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Climate cynicism at the Santa Fe conference

Filed under: — group @ 19 December 2011

Guest commentary by Mark Boslough*

The Third Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate Change was held during Halloween week. It was most notable for the breadth of opinion — and the span of credibility — of its speakers. I have long complained about the lack of willingness of most contrarians to attend and present their arguments at mainstream scientific conferences. After three years of convening climate-related sessions at AGU, I have yet to receive an abstract that argues against anthropogenic global warming. Such presentations can usually only be seen at conferences held by the Heartland Institute. There isn’t much chance of a mainstream scientist attending a meeting organized by a political think tank known for its anti-science activism, so opportunities for interaction between the groups are rare.

The conference was the third in a series (the first was held in Halifax ten years ago) that actively solicits participation from conventional scientists as well as those on the fringes. Organized by the Center for Nonlinear Studies of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, with co-sponsorship from the International Arctic Research Center, Brookhaven, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the meeting has sufficient credibility to attract speakers like Richard Peltier and Gerald North, while also providing the podium to Christopher Monckton and Don Easterbrook. Travel grants from LANL were provided to assist some of the speakers.

It quickly became apparent that the meeting would be run with a firm, no-nonsense approach to confrontation. In my original abstract, I used the term “contrarian,” which I have always considered to be a polite, non-judgmental descriptive term. Petr Chylek, LANL Laboratory Fellow and chair of the conference program committee responded by telling me, “I would like to ask you for some revision. The designations like ‘contrarians, skeptics, deniers, etc.’ may be offensive to some scientists present. Perhaps you can re-write your abstract and your presentation without using such words.” Fair enough, given the potential for contentiousness. Later, a generalized request went to all speakers: “Please, do not use any demeaning labels like deniers, contrarians, warmers, alarmists, … Please, stick to science. Stay away from personal attacks on other scientists present or not.”

I was disappointed, however, that the poster abstract I submitted with Lloyd Keigwin (WHOI), “Misrepresentations of Sargasso Sea Temperatures by Global Warming Doubters,” was rejected. This abstract was essentially the same material we presented at last year’s GSA meeting in Denver, and revealed the fact that a graph in Lloyd’s 1996 Science paper had been redrawn for the paper “Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” by Arthur Robinson and coauthors. Some of the original data on Lloyd’s graph had been removed and replaced by fabricated data, apparently in an attempt to argue that temperatures are lower now than the 3000-year average. The doctored version of the graph has been used repeatedly in opinion pieces and was reprinted by Fred Singer in the NIPCC report. It is arguably one of the most widely reproduced graphs in contrarian literature, and in one form was sent out to tens of thousands of scientists to solicit signatures for the so-called “Oregon petition”.

Petr Chylek, explaining his reason for rejection, said, “This Conference is not a suitable forum for type of presentations described in submitted abstract. We would accept a paper that spoke to the science, the measurements, the interpretation, but not simply an attempted refutation of someone else’s assertions (especially when made in unpublished reports and blog site).” Of course, I’m not sure that a correction by the author of a graph that has been improperly reproduced in the primary contrarian literature is not the same thing as an “attempted refutation”.

The first day of the conference was buzzing with news of Richard Muller’s announcement of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) results. Just a week earlier, he had published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, titled, “The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism (There were good reasons for doubt, until now)”. Then, only one day before the conference, David Rose of the Daily Mail broke a supposed “scandal”: “Scientist who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleague”. Muller’s coauthor, Judith Curry, was quoted saying, “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped. To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.” This story was picked up by Fox News and the narrative that spread throughout the blogosphere was that “Curry has turned on Muller.”

Reading about climate change in the mainstream media — let alone on blogs — can be like looking at reality in a funhouse mirror. When Muller got up to discuss the BEST results on Tuesday morning, the first thing he did was point out that the title of the WSJ piece did not come from him. His original title was “Cooling the Global Warming Debate.” But since his name was under the title he didn’t write, it was automatically attributed to him, as a direct quote. In fact he said, he had been misquoted more times since this was published than he had in the rest of his life. The Daily Mail/Fox News story seemed just as distorted. If Curry and Muller had a major scientific disagreement, wouldn’t a scientific conference be the appropriate place for the debate? If they were at loggerheads over the fundamental question of whether “global warming hasn’t stopped” wouldn’t one of them have mentioned it? They each gave two presentations, and this never came up in public or in any conversation I was aware of.

The conference was remarkably well run. For the most part, participants were well behaved and adhered to Petr Chylek’s strict rules—avoiding inflammatory terms, and steering away from personal attacks and interruptions. The one exception was Judith Curry, who apparently did not get the memo. She gave a banquet presentation entitled, “The Uncertainty Monster at the Climate Science-Policy Interface”. My impression was that her presentation was intended to be more of a vehicle to criticize her adversaries than to talk about uncertainty.

Her most personal attack was against Michael Mann, who she used to illustrate “uncertainty hiding” by showing a caricature of him standing next to the “uncertainty monster” holding a hockey stick and hidden by a sheet, with the cartoon-Mann saying “what uncertainty?” Next to the cartoon was and image of the cover of the book “The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science” illustrated with the multiproxy time series that Mann and his coauthors made famous. Ironically, Mann’s carefully plotted uncertainty bands were not visible on the presentation graphic, just as they were not reproduced in Fred Singer’s NIPCC report. “What uncertainty?” indeed!

Curry described her transition from a scientist who felt that it was the responsible thing to do to support the IPCC conclusions to someone who is “about 50% a denier”. She attributed this change to “climategate” and the reaction she received due to her initial comments about it. She was the only speaker who ignored the policy against the word “denier.” She used the banned “d-word” repeatedly for effect when setting up a straw-man argument against what she called “IPCC/UNFCCC ideology” — a term she coined to label notions such as “anthropogenic climate change is real” and “deniers are attacking climate science and scientists”. She assured the audience that she didn’t think there were any “IPCC ideologues” at the conference but she had heard rumors that some were invited and had declined. She called out Kevin Trenberth as a supposed example of such an ideologue (again rejecting the policy against personal attack).

