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Climate scientist bashing

Filed under: — stefan @ 7 April 2010

A new popular sport in some media these days is “climate scientist bashing”. Instead of dealing soberly with the climate problem they prefer to attack climate scientists, i.e. the bearers of bad news. The German magazine DER SPIEGEL has played this game last week under the suggestive heading “Die Wolkenschieber” – which literally translated can mean both “the cloud movers” and “the cloud traffickers” (available in English here ). The article continues on this level, alleging “sloppy work, falsifications and exaggerations”. By doing so DER SPIEGEL digs deeply into the old relic box of “climate skeptics” and freely helps itself on their websites instead of critically researching the issues at hand.

As a scientist I do not have the time to dedicate a whole day to one article and to do much research on it, which is why I here discuss only a few of the most obvious flaws and distortions of facts in this story.

Temperature data

Cynically and inhumanely the article sets off with remarks on our British colleague Phil Jones. The authors extensively revel in sentences like this:

He feels a constant tightness in his chest. He takes beta-blockers to help him get through the day. He is gaunt and his skin is pallid.
Jones is finished: emotionally, physically and professionally. He has contemplated suicide several times recently.

And this is the result of a media campaign consisting of precisely such poorly researched and fact-twisting articles as this one, for which Marco Evers, Olaf Stampf and Gerald Traufetter are responsible.

What is first greatly hyped is then gleefully destroyed. According to DER SPIEGEL “the entire profession” of climate science “based much of its work on his [Jones’] research” and “almost every internal debate among the climate popes passed through his computer”. Now it happens that I, most likely not an untypical example, have never worked with Jones’ data and have only exchanged a handful of emails (out of tens of thousands every year) with him, although I do probably count as part of the “profession”. There is a whole set of other data of global temperature, e.g. the data from NASA which is based on weather stations (and which I prefer for various reasons) or data from NOAA or the satellite data from RSS or the UAH. As is always scientifically useful, important conclusions are based not on one single set of data but on the fact that a whole range of competing scientific groups find consistent results, using different methods (see Figure).

Global mean temperature (annual means) according to the 5 most often used data sets. The graph shows the deviation from the mean of the last 30 years, as well as the linear trend over the last 30 years. The data from the Hadley Center, NASA and NOAA use measurements from surface weather stations, each with its specific method of quality control (e.g. correction for heat island effects) and interpolation and spatial integration. Independently, the satellite data from RSS and UAH (available from 1979 onwards) provide two different analyses based on the same microwave raw data. These measure the temperature of the middle troposphere, the variations of which can differ from those of the surface temperatures on short time scales. The record El Niño year of 1998 is an example. It has caused a greater temperature anomaly in the troposphere, presumably as warm air rising in the tropics spread in middle altitudes. The climatic trends, however, do not differ significantly since on longer time scales the surface and tropospheric temperatures are closely coupled due to turbulent mixing processes.

The quality of raw data from worldwide weather stations and vessels is indeed often unsatisfactory, especially if one goes further back in time – after all they were gathered to help forecast the weather and not to determine long-term climate trends. However, the error margin has been carefully analyzed – as is standard in science – and is shown in the temperature graphs on the Hadley Center´s website as well as in the IPCC report, and to date there is no reason to assume that the actual temperature evolution lies outside these error margins – the more so as the satellite data correspond well with the ground data. Whether the global warming trend was 0,15 or 0,17°C per decade in the past decades is of no relevance to any practical concerns.

IPCC-Figure of global mean temperature 1850-2005 (Fig. TS6).

According to DER SPIEGEL Jones has erased raw data and is “an activist or missionary who views ‘his’ data as his personal shrine” who “is intent on protecting it from the critical eyes of his detractors”. However, Jones is neither the producer and owner nor the archivist of these data – it is simply data from the national weather agencies, who also are responsible for its archiving or for the question to whom and under what circumstances they may be passed on. The majority of these data is freely accessible online. However, some weather services do not allow their data to be passed on because they sell such data. Other scientists have compared the CRU-data with freely available raw data from weather stations. And at NASA one can find the computer algorithms which are used to calculate the global mean temperature, publicly available for everybody. There is hardly any other scientific field in which more data and computer codes are freely accessible than in climate science (e.g. also codes and data of my current papers on sea level rise in Science 2007 and PNAS 2009). Do for example economists, on whose advice many political decisions depend, disclose their raw data and the computer codes of their models?

The British House of Commons has just published the report by the committee which has been appointed to examine the accusations made against Phil Jones. The report concludes:

The focus on Professor Jones and CRU has been largely misplaced. […] The scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact.

The fact that Jones has been rehabilitated will be welcomed by all those who know this decent, always helpful and universally well-liked scientist. For the general public the conclusions on his scientific findings will be even more important:

Even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available-which they mostly are-or the methods not published-which they have been-its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.

The ever-popular “hockey stick” discussion

DER SPIEGEL resurrects one of the oldest shelf-warmers of the “climate skeptics”: the hockey stick debate and a series of flawed accusations with it. The so-called “hockey stick” is a temperature construction for the Northern Hemisphere for the last millennium published by Michael Mann, Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes in 1999, of which DER SPIEGEL writes that the Canadian Steve McIntyre unmasked it as “a sham”. (And this is the only clue within the whole article pointing to the alleged “falsifications”). This is not true. Even a committee of the National Academy of Sciences looked in 2006 at the accusations made by McIntyre and has cleared the authors of all suspicions.

Raw data and computer codes of the “hockey stick” are online and publicly available, and independent scientists have recalculated everything years ago using their own codes (also available). The current IPCC report from 2007 shows in Fig. 6.10 these reconstructions together with a dozen more which have meanwhile been added; the Copenhagen Diagnosis published in 2009 shows some even more recent ones in Fig. 19 (page 43). All show consistent results, not in detail but in their fundamental aspects. This is why the conclusions drawn in the IPCC report of 2007 were stronger than back in 2001, when the “hockey stick” had been shown for the first time. The IPCC report 2007 concludes:

Palaeoclimatic information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years. [Summary for Policy Makers, S. 9]

In the third report from 2001 such a statement had been made only for he last 1000 years.

All reconstructions – with or without using tree-ring data – agree that the temperature in the Northern Hemisphere (for the Southern Hemisphere insufficient data existed until recently) is higher today than in medieval times. DER SPIEGEL simply claims the opposite:

There are many indications that in medieval times, between 900 and 1,300 A.D., when the Vikings raised livestock in Greenland and grape vines were cultivated in Scotland, it was in fact warmer than it is today.

No scientific evidence in support of this claim is mentioned. Locally – in the North Atlantic region – climate reconstructions do indeed show higher temperatures than today (see Fig.); hence there is no contradiction to the anecdotal evidence about Greenland and Scotland.

Temperature difference between the middle ages (years 950 to 1250) and the modern period (years 1961 to 1990) according to a reconstruction by Mann et al. 2009. The grey shadinghatching shows regions with statistically significant results.

Incidentally, looking at the forcings, it would be surprising if it had been warmer in medieval times than now. Forcings are the factors which affect the global radiation budget of the Earth, such as variation of solar activity, volcanic eruptions or changes of the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If we compute the temperature evolution from the known forcings over the last thousand years, the result is consistent with the temperature reconstructions mentioned above. Merely one (in the meantime corrected) model simulation by Zorita and von Storch is an exception. These model calculations (18 in total) are compiled and compared with data in the IPCC report in figures 6.13 and 6.14 .

