Rejected … by RC!

I have been rejected at RealClimate!
My first rejection! I have not posted there in about two years although I have occasionally read some of their consensus defences when they were relevant to what I have been looking at. They have been running a Steig Corrigendum thread concurrent with ours and I have followed it sporadically. I got a little irritated by a comment from what appears to be one of their regulars and decided to clarify something that had been puzzling me for several days. So I posted the following:

#52 Chris

Some scientists do some research and publish a paper. A correction is made. In the meantime various wannabe’s, armchair numerologists and self-important grandstanders pick and hack at the work, insult the scientists at a distance and play second-guessing games about their motives.

With all this talk about motives, nobody seems to have taken a close look here at the Corrigendum itself. In my role as one of the wannabe numerologists, my examination of the correction has lead me to some puzzling questions.
In his original post on CA, Dr. McCullough detrended the sequence of Antarctic temperatures and estimated the first order autocorrelation of the residuals to be .318. It was not difficult to verify that this result is correct and that the methods used were in fact the usual ones from the statistics literature for doing such a calculation.
On the other hand, in the Corrigendum, Dr. Steig states

We report in Table 1 the corrected values, based on a two-tailed t-test, with the number of degrees of freedom adjusted for autocorrelation, using Neffective = N(1 – r)/(1 + r), in which N is the sample size and r is the lag-1 autocorrelation coefficient of the residuals of the detrended time series. The median of r is 0.27, resulting in a reduction in the degrees of freedom from N = 600 to Neffective = 345 for the monthly time series.

giving a value of .27 for the same autocorrelation. The puzzling question is why is this value different? Since the method for calculating this value was not specified, and using the clue of the word “median”, I was able to pick and hack a possible means by which this answer could be arrived at.
If one takes the original 5509 individual monthly sequences and applies the methods used by Dr. McCullough to each sequence: detrend (with a different trend) each sequence and calculate the autocorrelation in each case, with the median of the resulting 5509 correlations is 0.2692838 which rounds to .27.
What I don’t understand is why this result has anything to do with the actual autocorrelation of the residuals of the averaged sequence from which the temperature trend is calculated. If one realizes that the 5509 sequences are all calculated from the same three principal components, then it is easy to surmise that they are strongly correlated to each other making the use of that value quite inappropriate without establishing a theoretical reason for its use.

However, in the original post by “group”, it states

The corrected calculations were done using well-known methods, the details of which are available in myriad statistics textbooks and journal articles. There can therefore be no claim on Dr. McCulloch’s part of any originality either for the idea of making such a correction, nor for the methods for doing so, all of which were discussed in the original paper.

I am not aware of any justification for Dr. Steig’s calculation above in statistics textbooks or statistics journal articles. If the method that I used gives the same answer by coincidence, and the answer can be arrived by some other appropriate method, I am also not aware of that. Perhaps, Chris or dhog or “group” could point me to a reference for how the calculation was done – I would appreciate that.
By the way, the difference in the final result is a reduction in confidence interval length of slightly more than five percent without a reduction also in the probability value as well making the temperature trend “more significant”.

About 45 minutes later, it had disappeared from moderation status.

Hey, I thought they would like it because it showed that Dr. Steig did not plagiarize this from Hu (yeah, I notice I misspelled your last name twice in the comment – 😦 – but I’ll leave the comment verbatim) since the correction wasn’t done by the known-to-be-appropriate method Hu had used. I would definitely be interested in a valid explanation and/or justification of the difference, but apparently it won’t come from RC. Maybe someone else can do that for me.

My second question is, if the corrigendum has a corrigendum, can I get credit? 😉


  1. kim
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    Send this to Nature, double quick.

  2. romanm
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    No, I’m not a self-important grandstander in need of the recognition. However, I really would like an explanation of the methodology from the authors – it may be locked away in an obscure climate science paper and I missed it.

    • kim
      Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: romanm (#2),

      Alright, a fair point, but I suspect another corrigendum is in the offing, and it’s been mentioned that instead of writing Steig, McCulluch could have notified Nature to establish precedence. Maybe do both?

  3. Fred
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    Would a double corrigendum be a corrigendumb ?

    In the case of the RealClimate mob, I would say YES !

    • theduke
      Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

      Re: Fred (#3),

      And a triple corrigendum could be called a corrigendumber.

    • Calvin Ball
      Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Fred (#3), This comes to mind.

    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    And therefore…?

    Because she is made of wood?

    [all] Burn her anyway!!!

  5. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    About 45 minutes later, it had disappeared from moderation status.

    Well, maybe you should wait a bit. Perhaps they’re going to turn it into a new thread where this issue can be properly debated. (But, no, I’m not going to hold my breath.}

  6. anonymous
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    Add it to RC Rejects. I think it’s important that there is a single point of reference that can be pointed at to show the kind of ridiculous censorship that is going on at RC. Some people still take it seriously.

  7. Terry
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    My post about your recalc of Figure 4 was also moderated out of existence last night. I was going to cite your plot but figured that would dramatically lessen the chances of it making it through moderation. I should have anyway.

    At the same time, Steig’s comments about standing by the paper, no more corrigenda, etc. will be pretty funny if they issue another. Roman, maybe you should submit your before/after Figure 4 to Nature?

    • romanm
      Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: Terry (#9),

      Nothing is planned for Nature for now. I genuinely would like to hear from Steig et al. to hear their side. Having looked at some of the math behind the situation, I don’t see much of a leg to stand on. but, being unbiased, I am willing to be informed otherwise.

      Re: brazil84 (#10),

      That will only happen if the dog ate the electrons in my comment and to quote Dave, “I’m not holding my breath” either.

  8. Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    RC can always claim that they would have published your comment if you’d only been more patient. I recall something like that happened with Steve a year or two ago.

  9. Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    “Why do they have to moderate a comment by someone like romanm, who clearly has a high level of understanding of subject matter? ”

    They can say that they wanted to give it more careful consideration.

    Anyway, it seems to me that Steve should develop a protocol for notifying folks on the Hockey Team about issues like this in such a way that team members will be completely unable to deny having received notice. For example, e-mail AND fax to all paper authors plus e-mail AND fax to the journal in question.

  10. Mark T
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    Interestingly, self-righteous “Chris” does not know how to use the apostrophe. Possession and contraction, not pluralization, Chris.


  11. Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    P.S. Not that it really matters. We all know that these disputes are very likely to be resolved by surface temperature records over the next 5 or 10 years. If global surface temperatures continue to not go up, we can stick a fork in the Team because they will be done. On the other hand, if surface temperatures shoot upwards, any games will be forgiven.

    My opinion only.

  12. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    RomanM, you make a damn good point here and one that I would think would not be dismissed so readily by a party truly interested in doing proper statistics.

    Agreed that RC is not obligated from a professional POV to answer/post crazies or mundane queries, but your comment bears well on what Steig actually was correcting here.

    RomanM, I am glad that you made this public (again) and I hope that you are in communication with Hu M on this matter.

  13. romanm
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    Let’s not jump on anything yet. My post put them in a difficult situation – if I am right, then Dr. Steig gets put in a corner for doing his statistics poorly. Nobody on the blog seems particularly adept with statistics and ad homs seem to be their forte so no help there. The simplest solution was to not deal with it at all and dump my comment.

    A formal post on the issue to the journal probably would not produce much of an effect after the previous spontaneous correction. I still would like a discussion with Steig et al. but I have not contacted any of the authors (nor at the moment do I expect to hear from the team). I’m going to be looking at the underlying math a bit (it takes time), to see where it goes.

    • Terry
      Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

      Re: romanm (#18),

      I think Steig is in a corner because of this exchange on the RC thread:

      I also don’t think it is unreasonable to ask the following: Are there any other corrigenda to Steig et al (concerning other issues that have been noticed including the curious autocorrelation calculation in the corrigenda itself) in the pipeline?

      [Response: No, there are not. I stand by the results as they are. And I would have thanked McCulloch had I read his email.–eric]

      It seems there are multiple problems not addressed in the original corrigendum, and it would be quite a bit harder to say he recognized them independently after that statement. Not that it isn’t a possibility. Que Sera…

      • romanm
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

        Re: Terry (#19),

        It seems there are multiple problems not addressed in the original corrigendum, and it would be quite a bit harder to say he recognized them independently after that statement.

        The problem that I am addressing here is not a pre-existing condition which can be justified by the same excuse as the one used in Hu’s case: “We said we would do the AR1 adjustment in the paper, but we momentarily forgot and we remembered before Hu told us”. This was a new situation created in the process of correcting a previous oversight. I still want to give Dr. Steig an opportunity to explain the rationale behind the calculation.

        IMHO, I don’t see a need to establish “priority” on noticing a possible error since since actively choosing a different way from the statistically accepted one of calculating the estimated correlation coefficient cannot be deemed an oversight or an accident.

        The duke’s observation in comment #22 that a different method of calculation might have been used as “evidence” that “we did this independently and completely unaware of what anybody else was doing” also occurred to me as well. It reminded me of correcting exams and assignments where it was quite clear that two students had colluded on a particluar solution, but one of the students had made cosmetic changes which made no mathematical or logical sense with the end effect of being flag that the collaboration had taken place.

        I will likely write to Dr. Steig to question what he had done, but since he is on vacation a reply will be slow in coming. I don’t think that the president, the pope (or the editors of Nature) would understand the nuances of the importance of using proper mathematically justifiable staistical techniques in climate science publications and a note to any of them would not be in order at this time.

        Just checking over at RC, I notice that since my rejection 😦 at RC at comment #56, the entire thread seems to have gone off in a different direction. I guess that gavin thinks that the corrigendum topic is no longer interesting… 😉

        • Thor
          Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

          Re: romanm (#41),

          I will likely write to Dr. Steig to question what he had done, but since he is on vacation a reply will be slow in coming.

          One can always hope, but I think the standard operating procedure is to not read any emails that were received while away.

    • Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: romanm (#18),

      Very nice work. I didn’t notice the difference in values which indicate a lack of copying. RC makes a point of clipping the more difficult questions/points.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: romanm (#18),

      Roman, I think that if you emailed Steig directly with your query he would owe a polite response explainig how he obtained his AR1 of 0.27, contra your surmise, or admit that he did what you surmised and defend it statistically or admit a mistake. If he ignored your query – well then that would say something very different about Eric Steig.

      • Gerald Machnee
        Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

        Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#26),

        Roman, I think that if you emailed Steig directly with your query he would owe a polite response explainig how he obtained his AR1 of 0.27, contra your surmise, or admit that he did what you surmised and defend it statistically or admit a mistake. If he ignored your query – well then that would say something very different about Eric Steig.

