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Misrepresentation from Lindzen

Filed under: — gavin @ 6 March 2012

Richard Lindzen is a very special character in the climate debate – very smart, high profile, and with a solid background in atmospheric dynamics. He has, in times past, raised interesting critiques of the mainstream science. None of them, however, have stood the test of time – but exploring the issues was useful. More recently though, and especially in his more public outings, he spends most of his time misrepresenting the science and is a master at leading people to believe things that are not true without him ever saying them explicitly.

However, in his latest excursion at a briefing at the House of Lords Commons in the UK, among the standard Lindzen arguments was the following slide (which appears to be a new addition):

What Lindzen is purporting to do is to compare the NASA GISS temperature product from 2012 to the version in 2008 (i.e. the y-axis is the supposedly the difference between what GISS estimated the anomaly to be in 2012 relative to 2008). A rising trend would imply that temperatures in more recent years had been preferentially enhanced in the 2012 product. The claim being made is that NASA GISS has ‘manipulated’ (in a bad way) the data in order to produce an increasing trend of global mean temperature anomalies (to the tune of 0.14ºC/Century compared to the overall trend of 0.8ºC/Century) between the 2008 and 2012 versions of the data, which are apparently shown subtracted from each other in Lindzen’s figure. Apparently, this got ‘a big laugh’ at his presentation.

However, this is not in the least bit true: the data are not what he claims, the interpretation is wrong, and the insinuations are spurious.

The annotation indicates that Lindzen is using the GISTEMP Land-Ocean Temperature index (LOTI, i.e. the index that includes weather station data and sea surface temperature data to give a global anomaly index with wide spatial coverage) (“GLB.Ts+dSST.txt”). There is another GISTEMP index (the Met station index) which only uses weather station data (“GLB.Ts.txt”) which doesn’t have as much coverage and has a substantially larger trend reflecting the relative predominance of faster-warming continental data in the average.

Old versions of the data can be retrieved from the wayback machine quite readily, for instance, from February 2006, October 2008 or December 2007. The current version is here. I plot these four versions and their differences below:

As should be clear, the differences are tiny, and mostly reflect slightly more data in the earlier years in the latest data and the different homogenisation in GHCN v3 compared to GHCN v2 (which was used up to Dec 2011). This is however in clear contradiction with Lindzen – the biggest difference in trend (between 2006 and today), is a mere 0.05ºC/Century, and from 2008 to 2012 it is only 0.003ºC/Century – a factor of 40 smaller than Lindzen’s claim. What is going on?

The clue is that the transient behaviour of Lindzen’s points actually resembles the time evolution of temperature itself – not homogenisation issues, or instrumental or coverage changes. Indeed, if one plots the two GISTEMP indices and their difference (using current data), you get this:

Thus it looks very much like Lindzen has plotted the difference between the current Met Station index and an earlier version of the LOTI index. I plotted the Feb 2012 Met index data minus the Feb 2009 LOTI index, and I get something very close to Lindzen’s figure (though it isn’t exact):


This is sufficient to conclude that Lindzen did indeed make the mistake of confusing his temperature indices, though a more accurate replication would need some playing around since the exact data that Lindzen used is obscure.

Thus, instead of correctly attributing the difference to the different methods and source data, he has jumped to the conclusion that GISS is manipulating the data inappropriately. At the very minimum, this is extremely careless, and given the gravity of the insinuation, seriously irresponsible. There are indeed issues with producing climate data records going back in time, but nothing here is remotely relevant to the actual issues.

Such a cavalier attitude to analysing and presenting data probably has some lessons for how seriously one should take Lindzen’s comments. I anticipate with interest Lindzen’s corrections of this in future presentations and his apology for misleading his audience last month.

Update: Lindzen did indeed apologise (sort of) though see comments for more discussion.


539 Responses to “Misrepresentation from Lindzen”

  1. 201
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Free speech does not include the right to deceive.
    > Deception is not a point of view.
    > And the right to disagree does not include a right
    > to intentionally subvert the public awareness.”

    He’s Canadian, and may be speaking for his country’s law — I don’t know.
    None of those statements are correct for people in the USA.

    If you believe you’re protected from deception and intentional subversion generally, you’d best look at your own state’s law — but don’t assume you can trust anything you’re told. Got a link in email? don’t click it. Got a phone call? Get a callback number then check that number to make sure it’s really for the party you want to call. Someone’s telling you hearsay, saying they’re speaking for someone else? “Trust, but verify.” — R. Reagan

    Regrettably, since corporations became people under the US Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law, corporate PR departments no longer are constrained under ‘commercial speech’ rules. That’s very bad, because it’s impossible to verify most commercial advertising claims. See “puffery.”

  2. 202
  3. 203
    dbostrom says:

    Paul:

    No matter how bad is the professional work of a colleague, we in academia must be defenders of freedom of thought… we must defend the right of intellectuals to be wrong. Freedom of thought is the foundation of the academy.

