More Hypocrisy from the Team

Bishop Hill draws attention to the publication of Trenberth’s comment on Spencer and Braswell 2011 in Remote Sensing. Unlike Trenberth’s presentation to the American Meteorological Society earlier this year (see here here here, Trenberth et al 2011 was not plagiarized.

The review process for Trenberth was, shall we say, totally different than the review process for O’Donnell et al 2010 or the comment by Ross and me on Santer et al 2008. The Trenberth article was accepted on the day that it was submitted:

Received: 8 September 2011 / Accepted: 8 September 2011 / Published: 16 September 2011

CA readers are well aware of long-term obstruction by the Team not simply regarding details of methodology, but even data. Trenberth objects to incompleteness of methodological description in Spencer and Braswell 2011 as follows:

Moreover, the description of their method was incomplete, making it impossible to fully reproduce their analysis. Such reproducibility and openness should be a benchmark of any serious study.

Obviously these are principles that have been advocated at Climate Audit for years. I’ve urged the archiving of both data and code for articles at the time of publication to avoid such problems. However, these suggestions have, all too often, been resolutely opposed by the Team. Even supporting data, all to often, remains unavailable. I haven’t had time to fully parse Spencer and Braswell as to reproducibility but note that Spencer promptly provided supporting data to me when requested (as did Dessler.) In my opinion, Spencer and Braswell should have archived data as used and source code concurrent with publication, as I’ve urged others to do. However, their failure to do so is hardly unique within the field. That Trenberth was able to carry out a sensitivity study as quickly as he did suggests to me that their methodology was substantially reproducibile, but, as I noted above, I haven’t parsed the article.

Trenberth observes that “minor changes” in assumptions yielded “major changes” in results, concluding that the claims in Lindzen and Choi 2009 were not robust:

The work of Trenberth et al. [13], for instance, demonstrated a basic lack of robustness in the LC09 method that fundamentally undermined their results. Minor changes in that study’s subjective assumptions yielded major changes in its main conclusions.

I am not in a position to comment on the truth or falsity of Trenberth’s claims as applied to Lindzen and Choi 2009. However, this sort of argument has been a staple at Climate Audit (and in our published criticisms) of paleo reconstructions. Instead of commending us for such observations in respect to MBH, Trenberth publicly disparaged Ross and I personally for daring to criticize Mann et al. I agree with the principle that Trenberth enunciated here, but not with Trenberth’s hypocritical application of the principle.

Trenberth criticizes Spencer and Braswell for inadequate statistical analysis:

For instance, SB11 [8] fail to provide any meaningful error analysis in their recent paper and fail to explore even rudimentary questions regarding the robustness of their derived ENSO-regression in the context of natural variability.

To a considerable degree, Spencer and Braswell 2011 was a commentary on Dessler 2010. Neither article carried out satisfactory statistical analysis. Dessler 2010 reported a regression with an adjusted r2 of ~0.01 and purported to assert “confidence intervals”. UC carried out the “rudimentary” statistical operation of calculating the slope using the y-variable as regressand for consistency, obtaining different results. Results using CERES clear sky were opposite to results using ERA clear sky. Whatever the merits of CERES versus ERA, this is the sort of sensitivity that should have been reported. This is not to say that the statistical analysis of Spencer and Braswell 2011 was superior to that of Dessler 2010. It wasn’t. Neither article met the criteria enunciated by Trenberth.

If Trenberth really wants to get into the question of failures to explore “rudimentary questions” of robustness, I invite him to examine the infamous CENSORED directory of MBH98 or to search for the verification r2 results of early steps of MBH98.

Trenberth observes that “correlation does not mean causation” – a principle that is important at Climate Audit:

Moreover, correlation does not mean causation. This is brought out by Dessler [10] who quantifies the magnitude and role of clouds and shows that cloud effects are small even if highly correlated.

Unfortunately, this principle is applied opportunistically in paleoclimate. Team methodology, for example, makes no attempt to verify that 6-sigma bulges in strip bark bristlecone pine are due to temperature (as opposed to a mechanical effect of strip barking itself.) Team methodology accepts Yamal as a temperature proxy without explaining the decline in ring widths in the majority of nearby sites.

Trenberth wildly overstates Dessler 2011 as well by saying that it “quantifies the magnitude and role of clouds and shows that cloud effects are small”. “Quantifying the magnitude and role of clouds” is an enormous undertaking and would take hundreds of pages of analysis. Dessler 2011 is a short little article addressing a narrow issue. It did not pretend to “quantify the magnitude and role of clouds” nor did it do so.

Clouds were the major source of uncertainty in climate models in Charney 1979 and remained so in IPCC AR4 (2007). If Dessler 2011 did in fact show that “cloud effects are small”, this would be an epochal achievement in climate science. Given that a preprint of Dessler 2011 only became available on Sept 2, 2011, there has been little opportunity to analyse its results so far. Whether Dessler 2011 really proves that “cloud effects are small” remains to be seen. If, like Dessler 2010, it makes such assertions based on r2 of ~0.01, I think people could reasonably disagree on whether such far reaching claims had been firmly established.


  1. KnR
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Lets face it this is the person that short to reverse the null hypotheses to suit their own agenda. Trenberth is to science as a enraged rapid Rottweiler is to child care . A mad idea and can only end in a bad way.

  2. genealogymaster
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Isn’t that turn around time suspicious? I’ve not seen that kind of quick jump to publication.

  3. glacierman
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Wasn’t Trenberth the guy who was going to keep certain articles from being published along with Phil Jones, while redefining peer-review literature?

    Dr Phil Jones: “Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    I guess they (partially) succeeded.

  4. Andy Y.
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    Steve, seems like a case of Trenberth’s earlier hyperbole coming back to bite him. You’d think these guys would learn to stop speaking in absolutes and use a “all or nothing” type gambit in their press releases but apparently not.

  5. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    “Received: 8 September 2011 / Accepted: 8 September 2011 / Published: 16 September 2011”

    WOW !!!
    They discovered Warp Speed !!

  6. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    Received: 8 September 2011 / Accepted: 8 September 2011 / Published: 16 September 2011

    Sounds like the new editor is a lot more “efficient” than the now-deposed Wolfgang Wagner. As Glacierman notes, this truly redefines what constitutes peer review!

    • JasonR
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

      Who is the new editor of Remote Sensing? Is he ‘safe’?

    • Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

      The Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, which publishes Remote Sensing, has an unusual approach to publishing. Almost all editorial functions are handled by a central office, and a Managing Editor. The “Editor-in-Chief” is consulted at a late stage. In this case, there may not have been a scientific editor at all.

