Rejected realclimate Posts

A number of readers here have complained about apparently legitimate posts being rejected at realclimate. If you happened to have saved them before being rejected, feel free to post them up in the comments to this post.


  1. David H
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

    I have not kept the numerous posts that real climate dumped but this is the copy of an email I sent to Michael Mann with copy to RealClimate

    “I note that you have added a link on “RealClimate” to your interview with
    Sarah Montague on the Today programme of this morning. She asked you if
    you had disclosed the “maths” you used. You said that you had disclosed
    the detailed description of the algorithm. Is this the same thing? For
    instance you said you had used standard PCA but in fact you used (non
    standard) non centred PCA (which may or may not be valid) but is still not
    what you actually said you did.

    What actually calculated the results you published is a computer programme
    which someone wrote from the algorithm description you published. Is it
    not the case that you have not disclosed the actual programme that
    calculated the result you publish and that therefore you misled Sarah this
    morning? None of your critics or even supporters like our DEFRA have had
    the chance to fully replicate your work as without the programme source they
    can only guess at how your algorithm was turned into computer code. After
    each guess you can simply say – wrong!

    Not even the most ardent contrarian can dispute results they can check for
    themselves. This is why, sometimes reluctantly, I normally pay my
    restaurant bills and the taxman.”

  2. Florens de Wit
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

    I just complained to the bloggers at realclimate concerning the rejection of a post to their “the last word for now…” piece. The blog-contribution mentions the recent interview with BBC radio by Mann. I simply asked for references to independent replications that Mann says were done. The comment was never displayed on the site.
    I sent in a comment before asking for clarification of a item in their “dummies guide to the laters hockeystick controversy” and this coment was never posted either. After asking for the information through their e-mail I did get an answer and one appoligized and claimed that this was a mishap.
    Having two critical questions rejected without them being in violation of the rules – in fact they are a prime example of a scientific question – makes me wonder if they try to keep people with a real scientific interest out of the discussions…

  3. andre bijkerk
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    How about this one:

    “If I read the title: “Global temperatures continue to rise” I expect to read about a rise of global temperatures. As it seems that the year 2004 is under observation, the expectation generated by the verb “rise” is consequently that 2004 was warmer than the year before, whereas the verb “continue” suggest that on the average previous years were cooler than the consecutive years.

    But what do we see: “2004 was slightly cooler than 2003, 2002 and 1998″. So there were already three previous years warmer and worse: “1998 remains the warmest year”, indicating that also 2002 and 2003 broke already with the rising trend. ”

    I have to conclude that the global temperatures did not continue to rise at all. Both verbs “continue” and “rise” are inaccurate. The title should have been “Global Temperatures remain above average” or something for correctness. Now it suggests being an Argumentum ad Metum a.k.a. red herring.

  4. Greg F
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Here is one that never saw the light of day.

    From the "What If “⤠the “Hockey Stick”‘? Were Wrong?" I quoted their blog: So let’s assume for argument’s sake that Mann, Bradley and Hughes made some terrible mistake in their statistical analysis, so we need to discard their results altogether. This wouldn’t change our picture of the last millennium (or anything else) very much: independent groups, with different analysis methods, have arrived at similar results for the last millennium.

    I then quoted one of those independent groups (Briffa et al) m the Trees" where it states: An uninformed reader would be forgiven for interpreting the similarity between the 1000-year temperature curve of Mann et al. and a variety of others also representing either temperature change over the NH as a whole or a large part of it (see the figure) as strong corroboration of their general validity, and, to some extent, this may well be so. Unfortunately, very few of the series are truly independent: There is a degree of common input to virtually every one, because there are still only a small number of long, well-dated, high-resolution proxy records.

    I only asked for them to comment. When I posted this I was informed that the filtering had intercepted it as possible spam and that it would have to be cleared, it never was.

    John writes: There are three independent spam filters on climateaudit, and yet, your comment sailed straight through. ‘Tis truly a miracle how it made it…

  5. John A
    Posted Mar 3, 2005 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    I refused to be silenced by realclimate’s "robust" moderation

  6. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    Funny thing is, the only poster I’ve seen on climateaudit not ‘on message’ is me…

    Steve: I would welcome comments from realclimate supporters for any of the questions raised here. I would especially appreciate technical comments.

  7. Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    I find the RealClimate site to be of real value precisely because of their comment policy. And I was burned a few times myself. Consider a post submitted to them to be submitted to peer review. Write with a focus on the science, and write it as if it will be under the scrutiny of peers who do not necessarily agree with your views, but who are attempting to be beholden to an objective standard. If your post is rejected, you can revise and resubmit, just as in a peer reviewed journal setting.

