McKitrick gets it wrong on IPCC

The latest climate contrarian meme appears to be (baseless) accusations of scientific “gatekeeping” and “censorship”. Ross McKitrick provides an example of this unmistakable trend, with a blow-by-blow account of difficulties encountered in publication of his  upcoming paper on the supposed contamination of the surface temperature record. The new paper purports to debunk a single statement in the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, one denigrating the conclusions of a previous paper by  McKitrick and Patrick Michaels.

McKitrick criticizes the IPCC assertion that “locations of greatest socioeconomic development are also those that have been most warmed by atmospheric circulation“. He  claims that other sections cited to support that statement do no such thing. But it turns out that McKitrick himself has it completely wrong, as he cites a passage concerning regional warming over the 21st century, instead of the actual relevant passage  concerning the period 1975-2005.

Moreover a review of the relevant scientific literature reveals substantial flaws in the previous analyses of McKitrick and Michaels. That, rather than any close-mindedness or “censorship”, is the real reason why McKitrick’s analyses have become increasingly marginalized in the scientific literature, if not in the right-wing press.

McKitrick’s account of the entire saga, entitled Circling the Bandwagons:
My Adventures Correcting the IPCC
goes back to 2004 when he and Patrick Michaels published their first paper on “contamination” of the surface temperature record by (a general discussion, with pointers to various papers can be found at RealClimate). That paper, entitled A Test of Corrections for Extraneous Signals in Gridded Surface Temperature Data, ran in Climate Research, with one Chris de Freitas as responsible editor.

It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that McKitrick puts forth an astonishingly spirited defence of de Freitas. De Freitas is best known as the editor whose greenlighting of an execrable paper by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas led to the mass resignation of four Climate Research editors later the same year, including just-installed editor-in-chief Hans von Storch. Not to mention the ties to industry-funded PR and “astro-turf” groups like Friends of Science and to the International Climate Science Coalition, as I’ve previously discussed. Certainly, McKitrick’s description of the Climate Research debacle is decidedly slanted and worth exploring in a separate post.

For now, though, let’s pass to the main event, McKitrick’s critique of a passage in the IPCC Third Assessment Report discussing his 2004 paper. Echoing and amplifying an earlier diatribe published in the National Post, McKitrick writes at p.8-9:

… [I]t was not until late 2007 that I became aware that the following paragraph had been inserted on page 244 of the Working Group I report.

McKitrick and Michaels (2004) and De Laat and Maurellis (2006) attempted to demonstrate that geographical patterns of warming trends over land are strongly correlated with geographical patterns of industrial and socioeconomic development, implying that urbanisation and related land surface changes have caused much of the observed warming. However, the locations of greatest socioeconomic development are also those that have been most warmed by atmospheric circulation changes (Sections and 3.6.4), which exhibit large-scale coherence. Hence, the correlation of warming with industrial and socioeconomic development ceases to be statistically significant. In addition, observed warming has been, and transient greenhouse-induced warming is expected to be, greater over land than over the oceans (Chapter 10), owing to the smaller thermal capacity of the land.

(I added the underlining.)

The first point to dispense with is the reference to Sections and 3.6.4 in support of the claim that “the locations of greatest socioeconomic development are also those that have been most warmed by atmospheric circulation changes.” There is nothing whatsoever in either section that supports the point.

In neither section is there any discussion of industrialization, socioeconomic development, urbanization or any related term.

Let’s take a closer look at McKitrick’s dissection of  Section, a discussion of the spatial distribution 20th century warming trends.

Section presents a spatial map of warming trends since 1979. In the accompanying text they state that “Warming is strongest over the continental interiors of Asia and northwestern North America and over some mid-latitude ocean regions of the [Southern Hemisphere] as well as southeastern Brazil.” These are the regions of greatest socioeconomic development? The continental interior of Asia suffered economic decline after 1990, and northwestern North America is sparsely-populated alpine forest, so the claim is rather unlikely to be true. Certainly Section does not try to argue the point.

Now look at Figure 3.9, the “spatial map” of trends presented by the IPCC.

