Donald Rapp: More divergence problems

This is the last in a series of posts on scholarship issues in Donald Rapp’s Assessing Climate Change. Previously we focused on extensive passages in common between the Wegman Report critique of paleoclimatic reconstructions, and Rapp’s section on various temperature proxies (see “A Divergence Problem” – part 1 and part 2).

Now I’ll look at other problems associated with Rapp’s use of extensive passages from “grey literature” (i.e. that found outside the peer-reviewed scientific literature), as well as one case of apparent distortion of other scientist’s  work. In the latter case,  a key adjective was changed  transforming  a reference to “large assumptions” to “speculative assumptions”.

Apart from extensive, unattributed passages from the Wegman report previously discussed, Rapp’s other main source for section 1.1.1  on temperature proxies is a 2003 George Marshall Institute report by noted contrarians Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, entitled Lessons and Limits of Climate History: Was the 20th Century Climate Unusual?

There are no fewer than four long block quotes from Soon and Baliunas used by Rapp. (Bizarrely, each quote carries the double reference Soon and Baliunas 2003a,b – and no page numbers of course). As I did previously with  Rapp’s passages from Wegman, I have produced a comparison of the quoted passages as they appear in Rapp, along with the original (see PDF).

Before I get to Soon and Baliunas, though, recall Rapp’s passage on tree-ring width factors, as appropriated from Wegman (in turn based on a very similar passage from Bradley’s paleoclimatology text book):

The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere.

Now here’s the opening of Rapp’s first extensive block quote from Soon and Baliunas, but with one crucial change from the original:

As Bradley points out, tree growth, and hence the width and density of tree rings, depends on many factors, including the tree species and age, the availability of stored food in the tree and nutrients in the soil, the full range of climatic variables (sunshine, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity); and their distribution throughout the year.

So, in fact the Soon and Baliunas block quote on tree-rings is also based largely on Bradley. And the other three Soon and Baliunas quotes (on ice cores, ocean sediments and corals) are based exclusively on Bradley, as the list of references for the four passages makes clear:

13. Bradley, R.S. (1999): Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary. International Geophysics Series, Vol. 64, Harcourt Academic Press, 610 pp.

15. Ibid., Pg. 398-399. [Refers to 13, not 14 which is an unrelated ref. to Huang on boreholes]

16. For example, see Briffa, K. R., et al. (2001): “Low-frequency temperature variations from a northern tree ring density network.” Journal of Geophysical Research, 106: 2929-2941.

17. Cook, E. R., et al. (1990): “Tree-ring standardization and growth-trend estimation.” In Methods of Dendrochronology: Applications in EnvironmentalSciences, 104-123. Cited in Bradley, R.S. (1999): op. cit. Pg. 408.

18. Jarvis, P.G. , ed. (1998): European Forests and Climate Change: The LikelyImpacts of Rising CO2 and Temperature. Cambridge University Press.

19. Bradley, R.S. (1999): op. cit., Pg. 249.

20. Ibid., Pg. 129.

21. Ibid., Pg. 250-252.

22. Ibid., Pg. 200.

23. Ibid., Pg. 129.

So we have the extraordinary situation where Rapp has made extensive use of two “grey” sources that both rely primarily upon the same root source, even resulting in repetition of the same information. And yet somehow all references to that source has been excised; in fact, Bradley’s Paleoclimatology text book is not listed at all among Rapp’s references.

A number of other interesting nuggets can be found by searching on some of Rapp’s phrases found within section 1.2 (on Ice Ages and Interglacial Periods).

A very long passage is based on a web page entitled “A quick background to the last ice age” from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Rapp starts with a block quote and reference to the web page (at section 1.2.2 “The last ice age”, p. 14):

Adams (2002) pointed out:

“The time span of the last 130,000 years has seen the global climate system switch from warm interglacial to cold glacial conditions, and back again. This broad interglacial-glacial-interglacial climate oscillation has been recurring on a similar periodicity for about the last 900,000 years, though each individual cycle has had its own idiosyncrasies in terms of the timing and magnitude of changes. As is usually the case with the study of the past, data are in short supply, and only a few sketchy outlines are known for the earliest cycles (Winograd et al. 1997). …

Then Rapp switches out of block quote but continues quoting the website nearly verbatim, but with slight changes and excisions. This continues for almost two pages in all, so I’ll show just a small portion:

Warmth. Around 130,000-110,000 years ago (the Eemian interglacial), the Earth’s climates were generally much like those of today, though perhaps somewhat warmer and moister in many regions. The climate record derived from long ice cores taken through the Greenland ice cap suggested that the warm climate of the Eemian might have been punctuated by many sudden and fairly short-lived cold phases, but these results remain controversial. are now thought of as inaccurate because the lower layers of the ice sheet have become buckled and jumbled up However, at least one major cold and dry event during the Eemian seems to be corroborated by the terrestrial pollen record from Europe and China (Zhisheng & Porter 1997). The issue remains controversial, as this review article explains.