Only by looking at the forcings can one draw conclusions about the causes of global warming – the fact that currently it is unusually warm does not by itself tell us anything about the causes. If only natural and no anthropogenic forcing existed it would be much colder now than in medieval times.

The hockey stick debate exemplifies how the „climate skeptics“-lobby has tried to discredit an inconvenient scientific finding over the course of many years, without success. The scientific conclusions have proven to be robust.

Tropical storms

Under the subheading “The Myth of the Monster Storm” the SPIEGEL article reports on a “hurricane war” amongst US climate scientists:

The alarmists, using the rhetoric of fiery sermons, warned that Katrina was only the beginning, and that we would soon see the advent of superstorms of unprecedented fury. Members of the more levelheaded camp were vehemently opposed to such predictions and insisted that there was no justification for such fears.

Sadly, no example for the “rhetoric of fiery sermons” is quoted. “Levelheaded” is the well-worn SPIEGEL-parlance for describing anyone who downplays climate change, regardless of whether their claims are scientifically well-founded.

Then a recent study from Nature Geoscience is cited which allegedly announces “the all-clear signal on the hurricane front” and which signifies “another setback for the IPCC”. This is because “the IPCC report warned that there would be more hurricanes in a greenhouse climate”. Let us simply quote from the abstract of the new study:

Future projections based on theory and high-resolution dynamical models consistently indicate that greenhouse warming will cause the globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2-11% by 2100. Existing modelling studies also consistently project decreases in the globally averaged frequency of tropical cyclones, by 6-34%. Balanced against this, higher resolution modelling studies typically project substantial increases in the frequency of the most intense cyclones, and increases of the order of 20% in the precipitation rate within 100 km of the storm centre.

Long story short, fewer but heavier tropical storms can be expected. By the way, the potential destructiveness of storms increases more steeply than the wind velocities; a 2-11% higher speed means a 6-37% higher destructiveness. (Emanuel 2005).

And what did the IPCC report have to say on this topic?

Based on a range of models, it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation associated with ongoing increases of tropical sea surface temperatures. There is less confidence in projections of a global decrease in numbers of tropical cyclones. [Summary for Policy Makers, page 15.]

Long story short, fewer but heavier tropical storms can be expected, even if there was still less confidence about the first aspect at the time. The WMO, whose expert group has published this study, consequently describes the result as follows:

Substantial scientific progress has led the Expert Team to raise their confidence levels on several aspects of how tropical cyclone activity may change under projected climate scenarios.

This means: there is no reason for speaking of a “setback” in a “war”; rather the early findings of the IPCC report have been given a higher confidence level. The SPIEGEL story on this issue falls into a category of false allegations against IPCC mentioned by us already in February, namely those which can be falsified by simply reading the report (in this case even a quick look at the Summary for Policy Makers would have sufficed).

IPCC mistakes

According to DER SPIEGEL “more and more mistakes, evidence of sloppy work and exaggerations in the current IPCC report are appearing”. We already investigated this and came to the conclusion that of the mistakes discussed excitedly in the media, nothing much remains except for the Himalaya mistake. The SPIEGEL does not have anything else to offer either – it counts “Jones’ disputed temperature curve” as one of them; apart from that “the supposed increase in natural disasters” – wrongly so as we have already showed (in German) reacting to an article published in Die Welt which claimed the same.

DER SPIEGEL elaborates on the story of the alleged “phantom graph” by Robert Muir-Wood which we have explained there as well. According to DER SPIEGEL, Roger Pielke “tried to find out where the graph had come from” and “traced it” to Robert Muir-Wood. This must have been hard indeed, given that Muir-Wood, who provided the graph, is named by the IPCC in the figure caption. The only difficult thing is to find this graph (which incidentally is correct but not very informative) at all: other than DER SPIEGEL claims, it is not in the IPCC report itself but only provided as “supplementary material” on its website, where the IPCC publishes such background material. Although on the 3,000 pages of the report there was no space for it, the graph now seems to be important to SPIEGEL readers for reasons unknown.

What is it all about?

SPIEGEL defames some of the best scientists worldwide, who not least for this reason have become prime targets for the “climate skeptics”. If you look at publications in the three scientific top journals (Nature, Science, PNAS), the just 44-year-old Mike Mann has already published 9 studies there, Phil Jones 24 (comments, letters and book reviews not included). In contrast, DER SPIEGEL always calls upon the same witness, the mathematician Hans von Storch, who has published only a single article in the prime journals mentioned (and that was faulty). But he says the politically wanted thing, even if without any supporting evidence from the scientific literature: in his view we can easily adapt to climate change. He also publicly accuses the vast majority of his colleagues who disagree with him of alarmism, calls them “prophets of doom” or “eco-activists” who indoctrinate the public. He also insinuates political or financial motives for disseminating horror scenarios. In this article he says things like “unfortunately, some of my colleagues behave like pastors, who present their results in precisely such a way that they’ll fit to their sermons”. This quote matches the article´s inflationary usage of the words “guru” “popes” “fiery sermons” “missionaries” and so forth. And he goes on: “It’s certainly no coincidence that all the mistakes that became public always tended in the direction of exaggeration and alarmism.” The following statement would have probably been more correct: it is certainly no coincidence that all the alleged errors scandalized in the media always tended in the direction of exaggeration and alarmism.

It is obvious that DER SPIEGEL does not care about science. This really is about politics. This year will decide about the future of the German climate policy: in the fall the government will announce its new energy strategy. This will decide whether the energy transformation towards a sustainable electricity supply, increasingly based on renewables, will be pushed forward or thwarted. In a global context the issue is whether global warming can be limited to a maximum of 2 ºC, as the Copenhagen Accord calls for, or whether this opportunity will be lost. The power struggle on this issue is in full gear. The energy transformation can best be prevented by creating doubts about its urgency. The fact that scandal stories about climate science have to be invented to this end just proves one thing: good, honest arguments against a forceful climate policy apparently do not exist.

p.s. (26 April): It’s just a curiosity, but telling: DER SPIEGEL calls Pachauri’s novel “Return to Almora” an “erotic novel”. The novel follows the life story of Sanjay Nath, from a childhood in the 1950s in the Himalayas through decades spent in the US building up a chain of meditation centers, until his final return to the Himalayas at age 60. The 400-page book contains a handful of love scenes, only gently hinted at in a few sentences. Calling this an “erotic novel” is devious; it can only serve the purpose of letting Pachauri appear in a dubious light.

Correction: As Roger Pielke has pointed out to us, the Supplementary Material to the IPCC reports is not only available on the IPCC website, but also on a CD-ROM distributed with the printed books.

[This piece is a translation of an article that originally appeared in German on the KlimaLounge weblog.]


Emanuel, K., 2005: Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature, 436, 686-688.

Knutson, T. R., J. L. McBride, J. Chan, K. Emanuel, G. Holland, C. Landsea, I. Held, J. P. Kossin, A. K. Srivastava, and M. Sugi, 2010: Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nature Geoscience, 3, 157-163.