Among her straw-man arguments was her dismissal of standard risk-reduction methodology for low-probability high-consequence events as a mere “precautionary principle” (the same principle that nuclear weapons engineers are taught when they told to always ask “what can go horribly wrong?”). One colleague later remarked that her approach to uncertainty quantification reminded him of an English major who had just finished reading Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”

I met most of the conference participants during the course of the week, and had cordial conversations with all those with whom I disagreed. One thing I have long suspected was strongly reinforced: there is no common scientific understanding amongst contrarians. Many of them are just as critical of one another’s ideas as they are of conventional science. William Gray stood up after many of the presentations on solar influence to declare that solar variability is not important. It’s even less important than CO2, he said. It’s ocean variability that is the cause of most climate change. Petr Chylek stood up after Fred Singer’s presentation (in which Singer presented old uncorrected UAH MSU data that suggested cooling) and said emphatically, “Denying the warming makes no sense!”.

monckton_boslough I spent a lot of time talking to Christopher Monckton, who may have been the only non-scientist to give a presentation. He has no understanding of science or the scientific method, and when I asked him about scientific prediction, he called it a “fool’s errand”. He has a strong authoritarian approach to those with whom he disagrees, and his conspiracy theories run deep and dark. He names specific names and calls IPCC contributors “malevolent”. I asked him to share the very worst hacked email he could remember. The only specific example he gave was the one in which someone referred to him as a “charlatan”.

Several of us had beers at the Marble Brewery overlooking the Santa Fe plaza on Thursday evening, where Monckton recounted his efforts to get the police involved in an investigation of one IPCC lead author who (he says) committed criminal fraud associated with a graph in the IPCC report. (His own adventures in graphical misrepresentation are of course completely unproblematic).

The main lesson I took away from the conference was this: there is no consistent contrarian science, and there is no defining contrarian ideology or motivation. Some are sincere. Others are angry at their lack of funding. Some appear to be envious of the IPCC scientists’ success, and others have found a niche that gets them attention they would not otherwise get. Only a few appear to be motivated by politics. No single label applies to them, and I found myself referring to them as “contrarians/skeptics/deniers/enablers/provocateurs/publicity-seekers”.

The one common thread I found among them was the fervent belief that “Climategate” was a conspiracy and that the IPCC is rigged. This faith-based belief seems to be unshakable, and is the antithesis of true skepticism. Those I met were uniformly cynical about the honesty and motivations of mainstream scientists. If I were forced to use a single label, I would be inclined to call them “science cynics”.

*These comments reflect the personal opinion of the author and should not be taken to reflect the opinions of his employer or his funding agencies.

212 Responses to “Climate cynicism at the Santa Fe conference”

  1. 101
    s.b. ripman says:

    Similar delay histories, dramatically different consequences! Would Copernicans have been as diplomatic and accommodating if they knew the failure to accept their theory would result in huge human suffering?

  2. 102
    john byatt says:

    was rereading through comments

    way back #7 Alistair.

    Global Warming: future temperatures could exceed livable limits: researchers find.

  3. 103
    John Mashey says:

    re: 98, 99
    Feel free to FOIA: it’s on my TODO list, but I have a bunch of time-consuming items ahead of it and it will likely be months before I can get to this one.

    BTW, regarding Singer, people might be amused by his article in Heartland’s Environment and Climate Newsletter, p.17. Also see Roger Cohen on p.16.
    That’s 2 of the 6 organizers (Austin, Happer, Cohen, Singer, Lewis, Gould) of the 2009 APS Petition. Cohen and Austin are members of the organizing committee for APS GPC. Less than 0.5% of APS signed the petition … but about half of them have signed up for GPC, I think. (I have list of petition signers, and have checked it against APS directory, which is tedious, but works.)

  4. 104
    Mekhong Kurt says:

    It surely is great to find not only an article of great interest to a layman (my own background in in the humanities, though to the MA level, not PhD, and instructing in my field in various universities) but one to which there are so many replies from people mostly far better qualified than I am to comment.

    I just read every single comment here and though it took awhile, I feel I’ve had an appreciable increase in both my knowledge and understanding of the highly complex subject of climate change/AGW, though I’m been reading extensively, if at the armchair level, for several years in the field.

    I will say I’m surprised that a sole presenter at the conference was allowed to ignore the established ground rules in her presentation. One respondent to the article points out that she had her own grievances, of which I was already aware, but to that defense of her, I have to ask, “Was the Sante Fe Conference her first, last, and only chance to rebut her critics???” I think not. She certainly manages to get heard, a whole bunch, to the best of my knowledge.

    Thanks to all for both the article and all the replies.

  5. 105
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mekhong Kurt: “I will say I’m surprised that a sole presenter at the conference was allowed to ignore the established ground rules in her presentation.”

    You don’t know Aunt Judy, do you?

  6. 106
    Judith Curry says:

    There seems to be some confusion about my presentation at the Santa Fe meeting, Mark Boslough seems to have misunderstood it substantially. For anyone that is interested, my presentation can be seen at:

    A .ppt can be found at

  7. 107
    Peter Lilley says:

    Thank you for the link you provided in 37 to the original chart of temperatures in the Sargasso Sea with station S and the altered version without it. I am perplexed that anyone should want to make alterations – particularly as minor as those shown – since the original chart appears to show that a) a clear Medieval Climate Optimum in the Sargasso sea b)that the recent temperature is below the Medieval level. I thought the two issues of contention were whether the medieval warming was localised to North West Europe and below current temperatures?

  8. 108
    SecularAnimist says:

    s. b. ripman wrote: “Would Copernicans have been as diplomatic and accommodating if they knew the failure to accept their theory would result in huge human suffering?”

    The same question could be asked of some of today’s climate scientists. Perhaps they will reproach themselves with that question in years to come.

  9. 109
    Anna Haynes says:

    2 question about the norm for poster sessions – at a normal conference, can a layman show a poster in a poster session? and are the posters vetted for quality?

    (sorry if this comment is a dupe – I apparently had the recaptcha wrong before, so am not sure it went through.)

  10. 110
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Peter Lilley, What can we say. Reality was never good enough for the denialists.

  11. 111
    Deech56 says:

    Anna, for most conferences I attend, to submit a poster one must submit an abstract describing the work. Session chairs will read the abstract and select which ones are presented as posters (or oral presentations – not to be confused with invited talks). Whether or not an abstract leads to a poster depends on the conference organizers – for some conferences, everybody gets to present a poster; for others, posters are relatively rare and even getting the abstract published in the abstract book (without poster) is an accomplishment.

  12. 112
    dhogaza says:


    There seems to be some confusion about my presentation at the Santa Fe meeting,

    Well, I’m looking at the pdf, not listening to your talk, but really, the Josh cartoon of the uncertainty monster under a sheet with a hockey stick and a caricature of Michael Mann saying “what uncertainty?” ???