  7. Fred Bloggs
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

    Look, we all know it was accepted even before it was submitted. The only bummer for Kevin was that he had to write it before it could be published.

    • glacierman
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

      Fred, did you hear about Spencer’s new paper? No? Well Trenberth hasn’t either, but he has a paper that opposes it ready to be published.

      • Jeremy
        Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

        I was under the understanding that paper was currently in peer review, awaiting a final smiley-face stamp.

        • Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

          Just like in a college frat house, the TEAM has a file cabinet with as many pre-written/approved rebuttals that they can pull out as needed !!

  8. Craig Loehle
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    If submissions were sent out blind (no author names) it would be hard to subvert the process by censoring the bad guys and favoring the rich and famous. Clearly Trenberth’s paper didn’t even go out for review.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Permalink


      Didn’t need to. Trenberth reviewed it himself before he submitted it!

      • kim
        Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

        Les ‘peers’, c’est Moi.

  9. P. Solar
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    “Trenberth observes that “minor changes” in assumptions yielded “major changes” in results, concluding that the claims in Lindzen and Choi 2009 were not robust: ”

    One needs to look at what “minor” changes he proposed. He basically shifts the periods of study what were carefully chosen by Lindzen and Choi as being the strongest variations with a clear signal unperturbed by other “noise”.

    Trenberth’s minor changes , which are blandly deemed “reasonable” without any explanation of the reasoning used, invovled altering those periods to include significant other signals.

    He seems to think an arbitrary choice to go peak-to-peak is reasonable without saying why. He probably meant convenient to his argument in dissing L&C.

    L&C had chosen relatively short periods where a strong forcing was apparent. Trenberth then goes on to include the +/- peaks where temperature “acceleration” will be at a maximum, and then applies a linear regression.

    This is about as “reasonable” as trying to estimate the speed of an object by measuring it’s displacement in time but deciding to include the initial acceleration and when it bounced of a wall.

    Trenberth’s insistence at inappropriate application of OLS regression says a lot about his level of competence. Unless of course he is highly competent and being very deceitful.

    L&C was robust , Trenberth’s critique is not. That paper was nothing but an attempt to muddy the waters in preparation for AR5.

    • KnR
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

      To be fair there as method in his madness the idea was to get this paper to better support his paper rather than have it show what rubbish his was.
      As a reviewer he of course should have done no such thing , but they the Team believe they are very much above such scientific norms.

    • Cementafriend
      Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Permalink

      @ P.Solar -competence or deceit? Dr Van Andel in slide 26 of the presentation to KNMI
      has “Trenberth: Window radiation = 40 W/m^2. Satellite measurement: 66W/m^2. Prof.Trenberth wrote us that he knows this. But he kept his 40W/m^2 disregarding measurements.” and also “Trenberth: Relative humidity is constant everywhere. Satellite measurement: Humidity is decreasing. Prof.Trenberth wrote me that he thinks it is increasing and advises me to read the IPCC reports.”

      Trenberth still has not corrected his papers K&T97 & TFK09. I tend to think, like all others of the so-called “team”, that Trenberth has no understanding of the chemical engineering subject “Heat & Mass Transfer” (as named in Perry’s Chemical Engineering Handbook). Steve would know better than most if Trenberth has a good grasp of statistics. Certainly the two of his papers mentioned above contain no statistical error calculation which any engineer would do when assessing measurements. No engineer in a design (under Professional Engineers Acts) would use a correlation which is not significant.

      No one should take any notice of this egotist.

  10. stan
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    I think the Team should at least cite Humpty Dumpty when using words like “reasonable”, “robust”, or “meaningful”.

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”

    I think it all comes to down to who will be master.

  11. kramer
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    Who are all the members of “The Team?”

    • tomdesabla
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

      Before somebody archly tells you to go look it up, I’m pretty sure that the expression “The Team” is short for “The Hockey Team” which is a name that a group of climate scientists have called themselves.

      It seems to me that the first known instance of use was in the climategate e-mails. Please someone do correct me if I am wrong on this.

      Steve: the etymology of the term was reviewed in an old CA post. The term “Hockey Team” was first used at realclimate.

      • tomdesabla
        Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

        Thanks Steve. Ok, I found it.

        So, it seems that the term originally referred to actual studies that seemingly supported the original Hockey Stick (which was first published in MBH98, right?) and has now come to mean the people who consistently produce, champion, and defend those studies.

        I find the shift in meaning interesting.

        Steve: The shift occurred early on. The link notes the use by realclimate in Sept 2005 referring to Ross and I as competing against the producers of Hockey Sticks, who are described as the Hockey Team:

        So for this round at least, it looks like ‘Hockey Team: 2, MM: 0′.

        Obviously, I was quick to adopt and popularize the terminology, but the idea that we were playing against a “team” did originate with realclimate.

    • tomdesabla
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

      I’m sorry, I think I may have misunderstood you – did you actually want a list of names?

      Sorry, you’ll have to go look that up – there is plenty to go on inside the last years worth of posts here at CA. Don’t forget, some people can change their minds too, so some people who were on the team may not really be anymore.

      • kramer
        Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

        Yes, I was hoping for a list of names. I figured I’d have to look it up… 🙂

    • bender
      Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

      Look up Wegman’s social network analysis. Pick a threshold. The team can be as focused or as broad as you like. The centre and the two wings are easy to define. After that, it’s how many lines do you want.

    • DJA
      Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Permalink

      From the “alleged CRU Emails”

      Date: 10 Dec 2004 08:56:42 -0500

      on behalf of the team:
      – Gavin Schmidt
      – Mike Mann
      – Eric Steig
      – William Connolley
      – Stefan Rahmstorf
      – Ray Bradley
      – Amy Clement
      – Rasmus Benestad
      – William Connolley
      – Caspar Ammann

      You can find Trenberth in the circulation list

      • tomdesabla
        Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

        Good, I’m glad you did this, because I’m too much of a punk newbie to start the list. But now that you have…

        How bout that U.N. guy, Pachauri or whatever? Is he on the Team too?
        And Gore? Does he at least get to be Carbon Boy?
        And Poor Phil Jones – is he still on injured reserve due to stress?

        Just having some fun here ; )

      • Lake
        Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

        I still love how William Connolley is on there twice…

        • David S
          Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 3:54 AM | Permalink

          Must be one that missed his editing skills.

        • jorgekafkazar
          Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

          The question is: are there two Trenberths, as well? The one who recognizes a travesty when he sees it, and the one who generates them.