    I must say that RealClimate has demonstrated somewhat of an excessive obsession with the hockey stick. But their obsessiveness pales in comparison to that here. MBH98 is 7 years old. That’s last millenium science. I would urge both sides to heed the wisdom of the emminent Dr. Seuss. The world has passed you by.

    I do think RealClimate has recognized the "Dead Ed" syndrome and is moving on. The discussion of Moberg et al. there feels balanced to me. If you disagree then don’t be shy. Nobody’s entrenching anybody in their own blog. I’d be eager to see true RealClimate skeptics submit thoughtful science-based commentary there — and save a copy. If it’s rejected, post it here.

  8. John A
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 2:51 PM | Permalink


    We have deleted comments only for the following reasons:

    1. The poster posted the same thing twice or more, not realising that we moderate first
    2. The post is comment spam.

    We have posted everything else. Really.

  9. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    I submitted this on Jan 21 to realclimate in response to their essay attacking my paper with Pat Michaels in Climate Research last year. I haven’t seen it posted but then I haven’t checked lately.

    You claim that the degrees/radians glitch meant that “every calculation was incorrect and the conclusions invalid” in my CR paper with Pat Michaels. I need hardly bother pointing out that your claim is misleading (wishful thinking perhaps), since any reader of the Erratum (CR Vol 27(3)) can see it for him or herself. The claim was never established in a formal submission to CR but was merely unsubstantiated chatter on the internet. After it was drawn to my attention late last summer I fixed the program and re-estimated the results. The effects on the regression coefficients were generally small and the conclusions clearly stand. The correction was immediately written up and published at the paper’s web site (
    in early September, then sent in to CR and published in Vol 27(3). The Erratum presents side-by-side comparisons of before and after estimations. Had the errors been serious I would have retracted the paper, but under the circumstances there was clearly no need to do so.

    As for Benestad, he at least sent his comments to CR, and you might have mentioned that we published a reply in Vol 27(2). He discarded half the data set (including the entire NH >30N) and tried to predict it using various subsets of the independent variables. The test is absurdly steep, especially since his North/South division of the sample partitions out the most informative socioeconomic variability in the data set. A better test would be to remove a combination of NH and SH data so as not to lose the contrasts in socioeconomic conditions between the North and the South. Readers of our paper can see (Table 7) that we did this. We discarded the NA+SA data and used the model estimated on the remaining data to predict the withheld sample, achieving a significant predictive skill level (R2=0.26 in the corrected tables). RB also makes cryptic reference to trying “different statistical modelling techniques” but finds “The regression analysis produced similar, although not identical, model coefficients, t-values, and R2 scores to those reported by McKitrick & Michaels, indicating that the analysis captures similar relationships.” Sounds like robustness to me.

    Finally, people who read our paper, not just internet diatribes against it, will see that there is substance to our argument. But climatology is your trade, not mine. We provided clear evidence that the temperature data contain a significant nonclimatic signal. If that does not bother you, fine: but it’s your science, not mine, that’s affected if the basic data are contaminated.

  10. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    Datum: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 00:33:40 +0100
    Van: Hans Erren
    Onderwerp: The 122 vs 159 proxy controversy
    Aan: “”

    Dear Realclimate .org

    Despite numerous efforts by M&M and some guessing by Josh Halpern on the internet
    discussion group sci.environment, I have not come across a clear identification of the
    159 used proxies in MBH98.

    Could you please elaborate this item on your site?

    Hans Erren

    So far no reply…

  11. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    On January 25 I sent the following to realclimate re:

    >Although the Pinot Noir harvest date proxy (Chuine et al, available through
    > suggest that Burgundy in
    >2003 had an unprecendented hot summer
    >for 700 years, the Luterbacher et al reconstruction does not merit this
    >conclusion for the whole of Europe, as
    >their calculations for summer temperature before 1750 show a remarkable
    >low variance, due to the processing

    >The conclusion by Luterbacher et al: “2003 being the hottest of the last
    >500 years” – which was cited heavily in
    >the media – cannot be drawn from their calculations.

  12. Bob Carter
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    Peter Wetzel comments:

    “I must say that RealClimate has demonstrated somewhat of an excessive obsession with the hockey stick. But their obsessiveness pales in comparison to that here. MBH98 is 7 years old. That’s last millenium science. I would urge both sides to heed the wisdom of the emminent Dr. Seuss. The world has passed you by.”

    Dear Peter,

    As an experienced research scientist I commonly cite papers which date back to the 1960s, and occasionally – shock, horror – even to the 19th century.