IPCC AR4 Fig. 3.9 Spatial temperature trends

Figure 3.9.  Linear trend of annual temperatures for 1901 to 2005 (left; °C per century) and 1979 to 2005 (right; °C per decade). Areas in grey have insufficient data to produce reliable trends. The minimum number of years needed to calculate a trend value is 66 years for 1901 to 2005 and 18 years for 1979 to 2005…

So spatial trends for two periods charted and discussed. Unfortunately for McKitrick, the passage he disparages is explicitly based on the longer period from 1901, not the relevant period from 1979.  The areas mentioned can clearly be seen on the lefthand map (e.g. southeastern Brazil), even without expanding to the full view.  The reference is obvious in the text of the passage as well, which starts:

For the century-long period, warming is statistically significant over most of the world’s surface …

And let’s pick up the passage again at the end of McKitrick’s quote:

… as well as southeastern Brazil. In the recent period [i.e. 1979-2005], some regions have warmed substantially while a few have cooled slightly on an annual basis (Figure 3.9). … Warming in this period was strongest over western North America, northern Europe and China in winter, Europe and northern and eastern Asia in spring, Europe and North Africa in summer and northern North America, Greenland and eastern Asia in autumn (Figure 3.10).

So the list of strongly warming regions in 1979-2005 includes North America and Europe, and none at all in the southern hemisphere. Clearly the IPCC statement is not nearly as outlandish as McKitrick’s gross misinterpretation would have us believe.

This doesn’t mean that the rest of McKitrick’s critique is thereby disproven. But McKitrick does display here a shocking ignorance of climatology, and if his latest article shares the same sort of problems, then his explanation for difficulty in publication could be somewhat incomplete or selective. For example, any knowledgable reviewer would have taken exception to McKitrick’s assumptions if he made claims along these lines:

I obtained values of the effects of trends in the Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the El-Niño Southern Oscillation on the gridded surface trend pattern over the 1979-2002 interval. I re-did the regression results from my 2004 and 2007 papers after adding these variables into the model. I showed that the original results did not become statistically insignificant.

Again, this appears to betray a fundamental misunderstanding. The IPCC reference to locations “most warmed by atmospheric circulation changes” is not a description of the “effects of trends” in the AO or other oscillations, which are by definition pretty much trendless. Indeed, it may well be that McKitrick’s travails merely demonstrate that the peer-review system is working as it ought to.

Nevertheless, it is worth reviewing contemporary reaction to McKitrick and Michaels (2004). At the time,  Rasmus Benestad at Real Climate pointed out:

[T]here are a number of issues that they did not address that logically must must be addressed for their conclusions to be tenable. MM04 failed to acknowledge other independent data supporting the instrumental thermometer-based land surface temperature observations, such as satellite-derived temperature trend estimates over land areas in the Northern Hemisphere (Intergovernmental Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment Report, Chapter 2, Box 2.1, p. 106) that cannot conceivably be subject to the non-climatic sources of bias considered by them. Furthermore, they fail to reconcile their hypothesis with the established large-scale warming evident from global sea surface temperature data that, again, cannot be influenced by the local, non-climatic factors they argue contaminate evidence for surface warming. By focusing on thermometer-based land observations only, and ignoring other evidence conflicting with their hypothesis, MM04 failed to address basic flaws in their arguments.

Benestad also  noted a post from climate blogger Tim Lambert, who pointed out an error in the calculation of area weighting (a mixup of radians and degrees) that almost doubled the portion of warming trend attributed by McKitrick to economic factors, despite McKitrick’s claim that the correction “hardly changed the results” (hat tip to Frank O’Dwyer).

But more relevant for the current discussion is more direct evidence of spurious correlation. In his  published comment on the McKitrick and Michaels paper, Benestad demonstrated that its statistical significance was “vastly overstated”.

However, when a validation was performed on a similar analysis for
which the regression model was calibrated with a subset of the data, and the remaining data were used for validation, it became apparent that models based on the factors that McKitrick & Michaels used had no skill (i.e. were not able to reproduce the independent data). The negligence to account for inter-station dependencies in the analysis resulted in spurious results and inflated confidence levels in the analysis of McKitrick & Michaels.

McKitrick and Michaels replied to Benestad’s comment, but Benestad made a strong case that the reply misses the mark:

… McKitrick and Michaels (2004b, or “MM04b”) argue that such validation experiments (i.e, splitting up the data to test the validity of statistical modelling) is not common in the refereed climatological literature. That argument is puzzling indeed, as such tests are standard in statistical modeling exercises, and have been used and documented in many peer-reviewed articles in the meteorological and climatalogical literature (see this list of publications by just one researcher alone or even the introductory textbook by Wilks, 1995).