    What if what a person thinks is not what a person actually says? Is that something we’re obliged to defend? If you visit Andrew Dessler’s blog, you can see an exchange of thoughts indicating that Lindzen’s -thinking- capacity is perfectly good. Yet, if you view the presentation that is the subject of Gavin’s complaint, you’ll see Lindzen committing a chain of unlikely “mistakes,” these mistakes consistently appearing when he has an opportunity to speak to the broader public.

    What if those frequently repeated “mistakes” that only appear when opportunities to steer public policy are available are actually imposing costs on society? Are we obliged to defend them?

    Lindzen is free to say what he likes, as and when he feels the need to do so, regardless of its relationship to the truth and regardless of whether he’s leaving a path of destruction in his wake. But we’re told we must remain silent in the face of this, address him only his published literature. That’s an unworkable and tragic discrepancy.

  4. 204
    Paul Tremblay says:

    @193″You criticise me for seeking democracy by silencing dissent? I think you confuse dissent with deception. Here, I believe, James Hoggan can help you out”

    Obviously, who decides what consists of deception and deceit? Freedom of speech means the freedom to be wrong, even egregiously, deceptively wrong. Otherwise, it means nothing.

    Do you seriously suggest we establish boards to revoke tenure or otherwise censure tenured faculty?

  5. 205
    Hank Roberts says:

    “an old newsroom maxim: If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/16/opinion/16pubed.html?_r=1

  6. 206

    #202
    #203
    Freedom of speech…

    This is the point that has pained many a philosopher through out time.

    Bias of perspective can cloud a decision. The cure is the development of rationality. Plato loved to play with these arguments as have many others.

    Developing and exercising rationality is the key to overcoming oft missing logic in an argument.

    Our goal should not be to diminish freedom of speech but to augment rationality.

    Easier said than done of course as it is an age old quandary.

  7. 207
    Radge Havers says:

    Noisy out there. Hank, you’ve noted denialism’s presence on Google. You might find this interesting about mad ad money. It doesn’t mention climate, but I think it applies:

    “Thus far in 2012, FactCheck.org hasn’t found a single instance where a station has rejected a political ad for inaccuracy.”
    The Misinformation Machine

    Dismal times we live in.

  8. 208
    dbostrom says:

    Paul: Do you seriously suggest we establish boards to revoke tenure or otherwise censure tenured faculty?

    Personally, my only suggestion is that we be consistent when we speak of the importance of integrity for scientists speaking the public.

    AGU expects its members to adhere to the highest standards of scientific integrity in their research and in their interactions with colleagues and the public. Among the core values articulated in AGU’s Strategic Plan are ‘excellence and integrity in everything we do.’ The vast majority of scientists share and live by these values.

    AGU Encourages Integrity in all Aspects of Climate Change Discourse

    There’s essentially no doubt that Lindzen’s presentation described here as well as many other communications he’s performed need careful scrutiny by the AGU if the ideals they’ve pronounced are not a hollow charade, an act recently revived out of fear. Speaking so forcefully and yet doing nothing in the face of obvious, well-publicized transgressions is to lack integrity.

    Looking beyond Lindzen and beyond this particular communications “challenge,” our public life is thoroughly infected with analogous situations. Virtually every time the vector of money bumps into inconvenient science, a “controversy” is created and then fed so as to arrest public policy. This is a form of cultural dementia that is degrading to us all and ought to be addressed in ways that are not totalitarian but are instead commensurate with our stated ideals. AGU serves as an example of an organization that by its silence on matters such as rotten science communication is lending support to corruption of the public square. They don’t have to say “be silent,” they only have to say “speak on your own dime, don’t involve us in your CV if your integrity as a science communicator is missing.”

  9. 209
    dbostrom says:

    And, AGU members, nobody else is going to look after your organization’s integrity except you. Give Lindzen your tacit permission to trash your reputation or not, it’s your choice to live with. Cathartic complaints are useless.

  10. 210

    #208 dbostrom

    Organizations do police themselves. Sometimes it takes awhile within the protocols and norms of a given community.

    Call it the ‘iceberg principle’. It has to do with inertial on several levels.

    As the water warms, icebergs melt. Reminds me when I was complaining to Jonas Salk once about bureaucratic inertia in Washington. He said “Don’t worry, dinosaurs die.”

    Of course my next thought was, ‘yeah, but how long does that take’.

  11. 211

    I agree with dbostrom. It’s one thing (and a very bad one, IMO) to use dirty tricks, coercion or repression in the face of ideas you don’t like; it’s quite another to demand some accountability from those who lie, intentionally and repeatedly, in important public discourse.

    Which means pointing out forcefully and accurately where the falsehood lies. That’s what the present post did.

    We may think differently about the rhetoric used (or not) in doing so. But I suspect that at the end of the day, it’s the accuracy and consistency and firmness that matter–not how much indignation we can muster, or the color of the prose we use to express it.

  12. 212
    MapleLeaf says:

    dbostrom #208,

    “And, AGU members, nobody else is going to look after your organization’s integrity except you. Give Lindzen your tacit permission to trash your reputation or not, it’s your choice to live with. Cathartic complaints are useless.”