  12. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    If I were a managing editor… Now THIS would drive me to resign.

    What an embarrassment.

  13. Ryan
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    “Dessler 2010 reported a regression with an adjusted r2 of ~0.01 and purported to assert “confidence intervals”.”

    This doesn’t make any sense. Wouldn’t an r2 of 0.01 be very good evidence of a lack of a linear relationship?

    • stan
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

      Trying to make sense of it is a mistake. It’s Team science. It doesn’t have to make sense.

      • srp
        Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

        This meme seems to be rampant on the site. The Gauss-Markov theorem is not repealed by a low R2–a model can be substantively correct and have a low R2 if the error term, which by assumption of correctness is independent of the regressors, is very large. There may be independent omitted variables or just a lot of noise in the system.

        Do I believe that these particular models would pass any sort of rigorous specification tests? No. But the idea that all models with low R2 must be immediately rejected on that basis alone is not valid.

  14. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    At least being published as a comment this time means that, in theory, Spencer has the normal rights to respond to criticism…right? Or will Remote Sensing, evidently seeking to recover from “embarrassment” at having published an anti-Team paper by mistake, disallow the normal process to occur?

    • glacierman
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

      “Or will Remote Sensing, evidently seeking to recover from “embarrassment” at having published an anti-Team paper by mistake, disallow the normal process to occur?”

      Asked and answered. It is self evident, isn’t it?

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

      The convention among gentlemen is that an author should have the right to reply to a comment in the same issue as the comment. This has always been my experience outside of climate science.

      • Jeremy
        Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

        Maybe Spencer’s reply to Trenberth’s comment is stuck in peer review, on Trenberth’s desk or something.

    • PaulM
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

      Andrew, no, it’s not a ‘comment’, it’s a ‘commentary’ – a kind of editorial or opinion piece, that conveniently gets avoids not only peer review but the right to reply as well.

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

        That wouldn’t be a “trick”, would it?

      • timetochooseagain
        Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

        Sad to hear that…but not terribly surprising.

  15. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Funny how trenbert mentions the media response in a science comment.

    • Bebben
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

      He says there has been “erroneous conclusions and widespread distortion” of “the science” in the media. Maybe, from Trenberth’s perspective, that never happened before.

      • tomdesabla
        Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 12:30 AM | Permalink

        Knowing very little of the math and science involved with climate issues and reconstructions, I, like many others, have found it useful to note the way that the principals conduct themselves. One of things that has caused me to investigate the climate issue (and land me at this eye-glazingly technical but highly addictive blog) is the language used by so many in the AGW crowd. They make personal attacks and frequently use such subjective language, and the skeptics, questioners, and auditors generally conduct themselves in a far more dignified and circumspect manner.

        I have noticed this all across the web, and not just here. From what I can tell so far, most of the “erroneous conclusions” and “widespread distortions” are coming from within “the science” itself, and not from the media or from outside questioners/auditors.

        • Duster
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

          If you simply try researching the scientific issues only, there is an incredible spectrum of disagreement from physicists who outright reject the entire “greenhouse” theory, through “lukewarmists” who reasonably point to empirical laboratory data and say increased CO2 has to do something, through AGW theorists like Trenberth who appear to have convinced themselves that through magically powerful “forcings” that increasing CO2 even a little will lead to catastrophic results [which have no empirical support since the planet has already visited the very same atmospheric conditions before]. That is the simple science aspects – things like physics. Turning to the mathematical issues makes the issue differences worse, since the translation of real world data to mathematical models appears to leave a lot of room for debate – or perhaps that might be degrees of freedom – and where and how error should be measured, and what a meaningful measure would be. From there you move out into the politically polarized and utterly nonscientific wings. Spencer and Braswell and Dessler both appear to be at least attempting to operate from near the scientifically sound middle – making data immediately available for example. Trenberth, Jones and others in the team leadership do not occupy centrist methodological positions.

  16. Freddy
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

    What is the cut-off date for inclusion in IPCC AR5 ?

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

      It’s a while. But as I noted some time ago the season for “hardball” is now, I believe ( from memory) that the cut off date is July 2012.


      Recall that concern over MM05 and its impact on Ar4 started approx in early 2005.

      Looks like we are in the FOD season.

      One wonders if M&M are reviewers

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

      here better detail

    • timetochooseagain
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

      Keep in mind, the official cut off date is different than the date that is used in practice…which seems to vary depending on the importance the paper has to furthering the “message” the report is trying to convey.

      • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

        They are careful to explicitly say these dates are moveable.

        In climategate Jones informed Christy that there was a firm due date.
        Officially there is a due date that is moveable.
        the rules for moving are absent.
        calvin ball.

  17. Barclay E MacDonald
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Beautifully stated Steve Mc. You leave nothing to be added or even expanded upon.

  18. David L. Hagen
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    Travesty Trenberth asserts:

    “Challenges in sampling the deeper reaches of the ocean are also particularly problematic in closing the energy budget”.

    However, Pielke Sr. emailed Trenberth et al.:

    I do not see how such large amounts of heat could have transited to depths below 700m since 2005 without being detected.

    Josh Willis responded:

    Sarah Purkey and Greg Johnson:
    They looked at the prospect of deep warming on decadal time scales using the sparse, but highly accurate repeat hydrographic sections and found that below 3000 m in the global oceans, and below 1000 m in the southern ocean, the ocean is taking up an energy equivalent of about a 0.1 W/m^2 energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere.

    Pielke to Trenberth:

    I still, however, can not understand how heating can occur below 700m without it being seen transiting through that upper level.

    Perhaps the “models” don’t fit the data?

  19. Solomon Green
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    Dessler was obviously one one of the peer-reviewers for Trenberth. Does anyone know who was the other?

  20. Steven Mosher
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    relative to Ar5.

    ZOD is probably under construction and one can expect email to be flying back and forth about making so and so’s job easier. In Ar4 this was Wahl and Ammamm making Keith’s job easier.

    As The mails also show, Jones went to meet with Thomas Stocker and pachy.. to discuss…
    transparency.. and FOIA.

    That meeting, one can surmise, probably informed this document

    Click to access WGIAR5Position_Confidentiality-of-Drafts.pdf

    • Lucy Skywalker
      Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

      one does get suspicious, indeed, considering the upcoming timing of the events in the paper you refer to on AR5 (this December for FOD)… whether another blitzkrieg is envisioned, whereby inconvenient papers can be “refuted” by return of post (and in a way designed to look like the declared transparency) so that they do not upset the “robust” conclusions (already?) envisaged for AR5.

      • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

        id we take their prior behavior as our prior I can say that I would be shocked if they changed their pattern of behavior. Why should they?
        It’s entirely rational to believe that they continue to engage in shenanigens. leopard, spots thing

        • PaddikJ
          Posted Sep 19, 2011 at 2:02 AM | Permalink

          Prob’ly more like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

          Or possibly like the chess master who sees he’s done for, but decides to wriggle around & delay the inevitable as long as possible.

  21. Manfred
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    Technically, a turnaround time of 0 days means Trenberth’s comment is not peer reviewed and therefore should be not relevant for the next IPCC report.

    • Norm K
      Posted Sep 20, 2011 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

      Hansen et al 1988 “Global Climate Changes as Forcast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies Three-Dimensional Model” was submitted for publication to the Journal of Geophysical Research on January 25, 1988, was revised on May 6, 1988 and was accepted for publication on May 6, 1988. Does the zero days between revision and acceptance mean that this was not actually peer reviewed?

  22. Steven Mosher
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    Not only did trenberth submit on sept 8th.. he got his data on that day

    25. NASA. CERES EBAF Data Sets. Available online:
    PRODOCS/ceres/level4_ebaf_table.html (accessed on 8 September 2011)

    I wonder if Trenberth will respond to a request from steve for his data and source code..

    • Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

      Presumably Trenberth et al’s “Such reproducibility and openness should be a benchmark of any serious study.” phrase applies to Trenberth et al as well(?)

      However, strangely, taking a quick look at the comment (sorry commentary) online indicates no supplementary information from et al Trenberth 2011 in which this phrase appears. An oversight, no doubt.

      Remote Sensing appear to make provision for supplementary information from authors:

      Perhaps the regression coefficients were simply too significant to warrant supplementary information deposits on this occasion(?)

  23. timetochooseagain
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Was there something wrong with my reply to Ryan above? All I said was that the absence of evidence for any relationship between clouds and temperature doesn’t imply a relationship doesn’t exist. Or if you prefer “Normally Distributed and Uncorrelated does not imply independent”.

    Of course, if such a relationship exists, clearly some other factors obscure the relationship, which cannot then be inferred from the data without knowing what those factors are and accounting for them. This means that a relationship may still exist, but Dessler has neither found that one exists, nor that it does not.

  24. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    hence the desperate obfuscation by nick Stokes of Bart’s extra tool-kit…..

    • Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

      Well, MB, the best remedy for “obfuscation” is for you to explain it clearly for us.

      • DEEBEE
        Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

        Getting to be a bit like Queen Victoria are we?

        • Fred Bloggs
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

          He means “The Hockey Team”

      • Hoi Polloi
        Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

        What use is an explanation if one doesn’t listen to it?

  25. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    Remember that this “sailing relatively quickly through peer review” was going on in 1986 with the two huge Jones et al papers + books + plus data tapes – that birthed GW.

    • Lucy Skywalker
      Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

      That’s an amazingly telling graph you did Warwick. 1986. Who’d a thunk it. Was that the time that Thatcher had set up / backed UEA/CRU? Would be nice to see the graph here because yes, it does reinforce the evidence here about warp speed peer-reviewing.

      • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 4:46 AM | Permalink

        Well, I don’t think it’s telling (no surprise there). Weeks per page – a silly metric. Reviewers don’t spend weeks per page. All it proves is that his papers had a lot of pages. Most reviewers spend a day or two, however long the paper, and the time taken for review depends on when they find that day (and then the arguments).

        But the notion that journals bent in deference to PJ is absurd. In 1986 he was a 34y-o junior researcher. His papers went through on their very considerable merits.

        And no, Mrs T didn’t set up CRU – it started 1971. And PJ’s papers didn’t “birth” AGW, which goes back to Arrhenius 1896. AGW is not based on surface temperature measurements.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

          From time to time, I’ve observed the irony that Phil Jones’ original work was funded by the US nuclear program – the Carbon Dioxide Information Center (CDIAC) at Oak Ridges National Laboratory. (This funding continued throughout the 1990s.) Many other scientists prominent in the IPCC movement were funded by this program, which was started in the wake of the Three Mile Island accident and Jane Fonda’s China Syndrome movie. The Alexander Hollander fellowship, under which MBH98 was written, was funded from Oak Ridges as well. As Nick Stokes observes, Jones’ papers did not “birth” AGW. However, the CDIAC program, of which the Jones’ temperature studies were an important part, definitely helped to revive what was then a backwater idea.

          At one time, I was intrigued at the provenance of the 4 wm-2 forcing figure, which is used in early IPCC reports but never derived. IPCC sort of starts in the middle of some things – frustrating to people from outside trying to understand things. I found a derivation in a CDIAC collection of papers in the early 1980s.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

          Very helpful history Steve. Sorry (to you and most of all to bender) not to have ‘read the blog’ enough to have it down pat as yet.

        • justbeau
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

          Oak Ridge National Laboratory has long had an environmental component. In the 1950s/60s, mercury was used to separate a sought after isotope of lithium, much mercury was consumed, and the Lab developed a specialty in mercury cleanups and science. This science was generally very solid, not kooky; and it served the mission of ORNL.
          There was a senior guy from the Lab who was prominent in contributing regarding acid rain NAS studies during the 1960s/1970, though I forget his name at this second.
          Today, there are ORISE (Oak Ridge Interns in Science and Engineering?) who are college grads who join US Federal government agencies for a few years.
          Oak Ridge probably has a substantial climate change program, since they would fall within the Empire of Secretary Chu, Nobel laureate who thinks California will soon be flooded by the rising Pacific unless he can dole out big bucks to Solynara.
          I believe Oak Ridge is today managed by a duo of the Univ. of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute, operating as contractors to DoE.

        • justbeau
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          A tad more about Steve’s Oak Ridges. It is in Tennessee.
          President Carter (1977-80) shifted DoD labs into a newly formed DoE. These labs represented a great number of jobs and were economically important to their States. Moved to DoE, they likely looked for new and supplementary ways to render service.
          During the Clinton/Gore years (1993-2000), one of the Labs near Chicago had a 2020 program to develop technologies that would help US manufacturing industries by 2020. This may have had a green leaning. Research to improve manufacturing technologies provided a technical mission or raison d’etre for the Lab.
          While I suspect ORNL’s green heritage stretches back to the 1950s, when environmental pollution around the US was often genuinely deplorable, after ORNL shifted to DoE, it may have expanded its aims in a green direction. This might also have been supported by Tennessee’s Senator, who became a Vice President.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

          Freeman Dyson gave his perspective of the history of Oak Ridge and carbon dioxide some time in or before April 2007. Useful in all kinds of ways.