… In their reply to Benestad(2004), McKitrick and Michaels (2004b) claim that I do not dispute their approach (i.e., multivariate regression using economic variables as potential predictors of surface temperature). That claim is both peculiar, and misses the point. A method is only valid when applied correctly. As described, above, MM04 failed egregiously in this regard. The purpose of my paper was simply to demonstrate that, whether or not one accepts the merits of their approach, a correct, and more careful, repetition of their analysis alone is sufficient to falsify their results and their conclusions.

A later analysis from McKitrick and Michaels (JGR, 2007) presumably set out to overcome all the above objections. Schmidt 2009 addressed that study (and  as well as a 2006 study from de Laat and Maurellis).

[T]he basis of the  results are correlations over a very restricted set of locations (predominantly western Europe, Japan and the USA) which project strongly onto naturally occurring patterns of climate variability, or are with fields with significant amounts of spatial auto-correlation. Across model simulations, the correlations vary widely due to the chaotic weather component in any short-term record. The reported correlations do not fall outside the simulated distribution, and are probably spurious (i.e. are likely to have arisen from chance alone). Thus, though this study cannot prove that the global temperature record is unbiased, there is no compelling evidence from these correlations of any large-scale contamination.

Of course, as these last two papers were published later, they are not  directly relevant to IPCC AR4. But together they do provide a good view of the current state of the surface temperature record “contamination” debate in climatological literature.

McKitrick and Nicolas Nierenberg submitted a standalone rebuttal paper to Schmidt 2009 to the International Journal of Climatology. Spatial Autocorrelation and the Detection of Non-Climatic Signals in Climate Data was rejected; at least part of the problem was that the paper appeared to add little new to the discussion, as would be expected from a standalone paper. McKitrick and Nierenberg wrote a complaining letter to IJOC that obfuscates that point:

The first point alone justifies publication of a comment on Schmidt since the confusion about where the SAC correction needs to be applied goes to the heart of Schmidt’s argument… [Emphasis added]

Schmidt provides a detailed critique of McKitrick’s rejected paper in this comment at RealClimate for those interested (once again, hat tip to Frank O’Dwyer).

Benestad’s 2004 article comment (and Schmidt’s 2009 article) provide clear evidence that McKitrick’s analyses yield spurious correlations; Schmidt’s latest comment summarizes the state of play:

Overall, Mckitrick’s story tells has a couple of very important messages – obviously anyone with persistence can get anything published eventually. But the reception that his results have received (very little, and what there is has been dismissive) is a reflection, not of the climate science community’s disdain for new ideas, but rather that his analysis is just not that interesting or convincing. Assuming that Barrow Alaska has the same socio-economic status as Miami, or that Moscow is the same as Siberia, makes no sense. Assuming that national educational attainment is a proxy for National Met Service competence is simply that, an assumption. Confusing real effects in surface temperature changes (local pollution, land use change) with ‘contamination’ adds no insight at all. Claiming support from de Laat and Maurellis that simply doesn’t exist is just wrong.

As a Canadian, I would have used the example of  Resolute and Toronto, but otherwise it’s hard to quibble with that. And Schmidt’s conclusion is perhaps more prescient than he realized.

I am not at all surprised that statisticians like this kind of stuff, but the errors are not in the statistics (for the most part), but in the underlying assumptions – and statisticians are not necessarily going to see that.

As if to prove Schmidt’s point, here’s McKitrick’s account of how he finally achieved publication of his IPCC critique.

So I wrote to the editor of JASA [The Journal of the American Statistical Association], described what had happened at other journals, and asked if the paper might be reconsidered … [H]e pointed to a new journal that he and some colleagues had recently founded, called Statistics, Politics and Policy, which is dedicated to bringing rigorous statistical analysis to bear on important issues with policy implications. He said the paper would be a good fit, and encouraged me to submit it there. I did, and in due course my paper was accepted. It will appear in the inaugural issue this summer.

The editor of JASA from 2001 to 2009 was David Banks of Duke University, and he is now senior editor at Statistics, Politics and Policy.

But Banks also happens to have been one of the reviewers of the Wegman report, which stands as an eternal monument to the dangers of combining knowledge of statistical methods with abject subject matter ignorance (not to mention highly dubious scholarship). We may have to wait until the summer to read McKitrick’s latest, but in the mean time perhaps Banks’ review of Wegman could be made available, so  we can assess this editor’s ability to understand the relevant climatological issues.

