Climate Scientists and Preaching to the Choir

Climate scientists like preaching to the choir, but right now, perhaps they should consider the possibility that a little outreach would be in order.

In normal times, Climate Audit has a large audience; right now, its audience is far larger than normal and includes journalists as well as the public. Given recent events, I made an extra effort to solicit editorial content that would be supportive of IPCC views and asked Jones’ long-time associate, Tom Wigley, to write a contribution for Climate Audit:

Dear Dr Wigley,

Would you be interested in writing a guest post for Climate Audit (see for recent posts) and responding to comments?

Regardless of how Jones and Mann have portrayed me, I’ve tried to be conscientious. My interest has been primarily in statistical questions that I found interesting and where I was convinced that I was right. Obviously the reception of these points has been frustrating. I notice in the CRU letters that you occasionally considered the possibility that we had made valid points.

I realize that there’s been sort of a community boycott against climate scientists speaking directly to the audience at Climate Audit. Despite this past, I think that it is important that climate scientists now speak directly to this audience (which presently extends far beyond the core audience.) I don’t think that it will suffice to merely present through Real Climate in the present circumstances.

You may write whatever editorial you wish without any restrictions on my part and have an author password.

Steve McIntyre

Wigley replied:

No thanks.

I’ll try to solicit some other contributions. This situation shall pass. I don’t think that it’s helpful for people in the field right now to merely congregate at realclimate, though that is obviously more comfortable. I appreciate Judy Curry’s editorial and I’ll make some other attempts along this line.


  1. Alvin
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:16 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for offering him a chance. It is really all you can do at this time. It also provides a milestone for future FOI requests 🙂

  2. Bernie
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    Your approach makes sense to me. Perhaps you could include a promise to somehow constrain those who can comment since clearly there are some who can make substantive comments in a respectful and basically constructive way and some who seem to undermine constructive discussions. In particular, attributions as to motives for past decisions with respect to the analysis and presentation of the data are not helpful and should be snipped.

  3. rcrejects
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

    Bernie: #2: “Perhaps you could include a promise to somehow constrain those who can comment since clearly there are some who can make substantive comments in a respectful and basically constructive way and some who seem to undermine constructive discussions.”

    If it was me, I would offer Tom Wigley the opportunity to moderate that thread. He would soon see then which way is up.

  4. Calvin Ball
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:28 AM | Permalink

    The odd thing is that if they want to come clean on the serious issues that this revelation casts on proxy reconstructions, the other side of the coin is that the GCMs and the theory come out of this unscathed. After a fashion, that’s the point that Dr. Curry made. But I think that various players don’t understand what to concede in order to minimize the damage. Consequently, many on the skeptical are going a bridge too far, and declaring all AGW a hoax, and large segments of the population all over the world are accepting that narrative.

    This could have been avoided, of course, and the principals involved all understand fully how this could have been avoided.

    I’m not surprised, given what a sensational story this has become, that Wigley declined. He is smart enough to understand that when you hit the bottom, it’s a good idea not to dig.

  5. Daryl M
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    It’s pretty clear from the response that the only forum “climate scientists” like to communicate in is “peer-reviewed” journals, private email (e.g., CRU emails) or a completely controlled / friendly environment such as Real Climate. Now that the CRU files have been leaked, if pro-AGW climate scientists think they can retain that sort of control on the dabate going forward, I believe they are in for a major shock. The backlash is taking a while to build up (I believe due to a lack of front page / prime time coverage by MSM), but when it does, the debate will take place with them or without them.

  6. Carl Gullans
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

    Tom did seem like the sole voice of reason in several of the e-mails he wrote. If I may offer an opinion, I think that in order for him (or anyone else) to write here, he would first need to make the calculation that his CRU higher ups are going to be removed in the near future. As we saw in the e-mails, Tom’s obvious and reasonable points were ignored or put down; as long as those same people can negatively affect him, he wouldn’t dare write anything here.

    Steve: he’s immune. That’s why I asked him.

  7. Daryl M
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:53 AM | Permalink

    I must correct my previous post.

    There is a “front page” article about this on by Steve Janke: How zealotry came to pervert climate science (

    Also, I misspelled debate.

  8. geo
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:59 AM | Permalink

    Y’know, I get why scientists don’t want to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi on a highly charged public issue. There is absolutely on charged occassions a difference in tone and quality between what Steve writes and the comments, on balance. Not that that is peculiar to Climate Audit, because it certainly isn’t –and not just in the climatology arena. Well, that’s blogging and the mass internet audience. It’s unavoidable.

    It would be great if somehow on these major occassions there could be *two* comments threads. One that is just everything that gets thru moderation, just as it is today. The public should be heard and have a chance to participate. This blog and most others would not exist without that. I’m an old internet guy, I get it.

    But if somehow there could be a second thread that “promotes” (thru the intercession of Steve and his team) the particularly worthy (from a signal-to-noise perspective) posts from the first thread to be on the second thread, so that scientists who would be willing to participate if they could do so on a thread that had high signal and low noise. . . well, that might fit the need pretty well.

    As I said, I’m an old internet guy (and an IT professional), so I get the framework of the technology used for this blog might not easily support such an idea. But if it did. . . might that not meet both legitimate needs –the right of the public to be heard, and the right of the concerned scientists to participate in an environment they are comfortable with? The public would of course still get to read the “second thread” so they would be participating (and being educated by the participationg of the increased number of scientists who particpate) in that fashion. Plus, on those occassions when a “Joe Public” manages to get his post promoted from the first thread to the second thread, he’d have a nice “egoboo”.

  9. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:14 AM | Permalink

    I second geo’s suggestion.

    Professor Curry showed a skin “as thick as an alligator” as she herself said. But not everyone has the ability to don that kind of skin at will. (I certainly don’t.) My sense was that about half of the comments on Curry’s post crossed one or another line. The word “disingenuous” (=lying) appeared far too frequently. So too did assurances that she “just didn’t get it,” was “engaged in damage control” and so on. I’ve been to a lot of tough academic seminars where criticism flows strongly and freely. But this kind of stuff is just ad hominem. Frankly, if I were asked–given what I’ve seen Curry had to put up with–I would probably say no.

    I second geo’s suggestion. Perhaps we can profitably discuss how this would be handled. I would be happy to act as a moderator to sort commentary into categories one (peanut gallery) and two (respectful but serious and yes sometimes challenging questions) if asked. I do not expect to be asked because I am too new around here… but people (e.g. me) who suggest such things ought to be willing to volunteer to handle the grunt work this entails.

  10. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    Re: Geo

    “Plus, on those occassions when a “Joe Public” manages to get his post promoted from the first thread to the second thread, he’d have a nice “egoboo”.”

    Thus dividing the CA participants into castes, of those who teach and those who learn? One can also suggest adding scores to each “Joe Public” participant to differentiate between those who has never been smart enough to get to the peer-reviewed thread and those who have got many those nice “egoboos”… and also a citation index…

    Russian tsar Peter the Great is famous for his phrase: “The nobles in the Duma should speak freely and without preparations, so that one’s stupidity be made obvious to everybody.” The wording is a bit crude reflecting the tsar’s personality and the times, but the idea is clear — let people express themselves and at the same time decide for themselves who is smart and who is not.

    I do not support the complaints about the presumed low signal-to-noise ratio. For a professional, it would really make no difficulty to briefly skip the noise, as a professional immediately recognizes it. Conversely, as the discussion becomes more information-rich due to participation of professionals, people will try to keep up to the level.

