Open Mind


November 22, 2009 · 311 Comments

Most of you are probably already aware that recently someone managed to hack into the computer system at CRU (the Climate Research Unit in Great Britain). They stole over 60 megabytes of personal emails, which was posted online.

The denialosphere has trumpeted the contents as proof of the fraudulent behavior of climate scientists, especially Phil Jones at CRU. But what’s most remarkable is that even the bits pointed to as a “smoking gun” really don’t support that idea. There are certainly phrases which seem incriminating when taken out of context — but when put into context are nothing of the kind.

Continuing to suggest that climate scientists generally, and Phil Jones specifically, are engaged in a conspiracy to deceive the world about global warming, when there turns out to be no real evidence of it in 10 years of personal communications (only words that can be twisted when taken out of context), demonstrates the idiocy of those who stand by that suggestion. If anything, the messages prove that there is not any conspiracy, and the scientists at CRU did not fudge data or engage in deceptive practices to push their “agenda.”

Certainly the emails contain some unkind words about certain people. I’ve said unkind things about some of them myself (here on this blog for all to see). In my opinion, the unkind words were earned by the loathesome recipients.

Perhaps the most enlightening revelation to come out of this sordid episode is how Gavin Schmidt (at RealClimate) has addressed the issue head-on but avoided any temptation to indulge in mud-slinging, even in the midst of this despicable invasion of privacy, unjustified by any of the contents of the messages. His conduct is exemplary, and illustrates a character and self-control that I can only envy. My respect for him knows no bounds.

My disrespect for the theives in likewise unbounded. They stole private communications, found nothing damning, but proved how willing — nay, eager — they are to distort things to make it seem as though they did. It’s every bit as immature and vindictive as stealing your sister’s diary and posting it on the internet. If she’d confessed to murder, there might be a reason to bring that to light, but when the worst you can find is that she said “I hate that bitch,” you have no business making her private thoughts public.

But that’s the level of the denialists. We’ve known for some time that their scientific arguments are completely bankrupt; now we know that they’re morally bankrupt too.

Categories: Global Warming

311 responses so far ↓

  • Kevin McKinney // November 22, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Reply

    You’re right about Gavin–he’s been extremely calm and level-headed. Not to mention extremely industrious as a moderator.

    Grace under pressure. . .

  • Dan L. // November 22, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Reply

    Thank you for the post, Tamino; your voice is always welcome against the incessant noise of the deniers.

    You are right that this changes nothing about the science. Unfortunately, it isn’t about the science in the general public’s mind. This vile act has opened a rich quote mine for the climate liars and their media stooges, and they are feverishly extracting every nugget. They have already succeeded in creating a false public impression of scientific controversy, now they will build a new meme about corruption and do their usual, efficient job selling it.

    Alas, this means you, Gavin, Eli, et al. have your work cut out for you countering this crap. I want to let you know how much I, and I’m sure many others, value Open Mind. Hang in there, man; we need you.

  • george // November 22, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Reply

    Of particular interest in this case are the bloggers who, obviously to appear “fair” and “above the fray”, have claimed “We don’t yet know whether these emails are even real” while at the same time allowing commenters to post the emails in part or entirety on their blog, along with related snide comments, innuendo and/or charges of fraud.

    Do these bloggers really believe they are fooling anyone with their “unbiased observer” ruse?

    Gavin Schmidt notes that posting emails without the permission of the author is unethical.

    This is especially true when one does not know if they are even genuine and that they have not been edited and particularly when only parts of them are posted.

    I’d have to say that this also goes for allowing the emails to be posted on one’s blog. Those who allow the emails to be posted on their blogs are as unethical as those who post them in the comments, notwithstanding any “We don’t know if they are real’ caveats that they have provided at the beginning.

  • The Wonderer // November 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Reply

    The reporting in newspapers (NYT, AP, etc.) has been abysmal, under the normal “he said, she said” and lazy ways of the press.

    I wonder if this will become a law enforcement issue at all. If not, I’d give 5 cents for someone to hack CEI. Now THAT would be interesting.

    • Berbalang // November 23, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Reply

      I don’t know about CEI, but SEPP at one time had some very damning stuff, including archived email, draft denial articles with blanks like mad-libs and a denial price list.

      I wonder if they are still using Apache Server?

      • CapitalClimate // November 24, 2009 at 2:19 am

        Yes, they’re still running Apache server; any takers out there?


        [Response: Please, let's not use this blog to communicate info related to hacking anybody.]

  • Steven Geiger // November 22, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Reply

    Gavin’s been great. I hope it lasts. In my opinion the worst of it is the obvious avoidance of the FOIA requests. I’m sure you disagree.

  • sod // November 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Reply

    your analysis, as always, is spot on.

    i call this the “buy a CD” phenomenon. you see a CD on a shelf. you remember one of the songs on it, and you liked it a lot once. you look at the other songs, think that you remember some of them, and assume that at least some others turn out to be good. you buy the CD.

    at home, the one song you remembered turns out to be ok, not great. the rest of the CD is crap. it goes to the bottom of the pile, and most likely you will never listen to it again.

    when the “sceptics” got their hand on the files, they were completely taken away by first impression. (omg, my name is in it as well) and by a few remarks that they discovered, that they thought were of “value”.

    they made the assumption, that much more would be hidden among it, and went public. now over 2 days have passed, without anything with any real substance.

    there will be another round, when they look at the data. we will see, what comes out of that.


    what Tamino said is right: there is nothing in it, that you wont expect to find in a massive e-mail file. and in general (and Gavin specifically) people behave extremely well.

    on the other hand, “sceptics” really exposed themselves as a nasty crowd. reading and publishing other peoples mail, with no real reason.

    • TrueSceptic // November 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Reply


      Is there another “massive e-mail file”? I’m aware only of a folder of 1,073 messages, a tiny number for a number of people over 13+ years and clearly selected for maximum effect.

  • caerbannog // November 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Reply

    Here’s something that I posted over at, along with Gavin’s reply. It pretty much tells you all you need to know about the AGW tinfoil-hatters. For all the huffing and puffing they’ve done about data quality and model fidelity, they’ve done remarkably little (i.e. nothing) in terms of real work to help fix the alleged problems.

    Just a quick question (or two) to Gavin, if you feel the need to spend even more of your weekend downtime answering questions here.

    Given that all of your climate-modeling source-code has been available for public scrutiny for quite a long time, and given that anyone can download and test it out, how many times have climate-model critics have actually submitted patches to improve your modeling code, fix bugs, etc? Have you gotten *any* constructive suggestions from the skeptic camp?

    [Response: Not a single one. - gavin]

  • Scott A. Mandia // November 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Reply

    Skeptics and conspiracy buffs need to understand that even without any CRU data nor the publications of it scientists, there are MULTIPLE lines of evidence for AGW:

    1) UAH, RSS, and GISS show warming
    2) Rapidly warming Arctic
    3) Rapidly decreasing sea ice extent
    4) Rapidly thinning sea ice
    5) Rising ocean heat content
    6) Cooling stratosphere
    7) Net increase in downwelling LW
    8 ) Net decreasing TOA LW emission
    9) Increased species migrations/extinctions
    10) Increased severe weather occurrences
    11) Glacier mass loss and retreats increasing
    12) Rising sea levels
    13) Most importantly: rapidly rising human emissions of GHGs that have not been seen in millions of years.

    None of these things read emails and have decided to play along in a massive international conspiracy.

  • Scott A. Mandia // November 22, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Reply

    I gave a public lecture last Friday evening titled: Global Warming: Separating Fact from Fiction that I have converted into a .PDF file. I have been told that the information is very user friendly so feel free to download and distribute to friends of yours that may be skeptical.

  • Ahab // November 22, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Reply

    My full support goes to the people hit by this “affaire”. What i found in those email is mainly a lot of interesting scientific discussions, as expected.

    The few intentionally misinterpreted sentences (out of more than one thousand emails) say really nothing on the supposed scientific conspiracy, let alone a scary “World Government”.

    Why the “skeptic world” decided to be so low in ethics is a mistery. When this story will settle, only their rather poor (if any) ethical record will be left.

  • dhogaza // November 22, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Reply

    In my opinion the worst of it is the obvious avoidance of the FOIA requests. I’m sure you disagree.

    I disagree only in your choice of the word “worst”. I’d claim it’s the ONLY possibly substantial problem with anyone’s actions as exposed by the feloniously achieved and illegally reproduced e-mails.

    Now let’s think through the consequences. Imagine that Jones has illegally violated the UK FOIA due to his personal animosity towards McIntyre.

    What does this tell you about the CRU product?


    What does this tell you about the work of thousands of other climate researchers around the world?


    What does this attack on Jones over possible FOIA stuff amount too, then?

    An ad hom attack.

    Of course we know the real motivations behind the CA and WUWT and other denialist blood-in-the-water shark types:

    1) Do everything possible to ruin the reputations, if not careers, of leading climate scientists.

    2) Do everything possible to monkey-wrench efforts to do anything to reduce carbon emissions.

  • Kevin McKinney // November 22, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Reply

    Wonderer, apparently it is a law enforcement matter as of now; the UAE statement (as per RC) concludes:

    “We are undertaking a thorough internal investigation and we have involved
    the police in this enquiry.”

  • Phil Clarke // November 22, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Reply

    I am struck by a delicious irony. Those posting these mails are the same (non)-sceptics who demand full transparency, disclosure and audit, who complain long and hard about scientists ’stonewalling’. Here they are jumping to all manner of mostly unpleasant and bad faith conclusions based on information supplied by an anonymous thief. It gets worse, the thief says he has released ‘a random selection’ of the material. Now, the stuff released is about 1,000 mails and files from multiple mailboxes and the earliest dates back to 1996. In other words the released material is probably a small fraction of the total. Gavin Schmidt, who is in a position to know, says the unrealeased communications contain much good science discussion.

    So the sceptics are drawing their conclusions from an incomplete picture, a small subset of the ‘data’, released according to criteria decided by a thief. When will Mr McIntyre be launching a campaign to free the rest?

  • dhogaza // November 22, 2009 at 8:52 pm | Reply

    Anyone having trouble reaching RealClimate? I’m getting the below on the main site and all the bookmarks to specific topic threads…

    Y’all remember this? Last Wednesday? The day after someone tried to hack real climate to upload the purloined CRU server data to the site?

  • dhogaza // November 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Reply

    I asked about it over at RC and Gavin replied:

    Yes. We took the site down completely when we discovered the hack in progress.

    Good move!

  • Ian // November 22, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Reply

    Many of the emails that seem to bother people the most – responses to FOI requests, for example – look disturbing when first read. But there’s not evidence that anyone followed through with the suggestions to delete email, search for annoying ways to turn over data, and so on. It really looks like the sort of things people say when blowing off steam among colleagues.

    I’m sure we’ve all received emails of this sort – in the moment, a close colleague is expressing frustration, but no one takes the words literally. Years later, outside of the immediate conversation, it can look suspicious or incriminating to outsiders who are looking for wrongdoing.

  • infinit // November 23, 2009 at 1:44 am | Reply

    have you seen what the deniosphere blogs are doing? Their analysis is a pile of shit. They are just quote mining parts of a single email under headings such as “tax dodging”. Then the readers go around the internet just repeating the headings as if they are factual.

    None of them are remotely interested in context just as long as they can find some dirty interpretation. These are the same idiots whose ears prick up when someone says ‘adjusted’ in context of data.

    • Paul UK // November 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Reply

      Interesting comment by infinit.
      They seem to apply the same standards to quote mining as they do to the science. eg. no context!

  • george // November 23, 2009 at 3:49 am | Reply

    Some of the Clauditors apparently believe that “freedom of information” means that all information is “free”, kinda like the money in a bank vault is “free” to anyone who can pick the lock and make a clean getaway.

    And if the bank robbers then proceed throw the money out the back of the getaway car, they are not only absolved of all responsibility for stealing it, but the scattered money becomes the property of anyone who picks it up off the street and may be used as they so choose.

    Do I have this right?

  • Adam // November 23, 2009 at 8:09 am | Reply

    Let’s just be hypothetical here and say that something in these emails meant we should stop using HADCRUT. There is nothing, but let’s say imagine there is.

    What’s left? Well GISS for one which is erm, warmer.

    Do these people not think things through? Oh wait…

  • Luke Warmer // November 23, 2009 at 10:10 am | Reply


    A really interesting list. Can I ask why you have to add “that have not been seen in millions of years.” to only number 13 but have given no timeframe for any of the others?

    “human emissions of GHGs have never been so high.” would be enough, surely.

    Also, FYI the number of species being discovered is at an all time high despite complexities e.g. “The new World Register of Marine Species ( contains about 122,500 validated marine species names (experts having recognized and tidied up some 56,400 aliases – 32% of all names reviewed). ”

    I won’t go through the others because this comment will probably be moderated but if you think that your list is a proof, then it is a woefully poor one.

    • Scott A. Mandia // November 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Reply

      You are welcome to read everything in my site of you want more than a general list. I am sure Tamino wouldn’t be too happy (not the readers here) if I cut and paste all of the arguments and details for AGW.

      Or you could read the IPCC reports, Synthesis Report from Copenhagen, or the thousands of journal articles that strongly point to AGW.

      BTW, because scientists are exploring more and discovering more species does not refute the fact the global warming is seriously impacting those species that we do know of.

  • Martin Vermeer // November 23, 2009 at 10:38 am | Reply

    Scott, you still have me mixed up with Bart Verheggen on your last slide ;-)

  • Deech56 // November 23, 2009 at 11:01 am | Reply

    Inferno’s gotten to the bottom of this.

  • Deech56 // November 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Reply


    Adam // November 23, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Let’s just be hypothetical here and say that something in these emails meant we should stop using HADCRUT. There is nothing, but let’s say imagine there is.

    What’s left? Well GISS for one which is erm, warmer.

    Do these people not think things through? Oh wait…

    Adam, they are thinking this through. We all know that GISSTEMP is flawed because of the wondrous SurfaceStations project, and its association with HANSEN, who along with PhilJones and algore are planning to prepare the way for the takeover of the world by George Soros.

    Seriously – this is whack-a-mole. Chip away at each piece of evidence to maximize FUD. They don’t have to be right or consistent to succeed, they just have to delay or derail action.

    • Adam // November 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Reply

      So I guess we’re waiting for the NCDC “takedown” next, followed by RSS, then all we’ll be left with is the oh so perfect UAH. :/

  • TrueSceptic // November 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Reply


    Minor detail: the entire zip is 62 MB, which expands to 168 MB. Of that, 158 MB is “documents” and only 10 MB is “mail” (1,073 messages in plain text).

  • Kevin McKinney // November 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Reply

    It’s last week’s (month’s?) news now, but Mojib Latif was on NPR yesterday. One particularly unequivocal exchange went something like this:

    Interviewer: So your research is being misused?

    Latif: Yes.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Reply


    Except they aren’t chipping away at each piece. They are utterly ignoring the smoking gun for anthropogenic causation–simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. They are utterly ignoring most of the phenological data and paleoclimatic reconstructions (except of course those by Mann et al.). Their strategy is to merely go after a few high-profile individuals and results and hope they taint the whole field in the public’s mind. It is merely the “climate-change-is-a-hoax-because-al-gore-is-fat” argument writ large.

  • dhogaza // November 23, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Reply

    It is merely the “climate-change-is-a-hoax-because-al-gore-is-fat” argument writ large.

    Except “al gore is fat” will never get gore fired.

    On the other hand, the smear campaign against Jones, while it will fail to get him fired, undoubtably has intimidation as its goal.

    When do you think Jones gets to do any real science next? Weeks? Months? Years?

  • infinit // November 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Reply

    “Do these people not think things through? Oh wait…” is a catchy title for a blog post Adam.

    A whole load of contrarian arguments boil down to this. For a very recent example, some of the contrarian style deniers are ludicrously interpreting the “hide the recent decline” email to mean the instrumental record is faked and there hasn’t been any recent warming. “Oh wait…”, what about the satellite records.

    On other subjects too. Like when they dismiss the ice core records of co2 because jaworowski “convinced them”. Oh wait…what about the ice core co2 accuracy needed to claim that co2 follows temperature by 800 years?

    The suffix “Oh wait…” can describe the flaw with a whole lot of contrarian arguments. They just don’t give a damn that their argument set is inconsistent.

  • infinit // November 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Reply

    oh and just to add what gets me the most is how despite their completely unscientific approach to subjects, these contrarian types nevertheless feign emotional distress at the state of modern science.

    My opinion is strongly that they couldn’t care less, it’s just a big act. They will say and act in whatever way to carry their political ideologies and fears. It nearly always boils down with these people that they are only arguing the subject because they think “liberals” are trying to scam them with taxes.

  • infinit // November 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Reply

    third comment, last one sorry, one more point – I have “debated” (if that’s the word) a lot of skeptics online at various blogs, forums over the last few years. So I am fairly new to the subject, but in all that time you know what? I’ve never seen (or rather remember seeing) anyone on such blogs or forums who accepts manmade global warming suggesting it’s a good way to introduce world government or wealth redistribution, or even a good side effect.

    But I would become modestly richer if I had a dollar for every skeptic I’ve “debated” who eventually exposes the fact that they are really concerned about taxes. If there was no cost in reducing emissions they wouldn’t all be online arguing against the science of manmade global warming I bet.

    Oh and on the topic of feigning stuff, what about how they feign that co2 emission cuts will hurt poorer countries? True if cut too sharply as in fact one of the Wigley emails explains, but as if these deniers really give a damn about co2 emission drops hurting people in other countries. It’s yet again something they argue because they think it’ll “work” as an argument, not because they believe it.

    • Scott A. Mandia // November 24, 2009 at 2:55 am | Reply

      Yes, science can be intepreted based upon one’s ideology:

      See the link below:

      In the experiment, subjects were supplied with one of two versions of a newspaper article
      reporting a study by a group of scientific experts. In both versions, the report was described as finding that the temperature of the earth is increasing, that humans are the source of this condition, and that this change in the earth’s climate could have disastrous environmental economic

      In one, however, the scientific report was described as calling for “increased antipollution
      regulation,” whereas in another it was described as calling for “revitalization of the nation’s
      nuclear power industry.”

      The results of the experiment showed that subjects receiving the “nuclear power” version of the article were less culturally polarized than ones receiving the “anti-pollution” version. That is, individualists and hierarchs who received the “nuclear power” version were less inclined to dismiss the facts related by the described report—that the earth’s temperature was increasing, that humans were the cause, and that the consequences would be dire if global warming were not reversed— than were individualists and hierarchs who got the “antipollution” version, even though
      the factual information, and its source, were the same in both articles.

      Indeed, individualists and hierarchs who received the “antipollution” version of the news report were even more skeptical about these facts than were hierarchs and individualists in a control group that received no newspaper story—and thus no information relating to the scientific report that made these findings.

      Bottom line: conservatives and libertarians are skeptical of the science because of the regulation that might be imposed.

  • arch stanton // November 23, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Reply

    A tempest in a teapot.

    Thanks for the post Tamino.

    There is really nothing in the hacked files that discredits the sound science that has been done. The way the emails have been interpreted out of context is appalling.

    I agree that Gavin has been almost superhuman over the weekend (and continues to be).

    How many times will he patiently answer the charge of “Gavin; just release the data” without resorting to “This is the XXth time I have addressed that issue…RTFThread!!!”

    I am glad that (t)he(y) (apparently) let most all the posts through this weekend at RC. OTOH I have spent way too much of my weekend reading rephrased trash posts with sadly redundant responses. I think the (2 and counting) threads at RC stand as monumental evidence for why there is normally a filter on the posts that are allowed through there. Once they get back to discussing science I will welcome its return.

  • Didactylos // November 24, 2009 at 3:57 am | Reply

    Gavin’s approach to this unholy mess seems like the most sensible thing to do. From what I can see, only the rabid deniers and “me too”ers are making anything of this story, so by calmly explaining, answering and explaining, the crazies will talk themselves out (or move on to the next thing), and anyone with a functioning brain will tut-tut over some of the more candid revelations and dismiss the hyperbole.

    Dirty tricks are nothing new from the denier crowd, but it’s usually reality that gets the last word. It was the very real economic situation that helped elect Obama, and I think weather conditions will have a lot to do with the political will at Copenhagen. Since the weather is a fickle and meaningless thing, it’s likely to be a mixed bag.