    The belief that anything worth considering MUST have been published in the last few years, and that any paper in Science or Nature supercedes all that has gone before, is responsible for a great part of the shoddy science that gets published today. Yes, even in peer-reviewed journals. The world of the worthy scientist does not pass by outstanding science contributions, but, rather, honours them.

    In addition to which, the reason for the strong focus on the MBH paper in both ClimateAudit and RealClimate is that the paper has become an icon of the AGW cause.

    Ironically, and despite your comment, the combination of iconic status, gravely flawed science, withheld disclosure and political significance (cf. IPCC) means that the MBH paper will now continue to be quoted for ever. And especially in university courses such as “The history of science”, or “The scientific method”. Fame sometimes comes in strange ways.

    Bob Carter

  13. Spence_UK
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    Re: post #7, Peter Wetzel

    First, I’d like to say that of all the posts on that I’ve seen, I have always been impressed with yours – they retain a sense of balance and genuine interest in the scientific aspects. If the blog was run by people like you, I would probably happily add comments.

    I had considered posting myself on realclimate but have chosen so far not too. The site claims to be scientific but early articles contained a lot of unnecessary digs directed at people who did not follow the “consensus” of opinion; things are better now, although one recent article contained, I would estimate, 80% commentary on the politics of nuclear power and environmentalism, with little or no reference to science. Another seemed to divert into a bizarre discussion about the psyche of the “contrarian”.

    My main reason for not posting though is the way such blogs are moderated. Almost any comment, on any article on these blogs can be taken apart by nit-picking, with moderators comments through it attacking every other sentence. By doing this to one side only, it just creates a strongly biased feel and creates frustration at the power that the bloggers have. This isn’t just a criticism of realclimate, I think it is more an inevitable consequence of the nature and construction of blogs.

    To pick up on the point of undue focus on the hockey stick, and the fact that it is 7 years old (6 years for the millennium edition – see what I mean about nit-picking? I’m at it now!) The reason for undue focus on it is because it has been used so extensively as front-cover material in the media and by the IPCC, as well as by environmental groups and lobbyists. And I can understand why: coupled with the ice core CO2 measurements, it makes a very compelling story. But this widespread use means it comes under much closer scrutiny. The people running these two blogs have dedicated perhaps years of their lives to it: Mann by producing the study and McIntyre by analysing it. For these reasons it remains a “hot topic”. Has realclimate really moved on? Two of its last four articles are about the “hockey stick”. It does try to suppress criticism by claiming it is history, but while it is still a popular press pin-up it will continue generate a lot of (heated) discussion.

    Another point of age of a study, is at what point does a scientific study become so old to be irrelevant? The last paper I wrote cross referenced articles dating back to the early 1950’s. (Nothing to do with climate science admittedly). I frequently use Newtonian mechanics in the mathematical models I produce. Newtonian mechanics is around 300 years old, and turned out about 100 years ago not quite as universal as Sir Isaac originally hoped for, but good science is like good wine: it ages well, and is still useful.

  14. Greg F
    Posted Mar 4, 2005 at 10:45 PM | Permalink

    Peter Wetzel,
    First, I would say it is a lot harder for RealClimate to ignore you due to your status as a published scientist. Your comment in the Moberg thread (#21) is a case in point (and well argued I might add). Review my comment (#4) posted here, which essentially put them “under the scrutiny of peers”. All I asked for was a comment on the apparent contradiction. Also in the Moberg thread, the comment following yours (#22), has gone unanswered. I asked this simple question:

    I have noticed that proxy data is often processed by subtracting the mean and dividing by the standard deviation. I assume that subtracting the mean is to center the data at 0. What is the reason for dividing by the standard deviation?

    If you feel qualified to provide an answer Peter I would very much appreciate it.


  15. Posted Mar 5, 2005 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

    Dear Dr McKitrick, I am puzzled as to why you refer to my correction to your paper as “unsubstatied chatter”. Are you disputing the accuracy of anything in that post? You still have not fixed your incorrect calculation of the standard errors.

    I also have a question. Why did you change the variable from abs(latitude) to cos(abs(latitude))? While this change increased the strength of the economic “signal” it made the model fit worse.

  16. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 5, 2005 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    re #15
    I doubt that this one was rejected by realclimate…

  17. Posted Mar 5, 2005 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    re #17
    I doubt that this one was rejected by realclimate.

  18. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 5, 2005 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    this is somewhat related: I’m presently blocked from access to Mann’s FTP site as, by association, is a neighbour down the street who’s on the same cable internet access. (I copied the entire MBH98 directory in November 2003 so it doesn’t affect me directly except when I try to download newer papers.) I can still access it from the university.

