    Timothy Chase says:

    John Mashey (#245) wrote:

    The nov55 website is apparently run by Gary Novak, “Independent Scientist” or “Independent mushroom physiologist” and it displays a wide range of “interesting” assertions.

    Oh yah…

    His website was into big-time denial of anthropogenic global warming, and he claimed that mushrooms were in the process of evolving towards multicellularity – if I remember correctly. I bumped into his website a while back.

  13. 263
    Hank Roberts says:

    The home paqe seems to say it’s a Homeland Security Agency group’s publication. That’s a big umbrella for a huge list of government stuff, so that’s not very specific. The link, from a mention on the Navy postgrad school page, to the list of articles and authors leads to password protected pages for their March 2007 issue. That is all I found before I quit looking, in a couple of minutes digging through the chaff.

    This is way off topic for here.

  14. 264
    John Mashey says:

    re: #261: Chuck: you can stop worrying. Tindall has been at USGS for while, then got an MA from Naval Postgraduate School, and then apparently set up CSAAJ, and pulled in people he knew via NPG, USGS, and in Colorado. Maybe he sees security as a better career than USGS.

    In any case, with a little further CSAAJ rummaging, I believe I am now able to make a proper attribution, with a very high level of confidence. See if you agree.

    But first, the data:
    I looked around for references to GSAAJ, most of which were the same link-spam, although with slightly different words. The first author of the paper, Edward H. Moran, is also listed as Ted Moran in the GSAAJ website.

    Date Name: Site
    06/20 ehmoran: ehmoran blogspot com

    06/21 guest: cr4 globalspec com
    06/21 tm: www knowprose com
    06/21 tm: www fromtheheartland org
    … Posted twice, followed by 2 rather passionate comments about Darfur, ego-stroking,
    … complaints about spending $29B to further study GLOBAL WARMING…

    06/22 tmon: www earthportal org
    06/22 tm: globalwarming factorfiction com
    06/22 Anonymous:
    06/22 tm: www pheedo com
    06/22 tehm: science netscape com

    06/23 tm:

    06/23 tm:
    … “I believe article was peer-reviewed”
    … This was where Ray was trying to bring light 06/23-24, arguing with tm and Anonymous.

    06/23 ehm: forum physorg com
    06/23 tm: theclimatebet com
    … tm: but also signed “Edward Moran”!!

    06/24 tm: www friction tv
    … “After reading the journal article …” (Hmm, amazing that the lead author finally read the paper).
    **move to RC
    06/28 tm: pops up in #224 about model (very early in day), no response.
    06/28 Alan Cheswick: #229 [new person], in evening, points at version on newscientist

    06/28 tamino: #231 whacks the GSAAJ article

    **Flurry of defense, all from new names
    06/28 Gaye Moran: #233
    06/29 Ted Fulton: #235 (early AM, part of flurry)
    06/29 Michael Simons: #236

    06/29 Mashey: #237,#238 Digs out details
    06/29 Ladbury: #243, had already been slogging away in newscientist…myths.

    Hypothesis: Edward H. (Ted) Moran = {ehmoran, tm, guest, Anonymous, tehm}, and perhaps one or more of {Alan Cheswick, Gaye Moran, Ted Fulton, Michael Simons}, none of whose names are found at the USGS Alaska Science Center or USGS directory. Given similarity of wording, Moran was often posting under several different names in same thread, i.e., tm & anonymous in some cases.

    This is very weird behavior for a US Government hydrologist.
    It is a good way neither to become famous, nor to stay anonymous.

    Mr. Moran, if you’re still watching:
    I have read USGS 370.735.5 and I hope you (and James Tindall) have.

    Do managers SAF and LE HB know about this? Any constructive comments?

  15. 265
    Charles Lyell says:

    I wasn’t aware that there was a CO2 Climate Change LAW?
    I thought it was a hypothesis that is yet to be tested experimentally?