        But he will not receive the e-mail. He was leaving so he ended the post at RC. As he does not read CA, he will never find out.

    • jc-at-play
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

      Re: romanm (#18),

      I still would like a discussion with Steig et al. but I have not contacted any of the authors …

      If you judge that it wouldn’t be fruitful to ask Dr. Steig directly for clarification (as suggested by Kenneth Fritsch (#26)), why not ask his co-authors? Who knows what may come out of a polite request saying something like “I understand Dr. Steig is away for some days, and was hoping you could enlighten me about the methods you were using to calculate the autocorrelation coefficient. (etc.)”

      • RomanM
        Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

        Re: jc-at-play (#131),

        why not ask his co-authors

        When we were examining the original paper this spring and were requesting to see the satellite data (not posted at that time), I wrote to a co-author. He politely replied that I should wait until Dr. Steig returned from Antarctica and deal directly with him. I am sure that the same thing would happen in this case. I will wait a week or so and then write directly to Dr. Steig.

        Re: Gong (#135),

        I’m looking forward to a new post!

        Me too. 😉 I think one may be in the works.

  14. VG
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Inform Nature FIRST then put your blog here saying that you have notified them. Put dates and send copies so this will not ever happen again

  15. theduke
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    I just went back and read the original Steig corrigendum post from August 6. First Steve and then you, Roman, were all over the problem of their calculations differing from Hu’s. I find it hard to believe they didn’t have an inkling then of the trouble they could be in with the corrigendum as issued.

    I predict their response will be, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it,” which will be followed by a cessation of communication on the subject.

    It’s almost as if they felt compelled to choose a different method than Hu’s in order to not appear to have copied his work precisely. Now it seems that in doing that, they may have made more mistakes.

  16. nut
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Excluding the et al. there are at least three parties involved here: Nature, Dr. McCullough and Dr. Steig; failing to notify them – even as a courtesy – through direct means and then potentially later inferring a lack of citation would be poor form.

    Of course, lack of citation is poor form also.

  17. Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    Maybe your comment wasn’t “robust” enough.

  18. MikeN
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Jeff I pointed out the different results at tAV early on.

    • Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

      Re: MikeN (#28),

      Mike, I thought you were referring to the difference in the resulting confidence interval, which seems like a small overall change. Sorry if I misunderstood you. This data is horribly noisy and hundredths of a degree difference in confidence interval don’t register at all. My bad.

  19. AnonyMoose
    Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of Steig… did he ever publish the data which he said he was working on publishing?

  20. Posted Aug 15, 2009 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

    What censor?! Expect to be called a liar by tamino, as I was at the end of this post:

    And then, of course, tamino censored subsequent posts. It is interesting how ad hominems, “me too”s, and trolls are welcome, but discussion of the science is considered too dangerous for the sycophants to be be exposed to. Of course, it may just be an innocent attempt to maintain the illusion of “consensus”.

  21. kim
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 12:11 AM | Permalink

    This is denial which is cognitive dissonance; it’s all very predictable, and predicted.

  22. curious
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 2:33 AM | Permalink

    Roman – Please can I second the comments above that you forward your analysis as an observation for the record to the publisher and all the authors of the paper and its subsequent corrigendum?

  23. Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 3:02 AM | Permalink

    romanm, romanm !!!
    Steig is away for some days. And he doesn’t read a “fringe blog” (his words) like CA. And he was not aware the dog ate your corrigendum in the RC “moderation” box. And he will “independently” discover that his corrigendum needs a corrigendum.
    So send your corrigendum to Nature, the President, the Pope to take precedence, otherwise, your corrigendum would be like “an armchair numerologist’s” hack. Those guys have no shame.

  24. RoyFOMR
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    RC=Reject Contrarians?

  25. Alan Wilkinson
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 3:19 AM | Permalink

    I don’t see why you should continue to give RC any undeserved credibility by commenting there. The detailed information should be posted and discussed here. The other parties including Nature should be informed but linked here. It’s high time to play hardball.

  26. Uederra
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    OK, I am getting a bit sick about this corrigendum debate.
    First of all, If you think Dr. McCullough´s corrections were important enought, he should have sent his corrigendum to Nature in first place. If he didn´t send it to Nature, then is his fault, and only his fault that his work has been copied.

    If he doesn´t think his work was relevant enough to be sent to Nature, why are you guys crying now for the spilled milk?

    Dr. Steig could, and should have recognized Dr. Hu´s contribution, but he decided not to, and he got away with it. Yeah, we know Dr. Steig may not be qualified as a gentleman but at the end it is Dr. Cullough´s fault that his hard work doesn´t have the appropriate recognition. He is an “academic”, he should have known that blogs are not recognized in academia. Not yet, anyway.

    It is sad to learn these things the hard way, but hopefully, the AGW team will commit more mistakes and there will be more opportunities to write corrigenda and submit them at the appropriate place and time. That doesn´t mean that blogs are useless and you should stop posting your findings. I am jsut saying that if you thing your findings are relevant enough, you should submit them to the correct place.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

      Re: Uederra (#37),

      As far as I can tell, your comment has absolutely nothing to do with roman’s post. Just out of curiosity, did you read it?

      • Urederra
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

        Re: Ron Cram (#38),
        Yep, I read it. It is just another blog entry about how bad censorship is at RC. We shall never forget. My post was more in the line of Kim´s #1 and #4 and Theduke´s #12

        And just for the record, I ocassionally post here and at WUWT as Urederra. There was a typo in my last post where I signed as Uederra.

    • DaveJR
      Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 5:53 AM | Permalink

      Re: Uederra (#37), I’d agree that a line should be drawn under the incident. In the grand scheme of team mistakes, it really was a relatively minor one and not worth the thread space devoted to it. It merely adds to team accusations of nitpicking, detracting from the more important issues highlighted here.

  27. Stevo
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    Presumably the idea is that while the trend at each location is not the same, it is being assumed that the lag-1 autocorrelations are. If there is a concern about outliers biasing the estimate, some people do pick the median rather than the mean to estimate the true underlying value. Certainly if you have a fat-tailed distribution, like the Laplace distribution, then the median gives a better estimate.

    But I don’t think it works in this case, because correlations have a sampling distribution which is not heavy tailed, and worse, for large values is skewed so mean and median are different. If you wanted confidence intervals on r, you would have to apply Fisher’s Z-transform first to bring it back to Normal, find the CI, then transform it back. The uncertainty about r potentially contributes to the uncertainty in the result.

    • romanm
      Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

      Re: Stevo (#39),

      Examine the situation from a mathematical viewpoint.

      Taking the simplest case, suppose we are dealing with a collection of independent AR1 time series each having the same autocorrelation structure. If you form the average across all of the series, the resulting time series does indeed have an AR1 structure with the same first order autocorrelation.

      However, if the autoregressive coefficients are different, then this is no longer necessarily true. In the Steig case, one would expect that due to geographic considerations, different regions of Antarctica would very possibly have a different autocorrelation structure.

      Furthermore, and possibly most importantly, the gridded time series are each a linear combination of the same three principal components so they are definitely not independent. Hence it is not clear how the individual correlations even relate to the autocorrelation of the averaged series. Questions of bias in the estimation process become overwhelmingly important and need to be justified mathematically. The fact that Hu’s value using standard accepted procedures differs markedly from Dr. Steig’s is indicative of this problem and why I see the choice made by Hu to be the only reasonable one in the situation.

      In answer to John’s comment #42, I don’t think that the transformation calculation is relevant because of the aforementioned problems with the assumptions needed to make Dr. Steig’s choice meaningful in any practical way.

      This is why I am waiting to see what justification the authors of the Corrigendum can provide.

      • John F. Pittman
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

        Re: romanm (#46), Thanks. I see your point of waiting.

  28. John F. Pittman
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    roamnm could you comment on Stevo comment about the Fisher’s z tranform? Assume that you did replicate the work of the 0.27, what happens if you do the transformation series, what is the result?

  29. John F. Pittman
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    I don’t read email while on vacation, either. Can’t blame anyone for not wanting to be bothered by something that can wait.

    • Urederra
      Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: John F. Pittman (#44),

      I don’t read email while on vacation, either.

      I don´t think you, I or even Dr. Steig can go to Antarctica on vacation. I wouldn´t go if I can choose other more pleasant destination, such as… well anywhere else in the world. That is a pretty lame excuse for not checking your email inbox.

    • Mihcael Jankowski
      Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

      Re: John F. Pittman (#44), you don’t have to read email while on vacation…but it should still be waiting for you in your inbox when you return, and I assume you would read it then?

      Of course, a mailbox can get pretty full if someone isn’t archiving emails…but any admin staff or grad student of his could have been assigned that task while he was away.

      In any case, what are the alibis of the other co-authors?

  30. Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

    I’d still like to keep focus on the prime issue of Steig’s original paper… does the Corrigendum, or the Corrigendum to the Corrigendum, overthrow the original conclusion?

  31. Esmeralda Dangerfield
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    I just posted this to Real Climate, two hours ago. Nothing, so far. ….sigh. Maybe no one works on Sunday? I have received
    no notice of being “under consideration,” as yet. Of course, *I* am a newbie! ….Ez

    I am new to this, trying to sort honest fact from nonsense. In this teapot tempest, however, I must say the simple winner, superficially, is The Other Side. As I see it, Houston McCulloch sent a very pleasant, friendly message about a confusion he couldn’t reconcile. Although the message was sent to all authors, not a one acknowledged receipt, thanked him for his interest. Why? Isn’t that a basic courtesy? Did not a single author feel a measure of scientific curiousity?

    Months later, a correction is published with no acknowledgement of McCulloch’s original message. McCulloch’s letter to Nature seems a tad strident, but so does Steig’s response, including “Once I recognized that we had neglected to make the correction properly, we re-did the calculations using well-known methods, the details of which are available in myriad statistics textbooks and journal articles.,” a tad snooty I’d say, especially in consideration of a new question which was rejected from your site yesterday.

    Apparently, there is another confusion pertaining to the correction, which was sent to you by Roman M whose question was blocked, yesterday. It was civil, well-crafted. I have no idea who he is, but his blog says, “I am a recently retired (after 40 years of teaching) professor whose academic interests have been stirred by the appallingly commonplace misuse of statistical methodology in climate science.” He only asked a question, nice question, asked in a nice manner. Does it not deserve an answer? What is being hidden here?

    What does a challenge “by all means necessary” by Climate Audit usually entail? (Again, I’m new….)