Cooling. Though the time at which the Eemian interglacial ended is subject to some uncertainty (it was probably around ~110,000 years ago), what does seem evident from the sediment records that cross this boundary is that it was it appears to have been a relatively sudden event and not a gradual slide into colder conditions taking many thousands of years. …

In a familiar pattern, all specific references have been removed, but wording and flow of ideas is substantially the same. Interestingly, a note at the bottom explains that this web page was last updated in – wait for it – 1997. And indeed, the list of references for this website is extensive, but there is not a single one after 2000.

Sometimes the switch from nearly verbatim, but unquoted, text to attributed block quotes happens in the middle of a passage:

Amplitudes of large-scale surface temperature change derived from tree-ring proxies can be substantially underestimated by a factor of two to three 2 to 3 as compared to results from borehole thermometry (Huang et al. 2000; Harris and Chapman 2001; Huang and Pollack 2002).  Soon and Baliunas (2003 a,b) believe that:

“Differing amplitudes resulting from borehole and tree ring climate proxies suggest that longer time scale (multidecadal and century) variability is more faithfully captured by borehole results, while the same information can be irretrievably lost in tree ring records …”

The two sentences above are close together on p. 9 of the 2003 Energy and Environment article, Reconstructing Climatic and Environmental Changes of the Past 1000 Years: A Reappraisal [PDF] by Soon, Baliunas – and three other co-authors missed by Rapp, namely Craig Idso, Sherwood Idso, and David Legates.

I’ll give one final example (from section 1.1.2.1 on p. 9). The following passage contains an almost verbatim quote from the referenced 2001 paper by Jones et al (The Evolution of Climate Over the Last Millennium from Science), but is not block quoted.

The common approach to climate reconstruction from proxies is to use statistical regression to establish a connection between climatic observations and the variability of the proxy over some period of overlap (calibration period). This provides a transfer function that enables the proxies to be used as predictors of past climate where proxy data are available in the absence of direct temperature measurements. but makes However, this requires large speculative assumptions about the temporal and spatial stability of the climate “signal” relationship between proxy indicator and temperature represented in these proxy records.

Most of the additions complicate the original unnecessarily. More to the point, the change from “large assumptions” to “speculative assumptions” is a completely unacceptable distortion of the original statement.

Of course, the attribution problems discussed here and in past posts are only part of the problem. Attribution issues are compounded when using dubious sources such as those we have discussed, especially when extensive passages are used.

Some of the “grey literature” discussed, such as Soon and Baliuans and Wegman,  falls squarely into the contrarian canon. Indeed, there are references from Soon and Baliunas (Marshall Institute), Idso and Idso (CO2Science.org), Lavoisier, Marlo Lewis (of CEI), and Robinson and Robinson (of OISM). There are also several references to Energy and Environment articles.

In comments on previous posts Rapp argues that legitimate peer reviewed references have also been included. However, the “grey literature” has no place in a work that purports to be a serious text book on the subject of climate change. Moreover, Rapp’s choice of peer-reviewed science is highly questionable. For example, Gerlich and Tscheuschner (on the greenhouse effect) and Schwartz (on climate sensitivity) are given space out of all proportion with their scientific accomplishments, while mainstream researchers are given comparatively short shrift or completely ignored (case in point: James Annan on climate sensitivity).

Of course, there are also valid references in Rapp’s list. But based on my reading of Chapter One, if one were to strip away the questionable sources, there would be precious little left. After all, the scientists that Rapp calls “an in-group of alarmists” represent, in fact, mainstream science.

I have reason to believe that other chapters are no different, after my perusal of Chapters Two (Temperature of the past millenium) and Five (The Earth’s energy balance and the greenhouse effect).

In short, there is ample reason to question the editorial process at Praxis-Springer. That will be the subject of my next, and final, post on the matter. (That’s a welcome promise to both myself and, I suspect, many readers who have made it this far).

[Update, Jan. 7: Clarification of the apparent distortion referred to in the second paragraph.]