    Of course there’s an answer to this cartoon – “the uncertainty clearly discussed in Mann’s paleoreconstruction papers”. The existence of which is ignored by Josh … and you.

    Would you care to be precise about the claimed misrepresentation of your keynote address? After all, the person describing it was in the audience …

  13. 113
    Hank Roberts says:

    > “… if they knew … result in huge human suffering?”

    C’mon, this “if” is absurdly demeaning to the scientists.

    Suffering is often from avoidable problems.
    Scientists are no less aware, often more aware, than the average citizen.

    A professional field — public health — is dedicated to this, and has had much to say about climate change already.

    People persevere for lifetimes, trying to warn about avoidable suffering from business as usual.

    “… During the first decades of the 20th century, many other countries banned or restricted the use of lead paint for interior painting. Despite this knowledge, the lead industry in the United States did nothing to discourage the use of lead paint on interior walls and woodwork. In fact, beginning in the 1920s, the Lead Industries Association and its members conducted an intensive campaign to promote the use of paint containing white lead, even targeting children in their advertising….

    “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”
    ― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

  14. 114
    dhogaza says:


    From the powerpoint:

    Why is there such strong belief among scientists in the IPCC attribution statement?
    Some hypotheses:
    • Overconfident interpretation of the scientific evidence
    • Groupthink in context of a consensus building process
    • Confidence in, and authority of, the IPCC
    • High salience of the issue motivates individuals to take a stand
    • Solidarity among scientists against a perceived “war on science”
    • Defense of the status quo (strong funding feedback)
    • Personal and political sympathies for environmental movement
    • UNFCCC/IPCC ideology

    I can’t help but note that “high confidence in a very large body of scientific work that overwhelmingly supports the attribution statement” isn’t on the list.

    In other words, a priori you state that understanding that the statement is entirely consistent with our scientific knowledge is not an honest or possible reason for agreement.

    A sophisticated variant of the old “when did you stop beating your husband, Judith” form of accusation …

  15. 115
    Judith Curry says:

    #114 My keynote address followed my presentation on attribution uncertainty, which can be found here

    # 112 Listen to the youtube presentation

  16. 116
    Hank Roberts says:

    See also:

    Manufacturing Uncertainty: Contested Science and the Protection of the Public’s Health and Environment.

    David Michaels and Celeste Monforton

    American Journal of Public Health: July 2005, Vol. 95, No. S1, pp. S39-S48.
    doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.043059

    Point is that political argument and debate go on long after the questions of scientific interest have been well worked through.

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan:
    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

    Not everyone believes that; there’s an entire worldview that has

    “… the ambition to change the very nature of knowledge production about both the natural and social worlds…. neoliberal theorists like Hayek … state that the Market is the superior information processor par excellence. The theoretical impetus behind the rise of the natural science think tanks is the belief that science progresses when everyone can buy the type of science they like, dispensing with whatever the academic disciplines say is mainstream or discredited science.”

    Mirowski, Philip, “The Rise of the Dedicated Natural Science Think Tank” (New York: Social Science Research Council, July 2008).

  17. 117
    Mark Boslough says:

    Anna #109

    Different conferences have different poster policies. I am most familiar with AGU because I’ve convened many sessions at the AGU Fall meetings. When I first started attending these meetings more than 30 years ago, most people considered the poster sessions to be somewhat of a “ghetto” and everyone preferred the oral sessions. Some people will disagree, but in my opinion, the posters have become the highlight of AGU. Posters now outnumber oral presentations by a ratio of 2 to 1.

    As a session convener and chair, I’ve had a couple disgruntled presenters who were unhappy that I assigned posters to them. A couple years ago, one presenter didn’t show up for that reason. He felt he had been dissed. This year I got scolded by a presenter who is a high-profile scientist, because I gave him a poster and gave oral presentations to a few early career scientists (it is AGU policy to encourage age and gender diversity in the oral sessions; a policy I support).

    I have never rejected a poster. Lay persons can present posters as long as they pay the abstract and registration fees. “Crackpot” posters generally get put together in their own session. A couple years ago I had some posters that were very much on the fringe, but their subject matter was consistent with my session, so I included them. Laster year, there was a poster by someone from the Heartland Institute (not in my session).

    I personally prefer to present posters, at least at AGU, because there is more opportunity for interaction. Over the past several years, I’ve presented posters at AGU, GSA, Chapman conferences, and Planetary Defense Conferences. I’d never had a poster abstract rejected in my entire career until the Santa Fe meeting. According to the conference chair, it was not rejected because of its technical content but because it was deemed to be an “attempted refutation” of an unpublished report (the NIPCC). The first author was Lloyd Keigwin, but I was going to present it along with my other posters since I was attending. I knew that Fred Singer–the editor of the NIPCC report–was going to give an invited oral presentation about the content of that same unpublished report. I wanted to give him the opportunity to see the original data that had been expunged from a graph in the that report.

  18. 118
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Anna,In many conferences, submissions are reviewed and either accepted or rejected, and only then is it decided whether they are more appropriate as orals or posters.

    I actually prefer a poster format, as 1)there is more interaction with the audience, and 2)my papers tend to be somewhat mathematically dense and take longer than the typical oral timeslot just to explain!

  19. 119
    Mark Boslough says:

    Peter #109

    Here’s my hypothesis about what motivated the Robinsons to alter the Keigwin graph. It was a prominent figure in the unpublished Robinson et al. paper (formatted to look like a PNAS reprint) that went out with solicitations to sign the so-called Oregon Petition.

    By removing the Station S data, the Robinsons were able to pretend like the most recent paleotemperature was the “current” temperature. They were then able to say in a Wall Street Journal editorial: “During the past 3,000 years, there have been five extended periods when it was distinctly warmer than today.” (Robinson & Robinson, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 1997).

    This meme was picked up and used in Congressional Testimony: “During the past 3,000 years, there have been five extended periods when it was distinctly warmer than today.” (Raymond Keating, Testimony to House Small Business Committee, June 4, 1998).

    If you do a Google search on a phrase like this, you will see that it has proliferated all over the internet and people actually believe it, even though it based on a doctored version of the Keigwin (1996) graph. That’s why I thought it would be good to correct the record with a poster at Santa Fe conference, which was attended by people who might believe stuff they see on the internet as opposed to peer reviewed literature.

