Trenberth’s Bile

Anthony draws attention to a bilious diatribe by Trenberth against “deniers”.

I have some back-history with Trenberth. In 2005, Trenberth was interviewed by Paul Thacker of ES&T about the MM articles (discussed here) where he stated:

There have been several examples of people who have come into the field of climate change and done incredibly stupid things by applying statistics in ways that are inappropriate for the data, [Trenberth] says.

I wrote back and forth with Trenberth a number of times in respect to his earlier comments about me – the correspondence is online here. After several attempts to get Trenberth to justify his allegations, Trenberth challenged me to respond to the criticism at realclimate. When I did so, Trenberth discontinued the correspondence without justifying his comment.

In his most recent outburst, Trenberth says:

Debating them ["deniers"] about the science is not an approach that is recommended. In a debate it is impossible to counter lies, and caveated statements show up poorly against loudly proclaimed confident statements that often have little or no basis. Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. Moreover a debate actually gives alternative views credibility.

Trenberth described his recommended tactic in a Climategate email as follows:

So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric. Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.

Trenberth now complains that the supposedly “false claims” of critics have not been “scrutinized or criticized” enough:

But their critics are another matter entirely, and their false claims have not been scrutinized or criticized anything like enough!

However, Trenberth himself advocated the strategy of casting aspersions on critics instead of scrutinizing their arguments and, as one of the architects of this strategy, is hardly in a position to complain.

The way to counter lies is obvious – show evidence that statements are lies. For example, when Mann said that I had asked for an Excel spreadsheet and that they had inadvertently introduced errors in the process of tailoring the data for this special request, the way to counter it is to produce the original email showing that we had not asked for an Excel spreadsheet but an FTP location and that the dataset that we were directed to at Mann’s FTP site was dated long prior to my inquiry. (The data set was deleted by Mann shortly after this incident, thereby removing this evidence.) Or when Mann told the NAS panel that he hadn’t calculated a verification r2 statistic as this would be a “foolish and incorrect” thing to do, the way to counter this was to examine his original article which showed the verification r2 statistic for the AD1820 step and, when code became available for this step, to show that the code calculated the verification r2 statistic in the same step as the RE statistic that was reported.

Trenberth also purports to justify Jones’ successful effort to keep McKitrick Michaels 2004 out of the two AR4 drafts sent to reviewers on the basis (this incident has been discussed at length on other occasions) that:

AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment.

while noting that Trenberth himself, as a “veteran”, was aware of the obligations:

As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.

Trenberth goes on to add that:

[climate scientists] are unlikely to make false claims that other colleagues can readily show to be incorrect.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many incidents where climate scientists make false claims that are readily shown to be incorrect. We need think back no further than Jones’ claim that CRU had confidentiality agreements that contained language prohibiting the distribution of data sent to Peter Webster to “non-academics”.

Trenberth’s very claim that AR4 was the first time that Jones had been on a writing team is itself another example of an untrue statement that can be “readily” demonstrated to be untrue (although his “colleagues” have thus far not called him on it.)

Both Jones and Trenberth are listed as contributing authors of AR3. (Indeed, Jones’ correspondence about the Briffa reconstruction in the wake of the 1999 Lead Authors meeting in Arusha, Tanzania was important in the setting of the notorious “hide the decline” memo.) See the list of AR3 chapter 2 authors below, where both Trenberth and Jones are listed as Contributing Authors.

Likewise with AR2 – both Trenberth and Jones had precisely the same standing as AR2 Contributing Authors. See here.

Trenberth’s assertion that Phil Jones had not previous been on an IPCC writing team is, to borrow a phrase, a “travesty”. It turns out that Phil Jones had been involved in all three previous IPCC reports.

Update: Pielke Jr observes:

FYI, Phil Jones was also listed as a “Contributor” to IPCC FAR (1990) Sections 6, 7 and 8 pp. 348-349. (Later this role was called ‘Contributing Author”).