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37 responses to “Donald Rapp: More divergence problems

  1. DC: Another FYI: Arthur Smith reports about Gerlich:

    “I hadn’t noticed Sourcewatch has some good pages on non-Americans – anyway, I thought the following might be of interest to add to the Gerhard Gerlich page:

    http://www.wallstreetsurvivor.com/CS/forums/p/36562/335380.aspx

    “Gerlich was a member of the European Science and Environment Forum. The agenda of this group was to discredit government safety regulations and reports on such things as genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone, pesticides, public smoking, and global warming. Gerlich’s coalition fought to discredit the World Health Organisation, and attempted to rebuff the science used by the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Gerlich also worked with the Weinberg Group which ran special conferences for the tobacco industry to fight regulations against second-hand smoke. Gerlich participated in the anti-global warming study co-produced by the Exxon-funded George C. Marshall Institute, “Climate Change and Policy: Making the Connection”.”

    Didn’t know about his Marshall connection at all. Sourcewatch mentions a connection to SEPP also, so there’s definitely more on this guy too. Fighting to discredit the WHO? Sigh…”

    [DC: Had to fish this out of the spam filter.

    Anyway, colour me unsurprised - is there a "skeptic" out there not associated with the Marshall Institute at one time or another? ]

  2. Do you know which editor that should be contacted about this?


    [DC: I did have one answer from marketing at Springer U.S., but am still pulling together some details. I'll be doing a post on Praxis-Springer, including contacts. I hope that will be later today, but certainly over the weekend at the latest.]

  3. “..Rapp’s choice of peer-reviewed science is highly questionable. For example, Gerlich and Tscheuschner…”

    I think it is worth pointing out that Gerlich and Tscheuschner’s ‘falsification’ of atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effects was not published as a peer-reviewed article until 2009 – that is after Rapp had published Assessing Climate Change in 2008. At the time Rapp cites their article it didn’t have peer-reviewed status – it was just another contrarian piece that had spent a couple of years doing the rounds of denialist websites while the authors sought a journal willing to pass it for publication.

    [DC: I should have remembered that. Of course, now it will be listed as peer-reviewed in the second edition.]

  4. References in my book:

    Science 57
    Nature 37
    Climate Research 4
    Tellus 2
    Solar Physics 3
    Geophysical Research Letters 59
    Journal of Geophysical Research 27
    Journal of Climate 4
    Proc. Natl. Acad. 6
    Bulletin of Amer. Met. Soc. 7
    EOS Trans. Am. Geo. Union 5
    Quaternary Science Reviews 12
    Int. J. Climatology 5
    Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. 4
    Energy and Environment 7
    Phys Rev. Letters 2
    J. Astrophys. Astron. 1
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 3
    Astrophysical J. 3
    Geology 2
    The Holocene 4
    Clim. Past Discussions 8
    Climatic Change 10


    [DC: As I've already said many times, the issue is the high weight and proportion of space given over to dubious sources.]

  5. You are doing a good job exposing the dishonesty in at least one denier’s work.

    Thanks.

  6. Deep, a suggestion/request for enhanced readability – could you maybe embolden the key sentences in your posts on this topic? As a stand-in for the not-overly-attentive-nor-clueful public, I(we) would find it helpful.]

    [DC: This post could probably have used a better summary ... I'll think about it.]

  7. (Being off-topic seems to be “one of my things….” smile…. but)

    I am finding this entire series of posts about Wegman and Rapp “off topic,” as it were, the proper “topic” not being how original/distinct/different, etc Wegman/Bradley/Rapp’s depiction of what’s important when looking at tree ring data. (Shouldn’t it be *good* that they all have roughly the same notion of what’s important?)

    [DC: I would have no problem if Wegman (and Rapp after him) had properly summarized (and credited) Bradley. But they did not do that. They have misinterpreted Bradley, possibly because they read others' distortions of paleoclimatology. That misunderstanding and distortion leads to erroneous conclusions, for example, in Wegman's overreaching and simplistic finding that supposed "low frequency" removal invalidates MBH. The topic is unacceptable and shoddy scholarship in Wegman and Rapp.]

    The proper topic is (as DHogaza puts it succinctly):

    “If I add 50 + 50 and get -100, I’ve made a very large error. If I get 99.999999 … not so much.

    Other researchers went back, redid the work using standard PCA analysis blessed by Wegman, and got …

    the same friggin’ hockey stick.”

    I was not aware that anyone – *independent* of the MBH team, or otherwise – has ever replicated MBH’s work. Who? When?

    [DC: Wahl and Ammann did (despite McIntyre's ridiculous assertion that their work validates his). And of course, in the larger sense, the paleoclimatic reconstructions of the past few years have confirmed the general "hockey stick" shape, albeit with more variation.]