  20. 120
    Mark Boslough says:

    Judith #106

    Can you be specific about what you think I misunderstood about your banquet presentation? It’s unfortunate that you didn’t take questions afterward to clear up any potential misunderstandings. I was hoping you would visit one of my posters or attend my own presentation so we could have a discussion. I did have questions for you, and I still do.

  21. 121
    Mark Boslough says:

    Re: #117

    In response to my comment about Fred Singer, I received an email message from Peter Chylek, the conference chair, who informed me that Fred Singer was not invited and did not present an invited talk. Their contributed submitted abstracts were accepted for presentation. I apologize for this mistake.

    I have gone through the conference program and website and was unable to find the list of invitees, and have now requested the list from Dr. Chylek.

  22. 122
    John Mashey says:

    re: #117 While I attend many talks @ AGU, I always make time to walk the posters, which fill the bottom of Moscone, a new set every day. As Ray notes, there is way more chance for interaction.
    The fact that Chylek denied him a poster slot, while having talks from Monckton, and from Singer (which included same topic), is one more question, as per #97.

    Related: LANL, Sandia and APS
    Two years ago, I documented the social network (fairly clear) and demographics (skewed towards old men) of the Petition to APS, which got ~200 signers, less than 0.5% of the APS membership. The social network was fairly clear, i.e., not a grassroots effort as much as a network of friends of the organizers. Although a tiny % of LANL and Sandia, there was a noticeable cluster of signers in NM.
    Very few of the signers had any obvious connection with climate research.
    The organizers were:

    Robert Austin (Princeton biophysicist),
    Roger Cohen (retired ExxonMobil),
    Laurence Gould (University of Hartford, a big fan of Monckton’s)
    Will Happer (Chairman of George Marshall Institute, also Princeton atomic physicist)
    Hal Lewis (Retired nuclear physicist, has since quit APS)
    Fred Singer

    They made much noise, but unsurprisingly, relatively few physicists have ideologies that require ignoring basic physics. The demographics showed a strong skew towards older men, quite unrepresentative of APS as a whole.

    This bounced off the (generally sensible) APS leadership, but a followon push came to create an APS Topic Group on the Physics of Climate (GPC), whose organizing committee is:
    Jerome I Friedman (Chair), MIT
    James Brasseur, Pennsylvania State University
    Brad Marston, Brown University
    Pierre Meystre, University of Arizona
    Roger W. Cohen, Exxon/Mobil Corporation (Retired)
    Judith Lean, Naval Research Laboratory
    Robert H Austin, Princeton University
    Warren S Warren, Duke University

    Note: I think it’s a fine thing for APS physicists to seriously engage with climate science, given the many interesting problems and assuming they get up to speed enough on the climate side. Before his death, Steve Schneider was working towards such engagement in his typical fashion and we used to talk about this, given my APS studies.

    Since I keep lists and am an APS member, I looked up the petition signers in the main APS directory, which took a while.
    Surprisingly, Singer was no longer listed as an APS member, although he was certainly there while the 2009 Petition campaign was under way.
    In any case, of the ~200 petition signers, about half have also joined GPC.

    I also checked a few others, who were *not* petition signers.
    Monckton was not listed in APS… :-)
    Among those who were *not* signers, but are currently APS members listed for GPC:

    Judith Curry
    Freeman Dyson
    Richard Lindzen
    Gerald Marsh (GPC and FPS – he gave list (including Monckton) to the APS FPS editors …
    which led to the kerfuffle with Monckton “peer-reviewed” (no) paper in 2008.

    Marsh (and Dyson, I think) are long-time APS members, I’m not sure about the others.

    Needless to say, with Austin and Cohen on the committee, I will be fascinated to see the final list of candidates for officers of this.

  23. 123
    toto says:

    Judith Curry@115: # 112 Listen to the youtube presentation

    Well, I did. Then I had a look at the TAR itself, just for kicks.

    From Judith’s presentation (2:14):

    The first strategy [against the “uncertainty monster”] is uncertainty monster hiding, and I think the hockey stick is a good example here. Now I don’t blame Michael Mann for what ended up in the TAR, how can you blame a guy [inaudible]… But, again, it ended up in there, with a high level of confidence.

    Now let us look at what the TAR actually says:

    Mann et al. (1998) reconstructed global patterns of annual surface temperature several centuries back in time. They calibrated a combined terrestrial (tree ring, ice core and historical documentary indicator) and marine (coral) multi-proxy climate network against dominant patterns of 20th century global surface temperature. Averaging the reconstructed temperature patterns over the far more data-rich Northern Hemisphere half of the global domain, they estimated the Northern Hemisphere mean temperature back to AD 1400, a reconstruction which had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests. Self-consistent estimates were also made of the uncertainties. This work has now been extended back to AD 1000 (Figure 2.20, based on Mann et al., 1999). The uncertainties (the shaded region in Figure 2.20) expand considerably in earlier centuries because of the sparse network of proxy data. Taking into account these substantial uncertainties, Mann et al. (1999) concluded that the 1990s were likely to have been the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, of the past millennium for at least the Northern Hemisphere. Jones et al. (1998) came to a similar conclusion from largely independent data and an entirely independent methodology. Crowley and Lowery (2000) reached the similar conclusion that medieval temperatures were no warmer than mid-20th century temperatures. Borehole data (Pollack et al., 1998) independently support this conclusion for the past 500 years although, as discussed earlier (Section, detailed interpretations comparison with long-term trends from such of such data are perilous owing to loss of temporal resolution back in time.

    The largely independent multi-proxy Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions of Jones et al. (1998) and Mann et al. (1999) are compared in Figure 2.21, together with an independent (extra-tropical, warm-season) Northern Hemisphere temperature estimate by Briffa (2000) based on tree-ring density data. The estimated uncertainties shown are those for the smoothed Mann et al. series. Significant differences between the three reconstructions are evident during the 17th and early 19th centuries where either the Briffa et al. or Jones et al. series lie outside the estimated uncertainties in the Mann et al. series. Much of these differences appear to result from the different latitudinal and seasonal emphases of the temperature estimates. This conclusion is supported by the observation that the Mann et al. hemispheric temperature average, when restricted to just the extra-tropical (30 to 70°N band) region of the Northern Hemisphere, shows greater similarity in its trend over the past few centuries to the Jones et al. reconstruction. The differences between these reconstructions emphasise the importance of regional and seasonal variations in climate change. These are discussed in the next section.