  16. 266
    Marion Delgado says:

    I am not sure what an all-caps “LAW” means, but the greenhouse gas potential of C02 has been known for over 100 years, Charles Lyell. It’s a little too specific to think of as a law, it’s like saying that ice cream freezes at -10 C and that’s the LAW of ice cream, and distilled water freezes at 0 C and thats the Law of water, and the bananas I bought today, which provably weighed 2 pounds – well, that’s the LAW of bananas. But it’s not a hypothesis, anymore than the “dipping a sponge in water makes it wet” LAW is. The greenhouse effect of increased C02 has indeed been tested experimentally for, again, over 100 years.

    What was a hypothesis was the sunspots make clouds and/or cause extra heat and that’s why you can magically ignore a thicker concentration of C02. But by now it’s a falsified one. Because the sun went to a minimum and temperature went up anyway. And the picture was not a cycle but an upward curve.

    What was a hypothesis, long ago, but is now an accepted theory with so much evidence and consensus that it has a presumption of correctness, is that human activity has filled the C02 well faster than it can be drawn down by nature for decades, and that nothing is mitigating the greenhouse effect (see above) of that C02, nor is anything compensating for the many positive feedbacks that are initiated once you have a warming or a C02 forcing or both.

  17. 267
    Charles Lyell says:

    Are there any references?

  18. 268
    Charles Lyell says:

    Then what you say IS! over population?

  19. 269
    David donovan says:

    Re 267

    Charles….start by reading some of the articles posted at this site !

    A good place to start is….

  20. 270
    Steve Latham says:

    Just to thank Gavin for the comment at 255 — In fisheries science there are many relationships where an r2 of < 0.5 is publishable and considered a valuable contribution (this relates largely to the fact that we think we know many mechanistic interactions but they are inherrently noisy).

  21. 271
    Charles Lyell says:

    But how can they do that with global CO2, there are only global data back to 1979?

  22. 272
    Timothy Chase says:

    Charles Lyell (#267) wrote:

    Are there any references?

    Well, it goes back to 1861 I believe, but here is one of the later papers on the greenhouse effect:

    On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground
    Svante Arrhenius
    The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science
    Series 5, Volume 41, 1896, pages 237-276

    Of course science has advanced a bit since then. Interestingly enough, the fundamental physics through which we understand the greenhouse effect is the very same physics which makes modern computers possible – such that we are able to project the general consequences of continued carbon emissions decades into the future. From sliderules to supercomputers, such as the NEC Earth Simulator which performs a trillion calculations per second. The poor thing is a little dated by now, though.

  23. 273
    Edward H. Moran says:

    Well, you smeared us personally like normal. This paper was submitted as a Brevia but Science responded and told us to publish in a discipline specific journal. We wanted to get this info out as fast as possible to other scientists and get some feed back or even let them continue with the study. We looked at both sides attempting to determine the truth. I don’t specifically care what the cause of climate change is. I look at data and report what I find; you guys make the policy decisions, not us.

    This work is in no means affiliated with the USGS. We’re finishing the final paper now with a few more back-up arguments This study purely developed form curiosity and on our own time and went through many, many discussions with many other scientists.

    Ray attached me personally without any kind of constructive criticism.

  24. 274
    Timothy Chase says:

    Charles Lyell (#270) wrote:

    But how can they do that with global CO2, there are only global data back to 1979?

    We have been taking measurements at Mauna Loa continuously since 1958. But they were taking measurements well before that. And before they were taking measurements – well, there are a variety of proxies (in essence, natural records) which they are able to use and cross-verify against one another. These give us a fairly accurate picture going back approximately a million years. Things get a little be more difficult to reconstruct beyond that.


    Anyway, Donovan is right…

    Start Here

  25. 275
    Edward H. Moran says:

    I have no desire to be famous, I just want to do the science, in what I was taught is a non political venture to search for truth, even before what you guys did to us personally. I did say just talk about the science not the personal stuff, like Nutjobs and such, don’t you think there’s enough of that going on the world!!!

    I thought you were a psychologist?

  26. 276
    Edward H. Moran says:

    Are you going to post what I said or leave it for guessing?

  27. 277
    Timothy Chase says:

    Edward H. Moran (#271) wrote:

    Are you going to post what I said or leave it for guessing?

    Sometimes it takes a little bit for messages to show up. Somebody has to do manually – mostly on account of spammers. You know, people who go around posting links back to their own websites just to boost their ratings in the search engines, that sort of thing.