  • Daniel J. Andrews // November 24, 2009 at 4:10 am | Reply

    I, too, am very impressed at how Gavin has been handling this. I think he has been sitting at his computer every waking hour and probably a few hours when he should have been sleeping, answering questions, linking to other sites, providing evidence and context. He patiently answers the same question (or accusation) over and over again.

    If the selection of emails is the best they’ve got, they have very little to go on. Gee, scientists get frustrated with people who misrepresent their work, fudge the data, and make pests of themselves by misusing the FOI procedures. They also have internal bickering and disagreements…not exactly conducive for maintaining a global-wide hoax.

  • Deech56 // November 24, 2009 at 5:28 am | Reply

    RE Ray Ladbury // November 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm:

    Hmmmm….I should probably rephrase my statement a bit. By chip away, I mean create enough doubt about each piece so that they can state that, “We know that there are problems with X.” I’ve had that argument made to me more than once.

    Stratospheric cooling/tropospheric warming (a strong argument among the rational) is a not concept that the layperson will find understandable. I’ve heard the argument that it’s the fault of those of us conveying the message because we do not speak the language of Joe Sixpack – who probably believes the earth is 6,000 years old and wants to be reassured rather than challenged. Ugh.

    But if Gavin and Tamino can fight the good fight, it’s back to the trenches. Once more into the breach. I do have to say that Greenfyre’s advice is met with no serious response and lots of subject changing.

  • Andrew Dodds // November 24, 2009 at 8:30 am | Reply

    Infinit -

    Actually, I think a lot of them would still be shouting about global warming. The whole thing has been burned into their minds as some sort of left wing plot, and something to get angry about – they almost wear it as a badge of honor (“I’m brave and free thinking, and tp prove it I’ll believe whatever the CEI tells me however wackjob..”). It’s like creationists saying that evolution is all a plot to overturn religion and make us all immoral; I’m not sure the people making the argument really believe it.

    The evidence I have for this is where I’ve outlined schemes (generally involving the large scale expansion of nuclear power) whereby emissions cuts of >80% can be achieved with essentially no lifestyle changes or massive tax hikes, they completely lose interest.

  • michel // November 24, 2009 at 8:40 am | Reply

    George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian today,while not finding anything that casts doubt on the AGW thesis, feels shaken, and thinks Jones should resign.

    I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them….

    …there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

    Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics, or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

    But do these revelations justify the sceptics’ claims that this is “the final nail in the coffin” of global warming theory? Not at all. They damage the credibility of three or four scientists. They raise questions about the integrity of one or perhaps two out of several hundred lines of evidence….

  • Gavin's Pussycat // November 24, 2009 at 10:17 am | Reply

    arch stanton,

    I believe you’re wrong in assuming there is less filtering in place now than normally. You don’t see, but Gavin does, the mountains of crap that have to be disposed of hygienically.

    • arch stanton // November 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Reply

      Gavin’s Pussycat,

      You could well be right; I did qualify my answer with “(apparently)”. Since they did away with reCaptcha, it is obvious that the folks there painstakingly comb through everything all the time and eliminate a lot of spam (that previously was auto-eliminated), not to mention repetitious inanities and gratuitous insults, etc. Perhaps the same amount is still being thrown away, but it was made up for by the huge volume of recent postings. It certainly appears that the threshold of tolerance was lowered over the weekend.

      But then again, with a handle like yours…I should take your word for it ;-)

  • Luke Warmer // November 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Reply

    Don’t forget to thank the stoat for shoring up Wikipedia. On the CRU hack, he’s there fighting off all comers. I have to take my hat off to him, where does he get the time?

  • Vincent van der Goes // November 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Reply

    If they would have been sincerely trying to unveil a scandal, they would have made a specific accusation and backed it up with specific, relevant emails. Instead, they just published every private email that, read out of context, could be taken as dubious or insulting. And do it shortly before Kopenhagen for best effect.


  • Ray Ladbury // November 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Reply

    While I do not approve of the deletion of emails, we need to keep in mind that never since the enlightenment has science faced such a concerted attack from the combined forces of the greedheads and the ignorati. Because it is unprecedented, there are no rules for how to deal with such an attack.

    Personally, I remain sanguine that science will prevail, especially if we remain true to the principles of science. The question is whether science will prevail prior to the human population being reduced to scattered bands of hunter-gatherers scattered over an irreparably damaged ecosystem.

    It may be that humans on average are simply not intelligent enough to avoid the same fate that befalls yeast in a bottle of beer–fouling our environment to the point where we cannot live in it. If that is the case, then the efforts of the high end of the intelligence curve will be for naught.

  • Adam // November 24, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Reply

    “While I do not approve of the deletion of emails,”

    They likely could only delete local copies anyway, and the emails will have remained on the university server.

    Dr Jones has already pointed out that he knew this. So, once again, the context of the email is important – as is the case with them all.

  • Neven // November 24, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Reply

    Ray, people are plenty intelligent, it’s in the wisdom department that they lack significantly. This train will not slow down of its own accord.

    The only hope there is IMO is that the current recession turns into a prolonged economic contraction and people wake up to the fact that you cannot build your society on the proposal of unending exponential economic growth. We live in a finite system after all. I believe this presumption of unending growth is the core of our culture and the root cause of all global problems.

    As long as this is not the main topic of discussion nothing will change, all the rest is dealing with symptoms, such as climate change, peak resources and financial bubbles.

    But it’s difficult, as it’s not only our economic system, but our culture that has to change. Our whole culture has been brainwashed to the tune of ‘growth is always healthy and good’. This is the reason why deniers are so fanatic and successful. When push comes to shove most people don’t want to change.

    Read, subscribe and donate:

  • dhogaza // November 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Reply

    Monbiot’s a fool …

    Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics…

    Good Lord, scientists want scientific journals to maintain high standards and this is a bad thing?

    Presumably he’s unaware that the episode in question led to half of the editorial board of Climate Research, including the editor-in-chief, to resign in disgust.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // November 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Reply

    dhogaza, yes, stupid indeed.

    Do you know of any way of pointing this out to him? (Not that he’s stupid, but that he’s mistaken)

  • Gareth // November 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Reply

    To be fair to GM, I tend to read the whole article as parody: ie he starts off mock serious, then delivers the farce with lines such as this…

    The capture of George W. Bush, a late convert to the cause of Communist World Government, was made possible only by the threatened release of footage filmed by a knight at Yale, showing the future president engaged in coitus with a Ford Mustang.

  • Gareth // November 24, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Reply

    And if you want real farce, try reading Monckton on the subject of the emails:

    What have the mainstream news media said about the Climategate affair? Remarkably little [2]. The few who have brought themselves to comment, through gritted teeth, have said that all of this is a storm in a teacup, and that their friends in the University of East Anglia and elsewhere in the climatological community are good people, really.

    No, they’re not. They’re criminals. With Professor Fred Singer, who founded the U.S. Satellite Weather Service, I have reported them to the UK’s Information Commissioner, with a request that he investigate their offenses and, if thought fit, prosecute. But I won’t be holding my breath: In the police state that Britain has now sadly become, with supine news media largely owned and controlled by the government, the establishment tends to look after its own.

    At our expense, and at the expense of the truth.

    The words “sanctimonious hypocrite” spring unbidden to mind.

  • bob // November 24, 2009 at 10:08 pm | Reply

    What Gavin is doing is good because I think each email the skeptics are throwing around should be put in it’s proper context, or at least some “balance” to some of the absurdly over the top interpretations given.

    But it’s not very easy to find particular responses to emails in realclimate comments, what is needed is a single website or blog that just rips through the skeptic allegations would be a start. So I started a blog to do this. I started with trenberth because he was on national tv a few hours ago, but not given enough time to explain why the quote that was displayed was out of context.

    I think we need to put the contexts to skeptic quote mines in a central place that other people can find them, whether that means coping some of Gavin’s explanations wholesale – I don’t see why not as they are detailed enough. I am just using that blog as a holding site for now, but if anyone wants to write some text about one of the allegations I will put it up on that blog.

  • bob // November 24, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Reply

    dhogaza: monboit will probably end up apologizing in a different way in coming days.

    I don’t blame him for his assessment, the problem is that you need to have been following this issue quite close for a while to appreciate the context of some of the emails.

    This unfortunately means the quotes are going to be dynamite propaganda for the skeptics because very few people know this context.

    This is why we need to put up some explainations to refer people like monboit to. Knocking down a few denier allegations for the shit they are might spur some of the genuinely skeptical public to be skeptical of the rampant fly by quote mining. Context is everything.

  • bob // November 24, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Reply

    “If they would have been sincerely trying to unveil a scandal, they would have made a specific accusation and backed it up with specific, relevant emails. Instead, they just published every private email that, read out of context, could be taken as dubious or insulting.”

    Exactly, exactly and in my opinion the best way of exposing that is to really attack their weakest claims. Ridicule them to the ground. If they didn’t want us to go for weak links they should have stuck to a shorter chain.

  • guthrie // November 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm | Reply

    Monbiot did do a pretty good book on global warming, but that was 3 years ago and I think he has missed some of the nuances of the arguments since then. Although some of his more recent columns are pretty trenchant about denialists.

  • JCH // November 25, 2009 at 1:09 am | Reply

    Emails aside, 2009 looks to be warmer than 2008.

    That’s where this is going. Emails can’t stop it.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // November 25, 2009 at 7:33 am | Reply


    that’s a great initiative. I do suggest however to get permission from all of the authors in the mails, and display these permissions prominently, to draw a clear line in the sand on the ethics issue between you and slime.

    I still have difficulty forcing myself to read these mails. It feels dirty. I’ve been married over 25 years, we have exchanged body fluids for longer, and yet — I don’t open her mail without her consent, and she doesn’t open mine.

    It’s the moral equivalent of rape.

  • Josie // November 25, 2009 at 9:28 am | Reply

    “dhogaza // November 24, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Reply

    Monbiot’s a fool …

    Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics…

    Good Lord, scientists want scientific journals to maintain high standards and this is a bad thing?

    Presumably he’s unaware that the episode in question led to half of the editorial board of Climate Research, including the editor-in-chief, to resign in disgust.

    Gavin’s Pussycat // November 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Reply

    dhogaza, yes, stupid indeed.

    Do you know of any way of pointing this out to him? (Not that he’s stupid, but that he’s mistaken)”

    His email is: (it is publicly available, I’m not giving away any secrets)

    Do get in touch with him, although I am sure that others probably have by now. I think his article was really awful, but he can be alright at admitting his mistakes. Hopefully will on this occasion.

  • Igor Samoylenko // November 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Reply

    Gavin’s Pussycat said: “I still have difficulty forcing myself to read these mails. It feels dirty.”

    So do I. I have read a few posted in comments at RC but even then reluctantly. It’s like looking over someone’s shoulder or reading someone’s personal letter unintentionally left on a table…

    I wonder if this is going to backfire on McIntyre et al by marginalising them even further from the scientific community (or rather I hope it will!…)? How can any reputable scientist associate themselves with McIntyre after this?

    Josie said: “… he [Monbiot] can be alright at admitting his mistakes. Hopefully will on this occasion.”

    I sincerely hope he does and the sooner the better.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Reply

    GP “It’s the moral equivalent of rape.”

    NO. It is not. Heinous as it is, as angry as it makes us, it doesn’t come close.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 25, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Reply

    So, it appears the good Viscount now seeks to criminalize science.

  • Berbalang // November 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm | Reply

    I have strong sympathy for Jones in all this. It is very difficult to deal honestly and escape unscathed with people who are fundamentally dishonest and will do anything in persuit of their goals. One certainly doesn’t want to make the denier’s job easier by giving them data they can cherrypick.

  • sod // November 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Reply

    I wonder if this is going to backfire on McIntyre et al by marginalising them even further from the scientific community (or rather I hope it will!…)? How can any reputable scientist associate themselves with McIntyre after this?

    i agree with this. and i also agree with the feelings while reading those mails.

    very good discussion on the subject here. very different to the discussion at other places. thanks to everyone.

  • dhogaza // November 25, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Reply

    Well, with the recent suit filing by CEI over NASA’s rejection of their three year old FOIA requests, I’m starting to think we’re seeing a custer’s last stand mentality taking hold.

    They know that there’s going to be a climate bill passed next year … that Copenhagen, while not coming up with anything firm for now, will set a foundation for action that while probably short of what’s needed, will stick in their political craw.

  • Marion Delgado // November 25, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Reply

    Thanks for posting this. It’s exactly how I regard the whole issue. I’ve tried to make a point of better communication, in more public forums (cf. Capital Weather Gang, etc.) It’s pretty obvious that the PR assault has to be dealt with head-on, and that scientists don’t have the time or inclination to do that, or not by themselves.

  • bob // November 25, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Reply

    I have another post up about accusations of fraud being taken from some of the source code:

    As for ethics, if I hadn’t read the emails I may of reached the same view as Monboit on the issue..

  • bob // November 25, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Reply

    I also can’t imagine this will backfire on McIntyre

  • Douglas Watts // November 25, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Reply

    Excellent summary, Tamino. Thanks.

    What needs to be endlessly repeated here is that two separate felonies were committed. First, stealing the documents. Second, trying to hijack RealClimate’s site to put them on the front page.

    Phil Jones has nothing to apologize for. He, and the other people whose documents were stolen, are the victims.

    And as noted by others, the emails conclusively prove there is no “cover up.”

  • David B. Benson // November 26, 2009 at 12:20 am | Reply

    Douglas Watts // November 25, 2009 at 11:08 pm wrote “Second, trying to hijack RealClimate’s site to put them on the front page.” Certain that is felonous?

  • Deech56 // November 26, 2009 at 1:46 am | Reply

    Bob, in Open Thread #16 Hank Roberts linked to this post, if you are interested in adding to the conversation. I would jump in and link to your post, but my programming ignorance would soon show through. Thanks for delving into this.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // November 26, 2009 at 5:28 am | Reply

    bob, have you considered a different format? Like, a wiki with search facility. I don’t think the blog format is convenient for what you’re doing.

  • David Gould // November 26, 2009 at 6:40 am | Reply

    I cannot believe that Monbiot was so foolish as to be taken in by the denialist spin over these emails. Very sad.

  • michel // November 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Reply

    Monbiot a fool? Well, if so, he is a fool for the second time now, having once more published a piece calling for Jones to resign.

    He was a hero until a few days ago.

    Some of you are accusing McIntyre of having done dreadful things. I don’t know what the evidence is that he has done anything other than exercise his right to request information under the FOI legislation. Or has he done something else?

    As to who did it, is there any real evidence? It looks rather like an inside job, in which case the inquiry will probably find out in the end.

    • Marco // November 26, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Reply

      For starters, McIntyre had others ALSO send FOI requests, thus inundating the system with requests they HAVE to respond to. One’s enough, two is overkill, fiftysomething is outright harassment. Second, McIntyre has repeatedly (using “plausibly deniable allegations”) claimed fraud by several climate scientists, often based on shoddy analysis (see the Briffa story). Did he apologise to Briffa for false claims, and in particular the fall-out of others claiming fraud? No, he just moved the goalposts and comes with new allegations.

      Regarding “inside job”: please explain why someone from within CRU would try to hack into Realclimate to put the e-mails up on their website.

  • AndyL // November 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Reply

    While there is clearly no evidence of any conspiracy going on among the scientific community, do the people on this site think that there are *any* changes to behaviour or moves toward greater transparency that should be made by that community?

  • Neven // November 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Reply

    What also needs to be repeated to people like Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts is that their responsibility has just increased tenfold. Because if AGW happens to be true after all…

    I thought that skeptic sites had ceased to amaze me, until this thing broke. I feel physically disgusted by it and won’t be able to go to WUWT or CA for a while. I used to go there hoping they’d have something that would convince me AGW theory is a scam/no big deal. I’m still hoping that it isn’t true.

  • Deech56 // November 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Reply

    RE Igor Samoylenko

    I wonder if this is going to backfire on McIntyre et al by marginalising them even further from the scientific community (or rather I hope it will!…)? How can any reputable scientist associate themselves with McIntyre after this?

    If McIntyre is interested in being accepted by the scientific community, I would agree, but he still has his Amen Chorus, for whom he seems to have greater respect than the scientific community.

    The real question is what impact this will have on any political solution to the big challenge we and our children will face. Copenhagen may be at a high enough level that there will be little effect, but there is much to do in the US post-Copenhagen (yes, the rest of the world as well , but the US needs to be on board), and that is where the battle will be. It will be important to see what people like Sen. Lindsay Graham (a conservative Republican who is working for the climate/energy bill) do faced with a ramping up of the the right-wing noise machine.

    The science will continue; I don;t see how the hack exposes anything that needs to be reworked, except for the UEA CRU to push NWS’s around the world to allow for open access. The problem is that while there is discussion in the usual climate blogs, I don’t see much in the other science blogs (with the exception of The Intersection – there may be more) and very little in the “left-wing” blogosphere (one post on the main page of DailyKos, a Crooks and Liars post on Inhofe’s remarks; anyone see anything else?), which is focused on health care and Afghanistan. OTOH, the hacking has been promoted by the right.

    My concern is that when the politics come back into focus, advocates for change will be caught flat-footed; the deniers and delayers will have a coherent narrative of the hack and there will be little to counter this. Political bloggers may not have the best working knowledge of science, but science literacy is not a problem for the “other” side; one side has to be scrupulous with the truth, the other does not.

    I had originally thought that fighting for the science would be enough; now I am beginning to wonder.

  • Hank Roberts // November 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Reply

    For the two or three people who haven’t been following this story since it began
    Everybody loves Eric Raymond

  • luminous beauty // November 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Reply


    In regards to this specific case:

    The Climatic Research Unit holds many data series, provided to the Unit over a period of several decades, from a number of nationally-funded institutions and other research organisations around the world, with specific agreements made over restrictions in the dissemination of those original data. All of these individual series have been used in CRU’s analyses. It is a time-consuming process to attempt to gain approval from these organisations to release the data. Since some of them were provided decades ago, it has sometimes been necessary to track down the successors of the original organisations. It is clearly in the public interest that these data are released once we have succeeded in gaining the approval of collaborators. Some who have requested the data will have been aware of the scale of the exercise we have had to undertake. Much of these data are already available from the websites of the Global Historical Climate Data Network and the Goddard Institute for Space Science.

    —– The University of East Anglia , Prof Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research

    *any*thing else you’d recommend?

  • Ray Ladbury // November 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Reply

    AndyL asks, “While there is clearly no evidence of any conspiracy going on among the scientific community, do the people on this site think that there are *any* changes to behaviour or moves toward greater transparency that should be made by that community?”

    On the contrary, I think that the behavior of the denialists has made it very clear exactly why we don’t want to cooperate in any way with these idiots. Want access to the data? Take 10 years and become a climate scientist. What benefit has accrued from the open access to mountains of data already available? Or put another way, do you want to grant access to Lucy’s fossilized bones to creationists as well? If your enemies make it clear that they will never be satisfied with reasonable gestures and concessions, what choice have they given you but to defeat them?

  • Philippe Chantreau // November 26, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Reply

    It’s perfectly natural for scientists to dread a FOI from Mc Intyre. They know that, once he has the object of the request, he will twist and spin it with the mind-manipulating methods of which his site is a disgusting repository.

    After all, McI has been shown to do his “boohoo they won’t give me data” complaint with Briffa although he had these data for years. Just for the sake ot exciting his crowd with the “no transparency” BS.

    As for the peer-review thing, this is the ultimate nonsense. Skeptics are collectively declaring that subverting the process, as in S&B 03, is perfectly OK and that scientists should not try to oppose such perversion or peer-review. Why would anyone NOT want to keep out of the litterature garbage like S&B 03? Why would anyone NOT want to keep out of Physics journals such idiotic nonsense as G&T 09? And whenever a paper is not completely (but almost) wrong by itself, its very authors jump on it to try to exploit its significance beyond what the paper says, as in the Carter/De Freitas piece.

    But that’s all OK for skeptics. Just like it is perfectly fine to have a miserable substandard journal like E&E, with a caricature of peer-review, so long as it OPENLY declares its vocation as “platform” for anti AGW papers. How would skeptics treat a correspondingly low standard journal that would declare it will publish only pro-AGW papers?