  19. Posted Mar 5, 2005 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    Greg F, #14, I’ll answer quickly here if you don’t mind — It helps to normalize the proxy data by both the mean and the standard deviation so that proxies with different statistical properties can be compared with one another and also with the observations (when also normalized the same way).

    To several of you: I appreciate that mbh98 has become a public icon. Its continued citation is certainly inevitable. But proxy studies have continued. Refinements and new data keep adding new bricks to the wall of evidence that is being built. One crooked brick does not pre-ordain that all future courses (layers of bricks) must remain crooked. The crooked brick will always be noticed (cited), yet its actual influence on the building of the wall wanes as more courses are laid.

    As somewhat of an old geezer in the field of atmospheric science, I’ve learned a few lessons which might apply to this discussion. Very early in my career, I began to correspond with another fellow scientist who was doing some of the pioneering work in land-atmosphere interaction modelling (my field as well). His work and mine were competing, alternative, approaches to applying this modeling to address a particular problem. I spent a lot of time studying his work and became convinced that there were serious, basic, and fundamental flaws in his approach. I raised these issues privately and got wholly unsatisfactory, very frustrating responses from him. I faced the choice to publish work critical of his paper (look, the brick is crooked!), or of publishing my own approach and letting the issue evolve (lay a good, straight, level brick beside it).

    Now, here’s the unscientific part of that: Some people thrive on the thrill of confrontation, and live for it. Fine. Some people seem to love the thrill of promoting their results, and seeking attention for them, more than they love pioneering into the unknown realms of knowledge to retrieve a new result. Personally, I find that my psyche (karma?) stays healthier (in the long term) by letting the science result speak for itself. For me the real thrill is in learning something new.

    John writes: Yes, but were billions of dollars bet on which bricklayer laid the crooked brick?

  20. Posted Mar 5, 2005 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    I’d suggest that the bets are on whether the wall is straight.

  21. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Mar 5, 2005 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t the problem here that some people (many of them here?) think the work of one scientist and his associates, which is clearly just a brick in the wall, is, somehow, the whole wall itself. So, the thinking goes, push and the wall falls – and thus, shazam!, the problem is gone! Clearly that isn’t the case, AGW isn’t something which is founded on the work of MB and H.

    To push the metaphor, the wall, clearly, isn’t fully built yet. To many people thought it’s clear where it is headed. I’d rather it was even that clear, but, I’ll not be convinced otherwise until, or if, the foundations are undermined. I see no sign of that.

  22. Ed Snack
    Posted Mar 6, 2005 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

    Re #19, I undertstand the montivation, but the basis of this discussion is a little broader IMHO. If one removes the Bristlecone Pine records (and possibly the Gaspe Cedars for much the same reason), the the Hockey Stick has an entirely different look. It would, at first glance, appear to be a good counter example to much of the AGW rhetoric. And there are very good reasons to exclude the BCP records, primarily that they are clearly not reacting in any predictable way to temperature and hence should not used to attempt to reconstruct historical temperatures. Many of the other related studies use much the same data set, and if the MBH98 &99 studies do NOT show a drastic 20thC warming (which I assert properly constructed they do not), AND MBH is so vigourously defended by so many in the AGW industry, then surely these other studies must also be questionable.

    So, why won’t anyone attempting to defend MBH98 or 99 discuss the BCP records !

    And for Tim Lambert, are you suggesting that Steve should have followed MBH’s methods ? In which case you would still be asking for the location of the data and code to work out if there were any errors. As a result, why aren’t you working hard to ensure all papers in this field have readily available data and code ?

  23. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 6, 2005 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

    I just put this message to realclimate:

    Roger Pielke has some good advice for realclimate.

  24. Jo Calder
    Posted Mar 6, 2005 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    Not a RealClimate rejection, but this is maybe worth a mention here.
    I submitted a story to SlashDot (News for nerds, stuff that matters), based on the Cubasch and von Storch comments. With respect to Cubasch, I mentioned in particular his comment about reproducibility. I indicated also Mann’s desire to keep his source code “proprietary”. (A common theme on SlashDot is that code produced by open methods is typically superior to those produced by other means, so I thought that might be an angle of interest to SlashDot readers.) The title was Gobal warming hockey stick: controversy deepens (my typo, for which many blushes). The main links were to these (ClimateAudit’s) pages. I included the RealClimate URL and David Appell’s as places to watch for some response to the Cubasch/von Storch comments.
    The post was rejected, after a greater delay than was the case with all my previous SlashDot rejects.