  28. 278
    Edward H. Moran says:


    You censor everything, as you have done to me in the past.

    I’m going to send a copy of this page, the New Science page, and a log file from and my firewall program to several interested parties, since you have threatened me in everyway.

    Yes, in passing, many people know what I do on my own time.

    Now I’m going to sign off and remember what’s being said about certain Blog sites is true.

    Thanks you.

  29. 279

    Re #270

    The greenhouse effect has been known about since the 1700s. See Those scientists are quite clever! Well, some of them at least :-)

  30. 280

    [[His website was into big-time denial of anthropogenic global warming, and he claimed that mushrooms were in the process of evolving towards multicellularity – if I remember correctly.]]

    I’m pretty sure mushrooms are already multicellular.

  31. 281

    [[But how can they do that with global CO2, there are only global data back to 1979? ]]

    CO2 has been tracked at Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii since 1958. Before that, we have proxies such as bubbles in ice where the ice is laid down in annual deposition layers (Greenland, Antarctica).

  32. 282

    [[Ray attached me personally without any kind of constructive criticism. ]]

    And we all know how being attached can hurt. Especially if something like staples are used.

  33. 283
    Zeke Hausfather says:

    You must admit, Edward, that the publication of a path-breaking research paper on climate change by a new online journal conveniently edited by both authors of the paper, neither of whom appear to have a substantive background in climate science, does come across as a tad suspicious, especially given the tendency for quackery on the margins of this issue. Also, comments by your namesake Gaye that “the paper was published in that journal to get the info out as fast as possible, since $29B that are about to be spent looking at CO2 when apparently that’s not the biggest problem” appears to suggest that your intentions in this matter are not completely unbiased.

    I would have suggested following Science’s advise and publishing your article in a “discipline-specific journal”, which would have given quite a bit more credibility to your work. As it stands, we don’t have any idea how rigorous or substantive the “peer review” process was for your article, especially as it was published in a medium that generally publishes neither peer reviewed nor science articles.

    Finally, while some of the language used in criticizing your work did amount to ad-homs (nutjob is rarely an appropriate term, even when referring to sloppy work), there are a number of more substantive assertions I would suggest responding to if you want to be taken seriously. And ranting away against the posting delay hardly helps your case.

  34. 284
    Gavin says:

    Note: Continued use of alternate names and sock puppets to support an argument here will not be allowed. I also caution all participants not to indulge in name-calling and to remain respectful.

  35. 285
    Dan G says:

    Does anyone know the folks over at, in particular, Richard Rood? I know that you are not affiliated and although RC never refers to them, they often reference RC. I know that the same people dislike them as dislike RC. Anyway, I had been posting comments when suddenly, all responses from the hosts stopped on June 25 and no moderator has posted since. Have they abandoned their blog? Anyone have any ideas?

  36. 286
    J.S. McIntyre says:


    “Does anybody know somebody in USGS well enough to ask what this is about?”

    Not much. I have a relative pretty high up on the governmental food chain who works there. I’ll send them an e-mail and link the thread from where this started, for what its worth.

    On the off chance I hear anything back, I’ll be happy to let you know.


  37. 287
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    #222, Alexi wrote: “But, instead of worrying about those species living in polar waters, who will worry about 6 billion species of Homo sapiens (soon to be 9B)? I think your (I mean AGW people in general) worries are substantially misplaced.”

    I heartily disagree. Species loss is not the same thing as what happens when a neighbor moves out. Nothing will replace that species. Nothing will replace that species’ place in the order of things, and so it invariably follows the loss of one species will have a deleterious effect on other species. In some cases, the effect might be minor to negligible; in others, it could be catastrophic.

    The BBC version of “Planet Earth” includes a three-part sub-series focused on what the people that put that special together observed in terms of sustainability of habitats, the thinning of species and sustainability in the years it took them to put the film together, and then interwove discussion by leading scientists and environmentalists and even religious figures. On a side note, I would recommend the three-parter to any and all who want to get a good picture of the current state of the natural world.