    To continue with what I believe is important – “the same friggin’ hockey stick” or not – I would commend you to McIntyre’s posting today:

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/07/team-responses-to-mm2003/#more-9827

    …about MBH’s response to the MM03 paper and the need, especially of Michael Mann, *not* to investigate who is correct, where is the mistake, how can we fix it and do good science, but, to the extreme contrary, to destroy MM as quickly as possible. I was impressed with Tim Osborn’s reaction to Mann’s demand for a fast reaction, Osborn advocating a thoughtful approach – and actually finding the error! – a long and very reasoned email response to Mann’s desire to circle the wagons and shoot. Which Mann did. And, Osborn was dismissed out of hand, ignored essentially, by Mann.

    [DC: Mann's use of short-centred PCA was a mistake, and it would have been better if he had recognized it earlier. On the other hand, McIntyre's "emulation" using "conventional PCA" simply hard-coded retention of two PCs, which as it turns out, is a much bigger mistake.

    And of course, based on past experience, I would be very leery of McIntyre's cherrypicking and interpretation of emails. The most important parts usually get left out somehow.]

    Moreover, I found McIntyre’s enthusiasm about working with Mann et al charming. Genuinely scientific, as it were. Gentleman scientist!

    [DC: Sorry to say, that statement is totally laughable. From the beginning McIntyre has co-operated with Inhofe, the Marshall Institute, Barton etc. etc. in what was from the beginning a politically motivated attack. Real science is done in peer-reviewed science publications, not at bogus journals and right-wing think tanks.]

    But, probably this is “off topic?” The “topic” being how do we word what kids should be learning about tree rings…? ….smile.
    …….Lady in Red

    [DC: Like I said, the topic of this post is shoddy and misleading scholarship in Wegman and Rapp. I'll be coming back to McIntyre another time. I will say this - the more I find out about McKitrick and McIntyre's past behaviour, the less respect I have for them.]

  8. to me it seems this book’s purpose is the
    laundering of gray literature into the
    mainstream.

    Kinda like when Cheney would leak his crew’s
    made up stuff to Judith Miller who would
    then place it in the NYT for Cheney to refer
    to it the following week.

  9. Your accusation of “apparent distortion of another scientist’s work” appears to be unsubstantiated. It’s perfectly ok to cite someone else to explain a premise while offering your own conclusion. If Rapp were to say, “Bradley believes X” while knowing full well that Bradley actually believes Y, that would be a distortion. Nowhere does he appear to do that.

    The accusation that he cites “grey” rather than “black” references also seems irrelevant–especially in a commercial publication. Since Bradley also cited others, wouldn’t they be the “black” references, so to speak? Should we cite Sir Isaac Newton every time we use calculus to make an argument? More important is whether the facts can be demonstrated.

    Dr. Rapp deals well enough with the accusation of “plagiarism” on his blog.

    Finally, he deserves credit for using his real name to back up his arguments. Hiding behind a pseuodonum while arguing science is tolerable, but doing it while making defamatory accusations is cowardly.

    Best Regards,
    Kevin

    [DC: Rapp cites Jones et al, and actually uses their words verbatim, while adding a few words. But he changed "large assumption" to "speculative assumption". At the very least, that's an "apparent distortion".

    As well, I've already demonstrated that Wegman distorted Bradley. By simply copy and pasting Wegman, Rapp has propagated that distortion. ]

  10. Ok, Bradley wrote:

    “The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere.”

    [DC: No that was Wegman distorting Bradley (carbon dioxide was not mentioned in the original). Rapp copied it and inadvertently forgot to block-quote and attribute it to Wegman (so he says). See what a tangled mess this shoddy scholarship leaves?]

    Then, Rapp wrote:

    “…..tree growth, and hence the width and density of tree rings, depends on many factors, including the tree species and age, the availability of stored food in the tree and nutrients in the soil, the full range of climatic variables (sunshine, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity); and their distribution throughout the year.”

    [DC: No that was Soon citing Bradley, block-quoted by Rapp, but taking out Soon's reference to Bradley. Another tangled mess.]

    You are upset that Rapp did not reference Bradley? I don’t understand your down-in-the-sub-basement scientific and/or technical issues of apparently great import, but this missing citation seems pretty, well, silly. (If there are more important issues, I would have suggested you not lead with this. From here, mostly, the rest seems to the lay person like smoke and mirrors and pompous huffing.)

    [DC: I suppose I should clarify just what's wrong with this, although it seems obvious to me. It's highly misleading to imply that Wegman or Soon are authorities on tree-ring proxies and hide the fact that they are using (and misusing) Bradley's work. ]

    I would strongly encourage you to engage McIntrye on his site. If Wahl and Ammann don’t reconcile to McIntyre’s explain that, to all, on the site. (Unlike you he never snips unless there are rants and all his “snips,” unlike you, are cited as such. You snip apparently inconvenient questions, without mentioning it. I dunna like that…)

    [DC: Sorry, I'm not going to mention every time I snip off-topic questions or comments, especially as you keep doing this.]