    Notice how uncertainty is carefully “hidden” by pointing it out repeatedly throughout the text and the graphs.

  24. 124
    toto says:

    To be fair, I must also make the following observation about Mark Boslough’s post:

    Mark says:

    Next to the cartoon was and image of the cover of the book “The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science” illustrated with the multiproxy time series that Mann and his coauthors made famous. Ironically, Mann’s carefully plotted uncertainty bands were not visible on the presentation graphic, just as they were not reproduced in Fred Singer’s NIPCC report. “What uncertainty?” indeed!

    It is true that the (enormous) error bars in Mann’s graph are not visible in the presentation. But in this particular case, it seems to have been an artifact of the video equipment rather than deliberate misrepresentation. The error bars are visible in the actual book cover. It looks like the faint gray-on-white simply did not survive the transition to Powerpoint+projector.

  25. 125
    Roly Gross says:

    I think there are two key reasons why the contrarian message is so readily lapped up by so many:
    1. A total lack of understanding of science, any science not just climate science. Amongst many I’ve spoken to there seems to be a belief that science can not possibly understand a complex system like the climate (although they seem happy to take drugs to alter the state of the equally complex system, their body).
    2. If they get past 1. then there’s a good chance something like cognitive dissonace kicks in. Thinking back to the 1980s when it first struck me just how dangerous CO2 emissions could be it was very frightening. At first I just clung to any bit of science that seemed to justify me not changing my lifestyle but eventually it just became too obvious……and it’s been obvious ever since. The real clincher was when I used to follow the contrarian links in blogs and found that they were all, without exception, gibberish (although sometimes this wasn;t clear initially and took some research).

    I think many scientists forget just how hard it is for even scientifcally savvy amateurs to understand climate science. Much easier to follow Monckton’s soothing lies.

  26. 126
    Judith Curry says:

    #120 Mark

    If you recall from the banquet, the original plan was to have a general discussion after both presentations. The discussion quickly got derailed by various people challenging Anjuli Bamzai about research funding, and people started leaving. I had to leave the conference early Thurs a.m., and thus missed the second half of the conference. If you had questions about my presentation, I’m sorry I missed you at the Conference, but I am pretty accessible via email and also at my blog. I did two blog posts on the Santa Fe Conference

    With regards to my apparent disagreement with Richard Muller, as per the Daily Mail article. This was discussed on my blog in these two threads:

    With respect to my plenary presentation at the banquet. I am very surprised that you inferred that “My impression was that her presentation was intended to be more of a vehicle to criticize her adversaries than to talk about uncertainty.” My presentation was about how scientists are coping with uncertainty at the science-policy interface. I mentioned two scientists by name: Mann and Trenberth, neither of whom I regard as adversaries. My verbal mention of Mann was very oblique; the issue that I used as an example of “uncertainty monster hiding” was the treatment of the hockey stick in the TAR, and I made an explicit statement in my talk that I did not blame Mann for this.

    Your objection cannot be what I actually said; rather it seems to be associated with the hockey stick cartoon. I have been experimenting with humor and cartoons as a way of presenting topics that are uncomfortable to the audience. Inferring from my use of this cartoon that I was attacking Michael Mann is incorrect, particularly in context of the words I actually said.

    My discussion of the word “denier” was done in an academic context that cited the social science literature on denialism. I did not use the word in a pejorative way to label other individuals or groups, which is what the conference organizers wanted to avoid. My main point was to address the misconceptions reflected by Trenberth’s statements. My statement about 50% denier was in context of what I thought was an absurd definition of climate denier in a published social science paper.

    You say I dismissed standard risk reduction methodology. You really missed one of the main points of my talk which was the misunderstanding of many climate scientists about decision making under deep uncertainty. My argument is that climate scientists’ perception that the only decision making option is do nothing versus precautionary principle motivated emissions reductions has been damaging to both climate science and policy. Other DMUU strategies such as building resilience, adaptation and broadening the decision making framework are gaining increased traction. My main point was that understanding uncertainty and areas of ignorance is critical information for the decision process.

    You also state that my treatment and understanding of uncertainty was naïve. Recall, this was an after dinner talk, not a scientific treatise. For my recent publications on scientific uncertainty, see:

    Curry, JA 2011: Reasoning about climate uncertainty. Climatic Change, 108, 723-732.

    Curry, JA and Webster PJ 2011: Climate science and the uncertainty monster. Bull Amer Meteorol. Soc., in press (December issue)

    Curry, JA 2011: Nullifying the Climate Null Hypothesis. WIREs Climate Change, Volume 2, Issue 6, pages 919–924,

    Uncertainty has been a major topic on my blog, see this tab

    I don’t intend to continue to discuss this further here, if you would like to continue discussing or have further questions, let me know here or send me an email, and I will start a new thread at Climate Etc.

  27. 127
    SecularAnimist says:

    Judith Curry wrote: “… the misunderstanding of many climate scientists about decision making under deep uncertainty …”

    There is no “deep uncertainty” that anthropogenic GHG emissions need to be reduced, substantially and rapidly, if we are to have any hope of avoiding catastrophic global warming and climate change.

    Of course, the entire purpose of the generation-long, fossil fuel-funded denialist propaganda campaign has been to create the illusion of such “deep uncertainty” where no such uncertainty actually exists.

  28. 128
    Chris Colose says:

    I’ve just had a chance to re-watch Judith Curry’s presentation. (It does indeed look like someone very sloppily whited out the uncertainty bars in the hockey stick graph; see this part of the youtube presentation (around 2:20), compared to slide 5 here. They even managed to fade out portions of the horizontal bar that goes across the graph).

    In any event, whoever spoke out at 14:55 (in the same youtube link above), was absolutely correct. Judith Curry insists on using broad, unqualified statements, and in most cases these vague criticisms are presented within some sort of philosophical rant as opposed to any specific scientific issue she has. She actually doesn’t talk about scientific uncertainty in the video at all; instead, she criticizes Mike Mann, Trenberth, along with vague statements about “many scientists.” This make her objections absolutely meaningless except in forums where these sort of undergraduate-level “debates” are the key highlight of the evening. Her more specific criticisms that she wrote about elsewhere, for example dealing with the role of aerosols in attribution studies, was thoroughly demolished recently by the response paper by Gabrielle Hegerl, Peter Stott, Susan Solomon, and Francis Zwiers.