[Update Jan 20] Trenberth’s CV (as pointed out by Dave Clarke) shows that Trenberth had also been a Lead Author in 1995 and 2001. However, as discussed here, Jones had not merely been a Contributing Author to IPCC 2001, he had been a Key Contributor who had been part of the Chapter 2 “writing team”.

78 Comments

  1. MikeC
    Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    He’s desperate

    • Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

      Exactly my thoughts earlier when I picked this up from WUWT and Lubos Motl. Lubos makes the excellent point that the journalists Trenberth complains are part of the big conspiracy against the good people like himself have far fewer ‘deniers’ proportionately than the AMS to whom he’s producing this later this month. Not a high chance of a big conversion rate to the ‘consensus’ point of view based on that.

    • Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

      An earlier response agreeing with Trenberth’s desperation is ‘awaiting moderation’. In the meantime I’ve read the Trenberth section of the April 2006 post Thacker’s “Sources” that Steve links to. Absolutely appalling. How dare these people still feel free to pontificate at the AMS or any other level. It’s time for change – oh yes we can.

      • MikeC
        Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

        Don’t worry, his rhetoric will sink him there.

        • Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

          I feel more convinced of it than I ever have. Roll on 23-27 January.

  2. Harold
    Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    I read the linked PDF- it seems to be surreal at times.

    He says you can’t argue with scientific facts – he’s begging the question. I’d agree if he were referring to verifiable scientific facts. The facts being offered conform to “I used this data set, massaged it this way, and got this result”. The next step is a leap of faith in generalizing past the actual results. And, as everyone who has read this blog even casually knows, much of the “scientists” work is unverified, and some completely unverifiable.

    Again, he says scientists aren’t advocates, but also says they should discuss what to do about global warming. That’s a political advocacy – something should be done about global warming.

  3. Joe Crawford
    Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    In Dr. Trenberth’s upcoming talk at AMS (posted over at Anthony’s), he states in Section 4 “THE SCIENTISTS”, Paragraph 3:

    Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.

    I fail to understand how anyone with even a BS in one of the hard sciences, much less a Doctorate could make a statement like that.

    • Dave
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

      Whilst plainly daft, I think there might be interesting logical connotations of that suggestion which Treberth hasn’t thought about. If the null hypothesis is that all weather events are affected by global warming, then any type of event the of which frequency or severity has not changed significantly in a measured period is evidence against the IPCC conclusion. If, as we believe, extreme weather events are cherry-picked by advocates from a mass of boring normality, then we should be able to analyse the boring normality and show a lack of trend.

      Bearing in mind that we don’t have to look for very long-term trends – a decadal trend would do just fine for this – they should be relatively easy to find.

  4. Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    It’s not the one Trenberth that worries me, but the hundreds that will simply sit there and listen, some of them out of conviction, most for sheer conformism.

  5. AnyColourYouLike
    Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    Posted this at Judith Curry’s a few minutes ago. Seems relevant here.

    Trenberth’s lecture looks like a highly conscious first-strike in the “surge”- type propaganda tactics being talked up a few months ago, to counter the public doubt/apathy in the wake of Climategate.

    The highly provocative attempt to turn the tables on sceptics, via the Null Hypothesis reversal, clearly has everything to do with political posturing to see what he can get away with, and nothing to do with scientific debate. It’s a clear attempt to gerrymander the terrain from under the feet of sceptics, simply because they were winning, and to make up new rules based on his own “Royal” authority.

    It will be interesting to see how much the MSM (whom he somehow manages with a straight face, to criticise for not being on-side enough) help him to get away with this brazen sleight of hand.

  6. Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

    He forgets that every time he points a finger at someone he has three pointing back at himself.