More and more, this looks like a concerted attempt to poison the well for the upcoming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Contrarian publications in the scientific literature remain rare, and now tend to be rebutted to devastating effect even if they manage to get through. So we can expect more whining about censorship and gatekeeping from the likes of McKitrick and others.

That’s all they’ve got left, apparently.

Spatial Autocorrelation and the Detection of Non-Climatic Signals in Climate Data

47 responses to “McKitrick gets it wrong on IPCC

  1. I’m sure you know perfectly well there is gatekeeping – witness the Climategate comments about “redefining peer-review” to shut out non-compliant articles, and “having a problem” that needs to be addressed with journals that don’t stick to the AGW line.

    • Since both McKittrick & Michaels and Soon & Baliunas were addressed in AR4 (the former is the topic of this post), the “gatekeepers” apparently forgot to lock the gate.

    • Former Skeptic

      Punksta, you’ve been basing most of your comments here on the hacked emails, which have been shown to be all but irrelevant to the real issues that DC has raised in previous posts.

      Do you have any other evidence that would make your case more interesting to folks who are tired of comprehensively debunked zombie-like arguments?

    • At least Punksta keeps it short. But I agree it is getting tiresome.

    • Well, gatekeeping is rather the point of peer-review, you know.

      Physicists shut out non-compliant articles that claim to disprove the second law of thermodynamics, and rightly so.

      Why should climate science not throw out equally absurd papers during peer review?

  2. Paul Middents

    Thank you for pulling all this together. I wonder if Fuller is listening?

  3. Punksta, you have been had. Those emails and their contents are not what you have been led to believe, i.e. the downfall of either Global Warming, or the temperature records, or Phil Jones, or whatever else you may have read on blogs.
    Did you not see the result of the first enquiry, or have you been told that it’s a whitewash ?
    Why not read it and decide for yourself :

    Click to access 387i.pdf

    Now, can we carry on and continue to address the real problem, as is being done so well by Deep Climate: the deniers and their lack of proper science, let alone any that is publishable in respectable journals.

  4. Punksta, you need to read, not skim, DC’s posts before commenting.

    Here is a “bottom line” statement from above that shows why McK’s claims are unfounded:

    Furthermore, they fail to reconcile their hypothesis with the established large-scale warming evident from global sea surface temperature data that, again, cannot be influenced by the local, non-climatic factors they argue contaminate evidence for surface warming. By focusing on thermometer-based land observations only, and ignoring other evidence conflicting with their hypothesis, MM04 failed to address basic flaws in their arguments.

    I cannot believe that people are STILL talking about UHI and siting issues when the oceans tell us these are NOT siginificantly influencing the trend.

    This paper serves the same purpose as the McLean, de Freitas, and Carter SOI paper that removed the CO2 forced T trend. Get something into a journal, no matter how bad it is, and then shout to the world that AGW is dead or overstated. Ugh!

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

  5. Robert Murphy


    I’m sure you know very well that peer review is by definition gatekeeping; in this case it’s closing the gate against pieces of junk *scholarship* like that from McKitrick or the example that the hacked emails were talking about, the execrable Soon & Baliunas paper whose publication resulted in half a dozen editors resigning from the journal in protest. It’s not about *sticking to the AGW line*- witness papers by so-called skeptics like Lindzen that make it to press. It’s about sticking to standards of scientific methodology. Peer review means exactly that- review. A necessary part of the process is the rejection of cr*p.

  6. Why do McKittrick (and McIntyre) have any credibility at all? Merely because they’re tied into the denialist machine?

    Their “science” is cr*p; is the infiltration of vested interests in the blogosphere and the media that deep? M&M are a joke; why do they have any traction whatsoever?

  7. Lars Karlsson

    Derecho64: “Why do McKittrick (and McIntyre) have any credibility at all?”

    Because they are among the very “finest” the denialists have.

  8. Thanks for this very handy overview.

    What did the IPCC mean by its reference to locations “most warmed by atmospheric circulation changes”?

    [DC: To me it simply refers to the general pattern of warming since the 1970s – greater warming in the northern hemisphere over land in middle and higher latitudes. These happen to include the *countries* of highest economic development, including Canada, U.S. (including Alaska) and northern Europe.