    It seems to me that science is science, that it is all about getting the data correct, the methodology right. That needs to be talked about, examined by all, in sunlight. The more input the better the science and the better the understanding of what other scientists are doing, what works and what doesn’t. To the extent that there is sniping about your critics and not about the criticism, you will lose. Truth will trump and if you need to hide methodologies and procedures in darkness, you’ll lose. If there is integrity here, you have to welcome interest from all sides, wherever, the more challenge the better the science.

    This is a dicey situation with many assumptions needing to be made. It’s not counting pebbles. Again, to an outsider it “seems” like you know the answers you want and attempts to challenge that are met with resistance. It may be inconvenient and time-consuming, but it’s what science is, I thought.

    I can’t evaluate the science, but I don’t think there has been an honest attempt to get at truth, rather it “feels” to one of those folk you want on your team like you are stonewalling. The extent to which persons trying to understand what someone did, to replicate – isn’t this important in science? – are stymied are bizarre. Mann wouldn’t release data until Congress asked for it. The British Met Office is refusing data to Steve McIntyre on grounds so ridiculous it is not credible. Joanne Simpson says that now that her funding isn’t in jeopardy she can say she remains a skeptic. John Theon, long retired, called James Hansen an embarrassment to NASA. Again, it “feels” like you have to be old, retired before you dare speak the truth. If you are still playing in the pond, you and your research must be in lockstep with the “community” and, if not, or if challenged, the wagons will circle, unite and refuse truth.

    Again, I don’t “know” not being a scientist, but it seems like this Punch and Judy show consists of “mainstream” scientists who, despite the fragility of the data available and the complexity of its analysis all come up with the same answer. On the other side are gadflys who ask questions and are dismissed as crazies. Hank Stommel never had a degree in oceanography. Degrees are, too often, pompous passes, not real qualifications and, to the extent, you refuse so rigidly to engage, you do yourself harm.

  32. David Cauthen
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know why any reasonable person would continue to go to RC for any reason. It can’t be to get “the other side” presented since they don’t allow it through moderation. It is clearly an advocacy site cloaked in “science” that is uninterested in an open discussion of the science and a free exchange of ideas. Steve, Roman, Hu, should dissect published studies here and at other open sites, and when something questionable is discovered, inform the authors, the journal, and the interested public here. It is necessary to inform the journal to prevent the authors from “hiding” from open debate and discussion at places like RC. (And claiming independent discovery) The only thing going to RC does is give them the appearance of fairness to those who frequent there. You get absolutely nothing out of it except frustration. Hence, my first sentence.

  33. Andy
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    I got also censored at the RC, although I had a simple uestion “When was the corrigendum sent to Nature?” Or has this been already clarified somewhere?

  34. romanm
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    David, I fully agree with you. As I mentioned before, I rarely post at RC. In this case, I thought that a thread on the Corrigendum topic offered an opportunity to raise the issue with them about the way that the correction was handled. Because they refuesd to consider it, bringing it out as a post here was the next available option to put it on the table.

    The point that RealClimate heavily censors their propagandistic blog site is not news to us here, but repeating the message might (as on other occasions with other sources) make the rest of the blog world more aware of the way the consensus is held intact.

    • Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

      Re: romanm (#54),

      I am disgusted with the fact that they clipped Roman’s post. I’ve sent an email to Dr. Steig but wasn’t as clear as I should have been. The team has to realize that there are a few people from CA who make great efforts not to criticize them. — Not me. They’re so quick to clip stuff from CA it’s asinine. Gavin reads here often enough to know who Roman is.

      Hu’s correction is minor and based on what little I’m familiar with, they should acknowledge this comment with happiness because it demonstrates to some degree what I said in the last thread that I beleived Dr. Steig was truthful about his lack of plagiarism. Before Doc Steig emailed and explained, it was impossible to believe that 6 emails were missed from Hu. It seems now that perhaps they were missed as he claimed.

      Steig’s team has however used an incredibly unusual means to correct for AC. Why do it on the unfinished/unaveraged data? It can be interpreted by the suspicious as working very hard not to acknowledge Hu or it could just be another oddity in climate statistics, there are more than enough of those to go around. My point is, who cares either way, I don’t because nobody will ever truly know and it’s a distraction which makes little difference so why not accept their word?

      The clipping of Roman’s post is the only thing I have strong convictions on. I think it has to do with their extraordinarily negative and automatic impression of CA so I’ll repost this comment on their thread. Clipping Roman is idiotic in an extreme as he only points out that they’ve made an oddly incorrect calculation which appears to have little effect on any conclusions.

      Certainly they can see the correctness of Hu’s calcs and respond as scientists would.

      • Mihcael Jankowski
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

        Re: Jeff Id (#60), where do I need to go to find the explanation that all 6 emails were lost?

      • Raven
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

        Re: Jeff Id (#60)
        Even if one accepts Steig’s reasons for the 6 missing emails that does not excuse RC’s response.

        If I was in Steig’s position I would first apologize for whatever glitches caused the missing emails, acknowledge that Hu had good reason for suspecting something was amiss but then explain what triggered sudden independent discovery of an error in published paper.

        The condescending comments about ‘fringe’ blogs and the general suggestion that it is some how Hu’s fault that all of the authors missed his email were unprofessional and leave one with the impression that he is likely lying or not telling the whole truth.

      • RomanM
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

        Re: Jeff Id (#60),

        I would say that it is not worth the effort to try to change the attitudes at RC. The tacit acceptance by Gavin et al. of the disparaging ad homs constantly spewed out towards anyone who might disagree with the consensus is an indicator of the level of class exhibited by the site.

        • Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

          Re: RomanM (#65),

          You are probably right. I’m hoping not. Either way, if I try at least I can say that I made the effort. The boys have to realize also that there’s a hill for them to climb as well.

          I’m not going to accept a partial attempt on their part, I promise. There’s apparently more bitterness on the RC side than we might realize. I told SteveM, it might help if one of you guys were wrong once in a while.. hehe.

          I’ve been very vocal about the level of class at RC, let’s see if they can change it.

          Re: Mihcael Jankowski (#62),

          It’s up to doc Steig to explain. Email him if you’re interested.

          Re: Raven (#63),

          One of my online and offline requests was that Hu’s innocence in the entire thing be publicly recognized. I also had requested that his efforts be recognized at Nature, however after Roman’s post that probably doesn’t need to be done until after the Corrigendum^2. So far I’m disappointed because there are no replies to my emails or posts.

        • Mark T
          Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Id (#67),

          There’s apparently more bitterness on the RC side than we might realize.

          They’re horribly bitter. The Team can’t openly admit that maybe they aren’t perfect. They are correct on this, since admitting error does hurt their credibility with the faithful. But the road they’ve chosen is worse since that hurts their credibility with those that only care about the truth. Those in search of the truth are the ones the Team should be appealing to in the long run since the truth will eventually out, exposing the Team’s less than honest dealings.


        • Calvin Ball
          Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#74), or put another way, a little less certitude and a little more humility would go a long way in both enhancing credibility and fending off criticism. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the class why they can’t do that.

  35. Jim Steele
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    RealClimate rejects anything that doesn’t promote their quest to captivate the public with their meme of man-made warming. I have had several simple respectful posts rejected. Simple suggestions like asking to discuss the significance of the start time for trends in Antarctica were deleted. The RC scientists demonstrate what is meant by the “there is no more discussion”. It has nothing to do with settled science. It means they and the RC ilk will simply not allow anymore discussion wherever they control the blogs or journals, etc. They do reveal the dark side of the scientific community.

  36. Stevo
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 9:22 AM | Permalink


    Thanks for the response. I agree. I can’t think of any reason, besides being derived from the same three principal components, why the autocorrelation structures could be assumed to be identical.

    I was simply speculating on some possible reasons why someone might have done it that way, and raising the bias in the median due to the skew, as well as the fact the correction is based on an estimated rather than true autocorrelation, as additional obstacles to its interpretation. But I also agree that such speculation is pointless until Dr Steig or any of the Corrigendum et al. choose to clarify. (I was indulging myself.) I find it can sometimes help to figure out a list of all the issues that need to be explained first, so that when you do finally get someone to respond you can do so more efficiently. Maybe not in this case.

  37. Carrick
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    Please write this up as a letter to the editors of Nature.

    Based on his prior comments, that’s what Steig says you should do, if you want to establish any priority for this observation.

  38. MikeN
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    Jeff, I noticed both differences, but had forgotten about this difference, which is still just four hundredths. All subsequent inquiries were about the .006 and .01 difference. I’m still curious whether this is a rounding error or another difference in methodology.

  39. Calvin Ball
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    Regarding communication in Antarctica –

    A little bit of googling reveals that there are nongeosyncronous satellites that open up communication windows periodically over Antarctica. It’s not always available in real time, and the bandwidth is limited, but it should be sufficient for email. They also use HF (3-30 mHZ), which is also limited bandwidth, but always available in the Antarctic winter, especially with no sunspots (now).

    I don’t think that lack of communication apparatus is a real excuse for not getting low-bandwidth (i.e. text) email.

  40. Mark T
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Such comments are simply “the way of the Team.” Our Internet Kung Fu is apparently not as good as theirs!


  41. Mark T
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    Yeah, why try. If CA is “the fringe,” RC is the fuzz on the edge of the fringe according to traffic statistics.


  42. theduke
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    That link to my post didn’t work. Here’s what I wrote:

    There is an elephant in the room that no one here is discussing. Did Dr. Steig’s co-authors receive Dr. McCulloch’s email and if they did, did they impart knowledge of it to Dr. Steig?

  43. Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    I should point out that my post #60 did not make it through moderation. so they got another one.

  44. Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    Next post was snipped too. Hmmm….

  45. 40 Shades of Green
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    I think someone should create a shadow blog, lets call it It would work like this. Anytime a juicy topic comes up at RC, simply copy all the comments into a parallel blog on and allow skeptics to comment uncensored.

    This could make a major contribution to the discussion as it is likely that many of the RC acolytes would be tempted to check in.

    This might be an idea for anyone blog proprietor who wants to drive traffic.

  46. j ferguson
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    40 Shades of Green:

    “I think someone should create a shadow blog, lets call it”

    This is a neat idea but might be a bit naughty (term of art).

  47. Calvin Ball
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    There is a place called, where rejected comments are archived, but if someone had some time on his hands, it would be interesting to run a site that looks like RC, only with the blasphemy added.

  48. Esmeralda Dangerfield
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    I just “came” from RC. It’s sad, quiet, and lonely there. I do suspect it would go a long way if there were more humility over here.

    Again, as a layperson, I’ve “sensed” where the truth lies. I enjoyed Roman’s comment:

    “There’s apparently more bitterness on the RC side than we might realize. I told SteveM, it might help if one of you guys were wrong once in a while.. hehe.”