  7. Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

    Is there a single teacher of science in any school (at any grade level) that would support Trenberth’s statements? Indefensible nonsensical statements like that would not pass muster even in a grade school class… And this man has a DOCTORATE? Wow…

    • Jim Turner
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

      Sadly, the answer is “absolutely, yes”, and not just teachers. As a professional scientist for nearly thirty years, I know there is a difference between the noble ideals of ‘science’ and the all too human frailties of ‘scientists’. There is a saying I heard from the legal profession that parallels the situation rather well: “Justice is what we hope for in the next life, the law is what we must put up with in this”.

    • Duster
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

      Logic is usually taught in English or Philosophy rather than in “science” courses. The reason has traditionally been that one needed to able to construct logically sound arguments in a literary or oral format, and that any informed person also needed to be able to critically examine another’s arguments. Sound and critical reasoning skills are valuable in all parts of life, not just science. “Consumers,” however, equipped with such skills are desirable in markets and ask baffling questions of salesmen, like, “why would I want this?.” The emergence of profound thinkers like Trenberth is something I attribute to the triumph of marketing over education.

      • William Newman
        Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

        Computers have made some hard-core logic relevant in some applied work as well, so that it shows up pretty regularly in engineering, statistics, and computer science. I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess that today it’s at least as common there as in English or philosophy. Further, I’m reasonably confident that a majority of those people who understand inductive “logic” (or inductive reasoning anyway) well enough to say quantitative things about it (e.g. Bayes’ theorem, various bounds on learnability of different kinds of regularity, compressibility…) have learned largely on the math and applied engineering-oriented side, not the classics side.

        I’m a mathematically oriented computer programmer and several times I’ve chased the fundamentals of how useful software works down into into logic. E.g., one book I happen to have on hand is Lambek and Scott _Introduction to higher order categorical logic_, which you can reach by starting with the kinds of proof-checking software used to verify the correctness of some kinds of integrated circuits and chasing down through the mathematical formalism used to express such proofs. Machine learning and related statistics calculations provide other starting points where applied work can lead you into other serious work in logic, though it might not appear in the title of the book you’re led to: e.g., the title might refer to “set theory” and the text might not try to separate out that part of set theory which is elsewhere called “logic”.

        • Duster
          Posted Jan 16, 2011 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

          That phrase should have read: ‘“Consumers,” however, equipped with such skills are _UN_desirable…’

          As regards logic courses, what you describes pretty much what I am complaining about in education. Exposure to logic is regressing into specialty areas like computer programming, where it is essential. Logic was once one of the founding blocks of education and was located where exposure to it was inescapable. Any student, in any major, HAD to be exposed to logic and critical thinking, since every major required English. Not all required math at a level that would lead to familiarity with set theory, or Bayesian logic – the latter wasn’t a common component in basic mathematics courses even in the early ’70s.

  8. Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    I’m obviously blind, but I can’t find Jones in that image above.

    • Dave L.
      Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

      First line under “Contributing Authors”, sixth name:
      P. Jones = Professor Phil Jones

  9. Pat Frank
    Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Simon, top line under “Contributing Authors,” sixth name in: P. Jones. The top line is internally alphabetized, as apparently those folks are classed differently from those following.

    Kevin Trenberth, by the way, is down among the Contributing Authors, second class, so apparently Phil Jones outranked him that year.

    • Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

      Thanks Pat (and Dave L.) I just couldn’t find it. I don’t know why. The list is two groups of alphabetical contributing authors placed together, so I’m blaming that. :)

  10. bernie
    Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    Steve:
    Many thanks for the first hand input and reminders of Trenberth’s past casuitries.

    • bernie
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

      Make that “casuistries”

  11. Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the information, Steve,

    It sounds like the familiar war among two-year olds, “It’s mine!”, evolved into a turf battle among adults.

    Oliver K. Manuel

  12. justbeau
    Posted Jan 13, 2011 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    Please keep disclosing your shallow thoughts, Mr. Trenberth!

  13. kramer
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    The data set was deleted by Mann shortly after this incident, thereby removing this evidence.

    You gotta be kidding me.

    • hr
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

      It seems indeed to have been deleted, but is it established that it was Mann who ordered the deletion?