  11. stevemcintyre
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    The situation right now is pretty atypical. I’ll be happy when things get quieter and we can go back to being more technical. But in the meantime, we’ll welcome the visitors.

  12. geo
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:33 AM | Permalink


    You value the participation and dialogue of more scientists with a different point of view than Steve’s on the blog comments here. . . or you don’t. It’s really that simple. If the scheme I propose doesn’t produce that increased participation in relatively short order, then by all means ditch it after an experimentaton period. From what I’ve seen, the history of comments from those scientists with a different pov who have at least dipped their toes into participating here supports that they (and presumably even less adventuresome colleagues) would welcome the implementation of my suggestion (if the tech framework here will allow it to be implemented).

    No need to rate posters formally. If you think Steve and the mods don’t already do so at least informally in their own minds, I think you are mistaken.

  13. Mike Johnson
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:34 AM | Permalink

    I’ll admit. I check this blog frequently even though it’s often over my head. This email hack and the related posts, including a look at the data and code, has been the most understandable things in a short period of time since I started reading so I’m enjoying things even more. Keep up the good work because, whether it’s over my head or not, it’s a benefit to all.

  14. Bernie
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    I am not sure I would want to create a caste system. I think setting guidelines and clear moderation that follows the guidelines will be enough.

    The response to Judith Curry is an partial example. There was name calling and personal animosity in a number of emails that as simply ut of bounds. The moderators here are in general pretty good. However, when an established scientist posts people should be polite and respectful with no speculations as to motives.

  15. Tim
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

    Here is a reworking of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, for Tom and Phil Jones.

    The words are pretty fitting as they are but I’ve added a few tweaks. I’m sure others could improve on this.


    I used to fool the world
    Seas would rise when I gave the word
    Now in the morning I simply groan
    About the data I used to own

    I used to roll in lies
    Feel the fear in the taxpayer’s eyes
    Listen as the data’d sing
    “Now the warming’s dead! Long live warm-ing!”

    One minute I held the key
    Next the data and emails were free
    And I discovered that my theories stand
    Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

    I see the cooling nature’s bringing
    Twist the data ‘til it starts singing
    Be my mirror, my sword my shield
    I’m keeping my data and I won’t yield

    For some reason I can’t explain
    Once you know there was never, never an honest word
    That was when I fooled the world

    It was the wicked and wild wind
    Blew the ice and made it thin
    Shattered hockey sticks looked pretty dumb
    People couldn’t believe what I’d become

    And now the people wait
    For my head on a silver plate
    Not a puppet on a lonely string
    But a liar for global warming

    I see the cooling nature’s bringing
    Twist the data ‘til it starts singing
    Be my mirror, my sword my shield
    I’m keeping my data and I won’t yield

    For some reason I can’t explain
    How I made the data that bears my name
    Never an honest word
    But that was when I fooled the world

    I see the cooling nature’s bringing
    Twist the data ‘til it starts singing
    Be my mirror, my sword my shield
    I’m keeping my data and I won’t yield

    For some reason I can’t explain
    How I made the data that bears my name
    Never an honest word
    But that was when I fooled the world

  16. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    @ Geo et al:

    I’m sorry, I think this idea is very bad.

    What is it about quite a number of scientists, that they seemingly cannot bear to interact with ‘Joe Public’? Is it not, to the contrary, the duty of scientists to educate those who don’t know about their speciality?

    All right, physics (any part) may be much harder to explain than the rationale for Linnean Nomenclature (yep, I’m a zoologist) – but should it therefore never ever be attempted?

    I do loathe the false elitism shown by so many of the AGW ‘elite’, and their followers, the very common meme ‘he/she/they are not scientists’ being the outstanding one.

  17. J. Peden
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

    You may write whatever editorial you wish without any restrictions on my part and have an author password.

    Steve McIntyre

    I would think that the topic chosen by the guest would dictate the nature of the relevant comments – whose moderation should remain the province of CA.

  18. Tony Hansen
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

    A succinct response.

  19. Tim
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:19 AM | Permalink

    Disclaimer: the above rendition of Viva La Vida is meant as humor only and is not meant to suggest any illegal acts or inappropriate actions by any party or parties associated with the current situation at East Anglia – since of course we really don’t know definitively the source or veracity of any of the alleged emails and/or data concerned.

  20. boballab
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

    Another thing to consider is that while even though it hasn’t gotten that much press in the MSN in either the US or the UK, there is the looming possibilty of investigations into not just CRU but Dr. Wigley himself. As evidenced by Sen. Inhofe in the US pushing for a Senate investigation something similar could happen in the UK and anything Dr. Wigley would state now he would then have to defend in such an investigation. In thats light the good Doctor might have searched out legal advice before hand and was told: “say nothing”.

  21. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:29 AM | Permalink

    His reply was terse, but polite. That’s a start. In the circumstances, the offer is one he could hardly accept. No topic was suggested, and he would have a difficult time choosing one that isn’t likely to go down paths in the Q&A that he would rather not go down.

  22. Shona
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

    I totally disagree with a lot of what has been said above. It’s the “let’s censor the hoi polloi, cos they’re stupid” approach which has got us into this mess in the first place.

    In my first year at uni, I asked my tutor what level essays should be pitched at and he gave the advice (which I’ve never forgotten) that it should be understandable by a an educated adult.

    Also these people are supposed to be teachers. Then let them teach.

    I have just watched a lecture by Courtillot, it was amazingly clear and easy to follow. The guy is a fabulous scientist and a great teacher.

  23. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:48 AM | Permalink


    Do you have a link for Courtillot? Thanks

  24. geo
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

    Steve has already said above he doesn’t currently see a need to arrange the affairs of the blog for atypical situations, so I’ll just let it go for now.

  25. crosspatch
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 3:10 AM | Permalink

    Well, it seems obvious at this point that they would jeopardize their careers if they posted on CA. They would never get another paper through peer review IF they could find a journal to take it, simply because they posted on CA.

    Apparently having posted on CA makes you a target for the cold shoulder from certain (powerful) quarters in academia. It is very, very sad.

  26. ThinkingScientist
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

    My professional work gives me the necessary scientific knowledge to understand much of what is reported by CA. I also provide professional training courses in geostatistics and geophysics. In listening to many of the posts on CA about technical matters I can, like most technically trained people, separate the rubbish comment from the valid comment without much problem.

    Over a number of years I have prepared and given talks on climate change to lay audiences. For example I have given presentations to Probus clubs in the UK, comprising generally retired men from a range of jobs from unskilled through skilled and professional. In doing so you have to work very hard to be very neutral in what you deliver because the audience may not have the necessary training to be able to distinguish whether what you say is accurate or has a personal or political bias. However, it is not difficult to communicate straightforward concepts about data fitting, analysis and so forth providing the language used is common place rather than technical jargon.

    I once had a boss who always gave me a maximum score in my review for my technical ability and competence. I liked to point out to him that as he was non-technical he could not judge whether I was any good or not. This is the problem for policy makers – if they are not qualified to judge then they accept the science at face value. The only way around this is to have a system of analysis like Steve M has proposed manay times – double blind testing by independent teams.

  27. mlsimon
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

    The odd thing is that if they want to come clean on the serious issues that this revelation casts on proxy reconstructions, the other side of the coin is that the GCMs and the theory come out of this unscathed.