    You have a tremendous amount to give. They need a lot of help. It should be possible to forge a team. Maybe you need a new drumbeat:
    not skeptics, deniers, but truth-seekers, wherever it is. Good luck, folk. I’ve enjoyed it but the discussion is much too esoteric
    for my education. hehe …..Ez

    RomanM: For the record the “bitterness” comment was Jeff’s. I can’t take credit for it. 🙂

  49. Mark T
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    Agreed, Calvin. But, the natural reaction to criticism by those whose beliefs are so strongly rooted in faith is to zealously attack any who dare offer the criticism.


    • Phillip Bratby
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#78),

      You say

      But, the natural reaction to criticism by those whose beliefs are so strongly rooted in faith is to zealously attack any who dare offer the criticism.

      Is it known that their beliefs are rooted in faith? Maybe they have so much of their careers and credibility invested in AGW that, regardless of what their real beliefs are, they have to defend the flawed science regardless. They have to stick together and defend at all costs. If there are any signs of cracks amongst the ‘faithfull’, then the whole edifice could come tumbling down. Maybe it’s not faith, but fear of the truth.

  50. David Cauthen
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    When you go to RC to engage them, you are simply playing their game on their field. It is a game played strictly by their rules with a predetermined outcome. As soon as you come remotely close to scoring a point, you are “disappeared,” leaving their faithful with the impression that the Team kicked your butt and you quit. Stop going there. Play them on your home field, or at the very least a “neutral” site such as the journals where they publish. Stop giving them credibility- it is a disservice to reputable science.

    • John Archer
      Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Cauthen (#79),

      When you go to RC to engage them, you are simply playing their game on their field. It is a game played strictly by their rules with a predetermined outcome. As soon as you come remotely close to scoring a point, you are “disappeared,” leaving their faithful with the impression that the Team kicked your butt and you quit. Stop going there. Play them on your home field, or at the very least a “neutral” site such as the journals where they publish. Stop giving them credibility- it is a disservice to reputable science.

      I generally, and wholeheartedly, agree but I’d consider exceptions. RomanM’s post here is an excellent example.

      With something of that status, I suggest that in future it be posted both here, at Climate Audit, and at RC simultaneously (or as near as dammit, but here first), and that that fact be stated as part of both submissions. The respective links should also be given. Of course, the link to RC will in all probability have to be just to the relevant thread there rather than to the post itself as it’s unlikely to be put up (ever). In which case, the time of submission should also be mentioned. (Along with the number, author and timestamp of the last post displayed for ease of later searching but that’s overkill maybe? But if not, a “refresh” immediately prior to pasting the comment would be a good idea.)

      Furthermore, I suggest another similar simultaneous (pretty much) communication or blog post be lodged with Nature providing the full text of the post and not forgetting a link to where it can also be found at Climate Audit. If it were me, I’d edit out the link to RC. Let those interested come here for it.)

      • John Archer
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

        Re: John Archer (#82),
        I just realised my sequence of times won’t work as stated. But the general idea is there.

      • John Archer
        Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

        Re: John Archer (#82),
        One other (obvious) thing. It doesn’t have to be the original author who follows up with the “simultaneous” posts. 🙂

      • RomanM
        Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

        Re: John Archer (#82),

        With something of that status, I suggest that in future it be posted both here, at Climate Audit, and at RC simultaneously (or as near as dammit, but here first), and that that fact be stated as part of both submissions.

        Unfortunately,your ideas for dealing with RC’s iron-handed control of discussion on their website would not work in reality. They are not under any obligation to print anyone’s comments and simultaneous posting on CA would be seen as a provocation subject to immediate use of the delete key. The bad feelings displayed by RC have a long history and are not about to change soon.

        RealClimate needs to be seen for what it is, a propaganda vehicle whose sole purpose is not the furtherance of scientific education or research but the promotion of a single issue: AGW. It is well funded and operated by people sufficiently versed in the topic to deal with most issues.

        The only reason they started a thread on the Steig Corrigendum was for the defense of what was perceived as an attack on one of their own. Manipulation of the conversation by the selective editing or complete blocking of comments was done to create the impression of a false accusation. My comment raised an entirely new issue of whether the correction was competently done and rather than be faced with the inconvenience of dealing with it, as I sort of expected, it never saw the light of day. Putting the rejection on CA allowed the issue to be discussed without RC control of the discussion and without the possible criticism that the issue was never raised with proponents of contrary viewpoints.

        By the way, it should be understood that these statements about RC reflect my personal viewpoint and not necessarily that of the host of the CA blogsite.

        • John Archer
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

          Re: RomanM (#98),

          Thank you. I couldn’t agree with you more on your take at RC’s motives, purpose and modi operandi and I fully understand and agree with what you are saying, but I think we are talking a little at cross purposes.

          The suggestion of pointlessly trying to post at RC and drawing attention to it was no more than just to show exactly how they run their racket. That is, I certainly wouldn’t expect the actual posts to appear there, oh no! I would not attempt to change the behaviour at RC—as you imply, and I fully agree, that would be fruitless—but, in addition to highlighting their noxious activities, I would love to block some of their bolt holes, as far as possible anyway.

          I hope RC continue on course and end up hanging themselves. “Unkind” of me? You bet, my motives now go way beyond merely cleaning up their future conduct, I can tell you.

          As you say

          RealClimate needs to be seen for what it is….

          And the sooner more people do the better.

        • steven mosher
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

          Re: RomanM (#98),

          Gavin: ” we blocked RomanM comment to avoid the kind of confusion that Dr.mcColluch caused. By blocking him and others we hope to train them to submit their concerns in a professional manner through profession channels. In
          this case they should write nature. ”

          hehe. I made this up.

        • John Archer
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (#109),

          hehe. I made this up.

          My money says, “Oh no you didn’t” — I bet you had a surreptitious glance into the Great Crystal Ball of Common-sense Predictions.

          Yeah, you cheated and peaked into the future. That’s all. Anyone can do that. 🙂

        • steven mosher
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

          Re: John Archer (#110),

          I wonder who moderates the posts? the “group” or fenton communications? If Gavin Moderates, for example, or Mann then they probably read Hu’s post and Roman’s post. They can always say it was lost in the spam filter. In the end they have to live with themselves. Punishment enough I reckon.

        • mpaul
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

          Re: steven mosher (#111),

          “fenton communications” — hang on. Are you saying Fenton supplies PR services to RC? I don’t know why I was being so thick. I thought that Gavin was just running a blog. If Fenton is involved, then I’m quite sure the ‘game’ that RC plays is part of a PR strategy. Typically, Fenton would bill a client $15K to $20K per month or more. Who is paying Fenton’s bills?

          If RC is an invention of a PR group, then no one should be surprised by the active moderation of ideas. The goal is not to advance science; the goal is to influence public opinion. Given this new info, I strongly suggest that no one on the skeptic side post anything to RC. You will just be played.

        • stan
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (#116),

          From the San Francisco Bay Area Progressive Directory

          The largest public interest communications firm in the country. Since 1982, Fenton has contributed to some of the most defining social change movements of the past quarter century, from the fall of apartheid to the rise of as a grassroots political force.

          With our clients, we’ve waged winning campaigns on a broad range of issues. We’ve exposed human rights injustices and corporate corruption and moved the dial on environmental toxins and the death penalty.

        • jeez
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (#116),

          Fenton built RC. Check the domain registration and the address of Fenton.

        • stan
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (#116),
          From Source Watch

          Criticism from the right
          Fenton Communications’ history of working for environment and other non-profits has drawn criticism the conservative Hudson Institute affiliated project, the Center for Global Food Issues. The CFGI champions genetically engineered crops and disputed concerns about mad cow disease. In February 2002 CFGI produced a report The Fear Profiteers edited by Bonner Cohen, John Carlisle, Michael Fumento, Michael Gough, Henry Miller, Steven J. Milloy, Kenneth Smith, Elizabeth Whelan.

          They wrote of Fenton Communications that “it is a founding member of the so-called Business for Social Responsibility. Yet Fenton has played a key role in a growing number of health scare campaigns involving both his non-profit and for-profit clients.” [2]

          “Their practices combine junk science with a hidden agenda to scare consumers away from safe products, supposedly all in the name of protecting public health and the environment.” … including scares about Alar and apples, swordfish, leaky breast implants, Health Care Without Harm (“danger of phthalates, chemicals used to make plastic flexible for products such as IV bags, teethers, nipples, and toys”), the book “Our Stolen Future” (“alleged that synthetic chemicals were causing developmental and reproductive problems in humans, such as low sperm counts, impotence and even homosexuality”), Bovine Growth Hormone,” Cohen wrote.

          “If you have been scared about food or pesticides in the last 10 years, chances are Fenton Communications played a key role in provoking that fear. The scares just don’t ever stop. But they all have one thing in common — a lack of evidence and abundance of deceit. The claims involved in the scares have all been refuted in public. By the time the scares have been debunked, however, the campaigns have taken such a strong hold that the truth usually is irrelevant,” he wrote.

          The report stated that it was published “through the efforts of the National Center for Public Policy and”.

        • Colin
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (#116),

          Mpaul, Fenton doesn’t just supply PR services to RC. It hosts the RC website. This implies that RC is the wholly owned property of Fenton. Who’s paying Fenton? MoveOn is a large part of Fenton’s funding.

        • Colin
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

          Re: Colin (#125),

          Slight correction; RC is hosted by Environmental Media Services,which itself is the wholly owned property of Fenton. The former retired head of EMS was Arlie Shard, previously head of Environmental Defense. What we’re talking about here, folks, is the big leagues Beltway environmental lobby, thoroughly political and all aimed at influencing U.S. federal policy.

        • jryan
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (#116),

          Here is some info about this connection. Check out the registrant of on a DNS yellow pages (like here). The registrant is EMS (Environmental Media Services.. now SCN “Science Communication Network”).

          EMS operated as the Environmental arm of Fenton Communications and changed it’s name to SCN after Arlie Schardt retired. Arlie used to be Al Gore’s press secretary.

        • Calvin Ball
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

          Re: mpaul (#116), For the record, the official “mission statement”, or “about” on RC contains the following paragraph:

          RealClimate is not affiliated with any environmental organisations. Although our domain is being hosted by Environmental Media Services, and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications, neither organization was in any way involved in the initial planning for RealClimate, and have never had any editorial or other control over content. Neither Fenton nor EMS has ever paid any contributor to any money for any purpose at any time. Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research. This information has always been made clear to anyone who asked.

          So they explicitly deny that. What they don’t address is whether or not any of the participation or moderation takes place on NASA time.

        • John Archer
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

          Re: John Archer (#110),

          In the end they have to live with themselves. Punishment enough I reckon.