      • Bosse Johansson
        Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

        I guess he “owned” the datafiles? Then it does not matter in my eyes wether he was involved the actual removal or not, he is still responsible for the removal. If he didn’t approve of the removal he had every opportunity to protest publicly.

    • Robinson
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

      Removed from public access he means. I’m sure there’s a private copy somewhere.

  14. EdeF
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 12:46 AM | Permalink

    Dr. T is welcome to come on here and dispute any of the wrong statistical
    methods that are being employed.

  15. hr
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

    I used to have considerable respect for Trenberth’s scientific credentials, but he is fast losing it.
    For the record, both P.D.Jones and K.Trenberth are listed as contributing authors of Chapter 8 (Model Evaluation)on p 471 of the IPCC TAR (2001).

  16. hr
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 3:11 AM | Permalink

    Trenberth: “There have been several examples of people who have come into the field of climate change and done incredibly stupid things by applying statistics in ways that are inappropriate for the data.”
    Trenberth didn’t mention any names and as it stands his statement could even be a reference to Mann, Bradley and Hughes’ amateurish 1998 and 1999 papers. It certainly fits them rather well.
    Although I don’t doubt that you’re right that he
    intended his comment to be taken as a referenec to M&M.

  17. Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    Trenberth writes:

    Debating [deniers] about the science is not an approach that is recommended…. a debate actually gives alternative views credibility.

    and further on:

    Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.

    In other words: “If someone claims anything we disagree with, they have to prove it; but we are not going to consider their proof anyway.”

    • Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

      Good pull quotes. It boggles the mind how a “scientist” could not understand that the debate is about one issue – not muddying the waters with multiple “points” to debate. The debate is clear. Has the null hypothesis been disproven? Claiming a concensus instead as a reason to dismiss it instead of using the scientific method indicates politics, not science.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: Antonis Christofides (Jan 14 03:58),

      In other words: “If someone claims anything we disagree with, they have to prove it; but we are not going to consider their proof anyway.”

      This is the real heart of the matter. I’ve you’re going to reverse the burden of proof, you have to examine and then deconstruct the “proof” which is presented to refute the “accepted” theory. But this is precisely what the AGW crowd won’t do. They not only don’t look at the serious criticisms of their theories, they won’t allow others to either by things like stacking the deck in peer review and being unwilling to allow critics to present their evidence at major conferences or in publications like the IPCC reports.

  18. Stacey
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 4:20 AM | Permalink

    He starts his address trying to get the sympathy vote, decent people of course did not find the death of Professor Schneider cheering news. The good Professor was good at ‘communicating climate science’, one year we were in for new ice age the next year catastrophic global warming. Yes a veritable Vicar of Bray of so called climate science.
    Dr Trenberth’s artical is a politcal rant and not a very good one, as he uses special pleading, begs the question and ‘misspeaks’ on too many occasions.
    If this is a typical example of his work and he is typical of IPPC contributors then it is no wonder that IPPC assessments are unable to withstand scrutiny.
    Dr Trenberth heal thyself.

  19. Foxgoose
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    snip – please do not try to coatrack other issues into this thread.

    • Foxgoose
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

      Steve

      Respectfully, I’m not sure what “coatracking” other issues means.

      I pointed out that the central premise of Trenberth’s presentation relied on interpreting IPCC AR4 as an unequivocal endorsement of AGW – whereas Pachauri had already agreed to retract this point from the official Cancun proceedings after Revkin pointed out it wasn’t true.

      This seems to me to be highly relevant to the discussion of Trenberth’s presentation since it undermines one of his main points.

      Steve- attempts to debate AGW in a couple of paragraphs are against longstanding blog policies. Anthony is more tolerant of this than me.

      I seem to have had the “Real Climate” treatment for making an entirely relevant contribution – I’m confused.