    MBH was ‘98 and MM was ’03. That’s five years of MM trying to work with the MBH team, to no avail. You say McIntyre worked with the Congress et al “from the beginning…?” It only became an issue, on that level, because of the MBH team’s – mostly Mann – refusal to work with MM to validate and reconcile their respective work. The problem was not McIntyre.

    [DC: No, McIntyre started in 2003, and first appeared with the Marshall Institute from the time of the first E&E paper. Inhofe was an early fan.]

    You may, of course, attack McIntyre on your site; that’s the nice thing about having your own site. And you may snip me to ignore inconvenient questions and lob sneers at McIntyre over the transom hoping someone won’t notice the technique.

    But if you are concerned about truth, science, reconciliation of data, independent validation of results, etc. etc. do it where you can make a difference. Judith Curry and Peter Webster have written on his site. Other scientists have tried, mostly, it seems to have had their knuckles rapped for engaging. You obviously have information. Use it and challenge him – over there — for the benefit of his readership, science, and truth.

    [DC: At one point, I naively thought that CA might be a venue for worthwhile discussion. I quickly realized it didn't, but still thought it was worth engaging. I'm done with that now. I think truth and science are better served by exposing McIntyre's mistakes and his co-operation with a mpolitically motivated war on science. You obviously think his critiques have merit. We'll have to agree to disagree. Let's take a break unless you can get back on topic. Or wait until I address topics you want to comment on.

    I don't know who Peter Webster is. I find Judith Curry incredibly naive for considering McIntyre to be in good faith.]

    Tell him I invited you.
    …Lady in Red

    [DC: No thanks. Once again, I've been very patient with you. Enough is enough. Give it a break now. Thanks!]

  11. Oh dear, now Rapp is desperately trying to tell us how many works he did choose to cite. And his point is what? That is analogous to someone in handcuffs pleading “until today I have never broken the law, just look at all the nice things I have done”. Yes, but it only takes once to break the law. University students (especially grad students) get suspended and even expelled for lesser transgressions than Rapp has been shown to be guilty of here. Could these damning examples just be the tip of the ice berg.

    [DC: I have removed some comments I feel may go further in speculation than I am comfortable with.]

  12. to me it seems this book’s purpose is the laundering of gray literature into the
    mainstream.

    19.5yo, if you really are 19.5 years old, you’re a very perceptive teen …

  13. I suppose you may as well finish what you started, but at this point, I wonder what the significance is. You’re taking a rather obscure text, and demonstrating that it doesn’t always use block quotes when appropriate, it’s a bit sloppy with citations, and it mainly presents sceptic boilerplate.

    That’s all nice, but I think it’s time to let the text slip back into the obscurity from whence it came. All I needed to know is that it uses Gerlich and Tscheuschner as a serious source. Really, anything beyond that is beating a dead horse.

    [DC: Although I think the scholarship problems are more severe than you do, I do agree that this has become a bit of a distraction that I "may as well finish". Having said that, you have to wonder how this text book got published by a major respectable publisher and even became successful enough to warrant a second edition. I believe those are questions worth asking.

    But if there are other topics you feel would be more worthy, I don't disagree. I invite you to leave your thoughts on the Suggestions page. (Seriously, I find your comments at Stoat thoughful and thought -provoking).]

  14. treerings

    http://star.arm.ac.uk/press/2009/treerings_2009dec.html

    [DC: That looks like an interesting study in an area (Northern Ireland) where there has been little paleoclimatology. It does seem that the species in this area can not be used to infer changes beyond a few centuries however.]

  15. Kevin Davis …

    [DC: MapleLeaf, I appreciate the support, but I'd prefer not to have this sort of speculation concerning the reasons for my anonymity or others' motivation, so I have shortened the comment. Sorry.]

    DC, is doing climate science an immense service here. Alas, climate scientists are either too busy, too scared/initimidated to take on the kind of work DC does.

    [DC: Well, I'm probably too busy to do all that should be done. But I'm trying my best.]

  16. Keep up the good work, the stories you guys dig up are almost as old as the shoddy tree ring data used by mann.

    [DC: Aren't the "climategate" stories older? Talk about beating a dead horse over and over.]

    The Wegman report could have been a highwater mark for climate science and a good opportunity to cleanse itself. The wegman report really did not comment at all on the conclusions of Mann just the poor quality of proxy data and the decptive practices used to communicate climate science.

    [DC: You should read the report more carefully. Wegman disagreed with the NAS report about Mann's findings, and based some statements on a faulty understanding of climate science.]