    This is being followed up on. There is a problem though, AGU only investigates transgressions made in direct association with AGU. That is:

    “Because damage to the process of advancing the geophysical sciences is harmful to all who are engaged in this pursuit and therefore is harmful to the primary purposes of AGU, the Union will undertake investigation and appropriate action when an allegation of such misconduct is directly connected to an AGU activity”

    We’ll see.

  13. 213
    John Samuel says:

    Much as it would be tempting to challenge Lindzen’s tenure it can’t be recommended. Tenure exists to ensure academic freedom not, sometimes regrettably, factual accuracy. Once tenure challenges starts the Imhofes and Cuccinellis of the world are off to the races.

  14. 214
    Louise says:

    Lindzen has apologised – I wonder if this apology will be sent to each individual that attended the event?

    http://www.repealtheact.org.uk/blog/apology-from-prof-lindzen-for-howard-haydens-nasa-giss-data-interpretation-error

  15. 215
    vukcevic says:

    Currently in progress is the strongest Forbush decrease (about 15%) of the recent years
    http://neutronm.bartol.udel.edu/~pyle/TheThPlot.gif
    which will put the Svensmark’s cosmic rays hypothesis to a global test. In the British Isles and nearby Atlantic cloudiness levels are not perceptibly different to the forecast. The event may last 2-3 days, if the cloudiness doesn’t depart significantly from the forecast it’s a bad news for Svensmark.

  16. 216
    MapleLeaf says:

    Louise #213,

    Thanks for the link. I was just about to credit LIndzen for acknowledging an error and apologizing, but then I followed your link. Naive me thought that Lindzen would offer an unconditional and unequivocal apology.

    Instead we get,

    “This doesn’t alter the primary point of the discussion that a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science. The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter subject to confirmation bias.

    Sincerely yours,

    Dick”

    This makes no sense to me. Lindzen is the one guilty of “confirmation bias” here. Also, a “few tenths of a degree” was enough for him to accuse NASA of fuging the data, and now suddenly according to Lindzen “a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science”. Come on!

    This degree of duplicity by him sickens me.

    He still has to apologize for playing tricks with the Arctic sea ice data, the DMI data, net anthropogenic forcing numbers, claiming that current in the Arctic are not unprecedented, claiming that positive feedbacks in the climate system are “artifacts of the models”, cherry picking 1997 in the HadCRUT3 data to claim tat the warming has stopped, not to mention the litany of error in the open letters that he recently co-authored in the WSJ.

  17. 217
    dbostrom says:

    Louise: Lindzen has apologised – I wonder if this apology will be sent to each individual that attended the event?

    A first step might be to contact the Telegraph, have them update the presentation (which as of now is unchanged), loudly publish a correction.

    Next, Lindzen could explain how he managed to accidentally ignore so much information in his discussion of Arctic sea ice, have the Telegraph do -another- correction.

    After that, Lindzen could contact ClimateDepot and have them deactivate this:

    The summary sentence completely misrepresents ‘climategate.’ This refers to the release of thousands of emails, commented code, etc. from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The land based instrumental temperature record was not the primary focus of the problems revealed in these documents. Rather, the explicit evidence of the manipulation of proxy records used in paleoclimate reconstructions, suppression of other viewpoints, manipulation of the IPCC process, and intimidation of journal editors were all evidence of serious breaches of ethics. Muller’s findings hardly alters these findings.

    Which is signed with Lindzen’s name, dated Oct. 23 2011, long after the individuals concerned were cleared of any scientific misconduct, republished on ClimateDepot with Lindzen’s express permission.

    After that’s cleared up, Lindzen could contact WattsUpWithThat and ask them to remove his assertion that fellow AGU Fellow Ralph Cicerone is participating in an effort to cook scientific results so as to demonstrate a predicated result.

    It’ll be a long walk back before the head of the trail is reached. Lots of rubbish to pick up along the way. Or, taking it according to Lindzen’s version, debris from many “errors.”

  18. 218
    Nick Stokes says:

    There’s more here from Fay Tuncay, who seems to be speaking for the organisers.

  19. 219
    dbostrom says:

    MapleLeaf says:
    9 Mar 2012 at 2:43 PM

    I guess it depends on whether “geophysics” is an AGU activity. A loophole exit, certainly, but leaving an ethical vacuum behind if it’s exploited.

    The vacuum could be partially replenished if the AGU can come up with a coherent explanation of how wrongly explaining geophysics to a lay audience while sailing under the flag of the AGU is not directly connected to the AGU.

  20. 220
    Steve Metzler says:

    Heh. The parting shot from the link in Louse’s post:

    Prof. Lindzen also stated:

    “This doesn’t alter the primary point of the discussion that a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science. The public interest in this quantity, however, does make it a matter subject to confirmation bias.

    Sincerely yours,

    Dick”

    Master of framing, he is. Wow. Confirmation bias much yourself? Et tu.