  20. seagull
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

    Trenberth gives us food for thought. Can one reverse the onus of proof for the null hypothesis? My understanding of the null hypothesis is that it is a statistical concept – whether two groups hav a statisically significance difference. It matters not if the control, untreated, existing or historical group is called Group A or Group B, and the observed, treated, studied or new group is called B or A. The null hypothesis is concerned with a difference between the two group. Neither group has moral superiority to the statistician – the difference is all that matters.

    So, in the very next paragraph Trenberth gets into a muddle in tryng to describe the “new” null hypothesis.

    It appears that Trembath has become confused through failure to consult his statistician. I hesitate to call him a failed climatologist, but his comments elsewhere on the Qld floods suggests that he has also failed to get competent advice from a reputable scientist in Australia concerning the past record of Australian climate. We have seen it all before, and there has been no climate change (statistically signicant, that is) in 150 years.

    As Hanrahan said (almost a hunred years ago): “We’ll all be rooned if this rain don’t stop……..”

  21. John M
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    Seagull,

    It appears that Trembath has become confused through failure to consult his statistician.

    Maybe just one more case of “incredibly stupid things by applying statistics in ways that are inappropriate for the data”.

  22. Craig Loehle
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    Trenberth’s statement :”Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based.” is simply false. While the mass of the proton is pretty well established and not open to debate, string theory and dark matter sure are open to debate. Whether hurricanes will increase or decrease in strength and frequency under climate change has not been established, and Trenberth is using the tactic of asserting a false closure of the scientific process. I also sense that by his definition, critics are outsiders, but “colleagues” are those who agree with you.

    • Hu McCulloch
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

      While the mass of the proton is pretty well established and not open to debate,

      I don’t know about the mass of the proton, but when I was an undergraduate at Caltech (long ago), an annual ritual called “Physics Lab” set the entire freshman class to work trying to prove that the electron does not have an integer charge, by replicating Millikan’s experiment. This was not to be taken as an article of faith based on an IPCC proclamation a la Trenberth, but as a matter of observation.

    • RickA
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

      snip – no need to take up this OT issue

  23. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Trenberth’s writings in the above link appear to me to be nothing more than a call to arms for climate scientists to be more advocates and to get closer to the political process. His straw man, as the prototypical denier constructed by the some advocates/scientists, apparently is easier to argue against in that Trenberth/advocate/scientist gets to define or imply what the denier holds to be true. Serious skeptics are not deniers in that deniers might want to argue about whether there has been warming, and can GHGs cause warming. The serious skeptic concerns, which Trenberth appears not to recognize fully, are the uncertainties of the predicted levels of future warming and the potential consequences of future warming, be they beneficial or detrimental. Trenberth also fails to address the major political concerns some skeptics have about the mitigation being worse than the problem it is supposed to mitigate.

    Trenberth stands on its head the normal political disinterested and conservative null hypothesis of most scientists and truly exposes his advocacy in this matter. If we were to concentrate on the Type II error avoidance, as Trenberth presumably suggests I suspect that we would scientifically give the nod to a very large number of mitigations for a whole host of problems. If I were to assume that we should be mitigating a whole host of problems, that we currently have avoided, and without concerns of unintended consequences, then maybe I would be making statements like Trenberth – but the comments sure as heck would have no foundation in science.

    • Harold
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

      As you point out, Trenberth mixes politics and science, seeming to argue that since he says the science says the earth is warming, the politics must follow to keep it from warming. This logic is interchangeable, whether it’s warming or cooling, with the apparent desired political outcome of a constant temperature.

      Separating the science from the politics, when I see a result where ALL the details of how it was achieved is not disclosed I view the resuts as interesting but suspect. I would only use the results for making a decision that mattered if I had no better alternative.

      On the political side, the problem is defined by the results which I find interesting but suspect. Inherent to the political frame, however, is a collective backdrop, that is, individuals who don’t care if their climate warms or cools and those who disagree about the certainty of results are discounted as anti-science, kooks, corporate shills,…

      In any event, I don’t think that Trenberth doesn’t recognize the serious concerns of skeptics. I’ve seen a number of “experts” who avoided admitting they were flat wrong by a dismissive wave of the hand and some accompanying language that let everyone know that they were the experts, and so their statements must be accepted and not questioned. It’s just playing a role.