    One day the all denialist world will suffocate under the weight of its own BS.

    • Marco // November 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Reply

      Regarding McIntyre and Briffa’s data: his “stonewalling” claim was a “plausibly deniable accusation”. After admitting he had the data all along, he quickly came with the excuse that he “wasn’t sure it was the same data”…

  • michel // November 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Reply


    They mostly seem to feel that humanity is facing a crisis, which has the potential to lead to the extinction of the species within a reasonably short period, 100 years or so. I don’t know how high they think temperatures are likely to go absent action, but numbers of 6-7 C rises are commonly claimed.

    They therefore think that there are three kinds of people in the world. There are the great intellectually unwashed who stumble into approving things in the end, after they are patiently brought to see their necessity. There are the informed and concerned scientists, who understand the true urgency of the situation, and are doing whatever they can and whatever is necessary to get action taken. To save humanity from extinction. This is a very serious business.

    Then there are the wreckers, who are opposing them. These are people who probably know they are wrong, because if you have looked at the science at all, you must know that we are in a crisis. These wreckers then for their own venal or perverse reasons seek to persuade the unwashed of things they pretty much know to be false. They distort the facts, they engage in ad hominem arguments, they take funding from truly evil companies, like Exxon, or associate with truly evil politicians, like Dick Cheney.

    As part of their machinations, these wreckers keep asking for endless details of studies the good guys have done. They do not want the details in order to be helpful, just to find some silly detail to raise objections about and so distract and delay the good guys.

    We do not know why the wreckers want to do these wicked things, but they do, and maybe at this point it is more important to resist than to understand them.

    So to answer your question, no, climate science does not need to change, it is doing an outstanding job. What needs to happen is for us to get control of the wreckers and deniers, so we can move forward and save humanity.

    I hope that helps you understand better.

  • Timothy Chase // November 26, 2009 at 7:34 pm | Reply

    Beginning with:

    Competitive Enterprise Institute to sue RealClimate blogger over moderation policy, comment 19
    November 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    … I outline a possible response to the personal attacks upon individual climatologists including the hacking of email belonging to climatologists at Hadley CRU for the purpose of a disinformation campaign and the declaration by the Competitive Enterprise Institute of the intent to launch a lawsuit against Gavin Schmidt of Real Climate. I give figures for the funding of the Competitve Enterprise Institute by Exxon, Scaife, Bradley, Koch and Coors foundations and — while it yet has to show up — more broadly funding received by denialist organizations from the Scaife, Bradley, Koch and Coors foundations where the denialist organizations are also part of the Exxon-funded network for attacking climatology. Note that for this last part, assuming it doesn’t show up right away, it is essentially the same as what I included in the comment on Saturday 2009-10-31 at 20:44 below the following post at Desmog Blog:

    Halloween Murder Mystery: Who is killing Copenhagen?
    30 October 09

  • Neven // November 26, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Reply

    “We do not know why the wreckers want to do these wicked things”

    Attention is one thing (these are old guys mostly who’d have nothing to do otherwise and certainly wouldn’t have a fan club). Money or some other kind of reward could also play a role, but some servers would need to be hacked to be sure. Last but not least: ideological certainty. These retiring baby-boomers are absolutely convinced that what worked for them will also work for us, IOW exponential growth to infinity. The free market, beautiful rational beast that it is, will take care and produce plenty for all.

    These are the main reasons they are doing these wicked things. Most of their followers suffer from the ‘I do whatever the hell I want and let no one restrict me in my limitless freedom by telling me about non-existing consequences. I’m a Nietzschean-Randian Superman that is nevertheless so puny when compared to my slave Nature, that my actions have no consequences whatsoever.’

    It’s a marriage made in heaven.

    The other side can be criticized as well. Their main deficiency is that they mainly talk about solving the symptoms. The best known symptom is Global Warming. There are quite a few parties who want to solve these symptoms and make a lot of money in the process, or gain more power. Thus they will spin and exaggerate to stir action, giving the denialists easy targets to shoot down. Another side effect is that symptom, Global Warming, is getting all the media attention while there are many other symptoms that point to the same root problem: the economic concept of infinite exponential growth.

    Our whole society and culture is revolving around this concept. We unconsciously raise our children in a way that ensures them serving the machine that will never stop growing. The way we relate to each other, our identities, our habits, all of it has conditioned by the need for the economy to grow exponentially until the end of time. But we’re living on a finite planet and limits can be discerned in a not so far distance.

    I blame the child-like denialists for keeping humanity on a crash course and I blame a large part of the righteous warmists for beating around the bush and subconsciously not wanting to tackle the problem because of the implications. And I blame myself as much as I blame others for not being able to think of a solution.

    How can we solve this problem when this problem is such a big part of our conditioning and of our current system? Perhaps the only solution is for things to have their course and let the limits be reached as soon as possible.

  • rcrejects // November 26, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Reply


    Thats satire, right?

  • bit_pattern // November 26, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Reply

    Hi guys, completely off topic for just a moment.

    In the light of this hack I’ve had a number of denialist wannabe weather station analysts (/sarcasm) going around looking at various wather station data in Aus and playing “gotchya”. Now I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to statistics and whatnot and was wondering if anyone could point out where these guys are going wrong.

    Instance A. is comparing these two charts:

    Now, I’m assuming he is doing something wrong, like comparing mean data with maximum data but can’t say for sure. What would explain discrepancies in these data?

    Another example is where between these data for this weather station

    Of which this is the result

    What would explain these differences in data for what ostensibly seem to be the same weather station?

    It’s hard, because I can argue most talking points deniers raise but when they start bamboozling me with this sort of thing I just don’t know how to respond.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • bob // November 26, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Reply

    “bob, have you considered a different format? Like, a wiki with search facility. I don’t think the blog format is convenient for what you’re doing.”

    Sure I agree, but I have no experience with wiki or how to set up such a thing. I should probably look that up..

  • David Gould // November 26, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Reply

    Yes, Monbiot has compounded his foolishness. As to him being a hero, Freeman Dyson is also a hero. But he is wrong, and foolishly so, on climate change. Likewise, Einstein was wrong – and foolishly so by the end – on quantum mechanics. Still a hero, though.

  • Nathan // November 26, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Reply

    I know this is off topic, but maybe itisn’t.

    The Australian Liberal Party (the Aussie version of the Republicans). Is curently exploding because of their views on AGW. They are destroying themselves. I think this may have even been triggered to some extent by the hack of those emails. There is a split 50 – 50 between those wanting to take action and hard core deniers. Grab some popcorn and watch them blow themselves into irrelevancy!

  • bob // November 27, 2009 at 1:41 am | Reply

    bit_pattern: east sale airport, something looks wrong with the annual value for 2007 on the BoM site, it contradicts the monthly data. Looks like some freak error on the website.

    As for the overall differences, the GISTEMP graph for east sale airport is *not* raw station data, it’s raw station data with some corrections. So they are comparing apples and oranges.

  • JCH // November 27, 2009 at 3:18 am | Reply

    Trust me, no country is blighted with an equivalency to our Republicans.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 27, 2009 at 3:39 am | Reply

    David Gould, Einstein was indeed wrong on quantum theory, but never foolishly so. His objections were always of a nature where by answering them, you would learn something of value. The whole wierd nature of quantum entanglement emerged from his EPR efforts. I think we could still learn a lot about the quantum world by looking at where Einstein went wrong.

    The denialists (including Dyson), unfortunately, are so far off in the weeds, they can only serve comedic value.

  • Hank Roberts // November 27, 2009 at 7:07 am | Reply

    Uh, oh

  • michel // November 27, 2009 at 7:12 am | Reply

    Neven, you are making a common mistake in this business, of confusing things that have nothing to do with each other. The issue is that there is a scientific hypothesis or series of them, which may or may not be true, and may or may not be robustly evidenced.

    That’s really all that matters. People take the view that the hypothesis is valid or not for all kinds of reasons. I am sure that some of the scepticism is motivated by the things you write of so critically. I am sure that some of the advocates are motivated by different but equally illegitimate motives. But its all irrelevant. What matters is the science.

    I know quite a few perfectly ordinary people with views on this. I can’t see that either lot of them are the ideological demons you describe. They have a variety of reasons for skepticism or belief, but none of the ones I know are in the pay of Goldman, Exxon, George Soros or anyone else. They just are, or are not, convinced.

    Reasonable, sincere people take different views of the evidence. Some read IPCC Chapter 6 and come away saying that yes, this is valid. Others come away saying its full of holes.

    Much of the public skepticism about warming comes from what a great many of my acquaintance sees as hysterical advocacy. For instance, they simply do not believe 6-7C rises when the Met Office in the UK forecasts them. They do not believe the Met Office can forecast its way out of a paper bag. They are not stupid or venal to feel this way, and you will have a hard time telling them that Vicky Pope can forecast 30 years out better than she can forecast 3 months out. They do not believe it, and ascribing far right wing views to a bunch of people who feel and vote middle of the road Conservative, Liberal or Labour is going to alienate them, not convince anyone.

    It is my sincere belief that the combination of apocalyptic forecasts coupled with obstinate refusals to release the data on which they are based is probably going to be the main reason why AGW will be discredited in the popular mind. The first step should be, tone down the rhetoric, stop talking about deniers, stop accusing people of holding views about politics which they do not hold and which have anyway nothing to do with the science, get the data and the code out there, lower the emotional level, stop with the ad hominems, and keep it to the science.

    If the science is good, it will carry the day in the end. Have a bit more faith in democracy and human nature. After all, whatever the deniers said, we now do know that the earth goes around the sun, and not the other way around.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // November 27, 2009 at 10:12 am | Reply

    While there is clearly no evidence of any conspiracy going on among the scientific community, do the people on this site think that there are *any* changes to behaviour or moves toward greater transparency that should be made by that community?

    Amplifying on Ray and michel, I don’t think the actual practice of climate science (or any science for that matter) has to change all that much. But what needs to change, and greatly, is the appearance of the practice of climate change to the outside world. To put it bluntly, we need the same slick salesmen to front the community as the denialists are using.

    This is something that has been neglected, and that scientists themselves are notoriously poor in. It is needed. Also the scientists, at least the more high-profile ones, will have to become more media savvy. It will cost resources unfortunately, but it has to be done, lest the valuable work that the community is doing go to waste for society.

    This is actually a higher priority than making all data publically available; that “problem” can probably be handled by stating and repeating loudly that as scientists, we of course believe in full openness and transparency, but that there are all kind of practical problems, but we continue working on the issue. And doing just that, at an appropriate priority level, as is actually happening. It’s not even a lie.

  • AndyL // November 27, 2009 at 11:51 am | Reply

    Thanks to those that responded to my question.

    In the quoted extract, Professor Davies says “It is clearly in the public interest that these data are released…”. This already looks like a change to more openness compared with previous practice

    Luminous Beauty asks what else I’d suggest. Here a a few things:

    1 Professor Davies does not need to wait to publish the list of sites and the list of organisations that have agreements that limit sharing. I doubt the presence of those agreements is confidential.

    2. Fairly or otherwise, after the Harry log, CRU has to re-establish credibility of its current processing. They need to find a way to demonstrate this, maybe by publishing the code, maybe by having a written report on the state of the code.

    3. While it is tempting to only share data with people who have “take”10 years and become a climate scientist”, that really looks bad to those of us watching on the side-lines. Find a way to be more open with the data. To limit the time it can take responding to zillions of questions, why not have the author of a major paper spend say 2 days on an open Q&A?

    4. Concede minor errors when pointed out. This will not bring down the whole edifice of AGW in the eyes of the public. Instead it will demonstrate open-ness and how rugged the science really is.

    5. Both sides in this argument should stop believing there is a conspiracy on the other side. If you believe the people who oppose you are “wreckers” doing “wicked things” then you will be tempted to take more extreme measures yourself. By all means criticise behaviour, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking your opponents are evil.

  • AndyL // November 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Reply

    Can I add one more suggestion?

    6 If new findings are published based on novel methods, then find a way to describe the method in detail – especially if it is a statistical method. This might be achieved by releasing a pair of papers (one purely on the statistics), or putting extra detail in the SI that shows the characteristics of the statistical process using sample data.

  • Turboblocke // November 27, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Reply

    I have the suspicion that “Climategate” is a last ditch effort by the sceptics in the USA to influence Copenhagen.

    Although it’s not very scientific I put “Climategate” into Google insights.
    If you can’t be bothered… large interest in the US… and that’s it.

    If you go to a deeper level, it primarily seems to be California. WUWT?

  • luminous beauty // November 27, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Reply


    If the novel method in question doesn’t involve any original math, but instead is merely a difference in the approach and sequence of applying traditional methods, which is obviously apparent to anyone familiar with how these things have been previously done, and some tyros to the field, who misinterpret what is really a quite simple thing, produce an ungodly mess purporting an attempted replication of that study critical to its conclusions, parleying their erroneous and mistake-laden garbage into an article in the editorial pages of a highly partisan national newspaper, leading to a congressional hearing instituted by a highly partisan political hack of a congressman, resulting in a congressional subpeona for all the relevant papers, notes, data, computer codes, etc. against the authors of the original paper , and after all that is supplied along with additional explanation in the SI, which, by the way, already held “extra detail in the SI that shows the characteristics of the statistical multivariate process using sample data”, and at least two groups of researchers have published papers explaining their errors, the tyros either still do not understand or refuse to accept where they have gone wrong, what is to be done?

  • Kevin McKinney // November 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Reply

    Andy L, I like your suggests in many respects.

    However, there clearly is a conspiracy to deny the science. That’s not to say that every skeptical or unconvinced person belongs to it–far from it.

    It is a matter of public record that certain corporations and think tanks have spent very large sums largely funding not real research but PR designed to counter meaningful mitigation action. It is a matter of public knowledge that there is an efficient machinery in place to disseminate every idea which could conceivably be twisted to attack the mainstream science. And it is quite evident that the arguments made are not coherent except with reference to the aim of creating “fear, uncertainty and doubt”–FUD.

    Here is one link to get you going:

    (paste link together)

    Note that senior author Hoggan is a successful professional and businessman himself–not some tin-hatted hack.

    This is not a politically symmetrical situation–and I’m afraid that there are indeed “wreckers” out there. Efficient ones, worse luck.

  • Kevin McKinney // November 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Reply

    Sorry, the link is OK as is, or so it appears.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 27, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Reply

    For those calling for more “openness”, I guess my response is to ask what this would buy us. At this point if people are not convinced by the evidence, it is because they aren’t looking at it. What is more, many of the denialists are quite open that they are motivated by their perception of the consequences of the reality of climate change rather than by evidence.

    While I agree that the consequences are disturbing, scientific truth has to be driven by evidence rather than by our wishes. We simply cannot “adjust” the scientific method when it suits our fancy, nor can we dumb down the science simply to pick up the slow students.

    The evidence available is sufficient to convince over 90% of experts. It is suffiently cogent that there is not one single scientific professional or honorific society that dissents from the consensus. It is sufficiently difficult to account for the evidence that those few “dissenters” from the consensus have effectively stopped doing science and now devote their efforts to duping nonscientists on blogs or the editorial pages of papers like the Wall Street Urinal. If that level of evidence is not sufficient to convince the denialists, then their doubt is not evidence based.

    For such people, it will not matter what concessions we make or what lengths we go to.

  • Mike G // November 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Reply

    I don’t think CEI actually has any expectations of winning their suit, but they really don’t need to.

    Unfortunately, except in very high profile cases (which this isn’t one), the news of an arrest or of a suit being brought tends to make much bigger headlines than the resolution. I’m sure lots of people, remember that John DeLorean was arrested for example, but a lot fewer realize he was cleared of all charges. Regardless of how frivolous the lawsuit may be, CEI can still count on it creating the perception of impropriety by climate scientists among part of the general public.

    It’s probably a pretty safe bet that they will also use the suit as a talking point for years to come, pointing out that NASA climate scientists were sued, while conveniently neglecting to mention CEI themselves brought the suit and that it (presumably) got thrown out. Again, there doesn’t have to be impropriety for them to create the perception of impropriety in the public mind.

    Also, they’re probably hoping that the threat of legal action will encourage NASA to quiet some of their more prominent public voices to avoid further issues.

  • AndyL // November 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the reference – I will follow up, though in general I am ’sceptical’ of conspiracy theorists. I think you should give the majority the benefit of the doubt.

    You appear to be making a circular arguement. You are saying there is no point showing the evidence because people should be convinced by the evidence. If we should all trust the weight of published articles then fine, but it should be possible to peek behind the curtain

    I think you are referring to MBH98. It was over ten years before the details of what was done in that paper were exposed in this very blog. Buried deep in an Open Thread, Jolliffe finally said Mann’s use of PCA was not standard.

  • David B. Benson // November 27, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Reply

    michel // November 27, 2009 at 7:12 am — I urge you to read “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas (who is not a scientist).

    Here is a review:

  • Ray Ladbury // November 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Reply

    Andy L,
    You misread my post. What I am saying is that there is no benefit to making accommodations toward those who will not be convinced by empirical evidence no matter how persuasive.

    There is no curtain. The limit to how well you can understand the process is dictated entirely by how much work you are willing to invest. Want to understand the science. Go ahead. Knock yourself out.

    What we are seeing has nothing to do with quality control, “auditing” or even satisfaction of personal curiosity. Make no mistake, what is going on here is nothing short of the criminalization of science.

  • dhogaza // November 27, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Reply

    I’m sure lots of people, remember that John DeLorean was arrested for example, but a lot fewer realize he was cleared of all charges.

    It really seems to depend on who’s doing the remembering, and about what.

    So at the moment we have a lot of people on the right remembering that Daniel Ellsberg wasn’t convicted of a crime for giving the Pentagon Papers to the NYT (claiming equivalence for whoever hacked CRU).

    They seem to forget that Ellsberg faced 150 years in prison at his trial, and that the only reason he won was that so much of the government evidence against him was illegally obtained that when it was excluded, the case against him collapsed.

  • Turboblocke // November 27, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Reply

    We’ve all seen that oft quoted e-mail where Jones refuses to give the data to Warwick Hughes because he might find something wrong with it…

    So I went looking for some context. And discovered this written by Warwick Hughes.

    “In 1991 the writer (WSH) reviewed the Jones et al temperature data for Australia along with a wider selection of Australian data while associated with the Tasman Institute in Melbourne. The Executive Summary of that unpublished report which was circulated to interested parties, has survived in digital form and is presented here for the first time.

    [Note, the Tasman Institute was a free market think tank in Melbourne for about a decade, closing in the late 1990's.]”

    So WH attacked Jones paper, showed it around and didn’t give Jones the right of reply.

    He also wrote this on his blog “Readers can judge for themselves the veracity of the Jones et al statement on p1216 of Jones et al 1986b, where they state that “… very few stations in our final data set come from large cities.” This glib and lulling statement is detached from the reality that 40% of their ~300 SH stations are cities with population over 50K.” >50K is a large city according to Hughes

    In fact I checked and only 30 of the cities have a population >= 500,000 (and I’m not even sure that that is a “large city” Auckland for example was 500,000)

    He also wrote a paper on Jones 1994 here: but IIUC he looked at diurnal temps while Jones looked at average temps.

    This is just the stuff that WH has put on his website: surely there must be plenty of hidden incriminating stuff he doesn’t tell us about… (Oops sorry, I started to channel the dark side ) ;)
    All in all, I can understand why Jones wasn’t keen to give him the data in that oft quoted e-mail.

    • Rattus Norvegicus // December 1, 2009 at 3:29 am | Reply

      It should be noted that Warwick Hughes is an all purpose denier. Sort of like S. Fred here in the US.

  • caerbannog // November 27, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Reply

    I think you are referring to MBH98. It was over ten years before the details of what was done in that paper were exposed in this very blog. Buried deep in an Open Thread, Jolliffe finally said Mann’s use of PCA was not standard.

    And replacing the nonstandard PCA implementation with a standard implementation had virtually no effect on the results. Basically, it came to arguing about something not much bigger than “rounding error”.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // November 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Reply


    Much of the public skepticism about warming comes from what a great many of my acquaintance sees as hysterical advocacy. For instance, they simply do not believe 6-7C rises when the Met Office in the UK forecasts them. They do not believe the Met Office can forecast its way out of a paper bag. They are not stupid or venal to feel this way, and you will have a hard time telling them that Vicky Pope can forecast 30 years out better than she can forecast 3 months out.