  21. 221
    dbostrom says:

    More walk-back waiting:

    In what has come to be known as “climategate,” one could see unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation. The Climatic Research Unit is hardly an obscure outpost; it supplies many of the authors for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Moreover, the emails showed ample collusion with other prominent researchers in the United States and elsewhere.

    SPPI

    The influence of CO2 is much smaller that the models have predicted. You then have two choices. The model is false or the model is right and something unknown makes up the difference. The modelers have unfortunately taken the second way and claim that aerosols make up the difference. But, as the IPCC says, we don’t know anything about aerosols. The current models are tuned. If there is a problem, then call it aerosol. That is a dishonorable way out.

    I have been working for decades in this area. We were beginning to understand how things work, how the atmosphere and the climate really function. Then we were rolled over by the simplified claim that climate depends only on CO2. Thus every hope of finding out, for example, how ice ages work was destroyed.

    After the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987 for protecting the ozone layer, research support disappeared.

    [search by GScholar produces 16,800 articles including "stratospheric ozone" published since 1987, 13,700 since 2000]

    SPPI

  22. 222
    Susan Anderson says:

    Andy Lee Robinson@~190
    If you meant to imply I’m expert, not so, but in any case would avoid that kind of comment section. I’d suggest just making a pithy remark from time to time to disturb the flow and not investing much there (easier said than done, I know).

    I am disturbed to see a resurgence of Monckton in the locations I frequent lately. After John Abraham’s polite and accurate sourcing, there was a lot of bluster from his fandom, but he faded away. I thought the whole thing was so embarrassing that even phony skeptics couldn’t stomach it.
    http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

    Deconvoluter indicates Monckton produced (in the movie sense) the Lindzen nonsense. Is there no depth of sewage too deep for them? Surely Dr. Lindzen knows this degrades him?

    There must be a way to describe true qualification that isn’t quite so highfalutin’ (peer review doesn’t mean much to the guy on the street, and he or she is half persuaded it’s all a big boondoggle anyway, like influence peddling). RC had at least one excellent post on peer review that hit the nail on the head, and of course the regular guy is not RC’s audience in any case. However, delving into this, aside from the wonderful and passionate discussion about how phony skepticism gets away with everything but the truth is held to a very high standard (Heartland comes to mind too), there must be some neat phrasing that would describe real expertise, honest if sometimes acrimonious communication, and real broad interdisciplinary agreement. Consensus has also been staled by deliberate insult, as will any other verbiage that shows promise, but surely there’s something catchy about truth that could take hold?

    I have been challenged not only by the science-engineering discussion (so ably lampooned by xkcd, not linked here) but a reminder that even within the field of physics t

  23. 223
    Susan Anderson says:

    end of post, sorry, failure to proof to the end:

    a reminder that even within the field of physics there is large disagreement and conflict (string theory comes to mind). Surely the correct degree of honesty and expertise can be described.

  24. 224
    MARodger says:

    “…a few tenths of a degree one way or another is not of primary importance to the science.”
    It is Celsius he works in. “A few” is certainly more than one and likely more than two. So let’s take a conservative interpretation of what Lindzen considers to be “not of primary importance.” That would be in excess of 0.25 deg C “either way,” so that’s a difference greater than 0.5 deg C. And that is apparently not of primary importance to the science.
    What “science” is Lindzen referring to? It surely cannot be climatology!

  25. 225
    Paul Vincelli says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I admit I don’t have any insight on what to do if a scientist of repute repeatedly appears to misrepresent on such an important issue. I appreciate being able to “listen in” on your exchanges.

  26. 226
    Hank Roberts says:

    Lindzen: “It seems to me to have been an innocent error, given that the URL’s were the same…”
    http://www.repealtheact.org.uk/blog/apology-from-prof-lindzen-for-howard-haydens-nasa-giss-data-interpretation-error
    __________________________

    D’oh. Innocent? Missed the last two decades.

    Web search for “urls change” — first handful of hits:

    How To Cite
    https://collab.itc.virginia.edu/wiki/aboutthl/How%20to%20Cite.html
    How to Cite THL Websites, Resources, and Services … the use of URLs can be problematic, since sites move and URLs change.

    Richard Posner Is My New Hero | The Baseline Scenario
    baselinescenario.com/2011/02/11/richard-posner-is-my-new-hero/
    Feb 11, 2011 – In the example you gave of a URL, it is absolutely the case that the original text should be cited. URLs change, the World Wide Web is about 22 …

    How to Do a Bibliography Citation for a Web Page | eHow.com
    http://www.ehow.com › Education
    URLs change. The content itself may be reproduced from elsewhere without citation. Writers may not know how to appropriately source a material….