    • Sam
      Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

      snip – blog policy discourages attempts to prove or disprove AGW in 2 paragraphs

  24. Mike B
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    There must be some kind of Climate Science Tet Offensive going on here, as Michael Tobis has just posted over at Briggs’ site (Link on the Blog Roll).

  25. Aw
    Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    “[climate scientists] are unlikely to make false claims that other colleagues can readily show to be incorrect”

    is rather close to admitting:

    [climate scientists] are likely to make claims that other colleagues can readily show to be correct.

    • Harold
      Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

      I think this was mis-written:

      “can readily show to be incorrect”

      S/B “will readily show to be incorrect”

  26. Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    FYI, Phil Jones was also listed as a “Contributor” to IPCC FAR (1990) Sections 6, 7 and 8 pp. 348-349. (Later this role was called ‘Contributing Author”).

    For another example of Trenberth publishing things that are easily shown to be demonstrably untrue, see:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/11/fabrications-in-science.html

    Trenberth’s slide into “bilious diatribe” (a fine description) has been a while in the making, and coincides with his being on the losing side of a number of scientific debates in the literature, such as:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/shameful-article-review-and-update.html

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jan 14, 2011 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

      What a travesty – so Jones had been involved in all three IPCC reports. It’s amazing how often these guys just make stuff up.

      • Posted Jan 15, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

        I’m far from expert on roles within the IPCC and their significance but I see Judith Curry seems to provide some support to Trenberth on this detailed point (though not on other things) from her experience. Or have I misunderstood?

        Thanks meanwhile to Roger for more of the backstory.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jan 15, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

          The Climategate letters show that Jones was involved in the writing process. Climategate letter 120. 0929985154.txt is addressed to “Lead Authors and Key Contributors”. A previous commenter observed that the TAR Chapter 2 Contributing Authors had two sequences, with Jones in the first sequence. The addressees of 120. 0929985154.txt are the listed Lead Authors and “Key Contributors”. The letter goes on to

          Section 2.2.2 —- David Parker, Phil Jones, Tom Peterson, Chris Folland*
          Length okay, but reduce number of figures….

          Sections 2.3 through Section 2.3.5—- Mike Mann*, Phil Jones Reduce in
          size by about 10%

          Then there is an important sequence of emails in September 1999 entitled “IPCC Revisions” following the Arusha meeting in which Jones, Briffa, Mann and Folland try to figure out what to do with the Briffa reconstruction in the IPCC TAR report in view of the decline, eventually leading to the deletion of post-1960 values. Jones was involved in this exchange.

          While Jones was a Contributing Author in TAR, he was a “Key Contributor” and involved in the writing process.

          To my knowledge, Jones and Trenberth both had the same standing in the 1990 and 1995 reports (Contributors), so Jones would have the same standing as Trenberth in these two reports – of which Trenberth described himself as ‘veteran”.

        • hr
          Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

          Whatever one’s assessment of the relative degree of involvement of Trenberth and Jones in pre-AR4 IPCC reports, the fact remains that both Trenberth and Jones had joint responsibility as Coordinating Lead Authors for the content of Chapter 3 (Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change) of the AR4 WG1 report.
          I have already made the following observation and question at Judith Curry’s blog:
          Ross McKitrick has openly http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/uk_plmnt_inquiry_submission.pdf
          accused Trenberth and Jones of ‘fabrication’ of an important reference within that chapter. See in particular section 3, paragraphs 17-19 of McKitrick’s submission. Fabrication in a scientific document is a serious offence, amounting to fraud by invention. There may be an innocent explanation for the alleged fabrication, but has Jones or Trenberth or the IPCC responded to McKitrick’s allegation? Anybody have an answer?