    Had the the infant profession of climatology woken up and said, lets use the wegman report to inthis report to improve accountability, by establishing better professional guidlines, cleaning up the peer review corruption, removing some of the unethical personell and opened up the science to skeptical criticism, climategate would not have happened.

    [DC: The "peer review corruption" I am most concerned about is that which allows publication of deeply flawed papers from the likes of lobby group allies like researchers Soon and Baliunas (Climate Research, back in 2003) or McLean et al (GRL, last year). ]

    Instead mann and co. decided to get more insular and carry on as is.

    Now the field of climatology is about as well respected as the field of criminal law. The public is highly skeptical and public support is dropping like a rock.

    [DC: I agree that the lies about supposed scientific "conspiracy" and "hoax" have had some effect. For the most part, the media have failed to look deeper at "Climategate" and see it for what it is - a continuation of the same old bogus disinformation.]

    Wouldn’t it be great if science could once again become an honest broker and seperate itself from the politics. Climate scientists could perform their research, provide it to policy makers and then walk away as their job is not to speculate or create public policy but to perform research in an unbiased and ethical fashion.

    [DC: Sure, let's stop all the politicization from the think tanks and "astro turf" groups. But somehow, I guess that's not what you mean.]

    Why not create a movement to remove Mann and Jones and increase professional ethics within climatology? All that could result is increased public support.

    [DC: Why not look at the ethics, or lack thereof, of the PR disinformation specialists, like Morano and Harris? Or the misleading information and outright falsehoods perpetrated by the likes of the Wall Street Journal, the National Post, and Fox News?]

    If global waring really is a serious issue for mankind, right now there is no chance of governments or the public to take the issue seriously. At best lip service will be paid to the issue.

    As it stands right now you will see the public turn off and the media start to distance itself from the issue. The barrage of scary climate stories are over. Now the question is, can the real climate scientists come forward and present the truth about global warming, or are we in for more ridiculous predictions about an ice free arctic by 2013 and the extinction of polar bears?

    [DC: I'm all for getting back to actual science. While we're at it, let's ignore the blatherings of WUWT and CA.]

  17. Carrot eater:
    Actually, this material is quite useful, especially if one happens to be located in California (and hence US).
    I invite a careful reading of USC Climate Change Research Group (CCRG)”.

    1) This is a Department of Astronautical Engineering.

    2) Of the key folks (Gruntman, Kunc, and Rapp) signed the OISM petition, no later than 2000, all signed the recent APS Petition. Kunc was Willie Soon’s PhD advisor.

    3) A few quotes from their page, as of 01/08/09 are worth reading, but of course, look at them in context:

    a) “Whether or not these climate changes arise primarily from increased radiative forcing associated with rising greenhouse gas concentrations or are mainly due to the natural dynamical behavior of the climate system,…”

    Hmm. An astronautics department is officially unsure about GHGs…

    b) ” It is also a responsibility of universities to educate non-scientists about environmental variability in a way that will lead to better economic, social and political decision-making.”

    Hmm. I”ve heard words like that before..

    c) “Traditional oceanographic or atmospheric programs are not necessarily well-equipped for such a challenge. ”

    Ahhh, should be led by astro departments. [Personally, I have long been a strong advocate of good interdisicplinary work, but if you are new to a game, you bring what you know, you don't dismiss the existing science.]

    d) “The framework of the Institute will revolve around national and California climate change research programs (see Appendix), which are the expected sources of funding for the institute’s various endeavors”.

    My tax money (I’m in California, whose budgets, including those of the U of California, are let us say, under pressure.)

    e) “The “USC Climate Change Research Group” has been organized and is currently coordinated by Prof. Joseph Kunc of ASTE”

    Ahh, organized by Kunc, signer of OISM & APS.

    f) “Expertise:
    Two members of the CCRG are directly involved in national and international “climate change research” activities. These two are Dr. Donald Rapp of the Space Engineering Research Center (former Chief Technologist of JPL, and the author of the books “Solar Energy” and “Assessment of Global Warming”), and Prof. Lowell Stott of LAS Earth Sciences Department…”

    Ahh, Lowell Stott is a serious climate researcher, who has done work that sure looks quite credible.

    But in presenting expertise, presumably as backup for obtaining funding, Scott gets mentioned after Rapp and “Assessment of Climate Change.” RAPP SEEMS POSITIONED AS THEIR LEAD EXPERT, RIGHT WITH STOTT.
    But, read the whole thing in context and see.