    Remember that McKitrick’s independent variables (economic factors) are smeared over huge swathes of gridcells. As mentioned above, McKitrick’s statistical model uses single economic indicators for complete countries. So an economic factor value for Canada, for example, is correlatated against temperature from locations as diverse as Toronto and Resolute (in Arctic). Thus the observed or expected pattern of warming could easily lead to spurious correlations. ]

  9. DC, that argument makes good sense to me as a reason to expect spurious correlation in those papers. But I’m not sure it’s what was intended in the passage in question. Since it spoke of circulation changes and specifically referenced section 3.6.4, I too would have thought they were in fact referring to NAO/NAM (maybe related to NAM accounting for half the warming over Eurasia 1968–97?). But then, I’m about as, uh, climatologically challenged as McKitrick is.

    [DC: Speaking as a non-expert myself, it seems reasonable that changes in spatial pattern, for instance, of AO or NAO could be related to observed patterns of regional warming.

    But how do “trends” in the AO or NAO relate climatologically to temperature trends at specific gridcell locations? How can there even be such “trends” (i.e. a statistically significant long-term change in the overall index over say, 25-year period)? It makes no sense to me. And so McKitrick’s statement makes no sense to me. I guess we’ll have to wait for the paper to understand exactly what was done.]

  10. It seems to be fair game to talk about “trends” in the Arctic Oscillation; see Thompson, Wallace and Hegerl (2000).

    As for relating this to individual grid cells, though, I haven’t the foggiest. As you say, we’ll have to wait for the paper to see if it makes any kind of sense. After reading Schmidt (2009), I don’t think it matters much anyway.

  11. As McKitrick points out, this story has two main points of contention:

    “Showing that the [IPCC] claim is fabricated is easy: it suffices merely to quote the section of the report, since no supporting evidence is given. But unsupported guesses may turn out to be true. Showing the IPCC claim is also false took some mundane statistical work, but the results were clear.”

    Staying with the easier question: Is the IPCC claim lacking supporting evidence? It seems to me you’ve failed to address this adequately. It may be that McKitrick has misread the IPCC report. It seems to be correct that the IPCC statement is not as outlandish as McKitrick makes it seem. But your quote from the IPCC still does not look like a discussion of socioeconomic development. And specifically, there is no statistical analysis to support the IPCC claim that the correlation is not statistically significant. As McKitrick puts it:

    “Evidence sufficient to disprove either accusation can be defined very precisely: it would consist of the p value supporting the claim of statistical insignificance, the peer-reviewed journal article in which it was presented, and the page number where the study is cited in the IPCC Report.”

    Lacking this, McKitrick’s analysis (as far the IPCC text is concerned) appears to be marginally flawed but basically valid. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    [DC: McKitrick’s analysis is “marginally flawed, but basically valid”? I disagree.

    Surely the most important point is whether the analysis and main conclusions of MM2004 are valid or not. And to me it’s obvious that they are not.

    As to McKitrick’s analysis of the first IPCC underlined sentence (with internal references), his point is completely off base as it is based on an utterly mistaken reading of the internal reference. Section does support the IPCC point at least in a qualitative way, when the correct passage is cited. Sure, that doesn’t discuss socioeconomic development directly. But the point is clear enough. So McKitrick is plain wrong there.

    For the rest of it, it seems to me that McKitrick has also misunderstood the relevant passages as I already pointed out (definitely a recurring problem). It’s possible that Benestad’s comment should have been cited or that the critique could have been worded differently. But I don’t believe that McKitrick’s rendering of the IPCC statement is correct, much less that the IPCC gave “fabricated evidence” for it.

    To go much more into detail than I have would require more time or expertise than I possess. However, I’m sure there are others out there who do have that expertise and will weigh in.

    In any event, I’m sure McKitrick will get a wide airing. And that these specific sentences will be debated and fully elucidated by the scientists in much more important venues than my humble blog (for instance in one or the other ongoing UEA investigations).

    Ultimately though that will be little more than a distraction. Let’s not lose track of the basic point: The “economic contamination” of the temperature record is a crock, no matter what economists and business section editors think.

    So the real question is, or should be: how did such obvious nonsense get published in the peer reviewed literature in the first place?

  12. Calling people “deniers” doesn’t advance the case put forward by proponents of AGW. It just highlights a serious lack of intellect.

    [DC: It’s not a term I’ve used (usually I go with contrarian). However, I disagree that it shows a “serious lack of intellect”.

    For me, “denier” or “denialist” refers to those who deny a particular scientific link, often using underhanded means. For example, Google the terms “tobacco” “cancer” and “denial” to read all about the phony PR war attacking the science establishing the link between smoking and lung cancer. There are compelling parallels with the current attack on climate science and scientists (and in some cases some of the same folks are involved).