    Overall, I do not see how science benefits from these sort of conferences. It seems more like a forum for public entertainment than it is a vehicle to have everyone sit down and “talk about the issues,” as if two people like Kevin Trenberth and Chris Monckton are going to sit by a fire and sing kumbaya after they reach a mutual understanding on ENSO dynamics. Moreover, opening up technical discussion to random people and pretending it is at the same level as the literature (for example the recent guest post on her blog about how glacial-interglacial variations are caused by cycles in extraterrestrial dust) aren’t helpful either to “skepticism” or “science.”

    Compare this to conferences like AGU, where people who actually understand science get together and actually do talk about the uncertainties, demonstrate a lot of “healthy” skepticism, while at the same time doing it in a way that will likely help progress the field in whatever subject is being discussed. Curry is tackling a non-issue, and her transition from scientist to philospher isn’t actually benefiting anything.

  29. 129
    Mark Boslough says:

    toto #124

    You are correct. I couldn’t see the uncertainty bands when it was projected on the screen, which added to the irony. But later when I saw the pdf version, I realized that was unintentional. See my post (#44):

    The uncertainty bands were reproduced in the graphic, but they weren’t visible in the projected version (see Uncertainty hiding). This was clearly unintentional. But the bands were intentionally removed from version shown in the NIPCC report.

  30. 130
    Mark Boslough says:

    Judith #126

    Too bad you didn’t get a chance visit my posters Wednesday before you left. Both were about uncertainty quantification, a subject you appear to have an interest in. One of the reasons I go to conferences is to have face-to-face scientific interactions. I don’t find blogs all that useful for scientific discussions. I don’t know about yours, but most blogs are set up to play to the spectators and there isn’t really much opportunity for real and candid information exchange that allows the participants to change their positions. Maybe next year you will consider attending the uncertainty session I convene every year at AGU and interacting with the participants, including me.

    With regard to Mann and Trenberth, your treatment of them during your evening presentation appeared adversarial to me, as an independent observer. I just called it as I saw it, and if you don’t consider them to be adversaries, why do you ascribe an ideology to them as opposed to a different scientific opinion? As I recall, your quoting of Trenberth provoked an outburst from the back of the room (I couldn’t see who it was that began shouting at you about it).

    With regard to using humor in presentations, I always try to do that, but I find that self-effacing humor works better for most audiences than unfairly making someone you disagree with into the butt of your jokes. Especially when the cartoon reinforces a false accusation about the subject. Especially when you know that the subject of your joke has been the victim of conspiracy theories, email theft, harassment, and even death threats. This behavior just doesn’t promote the collegiality our field sorely needs, and yes, that was my main objection to your presentation.

    With regard to your use of “denier”, you say it was in an academic context. My use of the word “contrarian” was also, but the conference organizers asked me not to use it so I didn’t. You were the only one I observed at the conference who did not abide by these explicit ground rules.

    With regard to decision making under uncertainty, you appear to be suggesting there is something fundamentally about how we should approach climate change (as opposed to nuclear weapons safety or planetary defense from asteroid impacts). I know you don’t want to discuss it here, but it seems to me that you want a different set of rules for setting climate policy than is customarily used for other high-consequence risks.

    Thanks for the links. I hope you get a chance to catch up on the large body of nuclear weapons UQ literature that has come out of the national labs, and incorporate it into your thinking. We can talk about it at AGU next year.

  31. 131
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Judy, Risk assessment is my day job, and I can say without any uncertainty that you don’t understand it. First, you don’t even define standard risk assessment methodology, but instead throw up your hands in the face of the “uncertainties”.

    Risk assessment begins with the identification of a credible threat. “Climate change” would be too broad to be defined as a threat. Rather, it would be an increased stress that poses several threats. By any reasonable understanding of the term credible threat, I would hope you would agree that, for example, increasing drought and other threats to agriculture make the grade. Sea level rise, loss of glaciers as water sources and so on also meet the definition, albeit on a longer timescale.

    Once the credible threat is defined, the next step is to bound the risk posed by the threat, where risk is defined as the probability of the threat being realized times the cost were it to be realized. Here we run into a problem. In a world where the the population is set to crest at roughly 10 billion around midcentury, a significant increase in drought would indeed have severe consequences. Unfortunately, you are claiming that the models are too unreliable to yield reliable estimates of probabilities. That means that the risk cannot be bounded.

    When a risk with severe consequences cannot be bounded, standard risk assessment prescribes risk avoidance as the only reasonable strategy, since intelligent allocation of resources toward risk mitigation is not possible for situations of unbounded risk.

    For climate change, the only way to avoid the threat is to quit burning fossil fuels and otherwise reduce CO2 emissions. Indeed, without reliable models–as you contend–the only reasonable strategy is to slam on the brakes HARD.

    Judy, uncertainty is not the friend of the complacent.

    As to your characterization of the IPCC as a “manufacturer of consensus,” I am astounded that anyone familiar with the IPCC process could come to that conclusion. The IPCC is a barebones operation. They have little funding, and God knows the editing tasks carry little glory. All the IPCC can do is reflect the consensus that it finds in the scientific literature. Bray and von Storch 2008 found that a large majority of climate scientists feel they do an adequate job at this.

    In short, Judy, your talk contains 3 sorts of contentions:
    3)so vague that they fall into the category of “not even wrong”

  32. 132
    timg56 says:

    RE @102

    I have a hard time believing this statement:

    “will experience a potentially lethal level of heat stress at wet-bulb temperature above 95 degrees sustained for six hours or more,”

    The later statement about most areas with temperatures above 90 degrees are arid also seems pretty ridiculeous.

    Having grown up in DC, I recall all the time spent playing basketball in weather in the mid 90’s temp & humidity wise. And I know a few Vietnam vets who can attest that hot humid conditions – which they were exposed to for periods ranging from days to weeks, carrying loads upwards of 70 – 90 lbs – where not what they wooried about killing them.

    This is exactly what pushes me into the “sceptical” camp. I don’t doubt we are warming and that human activities are probably a significant cause. What I have doubts about are many of the predictions.

  33. 133
    Dan H. says:

    The “deep uncertainty” is not that we should not reduce carbon emissions, but rather the effects that those emissions may have on the climate. The constant blame that anytime someone mentions uncertainty that they are somehow linked to the fossil fuel-funded denialist propaganda machine does no credence to your argument. If there truly were no (pr very little) uncertainty, then we would be able to attribute temperature forcings much better than we currently do. Some of the best forcings are +/- 50%. Not exactly high certainty.