          Ordinarily I’d agree with you, but they seem to be living with themselves happily enough right now. Strange.

          I dunno. It’s a little hard to understand.

          Hey! Maybe we’ve overlooked some hidden assumption. YES, that’s it. Ordinarily ordinary cases are ….. well ….. ordinary. I think the mathematicians have a word for ones that aren’t. Oh, what is it?

          Yeah wait, I’ve got it. I think they call them pathological. Perhaps that’s what we’re dealing with here? 🙂

        • Kenneth Fritsch
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

          Re: RomanM (#98),

          By the way, it should be understood that these statements about RC reflect my personal viewpoint and not necessarily that of the host of the CA blogsite.

          Roman, your statements do relect my viewpoint and are well stated. I think having a reasonable and realistic view of RC could help in avoiding some of the frustrations I see here. RC is what they are and will not be changing any time soon. They are, in my view, neither good nor evil; they are RC.

          The point at hand is not really an RC issue, but an issue of how Dr. Steig handled and statistically justified his AR1 calculations of the trend residuals.

          Did Dr. Steig get prior warning from Hu M’s or RomanM’s posts and communications about the lack of an AR1 adjustment as was initially advertised as being already applied in the Steig paper? We will never know and it is really not that important at this time, but we do know that in the correction Steig has not used Hu M’s method as noted by RomanM. And as noted by Roman, the calculation could well be based on the median of the AR1s of the TIR individual grids derived from the PC analysis.

          For the sake of the science, I judge that RomanM should seek a clarification from Steig on this matter and perhaps do it in the context of what we now know about communicating with Steig and his coauthors. I would expect a reasoned reply on this matter from a professionally minded scientist.

  51. Mark T
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    I don’t for that very reason. The simple fact they edit posts, not just delete them, tells me they aren’t interested in honesty.


  52. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    well, I made my humble attempt to raise the issue in a most benign way. I stopped posting at RC a long time ago, but thought I’d give it one more try. It would be interesting to see what Peter Webster thinks of their behavior, as he chided CA for being too onesided the other day

  53. Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    I’ve also asked them to hold Roman separate from myself. They have to work a bit harder if they want to end blogwars, it’s tiresome but not finished until things change. Doc Steig can have a different tone if he prefers as well but clipping Roman’s comment is not acceptable and chucking Hu under the bus is not acceptable. Hu was very professional and his expectation that someone received one of the 6 emails was also reasonable. In my case, clipping my comments today was BS, especially the second one but it’s Jeff Id so who cares.

    There’s plenty of magic stats to pound on until they get the picture, over the last week there were signs from RC of improvement followed by a return to crap. I’m waiting for some emails from Doc. Steig before things go back to the way they were.

    The thing with RC is not just that posts are clipped but the type of posts that are clipped. Before I realized who they were, I posted a very polite non-sarcastic question asking how they justified throwing away some tree ring data and accepting others based on correlation with the signal they were looking for. That was one of my last comments ever to get through. The difficult questions are clipped first.

  54. Mark T
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    I don’t understand why you expect them to change, Jeff. Their existence has a purpose, and free communication of ideas does not fit within that purpose. They will do what they can to make sure their point of view is the one that is heard, if not everywhere, at least in their own backyard.


  55. bouldersolar
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    I sent this comment into RealClimate twice, thinking that the first one got deleted accidentally:

    Re #74: “You don’t do science on blogs”

    Here is one example why that statement is wrong. Ian Joliffe, who is considered the authority on PCA statistics, learned about the use of non centered PCA by Mann from Tamino’s web blog. He then sent in a comment to Tamino that Mann’s use of PCA was not proper. At a recent seminar, Casper Amman was asked about Joliffe’s comments and confirmed that Joliffe was correct in that non centered PCA should not be used. The peer review process for Mann’s papers did not include Joliffe. It took the web blogs to do so.

  56. Esmeralda Dangerfield
    Posted Aug 16, 2009 at 11:39 PM | Permalink

    I’m back. This is *too* funny. There is nothing of interest on RC, but they did put up a post from some late-to-the-game, confused soul:

    “…don’t attempt to send the same e-mail 6 times. If no response after 2 attempts, use the postal service or the telephone.”

    He obviously misunderstood that McCulloch sent the email ONCE to six people: Steig and all his co-authors. What did the other five do with the message?

    Although the man who posted this message misunderstood, RC didn’t and the only excuse for posting it is to add another factoid of potential disinformation and confusion to the discussion.

    Might I ask: who, exactly is the vicious Jeff Id? I find nothing about him, even on tAV.

    Remember Dorothy Parker: A *little* bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika.

    ….but, be careful!

  57. VG
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Why does anybody here have any respect for RC? Isn’t it time you boycotted the site?. I don’t think anyone would learn much from it anyway. You are preaching to the converted. I rarely go there and probably will never even look at it again. I think it a shoddy badly presented site anyway

  58. James Lane
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:11 AM | Permalink

    Possibly a redundant comment, but RC is an incredibly dull blog. Long comment threads invariably degnerate into general policy comments.

  59. Mark T
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:29 AM | Permalink


    6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.
    7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.

    I think what you have just described fits those that aren’t necessarily falling under this one:

    2. belief that is not based on proof.


  60. Alan Wilkinson
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

    I reiterate, the only things you should post at RC are links to source posts and comments here. Then also note here that ‘The Team’ has been notified. So if they delete the notification it harms only themselves and their own credibility.

    • John Archer
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

      Re: Alan Wilkinson (#93),
      My apologies. I had read your #35 and intended to reference it (and possibly others) in my #93 but I just forgot. I’m sorry about that.

      • Alan Wilkinson
        Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

        Re: John Archer (#99),

        John, no offence at all was taken. I was happy to see the same (sensible!) opinion reinforced, but thanks for your note anyway.


  61. Alan Wilkinson
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

    I also think it is a mistake to give continuing credence to the mystique of peer-reviewed journals. We have all seen the failures of this system to protect quality and to expose fallacies. Science is done wherever it is done well. There are no deities in science. Institutions that fail must simply be discarded and make way for new ways of doing things.

  62. Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:36 AM | Permalink

    I dont think anyone has yet linked to this long thread about RC censorship. The experiment conducted by Andrew (#440) is particularly interesting.

    It’s always the comments they refuse to post that are the most revealing – In this case, for example, the dozens of rejected comments pointing out that Hu’s email went to all six authors.

    Please do put your rejected RC comments on – there is a new thread there linking to this one.

  63. Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

    “In this case, for example, the dozens of rejected comments pointing out that Hu’s email went to all six authors.”

    If that’s true, it’s pretty shameful for RC. It’s a completely legitimate criticism of Steig’s position. And if he does not address it, it makes me extremely skeptical of his claim of ignorance.

  64. BarryW
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

    I’ll offer a suggestion for Dr. Webster. Let him quote some of the technical posts that have been deleted from RC and post them himself and ask the question why valid technical comments were denied. Since he complains about CA being one sided here let’s see him be an honest broker and complain at RC. I would love to see how they justify themselves.

  65. Radar
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    I posted at RC asking how an error could be considered “fairly minor” if it results in an uncertainty range of +/- 1 degree on a trend of 1.2 degrees. Comment didn’t survive moderation.

    It’s amazing how they glance right over the validity of the study to assail everybody that picked on Dr. Steig’s math, and name call and rant that they didn’t copy or take from anybody’s work.

    The end result is that their readers don’t even bother to consider the worth of the paper but instead scream about the evil deniers at CA.

  66. henry
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    RomanM said:

    Putting the rejection on CA allowed the issue to be discussed without RC control of the discussion and without the possible criticism that the issue was never raised with proponents of contrary viewpoints.

    Some of the problems we have with the CA vs. RC posts are:

    1. Readers and posters at RC seldom (if ever) read CA. They’re being told that CA is a “fringe blog” full of deniers, who want nothing more than to destroy the “real science” being done by the team. Yet they’re familiar enough with CA posts to critique them.

    2. There’s no link from there to here (like SteveM has on this site). So people who visit there (directed by some outside story or post) don’t have a ready link to any other site, and get the “CA is bad” meme. Once they try to reply and get rejected, or check out this site to see what the noise is about, they usually don’t go back.

    3. The only papers that get shredded there are the ones that go against the consensus, or as you say, articles are written to defend a Team member. Only CA has taken on the errors in Team papers. RC never will.

  67. Esmeralda Dangerfield
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    The NYTimes has a link to Climate Audit, but none to RC.

  68. Robert M
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Henry (101)

    On the bright side, it is human nature to “go take a peek at the freaks”. ie. CA. It is quite possible that some doing that may visit CA for the first time and find this site is actually what they were seeking.

  69. Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    In all fairness to RC, it is not 100.00% closed to citing CA or to uncomfortable comments. The text of the 8/14 “Resolving Technical Issues” post actually contains a link to a CA post (my comment on Steig), and my comment #416 on the 6/21 Copenhagen thread concerning the length of Rahmstorf’s filter slipped in just before comments were closed without being axed or edited. (Rahmstorf still hasn’t answered it, however.)

    Maybe it’s just Roman they don’t like? 😉

    • Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (#105),

      Maybe this will be snipped, but how has it been determined that none of the author’s received your e-mail.

      Does your e-mail server have a cache or log record of the ultimate disposition of the e-mail?


  70. Steve S.
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    RC has not only censored my comments but clipped some as well. Changing the message by leaving the post while removing parts, then disallowing my follow up as regulars declared I had left in defeat and embarassment.
    And for those regulars in particular “Mark” is a piece of work. The epidomy of the AGW movement methods.

  71. Calvin Ball
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    I’m going to play the devil’s advocate and point out that totally open-minded science doesn’t work, either. I don’t know about anyone else, but I get impatient quickly with the perpetual motion crowd. There are some well-established laws in science, and it’s a complete waste of time, and after a while redundant, to keep talking about engines that run on water, free electricity in the air, etc. So a line has to be drawn somewhere.

    A skeptic is open-minded, but also needs to keep in mind that if Newton declares something to be a law in the 17th century, and no one’s been able to violate his laws in the 300+ years since, that that’s really not a useful discussion, except for possibly philosophical purposes.

    The issue that some skeptics/lukewarmers are are having with the “team” isn’t over whether or not there’s a such thing as settled science, clearly there is. The issue is over who has the authority to claim that for their claims, and through what process.

    An ancillary, but illuminating question is, should a scientist be willing, even eager, to defeat his own finding? A real scientist will. Far too many in this day and age won’t, but rather try to defend their findings beyond the point where it’s obvious that they’re on the wrong side.