    Not exactly. If the models diverge from the “true” data (and finding what that is may be a problem) then it calls the models into question. If the models were tuned to “adjusted” data and the adjustments are not justified then there is a problem for the models as well.

    We are just about a week into this “break”. NZ has some data leaked (adjusted data) that has put another hole in the AGW bucket. I expect more leaks. I expect more understanding as time goes on.

  28. Paul Z.
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    Happy Thanksgiving and Thanks for your efforts at CA.

    Wonder what Phil Jones is having for Thanksgiving?

    Oh, I forgot, he’s the turkey.

  29. Luke Warmer
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:08 AM | Permalink

    Well he could have said:

    “In this case I’m going to have to decline”

  30. SamG
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

    Good on you Steve.
    Your good manners will serve you well in the end. Even though the warmists are scoundrels, even though they shun dissident views, you have made it publicly clear that you are the Jesus of the climate scientist community, you will turn the other cheek, you will show patience and offer redemption even though they have sinned and will not come to the party.
    But all eyes are on the AGW fraternity. Their bad behaviour will not serve them well.

    Interestingly, the pro-camp have much pride. They say it’s about the science but in exposing them, their stubbornness and denial is indicative of an ideology.
    History is full of those who foist an agenda onto the public, yet they shy away when they are held to account.
    This is most certainly a pathological condition and I’m certain much will be said about it in the aftermath.

  31. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

    Mr.Wigley is clearly still in the early phases of the Kübler-Ross model:

    1) Denial
    2) Anger
    3) Bargening
    4) Depression
    5) Acceptance

    Actually I’m waiting for the first of the Climatatii to come out…

  32. dearieme
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

    “the GCMs and the theory come out of this unscathed”: come now. Since the models can predict neither going forwards nor going back, they have no reputation to lose. Just hubris on stilts.

  33. DaleC
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    I hestitate to post this, but I have not seen it referenced anywhere else.

    I have been out of academia for over 30 years, but I would have thought that the exchange at 1213201481.txt where Mann knowingly inflates Jones’ H-Score for the purposes of his admission as a fellow of the AGU would constitute a sackable offence.

    I see that from the list at

    the exercise was successful. An acceptable defence from Phil Jones, of course, would be that in subsequent correspondence Mann’s intention was disavowed, and the correct score was submitted. As for Mann, however…

  34. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:15 AM | Permalink


    I do support the idea to invite scientists with opposing views. My objection comes against the means, not the goal. The presumed signal/noise problem and the issue of polite behavior are different things. In my view, it is just an excuse when a scientists says — “oh, there’s too much noise there, I can’t lose my precious time…” I think a true scientist should be excited about discussing his findings with people who support his existence while he is doing science. The true reason for non-participation is not signal/noise, but something quite different. So, by applying the proposed strategy, one will be anyway unable to please the unwilling, at the same time delivering an undeserved blow to the CA audience.

    In my view, success of a blog is the success of the personality of the blog’s owner. It is the blog owner and his team who perform moderation and decide. Of course they do rate the commenters. But there is a whole precipice between making that informally and discouraging or barring abusive people from participation — or making that formally grading the participants into “learned” and “unlearned”. Those who are admitted to CA are equal — i.e., they have equal opportunities to uncover their intellectual abilities and gain respect or disrespect of others. What is signal and what is noise — the whole issue is about this, and the idea is to involve as many free minds as possible to decide.

  35. Peter S
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

    At least in this instance Dr Wigley hasn’t hidden the decline.

    Perhaps he’s just lost for words… which is usually the best time to try finding some.

  36. Louis Hissink
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    Science is done by debate?

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. You don’t understand the scientific method.

    Science is about putting an hypothesis up and testing it. Three outcomes are possible – wrong, right and inconclusive.

    Pseudoscience obsessives itself with the inconclusive, and science the other two.

  37. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:43 AM | Permalink

    Well, it’s not surprising that a generic Wigley rejects such an offer. Why would he offer some people the possibility to find any problems in his opinions if he’s spent so much time convincing himself that he believes them? Clearly, those Wigleys are praying that ClimateGate will dissipate as soon as possible.

    You may try completely different people from the hysterical camp who have actually been touched by the events, and may be ready to negotiate – e.g. Monbiot. He’s not a scientist but you won’t get any scientists involved in this mess to write about stuff. They would pick RealClimate instead of ClimateAudit if they had a choice, anyway.

  38. Josh
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for welcoming us visitors!

    There are a number of people following this story on things like the Telegraph blogs, but would appreciate a slightly more scientific angle on the significance of this leak. I’m coming here in the hope of finding that.

  39. Robinson
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    Well, it won’t happen will it? Comments and guest posting legitimises this blog as a valid forum for discussing the issues.

  40. Bob_L
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    I think the problem is more fundimental and two fold.

    1) Where is the bottom of the problems. If you have placed all your faith in the peer reviewed journals, you have now learned that there are problems and wonder how deep they go. Before standing your ground, you want to be sure you are on solid ground.

    2) As Lucy Skywalker has stated, there is a “Groupthink” mentality and there will have to be some pretty serious soul searching for the “team” to snap out of it.

    While I appreciate Professor Curry posting at CA, I still feel that it was self serving.

  41. Paul Coppin
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    I wouldn’t waste my time or largess on this cabal. I didn’t take from the emails that Wigley was immune, just less in the line of direct fire. All of these individuals need to be expunged from the public record. They have seriously abused a trust, knowingly, willingly and with malice. Redemption is not on the table.

  42. Paul Coppin
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    With regard to thread management/moderation, I’ll bring up again something I’ve brought up before. The time is right to create a formal professional on-line climate journal that adheres to strict principles of review and publication, very open, with full disclosure. This to include data, methodology, AND reviewers. The journal would operate as a not-for-profit. Each paper gets a moderated discussion section (with disclosure for moderation). This can even be done within existing blog formats. Not much additional code work will be needed.

    The existing journal structure has a smell to it that is getting in the way of presenting science in a fair and balanced manner (apparently, because its not…). Technology has provided a means to do this differently, with more transparency. Perhaps now is the time to start.

  43. Frank K.
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Is this the same Dr. Wigley that wanted to “fix” global warming by spraying SO2 into the atmosphere?

    Wigley, T.M.L., 2006: A combined mitigation/geoengineering approach to climate stabilization. Sciencexpress, 14 September 2006, doi:10.1126/science.1131728.

    Abstract: Projected anthropogenic warming and CO2 concentration increases present a two-fold threat: both from the climate changes, and from CO2 directly through increasing acidity of the oceans. Future climate change may be reduced through mitigation (greenhouse-gas emissions reductions) or through geoengineering. Most geoengineering approaches, however, do not address the problem of increasing ocean acidity. A combined mitigation/geoengineering strategy could remove this deficiency. We consider here the deliberate injection of sulfate aerosol precursors into the stratosphere. This can significantly offset future warming and provide additional time to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and so stabilize CO2 concentrations cost-effectively at an acceptable level.

    Partially supported by the National Science Foundation.

  44. boballab
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

    One of the men of the hour has just came out with a new paper.

    Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly
    Michael E. Mann,1,* Zhihua Zhang,1 Scott Rutherford,2 Raymond S. Bradley,3 Malcolm K. Hughes,4 Drew Shindell,5 Caspar Ammann,6 Greg Faluvegi,5 Fenbiao Ni4

    Global temperatures are known to have varied over the past 1500 years, but the spatial patterns have remained poorly defined. We used a global climate proxy network to reconstruct surface temperature patterns over this interval. The Medieval period is found to display warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally. This period is marked by a tendency for La Niña–like conditions in the tropical Pacific. The coldest temperatures of the Little Ice Age are observed over the interval 1400 to 1700 C.E., with greatest cooling over the extratropical Northern Hemisphere continents. The patterns of temperature change imply dynamical responses of climate to natural radiative forcing changes involving El Niño and the North Atlantic Oscillation–Arctic Oscillation.