    Specifically, there was an excellent observation in the first episode that serves as an answer to your question. Think of the interconnected web of life on this planet as a brick wall. Every time a species disappears, another brick is knocked out of that wall. Sooner or later, the wall is going to collapse.

    We’re already seeing this kind of collapse in ocean fisheries. We’re seeing it in amphibians world-wide. We’re seeing it in herd populations in Asia. In the mini-series there was documented the story a herd of antelope estimated to be 15 million strong that roamed the area that made up many of the client states of the Soviet Union. There is an old BBC special that filmed them migrating – the herd stretched to either end of the horizon. When the SU broke up and those now-former client states experienced hard times, they turned to that herd for sustenance. The species is now nearly extinct. All of this happened in a period of just a few years. Now that species is no longer around to look to as a resource, not just for humans, but for any other species that had interactions with it. It will not repopulate any time soon, likely never, especially without stringent safeguards. Who will provide them?

    Life on this planet is interconnected. Thus, in order to look to the needs of the six billion already on this planet, it strikes me that the most rational way to do this is to preserve and protect the natural world and its resources that sustain us. Right now, any species loss is part of a growing disaster, one for which all the ingenuity humanity can muster will likely have no answer. Scientists have been discussing the growing reality that we are witnessing of a die-off occurring, one that has the potential to be the sixth great die-off in the history of life. What makes this die-off unique is there is a species – homo sapiens – that is both responsible for the die-off, and self aware enough to do something about it.

    The problem, it would seem, will be to get the population of the world to understand that efforts to sustain the web of life is in its ultimate best interest. Like others, I don’t hold out much hope for this, especially when obviously intelligent people do not see this relatively simple truth.

  38. 288
    Hank Roberts says:

    > “the paper was published in that journal to get the info out as fast as possible, since
    > $29B that are about to be spent looking at CO2 when apparently that’s not the biggest problem”

    Hm. So it’s another advocacy journal.

  39. 289
    Edward H. Moran says:

    Okay! You’ve had a much more than a 1/2 hour. No excuses now.

    There were no derogatory statements in the last comment, but I did notice that many of my others under an assumed name, like “tamino”, or Gavin, where are their full names, got posted immediately…

    Because of the unprofessionalism at this site, yesterday I posted a statement on
    comment 16. Now because this continues, I’m going to review all copies I’ve made of the website along with you “Comment Policy” and begin to send that out. Then when I come back to this site and still don’t see my postings, I’m going to send out the comments that I copied from Word, which I use because my spelling can be atrocious.

    Everything that has happened on this site has been seen by many of my colleagues. They know me and what I do and what I’ve done. I will continue no more, You have posted threatening statements towards me and my family. Soon I will demand a written apology from this WEBSITE and I just might take it further.

  40. 290
    Timothy Chase says:

    Alastair McDonald (#279) wrote:

    Re [#272(?)]

    The greenhouse effect has been known about since the 1700s. See Those scientists are quite clever! Well, some of them at least.

    Don’t mean to complain, but what you are speaking of is heating by means of sunlight combined due to absorbtion and the limiting of convection. This is what takes place in a greenhouse, but it not what is refered to in science as the greenhouse effect – which involves the raising of the temperature within a system by means of a process involving positive feedback through the absorption and re-emission of radiation.

    But yes, scientists have been clever for a very long time. I, for example, like Benjamin Franklin’s demonstration that lightning is a form of atmospheric electricity, the demonstration of the sphericity of the earth which goes back to Ancient Greece I believe, and the invention of zero in India given to us via an earlier renaissance of Arab culture which also gave us the telescope.

    It also pays to keep in mind the fact that “primitive man” is itself a misnomer of sorts. Ealy men were largely men-of-all-trades prior to a well-developed division of cognitive labor because they had to be.

    Civilization itself has advanced a great deal since then – as has science.

  41. 291
    Edward H. Moran says:

    Where is my previous comment posted more that a 1/2 hour before comment 289.

  42. 292
    Edward H. Moran says:

    Are you ready to talk science, or do I need to take this higher?

  43. 293
    spilgard says:

    A bit of support from paleomagnetic records of the earth’s magnetic field intensity is in order. How well does the paleomagnetic record correlate with the temperature record over, say, the past few thousand years? Perhaps the matter should be run past the USGS Geomagnetism Group:

  44. 294
    Edward H. Moran says:

    There’s already a study out there.