    Openness to scrutiny is about the only objective criterion that you can use to try to find that line between deference to authority and science, and that other line between science and crackpottery. Science resides between those two lines.

  72. Wansbeck
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Steve S. #106:
    “And for those regulars in particular “Mark” is a piece of work. The epitome of the AGW movement methods.”

    He was a prolific troll on BBC blogs where he posted as the witty yeah_whatever and was ‘outed’ when he shopped me to his mates at RC for criticizing the hockey stick.
    He briefly changed his name to the even wittier U13900240 before suddenly disappearing.

    Rumour has it that even the BBC got sick of him.

  73. Tom Cole
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    First, my background. I spent several decades developing and applying multi-dimensional hydrodynamic and water quality models, specifically CE-QUAL-ICM and CE-QUAL-W2, to various rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries throughout the U.S. and the world. I embarked on this journey in the late 1970’s. I would assert that I have more experience modeling temperature in natural ecosystems than anyone else in the world. In so doing, I had to fight a long battle with biologists and engineers as to the efficacy of these models to the real world, so I started out with an affinity towards the folks over at RealClimate and the uphill battle that they faced in order to gain acceptance towards their approach.

    That said, I came at the issue with a large degree of skepticism and was well aware of the exaggerated claims by many modelers in my field that gave the field a bad name. So, I e-mailed Gavin my bona fides and asked if he would allow me to “guest post” a number of issues that I had to address over the years in order for my modeling efforts to gain credence in the scientific community and how these issues related to their modeling efforts.

    First, the issues I asked them to address were carefully worded on my part so as to get to the heart of what I considered relevant issues that I wanted to find out if they had addressed or had plans to address. These were not picked out of thin air in hopes that I could nitpick their modeling efforts, but were actually extremely important issues and criticisms that I had previously faced and addressed over the decades. The resolution of these valid issues proved critical for the acceptance of CE-QUAL-W2 throughout the scientific community as a useful tool for addressing relevant issues with regards to temperature and water quality in the systems for which the model was intended to address.

    To my dismay, the wording of the original questions were in some cases significantly modified. I may have been wrong, but the wording seemed to be changed so that the issues that I raised were either easily addressed or easily dismissed without having to address the gist of my questions. In order to clarify my original points, I posted a series of followup questions that attempted to elicit more direct responses to my original questions.

    No response to my follow up post and the thread appeared to then be closed as there were no more further posts to the thread.

    I want to reemphasize that I am a modeler by profession and am not predisposed to casually dismissing the efforts of other modelers. Indeed, I spent my professional career showing how worthwhile these models can be when correctly developed and applied appropriately.

    However, this was the last post I ever submitted to the RealClimate website.

    • Earle Williams
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

      Re: Tom Cole (#113),

      It’s unfortunate to hear that even a professional well-versed in the intricacies of modelling the physical environment had to suffer the same frustrations as some “fringe” bloggers. I expect that you would find a warmer reception at CA to voice your concerns over the implementation of GCMs as well as your insight as to where science in general has a good handle on this sort of modelling.

      With Steve McIntyre travelling, you might wish to contact one of the moderators such as RomanM or Anthony Watts regarding a guest post.

    • Michael Smith
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

      Re: Tom Cole (#113),

      Tom Cole, thank you for comment 113. Are you at liberty to share with us some examples of how they changed your questions?

      • Joe Crawford
        Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

        Re: Michael Smith (#136), I would rather have Mr. Cole post the issues he asked them to address. Or, as Earle Williams suggested, contact the moderators and set up one or more threads dealing with those issues. I am sure there are enough people here familiar with modeling and/or the GCMs and their operations to carry on a rather animated discussion of those issues. Besides, I have a feeling it might become quite entertaining.

      • Tom Cole
        Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

        Re: Michael Smith (#136), Here is a link to the original post, Gavin’s answers, and my followup questions (post 48). I cannot provide the original questions and how they were changed as this was posted almost four years ago.

        I was wrong in my original post. Further posting was allowed, but no response was forthcoming to my followup questions.

    • John F. Pittman
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

      Re: Tom Cole (#113), Tom, one of the nice projects I had as a consultant was Sediment Oxygen Demands for reaches of a tributary of the Sabine River, 1980’s. What we found was the main problem with the program (Qual 2E, IIRC) was the tendency not to use in-situ data, but defaults, such that a minor tributary had as much flow alloted to make the balance as the main body of study.

      Was this tendency part of you saying

      In so doing, I had to fight a long battle with biologists and engineers as to the efficacy of these models to the real world,

      Just curious since that was my experience.

  74. KW
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    RC is like the church of CC.

    CA is like the atheist church. While WUWT is the agnostic church.

    Guess I know which one I belong to. Hah.

    I love this site.

  75. John Archer
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    Doh! And Bum!
    Re: John Archer (#121)

    That reference I gave should have been to steven mosher (#111).

  76. stan
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    A review of Fenton’s client list is very illuminating.


  77. Odd Man Out
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    Ahem. From the RC About Us page.

    RealClimate is not affiliated with any environmental organisations. Although our domain is being hosted by Environmental Media Services, and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications, neither organization was in any way involved in the initial planning for RealClimate, and have never had any editorial or other control over content. Neither Fenton nor EMS has ever paid any contributor to any money for any purpose at any time. Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research.

    • stan
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: Odd Man Out (#124),

      I wouldn’t expect Fenton or EMS to pay them or foot the bills. I would expect the extreme left-wing money people that Fenton represents to cough up the cash and pay the bills.

      The fact that the RC folks chose Fenton to do business with speaks volumes about their politics. It also explains why RC is more about politics than science.

    • mpaul
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

      Re: Odd Man Out (#124),

      RealClimate is not affiliated with any environmental organisations. Although our domain is being hosted by Environmental Media Services, and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications, neither organization was in any way involved in the initial planning for RealClimate, and have never had any editorial or other control over content. Neither Fenton nor EMS has ever paid any contributor to any money for any purpose at any time. Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research.

      Of course you need to parse this statement very carefully.
      (1) ‘…not involved in the initial planning…” — just the follow-on planning.(2) ‘…never had any editorial control over content…’ — rather we pay them to control and moderate the comments.(3) ‘Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research’ — rather, we pay them for PR services.

      We are getting very close to an area that Steve doesn’t want us to get into: public policy. My interest is strictly in understanding whether RC is a creation of a PR firm.

      • Colin
        Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

        Re: mpaul (#129),

        Yes, it is the creation of a PR firm.

      • stan
        Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

        Re: mpaul (#129),

        You don’t have to parse the statement that carefully. It simply says that two corporations were not involved in particular activities or paid particular expenses. It says nothing about any of the other corporations, foundations, clients, individuals, etc. which have been connected with Fenton Communications or may have been formed by Fenton or related persons or entities.

        If Warren Buffett and Bill Gates formed a non-profit corporation, provided all the funding, and chose the management, that outfit could still claim truthfully that it had no dealings of any kind with Berkshire Hathaway or Microsoft.

        • jryan
          Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

          Re: stan (#138),

          Not is it were selling Bershire Hathaway and Microsoft goods and services it couldn’t.

  78. John Silver
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    From Wikipedia about Fenton:
    “When commenting on David Fenton and the work he and his firm does, the Washington Post noted that “[Fenton is] not the poster child of liberal causes; he’s the designer, producer and distributor of the posters.” [2]

  79. Clark
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Comment rejection and editing by RC helps the organizers and regulars avoid any uncomfortable questions, but it also drives away readers. Compare the growth in WattsUp readership versus RC over the last several years, and you’ll see the blog open to other ideas and comments grows and grows.

  80. Colin
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    Meet the owner of Real Climate:

  81. Gong
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Should really more energy and attention be paid to Real Climate, Fenton, EMS… “Let the dead bury their dead” I’m looking forward to a new post!

  82. Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    I wonder what historians of science shall write about Realclimate one hundred years from now.

  83. jryan
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Not “IF” it were…

  84. John M
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    As I pointed out at JeffID’s place, Eric Steig is implying everything’s “settled” over at Nature’s blog.

    Since I doubt that this would be answered at RC (or maybe someone did raise it?), I’d like to follow up with a question to him at the Nature blog about the results the corrected procedure yields. In addition to the result now including the null hypothesis (0.12 deg +/- 0.12 deg), I saw a color image over here someplace showing that about 50% of Antarctica is now “not significantly warming”. This compares with the original (which I think ended up on the cover of Nature) that showed about 90% of Antarctica was “significantly warming”.

    Does anyone recall what thread that was in?

    Also, Roman, maybe that’s a place for you to post your comment!


    • RomanM
      Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

      Re: John M (#145),

      maybe that’s a place for you to post your comment

      That may be a good idea. I will have to consider that. Thanks, John.

  85. John M
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    Well, I guess google is your friend!

    Roman, you do get around!

  86. sky
    Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    Something is out of kilter with the whole notion of confidence intervals for linear trends when the exhaustive set of data for the chosen time-span (the past 50yrs here) is given. What is the sample description space that would call for a statistical treatment of an entirely deterministic calculation? A parallel universe of Antarcticas?

  87. Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    RE Sky #149,
    It’s true that no one should believe in a literal linear trend in climate data. If you extrapolated such a trend, temperatures would soon be below absolute zero in one direction, and the oceans would be boiling in the other. We don’t know what the future has in store, but we do know for sure that neither of these has happened in the recent few millenia.

    But if you just view an OLS trend rate as a summary statistic, like a mean, that characterizes a particular sample, it is not unreasonable to ask whether it is significantly positive or negative, after adjustment for serial correlation, etc.

    • sky
      Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (#150),

      We both agree that a linear trend is not an inherent, persistent feature of temperature records. So we’re not trying to estimate some much longer-term trend, let’s say 500 years, from only a 50-year sample.

      This makes my point all the stronger. What’s left in that case is only spatial variability, which is specified not statistically, but by a virtually exhaustive method of constructing the time histories at 5000-odd grid points in Antarctica. Never mind that the construction may be worthless. The essential point is that there’s no sampling involved either in time or in space. We have an exhaustive census. Hence confidence intervals on the average linear trend for that particular 50-year period of constructed records are patently incongruous. The trend is what it is!

      The computation of any statistic in that restricted sample description space is exact, rather than being an estimate, and this exactitude is independent of the autocorrelation of the ensemble of time time histories. BTW, unless you rely on very weak tests for autocorrelation, AR1 proves to be an inadequate model for temperature records in the first place.

  88. John Archer
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    I think Steve Mosher (#111) deserves a gold medal (if not a Nobel Prize) for his outing of the RC/fenton miscommunications connection. It seems to me we now have the basis for a Theory of Everything To Do With RC — indeed probably the Theory itself.