  45. Sylia
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    Frank, I expect so. Ben Santer is one of the co-authors on it.

    Maybe I’m a bit out of line here, but ….

    SO2 + OH· → HOSO2·

    HOSO2· + O2 → HO2· + SO3

    SO3 (g) + H2O (l) → H2SO4 (l)

    Proposing a geo-engineering strategy to mitigate atmospheric CO2 (which may not actually be a problem) and ocean acidification (need more info on that one before commenting) by producing ‘Acid Rain’? Am I reading this right?

  46. vg
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    no thanks: says everything

  47. Steven Hales
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:13 AM | Permalink


    Your openeness contrasts nicely with the persistent snark seen here

    The general tone is that the science is unassailable i.e., you can’t repeal the laws of the universe and it doesn’t matter if there was this little obfuscation of the facts, incompetance and general bad behavior since the science is sound and reconstructions really don’t matter because they exist outside the basic science. They go on that the denialists are part of a grand conspiracy to delay action while at the same time saying that the denialists claim that they are part of a grand conspiracy. (This seems to be an internal argument meant to perserve the pureness of their motives.) They also continue to argue that you and Ross have failed the peer review process and have nothing to offer. (Again this seems to be an internal argument.)

    I don’t recall that you ever questioned the laws of the universe or claimed that the IPCC was a conspiracy having been a part of the process. The current discussion on MT’s google group seems to be the typical tribal rallying call of painting all questioners as denialists. Their view of the major players in denialst talking points as knowing the science is right but putting up specious arguments for public consumption. Of course, they lump you and Ross in that camp (a strawman argument) and then launch into an explanation of the science and how can a reasonable person not accept the laws of the universe which by inference means that you obviously think that gravity is a state of mind. This circular reasoning on their part gives them an out to never engage you or Ross as equals. The curious thing is that I can’t recall you ever endorsing specious arguments but rather pushing the notion that if you were a policymaker that you would rely on IPCC recommendations.

    Since the climate camp is now saying that reconstructions don’t matter they are forgetting that reconstructions were a major communications tool used by the IPCC and others as talking points for public consumption and a rallying call for action against unprecedented recent warming and that warming already in the pipeline (based on the unassailable science). Since you and Ross questioned the validity of these talking points they are distancing themselves from them and “moving on” to what Mann, et. al., recently published on improving inputs to the climate models in resolving the major oscillators of climate ENSO and the NAO. So, “moving on” means not using reconstructions as talking points but continuing to rely on them as inputs to climate models. They are trying to move back to more complex talking points which you can see in this video

    I don’t think you would disagree with much that is presented in this audio slide show except that Lindzen might have been treated somewhat unfairly and his name not even mentioned. The major thrust here is that the potential energy already in the system can, over the long run, produce the predicted warming. I am sure that you would also agree that water vapor is a forcing agent and that its atmospheric concentration is dependent upon temperature. Overall there seems to be much common ground between you and the larger climate community since you all accept the laws of the universe. Since this is common knowledge shared by all Team members, that you and Ross accept the laws of the universe and are only narrowly focused on statistical validity, transparency and archiving I can’t for the life of me understand why they can’t have a civil conversation among themselves about these topics.

  48. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    Is” No comment” code for, “I, Sagunda, have spoken!”, or, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain?”, or “You!”, “You!!”… “My God! What have I done?” (Daniel Dravett, esquire, Frank Baum, Kwai.)

  49. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Off topic.

    Climategate whitewash begins.

  50. Gary
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    The declining of this offer isn’t surprising because the losses from participating far outweigh the gains. A few thank-yous from commenters who most likely will not be persuaded by your arguments pales against the criticisms (and worse) you will get from your peers for consorting with the enemy. Even though the offer is reasonable from the CA point of view, it’s seen as no-win from the CRU side. AWG is still the Titanic and the CRU letters are not perceived as icebergs of any consequence. In retrospect they may be, but for now it’s seen as foolish to begin lowering the lifeboats in public view. Behinds the scenes, though, there almost certainly is some recalculation going on. If getting the science right is the goal, making contacts through back-channels may be the best that can happen for now.

  51. EdeF
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    “The odd thing is that if they want to come clean on the serious issues that this revelation casts on proxy reconstructions, the other side of the coin is that the GCMs and the theory come out of this unscathed.”

    From what we have seen of some of the code for the proxy work it doesn’t take a great leap to think that the GCM code may be equally
    chaotic. We are not even goint to go there, we have enough problems
    just trying to audit the rather simplistic proxy data which should
    merely be the standardizing and averaging of raw proxy data over time.
    There is no theory to this. On the other hand, the GCMs are supposed to
    model the physics, chemistry of the natural world: cloud formation,
    ocean circulation. The later endeavor is orders and orders of magnitude
    much more compicated than the former. I don’t even want to think of
    what you would find in the GCMs. Let’s stick to the proxy networks
    for now.

  52. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    Oops, is “No thanks”. Sorry. And rereading my own comments, there is more snark there than I should have put there. I’m just a guy who fastens pieces of wood together, to the 64th of an inch. If a door is twisted, or a drawer binds or is sloppy cannot be corrected by inventing a different scale to the rule.

  53. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    I think it will be too early for most climate scientists to write on this. The truth isn’t something they professionally will want to discuss even if they are the voice of reason.

    Zorita was brave recently, even with the fact that he’s poking what he considers to be controlling personalities in the field and has called for Mann, Jones and Rahmstorf to be removed from the IPCC process.

    He even describes the current atmosphere as a form of blackmail in his letter.

  54. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Bishophill has breaking news

  55. Bob Meyer
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:56 AM | Permalink


    I think that Wigley looked at your offer as “Would you care to share this cup of hemlock with me?”

    Acknowledging that CA hosts serious discussion of climate issues would be professional suicide for someone in Wigley’s position. After all the vitriol thrown at CA how could anyone look at your offer as a benevolent gesture when their livelihood depends on those who were involved in smearing you?

    In view of the recession and the high likelihood that funding for climate research will be falling off (partly as a result of “Climategate”) Wigley had very little choice if he wants to remain employed. I don’t think he was right to decline your offer but I certainly understand why he might not view it with great enthusiasm.

  56. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    Steve: Maybe I’ll follow your lead and ask Thompson to write a guest post to show where he and Jones believe I’ve misunderstood the intent and methods undertaken in Thompson et al (2009)in my guest post at WUWT, which Jones refers to in two of his emails. My response is here:

    Either they misunderstand ENSO or they misrepresent it. Either way they miss the mark.

  57. stan
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    What could he say? The “much ado about nothing” argument isn’t going to fly. The “science is still overwhelming in favor of AGW” argument isn’t going to fly. Broad, general, non-specific pep talk type conclusions will get trashed.

    Look at the state of the science in the cold, hard, light of day. That the siting of temperature stations is incompetent is beyond question. Same for the temperature data that has been folded, spindled and mutilated behind closed doors. It is inarguable that the code is crap. The GCMs have not been verified or validated. The IPCC and other assessments have been shown to be corrupt. The basic scientific method has been abandoned. That’s where we are.