    Then a better term would be not “public skepticism” but “public ignorance,” since they have weather confused with climate.

    Which side will win a hand of bla ckj ack is utterly unpredictable. Or where a ro ull ette ball will land. Nonetheless, casinos stay in business. When you understand why that is so, you will understand the difference between weather and climate, and why one is predictable and one isn’t.

  • Timothy Chase // November 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury wrote:

    What we are seeing has nothing to do with quality control, “auditing” or even satisfaction of personal curiosity. Make no mistake, what is going on here is nothing short of the criminalization of science.

    All Steve McIntyre and the less qualifieds want is data and lines of code that they can cherry pick and otherwise misrepresent — like the emails themselves, I might add. And of course throw gravel in the machine with never-ending demands, forcing scientists to defend themselves, making scientists appear secretive when they are anything but. Personally, I don’t see any reason for helping them any more than is absolutely required.

    But as it is NASA GISS makes available an incredible amount of material. Heck, they public domain almost daily versions of their models, make available the data they use, reference the papers that determine the inputs (e.g., emissions).

    Hadley is a little different. But then if one wants to complain, complain to Hadley. Meanwhile, for those who have a little common sense it is always possible to compare independent lines of evidence and see their congruence. Hadley’s results aren’t that much different from GISS, NOAA, etc.. In fact they show less warming (currently) than NASA GISS.

  • BlogReader // November 28, 2009 at 2:09 am | Reply

    Rad Ladbury: For those calling for more “openness”, I guess my response is to ask what this would buy us.

    I can see Microsoft making the same claims vs Linux. Isn’t it better to keep security code under wraps so that hackers won’t figure out how to get around it?

    To be anti-openness is to be on the wrong side of history.

  • luminous beauty // November 28, 2009 at 2:27 am | Reply


    Buried deep in an Open Thread, Jolliffe finally said Mann’s use of PCA was not standard.

    Looking back at that thread, I can’t find anything in Ian Jolliffe’s remarks with such conclusive finality, though certain parties have obviously interpreted them as such.

    Consider if you will his closing statement on the matter:

    Shortly before I entered this discussion I read through Ammann & Wahl (2007) in attempt to bring myself more up-to-date with matters related to ’short segment centring’ (I agree that this is a better description than ‘decentring’ – it’s a shame it’s such a mouthful) and related hockey stick matters. It soon became apparent that to get close to understanding the details of the current debate (seeing the wood for the trees) I would need access to a non-trivial number of other papers, not to mention supplementary material. Simply getting hold of all of these in my retirement would be a challenge, whilst reading them all would need a large investment of time. So I do not expect to have an informed opinion on this in the near future.

  • luminous beauty // November 28, 2009 at 3:12 am | Reply

    I would suggest to michel, that before numerical circulation models became available for weather prediction, predictions of more than a couple of days were quite beyond the empirical methods used. Nowadays, weather bureaus often supply two week forecasts with some useful confidence, and seasonal forecasts are significantly better than the reading of goat entrails, which is approximate to what michel’s standard of politically manipulated mass media perception based prognostication amounts.

  • AndyL // November 28, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Reply

    Caerbannog, Luminous:

    Lets not fight MBH again here. However in the context of a discussion about openness, I think it was agreed that the technique used was not standard and was not correctly described in the paper. Yes the difference was small, but those kinds of things are worth checking, and may have been resolved sooner had there been more openness at the time.


    We are not going to agree about the motives of sceptics. I agree it is important that working scientists are not perpetually hounded by requests for more and more information. However I think the line needs to be moved from the situation today, so for instance no more careful planning about how to use legal defences to avoid handing over data, or refusing to say which stations were used in a temperature series. Perhaps there should be a standard protocol agreed covering what should be disclosed in what circumstances?

    RC is now showing a list of the material that is in the public domain. That is a welcome move. In the long run, it will increase the move toward openness as all new studies will need to show what they have released on that list.

  • Kevin McKinney // November 28, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Reply

    AndyL, I appreciate your openness to give this material a look. But I’m a little uncomfortable with the term “conspiracy theory.” It suggests reading large conclusions into small observations, unchecked by a sense of proportion or verisimilitude.

    But the corporate/think tank actions laid out in Climate Cover Up, on DeSmogBlog, and elsewhere are not speculative! They are well-reported and well-documented. Exxon’s donations to a host of think-tanks and lobbying groups are a matter of (tax) record. The fact that climate lobbyists outnumber Congresspersons four to one is a matter of (registration) record. And so on.

    Nor is the current controversy speculative: look at the speed and range of the dissemination of the hacked emails. This doesn’t happen accidentally, nor randomly.

    An even clearer example of this phenomenon is last month’s “spin of the month,” the Latif affair, now seemingly forgotten. If you are not familiar with it, Dr. Mojib Latif, presenting research into climatic internal variablility (especially the various “oscillations”–PDO etc) said that these might result in a “pause” in warming over the next decade or so. In pretty short order, this was being cited by AGW denialist bloggers and commenters that “warming has stopped.”

    Just last Sunday–and as the present story broke–Latif was interviewed by NPR’s Guy Raz, who asked if he felt his work was being misused. Latif responded, “Yes. It is being misused,” and went on to explain why.

    Now, how is it that a small part of a relatively obscure conference presentation by a scientist utterly unknown to the general public is echoed to thousands of mainstream media outlets in such a short time? It’s not even that sexy a story! Is there another hypothesis than that there are people pushing the story in an organized fashion? Especially when this goes on more-or-less continuously?

    One month it’s somebody deciding that scientists for the last 150 years have been forgetting that thermodynamic theory “forbids” the greenhouse effect; the next, it’s a high school instructor exalting nineteenth-century methods of measuring atmospheric CO2; the month after that, there’s the revelation from yet another amateur that CO2 actually has a short life-time in the atmosphere, contrary to 50 years of scholarship that says otherwise. (Yes, these are all real examples, though the sequence in which I present them is arbitrary.)

    That there is an organized pushing of these stories is not arcane conspiracy, it’s observable by anyone following this area of interest. Of course, the folks at WUWT assess it differently–they’d see it as an organized push to get “the truth” out there, and cut through the “conspiracy” or “scam” that is mainstream climate science. I ask you, who is wearing the tin hats?

    But I don’t think for a moment that these folks are “the majority.” You see, I do give the majority credit, as you recommend. Most people are more worried about their jobs and their lives, and rightfully so. They don’t have time to dig endlessly for the facts, or to sift through all the “he said, she said.”

    In my opinion, most people are rather tired of the noise, and really don’t want to hear a lot more of it. I don’t blame them, either–the polarization and vituperation are indeed off-putting.

    So you go back to evidence. Who is telling a consistent, well-supported story? And who is just using debater’s tactics to try to score (public opinion) points?

  • Ray Ladbury // November 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Reply

    Blogreader and Andy L,
    My objection is not to “openness”. By and large, climate science has been exceptionally open. My objection is to changing how we do science to accommodate idiots.

    More than anything else, a quick perusal of the posts by denialists reveals how dumb they are. Their posts radiate stupidity. Is it really your contention that we have to convince such people–people who aren’t even capable of comprehending what they read, are too lazy to find data that are publicly available and who are motivated entirely by ideology?

    I ask again: What have we learned from any denialist perusal of data or code that advanced understanding of climat even marginally?

    Sorry, but science deals in evidence. If people refuse to look at the evidence, they are beyond the reach of science. Are these the people we want setting policy?

  • michel // November 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Reply

    First, thanks for the reference to Raypierre’s book, which, at least the sections I have read so far, is great. Very clear. Nice section on Venus, Earth, CO2 and water vapor, with numbers in it. Recommended.

    Second, the root problem a lot of you are having is your inability to admit that reasonable informed people can look at the same evidence as you all, and reach different conclusions.

    [Response: I'll call your bluff.

    Who are these reasonably informed people, and what different conclusions have they reached?]

    But, they can, and they are. The desire to demonize one’s opponents and the feeling that there is no legitimate opposition to one’s ideas, and therefore no need to engage intellectually, is very dangerous. It ends up in the darker places of the 20C. It is always justified by the argument that the opponents are evil and standing in the way of something really, really important. Like, salvation, or the victory of the proletariat, or the preservation of the Aryan race.

    Anytime you see this sort of thing being expressed in a concerted way by a movement’s adherents, you know you are in the presence of something very fishy.

    The pragmatic point I would make is, even if you feel it, do not say it. You just turn people off. It is not a useful tactic in the struggle to persuade.

    The problem most of my acquaintance have with the Met Office is not that they do not know the difference between climate and weather. Its that they don’t think the Met Office knows how to forecast anything. Climate, weather, or anything else.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // November 28, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Reply

    Someone brought up Linux and open source. Actually a good example to follow, including the complete absence of guarantees, and the expectation of users actually reading manuals with comprehension before harrassing the community doing the actual work.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Reply

    Michel, perhaps you would care to come up with a scientific interpretation of the evidence that takes into account 3 decades of uninterrupted warming (i.e. each decade warmer than the last) and in which each year this decade has been among the top ten; in which the troposphere is warming while the stratosphere is cooling; in which we have lost trillions of tons of ice; in which phenological evidence cogently shows warming; in which the most significant warming has been seen when the sun’s influence is least (e.g. winter, night…). That’s a start. If you can come up with a believable scientific that explains all these things, then we can see how it does on other evidence.

    I contend that there is no scientific thoeory in opposition to the consensus theory. Prove me wrong.

    Oh, and I call Godwin’s law on your invocation of “the Aryan race.” By the rules of intertube argument, you’ve already lost. ;-)

  • dhogaza // November 28, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Reply

    Andy Revkin’s latest …

  • caerbannog // November 28, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Reply

    Someone brought up Linux and open source. Actually a good example to follow, including the complete absence of guarantees, and the expectation of users actually reading manuals with comprehension before harrassing the community doing the actual work.

    Yes — imagine how the Linux developers would react to interlopers posting “Linux sux!” messages on the Linux kernel developers’ mailing list. They’d make tamino, Ray Ladbury, et al. look like pussycats!

  • luminous beauty // November 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Reply


    Lets not fight MBH again here. However in the context of a discussion about openness, I think it was agreed that the technique used was not standard and was not correctly described in the paper. Yes the difference was small, but those kinds of things are worth checking, and may have been resolved sooner had there been more openness at the time.

    Excuse me for jumping to conclusions, but you are the one who brought ‘novel methods’ into the discussion. If you were referring to something else, forgive me, but as you have a history of anti-Mann argumentation here, I think my inference is justifiable.

    It is trivial that MBH followed a novel procedure. They say so clearly. They did not explain what was novel completely nor perfectly, but methods never are. Some expectation of prior knowledge and expert understanding needs be assumed. There is nothing incorrect about this, but rather in what M&M incorrectly inferred.

    Which gets me back to my original question which you seem unwilling to address, Especially considering you admit the whole affair was of piddling consequence:

    If . . . the tyros either still do not understand or refuse to accept where they have gone wrong, what is to be done?

  • arch stanton // November 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Reply

    Hi again y’all-

    Like some of the other posts I have made here; I don’t want to post this over at RC because RC doesn’t need another “amen”– man or another OT post bitching about the behavior of some regular there.

    I consider RC as by far the best source for “the science side” that exists IMO (I suspect/hope that Tamino understands). I don’t want to clutter the threads there with my OT musings and awe.

    Gavin’s responses continue to floor me.

    It’s been a week now. Most of us mere humans would have long ago lost our patience with the repetitive misconceptions, downright lies and BS lawsuit. Not to mention all the effort involved in composing succinct polite answers to counter them.

    I guess, I just want to express my gratitude for the Herculean effort by Gavin and others (some of whom Open Mind) that provide the answers that many of us (often long time) “lurkers” use at all the thousands of secondary discussions that go on at forums, newspapers, on the street, etc.

    Thanks again folks. Keep up the good work.

  • David Horton // November 28, 2009 at 11:54 pm | Reply

    Yes luminous you are quite right. I am always bemused by the “how can they predict climate 30 years ahead when they can’t predict tomorrow’s weather” denial meme, which they trot out every time as if it is the freshest thought anyone has ever had. In fact, these days, weather forecasting is incredibly accurate compared to when I was a boy. The weather forecasts providing temperatures which are usually within a degree of being right, wind directions and speeds, chance of rain and how much, cloud cover, and so on, are all very good, certainly for the following day, and indeed for at least a few days. Oh occasionally unexpected rain will come or expected rain won’t, because of some fluke of wind direction shift etc, but the reasons are clearly recognised and the forecast for the next day amended.

    For anyone a few hundred years ago, such an ability (thanks to satellites, ground weather stations, balloons, and a very detailed understanding of weather and climate theory) would have seemed like witchcraft. Even 50 years ago the accuracy would have seemed magical (witness for example the doubt and uncertainty associated with weather forecasts for the D-Day landings).

    Weather forecasting in fact is a very good confirmation of our ability to look into the future of climate.

  • michel // November 29, 2009 at 8:55 am | Reply

    This seems to be the latest. CRU and Hadley are now going to publish their data.

    FOI investigations are now being started. The Telegraph, having broken the MP expenses story, seems to be on a roll.

    • Rattus Norvegicus // December 1, 2009 at 3:58 am | Reply

      Actually, this is not news. The latest FOI refusal from UEA to McIntyre said the same thing two weeks ago.

  • dhogaza // November 29, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Reply

    This seems to be the latest. CRU and Hadley are now going to publish their data.

    It’s the latest thing!

    1. In the FOI rejection letter sent McI, CRU said they’re working on getting the agreements amended so the propriety data – about 2% of the total used in the HadCRU product – could be released.

    2. Climategate!

    3. Denialists now claim that Climategate has forced CRU to start working to amend the agreements so they can release the data.

    Can’t make this stuff up …

  • caerbannog // November 29, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Reply

    This seems to be the latest. CRU and Hadley are now going to publish their data.

    This is great news. Now we will finally have a chance to find out why Hadley/CRU’s data show less warming than NASA/GISS’ data do.

    As folks here should know, NASA/GISS has fully disclosed all of its data and methods for many years now. Every single piece of information required to replicate the NASA/GISS results can be found at

    It is good to see CRU join NASA with its commitment to make full disclosure of all data and methods.

    • Duae Quartunciae // November 29, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Reply

      caerbannog, you say “Now we will finally have a chance to find out why Hadley/CRU’s data show less warming than NASA/GISS’ data do.”

      But we already know that! It has nothing to do with the the raw data being used; and you can verify the difference already with the existing data that is now available.

      From the FAQ available at Met Office Hadley Centre:

      Q. What are the differences between HadCRUT3, GISS and NCDC global temperature analyses?

      A. The datasets are largely based on the same raw data, but each analysis treats that data differently.

      HadCRUT3 is perhaps the simplest. The available data are averaged onto a regular grid. No attempt is made to fill grid boxes where there are no data, instead the empty boxes are treated as an additional source of uncertainty when area averages, such as the global average, are calculated.

      The GISS analysis uses an interpolated sea-surface temperature analysis, which fills in some of the gaps in the sea-surface temperature data. The land station data is also interpolated over data free regions (including over the oceans) to a maximum distance of 1200km. This has a particularly large effect over the Arctic and Antarctic where there are few data points and temperature variability is large.

      One important thing to note is that the difference between the GISS and HadCRUT3 analyses are smaller than the calculated uncertainties on the HadCRUT3 data set – the data sets are not inconsistent. The largest component of the uncertainty arises from the fact that temperatures over large areas of the Earth’s surface remain unobserved. There are very few observations in the Arctic and Antarctic. GISS attempts to estimate temperatures in these areas, HadCRUT3 does not. This is the major source of difference between the analyses, which can be seen if, instead of a global average, one takes the average temperature anomaly between 60S and 60N. Over this slightly smaller area, the GISS and HadCRUT3 analyses give very similar results.

      There is a third global analysis produced by NCDC that also uses interpolation to fill in some of the gaps. Their method typically fills fewer gaps than the GISS analysis and the global average generally lies somewhere between GISS and HadCRUT3.

  • caerbannog // November 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Reply

    … and a suggestion from Prof Jones that a “trick” is used to “hide the decline” in temperature.

    Quality reporting from the Telegraph.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 29, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Reply

    Ah, but the evil climate scientists have a time machine, so they knew about the hack before it happened and so cleverly said they were going release the data before we made them!!!

    And then they went back to the 17th century and altered the phenological records for the date the cherry blossoms bloom on Mt. Fuji and the dates daffodils bloom in Britain, and, and, a whole bunch of other stuff….

    Ow! It hurts my brain to try to think like these guys!

  • Timothy Chase // November 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Reply

    caerbannog wrote:

    This is great news. Now we will finally have a chance to find out why Hadley/CRU’s data show less warming than NASA/GISS’ data do….

    Taking what you say a step further, it would seem that over time, particularly with the ability of the entire climatological community to compare the differences in method in this and other areas, we are likely to see a convergence of methods and consequent results, perhaps even less “product differentiation.” Not exactly sure this is what the “skeptics” had in mind.

  • Philippe Chantreau // November 29, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Reply

    Congratulations Michel. The success of the climate anti science campaign far exceeds anything the tobacco guys could ever muster. You owe them big, however.

  • dhogaza // November 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Reply

    And then they went back to the 17th century and altered the phenological records for the date the cherry blossoms bloom on Mt. Fuji

    Oh, that one’s easy … all the people climbing Mt Fuji have compacted the mountain, lowering its elevation, causing the cherry blossoms to bloom early each year!

  • Barton Paul Levenson // November 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Reply


    Now we will finally have a chance to find out why Hadley/CRU’s data show less warming than NASA/GISS’ data do.

    We’ve known why that is for a long, long time. Or those of with at least superficial acquaintance with the science have known it.

  • caerbannog // November 29, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Reply

    We’ve known why that is for a long, long time. Or those of with at least superficial acquaintance with the science have known it.

    (tinfoil-hat html tag should go here)
    The alleged difference between the way that CRU and NASA treats the Arctic region is just an excuse that CRU has been using to avoid showing us their real data! It’s all part of the grand One-World-Government conspiracy.
    (/tinfoil-hat html tag should go here)

  • AndyL // November 29, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Reply


    I did raise ‘novel methods’, but not MBH – that was Luminous. However to answer your question “what is to be done”, well I think climate science does need to display more openness and responsiveness, even more than most other scientific disciplines. Judith Curry seems to be on the right lines.
    It is the petty obstructionism, proven by the emails, that provoke people into the idea “what do they have to hide?” The correction of US temps was an example of making a minor correction when something was spotted by non-scientists. The current spat over the Tiljander series is the opposite. I can’t be sure what is correct, but to re-use the series in a new paper and not even comment on its use , after the orientation was updated in a correction to a different peer-reviewed paper, is surely wrong.
    My other suggestions were made earlier.

    If there is a conspiracy, how many people would need to be involved? Tens, hundreds, thousands? Do you think it would be possible to do this without a leak? I think there are obsessives out there, focussed on a topic of interest, but cannot agree this is in any way organised. BTW, the evidence does not support your idea that the speed of dissemination of the “hacked” emails points to concerted action. I saw the original “a miracle occurred” post pointing to the file on RC at the time, and ignored it assuming it was spam. No-one reacted to that, and it was several days later that another link was posted on different site – and the owner removed the link. It was another day or two before it took off, not surprisingly, like wildfire.

    Oh and finally, in spirit of openness, I recognise warming is happening and support conventions to cut CO2 emissions (and indeed cuts in total energy use). The real question is surely the degree of warming related to CO2 doubling, so this is a side-show except to the extent that it indirectly damages the credibility of those suggesting numbers at the top of the range.

  • David Gould // November 30, 2009 at 12:58 am | Reply

    According to the UEA web site, 95 per cent of the data has been available for years. But the Telegraph does not report on that part, of course … And neither do the sceptics.

  • Ray Ladbury // November 30, 2009 at 1:12 am | Reply

    I am utterly astounded by the hubris of these idiots. They are now proposing themselves as “auditors” to validate all code or data–this despite the unprecedented level of scrutiny given to both results and methodology in climate science and the fact that they possess zero expertise in climate science or in science in general.

    All I can say is “Wow!” These folks are idiots!