      • Posted Jan 15, 2011 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

        It’s amazing how often these guys just make stuff up.

        Oh, Steve, that is so uncharitable ;-) Perhaps it is merely yet another demonstration that Trenberth appears to be afflicted by false memory syndrome?!

  27. paroopiex
    Posted Jan 15, 2011 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    snip – prohibited word

    • paroopiex
      Posted Jan 16, 2011 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

      snip

      Please see Blog Rules here which state:

      I don’t allow discussion of religion and will mark anything even close as spam. I will not make any effort to snip such posts to recover salient non-offending portions.

  28. srp
    Posted Jan 15, 2011 at 4:39 AM | Permalink

    Trenbeth could try to argue in a Bayesian way that there is enough evidence now to change the prior used to evaluate future research, but I don’t see how it makes sense to change around the null and the alternative in a classical stats context. He would do better by arguing from decision theory to use an explicit loss function rather than conventional significance levels–although that would just end up in a new debate over all the same issues.

    • Harold
      Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

      I’d buy into this argument if the works were significantly independent. That is, if there wasn’t a bias toward achieving and publishing the right type of result, and a lack of good cross checks (I should probably explain that here I mean another way to approach the same question that has at least some independence from the primary approach. Tree rings and so on are the problematic proxies, and their “goodness” isn’t predictable based on hard science per se.) Then top it off with what appears to me to be an almost EDA approach to analysis (which I consider improper from an experimental point of view). Questionable analysis, poor ability to cross check = high probability of erroneous results in my experience.

      I don’t think Bayes helps a lot with these problems, perhaps a statistician can comment?

  29. Jeroen B.
    Posted Jan 16, 2011 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    The link to the PDF on the AMS website is broken, returning a 404 error. An abstract of the paper can be found here:

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/Paper180230.html

    There appears to be a new version of it, current link:

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/Manuscript/Paper180230/ClimategateThoughts4AMS_v3.pdf

    And keep up the great work!

  30. Lisa Boucher
    Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre wrote, “The way to counter lies is obvious – show evidence that statements are lies.”

    In my experience over the past several years, that doesn’t work — because deniers just ignore the evidence and continue to repeat their lies.

    Trenberth is absolutely correct:  “Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based.”

    Steve: if you have any complaint about my posts at Climate Audit, please identify them.

    On things like climate scientists blaming Climategate on FOI requests in face of chronological evidence otherwise, I agree that climate scientists all too often continue to repeat untrue statements and that it is discouraging that they ignore the evidence. However, I still believe that one should not simply give up.

    • Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

      He is correct that “scientific facts” are not open to debate. Do you know how many “facts” there are in science? Let me give you a clue. In Climate science, Data are facts. Extrapolations from that data are not. So outside of the facts of the raw data (hidden by many that want us to believe one thing), there are no facts.

      It is therefore illogical for you to jump to the conclusion that anyone – here or elsewhere – are repeating lies. But since you so boldly made the statement, it is up to you to provide evidence that is so. Please do so.

      • Lisa Boucher
        Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

        snip – prohibited topic under blog rules.

        • Lisa Boucher
          Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

          Nice censorship – and quite ironic, given the manufactured “Climategate” nonsense.


          Steve – there is long standing blog policy against discussion of evolution. If you wish to discuss evolution, there are many other venues to discuss it but please do not do so here.

          I asked you to support your allegation of lies and request that you do so, rather than raise off-topic issues of no interest here.

        • Lisa Boucher
          Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

          snip –

          Steve: it is a longstanding policy that comments discussing “evolution” will be deleted. Think of another example for the point that you wish to illustrate.

          Again I asked you to justify your allegation of lies, which you continue to fail to do.

        • Lisa Boucher
          Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

          “if you have any complaint about my posts”

          My original post contained the allegation that in general deniers ignore rebuke and repeat the same lies.  I was not thinking about about you when I wrote that, Mr. McIntyre.

          The blogger doth protest too much, methinks.