    There is only one principled position remaining for a member of the team to take and remain a respected scientist (and it’s not to try a modified, limited hangout). If he wants to maintain any credibility as a legitimate scientist, he’s got to lose the hubris and embrace real science. Models have to be verified and validated. Studies have to be totally transparent. Database adjustments have to be made available to all.

    Go back to square one. Free the code. Share the data and methods. Consult with real statisticians and real software engineers to introduce some competence from those disciplines to climate science. Open the doors and windows to let the sunshine in. It would be utter folly to try to get by with anything less.

    Otherwise, he and the others are going to be subject to the derision and scorn that they richly deserve.

  58. Richard
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    He actually responded? Well, that’s a start. And you didn’t even have to file an FOI.

  59. Tim S.
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    I can understand the gesture on your part, Steve. It is the scientific thing to do. But the AGW scientists don’t deal in science, any more than the Catholic Church did in medieval times. They are merely a clique who are following a belief system, and do not feel the need to converse or interact with others. We just need to pay our carbon taxes (i.e., tribute) to them and shut up.

  60. liberalbiorealist
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    A number of the defenses of the “warmists” to this revelation strike me as strange or contradictory.

    On the one hand, the behavior of the scientists in these emails is dismissed as being nothing more than what is typical for academics, nasty in many respects though it may be. But I don’t see how anyone can argue that such behavior doesn’t destructively distort the scientific process, undermining the possibility of an alternative point of view arising on the issue in question. If indeed academics engage in this sort of thing on a routine basis, isn’t the correct inference that we should not take their claims to certainty with any seriousness?

    Still another defense they put up is that, yes, this revelation may undermine the credibility of these particular scientists on, say, the particular issue of Mann’s “trick”. But, they assert, the rest of climate science supporting the warmist system of beliefs remains intact, and, indeed, Mann’s “trick” itself has been replaced by other, quite legitimate, scientific support in favor of a “hockey stick” in the rise in temperatures.

    But how can we know that this other science is itself legitimate as claimed? If, as some of these apologists themselves assert, the behavior of the scientists in these emails is quite typical, why not expect exactly that this behavior is replicated across all of climate science? And, apart from what these apologists may themselves claim, isn’t it reasonable to infer that indeed this sort of behavior is fairly typical across all of climate science? Is there any reason to believe that the emails that happened to have been revealed represent a vastly worst case than what one would find elsewhere? Isn’t it more reasonable to take them as roughly representative of the entire class? At bare minimum, isn’t it pretty fair to expect that scientists of a strong partisan bent on this issue might behave the same way (e.g., Jim Hansen)? And, given the prominence of such partisans in the debate and in the funding of scientific efforts, doesn’t that suggest that the overall science really has been distorted to a point that one scarcely knows what is reasonable to take as scientifically confirmed?

  61. MikeN
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Climate Audit’s motive is not to improve the science; like the illegal hackers, the goal is to discredit climate scientists. I eagerly seek and appreciate input from people who are willing to provide constructive input and criticism, but I have no interest in playing “gottacha” with an auditor who is more interested in dotting all of the ‘i’s than in true understanding. I am deeply committed to helping people to better understand the science behind climate change, but my efforts on blog like Climate Audit would be wasted.

  62. MikeN
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    Sorry, my post got mangled. The above is the opinion of a climate scientist.
    This blog is more of a serial format, and newcomers will not understand what is being said.

    Climate scientists are already receiving e-mails from their colleagues about how bad CA is, and ‘I’m not going to hand over data, they’re just trying to find something wrong with it.’

  63. MikeN
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    “Instead, he took every opportunity to ridicule me in front of his audience. Most scientists do appreciate input that improves their work, but no one wants to be falsely accused of wrong doing.”

  64. R Taylor
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Lysenko stayed at the Institute of Genetics until he was 67 (long after his work was quietly ignored by other officials) and presumably collected full pension thereafter. Why would socialist Britain be any harder on its fearless champions of orthodoxy than the Soviet Union. And I’m sure Lysenko was smart enough not to engage his skeptics in public dialogue as the Soviet Union increasingly purchased food to stave off hunger.

  65. Fred
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Let’s take it as a sign of progress.

    You have moved to being publicly acknowledged from privately ridiculed and ignored.

    A first small step.

  66. Wow
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    snip – please no complaining about policy.

  67. Esmeralda Dangerfield
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre….. Every day I become more impressed with you, your smarts, and your gracious commonsense.

    It is still too early, I suspect, for anyone from “The Community” to venture out onto Climate Audit publicly, but I’m confident many are sympathetic and, even, grateful to you.

    In the coming days, it is going to be more important than ever before to take the high road in defense of honest and correct science and to curb and discourage some of your more publicly gleeful and nasty followers. Although I am sympathetic to them, ultimately the nastiness is counter-productive, especially when so close to a “win” in the name of truth.

    You and your friend, Ross McKitrick, have just made the history books, big time. Congratulations. I can imagine that it was not easy, often discouraging. …Ez

  68. Brian B
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    I applaud Steve’s outreach but hope his expectations are quite low.
    The tribalism Dr. Curry spoke of at the main CA site is usually strengthened not weakened and more strongly enforced when it is exposed, at least initially.

    But the AGW scientists don’t deal in science, any more than the Catholic Church did in medieval times.

    I’d say the jury is still out on this one. The Catholic Church did eventually accept the science. We don’t yet know whether the Team will.

  69. Wow
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Citizen journalists,
    Please read those emails and pass along your findings on as many blogs, media outlets and Sen. Inholfe as soon as possible before the summit in Copenhagen.

    The emails are available here:

  70. theduke
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    They’ve circled the wagons. Steve is the big Chief with the most scalps. Until they ascertain just how outnumbered they are it’s everyone quietly at their post and no sleeping on watch.

    Seriously, it’s no longer about the science. It’s about the law. Until each of them can determine who is culpable and how far the investigations will go, they will be exercising their right to remain silent, with the exception of the occasional, “deny, deny, deny.”

    I believe there is a palpable fear of a witchhunt in some quarters. While this would be unfortunate, the truth needs to be uncovered regardless of the consequences. For their sake, I hope it turns out to be more a case of ineptitude than moral turpitude.

  71. Arn Riewe
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:14 PM | Permalink


    “Thanks for welcoming us visitors!

    There are a number of people following this story on things like the Telegraph blogs, but would appreciate a slightly more scientific angle on the significance of this leak. I’m coming here in the hope of finding that.”

    You came to the right place, but don’t expect instant service. Steve’s hallmark is spending the required time in “due diligence” before he posts. The result is generally incisive. I imagine he has more material to evaluate than he can actually cover for several weeks or more, so be patient and keep checking.

  72. enriquesalcedo
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:16 PM | Permalink


    Have you found or known about a paper or article that was “good” in terms of statistical methodology,dendrochronology and climate reconstructions procedures?

    My knowledge on statistics is limited (mainly applied for populations ecology and morphometrics) but I want to learn from an trusted source about the topics on recent leaked-mails events and improve my understand.

    Thanks in advice.

  73. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    This is rather good

  74. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    MikeN writes:

    “Instead, he took every opportunity to ridicule me in front of his audience. Most scientists do appreciate input that improves their work, but no one wants to be falsely accused of wrong doing.”

    Could you provide us with some context in regard to this quote. Who is tge “he”?