    I’d never heard of fenton before and looked them up. “Stone me!” was my reaction.

    I sorely wanted to comment on Steve’s revelation myself but felt obliged to button my lip as I knew I’d end up spewing venom and thereby egregiously transgressing the boundaries, as it were, of Steve McIntyre’s blog rules here. 🙂

    Elsewhere and henceforth I shall now refer to RC as RealClimate™/fenton etc.

    RomanM: A google search of CA reveals that the RC-Fenton connection has been discussed on numerous occasions. At this point it becomes “piling on” and I would ask that the topic be dropped in this thread. The Zamboni is warming up… 😉

  89. John Silver
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    [piling on]

  90. Tom Cole
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    Oops! Here is the link

  91. Tom Cole
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    For some reason the link button is not working. Trying again –

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

      Re: Tom Cole (#155),

      It might be helpful to review how the Link button works. Here, I hope, is a working link for your reference. What you need to do is put the desired link in clipboard on your PC and then write what you actually want to appear in the finished message, highlight it, click the Link button and paste the link in the box which appears (overwriting the stub of a link which appears in the process.) If per chance this is what you’ve tried to do, but the box to enter the link didn’t appear, you might want to try seeing if your browser is prevented from displaying pop-ups…. Now to see if what displays in preview window actually appears in the actual comment.

  92. John Archer
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 9:12 AM | Permalink


    Outrageous! How dare you! Do you know who I am?

    Up to now I have never let my ignorance impede my spouting off. And NOW you have the gall to demand I break that habit of a lifetime? Tsk Tsk.

    OK then. No problem. Wilco! 🙂

    “Zamboni” — I had to look that up too. Smooth ‘n cool! I got the message.

    That was me dropping my end of the RC …….. er ……..coffin. 🙂

    Unleash the Zamboni!

  93. Calvin Ball
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    Yup. It’s Zamboni time, including my 148. No more talking about Harcourt FENTON Mudd.

    • Paul Penrose
      Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

      Re: Calvin Ball (#158), Oh no. It’s a Star Trek TOS joke. That marks the end of this discussion.

  94. John Archer
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    I thought the “TOS joke” was one of Phil Jones’s.

  95. Jean-Luc Picard
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    It’s true. But worse, the b*****d is holding Data hostage!

  96. Paul
    Posted Aug 18, 2009 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Thank you all for these comments. I posted recently on RC in response to an implication by one individual that testable CO2 physics could be extrapolated into climate forecasting with the same level of confidence as solar mass estimation in celestial mechanics. I received some abuse for my response. I tried to post 4 further responses. One was snipped. Two were not accepted and the fourth – my thanks to the individuals who had honed in on a mis-statement of fact on my part (which had little affect on the gravamen of the argument) was published. I guess I lost the argument then.
    I believe that retention of records and delayed posting on other sites may be the only way to deal with this problem. Eventually RC will start to suffer from its own stench.

    • Alan Wilkinson
      Posted Aug 19, 2009 at 1:36 AM | Permalink

      Re: Paul (#163),

      Paul, RC is already suffering. Its PR campaign is failing. Real scientists and engineers from other disciplines soon twig that real debate is dead there and look for better sources. Only the faithful can stomach the necessary suspension of critical faculties. As with many other churches, the congregation inevitably dwindles.

      WattsUpWithThat and Climate Audit have taken top Science Blog for the last two years with RC a distant also-ran. Posting at RC is almost always going to be counter-productive and can only lend it undeserved credibility. Anything that cannot be twisted to do so will be blocked.

  97. Mark T
    Posted Aug 19, 2009 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

    It already does.


  98. David Harrington
    Posted Aug 19, 2009 at 1:48 AM | Permalink

    I have noticed that recently even my most mildly challenging comments on this site do not get through their moderation. Perhaps the word has come down the line from Mr Soros that consensus is the order of the day in all things and alternatie views, even demonstrably expert views such as those expressed by Steve, will not be tolerated.

    Anyway it is hardly a sign of strength.

    • John Archer
      Posted Aug 19, 2009 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

      Re: David Harrington (#166),
      From the context it is clear that by “this site” you mean RC, not Climate Audit, I hope. Heaven forbid but that might not be clear to new visitors.

      Would you mind if the blogmeister here edited your comment to eliminate any possible confusion?

      • David Harrington
        Posted Aug 25, 2009 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

        Re: John Archer (#167),

        No prblem edit away. I mean RealClimate, absolutely

  99. Wansbeck
    Posted Aug 19, 2009 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    I see that Esmeralda Dangerfield #77 is now being piled on at RC by all the usual suspects for daring to suggest that they hide inconvenient posts from their readers.

    Absolutely pathetic.

  100. Adam Gallon
    Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    I see that their thread is still limping on.
    I’ve just put the following up. I wonder if it’ll get passed their censor?

    Adam Gallon says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    20 August 2009 at 2:54 AM
    It’s a pity that RC didn’t let the original discussion of the Steig et al Antarctic paper continue for the length that this thread has.
    The work done by contributors to Climate Audit has revealed a number of issues with the paper’s findings, not just the misidentification of an odd station.>

  101. Esmeralda Dangerfield
    Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Hi, guys! Maid Marian’s back from Nottingham, and it’s only a flesh wound! …smile.

    Below is the unexpurgated version of my message to RC. Pls note the massive edit of what is considered standard “contrarian talking points.” (I even was versed enough to anticipate the objection to Joanne Simpson’s comments and reference her (grudging?) point that we probably ought to do something since there’s a (remote?) possibility the thugs are right.

    I have made some other observations in messages below. ….Ez

    19 August 2009
    Gentlepersons….. I am *very* sorry! I did not mean to imply that warming was not – or was – happening. I am new to this, but have spent many hours in the past week or so, tumbling through the rabbit hole of various web sites.

    I *was* referring to the need for doing good, quality science, with openness. Where, oh where, did I write something about “scientific misconduct,” “fraud,” “corruption,” something of which so many would take offense? A lack of openness was the worst of my observations, of recent. Has anyone read this thread, alone?

    I have read about a paper by Eric Steig et al and a tempest about a needed correction that was not dealt with, in my estimation, courteously. (Apparently, there is another correction likely to be needed, but that question has been “refused” by this site.) Dr. Steig seemed not forthcoming in a dismissive comment to the effect that the methodologies used were available in textbooks, etc. and he would supply no further information.

    (No one asked this question, but *I* wondered why this, apparently minor, correction was not caught in the routine pre-publication peer review process.)

    I also read elsewhere about the UK Met Office’s refusal to give some data (whether raw or massaged) to Steve McIntyre, a former Canadian mining engineer. Their reasons are bizarre, hysterical! I have not encountered anything so funny since Monty Python’s Ministry of Funny Walks. Is this the real world? Are the world’s researchers pressing for this data release? (Apparently, Peter Webster, who already has the data, is. Is anyone else?)

    Further, I read a statement by John Theon, who declared “climate models are useless. My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,” Theon explained. “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy,” he added.

    Although Theon has been described as an old “geezer” who no one ever heard of by some (…Very Young Turks…?) one doesn’t have to google deeply to find a very impressive list of Theon’s credentials, awards, committee chairmanships, etc. etc. His comments about not making research transparent so it can be replicated independently certainly *seems* to be the tone of what I’ve read, only in the past week or so.

    And, Dr. Joanne Simpson, who said recently that we should do something about climate warming in case it was true, but, that — now that she no longer had possible funding on the line — she could say that she *remained* skeptical. WOW!!!

    Several weeks ago, the NYTimes Sunday Magazine wrote a wonderful feature article about Freeman Dyson (another geezer, but some might know him as Esther Dyson’s papa…?), who was annoyed that Gore invoked Roger Revelle in his movie. Dyson said, in effect, “I *knew* Roger. He was a skeptic.” As is Papa Dyson.

    I’m sure “you” all know all this. It was new to me, but, inside this rabbit hole, I confess to being fascinated and — so far — I come down firmly on the side you describe as skeptics, who I would classify as truth-seekers, those who believe in science which can be scrutinized and replicated.

    For a pick-up army of rag-tags, they are impressively smart and dedicated to truth, not disproving one theory or another (although it appears their work, so far, puts them on the side other than the one you “believe(?)” in. If I were “you,” I’d use them, not ridicule them.

    (I haven’t the foggiest how much work it is for these rag-tags to do what they do, which, it seems, is reverse engineer “your” assumptions and methodologies, etc. guessing through trial and error, how “you” did the work you won’t reveal to them. But, I think theirs is a *lot* of work, not done by anyone other than those with the sharpest minds. And pro bono! — only because they care about good science. Without a budget or expensive tools. This seems daunting to me. And “you” throw up roadblocks at every opportunity, apparently because they *might* come up with an answer you don’t “believe” in… I am incredulous.)

    There have been nothing but dismissive taunts directed at me in response to my posting, many asking if I “believe” in global warming, and, well, I’m taken aback. I would not have thought that would be a question asked by a scientist — ever. I thought science was “just the facts,” the results….but…?

    My post was an attempt to “cool” the tempers of recent. I made no charges, only an observation of dismissive discourteous secretiveness, over a short observed span of time — and secretiveness of which Dr. Theon writes about, I might add again. I am new to this, but I’m not uneducated or stupid or undiscerning.

    I am easy to get rid of. …smile. I didn’t realize “you” had decided: we know there’s warming; it’s getting worse and worse… Given how bad “you” know it is, what’s the point to further study?

    As a taxpayer, it would be much cheaper to stop the research now, issue all of “you” baseball bats and let you break the knees of anyone who doesn’t say the right thing.

    I am chagrined, embarrassed, and will, most certainly — having been properly chastised — disappear. Consider me a “fly-by.” But, I will certainly talk about this experience with you, believe me!

    I still believe you would have a lot to gain by working with, not against, these very smart, talented, experience, energetic and caring rag-tags.

    • romanm
      Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

      Re: Esmeralda Dangerfield (#171),

      I am gratified to learn that my censored comment was characterized as part of the “cut-and-paste contrarian talking points” which were deleted by Gavin from your comment.

      It should be obvious to anybody that when posting anything contrary to the RC ideology, one runs the risk of having the comment edited in a manner which provides the maximum opportunity for scoring points for RC combined with the denigration of the poster. If no such opportunity exists, the post is simple deleted and no one is the wiser.

      • Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

        Re: romanm (#175),

        It should be obvious to anybody that when posting anything contrary to the RC ideology, one runs the risk of having the comment edited in a manner which provides the maximum opportunity for scoring points for RC combined with the denigration of the poster.

        This has happened to me more than one time. That’s why it’s good to have a blog.