Mann, M. E., R. S. Bradley, and M. K. Hughes, 1999: Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: inferences, uncertainties and limitations. Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 759-762.

Mann, M. E., Z. Zhang, S. Rutherford, R. S. Bradley, M. Hughes, D. Shindell, C. Ammann, G. Faluvegi, and F. Ni, 2009: Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly. Science, 326, 1256-1260.

517 Responses to “Climate scientist bashing”

  1. 151
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Re : #146

    They have been tried in the balance and found wanting

    If it ever finishes , then who is going to write a book devoted to a fair account of this story? No, not one from the press or its allies.

  2. 152
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Jim Steele says: But your collection of “climate driven” changes are nothing more than a lot of “just so” stories. … I suggest you post the methods and statistics that go with those just so stories.

    I don’t know what you mean by “just so stories.” Whenever possible, I post summaries of peer-reviewed research. For example, see the following.

    Timing of Flowering in Greenland, 1996-2008
    Eric Post, et al., Ecological Dynamics Across the Arctic Associated with Recent Climate Change, Science, 11 September 2009: Vol. 325. no. 5946, pp. 1355 – 1358 DOI: 10.1126/science.1173113

    Global warming shown to cause early butterfly emergence
    Michael R. Kearney, et al., Early emergence in a butterfly causally linked to anthropogenic warming, Biology Letters, March 17, 2010, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0053

    Climate change threatens migratory birds
    North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee, 2010. The State of the Birds 2010 Report on Climate Change, United States of America. U.S. Department of the Interior: Washington, DC.

    And so forth. Enterprising readers are always encouraged to go the source paper and examine methods.

    As for the Oikos paper, you should submit a critique!

  3. 153
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim Steele,
    Interesting, you consider the articles you cited to be evidence… of what exactly? They show that glaciers can melt due to causes other than warming due to CO2. And you contend that current warming is “regional” even though 1)most areas on the globe are warming; and 2)the “regional” patterns we see are what are expected from a greenhouse mechanism.

    If the goal of your research into climate change is merely to find a few comforting factoids you can cleave to as a security blanket, it would appear you have achieved your goal. If you want to really look at the science, perhaps you might care to look at some of the other evidence–beginning with the fact that about half a dozen independent temperature records continue to show consistent warming trends going into their 4th decade, that oceans are acidifying, that this is beginning to place many fragile ecosystems under stress, that the added environmental stress comes in a century when human populations will likely reach 10 billion. I would call those FACTS cause for concern, but if you prefer your factoids, feel free.

  4. 154
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Jim Steele
    > I have taught evolution for 30 years
    You mean you’re a biology teacher? Where, please?

    Are you this guy? If not, it’d be good to know.
    “Jim Steele| 11.26.09 @ 11:48AM
    Is this Godfather III: “The higher I go, the crookeder it becomes.” ?
    … I would try to have discussions with the scientists at RealClimate but they would selectively delete any posts that they couldn’t dismiss. … these scientists would manipulate a public website … what would they do behind closed doors.
    … I wonder how high this whole climate gate will go. There is a strong effort to play this down as if nothing has happened but clearly there have been attempts by the major players in climate science to exert tyrannical control over the scientific process….”

  5. 155
    Publicola says:

    In #102 Walter Manny responded to my question with:

    “Let’s say you’re writing and/or editing the DS article. Clearly, you should not write…

    Nor should you write…

    You are writing for DS readers, not scientists, so you substitute for…

    Calling people liars is fun, but not particularly illuminating.”

    Circumlocution is fun, but not particularly illuminating.

    You didn’t answer my question, Walter – I didn’t ask you what you thought what one “should” do when writing for a lay audience.

    I asked you, instead, how in your mind characterzing statements including the following:

    “Future projections based on theory and high-resolution dynamical
    models consistently indicate that greenhouse warming will cause the
    globally averaged intensity of tropical cyclones to shift towards
    stronger storms, with intensity increases of 2–11% by 2100.”

    could in any HONEST way translate to meaning that the link between global warming and hurricanes has been “finally disproven.”

    Please answer the question I that asked you, thanks.

  6. 156
    Jim Metzger says:

    @Jim Steele: “You might say that evolution has put a premium on dispersal be it wings or the pappus of a dandelion, because climate is naturally changing.”

    For someone who claims to be a biologist who has taught evolution for 30 years, you are remarkably ignorant of underlying forces in evolution, particularly sexual reproduction. Evolution put a premium on mobility because it increases genetic variability in a population. Since climate change occurs over huge geographical area and over a long time span, the evolutionary changes that occur are much more likely to involve adpatations to the new environment rather than migration. Those species that cannot adapt fast enough go extinct. While the fossil records shows that dinosaurs species are no longer with us, that some evolved into today’s birds. Both are quadrapeds, many dinosaurs had feathers, and even had wings. So wings and feathers did not evolve in response to climate change.

  7. 157
    MapleLeaf says:

    Jim, I suspect that people are getting frustrated with you because, knowingly or not, you are the one ignoring the body of evidence.

    The Austrian glaciers are not doing well. See here:

    Regardless, those data are for just one location, right? Well, the World Glacier Monitoring Service is finding a similar trend from glaciers monitored from around the globe. And while some of the loss in certain regions may be attributable to increases in SWR, it would be very dangerous to extrapolate that and assume it to apply globally. I need to look at those papers your cited in more detail.

    You might also want to look at this image of global downwelling LWR from sites across the globe– see Wang and Liang (2009, JGR). Note that the downwelling LWR has increased pretty much at all of the surface-based monitoring sites, incl. Austria.

    These data and findings have been corroborated by:

    Lean (2010) showed that TSI has been flat since the fifties, and the last solar minimum was unusually long.

    and from Skeptical Science:

    That less heat is escaping out to space is confirmed by surface measurements that find more infrared radiation returning to earth. Several studies have found this is due to an increased greenhouse effect (Philipona 2004, Wang 2009). An analysis of high resolution spectral data allows scientists to quantitatively attribute the increase in downward radiation to each of several greenhouse gases (Evans 2006). The results lead the authors to conclude that “this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming.”

    Also read Harries et al. (2001; Nature)

    The planet has been in a net positive energy imbalance since the fifties (Murphy et al. 2009, JGR-A), and one of the primary reasons for that has been the rapid increase in GHGs (CO2, N20, CH4) from anthro activities (including deforestation etc.).

    You might not realise this, but these fora are often frequented by people who claim to have looked at “all” the evidence, or worse give one or two examples as evidence for having refuted the theory of AGW. It all gets rather tiresome.

    The scientific building blocks for the theory of AGW have been around for over 100 years. Thus far, the skeptics (and here I mean true skeptics) have been unable to offer an alternate credible theory which has withstood the test of time.

  8. 158

    In 52 years of Mauna Loa measurements, human-added atmospheric CO2 more than tripled: +211% from 316-280=36 ppm (March 1958) to 391-280=111 ppm (March 2010); Would be quite a miracle if that had no effect on climate.

  9. 159
    SecularAnimist says:

    Jim Steele wrote: “Obviously I am a skeptic.”

    With all due respect it is not at all “obvious” that you are a “skeptic”.

    On the contrary — you seem to be very gullible. You seem ready to unquestioningly and unskeptically accept any assertion or claim that denies the scientific reality of anthropogenic global warming, and to obstinately defend such claims when they are shown to be false and/or irrelevant, and also to obstinately reject any information that contradicts your a priori beliefs.