  75. Jeff
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:32 PM | Permalink


    Eduardo Zorita might make a good candidate for a guest post from an insider. See this recent article from where Zorita risks his career:

    Climategate: sack ‘no longer credible’ Michael Mann from IPCC urges climatologist

  76. Bill Williams
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    Has anyone read the “Bristlecones In confidence” CRU email exchange?

    “The point of this message is to show that that this issue is complex , and I still
    believe the “Western US” series and its interpretation in terms of Hemispheric mean
    temperature is perhaps a “Pandora’s box” that we might open at our peril!”

    I haven’t seen any discussion of it in the usual blogs but was wondering if I might be wrong.

  77. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    Climategate breaks 10m on Google

    Results 1 – 10 of about 10,700,000 for climategate. (0.11 seconds)

    It’s grown about 1m in 3 hrs.

  78. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Last posts’ titles might not be inviting enough.

  79. MikeN
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    TAG, the ‘he’ refers to Steve McIntyre.

    People see Steve bashing them on his blog. Other commenters as well.

    In my opinion, people are too quick to assume lying and fraud on this site. Longtime readers may be aware of small details of climate papers, but I doubt that most of the scientists in the field would have any idea what you are talking about if you ask about Mike’s Nature trick, flipping Tiljander in Mann 2008, Yamal, or bristlecones. They will ignore you when you accuse them of fraud. Or they will ask their colleagues, who will tell them that CA is not a site worth going to, and don’t give them any data.
    You can see evidence of this in the CRU archive.

    Indeed, this lack of knowledge about flipping Tiljander is probably what led William Connolley to so confidently put up threads about it, to debunk the deniers. Then when AMac runs the gauntlet, he had to retreat.
    Ultimately, that is the level of effort needed, not calling someone part of a conspiracy.

    Steve: I’ve had longstanding blog policies that prohibit accusations of fraud and have enforced them. I do not make such allegations myself. I think that such allegations are counterproductive as they give scientists a crutch to dismiss valid criticisms. If posters breach blog policies, I delete such allegations. I ask that I be notified if I’ve missed a comment that breaches the policy. On several previous occasions, I’ve challenged people to produce evidence of such allegations and they’ve never produced anything. It’s became a bit of a meme among climate scientists that such accusations are regularly made, but it isn’t true.

  80. Shona
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    Courtillot seems to have done two major filmed lectures on AGW, I watched the one he gave at the Nantes uni.

    The lecture proper starts at about 3mins (lots of thank-yous first).

    It’s in French. His graphs are telling. I’ll have a look if there’s anything in English.

  81. stevemcintyre
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    MikeN, you say that Kaufman said:

    Instead, he took every opportunity to ridicule me in front of his audience. Most scientists do appreciate input that improves their work, but no one wants to be falsely accused of wrong doing.”

    Here is my first review of Kaufman et al 2009: I fail to see anything in that article that remotely justifies Kaufman claiming that he was “falsely accused of wrong doing”. I criticized his selection of some proxies. I notified him of the commentary and invited him to respond.

  82. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    My own message: “Actually I’m waiting for the first of the Climatatii to come out…”

    Eduardo Zorita:

    Whoz to follow?

  83. Shona
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    I can’t find anything by Cortillot in English. I have e-mailed him and asked if he has anything. If he replies, I’ll put the info up.

  84. Antonio San
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Bishop Hill, the Courtillot conference is on Dailymotion:

  85. MikeN
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Again, Steve, it is not your behavior as much as it is the perception of your behavior.
    Climate scientists are not going to go through a blog to find people making accusations of fraud. They are not invested in believing that your blog is a certain way, and have no need to prove their opinion. Clarifying your policies to them helps, and making a challenge to point out such messages can convince them that maybe the blog is a bit civil.

    You have a post that refers to Kaufman checking out the site a week ago. By that time, he would have a post by you about Monkey Business, an guy upside down with his face in a bucket,
    then there is your main post with Upside-Down Mann. I wouldn’t call this vicious, but it is not polite either. Then from your post:

    I’m sure we’ll soon hear that this error doesn’t “matter”. Team errors never seem to. And y’know, it’s probably correct that it doesn’t “matter” whether the truncated Tiljander (and probably a number of other series) are used upside-down or not. The fact that such errors don’t “matter” surely says something not only about the quality of workmanship but of the methodology itself.

    [Update Sep 8] – Last week, I notified Kaufman about the use of Upside Down Tiljander, asking in addition for various “publicly available” data sets that do not appear to actually be available anywhere that I know of. He replied yesterday attaching a graph indicating that it doesn’t matter whether Tiljander is used upside down and unresponsively referred me to the decadal values of the data already available.

    So he could even be interpreting this as putting up my response to e-mails to his audience for ridicule.

    From the CRU archive, there is no evidence of obstruction by Kaufman. He wrote that you may want annual values. He told me he had never previously heard of ‘the Team’, and it looks like he got that phrase off of your post as well.
    The post also implies cherry-picking, and the scientists probably don’t feel that they are doing that. Ok maybe some who are oriented towards baking…

    I think you are already aware of the same points I am stating, as can be seen in this post you made, which I hadn’t noticed before:

    In my opinion, you’re jumping to an unjustified conclusion based on present evidence. And unfortunately this is the sort of excessive statement that reinforces guys like Kaufman.

    I have no reason to believe that Kaufman “knows” that his study is indefensible. On the contrary, my presumption is that he doesn’t “know” this and sincerely believes the opposite. So when he reads this sort of statement, his reaction is “BS” and uses that as an excuse to reject any valid criticisms.

    I remind readers time and time again not to go a bridge too far and to avoid over-editorializing and this is another occasion.

    When he said that their findings would be “SCRUTINIZED” and that they had to be prepared to “publicly defend” their findings, one could reasonably assume that Climate Audit was on their radar. I do not believe that workshops among “collaborators” were what they had in mind. Thus it is disappointing that Kaufman turns out not to be prepared to “publicly defend” his findings in the most visible public forum for such scrutiny.

    I think you were mistaken in lumping Kaufman in with the Team, though that was probably irrelevant to his actions. Your suspicion that he would have toughed it out if Atte Korhola hadn’t said anything, is just that a suspicion based on assuming he acts in Team fashion, and I think shown to be wrong when looking at the CRU leak.

    Frequently in your posts, I feel you have the tone that scientists are obligated to defend their papers on your site. So if they give a reason they don’t want to, somehow that makes them the bad guy.

    Steve: You say: “it is not your behavior as much as it is the perception of your behavior.” There are a couple of issues. Some scientists are simply not used to their papers being discussed critically and don’t like it. Rob Wilson got bent out of shape when I analysed the methods of one of his papers. Afterwards, he realized that there was nothing unreasonable about the commentary; it’s just that he wasn’t used to it. Sometimes, scientists effectively take the position that calling them out on their methodology is equivalent to accusing them of wrong doing. Kaufman seems to have done this. There was nothing in my posts that hinted at “wrong doing” by Kaufman and yet you say that this was his perception. He’s not first person to make such accusations without any support – it’s become a fashionable meme among climate scientists and yet I submit there is little evidence to support the accusation. I don’t feel that scientists are “obligated” to defend their papers here nor have I ever suggested that they are. I’m often criticized for not providing a forum for opposing opinion. Therefore I think that it’s reasonable for me to document offers. It’s not so much that I feel that the scientist is “obligated” to defend his view, but to forestall accusations that I didn’t give him an opportunity to defend his view. Kaufman can’t now claim that he didn’t have an opportunity to defend his paper here. He chose not to, but it was his decision. If he wants private commentary, then he shouldn’t issue press releases. If a scientist issues a press release on his study and it’s widely covered, as Kaufman’s was, then he should expect public commentary. In Lucia’s phrase, put on his big boy pants.