  45. 295
  46. 296
    ray ladbury says:

    Wow! He’s good. I didn’t even see his lips move!

  47. 297
    tamino says:

    Re: #292 (Edward H. Moran)

    OK, let’s talk science.

    In your paper, you state, “1958-2000 magnetic anomalies explained 79.2-percent (R2 = 0.792 with p < 0.01) of the 1965-2006 Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) (5) temperature-anomaly variability.”

    With a polynomial fit, the lowest-order nonlinear polynomial being quadratic, you have at least two degrees of freedom in your polynomial (more if your polynomial degree is higher than 2). You also apply a lag, so you have at least three degrees of freedom in your model relating temperature anomaly to magnetic field.

    I took temperature anomalies for 1965 to 2006 from GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) and did a simple linear regression against time. I get R2 = 0.793. So, using time (instead of magnetic field) and only one degree of freedom (linear fit), I get better correlation than you did.

    Using a quadratic polynomial, I get R2 = 0.814. That’s better correlation than you got, and still fewer degrees of freedom in the model (2 vs your at-least-3).

    You also say, “As model verification, 1958-1993 magnetic anomalies were regressed against 1965-2000 temperature anomalies; while explaining only 68.5-percent (R2 = 0.685 with p < 0.01) of temperature-anomaly variability. The resulting regression-equation coefficients were used to model 1958-2000 and predict 2001-2006 temperature anomalies (Series2, Fig 1). All computed temperature anomalies fell within the 95-percent confidence interval of Series1 values, thus further validating the model.”

    I also took the linear and quadratic models based on temperature data from 1965 to 2000, extrapolated to predict values for 2001 through 2006, and in both cases, all computed temperature anomalies feel within the 95-percent confidence interval of the predicted temperature anomalies.

    Result: your magnetic-field model, using at least 3 degrees of freedom, doesn’t quite do as well as a simple linear regression against time.

  48. 298
    Timothy Chase says:

    Edward H. Moran (#294, #295) wrote:

    There’s already a study out there.


    Must be the wrong study.

    The authors of that study were concerned with the natural variability of atmosphere temperature and the natural variability of the geomagnetic field, principally in terms of describing their mathematical structure in terms of noise of different spectra densities. They were deliberately attempting to pick two things which they regarded as unrelated in order to illustrate the wide applicability of their analysis.

    It had nothing to do with the global temperature and geomagnetism being correlated.

  49. 299
    Rod B says:

    re 287: while protecting the environment and species is generally a good thing, I don’t think it rises to the criticality or even significance you imply. Species come and go by the thousands over years/decades/centuries. No need to get in a dither over a loss of one or two (or a hundred…) I trust I’m not over-reacting to what sounds like a mostly rational and serious concern. I jump from the folks out there who given a choice between saving a human or saving a bird/fish/insect/etc will choose the latter everytime with no hesitation.

  50. 300
    James A. Tindall says:

    Hello to all,

    I would like to introduce myself – James Tindall.

    Being directed to your Blog site, I have observed some interesting discussions/comments about the paper by Moran and Tindall, as well as other issues. Truthfully, such comments are understandable and expected. I must admit, however, that the personal-type attacks took me aback a little after reading the title of your web site (RealClimate: Climate science from climate scientists), especially in lieu of discussing the science behind the issue. Thus, I would suggest a tad more civility.

    I once had a technical writing professor that told me, “specific is terrific.” Because this is going to be my only post, I would like to make a few comments that I hope will be specific enough to address some, although not all, of the concerns posted here.

    1. As a scientist for the National Research Program of the USGS, I am not in violation of USGS 370.735.5. Stated earlier by Mr. Moran, this work was done on outside time and is not in conflict with current duties, since it addresses security issues rather than specifically climate change issues. If you wish, I will be happy to give you the contact information of my superiors.