  34. 134

    Some words of wisdom and guidance from the well informed NY times climate journalist Andrew Revkin.

    Climate Panel Needs to Follow its Own Advice

    That discusses the implications of IPCC Chair Pachauri’s lighthearted comments on how to deal with skeptics with Jerry Brown and Richard Branson on TV and some past slips.

    “I believe it’s time for Rajendra K. Pachauri to take a new approach to discussing climate change or leave the chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change after nearly a decade in that position. There is an unavoidable and counterproductive blurriness to the line between his personal advocacy for climate action — which is his right as an individual — and his stature as the leader of the panel, which was established in 1988 as “a policy relevant but policy neutral organization.”

  35. 135
    john byatt says:

    #132, there is humidity, then there is Humidity,


  36. 136
    JasonB says:

    #126 Judith Curry:

    Your objection cannot be what I actually said; rather it seems to be associated with the hockey stick cartoon. I have been experimenting with humor and cartoons as a way of presenting topics that are uncomfortable to the audience. Inferring from my use of this cartoon that I was attacking Michael Mann is incorrect, particularly in context of the words I actually said.

    I have to say that I find this line of reasoning incredibly disingenuous. If you are going to give a presentation then you can’t pretend that the visuals do not form part of the message that you are trying to get across! More than that, the visuals will be remembered long after the words are forgotten.

    I saw the YouTube video of the presentation long before I read this article and I literally groaned when you got to that slide. I actually stopped watching at that point because I decided not to waste my time watching the rest.

    Why? Because it’s a lie. It doesn’t matter what you say when you present a slide like that; if you put up a slide entitled “Uncertainty Monster Hiding”, the cover of a book entitled “The Hockey Stick Illusion — Climategate and the Corruption of Science”, and a cartoon depicting Michael Mann hiding an “uncertainty monster” under a sheet and saying “What Uncertainty?”, what other interpretation can we form than the obvious one — that you are accusing Michael Mann of deliberately hiding the undertainty in his data?

    And by doing so, you are ignoring the massive error bars and uncertainties that he clearly stated in the original work that was faithfully reproduced in the IPCC report. In other words, not only is it a personal attack on Michael Mann’s integrity, it is completely unfounded!

    Having seen the comments here, though, I did decide to download the presentation via the link you provided to see whether the uncertainty bars really were visible in the original presentation (they weren’t in the YouTube video, adding to the misrepresentation). They are in the PDF, making the slide as intended supremely ironic.

    But skipping through the rest I couldn’t help but notice slide 18, where you state that the reasons for your belief ca. 2006-2008 were “confidence in, and authority of, the IPCC” and “solidarity among scientists against a perceived ‘war on science'”.

    Really? You’re a climate scientist, but your belief in the attribution statement came not from the evidence and understanding of the science but faith in the IPCC and a response to a perceived “war on science”???

    I’m not even a climate scientist and yet I’ve had no trouble forming my own opinion based on the scientific literature. I’ve even been deeply sceptical of the IPCC’s ability to accurately reflect the literature due to the inherent conservativeness of the process.

    I can now understand why your “beliefs” were so vulnerable to being shaken by “climategate”.

    Perhaps you should consider the possibility that not everyone’s “beliefs” were formed the same way as yours.

  37. 137
    dhogaza says:

    If there truly were no (pr very little) uncertainty, then we would be able to attribute temperature forcings much better than we currently do. Some of the best forcings are +/- 50%. Not exactly high certainty.

    The problem, of course, is that even the lower end of the sensitivity range given by science is not a pleasant prospect.

    There’s significant uncertainty, which is not “ignored” by mainstream science (as Curry claims), but rather *comes from* mainstream science.

    The problem that you, and she, and other denialists is that the uncertainty that you tout does not, in the context of science, give us reason for optimism.

    Thus Curry’s insistence that it’s certain that uncertainty leads us to *lower* sensitivity than even the most optimistic end of the IPCC range.

    It’s not “uncertainty” per se (which, if that was the concern, would give equal weight to uncertainty on the high end).

    It’s truly the implications that run against political beliefs. You know that…

  38. 138
    dhogaza says:

    Further … if Curry were honest about the “uncertainty monster” she’d point out that it’s not certain that we won’t see a several C raise in average global temps in the next few decades.

    But her “uncertainty monster” only has one eye and its neck is fused and unable to turn. It is genetically programmed to stare in one direction, the direction that claims that all of uncertainty is on the low range – actually, far below the low range – and apparently is incapable of examining the full realm of uncertainty …

  39. 139
    dhogaza says:

    I have a hard time believing this statement:

    “will experience a potentially lethal level of heat stress at wet-bulb temperature above 95 degrees sustained for six hours or more,”

    The later statement about most areas with temperatures above 90 degrees are arid also seems pretty ridiculeous.

    Having grown up in DC, I recall all the time spent playing basketball in weather in the mid 90′s temp & humidity wise. And I know a few Vietnam vets who can attest that hot humid conditions – which they were exposed to for periods ranging from days to weeks, carrying loads upwards of 70 – 90 lbs – where not what they wooried about killing them.

    This is exactly what pushes me into the “sceptical” camp.

    Get back to us when you’re in your 60s or 70s or 80s or 90s and tell us how that basketball playing in extremely humid high-temperature weather works out for you.

    So your skepticism of climate science is based on a rejection of the medical reality that high, humid temps can kill people.

    Your Vietnam vets, of course, were selected based partially on physical fitness and age. There’s a reason that old farts can’t volunteer for the infantry, or those who are overweight, have heart problems, etc.

    It’s precisely because the army selects for people who can survive difficult physical situations. If your lack of confidence in medicine’s well-based, then the Army should select (or draft!) *EVERYONE*, because according to your hypothesis, *EVERYONE* should be able to survive harsh field conditions, and the Army’s stupid for being selective …

  40. 140
    JasonB says:

    timg #132:

    I have a hard time believing this statement:

    “will experience a potentially lethal level of heat stress at wet-bulb temperature above 95 degrees sustained for six hours or more,”

    Heat can only flow if there is a difference in temperature. The wet-bulb temperature is, by definition, the coolest temperature that can be achieved by evaporation (e.g. sweating). If the internal body temperature is near 98.6F, and the average human needs to dissipate 100 Watts at rest in order to avoid raising their temperature, then I don’t have any difficulty believing that a wet-bulb temperature above 95F for six hours or more is going to be a serious problem.