    Such is not the way of a “skeptic”.

  10. 160
    Ron Broberg says:

    RE: Vikings

    “It’s much too dry,” [a Greenland farmer] says. “If I don’t get the irrigation going, I’ll lose my harvest.”,1518,434356,00.html

    RE: Wine

    “I noticed the harvest was getting earlier before anybody had a name for it,” said 59-year-old Mur?, the 11th generation of his family to produce wine from the clay and limestone slopes of the Vosges Mountains near the German border. “When I was young, we were harvesting in October with snow on the mountaintops. Today we’re harvesting in August.”

    Throughout the wine-producing world, from France to South Africa to California, vintners are in the vanguard of confronting the impact of climate change. Rising temperatures are forcing unprecedented early harvests, changing the tastes of the best-known varieties of wine and threatening the survival of centuries-old wine-growing regions.

    English wine production is bigger than ever before. Scientists can debate climate change and some politicians can deny it’s happening, but it’s a fact that England’s vineyards produced 50% more wine last year. The vines are budding earlier each year, and this year Denbies Wine Estate, the biggest single estate vineyard in Britain, reported the first bud on April 14th, the earliest ever recorded. The vines normally only bud at the end of April.

  11. 161
    Mike Donald says:

    After that Spiegel article here’s a gem from Paul Krugman.

    “A carbon tariff would be a tax levied on imported goods proportional to the carbon emitted”

    Hat tip to Eli Rabbet and his simple plan…

    “without the Gulf Stream, Western Europe would be barely habitable”

    That seems to me pushing it a bit. A bit tin foil hat but what would the UK climate be without the Gulf Stream? ~Muscovite? Say if Britain had a Moscow climate rougher sure, if I can wear the TF hat, but not barely habitable?

    “climate modelers have sharply raised their estimates of future warming in just the last couple of years.”

    By how much may I ask?

  12. 162
    DavidC says:

    “..There is no science on WUWT. Any scientific fact that ventured into that dark domain would curl up and die of loneliness.
    Comment by Ray Ladbury”

    Clearly your blatant prejudice has prevented you popping over there this week – and noting that a long and carefully argued pro AGW case by Walt Meier of NSIDC has been courteously received and debated at length.

    I guess hell will freeze over (AGW not withstanding) before we se the converse here.

  13. 163
    CM says:

    Gilles (#126),

    I agree with your first paragraph. You didn’t think I was singling out scientists in the climate field as deserving of more respect than other scientists doing their best to make sense of complex problems, did you?

    But I don’t agree with any general statement that climate scientists are on a political mission, that they’re telling people to change their lives. It’s much more accurate to say that they report on how people are changing their lives (and their children’s, and their grandchildren’s…) by perturbing the carbon cycle and the planetary energy balance. And clarifying the choice or rather the various trade-offs people have between changing their lives one way or the other, by cutting down on emissions or by ramping up the heat.

    Of course the implications are public issues, political issues. That doesn’t make the science a political campaign. And since the stakes are high, of course the work attracts scrutiny. It should. Proper scrutiny of the data and analysis. Not this tabloid mudslinging.

  14. 164
    Steve Newton says:

    Ray Ladbury @150
    There is no science on WUWT

    Thank you for the reply but I think you have made my point. There is clearly science at WUWT, it’s simply science with conclusions or approaches that differs from what you currently accept so saying it is “not science” is false. Add to that your next sentence and you demonstrate that contrary to this site being where you come to learn the science, it is where you come to hear consensus and to ridicule those with whom you disagree which sounds a whole lot more like religion than science. I’ve learned much more science reading on WUWT than here, although I’ve learned in both places since I’ve worked in software development for 20+ years and not in the natural sciences so have much to learn, particularly in climate science. It has also become apparent to me that even the scientists working in this arena have much to learn.

    Have you read the piece I linked to, written by Dr. Walt Meier who believes in AGW, and in particular, all the comments? I would love for you and others to address the many issues raised by commenters who disagree with Dr. Meier, though in professional manner, so we could have a productive discussion of the issues. There needs to be real discussion which addresses the questions raised on these complex issues and not comments like you just made. If you intend simply to make snide remarks then please stay away as that will benefit no one.

  15. 165
    Ron Broberg says:

    More on Vikings:

    On the way back to the pier, we discover large blood stains in the snow. Here was slaughtered cattle recently.The meat will be of some station employees, loaded on a boat, it will be sold in Qaqortoq.Since the Greenland government is investing in the expansion of agriculture, more and more young people interested in this area, so Aqqalooraq Frederiksen. Livestock breeding is the main source of income for about 50 farmers, the Greenland is today.
    Google Translation

    Auf dem Rückweg zum Bootsanleger entdecken wir große Blutflecken im Schnee. Hier wurde vor kurzem Vieh geschlachtet. Das Fleisch wird von einigen Stationsmitarbeitern auf ein Boot geladen; es soll in Qaqortoq verkauft werden. Seit die grönländische Regierung in den Ausbau der Landwirtschaft investiert, interessieren sich immer mehr junge Leute für diesen Bereich, so Aqqalooraq Frederiksen. Die Viehzucht ist die Haupteinnahmequelle der rund 50 Landwirte, die Grönland heute zählt.,CmC=2971998.html

  16. 166

    Well, let’s look at the facts:

    1. Since mitigating AGW saves money and is good for the economy (even if AGW is not happening, which it is), we have to rule out the economic motive for this level of denialsm and out-and-out lying and evil.

    2. Since AGW harms would surely thrust us into political chaos — I’m thinking both anarchy and totatitarianism (people selling their souls to the despots and warlords to keep the barbarians outside the gates) — we can rule out people’s desire for freedom.

    3. Since AGW will kill off a lot of life, including human life, we can rule out the “will to live” or at least “the will to have one’s progeny live.”

    4. Well, there are those receiving short term gains by Exxon, Koch, and other frankencorp denialist funding, but that only explains denialism among those folks, and not the broad-based denialism by people not receiving such funding. And you’d think even those receiving such funding might be concerned about 1, 2, & 3. I mean, what are they going to do with their money, find another planet? Good luck!

    There seem to be less and less socio-cultural-psychological explanations for this level of denialism and its ferocious viciousness. They certainly are not amenable to reason, humanitarianism, or even enlightened self interest.

    Ergo, it seems to me more and more like it’s the work of the devil. For those familiar with the Twilight Zone, there is an episode “The Howling Man” (see ). In ordinary times the devil is locked up, and the wickedness in the world can easily be explained by human nature or our fallen nature, but there are times when things are just so evil, that ordinary reasons aren’t enough to explain it. So, it looks like someone has been deceived into thinking the devil is an unjustly locked up person, and has removed the “STAFF OF TRUTH” (don’t you love it) holding him locked in, and the devil has now escaped and is running rampage, corrupting humanity into very evil deeds.

    That’s what is looks like to me…. So what do we need to fight the devil? I think the only weapon is humility. It looks pretty serious, pretty hopeless.

  17. 167
    Bob says:

    DavidC, #162:

    Are you kidding me? Courteously received and debated at length? By what standard to you come up with that measure?