    2. It is my personal belief that global warming is important and will continue to be so. As per the two camps of global warming I have no interest in them and remain focused on science that is unbiased and uninfluenced by opinion(s). My primary interest (that of GSAA) in this work as stated in #1 is one of a security nature and what long-term country and international security issues would be in regards to being able to accurately predict temperatures and hopefully some day total climate, into the future and, to be able to develop strategies before hand for occurrences such as long-term drought and other conditions that will provide better and more efficient use of scarce security resources that need to be in place. Although, this is a very simplistic description, security in this regard is an important issue and one that I hope you can understand the importance of.

    3. It is quite noticeable that several groups/persons have been “trashed” on the site. That’s okay I suppose if one wishes to sidestep rather than discuss science. An example is Novak. While I do not know the man, it seemed odd to me that he was being criticized for his beliefs and statements and not being a climate scientist, yet one of your members here is a psychologist. Seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. I mean no offense, it is merely an observation. It is unfortunate in our society that the general consensus prevails that a person can be good at only one thing. Does this mean Novak or your psychologist can be no good at discussing something they are not specifically trained for, say climate change? I think not, since the goal of an education is to help one discover truths. In this respect I admire your psychologist or anyone else who wishes to take the time to discover new fields of learning and importance.

    4. There was a comment about the legitimacy of GSAA and a rashness of unfounded opinions. Since you wish a comment on it, I can assure you that it is quite legitimate. I was asked to assume the executive editor position, unpaid, which requires a considerable amount of time; also the managing entities are in D.C. and require anonymity. GSAA looks at a great many security issues for strategy, policy, and organizational planning on large scale. Some of these include commodity supply routes, debris flow, large-scale deforestation by fire and others that are not listed hence, it is why those on the editorial board serve in these areas within the USGS, State, Federal, and other agencies, universities and elsewhere. Other interest and published areas include homeland security defense initiatives, terrorism issues, and intelligence related to security. If it has to do with strategic security, GSAA is involved in it. Further, the journal was set up so that it is not readily visible to the public as most of the clients and members are those in industries that do not wish to be readily identified. As per the spam link, you have my apologies as the journal neither seeks nor desires publicity from the general public.

    5. As per the paper, generally GSAA desires a paper to have a prior in-house review prior to arrival. Once received, the paper will be reviewed by at least three outside and independent reviewers; for controversial papers GSAA requires at least 5. Dissenting reviews must be satisfactorily addressed. This particular paper went through 11 independent reviews, two of which were negative. However, regarding the comments on number of references and so forth, it should be noted the paper was initially intended as a Brevia for Science, which is limited to a total of 800 words, one figure or table, six references, and as such, is a summary of findings. The full paper is on its way to another journal. This brief summary was to apprise GSAA readers that Part 2 (which is why the “Editor’s Note” was added) will be discussing strategic security issues in terms of temperature prediction abilities, climate change and so forth. As you may or may not be aware, this also has significance in environmental warfare with which I am associated.

    6. I have been a scientist for a long time with specialties in very large and complex systems and have worked side by side in security and technology issues for about 22 years – I can assure you that I am quite capable at all. There are a great many interdependencies between science, technology and security. As a matter of fact my skills in these areas are why I was invited to attend the United States Naval Postgraduate School, which is generally reserved for only military personnel. Here also I will give contact information for those that desire it.

    7. Finally, it disturbs me that science continues to be reduced to politics rather than the role of science to serve mankind. With that said, the basic purpose of science is to form a hypothesis, collect data, and analyze and interpret the findings, which is what we did with this paper. You can trash me from now until the end of the millennium if you wish, but as a scientist, I would invite you to “prove us wrong.” Isn’t that what we do? As scientists I and you have the opportunity to prove theories wrong through continuing and additional research rather than trash messengers who may present something that we dissent from.

    Regarding the paper, I would invite any and all Scientific Comments, especially since the full report will be released soon. If you wish to contact me, my email is Also, I invite all to drop by our presentation at the AGU meetings in San Francisco in December. I would enjoy discussing what I am sure will be many differences of opinion. We may then agree to disagree or we may discover new inroads to help solve global problems. It is my sincere hope that we can discuss differences of opinion, facts, or data professionally and civilly.

    I hope all of you have a great evening and weekend and look forward to meeting some of you in person.

    James Tindall