  25. Ferdinand Engelbeen
    Posted Mar 6, 2005 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    I must say that most of my posts to RealClimate were published. Only comments on the reliability of tree rings as proxy in general (not specifically the BCP series) were not published. I question why too much political motivated comments are allowed, whick waters down the scientific comments that really matters.

    And I enjoy the comments of Peter Wetzel, especially the “responsible skeptic” comment, #21 in the Moberg discussion.

    As I have read (and send comments to) both RealClimate and Climateaudit, IMHO both should try to avoid more political discussions which have more to do with believe than with science. Scientific questions should prevail, also for those who write comments…

  26. Posted Mar 7, 2005 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    [[reply submitted (but not posted) 11 pm - 1/27/05 - to thread What If ... the "Hockey Stick" Were Wrong? -- ]]

    That non-E&E reference for Loehle should have been Ecological Modelling 171:433. Here’s an excerpt which describes the concept: “The standard assumption in climate research, including the IPCC reports, is that over a century time interval there is not likely to be any recognizable trend to global temperatures (Risbey et al., 2000) and thus the null model for climate signal detection is a flat temperature trend with some autocorrelated noise. Any warming trends in excess of that expected from normal climatic variability are then assumed to be due to anthropogenic effects. This assumption is largely based on reconstructions (e.g. Crowley, 2000; Jones, 1998; Mann et al., 1998, 1999; Overpeck et al., 1997), which show a very flat long-term temperature pattern (with little variation in the running mean, and a slight cooling trend), but Broecker (2001) has recently argued that the flatness of this reconstruction results from the inappropriate use of tree-ring data. It is also likely that when time series with large dating errors are averaged, any cyclic patterns will be smeared, and will cancel out. If there are in fact possible underlying climate trends, then it is not valid to conclude that a deviation from an average climate is necessarily a ‘detection’ (see Risbey et al., 2000) of an anthropogenic effect.”

    Your dismissive approach to Loehle’s E&E paper is interesting. I happily rephrase my comment as a question: “Have any of the multiproxy theorists published the results of an investigation into the inherent smearing of variability when combining time series each with its own dating error?”

    I would be most pleased to learn why you claim that the SAR was specifying anything about greenhouse gases in the since-famous statement that “The balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate”. To me, it seems clear enough that the body of the SAR stresses the ambiguity of the results from attempts to detect CO2 signal in climate as discussed in section — quite a contrast with the discussion of anthropogenic sulphate aerosol signals in the next section.


    This was a reply to a dismissive response by realclimate principal to comment #3 in the thread.

  27. John Finn
    Posted Mar 7, 2005 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    I’ve had 2 or 3 of posts ‘rejected’ which all question the same point. This is essentially what I see as an anomaly between the MBH hockey-stick reconstruction and other data/graphics provided or cited by realclimate.

    According to NASA, estimates of radiative forcing over the last century suggest that early 20th century (c1910-1945) warming is not due to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. Indeed, realclimate has published model results on it’s site which show that early 20th century warming is almost entirely due to natural causes. The MBH hockey-stick, though, shows the increase as a significant departure from the climate of the previous 900 years.

    There is a slightly more detailed explanation of the query with a couple of references in the comments section of the “Bring the Proxies up to date” article.

  28. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Mar 7, 2005 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #15: Prof Lambert – The cosine error was real, the unsubstantiated chatter was the assertion that all the results were wrong and the conclusions were invalid. You raised the point about error clustering in a climatesceptics posting last year and I responded therein, but for your benefit I have just posted a STATA command file and output file at that applies the clustering adjustment. The coefficient sizes are not affected (of course) and the significance levels in Table 4 are preserved except for one (SOVIET) which, in one case, goes from marginally significant to insignificant. The joint test results still show a significant nonclimatic signal in the gridded data. The reason for using cosine is to compensate for varying grid sizes. The file I posted also re-does the calculations using ABSLAT rather than COSABLAT for comparison. Again our results are robust either way. The conclusions of the paper are clearly not undermined by the issues you have raised. But your determination to scrounge up a reason to resist the conclusions suggests to me that you understand their potential significance.

  29. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 7, 2005 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    More realclimate frustration here:

    I noticed the backpedaling on this issue as well. I’ve already given up on RealClimate because of their censorship policy. I spent over an hour making a detailed critique of climate modeling and they turfed the comment. Upon my writing them and asking why they did that considering the comment wasn’t coming from a denial persepctive but simply pointing out the limitations of computer modeling, they responded that I should resubmit my comment and that they’d review it again. Yeah right. Who keeps copies of all the comments that they leave on blogs. Further, with their 24 hour comment review period you don’t even know if your comment has been accepted.