    Let’s follow your lead and get some scientific debate inserted from WUWT —

    There really is NO convincing evidence either way – we just have not got the data and the knowledge yet. But what has happened is that strongly committed believers in the Climate Science community have been trying to ‘hurry along’ this knowledge – first by subtle amendments to data, more recently by perverting the scientific method to force their view of the data to be the ‘consensus’.

    That was helpful and intelligent. What else?

    I actualy had the impression that precisely this point has been giving the modellers problems, observations of the stratosphere has not shown the predicted temperature drop.

    Sorry, wildly wrong and uninformed. Let’s try some more “science”:

    Loss of mass from Greenland is probably true but los of antarctic ice is obviously not true, The Antarctic sea ice extend has been growing the last 30 years implying lower temperatures thus making it unlikely that Antarctica is loosing ice.

    Um, no, see the GRACE satellite on that. But once again, more ignorance:

    From what I’ve read the Antarctic Ice sheet is gaining mass.

    And on peer review:

    As I am certain that you must know, there are journals whose entire selection process is so corrupted than anything that questions their dogma never even gets to the peer review stage.

    Okay, very clearly wrong and based on unfounded hearsay. How about being polite to the poster:

    Dr Walt calls himself a sceptic, this seems to be a new and interesting fashion among those who have for so long pushed the AGW/AAM/MMCC theory, the actions of the climate science community however are anything but sceptical as we have seen by the manipulation of the historical temperature record.

    or this:

    So, as much as I appreciate your efforts to post here, I must marvel at what is either your apparently sheltered personal experience with peer review, your selective tunnel vision, or your profound naivete on this topic.

    or this wonderful bit of conspiracy theory, I mean, scientific discussion:

    Regarding the price of mitigation. One has to realize that a cheap fix is not desirable here. It is NOT what they want.

    What the AGW crowd wants is to cripple the industrialized world and stunt the developing countries…

    I could go on for hours with this drivel from WUWT, except it’s making me sick to my stomach.

  18. 168
    Bob says:

    I can’t resist just a bit more science from WUWT:

    Are you claiming that 0.5 degrees C is causing a significant, or even measureable movement when the daily temperature change is on the order of 10 or more degrees C over the non-tropical land areas? That is illogical.


    Here’s a few ideas for you to let your sceptical-side chew on:-

    Despite continuous growth in CO2, Phil Jones said there has been no statistically significant global warming for the last 15y.

    Our climate is driven by processes which display deterministic chaos. This means that accurately predicting what will happen beyond a few days is impossible and forecasts get worse the further out you go, not better.

    and this amazing whopper, which in one paragraph grossly twists the posters words (“faster than projected” becomes “ice free in a few years”), and then goes on to disparage him:

    Dr Meier states in his article “For example, Arctic sea ice is declining much faster than most models have projected.” So I guess we should look for an ice free Arctic in a few years. Of course if the prediction does not come true will Dr Meier and the rest of the Climate “Scientists” refund all the money the politicians are taking??? Will they refund all that grant money they wasted??? To be polite I will stop there although others who may be badly hurt in the future by this false science may not.

  19. 169
    Ron Broberg says:

    … Walt Meier of NSIDC has been courteously received and debated at length
    I have come to believe that the reporting of observations is false and that the observations themselves are twisted.
    Dont they teach logic or the method in science anymore. Climate research is either a science or not.
    I sure as heck would not take your $1,000,000 or death bet on modern climate modelling. And I doubt you would either.
    In addition to being skeptical toward AGW and the megagrant-funded research, I view it as a dangerous hoax.
    Walt is saying that the Science is settled. The humans are warming the planet, but I wonder why is he not changing job?

    What’s the point being a scientist on something already proven and settled…?
    The tragedy is that so much valualble time and resources is being utterly wasted in the vain attempt to justify a socio political narrative and scientists have the moral duty to kill this narrative dead and make no mistake the AGW narrative deserves to be killed and the sooner the better for humanity.
    We now have Lysenkoism uber alles in the enviro-research industrial complex.
    It’s all handwavy circumstantial hearsay type government science bureaucratese. … Please, climate scientists, go away and measure some -numbers-!
    Regarding point 1, as Chiefio (E.M. Smith – see blog link above on WUWT) has clearly shown, the primary temperature record for the Earth is not only flawed, it was manipulated and is therefore entirely wrong
    Standard WUWT fare. I suppose you might become blind to it if exposed long enough.

  20. 170
    Hank Roberts says:

    > DavidC
    “REPLY: Sure the baselines differ. I’m pointing out that the public presentations differ significantly and who defines “normal”? Normal seems to be in the eye of the beholder of the data. Essentially it is an anomaly, and you can make an anomaly look like anything you want with a simple choice of defining the baseline. – Anthony”

    You’re kidding.

  21. 171
    Hank Roberts says:

    > DavidC
    “REPLY: The point is the difference in public presentations. Who defines “normal” baselines? It would seem to me that that the public interest is not served by having conflicting presentations, one above and one below, “normal”. – A”

    Send the black helicopters, scientists draw charts differently. Must stop ….

  22. 172
    Ron Broberg says:

    And this was particularly enjoyable:

    Contrarian (01:38:30) : No one denies the fundamental radiative physics underlying the CAGW hypothesis.

    John Wright (02:05:44) : Greenhouse gases warm the planet? – radiative properties of gases? I don’t think I would be misquoting Hans Schreuder in saying that such a proposition equates to perpetual motion.

    Thanks for pointing out this out, David. I got bored with WUWT, but this thread is pretty entertaining. :lol:

  23. 173
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS for DaveC
    you notice “A” doesn’t give live links. That whole thread is about claims he saw a big difference between two different groups’ presentations (the differences have been explained repeatedly, but don’t seem to sink in).

    Look at them yourself.
    and this:
    See much difference between those two today? Reason for suspicion?

    Each time claims there’s a pony, and I go look, and I don’t find the pony after a while, I get tired of shoveling and quit visiting. Til next time.

    Maybe there is a pony. Walt Meier brought a pony? Then it’s _his_ and new.
    It’s not the one that produced all the stuff piled up over there over years, that I’ve gone looking for from time to time.

  24. 174
    Paul A says:

    I’ve just ‘learned’ from a commentator over at WUWT that Carbon 14 has a half-life of 20 years. He was very polite so I won’t scoff…………… much.

  25. 175
    Ray Ladbury says:

    David C., Science does not consist of those with no scientific background, no understanding of scientific method and no knowledge of the topic telling researchers who possess all of these things how to do science. The few times I have made the mistake of wandering over to WUWT, I have regretted it immediately. I have never run across a more wilfully ignorant group of dolts.

  26. 176
    Bob says:

    Ron Broberg, #168:

    I find it absolutely amazing that in the mass of what inanity that we separately cut and pasted from WUWT, there’s not a single duplicated quote (although I am jealous that I didn’t find some of the exquisite coprolites that you were able to glean).

    Really, really scary.

  27. 177
    CTG says:

    Jim Steele – have you read Geist’s interpretation of Bergmann’s rule? He suggests that the relationship between latitude and body size is not due to thermodynamics, but is simply due to increased primary productivity at higher latitudes. With the original Bergmann’s rule, it is hard to see how AGW could be producing an effect within a few generations. However, if it is simply a side effect of increased primary productivity, then that would result in phenotypic variation being noticeable in a very short space of time. There is certainly plenty of evidence for expansion of growing zones to higher latitudes, as well as earlier flowering times for many plant species. So an increase in animal body size could very well be expected if Geist is correct.