        • justbeau
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

          Richard, thanks for links to Dyson. He mentions Al Weinstein, the name I was trying to recall.
          Oak Ridge was one of the early places for computers in the US. Dyson is at the Institute for Advanced Study. There were ties between physicists, mathematicians, and computer pioneers from Princeton with the Manhatten Project, including Oak Ridge. Collaborations may have persisted for decades. I can imagine how Oak Ridge could have been endowed with state of the art computers and technical people who felt a moral calling to explore other threats to civilization in addition to nuclear weaponry. Its too bad Dyson was apparenly not able to steer the Lab toward the pursuit of better science to shed light on the topic of CO2 impacts.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

          Glad to be of help. But doesn’t he mention Alvin Weinberg?

        • justbeau
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

          Sorry, Weinberg. The Wikipedia entry mentions a book co-authored with Wigner, who was in math and physics at Princeton. The chairman of Princeton’s physics department, Smythe, wrote a history of nuclear energy for military purposes in 1945, an indicator of the links between Princeton and Oak Ridge. Dyson came to Princeton during the 1950s, maybe when Robert Oppenheimer was still still head of the Institute. Wigner was Hungarian, like von Neumann, part of the exodus from Euro-universities during the 1930s. Am I surprised Dyson would have met and become friends with Weinberg? No.
          Dyson mentions a different concern about C02, its effect on the stratosphere and potential to deplete ozone. Thus Weinberg and Dyson may have shared the value of being interested in possible anthropogenic impacts on planetary well-being.

        • Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

          Early in the first section Dyson says that Weinberg is playing a mean game of tennis at 83. If that is accurate, and if Wikipedia is, the date of the interview is between 20 Apr 98 and 19 Apr 99. Dyson also says that Weinberg called him in to look at the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide ‘twenty years ago’ – so around 1978. And Steven Wofsy’s breakthrough experiments on the flux of CO2 in and out of vegetation would have begun around 1996. (I have only heard about them from Dyson, which for me can only substantiate the point about them being neglected. They seem absolutely fundamental as a foundation for the science in other areas but then what do I know? I haven’t programmed a GCM or tried to get a global temperature signal out of a single larch in Siberia so clearly I know nothing.)

          Such a timescale raises this troubling issue for me: why has Dyson been so denigrated by the Team and its acolytes in recent years? Surely, even if he’d got some of the detail wrong (and who hasn’t in this immensely complex area), you’d expect him to held in high regard as a pioneer of the science? As well as one of the truly great mathematical physicists of the 20th century before that – albeit in the shadow of Feynmann but one of the few that Feynmann wanted to have around to help.

          The correlation that stands out at all times is between what someone says about the science and how urgent the need it implies for man’s carbon dioxide emissions to be cut. Dyson’s view that vegetation is the dog and the atmosphere the tail of the problem means he sees no justification for costly controls on emissions. Indeed his plea as a humanitarian for Africa to be allowed to use its coal to provide cheap electricity to its masses is the polar opposite of Hansen’s talk of ‘death trains’ on the way to coal-fired power stations.

          This takes us into territory from which Steve, quite rightly, normally ring fences Climate Audit discussions. But this history troubles me greatly – that nobody seems to have a good word to say about Dyson now, in official climate circles. It’s a major red flag. Something has gone terribly wrong in this part of science. Eventually finding significance in r^2 of 0.01 appears but that nonsense has roots.

        • Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

          I’ve found the original Dyson interview. It’s part 144 (and the following two) of Dyson telling the story of his life at Web of Stories. The date is June 1998, the interviewer Sam Schweber.

        • Lucy Skywalker
          Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

          Richard Drake: If Dyson is being OTT rubbished by the Team, one wonders if he’s done some key climate work they don’t want publicised. Re his view on vegetation as “dog”, read my primer – to my analysis the oceans are the dog rather than the vegetation, in the longterm CO2 increase.

          Email me via my website if you want to take this further.

        • Posted Sep 19, 2011 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

          Thanks Lucy. To be fair to Dyson, and to be strictly accurate, he says the earth is the dog and the atmosphere the tail. I’m sure he would include the oceans in the latter. Who on a page about Trenberth would want to miss the heat in the oceans? Thanks for the reminder 🙂

        • Posted Sep 19, 2011 at 3:00 AM | Permalink

          Er, for latter read former. For heat read CO2. But I’m sure you get the idea.

        • EdeF
          Posted Sep 21, 2011 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

          This is an example of what happens when you spend too much time in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

        • Dave Andrews
          Posted Sep 19, 2011 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

          Off topic, but the use of ‘interns’ just sucks and it is sad that apublic body resorts to such measures.

        • Speed
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

          Swords to Plowshares: A Short History of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1943-1993)

          In another nod to the global village, in 1989 ORNL established the multidisciplinary Center for Global Environmental Studies. Some problems—greenhouse gases, ozone loss, climate change, species extinctions—know no boundaries.

        • theduke
          Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

          Speed: if you google “Center for Global Environmental Studies,” you get no results, although I didn’t review all the pages. Another boondoggle for taxpayers?

        • theduke
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

          The link describes work at ORNL on environmental issues. About a third of the way down you’ll see a section entitled “The Global Environment.”

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

          Teller and other who were pro nuke, were eager to find an argument against coal. Still searching for the ads they bought way back when this all started

        • theduke
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

          I’ve heard the same about Thatcher in the UK. If they had only known . . .

        • theduke
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

          mosh: here’s a description by Oppenheimer of how they won over Schultz and the Reagan Administration on issue of the creation of the IPCC:

        • JamesG
          Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 4:32 AM | Permalink

          That is actually very important info. We already knew that Thatcher begat Hadley as an anti-coal manoeuvre and Hadley then begat the IPCC. I’ve always considered the alternative title for AGW was “nuclear greenwashing” but I never knew about the US funding connection. It certainly fooled Hansen, Lynas and now Monbiot. Impressive PR!

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

          Reviewers don’t spend weeks per page.

          I’ve consistently taken the position that “peer review” of Team articles for Team journals is cursory. Which is one of the main reasons why data and code should be made available so that articles of interest can be examined in detail as efficiently as possible. Without having to run a gauntlet of obstruction and FOI requests and appeals to even get data.