    Essentials of Business Communication – …Mary Ellen Guffey, Richard Almonte – 2009 – Business & Economics – 529 pages
    The MLA used to recommend the inclusion of URLs of Web sources in works-cited-list entries. However, URLs change frequently and may be of little value; …

    Suggested Practices for Citing Internet Materials
    http://www.fastcase.com
    Citing materials or links online is a tricky proposition, as URLs change, sites go offline and content is altered. The Judicial Conference has proposed a set of best …

    Making waves: new serials landscapes in a sea of change :
    9…North American Serials Interest Group. Conference, P. Michelle Fiander, Joseph C. Harmon – 2001 – Language Arts & Disciplines – 472 pages
    Other frequently cited complaints related to URLs, specifically: changing URLs; no notification by the publisher when URLs change; …
    ___________________

    Why you should worship a librarian
    Look it up!

  27. 227
    Tom Curtis says:

    Lindzen’s apology contains at least one clear falsehood:

    “It seems to me to have been an innocent error, given that the URL’s were the same…”

    The releveant URL’s are:

    LOTI:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    Surface Stations:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts.txt

    LOTI in 2008:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

    All URL’s are clearly different. Further, the URL quoted on the graphic is the current LOTI URL. So Lindzen’s defence of Hayden does not hold water. Indeed, it does not even make sense. How could they have the same URL but direct you to diferent data?

    In order for Hayden to have made his “error”, he at a minimum must have gone to GISTEMP, scrolled past the bolded heading “Combined Land-Surface Air and Sea-Surface Water Temperature Anomalies (Land-Ocean Temperature Index, LOTI)” and the four related links, and then clicked on the link immediately below the bolded heading “Means Based on Land-Surface Air Temperature Anomalies Only (Meteorological Station Data, dTs)”. In doing so he must have not noticed the prior heading and links which are clearly visible whenever the link for the meteorological stations is visible. Finally, he must have gone back to GISTEMP a second time and clicked on the correct link in order to copy and paste it to his graph, all the while not noticing that it was a completely different link to that which he first clicked on.

    Such a sequence of events is possible, but unlikely. It is not, however possible for anybody who double checked, just as it is not possible for Lindzen to have not noticed the temperature differences in the hundredths of degrees rather than the tenths of degrees suggested by Hayden if he had bothered to check the table. At the very best, Lindzen and Hayden have made false and defamatory accusations based on nothing more than their negligence.

  28. 228
    dbostrom says:

    Also worth taking a look at what NOAA terms “the Monckton-Lindzen” diagram, a regurgitation by Monckton of a “misinterpretation” apparently fed him by Lindzen:

    NOAA Response to Congressional Questions Regarding Climate Change

    NOAA’s conclusion:

    The Monckton-Lindzen figure is clearly in error, an error which has been corrected in the scientific peer reviewed literature by the scientists who produced the ERBS Nonscanner data.

    The correction was made in 2006, while the “misrepresentation” before the House committee in question happened in 2009. So another bit of amends to make.

  29. 229
    Rob Dekker says:

    AGU statement last month :

    During the third week of February our global community of Earth and space scientists witnessed the shocking fall from grace of an accomplished AGU member who betrayed the principles of scientific integrity. In doing so he compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society, weakened the public’s trust in scientists, and produced fresh fuel for the unproductive and seemingly endless ideological firestorm surrounding the reality of the Earth’s changing climate.

    I think McPhaden has this spot-on. Only off by one week…

    How much longer is the AGU going to tolerate this scientist as a member ?
    Would it help if we start making a list of verifiable violations of scientific integrity that Lindzen made in scientific papers and presentations to the public ?

    Let me add Lindzen and Choi 2009 to the list, a paper that claimed (among other wild claims) a 0.5 C climate sensitivity from ERBE data.

    This paper was promoted heavily on international news networks as “the end of the AGW scam” by Monckton, used in testimonies by Lindzen, which thus “produced fresh fuel for the unproductive and seemingly endless ideological firestorm surrounding the reality of the Earth’s changing climate”.

    Trenberth et al 2010, clearly showed that Lindzen obtained the results by cherry-picking ERBE data, extrapolating conclusions and even counting black-body radiation as a ‘negative feedback’.

    If you do research and you find a result completely at odds with findings from other scientists (some even using the same data as you) then won’t you at least do a sanity check and see if you maybe missed up your methods ?

    Not doing so is scientific negligence, which gives you an F in a sophomore physics paper. But mistakes like that made by an accomplished scientist, published in a peer-reviewed respectable scientific journal paper is simply an unacceptable breach of scientific integrity.

    And we did not even talk about the follow-up paper Lindzen and Choi 2011.

    It’s time for the AGU to stand up to this scientist, who is making a mockery of climate science, betraying the very principles of scientific integrity over and again, and (as we see in this post by RC) does not hasitate to attempt to discredit the work of other scientists with false arguments.

    Enough is enough….

  30. 230
    dbostrom says:

    Lindzen, various places:

    The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters,and,after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.

    July 26 2009 “Quadrant Online”

    The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.

    August 14th, 2009 “The Peoples Voice”

    The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.

    January 15 2011 “The Global Warming Policy Foundation”

    The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well.