    None of this “proves” that warming is real or that it is caused by fossil fuel emissions, of course. But you have to ask, what is the likelihood of seeing these changes occurring if all that is happening is natural variability in climate?

    Geist V. (1987) “Bergmann’s rule is invalid” Canadian journal of zoology 65(4), pp. 1035-1038

  28. 178
    David B. Benson says:

    Agggh! The WUWT plague is infesting RealClimate!

  29. 179
    Simon Tytherleigh says:

    I am also wondering what is behind the viciousness and rabidly anti-science thinking of the denialists. Never mind the corporate sponsoring, there are a lot of ordinary people out there who are now suspicious of anything a scientist says, who believe that there is a big conspiracy to shut down their way of life, and who are buying the line that we are nowhere near the limits to growth.
    Surely this sort of denial is a defence-mechanism against something that they conceive of as being terrifying (this is amateur psychology, help me out someone…), and because it is so frightening anger is part of the response? It is well-known that people tend to stick to a familiar belief structure even when it is demonstrated to be manifestly wrong, and will continue to do so with increasing levels of aggression until something really big and undeniable topples the whole thing. Sadly, I think nothing short of major disaster will shake the denialists’ beliefs.

    Der Spiegel and others (famously Ian Plimer) like to characterise the belief in climate science as something religious, even evangelical. They fail to understand that this sort of belief is contingent not absolute, and reveal their own zealotry by accusing others. Scientists on their part fail to understand that we no longer live in the age of enlightenment. We live in a new age of superstition, fuelled by the confirmation bias offered by the internet.

  30. 180
    Jim Steele says:

    D. Bostrom #110 “Jim, this year’s ice extent has reached and passed its maximum and is now declining as per the usual schedule, having undershot the typical level of 30 years ago by some 1 million square kilometers or about 6%. No “Victory in the Arctic” has been won this year.”

    First you must be reading different graphs than to which I linked. 2nd using “the level 30 years ago” suggests maybe in advertent cherry picking, as there is annual variability. The graph I referred to shows ice extent reaching the 1979-2006 average. So maybe you can explain what is wrong with the Artic Roos scientists graph more specifically.

    Finally I never claimed “Victory in the Arctic” . You are painting me with your own words. I, and many other skeptics, are skeptics simply because we see inconsistencies, that are not explained by increasing CO2. I mentioned the Arctic ice because 1) the recent extent was just reported 2) that and a new paper mentioned above discuss changes in Arctic ice is greatly influenced by wind patterns,3) posters have mentioned melting glaciers and Arctic ice as “proof” of CO2’s impact without accounting for other factors and 4) the growth of the ice is inconsistent with this decade’s impending ice free Arctic trumpeted by the media and a few climate scientists.

    And to people like Ray who are AGW believers and argue that a skeptic is ignoring or denying mountains of evidence, that again is a false impression painted on skeptics by “skeptic bashers” be the skeptics scientists or lay people. Although I will grant that there are plenty of skeptics who do ignore data due to their own beliefs, still there are many inconsistencies with the AGW theory and predictions that makes some of us question some basic assumptions.

    My most recent inconsistency was wondering about glaciers. I talked to many colleagues at SFSU most of who are AGW believers with a notable exception of our past Dean who was an oceanographer and skeptic. When asked about inconsistencies in AGW theory, except for the past dean, all , literally all, would admit not really investigating any of the details in cimate research.

    So for this example regarding glaciers, I thought I should provide my own due diligence and went to the Swiss Glacial Monitoring network . Using their database I compiled the annual totals of advancing, retreating and stable glaciers since 1900. The total for glaciers measured varied from a low of 36 during WWI to a high of 106 in 1983. So I compared percent of measured glaciers, assuming there is no systematic bias governing which glaciers were measured. I arbitrarily chose to use 5 year running averages to smooth annual variation. I then overlaid changes in CO2, susnspots, and the PDO annual average index. Which showed the better correlation with the shrinking glaciers in the Alps?

    Alps vs PDO

    Alps vs Sun Spots

    Alps vs CO2

    Such a simple analysis might needs more attention, however the results suggest natural variation is playing a bigger role than CO2. And the pattern if advancing and retreating glaciers was another inconsistency with the AGW theory. So n addtion to the 2 papers I already posted links to, I looked at who else thinks PDO is a major player in Cimate. Well that led me to Dr. Roy Spencer web site where he argues that the PDO is a major driver in his article Global Warming as a Natural Response to Cloud Changes Associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO),

    So eventhough Spencer is a Christian, just maybe scientific evidence, and inconsistencies drive some of his skepticism. Then again I haven’t been in church since high school, but did go to church with my 75 year old mom a few years ago to make her happy, when I visited for Christmas. Do the psycho-babblers think that influence is why I think the PDO is affecting the glaciers of the Alps more than CO2?

  31. 181
    DavidC says:

    “David C., Science does not consist of those with no scientific background, no understanding of scientific method and no knowledge of the topic telling researchers who possess all of these things how to do science…

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 9 April 2010 @ 3:50 PM”

    Ray – since you’re so doctrinaire about these issues, may I respectfully ask what your own scientific credentials are?

  32. 182
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Jim Steele says: So for this example regarding glaciers, I thought I should provide my own due diligence and went to the Swiss Glacial Monitoring network. Using their database I compiled the annual totals of advancing, retreating and stable glaciers since 1900.

    All Published Himalaya Glacier Mass Balance Measurements, 1960s-2000s

    Mean Cumulative Mass Balance of Glaciers, 1980-2008

    Annual Mass Balance of Glaciers, 1980-2008

    Ice Mass Balance of Glaciers and Ice Caps, 1961-2004

    A child’s treasury of deglaciation stories

  33. 183
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Jim Steele says: 9 April 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Cherrypicking? You pulled the two cherries on the top of your basket and tossed ’em out, not bothering to check for ripeness or suitability for consumption.

    Sorry, but unless natural variability includes a steady decline over 30 years, “recovered to normal levels” is green, sour, repugnant.

    “Greatly influenced” by wind patterns means about 1/3rd of the deficit can be explained by wandering variability. So you’re left to account for the bulk of the pie and one shriveled cherry 2/3rds deficient won’t do it.

    You should take some time to delve back into this matter of Arctic ice, taking careful note of how it’s been discussed to death here on RC, always leaving the missing ice with no reasonable explanation except by what mainstream science tells us of climate change.

  34. 184
    wilt says:

    Earlier today (#132)I proposed that participants in this debate should focus on the scientific issues, and refrain from pseudo-psychological explanations. Lynn Vincentnathan (#166) apparently thinks that “socio-cultural-psychological explanations” as she calls it are not even enough to explain the fact that some people keep asking skeptical questions (which is the very basis of the scientific method), and she brings forward a rather diffuse theory that “the devil has now escaped and is running rampage”. And from the tone of her contribution I conclude that she does not mean this to be funny. Maybe I am missing something here, but I surely do not find her remarks funny. What is next? A discussion about the best methods of exorcism? Is anything allowed as long as it can be used for bashing the skeptics?
    Once again, let those people that want to contribute to the scientific discussion bring forward their arguments; let the others find some other forum to express their anger.