    RealClimate is turning into a blog to defend the reputation of Mann et al. I certainly am open to reviewing criticisms of McKitrick and McIntyre but I’m fully behind their attack on Mann because of his poor recordkeeping and after the fact obfuscation that seems as though it’s intended to frustrate efforts at replication.

  30. Patrick Boyle
    Posted Mar 8, 2005 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    I commented a few times on RealClimate but this last rather long comment was squashed. The refusal was polite. They said that they wanted the site to be about science and my comment was inappropriate because I raised questions about political and financial bias. This was on a thread about George Will and Michael Crichton so I felt it was very appropriate.


    I thank the authors of this site for their civility and the other commentators for their temperate remarks. However I think all of you have illustrated my points by your objections.

    I expect and I welcome real science being applied to this and all other similar issues. My point was that the non-scientists Will and Crichton should be listened to because they are giving testimony about the possibility of social-political issues involving bias. As The Amazing Randi as pointed out scientists are rather easy to fool by charlatans and magicians because of their relative innocence. Similarly I would submit that scientists generally underestimate the social impacts and influences involved in these kind of issues. Political commentators and novelists may have better perspective.

    Specifically Will and others have commented on the media ice age hysteria in the mid seventies. I have read everything on Connolley’s site and no matter how it mitigated, the point remains that when temeperatures went down there were popular press accounts that predicted ice ages. Today we have had popular press accounts predicting run away warming. Surely it can’t be wrong to review the record and at least wonder. As I understand the scientific consensus – there was warming in the early part of the century, cooling in the middle and warming again in the second half. The recent warming seems to correspond very well with the anthopogenic CO2 increases but the explanations for the earlier two trends are much less obvious.

    Your response to Will’s political article reads like a political retort. We have quite enough of that sort of thing on Fox News. Because global warming is so much a Democratic Party issue Will as a Republican treats it as another grist for his partisan political mill. You can respond to a partisan polemic in a partisan fashion but I think it wiser to rise above that level of discourse. Connolley’s site seems to be oriented around the concept of “gotcha”. I recommend responding with a balanced and impartial review of the evidence. Dare to be boring. Don’t attribute low motives to global warming sceptics. Rather try to show them the error of their ways.

    Crichton argues for double blind funding. By this stance he is asserting that climate scientists may be bias. This is probably personally difficult for the scientists to accept but it is certainly consistent with good science. When I taught research design often my students couldn’t always see the necessity for such caution but I would expect all physical scientists to embrace this kind of reform. Crichton seems to be a kind of modern day Semmelweis, castigated for advocating a needed reform.

    Ajax Bucky (#31) doesn’t recognize to whom I refer when I spoke of environmental groups who see human development as a form of sin. If he will reread his own post I think he will see an example of this over heated sort of thinking. He uses the terms short-sighted, greedy, total control, domination, etc…. These are the words of a person consumed by a quasi-religious passion. I don’t think the discussion is advanced by demonizing the opposition.

    In my regular work I have always had to deal with religious passions – generally Microsoft vs UNIX. These disputes involve and consume the brightest people. Brilliant technical people often become enraged by such questions. Such disputes are aptly called “religious wars”. This sort of thing is what I meant by the observation that there was a religious dimension to the global warming controversy. I expect the appropriate scientists to resolve the facts of the matter dispassionately of course but everyone should recognize the out-size emotions that have been let loose. Remember Magdeburg and Drogeda.

    George Roman (#32) contends that I have exaggerated when I claimed that there has been a ‘terrific imbalance in public perceptions’. He cites a study that criticized Lomborg for making similar claims. Alas I refuse to spend the $23.18 required to read more than the abstract. Rather I will just ask – Why was Lomborg’s book so shocking?. Why did Crichton spend most of the plot having his characters reveal problems with popular perceptions about global warming? Why did Will bother to write about global warming at all?

    All three of them seemed to believe (as I do also)that the general public has been told a consistent tale of alarm by the media. If they were wrong in this perception and the public was well informed on all sides of this issue then no one would have noticed an obscure Scandinavian economist rehashing old news and no one would have commented on yet another sci-fi thriller from a not particularly talented writer. I suggest you consider the wisdom of the market. Will, Lomborg, and Crichton each in his own way has found fame and fortune through exploiting what is clearly to most people a contrarian position.