    Hopefully, they didn’t get any funds on this basis, but if they did…

  18. Oh dear, I’m prolific enough that my comments elsewhere are being noticed? I need to cut back.

    Why does Springer publish it? They’re a commercial enterprise, why else. I’m more bothered by a shoddy paper than a shoddy text. And even then, an obviously shoddy paper is often just ignored. Climate is just different because those works are then publicised to no end.

    [DC: I would be less concerned about this particular "shoddy text" if it weren't going into second edition. Clearly a lot of students are being exposed to a lot of shoddy papers.

    As for Springer, I don't think a reputable publisher in the science and technical area can afford to turn a blind eye to shoddy scholarship and possible plagiarism at one of its major imprints. There's more to come on this soon.]

  19. A visit to Cam Mackay’s web-site is informative.

    Over on the right is a persistent Amazon ad for Ian Plimer’s book “Heaven and Earth”, which is perhaps the worst AGW skeptic book out yet. It is every bit as bad as the creationist nonsense that Plimer was once known for going after. (Rather sad to see Plimer morph into a creationist-equivalent). The ad persists after multiple page refreshes, so we know that it is not a random ad pushed out by an ad server.

    Further down, Mackay links to a Monckton video. Monckton is an even worse hack than Plimer.

    So it’s pretty clear where Mackay is coming from.

    [DC: Indeed.

    • Ian Forrester

      Mackay is totally dishonest. He edited some of my posts to say the exact opposite of what I posted.

      He is a despicable person who doesn’t have a clue about science.

      Some of his early posts are filled with ad hominems, lies and distortions.

      [DC: I probably went too far in allowing him to post his nonsense. I'll definitely think twice before doing that again. Dealing with trolls like MacKay and Lady in Red is always problematic. I was overly generous this week and it was probably a waste of time for me and readers. Sorry about that.]

  20. All right. I’m gone.

    I tried.

    I find nothing but tempest in a teapot here. Not as bad as the pomposity on RealClimate, but controlled/controlling.

    There’s no moderation on CA and none at The Air Vent, or WUWT. Mostly, the comments are germane; always, they are civil. You *could* engage there, if you would. Why sitting over here in a corner with a readership of a fraction of theirs counting angels on a head of a pin, I do not understand. Unless, simply, someone just pays you to do it…..?
    sigh. ………Lady in Red

    [DC: I'll dignify your despicable speculation with a response, on the understanding that you will never comment here again (unless it's to proffer an apology). Of course no one pays me to do this. I don't even accept donations to defray the minor costs involved (which run into the tens of dollars per year).

    I do expect to pay a significant personal cost for doing this eventually, but I believe I bring an important perspective to climate change issues. For your information, average daily hits have grown from a handful to more than a thousand in a few months. I'd like to think I'm doing something right.

    I assure you that moderation is appreciated by majority of readers here; it's the only way to keep down the "noise" level. I make no apologies for that. Lack of moderation at otherwise reputable blogs like DotEarth makes the comments section completely useless. As for engaging at CA or WUWT, I have found that to be a totally futile exercise in the past. And the response I had there was far from civil. ]

    • No moderation at CA, Air Vent, or WUWT? Always, they are civil? You are a liar or an idiot. How many examples do you want?

      Nothing more needs be said.

      [DC: True enough, but that won't stop folks from saying it.]

  21. There’s no moderation on CA and none at The Air Vent, or WUWT

    I can’t post at WUWT and before bannination had posts deleted. Lady in Red is, among other things, a liar.

    [DC: I had at least one comment deleted and was temporarily banned at WUWT. As for CA, check out SheWonk's recent experience over there.

    I was first off the post when it came to comments, and after charging that Steve did not in fact prove his case and overstepped the Nature editorial, he moderated me and deleted not only my posts in the moderation queue but also other posts that went through before I was placed in moderation.

    And 2010 started the same way.]

  22. Lady in red, my brief forray to try and engage people at WUWT and present an alternative view (some real science) was a fiasco, I had several posts that were either edited or removed. The mentality of followers there is cult like. I was also subjected to much vitriol and invective for having “dissenting” views.

    As for CA, did you follow what they did to the Lorax at CA? Why did Lorax ultimately stop posting at CA Lady in Red? How McI manipulated the the mob mentality of his followers to deal with Lorax was dispicable.

    Like others here, I too have tried to post at CA and have also found it a futile exercise; followers there tend to be rude, believe themselves to be omniscient and have a cult -like devotion to McI.

    [DC: The same thing happened to Tom P on Yamal, IIRC.]

  23. DC,

    Sorry this is off topic.

    Anyhow, Tom P was quite instrumental in unravelling the Yamal/Briffa nonsense going on at CA. When you say “same thing happened to Tom P”, what happened exactly? What did they do to Tom P.? Is he banned from CA now?