  35. 185
    David B. Benson says:

    Jim Steele (180) — To deconfuse yourself, try a decadal analysis:

  36. 186
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim Steele, I take it back that you are ignoring evidence. Hell, you are actively distorting it. First, CO2 forcing is proportional to ln(CO2), not CO2. Second, to assert that CO2 is the only driver is a straw man. Third, your graph ignores the influence of aerosols, which played a very important role in the 3rd quarter of the last century. Fourth, the PDO doesn’t give a good match at all–the proportion of alpine glaciers in decline is still increasing!. Fifth, the Alpine glaciers represent only a tiny fraction of the cryosphere–the entirety of which has lost more than 2 trillion tonnes of ice in the past 5 years!

    This is exactly what I am talking about. You fixate on a tiny piece of evidence that doesn’t fit exactly into your distorted idea of the science, and from that you conclude that the scienc–science that has been established for 50 years and which you don’t understand–is wrong!

    Look, Jim, the consensus theory of climate explains the vast majority of the features of Earth’s climate over hundreds of millions of years. It simply cannot do that without CO2 having a sensitivity of about 3 degrees per doubling, and it fails utterly if sensitivity is below 2 degrees per doubling. There simply is no alternative explanation to much of what we see than the action of a long-lived, well mixed greenhouse gas. Now, an unfortunate corollary of that necessity is that our increasing CO2 by ~40% is bound to warm the planet. This was predicted 3 quarters of a century before it was seen. The overwhelming preponderance of the evidence is consistent with that theory, and those few things we do not yet understand are no more disturbing than finding something that looks like a human footprint next to a dinosaur bone is disturbing to evolution.

    You claim to be a biological scientist. Look at what you are doing and compare it to the creationist arguments against evolution–fixating on a tiny piece of evidence, not fully understandint what the theory predicts, being convinced of corruption or political motivation or “groupthink” by the experts. And Roy Spencer is doing the same thing. Now it’s the Urban Heat Island. Before that, the PDO. Before that, it wasn’t happening. What will it be tomorrow? You tell me.

  37. 187
    Ron Broberg says:

    Steele: And the pattern if advancing and retreating glaciers was another inconsistency with the AGW theory

    Actually, its only inconsistent with a cartoon-version of AGW in which CO2 is considered to be the only driver of climate changes. This is not believed by climate scientists and it is not what is present in the climate models. So feel free to tilt at straw man (arrgh! a mixed metaphor!), but it is not a very persuasive presentation.

  38. 188
    dhogaza says:

    Hank quotes MicroWatts (TM Ray Ladbury):

    “REPLY: Sure the baselines differ. I’m pointing out that the public presentations differ significantly and who defines “normal”? Normal seems to be in the eye of the beholder of the data. Essentially it is an anomaly, and you can make an anomaly look like anything you want with a simple choice of defining the baseline. – Anthony”

    Anthony doesn’t understand what a baseline is, why people don’t change them willy-nilly, and doesn’t realize that NSIDC’s choice of 1979-2000 has to do with when they first started generating their product. Or that the fact that Arctic Roos using 1979-2006 as their baseline and the first year showing up on their plots being 2007 is not a coincidence. Nor is UAH’s choice of 1979-1998 pulled out of their rear.

    Someone tried to (subtly) point this out over there, and it went right over MicroWatt’s head…

  39. 189
    Hank Roberts says:

    Jim Steele, you teach ecology in the Sierra Nevada.
    Do you teach anything about climate, or climate change?

    Have you seen any references suggesting that might be happening?
    How do you answer questions from students if they’ve read stuff like this?

  40. 190
    Ray Ladbury says:

    I am merely a student here. I am fortunate enough to have a PhD in physics and 20 years as a working physicist in a variety of disciplines that has equipped me to follow most of the science. Even so, it took me about 2 years before I understood some of the more subtle aspects of the greenhouse effect. Realclimate has been a tremendous resource in that endeavor. There is a tremendous amount of good information about the science here. Those who view it as merely a place to “debate” utterly miss out on that fact. It would be well worth their while perusing some of the posts here. Even if they were not convinced, they would at least be able to argue against the real science rather than the cartoon version we too often see from denialists. I would be more than happy to point you toward some of the resources I’ve found helpful.

  41. 191
    Big Randy says:

    We’ve lost the battle. It’s over. Now all we can do is just watch the earth warm and wait for Armageddon to happen. Unfortunately it will happen in most of our lifetimes.

  42. 192
    Deech56 says:

    To add to Ron Broburg’s comment:

    Peter of Sydney (23:03:26) :

    All this proves is that the science is NOT IN, and that the AGW debate is alive and well. So, AGW alarmists are just that – alarmists; and must be treated as such. Skeptics are just that – skeptics and must be treated as such. Hence, the AGW thesis is far from proven and must be researched for many years to come before coming to a definitive conclusion. So, any move to “save the planet” must be treated as a fraud or a hoax since they are being peddled under the assumption that the AGW case is proven, which of course as shown above is not.

    hunter (06:37:43) :

    Well here is a stab at a third hypothesis irt AGW:
    AGW is a social movement often called ‘mania’ or ‘popular delusion’ where a critical mass of true believers and promoters fixate on an idea- it can be real estate, an investment strategy, tulips, eugenics, etc.- and reinforce the power of the idea and certain public policy demands until no dissent or discussion outside of the framework of agreement with that idea is acceptable to its community members.
    True belief is so powerful that even when significant evidence of fraud or just plain wrongness is discovered, the believer persists in their confidence.

    Steve Newton writes, “Have you read the piece I linked to, written by Dr. Walt Meier who believes in AGW, and in particular, all the comments? I would love for you and others to address the many issues raised by commenters who disagree with Dr. Meier, though in professional manner, so we could have a productive discussion of the issues.”

    Steve, hate to tell you but I tried that and can no longer post there. At least McIntyre clips stuff out of my posts, but at WUWT my posts no longer even go into moderation. You might want to think about barry’s recent experience, or Lee’s experience from a couple of years ago. All stemming from pointing out mistakes there.

  43. 193
    Jim Steele says:

    CTG #177 I agree with you on Geist’s interpretation of Bergmann’s rule, and yes it provides a credible avenue for further research. But that’s in part why I mentioned one major flaw in the article is the study was done on migratory birds with no way of the conditions where the molt took place. Cold and rainy weather during the nestling period often causes what is referred to as stress bars where feather growth is interrupted, and those feathers are typically shorter. This of course is also due to a change in food sources. So why aren’t shorter feathers due to cold or rainy weather? Until they can show me they can separate such confounding variables, attempts to attribute global warming must be relegated to “just so” stories. (sensu stricto Kipling; no religious connotations intended)

    Metzger #156 A different thread on evolution might be a better place to determine who is “remarkably ignorant” . By your reply I would vote for you.

    Desdemona Despair: The point I am making is not just seen in my response to CTG but readily illustrated by your first link about flowering and calving in Greenland. You see proof, I see a trend without significance, and driven by the start point. Make the start point 2003 instead of 2002 and then ask how significant the trend looks. It is the same battle that goes on via Antarctica’s recent cooling. It can be highlighted or ignored by the right choice in starting points.