  86. chris y
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to have Tom Wigley comment on his ClimateGate email statement from a few years ago-

    “A word of warning. I would be careful about using other, independent paleo
    reconstruction work as supporting the MBH reconstructions. I am attaching my version of a comparison of the bulk of these other reconstructions. Although these all show the hockey stick shape, the differences between them prior to 1850 make me very nervous. If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side, I would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleo results and the differences between them as an argument for dismissing them all.”

  87. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Why would Kauffman think every opportunity has been taken to ridicule him in front of this audience?

  88. Mike Smith
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    While offering space for them to write on your blog shows class – to us – to them, I believe it shows weakness.

    When the Yanks beat the Phils, they Yanks didn’t say “Hey we’re sorry we won, why not take the trophy home this weekend.”

    While this isn’t sport (and sportsmanship is unimportant to them), you have just ruined their lives.

    Again, it is your fault.

    It is not their fault for lying, not their fault for falsifying data, not their fault for holding governments and corporations financially hostage (a-la ADAM second-order draft.pdf) for their own petty sense of self gratification. I wanted to say self aggrandizing, but they really do wield that power (or used to).

    These are beta males who will be hiding in the back, licking their wounds and plotting your destruction.

    The science to them is unimportant. Getting it right is unimportant. Maintaining data integrity is of no use to them. Blathering on about how others need to live or work is important to them. They are ruling without even so much as a pretend election.

    Were any of this not true, there would have been no leak because there would have been no need. I know it may sound absurd but trust me it is true. After all, you disposed the King. He aint gonna take it lying down.

    The “no thanks” was another way of telling you that you are not in the league of treasured and qualified important scientists like them. “You’re teeny blog? Ha”
    It’s a last ditch effort by them to retain some control or power and try to make you think you’re unimportant. ( I used to work at the number two beer company, and we says things like “oh do they still make Budweiser?”)

    Do not let up, and do not even consider them to be friendly ever. They should always be considered as hostile and adversarial. I’m fairly sure this type of attitude is foreign to you but there is too much at stake for you not to do so.

    Which is worse becoming a laughing stock or loosing the power to control nations?
    To them I’d bet its the same either way.

  89. Jordan
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    Quotes we’d love to be remembered for:

    “That theory is worthless. It isn’t even wrong!”

    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

    “Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.”

    A quote which might be all you are remembered for:

    “No thanks”

  90. MikeN
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    I think you should have made the phone call. Probably still should, though I wouldn’t expect much at this point.

    Maybe I’m mistaken, but I just don’t see why a scientist has any obligation to respond to these questions on a blog.

  91. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 7:52 PM | Permalink


    I also thought that the application made to the AGU by Michael Mann on the behalf of Phil Jones was questionable. I asked the question of the AGU as to which H-Index number had been used on the application and to date have not heard a reply. Although, the weblogs of my website show that whilst the AGU did not have time to reply to my question, someone there had time to look at my website.

  92. Craig Loehle
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    One of the interesting things about the elites and their demand for respect is that the whole concept of a scientific elite is so phony. Any scientist worth anything must constantly learn new techniques and information, just like a grad student, except that this process does become easier with experience. So, any “expertise” one has must be constantly updated and will be only slightly ahead of the newcomer to the field.
    Second, the big-wigs step way out of their expertise. When Hanson claims that X species are going extinct because of warming, he knows nothing about this topic at all. Or when M. Schlesinger ventures into economics. Or when they opine on policy issues like tax vs cap and trade. They have no real expertise on these topics. Yet everyone should respect their viewpoints because…well, just because.

  93. Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    Quote: “Luke Warmer permalink
    Well he could have said:

    “In this case I’m going to have to decline””

    Well, by answering the way he did,

    he was able to hide the decline, was he not?


  94. Mike Smith
    Posted Nov 27, 2009 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    @ John Who
    Now that’s funny right there! I don’t care who you are.

  95. theduke
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 1:07 AM | Permalink

    MIkeN wrote: “Frequently in your posts, I feel you have the tone that scientists are obligated to defend their papers on your site. So if they give a reason they don’t want to, somehow that makes them the bad guy.”

    If the “world renowned” scientists whose papers are in the process of being audited by Steve want to discuss the issues in private with him before the issues are aired on, I’m sure he would accommodate them until the issues are settled. I believe Steve has always tried to establish personal contact with these scientists by asking questions and requesting data in a cordial and professional way. When the scientists in question do not respond in a way that defends their papers persuasively, or do not provide the code and data that would allow Steve to determine if their conclusions are supportable, then the papers and their conclusions are put on the website in a critical light for all to see.

    If they are professional scientists they should be able to answer questions from interested experts and respond to criticisms of their work. If they can’t, or if they simply refuse, why should anyone take their work seriously? The excuse that they are too busy to respond to criticisms and provide data is bogus. If the code and data were archived properly, and the work product is good, chances are there would be far fewer unanswered questions. As Mosher says, “free the data, free the code and open the debate.”

    MikeN also wrote: “Maybe I’m mistaken, but I just don’t see why a scientist has any obligation to respond to these questions on a blog.”

    Correct. There is no obligation. But given the success of ClimateAudit to expose shoddy work by climatologists in the past, it behooves all climate scientists to provide code and data in order to accommodate those of us who believe in the scientific method, which was principled ideal that I was taught in the 8th grade. If it’s good science, it will withstand perusal. If it’s not, it won’t.

  96. Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

    There’s a lot of great rhetoric on this thread, and there’s a part of me that likes wallowing in rhetoric. But I look up at the title post, where Steve M. expresses a desire to have some guests over for drinks and conversation. And then I notice that we’ve painted all kinds of slogans on the outside of Steve M.’s house, about what a bunch of lazy, corrupt, incompetent, disingenuous, elitist jerks the potential guests are.

    I think they’ll be turning down the invitation. It may indeed be due to the fact that they are lazy, corrupt, incompetent or some other deep character flaw. But maybe not: It might instead be a treatment effect (and the double entendre was intentional). If it is indeed the expression of a character flaw, then there’s no point in extending an invitation. But if it might instead be a treatment effect, then you might think about changing the experimental condition you are creating to see whether it has a causal effect on the potential guest’s behavior. That, after all, is the scientific method.

  97. AntonyIndia
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    Read this small file ( from the Finnish dendrochronology specialists. No spin, no uncompatible data from different sources, no (CO2) theories to prove, no fancy computer modeling or programming, no politics, no hard predictions, just old fashioned science fully based on observations. Here the Middle Ages Warm period does exists, as does the Little Ice Age. They have tree disks going back 7641 years from a single species of Scots pine in Northern Finland (the second longest set on earth). Here you can view it all in more depth.

  98. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 9:45 AM | Permalink


    You might want to go to the very first posts on RealClimate, which were posted before Steve started CA. You’ll find that Steve didn’t start the animosity. Nor is it like the team has EVER tried to engage Steve anywhere, public or private (afaik) on the substance of his findings. Normally, IMO, you have to have several rounds of back and forth before you even get to the point of fully understanding a person’s complaints. I’ve followed CA starting just a few days after it started and there’s never been a time when team members have tried to give a little and start a conversation (unless you count Judith Curry as a member of the team, and I don’t).