  • Kevin McKinney // November 30, 2009 at 4:41 am | Reply

    Andy, I’m trying to tell you, I’m not talking about some super-secret tin-hat job, just a reasonably discreet but very well-funded astroturf/PR campaign. (Drop the word “conspiracy” if it helps.) The secrecy is far from impenetrable; the denialist machine has been the subject of at least three books by various reporters, as well as a feature article in Newsweek (IIRC), numerous videos, und so weiter.

    Lying is not illegal under most circumstances, so they don’t have prosecution to fear–though the morality is IMO another story.

    I don’t want to fuss excessively about the “speed of dissemination” issue, but my perception is different than yours. When Imhofe/Morano or Heartland puts something out there, it’s spread quite efficiently, by my observations.

    Here’s a link to the Newsweek piece, FWIW:

    And a blog piece:

  • billt // November 30, 2009 at 9:51 am | Reply

    Ray Ladbury – of course, that was the intent. Now anything that is not approved by the climate auditors can be exposed as ‘fraud’ to all the eager blog-readers

  • san quintin // November 30, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Reply

    Dear All
    I was over at Christopher Booker’s Daily Telegraph blog yesterday. The posts were by the biggest bunch of right-wing, ideologically driven, ignorant lunatics that I’ve ever read. The alarming thing is, this is how most of the population thinks! It’s like going back to pre-Enlightenment days…except this time the issues are as serious as they could be. I almost want to give up.

  • AndyL // November 30, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Reply

    The first link is startling – over this side of the pond the political parties are all on the side of the concensus. We forget how political and lobby-oriented things are over there. It closed though by suggesting Exxon had switched sides and the campaign broadly failed.
    I couldn’t see any great significance to the second link, but I don’t recognise most of the names.

    My warning about believing in conspiracies is that it encourages you to behave badly to ‘defeat’ the conspiracy. Judith Curry described it as “circling the wagons”. This can be counter-productive at the very least.

  • Kevin McKinney // November 30, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Reply

    Andy, the significance of the second link is that it’s essentially a distribution list; Morano is acting as director of a clearinghouse of climate change disinformation. Note that, prior to the Democrats taking control of Congress, he was communications director for the Congressional Committee on Environment and Public Works, and was during this time doing climate disinformation on the public dime, or so one must presume.

    Your caution against being drawn into bad behavior is salutary, but so is a clear vision of the opposition. It’s clear that they are well-organized and well-funded–and not motivated by concern for the truth, or love of science.

    (Again, I’m not accusing every “skeptic” out there–but there are a lot of “guns for hire” involved. For instance, the registered lobbyists are that virtually by definition.)

    Morano info:

    (Sourcewatch has a lot of information on the “organized opposition.”)

  • michel // December 1, 2009 at 9:13 am | Reply

    “Congratulations Michel. The success of the climate anti science campaign far exceeds anything the tobacco guys could ever muster. You owe them big, however.”

    What on earth are you talking about? This is really turning into total tin-hat insanity. All anyone is talking about is publishing data and code that must exist in reasonably coherent form to have been used in academic quality articles for publication, to be published in the form in which it was so used.

    And now we are getting all this crazed stuff that is reminiscent of the worst conspiratorial ravings of the right wing anti-AGW lobby.

    Guys, please wake up. This is by modern standards trivial amounts of data and fairly small text files. All this stuff about Exxon and the rest of it is completely irrelevant. I do not doubt there are people funding both pro and anti AGW pieces from venal motives. But its totally irrelevant to the publication issue.

    Ray is quite wrong to think people are proposing themselves as auditors in any official capacity. They just want to check the scientific basis for huge public spending programs that in the end we are all going to fund.

    But, if you read the stuff coming out of CRU now, this point seems to have been largely accepted, and they are going to publish.

    The thing that is totally baffling is that they should have thrown out the raw data on which the HADCRUT3 series is based. That (for which Jones by the way is not responsible) is just incomprehensible. Presumably they will now have to do all that work over again. They have been their own worst enemies on this.

    [Response: You've been hoodwinked.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Reply

    Michel, have you been reading the posts at Realclimate? Several of these assholes have in fact set themselves up as the only valid auditors of code. Not only do these idiots grossly overexaggerate the importance of the code itself, they present no evidence of their own competence or bona fides. Indeed, given their general lack of understanding of climate science, I’d guess the Dunning and Kruger are salivating at the prospect of getting these guys’ email addresses.

  • Philippe Chantreau // December 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Reply

    Word salad. Go on Michel, I’m sure you believe in what you say.

  • george // December 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Reply

    Andy L said:

    My warning about believing in conspiracies is that it encourages you to behave badly to ‘defeat’ the conspiracy. Judith Curry described it as “circling the wagons”.

    1. An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.

    So, doesn’t the claim that some climate scientists are “circling the wagons” itself imply belief in a conspiracy?

  • BlogReader // December 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury
    Several of these assholes

    Well we are certainly off to a great start.

    . Not only do these idiots grossly overexaggerate the importance of the code itself,

    I’m perplexed at what you’re trying to argue for here. That the code, the way that the current data is modeled and shows possible future trends, is somehow not so important?

    Could this code ever possibly be wrong? Have a bug or two? Has anything ever gone wrong with having bad code?

    Again: what are you arguing for? That code shouldn’t be made publicaly available? That how the future predictions was actually generated is somehow not so important?

    they present no evidence of their own competence or bona fides

    What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Does every poster have to say what their educational background is?

    Dunning and Kruger

    overused meme: -1 points

    Can you just sum up in a couple of paragraphs why you think the code is so unimportant?

  • tamino // December 1, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Reply

    Can you just sum up in a couple of paragraphs why you think the code is so unimportant?

    Allow me.

    This isn’t a case of a single line of evidence, or a single publication, or a single team of researchers, or a single national science academy, or even a single century, that establishes without doubt that the climate is warming due to human activity. If you want to doubt the CRU temperature record, use GISS or NCDC. If you don’t like UAH, use RSS. If you want to doubt the paleo reconstruction of Mann et al., use Briffa or Moberg. If you mistrust sea ice data from NSIDC, use JAXA. If you don’t believe glaciers, look at phenology or sea level or species migration. Jesus Christ! How many signs do you have to have? ANY WAY YOU LOOK AT IT, THE EVIDENCE POINTS TO THE SAME INEXORABLE CONCLUSION.

    So, none of us — really, none, not even Ray Ladbury — denies the usefulness of having as much information as possible. What we object to is the truly moronic idea that somehow, someway, any re-examination or re-evaluation is going to change the bottom line conclusion. It isn’t. Or that Phil Jones has falsified results or participated in a conspiracy. He hasn’t.

    But the motive of those who are most vocal, most insistent, and most shrill about the need for “openness” isn’t to get at the truth. It’s to obscure the truth. You can bet your sweet ass that is despicable behavior, deserving of every insult I or Ray Ladbury or Phil Jones can heap on them.

    As for openness is general, it’s a good idea but like all ideals there are practical limitations. Climate science has done an outstanding job making data and methods freely available — not perfect, but nothing is.

    So get the hell of your high horses and start lobbying your politicians to act on the global warming threat, now, or endure the scorn that you richly deserve.

  • Hank Roberts // December 1, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Reply

    David Appel, “Quark Soup”
    (at his new location)

    “What if there WAS a conspiracy?

    Let’s back up for a minute.

    Suppose the CRU theft does put all of its author’s scientific findings into disrepute. (I don’t believe this, but let’s suppose.) Would that matter?

    It would not change the radiative properties of carbon dioxide, as Jim Manzi has noted.

    This episode does not affect climate models at all. They will still show whatever warming is scientifically consistent with the known properties of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and the feedback of known physical processes….”

  • JCH // December 1, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Reply

    Just hang on a second there Hank, you missed the email in which the AGW hoaxer scientists ordered the recent La Nina to be ended! Using the power of email to shut down natural variability in order to scuttle the theory of global cooling just ain’t right.

  • george // December 2, 2009 at 12:59 am | Reply

    Tamino says

    But the motive of those who are most vocal, most insistent, and most shrill about the need for “openness” isn’t to get at the truth. It’s to obscure the truth.”

    The label these folks have put on the whole email affair says it all : “Climategate”.

    Anyone who knows anything at all about Watergate would appreciate the rich irony in this, of course.

    The crime involved in Watergate was the break-in (not anything that might have been found by the burglars in the DNC headquarters at the time).

    But that irony is completely lost on those using the term in this case.

    Imagine how absurd it would have been if the Senate Watergate hearings had focussed on the “discoveries” the Watargate burglars might have made about the DNC while they were in the headquarters rather than about the breakin itself.

    But I guess “that was then, this is now.”

    Crime apparently ain’t what it used to be.

  • P. Lewis // December 2, 2009 at 1:08 am | Reply

    Tamino said

    Climate science has done an outstanding job making data and methods freely available — not perfect, but nothing is.

    James Annan has sourced some research that highlights the truth of that statement.

  • Hank Roberts // December 2, 2009 at 1:25 am | Reply

    Peter Watts, eloquently:

    As in Post Script, Climate Shift, and Bull Shit.

    I really wasn’t expecting so many responses (getting boinged obviously ramped up the amplitude a bit). There have been hosannas and trolls and yes, some well-taken objections to my last post, both here and around teh tubes. Once again, some of my responses are too long to fit comfortably into a typical comment thread; hence this follow-up.

    There are four major objections I feel compelled to respond to…..

  • Ray Ladbury // December 2, 2009 at 1:38 am | Reply

    BlogReader, When was the last time you heard of a scientific paper being retracted because of an error in the code? Personally, I have never heard of such a retraction. To me this implies that those wailing to look at the code are searching for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Why in the code? Well, as nearly as I can understand it’s because most of these guys are software engineers–kind of like the drunk looking for his carkeys under the street light rather than where he dropped them because the light’s better.

    Is this because scientists are astoundingly skilled progremmers? Hell no. Rather, it is because scientific programming is in some key ways an easier task than commercial programming:

    1)The code will never be used by a mass audience, but rather by a select few researchers who are aware of its limitations and typically won’t “break” the code.
    2)The code will typically be used for a relatively short time (e.g. for a particular publication) or presentation, after which it will likely be shelved, with maybe a few lines of code or a couple of subroutines making it into the next task. Even routines in coding libraries like GEANT4 often have a shelf life.
    3)There are almost always calculations we can perform where we know the answer(s) and which can be used to validate the code.
    4)Finally, there is the purpose of most scientific software, which is rarely to provide an “answer,” but rather to elucidate the factors and trends that are important, along with their interplay.

    Almost assuredly, every piece of scientific software ever written has bugs. Usually, the bugs do not SIGNIFICANTLY affect the results.

    Moreover, I stand by my D-K diagnosis. These denialists are utterly convinced that the will find THE SMOKING GUN that makes climate change go away–despite the fact that there are many, many independent lines of evidence for every tenet of the consensus theory, despite the fact that the science has been reviewed by dozens of professional and honorific scientific organizationa (none have dissented) and despite the fact that there are now thosands of papers supporting the consensus theory.

    Somehow, despite the fact that these guys have zero training in climate science (or in science in general as near as I can tell), they want to set themselves as the ultimate arbiters of scientific truth. This transcends hubris.

  • michel // December 2, 2009 at 2:02 am | Reply

    It appears Prof Jones is to step down pending an enquiry.

    Ray, no, I have not been reading the posts or the comments at Real Climate. Neither one. I find the comments particularly unreadable.

    But I don’t think it matters a jot whether they are nice or nasty people, stupid or intelligent, well informed or ignorant. The issue is not releasing to them particularly, and the issue is not their pretensions.

    I think, for the sake of climate science and for the sake of our collective future, that the smart and right thing to do is just get the code and the data out in the open.

    There is one less thing to argue about. There will still be a debate of course in blog world, but the scientists will be able to say they have done their duty, and that part of the controversy will be over.

    Tamino seems to think that there is something unpleasant and oppositional about wanting this. I do not think so. No-one has ever given a coherent explanation of why.

    [Response: Pay better attention, I said no such thing. In fact I said the opposite -- I have no objection to openness, I support it, what rankles me is using it as an excuse to create FUD.

    What I said is that "the motive of those who are most vocal, most insistent, and most shrill about the need for “openness” isn’t to get at the truth. It’s to obscure the truth." It's a damn shame, but it's true. If you don't see that, you're living in a dream world.]

    Some time ago I was asked for the name of someone who looks at the data and comes to non-consensus conclusions, or at least, finds the uncertainties in it all greater than the consensus. I read anything either Roger Pielke writes with interest, being particularly interested in RP Jr’s material on decarbonization and the UK and Australian and Chinese targets, and RP Snr’s stuff on land use. I also read Roy Spencer on feedbacks with interest.

    [Response: You mean this Roy Spencer?

    That's your problem: your "credible sources" are simply not credible.]

    I find the science a lot less settled than most people here, and the public policy issues even less so.

  • caerbannog // December 2, 2009 at 2:36 am | Reply

    But the motive of those who are most vocal, most insistent, and most shrill about the need for “openness” isn’t to get at the truth. It’s to obscure the truth.”

    Aren’t many of them the same folks who have been pushing for privatization of organizations like the National Weather Service? How does privatization like that square with openness?

  • Deep Climate // December 2, 2009 at 5:19 am | Reply

    The “hack” from a slightly different angle:

    Astroturf Friends of Science early days …

    For the first time, we can confirm both financial and logistical support from an Albertan oil company, Talisman Energy, along with circumstantial evidence of the early involvement of a second, Imperial Oil (ExxonMobil’s Canadian subsidiary). We’ll also look at the key roles played by the de Freitas brothers, geologist Tim and climate skeptic Chris. And the story leads right to the heart of a key controversy reignited by the stolen CRU emails, namely the ongoing perversion of the scientific peer review system by “skeptic” scientists.

  • george // December 2, 2009 at 5:20 am | Reply

    michel says

    There is one less thing to argue about. There will still be a debate of course in blog world, but the scientists will be able to say they have done their duty, and that part of the controversy will be over.”

    What utter bullshit.

    First, the “controversy” is not even authentic. It is manufactured.

    Second, it will never be over because there is a entire cottage industry devoted to its manufacture.

    Contrarian is their name and controversy is their game.

    The very idea that the climate scientists have somehow been “negligent” in their “duty” is a fiction created out of whole cloth by said cottage industry.

    Where (in what scientific manual?) is it written that scientists have some generic “duty” to make data and code available to Steve McIntyre and every other Hack/quack who asks for it?

    “Openness” in science is a goal, not a law and when it comes right down to it, science is FAR more open than pretty much EVERY other human endeavor precisely because the practitioners (the scientists) have chosen to make it that way.

    Even at the height of the cold war, American and Soviet scientists interacted (met for conferences, etc) when almost no one else in the two countries did.

    The sad fact of the matter is, until folks like McIntyre came along, I’d guess that climate scientists were MORE (not less) likely to share their data with those outside the field than they are now.

  • caerbannog // December 2, 2009 at 6:55 am | Reply

    To put things in perspective (and to prove that Linux is really, really crappy), I spent a few minutes mining the comments in the upcoming Linux-2.6.32 kernel source-code.

    What follows is ugly and unformatted, but it should get the point across. According to the standards of evidence used by AGW skeptics, my little quote-mine here should be considered ironclad proof that Linux simply won’t run on any computer.

    Torvalds fucked it up. Fucking broken ABI IOC3 is fucked fucked beyond believe …
    brain-damage, it’s managed to fuck things up one step further.. What the fuck is going on here? We leave junk in the beginning Shit happens.. all the algo is pure shit and should be replaced THIS IS A PIECE OF SHIT MADE BY ME long delays in kernel code are pretty sucky anyway setup the pointer arrays, this sucks loose some. This sucks :-( It sucks. I totally disown this extern calls and hard coded values here.. very sucky! assume we found an overflow. This sucks. performance sucks for guests using highmem. This sucks, but it is the best we can do.. this sucks [tm] :-( XXX I know this sucks This SUCKS. method really sucks. You can only read or write one location at a time SuckyIO interrupt routing for PICs on function 1 This sucks. There is a better wa TODO: use a hash or array, this sucks. This sucks, and it is a hack Sucks! We need to fork list. Things still suck. Note that the arbiter/ISA bridge appears to be buggy Disable archidle() by default since it is buggy really buggy something weird, or if the code is buggy support for disabling the buggy read-ahead Some old kernel bugs returned The original driver looks buggy/incomplete That turned out to be too buggy to support giveupconsole() is obviously buggy as it This feature appears to be buggy. usb-uhci seems buggy for async unlinking crap – we crashed before setuparch() This piece of crap needs to disappear That’s crap, since doing that while some partitions are opened One more crappy race: I don’t think we have any guarantee here Piles of crap below pretend to be a parser for module and kernel this bit masking stuff is crap. horrible the crap we have to deal with is when we are awake What is all this crap for? Locking and life cycle management is crappy still. This is a crappy interface. This means that the ip6tables jump stack is now crap. XXX fix this crap up totally crap, FIXME: get rid of this crap useless crap (ugh ugh ugh). This is such a hack So, here’s this grotty hack… :-( So, here’s this additional grotty hack… :-( UGLY HACK: workaround regulator framework bugs. Wheee, hackady hack Following is a work-around (a.k.a. hack) ugly hack, I can’t find a way to actually detect the disk Crude hack to get console output To keep this hack from interfering very hacky This #define is a horrible hack Hack alert ! it’s a bit of a hack. It’s still quite hacky, The hack below stinks… Now do the horrible hacks One gross hack So we use a hack, This looks like a dirty hack to me This is an ugly hack, Hack warning It’s a gross hack, XXX sleazy hack: cheap hack to support suspend/resume FIXME: this hack is definitely wrong whacked out. The following is just a hack a hack :-( My guess is that this is a hack to minimize the impact of a bug vt.c for deeply disgusting hack reasons Another Hack :-( Brutally hacked HACK WARNING!! HACK ALERT: FIXME: temporary hack FIXME: this is a hack – nstead we’re going to do a total hack job for now dirty hack time. THE PADDING THIS STARTS WITH IS A HORRIBLE HACK THAT SHOULD NOT LIVE Right now we use a sleazy hack which is an ugly hack.

    And this just goes on and on and on….

  • JCH // December 2, 2009 at 7:36 am | Reply

    I don’t know if this was mentioned either here or at RC, but recently there was a trial of two Bear Stearns fund managers. The government based much of their case on emails. The defense was easily able to show the jury that the prosecutors were taking the emails out of context.

  • scheng1 // December 2, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Reply

    If only those hackers are as good at solving the environmental problems as gaining private information, the world will be a better place

  • TrueSceptic // December 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Reply


    Sorry that this is OT but it would be good if you could respond to this claim about your treatment of CET

    [Response: I don't let fools dictate my responses.]

    • TrueSceptic // December 2, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Reply

      Yes, he’s a fool, and an arrogant one too. It would be good to expose his foolishness for all to see, that’s all. :)

  • Adam // December 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Reply

    “Aren’t many of them the same folks who have been pushing for privatization of organizations like the National Weather Service? How does privatization like that square with openness?”

    One of the reasons why some of the data used by CRU is under an NDA, is because the UKMO are backward in releasing their data. (One of ) The reason for this is because of a part-privatisation by the Thatcher/major government. By giving the UKMO “Agency” status, they required them, by law, to generate a defined percentage of their revenue from commercial activities. They also introduced cost centres etc. so that even (then) current “customers” eg the MOD (which the UKMO was a part of) had to “pay” for existing data services.

    Apparently this was to improve efficiency through competition.

  • Jay Alt // December 2, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Reply

    Hi All –
    This is a related data matter where a false claim re-emerging that’s already been refuted. But I can’t seem to relocate it.

    Gavin on RC had a post (or perhaps a serires replies) some time ago that analyzed the minimum size of a HCN station network, distributed globally and equally, that would necessary to measure a global warming signal. It was a surprisingly small number, <100 IRRC.

    Confusionists recently claim the 'missing' 2% of the data will make a difference.

    I can't seem to pull it out of the huge RC archive. Any help would be appreciated. Thanx !

  • David B. Benson // December 2, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Reply

    michel // December 2, 2009 at 2:02 am — Probably if you bothered to study the science, you would find that it is quite, quite settled regarding the centennial scale effects of the continued addition of excess CO2.