    August 2011 “Energy & Environment”

    “Acceptance for publication is subject to the manuscript being an unpublished work. Submission of a manuscript is taken to imply that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere. Submission and acceptance of a paper implies the transfer of copyright to Multi-Science.
    Publisher’s instructions for authors submitting to Energy & Environment

  31. 231
    Rob Dekker says:

    By the way, Lindzen and Choi 2009 has an AGU Copyright notice on it. That should make it “directly connected to an AGU activity” and thus warrant an investigation.

  32. 232
    vendicar decarian says:

    “I’m sure he’ll be in tears all the way to the bank.” – 88

    If there were laws against being paid to lie, then everyone working for the CATO institute, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and all of the other Conservative and Libertarian propaganda groups would be in prison.

    If you wish to deprive Lindzen of profiting from lying then work to make him useless to those who employ him.

  33. 233
    Hank Roberts says:

    > URLs
    Good catch from Tom Curtis, I’d forgotten that Hayden’s original description was as quoted above — different URLs.

    So Lindzen’s relied on a mistaken explanation — by Hayden — for how he created the erroneous graph.

    Hm.

    Note though:
    > How could they have the same URL but direct you to diferent data?

    URLs are pointers, not names of unchanging documents.

    Last week the URL linked to what was there then; this week the URL links to what’s there now. If someone changed it, you get different contents.

    ALSO remember — you have to clear your cache — shift key “reload” — or your browser may show you last week’s instead of retrieving current info.

    See the Internet Archive/Wayback Machine for snapshots taken over time of URL contents — you can see how they change.

    See your reference librarian for help using the tools.

    If you knew how to use them last week — they’ve probably been improved (that is, changed) since then.

  34. 234
    vendicar decarian says:

    “Lindzen makes a significant error (to be kind) in a presentation and it’s the error that will persist, and not the fact that he made the error, in the minds of many.” – 111

    The difference of course is that in the case of the whining about the trivial IPCC errors, the complaints are constantly regurgitated by true-disbelievers and are hence kept in the public view.

    If Lindzen’s dishonesty is allowed to fade away then it will simply be forgotten and he will continue to profit from CATO Institute deceit.

    Your move.

  35. 235
    dbostrom says:

    If Lindzen’s dishonesty is allowed to fade away then it will simply be forgotten…

    Yup. To paraphrase the bumpersticker, “Catharsis is no protection.”

  36. 236
    Alex Harvey says:

    I must say I am surprised by the hysterical, vitriolic tone of this thread. And in takes a lot to surprise me in climate change discussions. To sane observers, it is obvious that Lindzen believes what he says, and perhaps is stubborn and sometimes misguided. That is the view shared by many of his colleagues who disagree with him. If I were Gavin or Eric I would be embarrassed by these comments from RealClimate’s readers and I suspect I would have refused to publish many of them. It’s frankly more hysterical than a typical day over at WUWT.

  37. 237

    Interesting. I just downloaded Lindzen’s presentation .pdf

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02148/RSL-HouseOfCommons_2148505a.pdf

    Page 2: The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such.

    Page 3: infers uncertainty means we don’t know with out the context of the ‘actual’ levels of uncertainty aka confidence intervals.

    - Further inference of “less than 1C.”
    - Infers hyperbole “alarming”

    Page 4: He is clearly ignoring sensitivity estimates and CI

    Page 6: Pot meet kettle claims department.

    Page 7: Pot meet kettle claims department.

    Page 9: Interesting that in the previous pages he complained about argument form authority and here he is relying on it.

    Page 10: He makes his own argument from authority.

    Page 11: After highlighting natural variability in previous pages, he now infers that because temp. is flat in the short term, global warming is negligible, including uncertainties.

    Page 12: GISS mistake.

    Page 13: restatement of negligible.

    Page 14: States CRU “figure stretched to fill graph.”

    Page 15: Classic cherry pick.

    Page 16: Another classic cherry pick with some facts out of context as icing on the cake.

    Page 17: Casual reference that obsessing on details in climate science is “akin to a spectator sport (or tea leaf reading)”

    Page 18: Disagrees that CO2 atmos. lifetime is hundreds of years.

    Page 19: Setting up the straw man.

    Page 20: Tearing down the straw man.

    Page 21: Climategate: facts out of context and infers collusion of the climate science community to manipulate data.

    Page 22, 23, 24: Tired old arguments and by the time he gets to page 24 things are getting whimsical. Infers conspiracy.

    Page 25: Martin Rees, Ralph Cicerone letter

    Page 26: attack the letter. No need to be alarmed.

    Page 27: Lindzen abandons rationality and strongly infers conspiracy and collusion.

    Page 28: Lindzen claims climate science is a “quasi-religious issue’

    Page 29: Facts our of context

    Page 31, 32, 33: Facts our of context (ignores ice mass loss)

    Page 34, 35, 36, 37: Red Herrings and misdirections. Claims exceed science, so he is again making an argument from his own authority.

    Page 38: Facts out of context.

    Page 40-56 My guess is some science, some incomplete analysis.

    Page 57: Faint young sun, infers Iris effect

    Page 58: claims science has made mo progress in the last 20 years.