        BTW: I’ve received no response from RC on mentioning Hu’s reasonableness. Either through private email or otherwise. Apparently, they took my offer used what points they could and vanished. Perhaps Doc. Steig is just on his vacation so I’ll wait a bit longer.

        Anybody surprised?

        • romanm
          Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Id (#182),

          Anybody surprised?

          In a word, no. But, then you aren’t an “approved” climate scientist. 😉

          Re: Mark T (#183),

          Mark, they never actually referred to my comment specifically. It was included indirectly (“Apparently, there is another correction likely to be needed, but that question has been “refused” by this site.”) in the portion of EsD’s comment #171, posted above which was deleted by Gavin during his in-line reply and which he labelled on RC as “cut-and-paste contrarian talking points”.

          Action which could be viewed as a vendetta would not achieve anything except for reflecting poorly on ourselves. Anyway, I can’t believe that the highly visible vituperative and derisive treatment by the denizens who regularly inhabit RC are not already having an effect in highlighting what that site is really about.

        • Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

          Re: romanm (#184),

          I can make a hockey stick! Where do I apply?

        • Keith W.
          Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Id (#185),

          Why, Jeff. did you already make a bunch of hockey sticks over on tAV? I know I read that series of posts with utmost relish! (But no mustard, not even at a Redwings game.)

        • Mark T
          Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

          Re: romanm (#184), Ah, ok, but they do have a practice of editing comments and removing the bits that would put them in a bad light. I think if their respective publicly funded school boards knew about this they would be told to stop such behavior immediately as it reflects poorly on the institutions that pay them. 🙂


      • Mark T
        Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

        Re: romanm (#175),

        I am gratified to learn that my censored comment was characterized as part of the “cut-and-paste contrarian talking points” which were deleted by Gavin from your comment.

        Which, as someone already pointed out, is a tort, and carries with it a legitimate risk of lawsuit.

        Some may say such a concept is petty, but their behavior needs to be highlighted for what it is. The simple fact that these guys are published scientists working for public schools and/or the federal government is an even greater reason that action should be taken. At the very least, they are violating their ethical duty to the citizens that pay them.


        • stan
          Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#183),


          I believe you are thinking about a comment I left at Jeff Id’s site. There is a tort cause of action for false light which is somewhat similar to defamation. This explanation is sufficient for our purposes . I’ve thought about it some more since that post, and I think defamation might be the more appropriate claim. By editing a comment to make the commenter say something different (and foolish), they are, in effect, lying about what he wrote. That’s libel. The reason I originally thought False light is that such a claim can be brought even if the publication is literally true (as RC would claim in defense — “the published words were written by the commenter”; at least for those comments that RC doesn’t rewrite, but merely edits out important parts).

          I haven’t done the legal research, but I seriously doubt that sec 230 would provide RC with a defense.

          Regardless of the existence of a legal claim, I think everyone recognizes that editing comments to change the meaning is just wrong, especially if the edit is to make the comment look stupid or mean. It’s morally and ethically indefensible.

        • Mark T
          Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

          Re: stan (#191), Yes, that was likely your comment I was referencing. I would have given you direct credit but I couldn’t remember where I had read it.
          That comment was not the only instance I’ve heard of editing by RC moderators. I’ve heard some edits are worse, actually resulting in a change sever enough they could only say that those words were typed, but not necessarily that way. Both torts, false light and libel, are similar. Even the Wikipedia article you point to discusses their similarities.
          Yes, too, such practice is morally and ethically indefensible. That alone should give anyone a clear indication of their true intent. In particular, it is not to uncover the truth. I cannot fathom how a university would allow its tenured professors be associated with such a practice because they ultimately have to answer to public pressure. Even UC-Boulder, and extremely liberal college, caved to public pressure regarding whatshisname.
          From a legal standpoint, the hardest part in any of these cases, libel or otherwise, is proving damages. When you are posting anonymously, it becomes even more difficult since one could easily claim “who got hurt?” I think UK laws are easier for plaintiffs to work with, but result in very little in the way of damages.

        • Ron
          Posted Aug 25, 2009 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#192),
          Mark T. (and Stan),
          Have you considered the Moral Rights element of Copyright law?

          Wikipedia: “The preserving of the integrity of the work bars the work from alteration, distortion or mutilation. Anything else that may detract from the artist’s relationship with the work even after it leaves the artist’s possession or ownership may bring these moral rights into play”

          Intellectual Property Office:
          Moral rights give the authors of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works and film directors the right:
          “…to object to derogatory treatment of the work or film which amounts to a distortion or mutilation or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director.”


    • Bernie
      Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: Esmeralda Dangerfield (#171),
      I suggest you post at Eli Rabett’s site (, he should enjoy your literary persona if not your point of view.

  102. anonymous
    Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    Great post. You detail what many others including myself (a physics graduate, not a great one, but one nonetheless) have experienced.
    When you really attempt to follow the arguments, down to actual the details, the science from the climate scientists is shocking. There are numerous errors, incredibly shaky underlying assumptions (which are not presented in an up front way), extremely dubious statistics drawn from a spaghetti mess of statistics, haphazard use of standard error handling procedures etc. These “problems of science” when raised are met with a circling of wagons by the climate scientists, and a blizzard of personal attacks and criticisms or alternatively as in Hu’s recent case total silence, rather than open honest debate. For someone capable of working their way slowly and methodically through the argument the effect is damning – it is simply not possible NOT to be what they’d call a “climate sceptic”.

    If you have not read it already, find the article here called “Casper Ammann Texas Sharpshooter” or something like that. The way these scientists contorted their calculations to criticise McIntyre and McKitricks validation statistics has to be read to be believed (and on top of that there’s the meta story about how desperately they wrangled it to get their criticism into the IPCC report). It really beggars belief.

  103. anonymous
    Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    Regarding the Casper Ammann Texas Sharpshooter article, there’s also the additional story which is how long it took them to reveal the way they got their validation statistics. One of their core claims was that they replicated Mann’s validation statistics, and disputed MM’s, but it took them 3 years I think it was from initial attempt at publication of their response until they actually came clean with the incredibly embarassing way they calculated their figures.

  104. anonymous
    Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    I should also have said in #172 “haphazard use of non-standard error handling”.

  105. Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    RE Esmeralda Dangerfield #171,
    Great points, but your comment is so long and comprehensive that even I can empathize with RC’s not posting it. Even on most CA threads, it would be cut or dropped.

    Unless you open your own blog, you will have better success making your points with short, concise, “letters-to-the-editor” sized comments.

  106. Calvin Ball
    Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    I think maybe some confusion is generated by comparing RC to CA and WUUT. You can’t expect the dynamics to be similar if the mission is different. Back to RC’s mission:

    RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary.

    In other words, they’re not an egalitarian general discussion group, but an information dissemination site with comments. The primary mission isn’t to question and discuss, but to communicate a clear, unambiguous message. Any dissenting comments that can’t be handily shot down conflict with the primary mission. While the language quoted is somewhat vague, it implies that the board operators are authorities, and their word is immutable fact.

    This is a very different dynamic from CA, where Steve chooses the topics, and makes his case, but is questioning rather than asserting. It makes the job of moderation a lot easier when the only criterion for snipping is decorum and relevance, and there isn’t a narrative to be maintained.

    • romanm
      Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

      Re: Calvin Ball (#177),

      Your observations are well taken and I believe them to be in line with my own take on RC in comment #98. A blog whose aim is advocacy, sorry, “providing context“, will always be more interested in controlling blog flow to provide the proper spin.

      We expect this from known self-interest groups and can evaluate what is presented by them within that context. Part of the value in threads such as this one is putting on the record what RC actually does in their heavy-handed way.

      • Calvin Ball
        Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

        Re: romanm (#178), Right. I tried to avoid any reference to ulterior motives, because if you stop and think about it, it doesn’t matter. They’re hostages of their declared mission. It’s as simple as that. When the mission is to disseminate [implicitly factual] information, you have trouble dealing with the devil’s advocate.

        I’ve said before, btw, that total skepticism isn’t viable either, or you end up discussing perpetual motion machines ad nauseum. I appreciate the problem of dealing with every crackpot who has an internet connection. So I can understand not wanting to deal with everything that comes in. But I hardly think that some of the submissions posted here fall in that catagory.

  107. Esmeralda Dangerfield
    Posted Aug 20, 2009 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    Re: Hu #176:

    You are right; I was wrong: much too long. However, epiphanies are often more complicated than Eureka! This was an epiphany for me.

    Re: Bernie #180:

    Thank you, but, really, I don’t blog. smile….. (I don’t even use emoticons!)

    To all: It was so easy, but, now, I can no longer find John S. Theon’s complete CV, incl. research papers, committee chairs, etc. etc. If someone has it, I’d appreciate a copy, sent off-line.

    Also, off-line, I would like to “talk” with an appropriate someone about helping “you” have more time for number crunching and vacuum tubes and less time having to deal with the noise, if interested. I like you guys!

    Good night.

  108. David Cauthen
    Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    This is the thing that disturbs me about RC: Schmidt, Mann, must recognize the reasonableness of the comments and counter-arguments they edit/censor. Yet, they feel it serves their purpose to do so. The end result justifies the method. These are ‘prominent’ climate scientists who do influential research. I think you get my drift.

  109. anonymous
    Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 5:11 AM | Permalink

    Hey David great point. I’ve never thought about it like that before – there is a certain “consistency of thought” with that theory.
    Then there’s the “censored” directories, the alternative cutoff parameters tested in code stuff etc which is never mentioned in the studies. Yes I get your drift and it makes a lot of sense.

  110. anonymous
    Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    Not only do they do the influential research – they’re in charge of putting together the IPCC reports which are basically supposed to be official summaries of the discussion 🙂

  111. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Aug 21, 2009 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    Check out this thread, Pathologies in Climate Science, on Pielke, Jr.’s Blog for the attitude that seems to explain what’s going on at RC. BCL, identified as Michael J. Murphy of Toronto, is in fine form.

  112. Mark T
    Posted Aug 25, 2009 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Something tells me you implicitly give up copyright when you post on another’s blog, but maybe not.
    That’s not really the point either of us were driving at, however, moreso the ethicality of their practice, which just happens to border on legality. For certain, none of the RC principals’ employers would condone such acts on their time.


  113. Calvin Ball
    Posted Aug 26, 2009 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    I know Steve’s not here to snip, but IP is one of those topics that’s better taken to UT. I think this conversation has crossed that line.

  114. Some Guy
    Posted Sep 25, 2009 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    It’s pretty clear from a very cursory glance at CA and RC, that CA mostly deals with data and methods, and that RC deals primarily with shouting down dissent.

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