        • Tom Gray
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

          The movie “Too Big to Fail” is now out on television. It is about the 2008 financial meltdown. The proximate cause of this was the real estate bubble caused by large investment banks. The original cause of it was that the financial experts thought that they knew far more than they knew. They had a ‘consensus’ on deregulation that they all adhered to but which did not match reality.

          I see no reason why we should accept on faith that such a consensus of experts in climate science cannot be similarly misguided. People seeing themselves as experts can form a mutually reinforcing groups that validate ideas that they all sincerely believe but are misguided in that belief . Something as serious as AGW requires more than peer review to validate it. The 2008 meltdown showed the dangers that can befall an expert consensus. Peer review, a practice that was designed as a gatekeeper for publication in academic journals, does not meet the criteria for policy making on critical issues. Due diligence which can strictly monitor the process is required. And importantly, an expert consensus is something that should be seen as both beneficial and dangerous

        • Lucy Skywalker
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

          Nick I know about Arrhenius. Perhaps you don’t realize I started off my investigations of AGW from a viewpoint much closer to yours than I ended with – so I read the conventional history. I also seem to remember that Arrhenius changed his tune later on – a point warmists omit. Also, Arrhenius’ work didn’t stop the “consensus” of the seventies being “the planet is cooling!” And whatever Thatcher didn’t do, she certainly had a finger in the pie, pushing a lot of money and resources towards research supporting AGW. Richard Courtney is the expert on this. Ah yes, it was the Hadley Centre she established IIRC. And what Hughes’ graph shows is anything but silly, and would surely still show even if the metrics were bent to your sensibilities.

          I think my original comment still stands, therefore.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

          Richard Courtney is the expert on this.

          Actually, the expert on it is still alive but suffering the ravages of old age. I wonder if Charles Moore’s official biography will shed any light. It would seem to me an immensely important part of what could now be added.

        • timetochooseagain
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

          Nick, technically Warwick said that Phil’s papers birth “GW” not “AGW”

          Of course, I seem to recall in the climategate emails that Ben Santer felt Jones had a more important role in the history of AGW than you seem to think. In fact, that much should be obvious: he took things from a theoretical idea that humans could cause warming, to taking the first step to actual science: attempting to measure the change. Arrhenius had theory and equations: Phil Jones had measurements.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: timetochooseagain (Sep 17 18:26),
          “he took things from a theoretical idea that humans could cause warming, to taking the first step to actual science: attempting to measure the change.”

          He wasn’t the first to attempt to measure – he just did it more thoroughly. And it just added confidence to what was known. As he says in the conclusion to the NH paper:
          “When the grid point values were areally weighted and averaged together, the resulting hemispheric series showed no major differences from previous analyses for the 1881-1980 period.”

          And of course Hansen had somewhat preceded him.

        • timetochooseagain
          Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

          Nick, it’s interesting, not many people seem to be aware of earlier efforts to do this surface temperature record stuff. To your knowledge, who was the first to construct a similar record?

          Who, if anyone in particular, first expressed confidence that a change in the Earth’s temperature could be, and had, been measured?

          From the emails, I doubt Santer was aware of the work that preceded Phil Jones, as the way he described it he seemed to think it revolutionary. Although perhaps he was just kissing up to the old master. Jones may or may not have dissuaded him, I don’t think the reply, if their was one, was among them.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

          “To your knowledge, who was the first to construct a similar record?”

          Well, I was myself somewhat involved in an early effort, though just for Australia. And though we did temperature (using Genstat), the results didn’t even get into the title, let alone journal publication. Just too messy at that stage.

          Hansen’s 1981 Science paper is mainly about models, but has measured temperatures in three zones. The main Gistemp paper is Hansen Lebedeff, but I think Gistemp numbers were available earlier.

          Jones 1986 nominates three survey articles on previous measurements:
          Wigley Angell Jones 1985
          Jones Wigley Kelly 1982
          Ellsaesser MacCracken Walton 1985
          Unfortunately I can’t find free copies of any of them.

          Most of them used datasets from the Smithsonian World Weather records and the US Weather Bureau. I guess what was new in the ’80’s was that people like Jones, Bradley and GISS folk made a concerted effort to supplement these.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

          there was also a paper in 1926 on “global” temp as I recall

        • Tony Hansen
          Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

          Nick – “He wasn’t the first to attempt to measure – he just did it more thoroughly. And it just added confidence to what was known”.

          I am wondering how well something can be “known” before it has been “more thoroughly” done?

      • P. Solar
        Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

        Lucy, Thatcher did not set up CRU, it was the Met Office Hadley Centre that she opened.

        It is worth noting that Met Office is part of the ministry of defence. MOD is generally exempt form FOIA requests. A detail that certainly is no accident in the decision to transfer guardianship of the temperature records from CRU to Met Office.

        Steve, thanks for the details about Oak Ridges, I was unaware that so many key players had direct funding links.

        • Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

          Met Office is no longer part of the MoD. Responsibilty has now been transferred to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (alongside Beddington).

          There are no special FOI exemptions for the MoD, although obviously they are more able to invoke some of the available exemptions than other departments.

  26. Carrick
    Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    If the effect of clouds is small, then there goes the baby with the bathwater— Models like GISS ModelE rely on cloud feedback to get their relatively large climate sensitivities to CO2.

  27. Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    “Trenberth wildly overstates Dessler 2011 as well by saying that it “quantifies the magnitude and role of clouds and shows that cloud effects are small”. … Clouds were the major source of uncertainty in climate models in Charney 1979 and remained so in IPCC AR4 (2007).”

    No, you are mis-reading (and misquoting) the paper. Trenberth is not saying that Dessler showed clouds have a small effect on climate. The subject of his sentence is found further back:

    “It is also critical to understand that significant differences exist among models, and major advances remain to be made by evaluating the fidelity of feedbacks in models: those in common and those that differ. In order to correctly resolve inter-model differences, it is important to distinguish between the contribution of natural variability to both the differences: (i) between observations and models, and
    (ii) among the models themselves.”

    It is with respect to that that he says cloud effects are small. A fuller quote makes this clearer:
    “Since ENSO represents the main variations during a ten-year period, this is of course not surprising [10,13].
    Moreover, correlation does not mean causation. This is brought out by Dessler [10] who quantifies the magnitude and role of clouds and shows that cloud effects are small even if highly correlated. Instead, what is driving all of the changes are the associations with ENSO.”

    This was indeed what Dessler was saying. If you make a comparison over a ten year period, then testing against models reveals how well they represent ENSO, not how they treat changes in cloud effect, which make a small contribution to the variations on that time scale.