    In summary, while he claims that all those folks doing climate science are wallowing in uncertainty and have no basis to make the claims as indicated by the science, he is “quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are no not the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age.”

  38. 238
    dbostrom says:

    I never realized what a coelacanth Lindzen is; he’s been stuck in a certain place for literally decades.

    Always with the plots and conspiracies, too. Apparently the anti-Lindzen cabal first gathered in their chambers all the way back in the ’80s.

  39. 239
    dbostrom says:

    Alex Harvey: I must say I am surprised by the hysterical, vitriolic tone of this thread.

    Uh-oh, it’s the Tone Patrol!

    Take a deep breath, don’t get all fluttery.

    Lindzen is on record as delivering insulting accusations to a broad swathe of his colleagues, including accusing at least two other Fellows of the AGU of cooking their work, without actually showing any evidence for that.

    And you’re worried about a bunch of punters on a blog comments thread being impolite by pointing this out?

    Naturally you’re anxious. As a hood ornament for your ridiculous cause Lindzen’s offered unique cachet, a lifeline to some semblance of credibility. Unfortunately when you see his collected recent works displayed in the same exhibit as a coherent retrospective, he turns out to be bit of a mess, not actually reliable.

    Don’t get mad at us. Lindzen is the person who has built a bomb under his reputation. Showing up on a stage with the absurd clown Christopher Monckton appears to have lit the fuse leading to his being blown up. Be mad at Lindzen for pushing his ideological issues a bit too far.

  40. 240
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #234: “I must say I am surprised by the hysterical, vitriolic tone of this thread. And in takes a lot to surprise me in climate change discussions. To sane observers, it is obvious that Lindzen believes what he says, and perhaps is stubborn and sometimes misguided.”

    Surprised? That seems odd, considering that you got put through a similar wringer within the last few months over at Stoat. But perhaps you’re just surprised a lot.

    And then you assert that anyone who thinks Lindzen just might be intentionally making up some of these serial confabulations is actually insane?

    Tone troll much?

  41. 241
    Martin Lack says:

    #235 Whilst I am extremely grateful to John P. Reisman for taking the time to detail all of this so clearly, I am bound to indulge in a little bit of “I told you so”. For the benefit of those who may have skated-over any or all of my previous comments, with reference to the video of the Q&A session (very kindly posted by Repealtheact.org onto my Blog), let me explain:
    1. I was there.
    2. I saw the whole thing.
    3. I could not believe what Lindzen was doing.
    4. I blew my chance to ask a question by seeking to correct Lindzen’s obfuscation of the Milankovitch CO2/Temperature time lag; and why it is now the other way around for anthropogenic climate disruption.
    5. I believe Lindzen deliberately interrupted to me to stop me talking.
    6. I attempted to rebut his obfuscation and was silenced by Lord Monckton.
    7. Lindzen can apologise and re-insert as many graphs as he likes; but he is merely digging himself an ever-bigger hole (IMHO).
    8. Lindzen has even now re-inserted the “missing” graph of Keeling v Temp., the screenshot image of which I have on my blog along with the following caption: “If you stretched the temperature axis far enough, they would have correlated perfectly. Therefore, this [not now] ‘missing’ graph neither proves nor disproves anything.”
    9. This implies that Lindzen doesn’t even appreciate why it is so meaningless and misleading.
    10. This is why I was so gobsmacked by the whole thing. It was either complete incompetence or transparently disingenuous.

  42. 242

    Re Lindzen PDF

    He used the word ‘alarm’ 13 times. This is a tactic seen in other presentations such as by Pielke, Christy, Spencer, etc.

    They use the word alarm… a lot.

  43. 243
    Eli Rabett says:

    For those not in the loop, the Cato Intitute has it’s own problems, The climate issue is just a by blow. best summarized by “Love of liberty should not imply a firm belief about the spectrum of CO2″, which makes this comment partially relevant.

    OTOH, how to deal with a Lindzen is shown by how the President of the University of Rochester dealt with a very offensive blog

    …has the right to express his views under our University’s deep commitment to academic freedom. And, of course, no reasonable person would ever assume that he speaks for the University of Rochester.

    I also have the right to express my views. I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.

    The statement

    a) Comes from the top
    b) Is direct
    c) Defends academic freedom
    d) States how the original violated the principles of the university
    e) Establishes the principles of the university.

    More please

  44. 244
    John Kosowski says:

    vendicar decarian@232

    “If Lindzen’s dishonesty is allowed to fade away then it will simply be forgotten and he will continue to profit from CATO Institute deceit.”

    What has Lindzen been “dishonest” about?

  45. 245
    Phil Mattheis says:

    Alex Harvey, @234:

    An interesting word choice in ‘hysteria’, which apparently fits your meaning so well you use it twice.

    The history of that word is dominated by power dynamics, with clear superiority and authority assumed by the one using the word. The most recent medical usage has been largely abandoned, but came from S Freud. He co-opted the concept as part of his psychoanalytic theory, to “scientifically” explain the ravings of women who imagined they had been abused by relatives (includes uterus-nasal sinus pathways treated with cocaine – don’t ask).