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jan 18, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

          Lisa, not sure if you’re aware of it, but “blogger” Steve McIntyre has previously been on the receiving end of false accusations of dishonesty. Accusations are easy to make (I think you just one yourself) – it’s harder to produce evidence, and it’s notable that that’s where these accusations have all fallen down. Perhaps frustratingly for his accusers, Steve McIntyre has been steadfastly scrupulous, and respectful of the truth (cf. RealClimate).

          Given this history of false accusations against him, you should be able to understand why he’s less than tolerant of what appeared to be more of the same (re: your comment).

          “In my experience over the past several years, that doesn’t work — because deniers just ignore the evidence and continue to repeat their lies.”

          For reasons probably worth your while considering, skepticism about AGW has grown, not diminished. Contrast that with eg. skepticism about the tobacco / carcinogen / lung cancer connection. If you’re unable to make a persuasive argument using the truth, I suggest you pause and reconsider before deciding to resort to something other than the truth (or some well-judged mixture, as advocated by AGW honcho, the late Steven Schneider).

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

      Re: Lisa Boucher (Jan 17 14:20),

      The problem is that there are several grades of “deniers”. Most of the people here are certainly not any sort of “denier” if by that you mean someone who denies that the globe has become warmer over the past century or so. The question is just how much warming has occurred and to what the warming can be attributed.

      As to lies, you need to identify specific lies and attribute them to particular individuals. You’re here on a blog belonging to Steve McIntyre. Therefore if you don’t attribute some specific lie to Steve or to some other individual, you really haven’t said anything at all. A quick google search came up with a biologist (specialist in paleobiology) at UNO with your name. snip

      I’ll repeat something I’ve said before, that when dealing with controversial subjects one needs to seek the opinions of the people on the opposing side who present the best arguments for that side and try to refute their position. Complaining about the crudity and disingenuousness of less than the best people on a side is not a way to make progress. Nor is it the way to show intellectual honesty. I hope this will keep you from falling into the trap too many scientists fall into when they visit this site.

      • Lisa Boucher
        Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

        “disingenuousness of less than the best people on a side”

        I have not yet encountered anyone who (1) denies that fossil fuel emissions are the primary cause of global warming, (2) is intelligent, and (3) is honest (or at least refrains from disingenuous rhetorical tactics).

        Steve: it is an editorial policy of this blog that there is no purpose in trying to prove or disprove AGW from first principles in a couple of sentences and that, if left unchecked, every thread quickly becomes the same. Accordingly it is a blog editorial policy not to have such discussions. There are many other locations that don’t mind such discussions.

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

          Re: Lisa Boucher (Jan 17 20:57),

          You were asked by Steve to provide an example of how he’s lied. You have avoided doing so.

          SNIP -foodfight

        • Gerald Machnee
          Posted Jan 17, 2011 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

          This post began with the following:
          There have been several examples of people who have come into the field of climate change and done incredibly stupid things by applying statistics in ways that are inappropriate for the data, [Trenberth] says.

          SM said:
          I wrote back and forth with Trenberth a number of times in respect to his earlier comments about me – the correspondence is online here. After several attempts to get Trenberth to justify his allegations, Trenberth challenged me to respond to the criticism at realclimate. When I did so, Trenberth discontinued the correspondence without justifying his comment.
          Since Trenberth refused, do you care to make points (2) intelligent and (3) honest comments on the use of the statistics???

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jan 18, 2011 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

          snip – please do not try to debate agw in one-to-two paragraphs

        • oneuniverse
          Posted Jan 18, 2011 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

          I pointed out that the ‘denied’ assertion is not itself a statement found in the IPCC reports or the scientific literature. How on earth is that debating AGW? I’m not sure, given Trenberth’s talk, whether it’s OT either. Still, your blog etc. and thanks.

  31. hunter
    Posted Jan 21, 2011 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    The assertion that a debate is not the way to counter lies is a very interesting claim.

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