    • HAS
      Posted Sep 16, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

      In fact Trenberth et al are claiming something more than your summary of Dessler (If you make a comparison over a ten year period, then testing against models reveals how well they represent ENSO .. ).

      In the sentence before your second quote from the paper Trenberth et al assert “Our results suggest instead that it [S&B’s results] is merely an indicator of a model’s ability to replicate the global-scale TOA response to ENSO.”

      So Trenberth et al are first claiming to demonstrate it’s all about how well models replicate ENSO, and then proceed by saying “Moreover …” Dessler did his magic and despite a strong correlation with cloud effects showed it was all being caused by ENSO. (Which of course he did not).

    • Bentley Strange
      Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

      Nick, although HAS responds to you as well, I would refer you to his post at Bishop Hill on this matter. In it he explains something that trenberth quite forgot to mention, and probably hoped that no one would check.

      Lins 2007 does NOT (despite Trenberth falsely stating that it does) recommend MRI ECHAM5 as a good representative for modelling ENSO, in fact it explicitly says that it does not model ENSO well. A later paper by Belmadi et al 2010 reviewed other models with respect to their modelling of ENSO, and as a result excluded BOTH OTHER models mentioned by Trenberth as they were overly dominated by incorrect feedbacks. If you look at the ECHAM5 model it shows wild swings in predicted temperature of a sort never observed.

      The question for you to ponder is: why is Trenberth so completely ignorant of the capability of the models, and why did no one actually fact check his foolisness before it was published ? I mean really, recommend the inclusion of three models as showing a good fit for a process when those three models have already been shown in the (so far) uncntested peer reviewed literature as being useless for that purpose ?

      • HAS
        Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

        In fact Lin (2007) asserts ECHAM5 is a good representation of ENSO, it is the later Belmadi et al (2010) that argues this is not the case. Lin (2007) does however specifically reject MRI CGCM 2.3.2A as modeling ENSO well even though Dessler claimed the opposite and cited Lin (2007) as the source.

        I should add that Trenberth et al is delightfully vague on any evidence for the relationship between ENSO modelling capability in GCMs and their ability to represent the observed lagged relationships between fluxes and temperature anomalies. The so called evidence comes down to a simple assertion that ECHAM5 is a “model that represents ENSO reasonably well”.

        I wistful wonder whether any more substantive justification got chopped at the last minute after blog comments on Dessler appeared and before submission by Trenberth et al.

        In amongst all the sleight of hand there is an interesting point that is worth considering. The models that do apparently do better may have a common feature that might give some clue as to what might be driving ability to model this relationship. However my reading of Belmadi et al doesn’t suggest anything immediately obvious.

        Something for another, less busy day.

        • Bentley Strange
          Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

          Apologies HAS, you are quite correct. A slip of the “pen” when transcribing, it is the MRI model not ECHAM5 mentioned in Lin.

    • HAS
      Posted Sep 19, 2011 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

      As an afterthought I should add that because MRI CGCM 2.3.2A doesn’t even get the frequency of ENSO correct and yet it does represent the observed lagged relationships between fluxes and temperature anomalies better than other GCMs this is a counter-factual to the hypothesis that what is being modeled here is an artifact of ENSO processes. It is an artifact of GCMs implementations. Some do this well, and most don’t and this isn’t closely related to ability to do ENSO.

      Probably need to look back down the pedigree of the models to find out where the mongrel came from.

  28. MarcH
    Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

    Trenberth’s “Commentary” is the only article of its type published to date in Remote Sensing.

  29. Max Beran
    Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

    Just a reminder about what was the statistic whose significance was tested here. It wasn’t the R-squared that was at issue, it was the slope of the regression line and what it implied about the sign of the feedback between temperature and cloudiness.

    Here’s how I expressed it in the comments on the earlier “More on Dessler 2010″ blog

    “They shouldn’t be looking at the standard deviation of the trend coefficient anyway, they should be looking at the standard deviation of a prediction of a new value of delta-T. This would be vastly greater and would happily emcompass a negative feedback with equal probability.”

    My point was that with a mindset of needing a positive feedback, they would look at a mean of 0.54 (the slope coefficient of the regression) and its standard deviation of 0.36 and think that is 14 times more likely to indicate a positive feedback than a negative one.

    Interpreting regression software ouput is a fraught business and arcane but crucial distinctions such as between the wriggle space for the trend line within the swarm of points on the graph and the wriggle space for a point prediction from that line is one of those areas where this is most evident.

  30. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 4:40 AM | Permalink

    While researching radiation balance measurements, there was a free commercial with a paper by Normal Loeb at al. This reminded me of another paper, one published the same day it was submitted.

    coming too quickly? take this Free Quiz and find out. Try for Free!

  31. EdeF
    Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    Submitted: 8 Sept 2011, Accepted: 17 Nov 2009.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

      EdeF – neat summary. Thank you.

  32. theduke
    Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

    Steve’s post on Jones and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the youtube video of Freeman Dyson, and other posts on the subject got me looking into the subject. It seems that Oak Ridge became the primary scientific arm of the Department of Energy within the decade after DOE’s founding during the Carter presidency. I found the following article in the ORNL Review.

    Within the article I found the following:

    “Why does DOE have the lead? Energy and the environment are inextricably linked. The main source of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases is human activities (anthropogenic sources) with the majority coming from power generation. From a small national program, DOE and laboratory leadership brought the question of global climate change to the forefront of the international research community. Today, seven years after the congressional testimony during the sweltering summer of 1988, the U.S. Global Change Research Program is nearly a $2 billion enterprise encompassing 12 U. S. agencies examining the full range of global change issues. DOE remains a dominant participant in this research enterprise.”

    What I find extraordinary about this is that they are bragging about spending $2 billion on research and yet they are not researching the ultimate question: what effect does the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere caused by human activity have on climate? Where is the engineering grade study that will justify all this expense on peripheral issues that exist mostly because the ultimate question is not being dealt with in any meaningful way?

    • theduke
      Posted Sep 17, 2011 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

      The above link was taken from an issue of the ORNL Review that focused on climate change and energy. The following link take you to the table of contents of that issue. It offers a succinct summation of the position of the ORNL and by extension the Department of Energy at the time, circa 1995:

    • stan
      Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

      I live just down the road from Oak Ridge in a neighborhood which once had quite a few engineers and scientists who worked at one of the various facilities there (ORNL, Y-12, X-10, K-25). Ever since the nuke program was significantly downgraded as a priority by the US govt, the people working in Oak Ridge have worked feverishly to try to find ways to stay relevant and keep their jobs. Many have still had to move on in a long series of reductions over the last couple of decades, but the rest have been tenacious in the effort to hang on. Not surprising, it’s normal human behavior especially for folks who aren’t generally risk-takers or entreprenurial.