    Almost all non-team name scientists have a stereotyped response. They’ll come by and make a post defending something Steve has attacked, or they’ve been told he’s attacked. People will welcome the person, but as might be expected by anyone who’s spent much time communicating online, some people will be less polite than others, and many will pose difficult questions. The difficult questions will be ignored or shrugged off and the visitor will concentrate on those they should pay the least attention to, and in a short while they’ll leave, claiming that they were unfairly attacked. Recently a well known scientist went through this process in 2 hours flat! Of course, that’s far from a record as we know from the CRU e-mails that some scientists were led to the internet and turned against CA without ever having posted.

  99. MikeN
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    Theduke, discussing papers and asking for data is perfectly OK. However, looking at the CRU e-mails, and even without them, it is clear the environment in which these guys operate. Very few are going to take the effort to see if ClimateAudit is worthwhile. Rob Wilson was mentioned as one. I don’t know what the time frame was for his posting here, but we see even he e-mailed complaining about Steve’s behavior as a reviewer for IPCC. They didn’t like his talking to a journal about a paper whose draft was distributed, felt he was trying to get the paper pulled. That a paper doesn’t meet the data requirements should be a relevant point I would think.

    So they are starting with a dislike of CA, some may not have heard of the site, or just heard a sharply negative opinion. People who take a look at the site will not see every post just discussing science, but likely at any point there will be some criticizing the scientists, calling them frauds, before the moderators can cut them.

    The few comments shouldn’t matter, but they inevitably serve to reinforce the idea that the blog is a waste of time. Then we hear of pressure not to post here, though CRU shows no examples of this. Some people (Mann Jones)say not to hand over any data. Others like Tom Wigley say I’ve always thought MBH wasn’t very good.

    Steve: Mike, I do not make accusations of “fraud”. I’ve said on many occasions that I view such accusations as both uncalled-for and counterproductive. Counterproductive because they give scientists an out to avoid considering that their methods may have been erroneous. I prohibit the use of the word “fraud” and moderate out any such language when it occurs. Blog readers have been surprisingly good about complying with this rule. I know that it is a meme among climate scientists that I make such allegations, but it is simply untrue and no one has ever produced any evidence that I do.

  100. MikeN
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    I agree that you make an effort to keep the blog polite.
    My primary issue with your comments, are with how you go after scientists, and lump them in with Team behavior. If you had done to Mann what you did to Kaufman, I would have little issue, as you can’t expect much more from Mann, Jones, Briffa. In my short time on this site, I have seen you go after Tingley and Huybers, as well as Kaufman, in a manner that was a bit excessive, as well as Aslak Grinsted.

    What exactly did I “do to Kaufman”? I re-read the initial posts and they seem fair enough. Huybers sent me a nice email and wasn’t bothered. By and large, I’ve tried to be encouraging to “young scientists”; two sources told me that Tingley was fine. I’m not trying to go a bridge too far: what was “excessive” in any of these comments?

  101. MikeN
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    Good that the scientists are fine. I don’t remember the specifics for Huybers, just that someone else commented that you are being rude to a young scientist(I thought you had said you were unaware and it was a mistake).

    Grinsted also someone else complained.

    For Kaufman, it wasn’t much, and I said in the prior thread Kaufman backstory
    saying ‘unresponsive’ when the guy gave you a zip file. Then saying I’m sure Yamal doesn’t matter. I suspect you jumped to the conclusion that Kaufman knew everything about Yamal, had cherry-picked the proxies, was a made member of the Team, and so forth. From the CRU archive, he wrote I think he wants annual data. No evidence that he was obstructing you at that point, though I’m sure if we had followon e-mails we would see that he was encouraged to do so.

    Steve: Saying that Kaufman was “unresponsive” to my repeated requests for data is hardly holding him up to “ridicule” as you argued. The statement that he was being unresponsive to my requests for data was correct. I didn’t ask him for the pdfs and already had 95% of them. I didn’t say that “Yamal doesn’t matter”; it does. I said that upside down Tiljander wouldn’t matter in his method. You “suspect that [I] jumped” to the conclusion that he knew everything about Yamal. Why would you jump to that conclusion? My presumption would have been that he knew very little about it and took it on faith.

  102. fustian
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    There are many sensible reasons for Dr. Wigley to refuse comment at this time.

    First and foremost, many of his colleagues may be looking at legal and ethical threats to their livelihood or even their freedom. If they have been accepting large amounts of public money and it can be shown that they have knowingly been cooking the data, there may be real trouble here.

    Certainly Dr. Wigley does not want to even inadvertently add to these peoples troubles by a poorly worded defense.

    In addition, one of the things I’ve been ruminating on is that the original hacker (whistleblower?) interestingly said that the emails were only a selection.

    Is it possible that there is yet another shoe to drop?

  103. Mailman
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 6:23 PM | Permalink


    Sounds like you are merely stating that some scientists dont like their papers being criticised. If thats the case then some scientists need to grow up OR stop publishing papers if their ego’s are THAT fragile.



  104. RomanM
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    MikeN, quit projecting your “injured” psyche as a proxy for all of the “abuse” suffered by the scientists “aggressed” by CA and its minions. At this point, it appears to be nothing more than continuing aimless and exagerated whining.

    These are big people – they don’t need you to feel their pain. Besides, if Dr. Tingley’s mother is not upset, why should you be?

  105. JasonR
    Posted Nov 28, 2009 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    Tim, just to let you know that your rejigging of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida didn’t go unappreciated. All you need do now is produce your own karaoke version on YouTube and it could go viral via Mr. Morano.

  106. Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    From : “Ridicule. Words intended to belittle a person or idea and arouse contemptuous laughter. The goal is to condemn or criticize by making the thing, idea, or person seem laughable and ridiculous. It is one of the most powerful methods of criticism, partly because it cannot be satisfactorily answered (“Who can refute a sneer?”) and partly because many people who fear nothing else–not the law, not society, not even God–fear being laughed at. (The fear of being laughed at is one of the most inhibiting forces in western civilization. It provides much of the power behind the adolescent flock urge and accounts for many of the barriers to change and adventure in the adult world.) Ridicule is, not surprisingly, a common weapon of the satirist.”

  107. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    NW when you say:

    “My sense was that about half of the comments on Curry’s post crossed one or another line.”

    I would have to add that Judith Curry has made no attempt to hide the fact that she has come here as an advocate and not a scientist. In her advocate it is not unexpected to see her doing damage control.

    Judith Curry on the thread provided for her by Steve M accused me of bringing a young associate to tears in comments I made about a paper the associate did with Curry and Webster. I went back to that thread and linked it for her and asked her for a reply. She has answered other replies in the meantime and has not replied to my request for details.

    High sounding pronouncements are just words (and could be confused with damage control) without some accompanying deeds, and deeds as simple as detailing an accusation or at least taking a second look at it.

    Words are cheap.

  108. Rob Bradley
    Posted Nov 29, 2009 at 8:43 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Wigley tried to get me fired at Enron when he wrote a letter to Ken Lay complaining about my skepticism. Read about it here:

    I invited Tom to respond and he did not.

  109. Gene Callahan
    Posted Dec 3, 2009 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

    Anastasia, you’re “caste” comment just ignores reality — Internet discussions, *even among ideologically close cousins*, turn nasty and stupid in a way that academic discussions, *even among those ideologically quite distant*, rarely do.

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