    [DC: I had in mind the creation of a special thread for ganging up on Tom P (see the Gavin's Guru post). That happened to Lorax too. (That thread is gone now, I think, but it lives on elsewhere).

    Lady in Red opened up the discussion about moderation and civility at WUWT and CA, so that's fair game. But it's probably best to move on now.]

  24. [DC: If you want to talk trash, go somewhere else please. Thanks!]

  25. The one time I tried posting at CA I had comments snipped or removed for being “offtopic” even though I was simply offering argument against claims by other commenters, which were in the same “offtopic” subject.

    And WUWT has attracted a load of politically charged science-brainless commenters. People who will “debate” this subject for years yet amazingly still be claiming volcanoes generate more co2 than man. People who are seemingly incapable or unwilling to research even the simplest thing. People who will accuse me of “not researching anything, just following Al Gore”.

    I was thinking of setting up a blog where some of the more stupid WUWT comments are taken and publicized for the world to see.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      You’d have an awful lot of posts for that one…

    • I’ve been thinking of something similar. Not just Watts, of course, but a collection of the most hilarious and/or nasty stuff from the deniosphere in general.

      How would we ever keep up? It’d take a team working 24×7.

  26. From what I can see, and I’ve been playing the game since 2002, you are doing a good job of fairly and impartially moderating your blog.

    I originally come from talk.origins and talk.atheism which are both mostly unmoderated. Both places have become rather difficult to handle for any length of time. I also spent 2 years at FR which is the opposite, it is over moderated. You hit a good balance.

  27. carroteater: “All I needed to know is that it uses Gerlich and Tscheuschner as a serious source.”

    While I tend to agree with that, DC’s exercise is worthwhile. Springer also has some answering to do. They shouldn’t be publishing garbage textbooks that are clearly garbage.

    [DC: Thanks - I'm still planning to do a Praxis-Springer post very soon.]

    Lady In Red: “There’s no moderation on CA and none at The Air Vent, or WUWT.”

    Now that’s absolutely hilarious.

    REPLY: Now I’m with David, you’re either an idiot or a zealot incapable of assimilating information. Find someplace else to spew nonsense. – Anthony Watts

    RR Kampen: Will do, Anthony – this is my last post here. If clear contradictions must make a case, I must have strayed into a church. Goodbye.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/12/ncar-number-of-record-highs-beat-record-lows-if-you-believe-the-quality-of-data-from-the-weather-stations/

    Watts then created a strawman and compared himself to Galileo. The Dunning Kruger Effect is on full display at that site.

    Or perhaps Watts was just having a bad day. All the selective reporting of cold record weather events caught up to him when Meehl et al. showed that record highs more than twice exceeded record lows in the U.S. over the past decade. It tended to expose Watts as a clownish propagandist. His church members don’t seem to care.


    [DC: Well I think it's pretty clear that the original comments from LIR about moderation and civility at WUWT and CA were way off base. Thanks to everyone for great counter examples. But now it's time to move on. So we will.]

  28. I’ve been thinking of something similar. Not just Watts, of course, but a collection of the most hilarious and/or nasty stuff from the deniosphere in general.

    There is precedence for this sort of thing, you know …

  29. Stay with your misrepresentation of Wegman, if you will. You ignore everything he wrote that might have improved the science, the honesty, openness, sharing.

    From where I sit — and I have tried and tried — Mann et al are delusional with power and funding money. I don’t understand the connection between the funding and the — wink, wink — “right answer,” but they are going to give it…

    You have, apparently, your crowd of Greek chorus and, well, sobeit.

    I cannot fathom why on earth you would lead such a dishonest existence — except for money. Certainly, I do not think you are stupid, but, — except money — I see no other explanation for your refusal to think, read, discern. …Lady in Red

    [DC: I explained - twice - why your comments were no longer welcome here. I am letting through this portion of your comment delayed from Jan. 13, to demonstrate the reprehensible accusations that are your stock in trade. Please take it somewhere else from now on. Thanks!]

  30. I’ve only been reading the climate change blogosphere closely for a few weeks, and I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief on reading stuff like that. The level of self-delusion and intellectual dishonesty is bizarre.

    Just reverse the labeling and direction of the comments, and it gets close to the truth

  31. Pielke Jr has a new quotation of Latif, implying that Latif “comments on the misrepresentation of the science of disasters and climate change in very strong terms” and calling it fraud.

    Pielke’s blog post does not really specify exactly what Latif was referring to, and the commenters concentrate on the German wod translated as fraud.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/mojib-latif-on-zdf-fraud-to-public.html

  32. Oops, I thought I was commenting at the Latif post.

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