    As to William Connelley’s question in his fisk of my post – I don’t know what I mean by small. Presumably that’s your job. I will say however that in graduate school and for a few years after I did mathematical modeling professionally in areas that were also politically charged. After that experience I developed an appreciation for limits of models and the power of politics. When I scan the summary IPCC model predictions I am not very compelled by what I see. I note that the long term trend of the predictions about the magnitude of global warming has been to decrease over time. When I say small I mean that I expect the effect to be of little import in human economic or social terms. This view is in contrast to the other likely result that the whole issue will evaporate like predictions of the Club of Rome and Erlich. I think there is probably something to anthropogenic global warming and I think in a few years many questions will be answered.

    To increase the credibility of this site may I suggest that all the contributors post their political party affliation, their connections with industry and environmental groups, and their source of funding. Remember, Al Gore raised global warming to run for the Presidency. Bill Clinton signed the Kyoto Treaty which he knew to be unpassable by the Senate as a political ploy. George Bush killed Kyoto as a Republican counter stroke. Global warming is one of the most powerful political issues extant. We need to know your personal politics in order to evaluate your comments.

    We also need to know of your other affiliations and funding sources. I always thought there were billions at stake over global warming but Crichton says trillions. Whatever. This is not molusc paleontology. There is big money involved and money matters – so do ideological commitments. When you understand that Gould was a life long commited Marxist you understand his essays differently.

    Like many others I would like to find a solid, reputable, and credible source of information on these most controversial questions.


  31. Greg F
    Posted Mar 8, 2005 at 10:37 PM | Permalink


    Thank you for your response to my question in item #14, it was more helpful then you know. It took a few minutes for it to sink in, well more then a few minutes, but I think I got it.

  32. K.A.Shepard
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

    I am sick and tired of all the verbiage cnnected with the Global Warming and Kyoto issues. Unfortunately there are too many gullible people and government leaders in the world to day that believe the IPPC and its 1000’s of scientists to be have the ability to predict global climate over the next 100 years. It is common knowledge that their GCM’s are incapable of handling the majour greenhouse gas (water vapour) which comprises over 90 percent of such gases and which enables all of us to live on this planet. Carbon dioxide is readily accepted by IPCC and Nasa scientists as the great evil and consequently is most targeted by Kyoto. This is inspite of the fact that throughout geologic history increases in CO2 prost date increases in temperature! The pro global warmers also feel strongly that the majority of any global warming is caused by anthropogenic gases. This is amazing when the solar activity pus temperatures within the troposphere can more adequately and logically explain both periodic warming and cooling. The news media thrives on hysteria and the predictions of dangerous climate predictions by the IPPC. These predictions are embraced by environmental NGO’s which now constitute billion dollar businesses largely funded by governments and our taxes. Citizens and industries will soon be hit with carbon taxes. This is the reality which merits hysteria and reaction amongst proactive industry and citizens.

  33. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

    It might now be an opportune time to make one or two comments, and corrections:

    1. Ross McKitrick, Tim Lambert is not a professor, but a lecturer in computer science at UNSW.
    2. Ice cores – the next phase.

    Seems that historical levels of CO2 are principally derived from ice cores, Vostok frequently cited as “THE” reference.

    I did a quick Google on aeroplanes and ice, and obtained 2 relevant references. The greenland one in which the aeroplanes were buried ~85 metres down during 46 years duration, and the Hercules plane in Antartica, 9 metres for 15 years.

    This, on the basis of back of envelope calculation, suggested 0.6 m/yr for Vostok, and 1.77 m/yr for Greenland “snow” deposition.

    Assuming static volumes of ice for both, recyling periods for Greenland are 2000 years ~ , and 6500 years for Antartica.

    If so, CO2 estimates for history are faced with a problem, if derived from ice core analyses.

    Even more so if only the volatile free fractions (un-cracked ice) are used for analysis.

  34. Paul
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    I think Realclimate should simply be ignored. The claim made by the sites editors that it is science focused and keeps politics out is just so laughable. Compare Patrick Boyle’s (#30) rejected comments with the following that appear on realclimate:

    George Bush is more than just in bed with fossil fuel companies, he was the head of a petroleum company, as was the vice-president. The Bush administration favors the fossil fuel companies and will take no action on climate change, because the companies would lose profits.

    The Bush administration has demonstrated hostility towards environmental regulation. Industry lobbyists and lawyers who have fought environmental regulation have been appointed heads of the environmental agencies. Environmental lawsuits are settled by the administration on terms favorable to industry. The general public, and especially environmental groups, have been shut out from environmental policy and regulation. Science has been suppressed or tailored to benefit the regulated companies. Wholesale changes have been made in regulations at the agency level but in a way that avoids the public from noticing.
    I worked in environmental law when George Bush was Governor of Texas, and I saw first hand these types of tactics and how George Bush misrepresented his environmental record.