    Ray Ladbury. You are indeed the master skeptic basher. You accuse me of distorting the science when no such thing was done. I am aware of the logarithmic warming curve for CO2. That curve shows no better correlation. So I used the Keeling curve just like I have seen Lonnie Thompson do on a few occasions. So are you saying Thompson is also distorting the CO2 connection?

    You say I created a straw man by saying CO2 is the “only driver”. Never have I argued that, so check your own straw men. I said PDO looks like a better fit than CO2 as a driver. That’s different.

    Yes I did ignore aerosols, first because I didn’t find a data base that I could graph. Plus I doubted that it would fit the 2 peaks. But you make a valid point. So perhaps you can provide the measurements for aerosols from 1900 to now and I will gladly add aerosols to the comparison.

    And because I make a few posts on the Alps to illustrate a point, you turn it into being abnormally “fixated”. Please, how much do you want in one post?

    So as not to be “fixated” and so as not to be using a “cartoon version” of AGW theory let me quote a RealCimate response to the lagging CO2 “inconsistency” when explaining the glacial-interglacials. Here is the link

    “From studying all the available data (not just ice cores), the probable sequence of events at a termination goes something like this. Some (currently unknown) process causes Antarctica and the surrounding ocean to warm. This process also causes CO2 to start rising, about 800 years later. Then CO2 further warms the whole planet, because of its heat-trapping properties. This leads to even further CO2 release. So CO2 during ice ages should be thought of as a “feedback”, much like the feedback that results from putting a microphone too near to a loudspeaker.

    In other words, CO2 does not initiate the warmings, but acts as an amplifier once they are underway. From model estimates, CO2 (along with other greenhouse gases CH4 and N2O) causes about half of the full glacial-to-interglacial warming.”

    That certainly was a very reasonable explanation by RC for the rising temperatures from termination to the peak interglacial. But the return to the lower temperatures of the next glacial period becomes much more problematic. Ray to be fair, would you characterize RC’s omission of discussing the descending temperatures a “scientific distortion” also?

    [Response: Huh? The explanation is exactly the same. During the ice age *cycles*, CO2 acted as an amplifying feedback on the orbital *cycles*. For those not familiar with the jargon, *cycles* go up and down. Please get serious. – gavin]

    The sequestering of CO2 is driven by ocean temperatures and biological agents that are largely governed by temperature. So if I assume the “(currently unknown) force/process” starts the cooling process so temperatures decline by 50%. I now ask, once that “unknown force” is no longer driving temperatures lower, then, the CO2 at that given temperature should, by your theory above, drive temperatures higher again, never returning to the minimum. But in fact despite the same CO2 concentrations that raised temperatures toward the interglacial maximum, temperatures still descend into a glacial minimum.

    So what is the other forces invovled? I asked this over a Tamino’s blogs, and got a nebulous answer about certain biological processes for sequestering CO2 being underestimated. But that is unsatisfactory. How can the same CO2 concentrations and the same temperature lead to both rising and falling temperatures? It is just one other inconsistency that made me a skeptic. It leaves a lot of unknown forces that are not yet understood. And in this case, to say it can only be explained by attributing climate change to high sensitivity to CO2, well it just doesn’t work.

    I can offer a few others inconsistencies to show I am not just fixated on minutia but that may be better on a different thread.

  44. 194
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jim Steele, the more you post, the clearer it becomes that your confusion is due to your lack of understanding of the science. I am serious. You need to first unlearn all the crap you think you understand and then go to the Start Here button and start learning. There is no shame in not knowing the details of the science–it isn’t your field. Start with Spencer Weart’s History. I do not understand why people are so resistant to learning the actual science!

  45. 195
    Hank Roberts says:

    > How can the same CO2 concentrations and the same temperature
    > lead to both rising and falling temperatures?

    You teach ecology, and ask this question?

    Something else changes, for example biology, as just one example:

  46. 196
    Bryson Brown says:

    Jim, this seems pretty silly to me. When the orbital cycles are in a cooling phase, there’s a negative forcing on temperature, which in turn produces an amplifying feedback in CO2 uptake by the oceans and other sources (for example, CO2 soil emissions might also go down as permafrost begins to spread again). The ‘same temperature’ you mention is compatible with both positive net forcings on the way up and negative net forcings on the way down: after all, temperature trails the forcings! Just a philosopher’s suggestion, but if you’re ready to throw in the towel on a hypothesis at the first little puzzle you encounter, you’re not going to figure things out: any credible hypothesis requires some really careful thinking through to see whether it works or not.

  47. 197
    ralphieGM says:

    East Anglia (AP) – In the wake of retreating sea ice and glaciers on earth, IPCC scientists at East Anglia now report that the solar ice cap has nearly disappeared and may be completely gone by 2035. The effect of the loss of the solar ice cap is expected to lead to an additional 1 degreee Celsius rise in earth temperatures as the solar ice cap played an important cooling function on the sun.

    IPCC estimates the loss of the solar ice cap will increase the solar temperature from its current 5,000,000 degrees to about 5,000,002 degrees Celsius.

    The IPCC scientists also warn the public not to look at the sun and assure us all that their computations clearly outline a solar ice cap retreat.

    However, there are skeptics who maintain that the solar ice cap has not changed in size at all – in fact, may have never existed. “I don’t think an ice cap would be at all possible on the sun,” said Dr. I. C. Morhair. “And I am quite skeptical about anything the IPCC has to say these days”, of course, referring to IPCC and the “Climategate” hoax of November 2009.

    [Response: Wrong thread and eight days late but certainly interesting.–Jim]

  48. 198
    Ron Broberg says:

    How can the same CO2 concentrations and the same temperature lead to both rising and falling temperatures?

    CO2 is only one factor in a complex climate system?
    A complexity which is noisier over short time frames?

    Why do you think we bother with numerical simulations?
    Could it be because no one believes that climate is a linear system?

    You claim that you could show “a few other inconsistencies.”
    You have yet to demonstrate your first.
    So don’t run off quite yet.

    How does your eyeballed CO2 -v- 5 Alpine Glacier Index demonstrate an inconsistency? What AGW principle is not consistent with a glacier advance in the mid 20th Century?

  49. 199
    Miles55 says:

    RE: WUWT & Meier….I was actually surprised to see that Meier was fairly well received given the audience (although the goals of the “thank you’s” are debatable). I think the more damning aspect of the comments is not some of the entertaining quotes related thus far, but the inability of the commentators to even attempt to correct each other while questioning Meier’s post. The hypocrisy displayed is well-documented, but surely such a “skeptical” site should be skeptical of its own proponents as well.

  50. 200
    RaymondT says:

    121 @Geoff Beacon, In reply to your statement “Dangers are not certainties but we pay household fire insurance on risks that are far less likely than really bad things happening with the climate”, insurance companies can calculate the risk of a household fire since they are dealing with millions of households and have decades of past records of damages which is why they are in business. The ability of climate models to calculate QUANTITATIVELY FUTURE global temperatures, precipitation or hurricane activity has not been demonstrated. An ensemble of climate simulations cannot be considered as independant climate events. Therefore the probability of a future climatic event is much less certain than that of a fire in a household.