    Try actually reading Weart’s book, please.

    As for the consequences, try Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”. Here is a review:

  • michel // December 3, 2009 at 12:28 am | Reply

    What you, many of you, cannot bear is that there are people, equally intelligent, equally well meaning, equally impartial, equally informed, who can look at the evidence on a topic and simply think differently from you.

    It must be very difficult, one feels your collective pain, and this is one place where on one subject you can all express your rage that this awful thing really happens. One accepts that you have a deep need to do this … [edit]

    [Response: Your arrogance knows no bounds. Now that you've set yourself up as our judge, slap yourself off the high horse and face the truth. It's not any "deep need" that drives us -- it's a direct threat to the habitability of the planet and the quality of life of the entire human race.

    You REALLY need to get educated on this. But in order to do that, you first have to realize that at present, you are NOT. When you espouse Pielke and Spencer, you reveal that you're not even close -- but you are a sucker for fast-talking fools.

    You've been pointed in the right direction, repeatedly, but you just refuse to go. Lose your arrogance, admit your ignorance, there might be hope for you.]

  • Eamon // December 3, 2009 at 2:04 am | Reply

    JCH@December 2, 2009 at 7:36 am

    The Bear Stearns case was referenced by Spencer Wearts in an illuminating interview regarding the CRU hack in the Washington Post:

  • P. Lewis // December 3, 2009 at 2:28 am | Reply

    Re Jay Alt

    [Standard disclaimer applies]

    This is very approximate, but given you can interpolate out to ~1200 km IIRC (Hansen et al.?) from a measurement station, then I can only assume it goes something like divide the Earth’s surface area (5.1E8 km2) by max interpolatable area from one station (pi*1200^2 ~ 4524000 km2), which gives ~113 stations.

    As to expecting 2% of missing data to have a significant effect on the result obtained by using the other 98%, how many dogs do you know that are wagged by their tails?

    Now this missing 2% is just regional temperature data from NWSs that have not agreed to the release of their data (isn’t it?). In all likelihood it is going to be little different in magnitude to contiguous or nearby station data, and so will not affect the outcome much/if at all.

    But consider the following extremes.

    Example 1. Consider 100 samples, 98 of which you know are not desert temperatures, giving a global average temperature of about 14.5°C. Now add in 2 withheld high-temperature samples of say 30°C (a realistic high for a 24-h average Sahara temperature). What is the new average global temperature? [(98*14.5)+30+30]/100 = 14.8°C.

    And that won’t change whether you have 980 with 20 missing or 9800 with 200 missing, or whatever.

    Ah, but that’s hot. What if they’re cold temps missing? After all, we’ve been cooling for 10 years (Hah!).

    Example 2. Well, let’s suppose it’s data from roughly the two poles. Average annual Antarctic temp is around -21°C (summer -7°C; winter -35°C), but let’s use Vostok at a chilly -55°C average; average annual Arctic temp is around -15°C give or take (summer 0°C; winter -30°C).

    What is the new average global temperature? [(98*14.5)+(-55-15)]/100 = 13.5°C.

    Ah, see it’s a lot colder: a whole 1°C lower average than they are telling us with the missing data!


    The missing data, whether hotter or colder (or somewhere in between), has always (for simplicity) been hotter or colder (or somewhere in between), just as the 98% not missing has always given that global average. All it will do is raise/lower (or not affect at all) the global average magnitude when the correction for the extra 2% is applied. It won’t affect where the global average is or was ever trending … up!

    But I’m willing to be corrected by anyone (septic included) if they can provide illustrative figures to the contrary.

  • Scott A. Mandia // December 3, 2009 at 3:43 am | Reply


    You do realize that Pielke, Sr. just wrote the following in EOS:

    Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are signifi cant and involve a diverse range of first- order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern
    during the coming decades.

  • dhogaza // December 3, 2009 at 6:09 am | Reply

    It must be very difficult, one feels your collective pain

    I’m really hurting over this global cooling stuff, seeing as denialist hero Roy Spencer’s UAH unit has just announced that this last November was the warmest in the satellite record.,

    Go celebrate global cooling, dude, oh wait, my gosh.

    Maybe Southern Baptists are all commies, too.

  • michel // December 3, 2009 at 7:06 am | Reply

    I’m not arrogant. Or gullible.

    [Response: You have proven time and time again that you have a deep-seated need to legitimize doubt about man-made global warming being a serious problem. This, in spite of your staunch refusal to invest the effort actually to understand it in depth -- you're satisfied with sound bites and junk food. Arrogant.

    You hold up Pielke and Spencer as credible sources. Gullible.]

    But I cannot be shouted or invected into saying the world is different from the way I see it. I won’t change my mind about something just because people don’t like the way I see it. That’s all. We see things differently. People do.

    [Response: We too will not be "invected" into admitting that matters of fact are matters of opinion. But you insist it must be. Arrogance.

    We've pointed to you Spencer Weart's outstanding book. Many times. Apparently you don't have the patience or skill to study it thoroughly. But you continue to challenge us to "prove it." If you think that happens in a one-paragraph blog post, you're even more gullible.

    You're a blind man who keeps insisting that maybe the sky is green rather than blue ... and that we should show some goddamn respect for others who "see things differently." You don't see at all.]

  • Ray Ladbury // December 3, 2009 at 11:17 am | Reply

    The Pielke’s insistence that all climate effects arise from land use changes is simply not tenable. For one thing, we are seeing the largest changes in regions where activity has been the least (e.g. in the Arctic, on mountaintops, in the oceans…) and with seasonal and diurnal signatures that are very difficult to explain with a land-use paradigm. When you add in the simultaneous tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling, it strains credulity to contend that even the Pielkes believe their own spiel.
    To contend that the Pielkes have a deep understanding of climate is ludicrous–as evidenced by their mediocre publication record. See

    The thing you have to realize is that not every scientist has equal skill, equal wisdom or equal expertise, and therefore you cannot count their opinions equally.

    Would you reject quantum mechanics merely because Einstein did? And Einstein contributed much more to the understanding of quantum theory than Pielke has to understanding climate.

    Scientific consensus is a very subtle thing, but no less real or important because of it. In the end, it is about the evidence. Pielke simply refuses to consider most of the evidence.

  • Adrian // December 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm | Reply

    This will contribute little to the debate, but I think it is just ‘kinda cool’ that the BBC ran an article today on climate change and cited the CRU data. Perhaps the beginning of a return to normality? Or am I being too optimistic?!!

  • Layman // December 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Reply

    OK, I’m not here to stir up any controversy, just want a little help understanding. I have read in a few places that the data collected by the CRU in its “raw” format (whatever that means) was thrown away at some point and that all we have is the data as prepared by CRU (again, whatever that means). I have also read that someone is alleging the same thing now about the NASA data.

    If someone could give me just a layman’s version of why this is not important I would appreciate it. It seems that every time I make some progress in understanding the arguments behind AGW I get slammed and confused by a bunch of news articles in the mainstream media (the latest series shouting that the data is all faked).


  • cmb // December 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Reply

    Speaking of global cooling – is it just me, or is the CRU data that’s coming in for such a denialist drubbing actually the only one supporting their “it hasn’t wamed since 1998″ meme?

  • michel // December 3, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Reply

    I don’t think Pielke Snr says what you suggest he does, that “all climate effects arise from land use changes”.

    Here is how he is quoted on Pielke Jr site.

    “There is no question, for course, that the human addition of carbon dioxide is a major climate forcing, both with respect to its warming influence but also its biogeochemical effect. However, there are other equally or more important climate forcings in terms of altering climate patterns such as droughts, floods and extreme weather.”

    “With respect to the role of humans in the climate system, there is incontrovertible evidence that we exert both warming and cooling effects. The warming occurs through the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and certain aerosols, and cooling [occurs due to] other types of aerosols. Land use change due to human land management also effects warming and cooling forcings.”

    • Former Skeptic // December 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Reply


      Pielke Sr. is right insofar as to other human activities can have cooling impacts. No one’s saying that it doesn’t. However, the more important issue that RPSr. simply doesn’t get is that of scale. In short, local or regional land cover change simply cannot account for global increases in mean temperature — Ray points out a very pertinent example above.

      Thus, calling them “equally or more important climate forcings” is a very, very, very far stretch that RPSr. has repeatedly failed to show, especially with his recent peculiar and somewhat dubious scientific research (e.g. Klotzbach et al 09).

      You probably do not know that IPCC AR4 WG1 reviewed the influence of these impacts at a global scale and found that to be insignificant with respect to other more pertinent GHG forcings. I suggest you take a look – its on p. 683, section But as I see that you have not read Spencer Weart’s book, despite insistent suggestions to do so, I won’t hold my breath.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // December 3, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Reply


    I have read in a few places that the data collected by the CRU in its “raw” format (whatever that means) was thrown away at some point and that all we have is the data as prepared by CRU (again, whatever that means).

    You heard wrong. CRU threw out THEIR OWN COPIES of the raw data. The raw data still exists at the assorted National Meteorological Services CRU got it from in the first place.

  • dhogaza // December 3, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Reply

    OK, I’m not here to stir up any controversy, just want a little help understanding. I have read in a few places that the data collected by the CRU in its “raw” format (whatever that means) was thrown away at some point and that all we have is the data as prepared by CRU (again, whatever that means). I have also read that someone is alleging the same thing now about the NASA data.

    If someone could give me just a layman’s version of why this is not important

    You’re being lied to, somewhat subtly, but lied to nonetheless.

    CRU hasn’t kept all of its *copies* of the raw data sent to it by various national met organizations.

    The 95%+ that is non-proprietary is all available at the GHCN repository.

    Throwing away *copies* of raw data is not the same as throwing away raw data, because the latter implies it’s gone forever and unretrievable, which is not true in this case. To make a new copy of that raw data, if they cared, they’d go get the raw data again the same way they did the first time – request it from various national met services.

    Apparently some of the copies were lost during an office move long ago. Back then, I imagine the files were kept on tape and the tapes lost (the daily files are large).

    More recently, they’ve weeded out sites that show substantial urban heat island effects and the like. The denialist screaming is interesting as they’ve been shouting “warming’s not real, it’s an artifact of the UHI effect!” and now they’re screaming “they threw out stations exhibiting a large UHI effect!”.

    In other words, whatever CRU and others do, they’re going to get screamed at and accused of fraud.

    Let me repeat that point: NO MATTER WHAT SCIENTISTS DO, THEY’LL BE ACCUSED OF FRAUD. Unless they say AGW is false, of course, in which case they’re worshipped.

    I would appreciate it. It seems that every time I make some progress in understanding the arguments behind AGW I get slammed and confused by a bunch of news articles in the mainstream media (the latest series shouting that the data is all faked).

    That’s what they’re trying to do. It’s not your fault. They’re trying to brainwash you.

    UAH – the skeptics choice – has just declared November to be the warmest in the satellite era.

    No surface station data there. Just satellite data analyzed by two southern baptist skeptics well-loved by the screaming denialsphere.

    When their favorite source of temp data (because it shows the least warming) shows that this decade is hotter than the last, etc … what does that say regarding their claims that CRU and NASA GISS just “make up” data to “prove warming that doesn’t exist”?

  • David B. Benson // December 3, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Reply

    michel // December 3, 2009 at 7:06 am — Standing offer. Find so much as one error in Weart’s book.

  • TCO // December 3, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Reply

    I consider the throwing away of the copies of data to still be a serious matter. Given what CRU was doing in terms of the complexity of the product, the importance of it, the sheer amount of future revisions…they needed to have a clear path all the way back to the beggining. There seems to have been a pattern of things being muddled:

    -Harry database (a mess)
    -input data copies deleted
    -confidentiality agreements made (and then lost…and not knowing what agreements they had even made!)

    At this point, they really are better off just saying “use GISS, forget CRU”.

    Or making a new version from scratch (no more use of old amendment to amendment to amendment). They may lose some info in doing so, but the alternate proposition of having part of the numbers untraceable back to source is unsat.

    Given all the issues…at this point I’m not even 100% confident that if we got the raw data, we would get the same results. I mean…it’s always possible to make mistakes with anything…and given the work approach (all the muddle) it’s likely there are some errors in transcription and the like.

    For that matter, the raw data sources may have changed with time. Keeping copies would have benefited us and it may be impossible to go all the way back to the beggining even with an arduous recompilation of the national records!

    Of course, there is nothing wrong with old national records getting updated with info. Nor with global records updated with new (even old chronologically) data. But with the huge muddle, I am concerned the process was not properly managed.

  • george // December 3, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Reply

    I have read in a few places that the data collected by the CRU in its “raw” format (whatever that means) was thrown away at some point and that all we have is the data as prepared by CRU (again, whatever that means).


    I realize you are probably genuinely interested in knowing whether what you heard is accurate and your effort is to be applauded in that regard. That is far more than a lot of people have doe in this case.

    But quite apart from knowing whether it is true, it is important to ask yourself why people are even spreading this story? (which is not even true, as others have indicated above)

    This bears more than a little similarity to claims made by Appollo conspiracy theorists after NASA revealed that they had lost the original high resolution video of Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon and that all they have now is low res version.

    Conspiracy theorists immediately said “How convenient, now we can not analyze the images in detail” [ to see Steven King in the background of the movie set directing?]

    If there were shadows on the global temperature graph, the conspiracy nuts would probably question those as well.

    These conspiracy theories are always very similar and tend to completely ignore the human element.

    It is a simple fact that people do make mistakes (lose and erase data) and have emotions which sometimes lead them to do and say things out of anger and disgust (especially in emails to colleagues and friends) that they might not even intend to act on.

    Even if the original climate data HAD been thrown out, that would not necessarily be evidence of some evil plot to bury it.

    I think people need to maintain some semblance of perspective in this case.

    To be speculating based on the contents of a few emails combined with a lot of nonsense making the rounds on the internet is highly irresponsible.

  • dhogaza // December 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Reply

    I consider the throwing away of the copies of data to still be a serious matter. Given what CRU was doing in terms of the complexity of the product, the importance of it, the sheer amount of future revisions…

    Uh, TCO, are you not aware that the stations they dropped don’t show up in the product?

    They dropped them from the product, and dropped them from the raw data they keep at CRU.

    Most of them are still available from GHCN, of course, and those that aren’t, are available from the original sources.

  • Sekerob // December 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Reply

    dhogaza // December 3, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    The funniest part here is whilst the self declared ’superior’ UAH by Dr. Spencer has 0.496C+ anomaly for November (higher than September too), RSS has 0.328C+, 0.15C lower anomaly than September… by the darn Dr. Hansen… as expected, I’d say, ignorantly studiously ;>)

  • dhogaza // December 3, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Reply

    I was addressing those they intentionally dropped from their product.

    Yes, loss of (presumably) tapes during an office move was unfortunate.

    Have you ever been involved in an office move? Do you think the movers are part of the conspiracy to control the world? The Black Moving Van Brigade, perhaps?

  • dhogaza // December 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Reply

    There seems to have been a pattern of things being muddled:

    Not nearly as muddled as the denialsphere smear machine claims…

    -Harry database (a mess)

    Yes, he had a hard, frustrating time.

    But the denialsphere is quiet on the fact that he got there at the end, and that the final product passed data validation tests.

    It’s not the difficulty of the path that’s important, it’s the arrival at the destination.

    -confidentiality agreements made (and then lost…and not knowing what agreements they had even made!)

    The various national met services don’t hide the conditions under which they distribute data. Another denialist smear.

  • J // December 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Reply

    Okay, this is way off topic, but there’s no open thread right now, so …

    I was recently browsing around Watts’s site. I noticed this cute little “World Climate Widget” he has. It shows a graph of CO2 superimposed on a graph of temperature anomaly.

    The CO2 axis has a range of 330 – 400 ppm. The temperature axis has a range of -0.6 to +0.8 C.

    Now, by my calculation, that combination of ranges gives an implied climate sensitivity of 5C per doubling of CO2.

    Wow! I had no idea Watts was such an alarmist. Most people I know think climate sensitivity is more like 3C.

    [ Somebody check my calculations, please. I did this in haste, so I may have made an error somewhere.... ]

  • Layman // December 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the info to those who responded.

    I recently read this:

    I know nothing about the author. Again, if anyone has a simple summary as to why what he is saying is incorrect, I would really appreciate some help. No need to go into long lists of reasons and links!


  • dhogaza // December 3, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Reply

    Well let’s just start with this:

    It has been often said that the “science is settled” on the issue of CO2 and climate. Let me put this claim
    to rest with a simple one-letter proof that it is false.
    The letter is s, the one that changes model into models. If the science were settled, there would be precisely one model …

    My understanding is that Boeing and Airbus have their own aerodynamic models which they use when designing airplanes.

    Yet the physics underlying heavier-than-air flight is sufficiently settled to allow us to use these different models to design and build airplanes that do, in actuality, fly.

    There are things that aren’t settled in climate science, of course, but the fact that there are multiple models doesn’t explain why.

    Uncertainties in the physics, in particular how various cloud feedbacks add up. are why.

    If an essay starts out so badly, is there any particular reason I should read the rest?

  • michel // December 4, 2009 at 6:52 am | Reply


    There is a thesis has two parts. One is that human CO2 emissions have produced and will continue to produce warming of the planet which will threaten the survival of civilization and perhaps the human race. The second is that CO2 is the only significant driver of climate and thus of this warming.


    [Response: You have an opportunity here to recognize how wrong you are (assuming you're not just baiting us); this statement proves your astounding ignorance and your willingness to parrot stupidity.

    Nobody in his right mind says CO2 is the only significant driver of climate. Mainstream climate science demonstrates the importance of sulfates as a cooling agent, solar as a warming/cooling agent, orbital changes which are strong enough to trigger ice age cycles, volcanic eruptions and their very powerful (albeit usually short-lived) effect. In fact it emphasizes the critical function of energy balance and the need to account for all changes to that balance.

    But denialists insist on the dishonest claim that climate scientists don't do this. Not just misguided, dishonest.

    They endlessly repeat that solar influences aren't accounted for, that natural variation is ignored, that urban heat islands are ignored, just so they can make climate scientists seem like willfully misleading fools. Ironically, when it comes to sulfates it's the denialists who refuse to acknowledge the strength of the influence so they can uphold the lie that mid-20th-century temperature stability is unexplained and therefore climate scientists don't know what they're doing.

    Wrong on all counts. It's mainstream climate scientists who have -- for a long time and in great detail -- investigated all these issues. Of all the factors that *might* be responsible for modern warming, none of them fits the bill: solar hasn't increased in 60 years, UHI is well accounted for and the warming is still present even in urban sites.

    And none of those in denial have ever managed to explain how it's *possible* that greenhouse gases could *not* cause warming.

    Denialists are so hell-bent on denying human causation they'll even invent ridiculous schemes like galactic cosmic rays, which, when investigated, are found to be a failure. But they cling to their delusions regardless of real evidence. So do you.

    Since this is a democracy you're free to believe,and to spout, whatever crap you choose -- and we're free to have a blog without you.]

  • Adrian // December 4, 2009 at 9:49 am | Reply

    Layman December 3, 2009.

    I am also no expert (heck, I’m a biologist), but I though the letter from the learned emeritus professor must be a joke. If not, then it’s arrogant waffling at best.
    If he is a physicist (and it seems that he is), then he is apparently not terribly good at it. When I did high school physics I seem to remember there being no fewer than three models that explained the behaviour of gases (though they are called Laws in physics) and they are limited by certain constraints.
    In addition, he says -
    “The first principle of causality is that the cause has to come before the effect. The historical record shows that climate changes precede CO2 changes. How, then, can one conclude that CO2 is responsible for the current warming?”
    I’m sure everyone here could provide Professor Hayden with a reading list, but I’m pretty sure this one has been done to death.

    • Gunner // December 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Reply

      Generally I’ve found that the conservative members of my profession (I’m a nuclear physicist) have an intense hatred of Al Gore, partly driven by the fact that he won a Nobel Prize for something related to science. So there’s a tendency to initially reject AGW because Al Gore said it’s happening. However, most of them are able to put that aside when they dig deeper into climate science. I’ll admit, most of us don’t delve too deeply into it – I was drawn into the blog debates when I saw people butchering cosmic ray physics in trying to come up with a non-anthropogenic explanation for warming. But to get deeper into requires a lot of time needed to learn the science. I barely have enough time to do my science. I’ll leave the climate science to the climate scientists.