      No one should be surprised that one of the straws grasped was the burgeoning environmental effort to ‘save the planet’.

  33. Punksta
    Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 12:56 AM | Permalink

    SMI’ve urged the archiving of both data and code for articles at the time of publication

    Indeed. What would be helpful is a website

    (1) Listing which journals enforce this, and which are mickeymouse (ie don’t enforce it).

    (2) Lists which papers satisfy this, and which are mickeymouse.

    (3) Cross-references the above with reports like the IPCC’s, thereby indicating whether the report is well-grounded or mickeymouse.

  34. bill
    Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    I know Trenberth is jolly clever, and I know we all have different tastes in music, but I mean, trying to lay the blame for all this global warming stuff at the door of the English National Symphony Orchestra, is surely a bit much ……

  35. Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    In response to the discussion about establishment of the CRU by Hubert Lamb I have two sources. First his 1997 autobiography, “Through all the Changing Scenes of Life” and second several personal interviews I had with him at Norwich as he provided invaluable input and support for my doctoral thesis. On page 203 he writes, “When the Climatic Research Unit was founded, it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important.” That is still a problem and indeed a bigger problem in many cases because of reduction of data collection activities by governments. Lamb reached this conclusion because in the graveyard shifts during the war he rummaged through the climate archives and realized there was dramatic evidence of significant changes. He also knew that the forecasts for bomber runs over Europe were lousy and the only way to improve them was to determine past patterns and from that mechanisms for better forecasting.

    The only other place doing this type of historical climate reconstruction was the Center for Climatic Research at Madison Wisconsin under Reid Bryson. I also had the privilege of communicating with him about the need for historical climate reconstruction. Bryson had less trouble getting funding than Lamb. The British Weather Office, as was the case in Weather Bureaus around the world considered climate and especially its study of little or no consequence. As Lamb notes, “The Climatic Research Unit was becoming seriously starved of funds in its first two years of existence, because our applications for research grants for this or that project were more or less consistently turned down whenever we applied to any British government agency for funding.” The US became aware of his plight and eventually funding came from the Rockefeller Foundation. A later project put to the Rockefeller Foundation came to grief because of. “an understandable difference of scientific judgment between me and the scientists, Dr. Tom Wigley, whom we we appointed to take charge of the research.” Wigley went on to take over the CRU and become the eminence gris behind the entire fiasco that emerged with the leaked emails.

    Ironically, Lamb fell afoul of the powers in the UK because he dared to get American money. This manifested itself in the difficulties in setting up the CRU at a university. He eventually was accepted at the University of East Anglia, a “new” university set up as part of the socialist government policies of Harold Wilson as a move to break the monopoly of Oxbridge and the traditional universities. It was early established as the most left leaning of all the UK universities.

    Lamb’s concerns about the lack of historic data is more valid than ever. Look at the ridicule I have endured because my doctoral thesis was in historical climate as I tried to blend instrumental and historic records using science and scientific method. Nobody knew where to place my work, which didn’t fit the narrow division of studies as Arts or Science so Geography, the original integrative discipline, was a natural home. This also addressed the problems of climatology as a generalist study in an age of specialization that are at the heart of so much of what has gone on and what is wrong. It also explains how so-called self-proclaimed climate scientists, especially modellers, were able to abuse the subject and its study.

    • kim
      Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

      Dispatches from Rosemary’s labor room.

  36. mistergumby
    Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    @Tim Ball

    It sounds like the Alarmist position helped CRU tremendously. Funny how that works.

  37. Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    Oops, that last post was from me (to Tim Ball). I created a Gravatar account and didn’t know it was going to change my name here.

  38. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 18, 2011 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Re Oak Ridge National Laboratory. You had to be around at the time to comprehend it now – and it is complex, so I might be wrong here and there. I was born in 1941, a generation after Winberg (1915). I visited Oak Ridge a couple of times in the late 1970s, being into nuclear because I worked for the company that found the Ranger Uranium deposits in 1969 and revitalised prior interest in nuclear energy, by showing that cheap U fuel might not be so limiting.
    ORNL was seen by us, from a distance, as a centre of excellence on nuclear matters. One could even buy a block of graphite from the original reactor, as a souvenir, so great was the admiration. Advanced instrumentation was being developed at a time when computing was starting down Moore’s law. New scientific concepts were flowing, engineering was adavancing very rapidly. Weinberg ran a highly respected ship.
    Socially, in the 1980s onwards, there were scientists with some unrest that CO2 was increasing in the air. It was not so much the properties of CO2 that were a worry, but the concern that any component of the globe emitted by the actions of man should not deviate too far from the norm. CO2 was an anomaly to watch. It was conceptually like fresh water as a commodity. The solution, however, was in front of the eyes in the form of nuclear power, which at that time provided about 50% of USA electricity. So we mostly took it easy on CO2, though in the early 1990s I did conceive and execute a comprehensive CO2 audit of our resources company of about 6,000 employees. Maybe one of the first.
    It is no accident that ORNL became interested in CO2. It is a natural response of scientists to try to gain better understanding of matters that they judge could become important – and to argue for nuclear was to argue that CO2 was not a large worry. The complexity of CO2 soon became evident, because it was involved in so many cycles, including photosynthesis, which was rather important.
    We ran three coal companies, were into oil for a few years, but we did not finance activism about the environment at all. Although versed in anti-nuclear activism since 1970, my first brush with CO2 activism was via Warwick Hughes about 1992, when he pointed out some bad science from CRU.
    As I look back on events, I am struck by the scheming opportunism of some well-known people who turned understanding of CO2 and its mitigation by nuclear, into confusion about CO2 and a civil fear about nuclear. These were/are anti-scientists. Some made a much bigger fortune than mine, which is doubly wrong, because they did it more for personal gain than for the good of all. Carpetbaggers.
    They continue to profit by deceit, sham investments and most regrettable of all, poor science.

  39. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Sep 19, 2011 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    Of course, that typo should be Dr Alvin M Weinberg.

    • Posted Sep 20, 2011 at 1:15 AM | Permalink

      Yep, old Alvin’s been a problem throughout this thread, reputed to be playing a mean game of tennis at 91 in my earliest investigations. But a chance to express gratitude (and to Tim Ball) for your first-hand perspective on Oak Ridge. Every authentic voice being vital when so much smoke has been blown.

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