    That theory evolved into great complexity, with ids, and egos and superegos, dream sequences, phallic cigars, etc. With very interesting direct relevance here, turns out Mr Freud invented the details of many/most of his published cases, to better fit his theory.
    Given what we know about how adults treat children now, its very likely most of those women were, in fact, abused by relatives. Freud’s refusal to accept that reality not only enabled those monsters, but his mis-use of science continues to haunt us today, 150 years later.

    If “many of his colleagues who disagree with him” think that Dr Lindzen “believes what he says, and perhaps is stubborn and sometimes misguided”, they should join into this discussion, or one like it. Sincerity does not balance, or excuse, bad science. Quiet revision does not replace loud error.

    The emotional tone here, that you react to with loaded label, is powered by frustration at the double standards currently in effect. Science holds truth as measurable facts, with verifiable significance; theories have to hold together over time. Pseudo-science allows theories to be judged by convenience, statistics are manipulative games, and truth is ‘whatever works to get us there’.

    “Science” by that definition, must be a rare visitor to WUWT – I’ve seen only traces in my few ventures over, although the Dunning-Kruger forces are certainly strong. I can’t comment on a “typical day”.

  46. 246
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Lindzen: “The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope.”

    OK, now maybe I’m being dense here, but how is the idea of continual unforced climate change congruent with Lindzen’ Iris hypothesis. Wouldn’t the latter lead to a sort of homeostasis, stabilizing temperatures?

    Has even Lindzen abandoned the Iris?

  47. 247
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Alex Harvey,
    Yes, there are hysterics, and yes, I find them embarrassing as well. One must, however, consider the provocation. Lindzen is more than simply misguided. He has a long track record of trying to swing lay opinion by misrepresenting science–even by outright prevarication.

    Lindzen is not dumb. He knows that the climate dynamics/energy flow on planets like Jupiter and Neptune and on Saturnian moons–hell, even on Mars–are driven by processes entirely different from those that dominate Earth. And yet in front of lay audiences, he has repeatedly brought up these examples. He never mentions them in front of technical audiences, where such arguments would be met with laughter–only lay audiences.

    Lindzen is not dumb. He knows that 11 years is way too short a time for drawing conclusions about climatic trends. And yet he helped the BBC reporters set up the ambush of Phil Jones during the climategate nontroversy with just such a meaningless question.

    The use of red herrings in his Wall Street Urinal opinion pieces, in his Congressional testimony, in his public appearances and other editorials, are so high that it is amazing there are any red herring left for Roy Spencer. Lindzen is off the reservation. He stopped being a scientist a long time ago.

    I do not share the opinions of those calling for him to be dismissed from MIT or ousted from AGU. These demonstrate an astounding naivete of how both science and academia work in my opinion.

    Nonetheless, we must be honest. Dick Lindzen is a serial bullshitter. He is now not merely not a scientist. He is an anti-scientist, on the same level as the anti-vaxxers, tobacco shills and other purveyors of comforting lies to a gullible public. This is an EX-scientist!

  48. 248
    Susan Anderson says:

    JKosowski@~242
    You’ve been hiding your eyes from the substance of many comments here for fear you might learn something? Or it serves your purpose to pretend it’s not there?

    Before you continue this selective blindness, please go through carefully, even if only the recent comments, for substantive identification of the many fudges and fakeries in the material. There’s a lot of it.

    In addition, I suggest you go look at Abraham’s presentation (long, but totally courteous and full of information) without your blinkers (any part of it will do, as long as you actually look at the whole segment not skipping over the real science bits) and consider once again if Lord Monckton is to be trusted.
    http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

    You should know that the Lord subsequently went ballistic and threatened the university with the religious authorities (who apparently were unwilling to play with the suppression of academic freedom) for daring to present the truth in the face of his shenanigans.

    This is the guy who set up the Lindzen complete with the atmospherics of using a room for rent in the houses of parliament.

    Comparing the comment monitoring at WUWT, which does not allow substantive fact-mongering in its comment streams for long, with the patient attempts of people here to provide substance (in addition to some irritation – nobody said scientists aren’t irritable, especially in this arena with all the nastiness flying in all directions) is pure nonsense.

  49. 249
    Chris Dudley says:

    Misrepresentations seem to be pretty common. Here is a link that Andy Revkin supplied. http://www.innovationpolicy.org/a-note-to-joe-romm-and-tom-friedman-sorry-we

    In it, a Breakthrough Institute scion makes this claim: “Solar and wind are more expensive than building a coal or natural gas plant.”

    Here he ignores that the main cost for electricity from coal or gas is in the fuel costs. He goes on the completely misrepresent “learning curves” for renewable energy.

    Ever since his senses left him,
    He’s found a new place to dwell,
    It’s down at the end of lying street,
    The Heartland-Breakthrough Hotel.

  50. 250
    Hank Roberts says:

    John Kosowski says: “What …?”

    Read from the top, slowly.


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