  • Scott A. Mandia // December 4, 2009 at 11:07 am | Reply

    George: Thanks for reminding folks that scientists are human. many are forgetting this obvious truth.

    dhogaza: Great example!

  • Layman // December 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Reply

    I appreciate all the comments, it has been helpful.

    One thing that has always escaped me is a simple, high-level way of thinking about human contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Basically, I am trying to understand:
    * How much CO2 is in the atmosphere currently? (however you measure or define that) and how does that compare with recent history?
    * How fast is that growing or by how much is that growing? (again, however you measure or define that)
    * How much is human activity contributing to that?

    I realize there may be a lot of complexity behind these questions, and that there are probably lots of links and papers with this data, but I am counting on your good will to help me with a short cut!

    Thanks again.

    • TrueSceptic // December 4, 2009 at 11:37 pm | Reply


      Is this a joke? There are numerous references for this.

      I *could* give you figures right now from memory, even though I’m not a scientist.

      Are you unable to obtain this *basic* stuff? Really ? Why is that?

      • Layman // December 7, 2009 at 8:18 pm

        I could surf the web and find millions of sites that provide all sorts of numbers. The problem is identifying people who have a clue and people who do not. There is a TON of noise out their. This site seems to have well-informed contributors and so I am looking to them to point out reliable sources, which they have been kind enough to do.

  • Sekerob // December 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Reply

    For longer, and nobody seeming to correlate this that I’ve come across yes (could also be an utterly false thought on my part), Ozone depletion is in my eyes an X factor in stratospheric cooling over and above the tropospheric increased retention of heat, letting less seep into the layers above. Right or Wrong?

    Ozone depletion is too a factor for more UV coming down and deep penetrating the oceans [short wave]… not healthy I’d think, but what effect has increased UV on Ice/Snow? Does it add to it’s reduction?

  • Phil. // December 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Reply

    TCO // December 3, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Reply

    I consider the throwing away of the copies of data to still be a serious matter.

    So do the Met Office, in fact they require that users of their data do so!
    “Once the project work using the data has been completed, copies of the datasets and software held by the end user should be deleted, unless permission has been obtained for them to be retained for some alternative use.”

  • Geoff Wexler // December 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury

    “never since the enlightenment has science faced such a concerted attack”

    This needs a slight correction . Please see Corrupted Science, 2007 by John Grant.

    The Nazis launched an attack on large stretches of mathematics and Jewish Science while Stalin’s chum Lysenko launched an attack on the whole biological community over genetics. Both examples did untold damage to the countries concerned. The Lysenko story is actually rather similar to the climate one in some respects.

  • Igor Samoylenko // December 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Reply

    Layman, you may find this post at RealClimate useful:

    Also a good source of common “sceptical” arguments and their rebuttals with references to peer-reviewed literature:

    Look through the list – you will find several references to CO2 there.

    • Layman // December 5, 2009 at 1:56 am | Reply

      Thanks though I have to admit, the 6-easy-steps link went mostly over my head. What does one do with a sentence like this?: “This means that there is an upward surface flux of LW around [tex]\sigma T^4[/tex] (~390 W/m2), while the outward flux at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) is roughly equivalent to the net solar radiation coming in (1-a)S/4 (~240 W/m2).”

      The second link was pretty good – talking about CO2 ppm having increased from 280 to 380 in last 150 years. Is there any source that shows this increase over time, like a simple graph of CO2 ppm? And a projection? Thanks!

  • Jim Bouldin // December 4, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Reply

    Happening in just 20 minutes, but not publicized and Gavin’s probably busy preparing, therefore not updating comments at RC:

    Pielke Jr’s just launched a new attack on Mike Mann and Gavin Schmidt for “stealth politicization” of science for their participation in the call. Am going at it with him over there.

  • Andrew Dodds // December 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Reply

    Geoff -

    Problem is, those are examples of where totalitarian governments have consciously promoted their own dogma over reality. The problem currently – and it by no means restricted to climate science – is a generalized attack on science in apparently free first world countries.

  • Hank Roberts // December 4, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Reply

    For Sekerob: if you wonder if something’s been written about, try the key words in Google:

  • george // December 4, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Reply

    Jim Bouldin says

    Pielke Jr’s just launched a new attack on Mike Mann and Gavin Schmidt for “stealth politicization” of science for their participation in the call.”

    Forgive me, but isn’t that just a little bit like Dick Cheney criticizing others for politicizing Intelligence?

  • Sekerob // December 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Reply

    Sorry Hank, that ozone hole cooling effect is well discussed… vortex narrowing / strengthening including. I’m talking about the UV itself, and here’s a paper adding UV + Thawing to the search

  • Joseph // December 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Reply

    How much CO2 is in the atmosphere currently? (however you measure or define that) and how does that compare with recent history?
    * How fast is that growing or by how much is that growing? (again, however you measure or define that)

    Check the Mauna Loa data.

    * How much is human activity contributing to that?

    Any concentration above 270-285 ppmv is, in all likelihood, contributed by humans one way or another.

  • Sekerob // December 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Reply

    PS, that Monckton is mentioned at bottom probably brings out an auto-allergic reaction, and “Totally accounting for the warming” is per todays knowledge not at all probable, it’s just that this UV effect barely gets mention, let alone the damage to the genepool

  • Jim Bouldin // December 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Reply

    Forgive me, but isn’t that just a little bit like Dick Cheney criticizing others for politicizing Intelligence?

    I try to give Roger the benefit of the doubt and engage him a bit from time to time. But when he pulls this kind of crap it undercuts his self-image as the so called “Honest Broker”. Then you call him on it and he starts weaving and bobbing with semantics, like Ali trying to dodge Frazier’s left hooks. That’s when you have to let it go.

  • Crotalus // December 4, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Reply

    It’s more like blaming the victim for being raped.

  • Hank Roberts // December 4, 2009 at 11:01 pm | Reply

    > a paper
    Well, it’s in writing, but why do you call it a ‘paper’? Usually ‘paper’ in science refers to a publication, not just something someone typed.

    The guy’s claims don’t match the numbers from the radiation physics people:

    “… A greater than normal warming did occur lately but it was not from CO2 emissions. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) destruction of ozone provides answers to all of the unnatural global temperature anomalies seen over the last four decades…”

    Why do you point to that? Do you think there’s any reason to credit the notion in it? Any reason to think it’s reliable information?

    Who …. oh, here we are down at the end:

    “I would like to thank Christopher Monckton for his support and guidance concerning the publishing of this paper.”

    So it suggests it’s had some association with “publishing” — but how and where?

  • Hank Roberts // December 4, 2009 at 11:06 pm | Reply

    Oh, lordy, folks, don’t click the link to “tech-know.ed” without your hip boots. I notice now that Firefox (NoScript, thank you) blocked attempts to set cookies by the big ten denial sites.

    No science sites involved though.

  • Hank Roberts // December 4, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Reply

    er, “eu” not “ed”

  • Hank Roberts // December 4, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Reply

    Ah, and now the followup posting has appeared; yep, you’re right about the associations and the bad math, glad you spotted that.

    But why do you think there’s not much about the effect of UV? That’s been written about extensively ever since the problem was first described. Quick search, I’m sure there’ s more:

  • Gunner // December 5, 2009 at 12:21 am | Reply

    Lucky me, I got an email today from Hal Lewis…

    “Dear fellow member of the American Physical Society:

    This is a matter of great importance to the integrity of the Society. It is being sent
    to a random fraction of the membership, so we hope you will pass it on.

    By now everyone has heard of what has come to be known as ClimateGate, which was and is an international scientific fraud, the worst any of us have seen in our cumulative 223 years of APS membership. For those who have missed the news we recommend the excellent summary article by Richard Lindzen in the November 30 edition of the Wall Street journal, entitled “The Climate Science isn’t Settled,” for a balanced account of the situation. It was written by a scientist of unquestioned authority and integrity. A copy can be found among the items at, and a visit to can fill in the details of the scandal, while adding spice.

    What has this to do with APS? In 2007 the APS Council adopted a Statement on global warming (also reproduced at the tinyurl site mentioned above) that was based largely on the scientific work that is now revealed to have been corrupted. (The principals in this escapade have not denied what they did, but have sought to dismiss it by saying that it is normal practice among scientists. You know and we know that that is simply untrue. Physicists are not expected to cheat.)

    We have asked the APS management to put the 2007 Statement on ice until the extent to which it is tainted can be determined, but that has not been done. We have also asked that the membership be consulted on this point, but that too has not been done.

    None of us would use corrupted science in our own work, nor would we sign off on a thesis by a student who did so. This is not only a matter of science, it is a matter of integrity, and the integrity of the APS is now at stake. That is why we are taking the unusual step of communicating directly with at least a fraction of the membership.

    If you believe that the APS should withdraw a Policy Statement that is based on admittedly corrupted science, and should then undertake to clarify the real state of the art in the best tradition of a learned society, please send a note to the incoming President of the APS *email redacted*, with the single word YES in the subject line. That will make it easier for him to count.

    Bob Austin, Professor of Physics, Princeton
    Hal Lewis, emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara
    Will Happer, Professor of Physics, Princeton
    Larry Gould, Professor of Physics, Hartford
    Roger Cohen, former Manager, Strategic Planning, ExxonMobil”

    I’ve deleted the email address of the APS president, but otherwise the message is uncut. Assuming you’ve made it this far and are still interested, please read this interview with Dr. Lewis in 1986 ( You’ll find the first part of it very interesting, especially for a guy who has his underwear in a bunch over “missing data”.

  • dhogaza // December 5, 2009 at 1:49 am | Reply

    Don’t they realize that letting “Roger Cohen, former Manager, Strategic Planning, ExxonMobil” sign the missive signals more or less automatic Massive Fail?

    • Gunner // December 5, 2009 at 6:03 am | Reply

      Yeah, ya’d think. On the other hand, the text of the message is all sorts of comedic win.

      Those poor guys. Here they’ve slayed the mighty AGW dragon for the 187th time, yet the climate refuses to notice and keeps getting warmer. No wonder they’re so old and cranky.

  • Layman // December 5, 2009 at 2:12 am | Reply

    I think I’m lost again.

  • David B. Benson // December 5, 2009 at 2:12 am | Reply

    Alternatively, you could send the incoming prez a link to the Charney et al. 1979 report, noting how much was understood 30 years ago and how little has changed in the nonce:

  • Hank Roberts // December 5, 2009 at 5:00 am | Reply

    Also from the Harold Lewis interview:

    “I’m now on another advisory committee, but the result is that the things I’ve published the last three or four years have been on technical problems that came up in connection with reactor safety. I’ve also become, I consider, the world’s leading expert on statistics, because it has turned out that nobody understands statistics, including physicists. It’s really a deep subject, so here’s a way in which the government involvement led to a technical involvement which led to an academic involvement which led to publishing papers. ”

    That fits interestingly with the bit I pointed to recently from the public health blog:

  • Sekerob // December 5, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Reply

    Hank Roberts // December 4, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    hmmm, think i misphrased the genepool comment and you thus misreading. Why do you think there’s UV burn time in many weather news bulletins and kids in New Zealand are required to wear hats and long sleeves?

    Personally, I think if we address the problem of the CFC replacements doing similar ozone layer damage and CO2, the rest will fall in place such as things as sooth and the much cleaner environment accelerating a start of the recovery… but how many decades will that be away before the tides will turn? Some comment that now we’re only seeing the effects of e.g. the CO2 output 30 years ago… well I’ve been observing changes in my ambient for far longer back… it’s NOT looking good.

  • Sekerob // December 5, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Reply

    PS, I put on without exception UV blocker 30 when going out and 50 when going up the mountain.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // December 5, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Reply


    * How much CO2 is in the atmosphere currently? (however you measure or define that) and how does that compare with recent history?

    There are about 387 parts per million by volume, corresponding to about 3.01 x 10^15 kilograms (three trillion tons). This is about 5.9 kilograms above every square meter of Earth’s surface.

    The level c. 1850 and for thousands of years before stayed very close to 280 ppmv.

    * How fast is that growing or by how much is that growing? (again, however you measure or define that)

    We put out about 3% more each year than the previous year, but only about half of that stays in the atmosphere, the rest being taken up mostly by the ocean. The level advances by 1-3 ppmv per year.

    * How much is human activity contributing to that?

    Almost all of it. As a result, 28% of the CO2 in the air around us right now is artificial [(387 - 280) / 387], and the level is higher by 38% (387 / 280).

    • Layman // December 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Reply

      This is helpful, thanks! So, if it advances 1-3 ppmv per year, and they say that a doubling means an increase of 3ºC, and we are currently at around 387 ppmv, then to double that to 774 ppm, at the current rate, would take anywhere from 129 to 387 years? (387 divided by 1-3). I know it’s not that simple mathematically, just want to understand if this is conceptionally in the right direction.

      • guthrie // December 5, 2009 at 5:40 pm

        Thats a doubling from the pre-industrial figure of 280ppm. The calculations vary but it seems certain that there is enough coal and oil left in the earth to reach 560ppm before the end of the century unless we curb our use.

        Bear in mind that that 3 degrees is a global average, the poles will warm more like 6 degrees and much of the tropics only a degree or two.

      • Didactylos // December 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm

        So far as I understand it, this is where it gets really complicated. It takes a long time for the climate to stabilise at the new increased temperature. This means that we still haven’t seen all of the temperature rise from what we have emitted already. This is why we use climate models to work out what the increase in X years might be, instead of working it out directly.

        Also, our emissions aren’t constant – they are actually accelerating. So even if we start at our present rate, we will reach our next doubling much sooner than you expect. Let’s use Tamino’s estimates and I’ll try to work it out myself: “The rate of increase of CO2 since 2000 is about 2.1 ppm/yr, and the long-term growth rate of the growth rate is about 0.025 ppm/yr/yr.”

        If we keep this up, then we reach our next doubling in less than 90 years – before 2100.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // December 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Reply


    The flux figures refer to a basic concept in radiation physics, the “Stefan-Boltzmann law.” This relates the power a radiating object puts out per unit area (technically the “flux density” but often just called the flux) to its temperature.

    For a perfect radiator, or “black body:”

    F = sigma T^4

    where F is the flux density, sigma a proportionality constant called the Stefan-Boltzmann constant, and T temperature on an absolute scale. For the SI (the mks metric system), F is in watts per square meter, sigma has the value 5.6704 x 10^-8 watts per square meter per kelvin-to-the-fourth, and T is in kelvin degrees.

    For example, the Earth’s surface averages about 15 C in temperature, which is 288 K on the absolute scale. Treating the surface as a black body (it isn’t quite), that means it radiates

    5.6704 x 10^-8 x 288^4

    or about 390 watts per square meter.

    In reality most objects are not perfect black bodies, and you have to add an “emissivity” term to the equation:

    F = epsilon sigma T^4

    where the emissivity, epsilon, is a dimensionless number from 0 to 1.

  • p_adic // December 5, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Reply

    Well spotted Gunner and Hank, plenty of hypocrisy and delusion there, but does this Harold Lewis really exist?

    What was the background of your parents?

    Oh, just an ordinary middle class background. My mother never did anything.

  • Scott A. Mandia // December 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Reply


    BPL gave a nice summary. 1 ppm by volume of CO2 is about 7.8 Gt (billion tons) of CO2 by mass.

    The annual mean growth rate of atmospheric CO2 is just under 2.0 ppm (16 Gt CO2) for the period 2000-2009. And as BPL stated, about half of our emissions are removed by sinks.

    Humans have added about 107 ppm in the past 100 years. To place this in proper perspective, it took 5,000 years for an 80 ppm increase since the last glacial period.

    The last time CO2 levels were this high, sea level was 25 to 40 meters higher than present day.

    The last time the earth was essentially ice-free was about 50 million years ago when CO2 was 425 ppm +/- 75 ppm so we are already inside this window.

    These numbers are a serious wake-up call.

    • Layman // December 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Reply


    • Gavin's Pussycat // December 6, 2009 at 11:38 am | Reply

      > The last time the earth was essentially ice-free was about 50 million
      > years ago when CO2 was 425 ppm +/- 75 ppm so we are already inside this
      > window.
      Scott, are you trying to mislead the poor fellow? You know as well as I do that 50 million years ago, the continents were in different places from today, including Antarctica.
      It could very well be that, therefore, if today we would have 425 ppmv in the atmosphere, Eastern Antarctica might not actually melt completely away. And you’re not telling that?
      Sigh. Another scientist-turned-activist economical with the truth.

  • Layman // December 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Reply

    Thank you all again for you helpful info. I have been doing a lot of reading now as a result.

    Now, please indulge me for a minute with some craziness. I always read about how one of the problems of global warming is rising sea levels. So, being a person with a creative (BUT NON-SCIENTIFIC) mind, I sometimes think of what could be done to counteract that (yes, I know, that would be treating the symptom and not the disease, but as I requested, please indulge).

    I came across this story once:

    It says:
    “Beginning nearly 40 years ago, the briny runoff from the “salad bowl” of southern Arizona, some of the most productive farmland in the nation, has been channeled into an arid plain of the Sonoran desert in Mexico.

    It is an engineered solution to the vexing problem of keeping the nearby Colorado River free of agricultural wastewater too heavy in salt compounds for drinking water and other uses. An accidental result south of the border has been a thriving man-made wetland, the largest in the river’s delta, a key stopover for migratory birds and home to a bounty of endangered and threatened species.”

    OK, OK, so here’s the loony part: what if this were done on a massive scale, channeling seawater into vast arid regions, like the Sahara? Sure, I have no idea of the volumes involved and if there is enough arid land to absorb that, not to mention the costs of pumping and the human ecological impacts.

    NOW, don’t be harsh on me here, I’m just having a little fun after some heaving reading for the past several hours. If this comment is too off-topic or somehow offends people for being too fanciful, my apologies. I don’t in any way mean to degenerate the forum here.

  • bob // December 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Reply

    Here is 1 of the 101 false allegations that makes up “climategate”. After being cited on WUWT and spread around the interwebs, the author of this piece is now desperately trying to backtrack in the comments:

    Something just doesn’t add up to me, the post seems so denialistic and yet he claims to not have strong view on the subject of global warming…

    He didn’t like my suggestion that scientists should sue him

  • dhogaza // December 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Reply

    So, if it advances 1-3 ppmv per year, and they say that a doubling means an increase of 3ºC, and we are currently at around 387 ppmv, then to double that to 774 ppm, at the current rate, would take anywhere from 129 to 387 years? (387 divided by 1-3).

    Unfortunately, CO2 emissions are accelerating, so the actual time in a business-as-usual scenario is shorter than any steady-state calculation will show.

  • Scott A. Mandia // December 5, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Reply

    This is helpful, thanks! So, if it advances 1-3 ppmv per year, and they say that a doubling means an increase of 3ºC, and we are currently at around 387 ppmv, then to double that to 774 ppm, at the current rate, would take anywhere from 129 to 387 years? (387 divided by 1-3). I know it’s not that simple mathematically, just want to understand if this is conceptionally in the right direction.

    As guthrue stated the doubling means about 560 ppm. The doubling of CO2 gets us 1.2C warmer and this is pretty well-established. The feedbacks get us another 1-2C more (at least) but there are error bars here. Most of the evidence is that the 2C lower bound for climate sesnitivuty is pretty solid and 3C is the most likely. Of course, if we keep doing business as usual the 3C will be much too low.

    The polar regions warm up even more and so do the continental interiors which means more sea level rise and more droughts/floods = more hardship for humanity.

  • David B. Benson // December 5, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Reply

    Layman // December 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm — One suggestion to conteract the increasing CO2 is
    Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming
    which I encourage reading; the pdf is open-access.

    Now calculate just how much sea water would be freshened and pumped on those deserts; while a big number projected melting of GIS and WAIS is a gargantually big number!

    • Layman // December 6, 2009 at 2:00 am | Reply

      This is cool, thanks!

    • Layman // December 7, 2009 at 2:33 am | Reply

      The paper went a different direction from what I expected. I was focused on some fanciful ideas of what to do with all that extra water.