  35. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    re: 33

    Louis can you please elaborate on the recycling period? I don’t understand…

  36. Louis Hissink
    Posted Mar 9, 2005 at 9:57 PM | Permalink


    Assuming the ice cap is of a fixed size, and we have seasonal deposition of snow, which turns into ice, etc etc, then the observed deposition rate, ie 0.6 metres/year at Antartica, means that the ice cap is also ejecting a similar quantity of ice into the sea. Hence I suspect for a snowflake deposited at the surface, it will probably be ejected into the ocean ? 6000 years later? This is the recycling period I am thinking of, though to be honest, just dividing the total ice cap thickness by the deposition rate is obviously not an accurate estimate but, say, a ball park figure.

    I have made some courageous assumptions of course, that the deposition rate has been constant, and that the ice cap has not grown over time, but assumes a constant mass which might fluctuate in size over smaller time scales.

    The point I want to make is that these deposition rates are what we KNOW as fact. Whether the WWII planes sank into the ice from gravity is a factor I have not bothered with, but it should be taken in account for a more accurate estimate.

    Hope this clarifys it a bit more.

  37. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 10, 2005 at 6:43 AM | Permalink


    The published ice cores are usually taken on domes or summits where th flow is away from the area. The ice under the dome is thinned due to shear stress, I’m certain you are familiar with creep. See Nye and Glen

    Nye, J.F. 1952. The mechanics of glacier flow. Journal of Glaciology, 2, 82-93
    Glen, J.W. 1958. The flow law of ice: a discussion of the assumptions made in glacier theory, their experimental foundation and consequences. International Association of Scientific Hydrology Publication 47 (Symposium at Chamonix 1958 – Physics of the Movement of Ice), 171-183.

  38. John A
    Posted Mar 11, 2005 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    Re: #36

    The key assumption that you made Louis was to assume constant density of snow. Compaction of snow into ice especially under pressure makes your back-of-envelope calculation out by a least a magnitude, if not more.

  39. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

    just to make sure, i posted this on realclimate, see if it gets through:

    As a backgrounder it is useful to look at the actual data for the last 45 years. Considering the observed growth of emisions and the observed growth in atmospheric co2 concentration, a sink saturation has not yet been observed, quite opposite the sink has increased from 1000 MtC/y in 1960 to 3000 MtC/y in 2000.

  40. Hans Erren
    Posted Mar 17, 2005 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    re # 39

    Miraculously accepted!

  41. TCO
    Posted Sep 17, 2005 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

    My posts get into RC. I don’t like the voice of god there or the wait though. Or the only having limited time to respond to threads. I don’t like VoG here either. Especially not be John…

  42. storeman norman
    Posted Jan 18, 2009 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    Someone raised the idea of establishing a website to post contributions that have been rejected at RC. Seems to me to be a great idea. Obviously this thread is a bit old. However, my hope is that putting this message here will elicit a response showing where I can post my saved copies of posts rejected at RC.

  43. Posted Jan 18, 2009 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    I had that in mind some time ago, . Domain seems to be still free ;)

    Something here as well,

  44. Ed Snack
    Posted Jan 18, 2009 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    Of course your posts get onto RC TCO, you are one of their cheerleaders. Pity your understanding of the science has not improved.

  45. trevor
    Posted Jan 19, 2009 at 1:52 AM | Permalink

    I see that somebody has established a website to host rejected RC comments.

  46. jae
    Posted Jan 19, 2009 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Actually, I think RC has gotten a little better about tolerating adverse comments. But you have to accept this type of reply at the end:

    Response: It’s not ‘odd’ – it’s what happens when you have massive disiniformation campaigns pushed by lobbyists and ‘think’-tanks arrayed against basic science.

  47. Alan Wilkinson
    Posted Jan 19, 2009 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    No, you don’t have to accept that stuff. I don’t, even as a reader, so I don’t visit the site.

  48. Vernon
    Posted Feb 5, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    I tried to post this but it did not making though the screeners.

    [Response: Since the study clearly (e.g. Figure 3) reconstructs cooling over East Antarctica during certain sub-intervals (e.g. 1969-2000) and warming over others (e.g. the long term, 1957-2006) its hard to make any sense of the question. -mike]

    This is it not fair to say that your study found warming from 1958 to 1969 and your applying it to the whole period?

    Since it was further said in the previous threads that 1035-45 was the warmest time in the century then does not also mean that the 1958 start point was during the coldest period of 1935-2000?

    That going from 1035-45 to 2000 was cooling?

    I do not see how an 11 year warming period when the rest of the time is cooling makes the whole time warming. 11 years is weather not climate, right?

  49. Posted Jan 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

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