    Having grown up in DC, I recall all the time spent playing basketball in weather in the mid 90′s temp & humidity wise. And I know a few Vietnam vets who can attest that hot humid conditions – which they were exposed to for periods ranging from days to weeks, carrying loads upwards of 70 – 90 lbs – where not what they wooried about killing them.

    But what were the web bulb temperatures? They never exceeded 31C/88F anywhere in the world during the last decade according to the paper.

    The US National Weather Service says that a dry bulb temperature of 95F at just 80% humidity corresponds to a heat index of 133, where “heat stroke is highly likely with continued exposure”.

    So why would this paper push you into the “skeptical” camp? As someone who’s actually travelled to Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and northern Australia, it seemed like a wholly unremarkable finding to me. But then I haven’t played basketball in DC, so it’s possible that it has the highest web bulb temperatures in the world and people there have evolved to not only cope with it but actually play basketball in it.

  41. 141
    flxible says:

    timg doesn’t understand the meaning and implications of the terms he’s reading, confounding dry bulb temperature and separate humidity with wet bulb temperature, and remaining ignorant of the military understanding of the resulting wet bulb globe temperature, his VietVet friends were either not marines or didn’t pay attention to the warning flags, and he obviously hasn’t heard about the Canadian Humidex or the dew point.

  42. 142
    JasonB says:

    Your Vietnam vets, of course, were selected based partially on physical fitness and age. There’s a reason that old farts can’t volunteer for the infantry, or those who are overweight, have heart problems, etc.

    And even then, the highest heat category at US military installations is a WBGT Index >= 90F, which would be easily exceeded, for example, by a wet bulb temperature of 90F, let alone 95F.

    At that heat category, the work/rest cycle for hard work for acclimatised personnel is 10 minutes work followed by 50 minutes sitting or standing, in the shade if possible. (Unacclimatised personnel aren’t allowed to do hard work at all in heat category 5.)

    Here’s a current pamphlet for the US Air Force:

    Mining companies operating in hot environments have similar rules, with explicit instructions to look out for signs of heat stroke amongst your co-workers (e.g. signs of confusion or disorientation).

  43. 143
    Susan Anderson says:

    As a long-term lurker (it is particularly helpful to an interested amateur with some scientific training to pursue links and resources from a variety of knowledgeable commenters here, as they tend to be evidence-based and use primary sources) I find Dr. Curry’s comments either reckless or, more likely, disingenuous. It is hard to believe someone with scientific training could be so sparing of factual material and so generous with insults and claims of persecution. The disingenuous part would be providing more fodder for the fan club that appears to lap up any claims of censorship, insult, obstinacy and unwilling to notice the lack of technical argument and response to what were at first exceedingly polite requests for evidence.

    Scientific training ideally provides a grounding in setting aside prejudice and opinion and looking at evidence. I could hope that at some point some phony skeptics would have a stab at some real skepticism and take a look at how rigid their belief system is. They agree with the circus variety of anti-state-of-the-art arguments (see Skeptical Science which gets better and more thorough all the time) which do not agree with each other, but regard anything from the massive work done over time by almost the entire scientific community and the vast independent resources dedicated to the work worldwide as entirely suspect. One thing that never seems to enter their calculations is the possibility that they, and not all the world’s most credible scientific resources, are wrong.

  44. 144
    JasonB says:

    According to, the highest average wet-bulb temperature at Nha Trang airport in Vietnam during the Vietnam war was from mid-day to 2 PM in May, with a mean of 79.7F and standard deviation of 1.7F.

    I don’t know how good a proxy this is for typical conditions experienced by US soldiers during that time, but it does seem a long way shy of the 95F discussed in the paper that timg was so concerned about.

  45. 145

    Watched the video, Mark was accurate. Judith “was personally relieved about being viewed as a peacemaker”.Self over the subject. Portraying colleagues in the same ilk, so its one big scientist ego feud, a wrestling spectacle refereed by the media, who adore never ending stories.

    There is no uncertainty in Arctic warming, the fridge of the Northern Hemisphere is changing, yet Judith talks about a natural variability, its a diversion, she wants to be the subject talking about the subject she does not talk about.

    I rather want to read why she thinks its variable, I am all for this debate. The rest is a waste of time.

    Dr Hansen had it right, in darkness, no sun, radiation escaping continuously straight to space, indeed there is significant consistent warming. Especially during the long night or more strongly during the long day, 24 hours continuously, added greenhouse gases are tipping the summer/winter balance,, we live it and someone calls it a fantasy needing clarification. I challenge Mrs Curry to forget about her being Jeanne D’arc. Go back to explain the mechanics of this variability she hints about.

  46. 146
    Roly Gross says:

    Why anyone would want Monckton to represent them is beyond me. If he was a committed pro-AGW evidence advocate I would still want him to shut up because he is a self-publicising, embarrassing fake.

  47. 147
    SecularAnimist says:

    Chris Colose wrote: “I do not see how science benefits from these sort of conferences.”

    As a non-scientist reading this discussion, I must admit that I don’t either.

    In fact, by all appearances the whole and entire point of this conference was to confer undeserved legitimacy on some of the most egregiously anti-science AGW deniers around.

    Judith Curry’s presentation sounds like an offensive travesty … and Monckton ?!? Good grief.

  48. 148
    Anna Haynes says:

    Here’s something that might shed light on the Q (#124,128,129) of whether Curry’s Slide 5 (as seen at her talk) was accidentally-not-showing vs. hiding the hockey stick “uncertainty shading”: the “hockey stick” (HSI book cover) image on her prepared slide is lighter than the actual book cover image – compare them here (link).

  49. 149
    John Mashey says:

    re: #121 Boslough
    Did you ever get a list of invited speakers?
    What does that mean, exactly for a conference like this?

  50. 150
    timg56 says:


    Thanks for correcting my misunderstanding. I formed the wrong idea about wet bulb temperature from the linked article.


    I know quite a few Marines, including the one who is my son. Could I suggest you take a lesson from Jason on politeness?


    I played into my 40’s every week until a change in jobs disrupted my schedule. Now, the knees keep me from playing. The one that was rebuilt several years ago is a candidate for joint replacement.

    BTW – where does your expertise on the infantry come from?