      As I understand it, they want to irrigate those lands to plant a bunch of trees to act as a carbon sink. I must be missing something, but I don’t see why you have to irrigate the Sahara or large parts of Australia to plant a bunch more trees. Couldn’t this be done in lots of places currently at lower cost and with lower political hurdles?

  • dhogaza // December 5, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Reply

    Here is 1 of the 101 false allegations that makes up “climategate”.

    He’s an ignorant ass, Physics PhD or not, and I told him so openly on his blog.

  • Layman // December 6, 2009 at 2:11 am | Reply

    So, connecting the dots from what I have read so far: given current levels of CO2, the current rate of increase in these levels, the temperature sensitivity to the expected levels and the effects of these temperature increases on the planet, IF NOTHING IS DONE we can expect that

    1) people who are children right now will, in their later adult lives, live in a warmer, less hospitable world, and

    2) their children will grow up in a world where people will know that the future of the species is in doubt

    Is this about right in terms of timing and magnitude?

  • cthulhu // December 6, 2009 at 3:14 am | Reply

    lol dhogaza, your comment was great. I wanted to be more blunt but I suspected it would only drive him to…

    oh he another thread.

  • Jim Bouldin // December 6, 2009 at 4:34 am | Reply

    David, I admit to giving that paper only the most cursory of glances, but a hear a fairly loud NO WAY emanating from within me, based on it.

  • george // December 6, 2009 at 7:22 am | Reply


    It strikes me that Robert Greiner did not really think very carefully, if at all (at least not to begin with), about the possible consequences of leveling the kind of charges he has based on such limited information.

    Though he now (in his latest post) implies that “all” he has really claimed is that “until the CRU’s research results can be verified by a 3rd party, they cannot be trusted”, it is clear to anyone who reads his previous post that he has in fact claimed much more: namely, that the quoted code snippet “proves” that

    “(potentially) valid temperature station readings were taken and skewed to fabricate the results the “scientists” at the CRU wanted to believe, not what actually occurred.”

    “all of the data that was the chief result of most of the environmental legislation created over the last decade was a farce.”

    “This means that all of those billions of dollars we spent as a global community to combat global warming may have been for nothing.”

    on top of that claim, Greiner infers that the code snippet is indicative of

    arrogant jerks who call themselves “scientists” [who] work outside of ethics and ignore the truth to fit their pre-conceived notions of the world.

    and also makes the following statement

    By the way, did I mention Michael Mann is one of the “scientists” (and I use that word loosely) caught up in this scandal?

    If I were in his shoes, the potential libel suits (which are probably fairly unlikely) would actually be the least of my concerns after making such claims.

    His claims — and perhaps most importantly, the “logic” he used to arrive at them — will be prominently displayed on the world wide web for any potential future employer (or even Masters or PhD thesis committee) for years to come.

    Quite apart from whether he turns out to be correct in his assessment, I’d have to say that some (eg potential employers) may look a bit askance at the way he arrived at his conclusions, based on such sketchy “evidence”.

    I would note that i am not talking about “political correctness” or anything like that. I’m talking about a potential employer or someone else looking at his arguments on their merits.

    And the fact that people are linking to Greiner will make it likely that Greiner’s posts on the issue will continue to be ranked high (probably on the first page) on a google search of his name, probably long after the “controversy” has been put to rest.

    Many of the most prominent “skeptics” on climate change are perfectly free to say illogical (even zany) things without any consequence to their own career because they have already established themselves (eg, with tenure) or perhaps their career is even already over (eg, they are emeritus profs and/or retired from business).

    I don’t believe that Greiner falls in that category.

  • Deep Climate // December 6, 2009 at 7:25 am | Reply

    According to TimesOnline, investigators of the CRU email theft (dubbed SwiftHack or Climategate) have concluded that the release of the stolen material was timed to cause maximum damage to the upcoming Copenhagen conference. The system had first been hacked weeks before.

    This development, along with new reports of sabotage at the University of Victoria, should finally lay to rest the baseless rumour that the hacked file was actually assembled at CRU and released by an inside whistleblower, a canard that it turns out was started by – wait for it – none other than Steve McIntyre himself!

    Plus: Andrew Bolt fingers Tom Wigley as the whistleblower.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // December 6, 2009 at 11:30 am | Reply

    > Now calculate just how much sea water would be freshened and pumped on
    > those deserts; while a big number projected melting of GIS and WAIS is
    > a gargantually big number!

    David, that is true; but the idea is to pull down CO2 that way, not to actually store away sea water. I agree the latter is a hopeless thing to try this way (but pumping it up to East Antarctica where it freezes, might not be!)

  • Scott A. Mandia // December 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Reply

    A nice video that debunks Climate Gate.

  • dhogaza // December 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Reply

    oh he another thread.

    In which he proves he’s still an ass with no comprehension of what he’s looking at.

  • Deech56 // December 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Reply

    Dhogaza – I think “ignorant ass” was on the money. To imply fraud based on an analysis that apparently never saw the light of day is irresponsible at best. To not know the difference between station records and proxies is…well, ignorant.

  • dhogaza // December 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Reply

    Well, I’ve been a bad boy, over on the deltoid on the code stuff I’ve invited people to go over to the ignorant ass’s blog and pile on …

    Maybe beating on wimps is undignified, but this guy deserves it.

  • David B. Benson // December 6, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Reply

    Layman // December 6, 2009 at 2:11 am — Yes, that is about right. Do read Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”. Here is a review:

    Jim Bouldin // December 6, 2009 at 4:34 am — Would you prefer 6 K of warming? See the book above or the more thorough “Under a Green Sky” by Peter D. Ward, treating the end Permian mass extinction.

  • cthulhu // December 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Reply

    On the subject of blogs alledging fraud against scientists, AmericanThinker have put up another article alledging fraud against Phil Jones.

    When are these assholes going to get the legal action they deserve?

  • george // December 6, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Reply

    Robert Greiner (from his website) “I am currently working as a software engineer at L-3 Communications where we are developing a pretty sophisticated distributed aircraft training and simulation program written in Java. ”


    It’s downright frightening to think that people are being “trained” (to fly?) with software written by someone with Greiner’s apparent cluelessness.

    I guess we should just be glad he is writing simulation software and not the actual flight control software.

  • Jim Bouldin // December 6, 2009 at 10:05 pm | Reply

    David, the point is that there are all kinds of other, better ways to stabilize the atmospheric [C] and the climate then what they are proposing. It’s a wild ass idea frankly, with all kinds of potential implementation and ecological issues.

  • cthulhu // December 6, 2009 at 11:12 pm | Reply

    this is the worst hotbed of psuedoscientific twaddle I have seen in a long time:

    dont waste time trying to argue with these people, they’ve had ample opportunity to understand co2 and I’ve explained problems with beck, etc many times – given up. The last graph on the page is absolutely remarkable, I don’t have enough fingers for all the distortions used. omfg

    • Layman // December 7, 2009 at 2:28 am | Reply

      If I may ask for some help, I have no idea what that last graph is trying to say and why it’s not legit (or maybe it is legit, I have no idea). Would appreciate any simple/summary insights you have.

      Also, what is this graph about?:

      Again, I realize you may have rehashed this a thousand times, so I appreciate you taking the time to make any comments at all.

      [Response: See this:


      • guthrie // December 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

        It is totally wrong in several different ways.
        For starters, the temperature track is wrong, allegedly “corrected for urban heat island effect”. In no way was the 1940’s as warm as now.
        Secondly they ignore the massive errors in CO2 measurement from the pre-keeling age. Modern measurements use infra-red, which is more accurate and dependable. But they ignore that, therefore their CO2 track is totally wrong, despite them also putting in the CO2 line from ice cores, which show the standard line.
        Also no experienced competent scientist is expecting a new ice age due to lack of solar activity. Who knows, one might occur, but seeing as all the CO2 will offset it anyway…

        Basically people are seeing what they want to see – anything which might prove that global warming is wrong/ a scam, they latch onto. Those promoting the next solar cycle as being a minimum have no good scientific reason to believe it will be, merely some hopes and fears that it will do so. Making up solar cycles using what is in effect numerology is a popular business with these people.

      • guthrie // December 7, 2009 at 10:27 pm

        How odd I can’t reply to my own post.
        Anyway, to clarify somewhat, the real scientists are expecting this upcoming solar cycle to be comparatively quiet, but they aren’t expecting a little ice age. And even if we got one for 11 years, the CO2 is still there waiting for the sun to pick up.
        And the oceans would be acidifying nicely all the while.

  • David B. Benson // December 7, 2009 at 1:59 am | Reply

    Jim Bouldin // December 6, 2009 at 10:05 pm — By all means every one of those ideas needs to be deployed. But it will be a long time before people stop buring fossil fuels and then there is about 500 gigatonnes of excess carbon to be removed from the active carbon cycle; so this one too, at least in part and possibly with some modifications (avoiding monocultures).

  • Scott A. Mandia // December 7, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Reply

    Peter Sinclair’s newest Climate Crock of the Week video is out:

  • Deech56 // December 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm | Reply

    RE dhogaza

    Maybe beating on wimps is undignified, but this guy deserves it.

    I would have to agree (OK, just this once – LOL). Greiner claims to know intent and insinuates scientific fraud and he really does not deserve a milder response. I tried that with ESR and got a response, but really it was a load of denial points. Then when I saw his HIV/AIDS denial…(I’ve been involved in medical research for a few decades).

    I try to keep a measured tone when dealing with posters at a local site, not because they deserve it, but to appeal to fence sitters, but I recognize that different venues need different tactics. Sometimes the truly obtuse (Greiner) need a bucket of cold water.

  • Hank Roberts // December 7, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Reply

    > solarcycle24

    oh, my, they’re using a chart from denialdepot

    Someone’s being cruel.

  • dhogaza // December 7, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Reply

    Back to the topic at hand – the CRU server being hacked – this is what my daily, The Oregonian, had to say about it.

    It’s discouraging …

    The trove of East Anglia e-mails was a most timely gift to climate-change deniers — evidence of snooty, arrogant climate scientists manipulating data, destroying evidence that didn’t support their conclusions and actively working to stifle criticism of their conclusions. There’s no justification, none, for such behavior, and East Anglia’s credibility may be permanently damaged by the revelations.

    Now, this is embedded in an editorial which stresses the strong scientific consensus for AGW within the scientific community, and the need for action in Copenhagen.

    Their point is that despite the e-mails, the scientific case is very strong.

    But it’s distressing that they’ve accepted the skeptic reading of the e-mails at face value, without bothering to check for themselves (and I’ve written them expressing my disappointment).

    Maybe that’s going to be the fallout here, some reputations unfairly destroyed, at least in the public eye, but no real effect outside of that. A pity, though.

  • David B. Benson // December 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Reply

    dhogaza // December 7, 2009 at 11:07 pm — I have had some modest success in pointing out that the central aspects of the science have not changed since the 1979 Charney et al. NAS/NRC report on CO2 and climate:
    (which was before CRU and even much in the way of e-amil messages…)

  • dhogaza // December 8, 2009 at 1:17 am | Reply

    I have had some modest success in pointing out that the central aspects of the science have not changed since the 1979 Charney et al. NAS/NRC report on CO2 and climate

    Well, given that the editorial endorsed their acceptance of the science and the need for action at Copenhagen, I didn’t write to them about the science.

    But I did point out how their passing along hearsay accusations against the CRU scientists without bothering to talk to a single scientist to try to get perspective, reading the e-mails and context, etc, was nothing more than unfounded smearing of reputations.

  • george // December 8, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Reply


    Maybe that’s going to be the fallout here, some reputations unfairly destroyed, at least in the public eye, but no real effect outside of that. A pity, though.

    I think that would be the “least bad” scenario.

    What the media do not realize (or maybe some of them actually do), however, is that the public does not separate the science from the scientists.

    So, your paper may believe it is actually providing a “balanced” report (ie, an argument on the side of science and one on the side of “skeptics”), when in fact the public will see this in the following way:

    “Most scientists say the earth is warming and humans are causing it but can we really trust the scientists?”

    The root problem is that the whole idea of “balance” is not at all appropriate for reporting on science. At best, it is just confusing, but more often it is actually misleading.

  • Igor Samoylenko // December 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Reply

    Excellent response to the CRU hack from the UK science community, coordinated by the Met Office (and reported by the BBC).

    Statement from the UK science community

    10 December 2009

    We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method.

    The science of climate change draws on fundamental research from an increasing number of disciplines, many of which are represented here. As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal’ and that ‘Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations’.

    Over 1,700 signatures in just four days!

    That is the way to deal with all the manufactured controversy generated by the denialists over the hack!

  • Gunner // December 10, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Reply

    Just to follow up on the Hal Lewis email I mentioned earlier in this thread, I received this email from the APS president today, subject line “Unsolicited Climate Change Email”:

    [start of email message]…

    Recently, you may have received an unsolicited email from Hal Lewis, Bob Austin, Will Happer, Larry Gould and Roger Cohen regarding the APS and climate change. Please be assured that this was not an official APS message, nor was it sent with APS knowledge or approval. A number of members have complained to APS regarding this unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail addresses used to send this message were obtained from our membership directory, this was contrary to the stated guidelines for members’ use of the directory. We are continuing to investigate how the senders obtained APS member email addresses.

    As many APS members are already aware, the Council of the Society has tasked the Panel on Public Affairs to examine the 2007 APS statement on climate change for issues of tone and clarity. Duncan Moore, the current chair of POPA, is in the process of convening a subcommittee to carry out the task. The subcommittee, which he is also chairing, will report its recommendations to POPA in early February, and shortly thereafter POPA will post the text for a three-week APS member comment period. We will alert the APS membership by email when the posting occurs. Duncan Moore’s subcommittee will use the comments it receives to finalize the wording in time for the April Council meeting.

    Some members of the APS have asked the Society to craft a statement regarding the issues surrounding the release of climate files stolen from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. The CRU maintains the repository for temperature measurements used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The APS leadership has concerns about both the improper release of private e-mails and any premature rush to judgment regarding scientific integrity at the CRU. Both the CRU and the IPCC are in the process of investigating the affair. Once the full range of information is made available, the APS Panel on Public Affairs will examine the case and recommend how APS should act.

    We will continue to keep the APS membership informed about climate change issues through postings on the APS home page; articles in APS News; commentaries on the APS blog, Physics Frontline; and direct email alerts to the membership when necessary.

    Best Regards,

    Cherry Murray
    APS President

  • dhogaza // December 10, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Reply

    It’s good to see such support, but the contrarians will predictably treat it with disdain.

    Fox is already reporting that one unnamed scientist claims he was coerced into signing because UK Met funds so much research etc.

  • Adrian // December 11, 2009 at 9:41 am | Reply

    Following on from that, would anyone like to comment on how much of a “major employer of scientists” the Met Office actually is? I am assuming this is just another denialist fantasy that will rapidly propagate urban myth-style across the internet.

  • arch stanton // December 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Reply

    Somewhat OT, but relevant none the less:

    AAAS has sent out an email requesting input for the Whitehouse Office of Science and Technology concerning public access to federally funded research results.

    “The Obama Administration is seeking public input on policies concerning access to
    publicly-funded research results, such as those that appear in academic and scholarly journal articles. Currently, the National Institutes of Health require that research funded by its grants be made available to the public online at no charge within 12 months of publication. The Administration is seeking views as to whether this policy should be extended to other science agencies and, if so, how it should be implemented.

    The Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and the White House Open Government Initiative are launching a “Public Access Policy Forum” to invite public participation in thinking through what the Federal government’s policy should be with regard to public access to published federally-funded research results.

    To that end, OSTP will conduct an interactive, online discussion beginning Thursday, December 10. The discussion will focus on three major areas of interest:…”

    More at the Whitehouse blog:

  • guthrie // December 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm | Reply

    The denialists will ignore any numbers against them, the same as creationists. Creationists tout their own list of whatever hundred scientifically qualified people who think modern evolutionary theory (or some strawman of it) is wrong, without any regard to the many thousands of scientists who know and use it all the time and spend years extending its reach.

  • Deep Climate // December 11, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Reply

    At the request of a couple of readers, I’ve taken a closer look at McIntyre’s ludicrous assertion that he has “discovered” the “context” for “hide the decline”.

    This so-called Climategate is really getting out of hand, isn’t it?

    Steve McIntyre has published allegations – twice now – that an internal IPCC authors’ debate about the inclusion of Briffa’s tree-ring reconstruction in a key figure from the 2001 WG1 Third Assesement Report was driven by concern about the post-1960 “decline” in tree-ring widths, a decline that showed a marked divergence with the instrumental tempertaure record. McIntyre even claims that lead author Michael Mann worried that showing the series with this decline would give “fodder” to “skeptics”.

    But even a cursory examination of the emails in question shows that the discussion was really about other aspects of the reconstruction, specifically obvious discrepancies between Briffa’s reconstruction and the other two under consideration over the major part of the reconstruction’s length. Thus, once again, McIntyre’s speculations are shown to be utterly without foundation. Even worse, McIntyre left out intervening sentences within the actual proffered quotes in what appears to be an unsophisticated attempt to mislead.

  • Lazar // December 11, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Reply

    Deep… good stuff.

  • Lazar // December 11, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Reply

    So, some good that’s resulting…
    a) probably more open access
    b) no evidence of fraud from a large sample
    c) instead revealing scientists behaving as scientists
    d) a discussion which needed to occur is, and will probably clarify a few things
    e) denialists expose themselves as knaves or fools

  • Ray Ladbury // December 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm | Reply

    Arch Stanton says the whitehouse is “thinking through what the Federal government’s policy should be with regard to public access to published federally-funded research results. ”

    Great. Let them see all the results they want. Hell, let them have the data. But, let them write their own code and do their own frigging analysis.

  • dhogaza // December 12, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Reply

    The Associated Press has published an analysis of the e-mails.

    While they still don’t get it entirely – and let McIntyre skate with one of his typical lies (“He also said he has avoided editorializing on the leaked e-mails. “Anything I say,” he said, “is liable to be piling on.”") – it’s a huge improvement over most of the press coverage we’ve been seeing. At least they’ve taken the time to talk to researchers in an attempt to understand the proper context.

  • Derecho64 // December 12, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Reply

    One other comment of McIntyre’s in the AP piece is beyond believable:

    “Everything that I’ve done in this, I’ve done in good faith,” he said.

    Bullshit. McIntyre has been dishonest from day one. He’s *never* been interested in the science – he merely wants to smear scientists. He doesn’t want understanding at all – he has some sort of Messiah complex.

  • Hank Roberts // December 13, 2009 at 12:26 am | Reply

    > Messiah complex
    > good faith

    You see a contradiction where?

  • george // December 13, 2009 at 12:57 am | Reply


    I agree it’s an improvement over most of the tripe that the mainstream media produce in this country, but, of course, that ain’t saying much.

    AP paints a rather distorted view with regard to the way the two sides regard and talk about one another:

    Here’s what they say about the scientists:

    The e-mails also showed a stunning disdain for global warming skeptics.

    One scientist practically celebrates the news of the death of one critic, saying, “In an odd way this is cheering news!” Another bemoans that the only way to deal with skeptics is “continuing to publish quality work in quality journals (or calling in a Mafia hit.)” And a third scientist said the next time he sees a certain skeptic at a scientific meeting, “I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”

    And they compared contrarians to communist-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy and Somali pirates. They also called them out-and-out frauds.

    And they say nothing at all about the kind of innuendo and outright libel that McIntyre allows on his blog on an ongoing basis, which they could find on pretty much any post, if they even cared to look. They certainly would not have to wade through a million words to find such stuff . Probably not more than about 10-20!

    nor do they even mention James “Global warming is a hoax” Inhofe.

    And of course, they accept at face value the BS that McIntyre feeds them about himself:

    One person singled out for criticism in the e-mails is Steve McIntyre, who maintains Climate Audit. The blog focuses on statistical issues with scientists’ attempts to recreate the climate in ancient times.

    “We find that the authors are overreaching in the conclusions that they’re trying to draw from the data that they have,” McIntyre said in a telephone interview.

    No journalist who had done his homework reviewing both sides of the issue could fail to note the extreme irony of McIntyre’s statement:

    “We find that the “skeptics” are overreaching in the conclusions that they’re trying to draw from the emails that they have,”

  • Scott A. Mandia // December 16, 2009 at 1:20 am | Reply

    John Stewart’s Daily Show tackles the “debate”. Very funny as usual.

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