    The main reason not to use the term is that then those who object to it on some flimsy basis or other will seize upon the terminology and attempt to derail the conversation.

    Just as you are doing now. So enough of that. Stay on topic, please. Thanks!]

  13. Denier is a much better word than skeptic for those that persists in the fallacy that UHI or siting issues are major players in climatic trends. There are better arguments to persist with if one is anti-AGW but UHI is one of the worst. That issue has been beaten to death and that horse is never going to stand up. Ride a new one.

  14. Correction to my April 7 comment: “half the warming over Eurasia 1968–97” referred to the Jan-Feb-March season.

    Dagfinn, I think McKitrick’s position is better described as “basically flawed”, in that neither MM04 nor MM07 prove the purported point, whether or not he has a “marginally valid” point that the AR4 rebuttal was less than complete.

    [DC: Yes, I went back and read 3.6.4 too. In general, there is a strong seasonal component to the relationship between AO (a.k.a. NAM) and temperature. In some areas the correlation actually flips depending on the season. An analysis that does not take this into account is flawed from the outset. ]

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  16. The Oxburgh Report into CRU backs Jones et al, so the deniers are obviously pinning all their hopes on Russell now.
    What will they say when all three reports are in and the deniers are left empty-handed ? Conspiracy whitewash !!!

  17. JMurphy, the hero of the deniosphere is on the case: ClimateAudit explains the Jones exoneration in a screaming headline: “The Trick to Hide a Trick”. And this statistician/ mining stock tout is the best they have.

    [DC: I know things have been quiet here lately. But there are some interesting posts in the pipeline, including a multi-part series on “How to be a climate auditor”, which will revisit McIntyre’s “IPCC and the trick” post. That’s the one where McIntyre selectively quoted from the stolen CRU emails to support various bogus accusations releated to “hide the decline”; in the mean time you can read my initial takedown here. ]

  18. Terry Johansen

    [DC: If you want to discuss volcanoes, please comment at the appropriate thread. Thanks! ]

  19. Given the pattern of migration to the suburbs and away from the large cities, small towns and countryside any large grid cell analysis claiming to capture the urban heat effect has to be nonsense.

  20. The accusations are not baseless – I can personally testify to that. Surface temperatures used by the IPCC are not just contaminated but simply wrong. If you look at the temperature record posted by NOAA or at HadCRUT3 from CRU you will notice a “late twentieth century warming” shown as starting in the late seventies and continuing through the eighties and nineties. That late twentieth century warming does not exist, despite Hansen having declared its existence in 1988. There was no warming then, just temperature oscillations up and down by half a degree until the 1998 super El Nino showed up. This is ten years after Hansen spoke. That was the start of real warming, and greenhouse effect had nothing to do with it.It ushered in a discontinuity in the global temperature scale. In four years global average temperature rose by 0.3 degrees Celsius above the nineties value. and then stabilized for the next eight years. But you will not see that discontinuity on official charts because the temperature curves you are shown are cooked to hide it and pretend there was steady warming in the eighties and nineties. To learn more, read “What Warming?” available on

  21. “The accusations are not baseless – I can personally testify to that.”

    The only way you can say that is if you were meddling with the data yourself.

    “That late twentieth century warming does not exist, despite ”

    … temperatures being higher now than in 1970 when the El Nino oscillations were in the same alignment..???

    “There was no warming then, just temperature oscillations up and down by half a degree until the 1998 super El Nino showed up.”

    Uh, it’s still higher. If it went up a half degree then down again half a degree, this would leave us on the same temperature.

    “But you will not see that discontinuity on official charts because the temperature curves you are shown are cooked to hide it”

    Hmm. So your personal attestation as to the validity of the claim that the data is wrong is that you are saying that it’s wrong..?

    “To learn more, read “What Warming?” available on”

    Sorry, my mistake. Your personal attestation is from SOMEONE ELSE saying it’s faked, not you.

  22. Arno’s been drinking too much Arrak, that’s what I say.

    [DC: Come now – play nicely. ]

  23. Mark: You are simply allergic to real a climate science! Everything I said is true: I had my original paper on global warming rejected by Science, Nature and PNAS, the three pre-eminent “peer-reviewed” journals that publish climate “science.” Just sent back, no reason given, none of that “peer review” they talk about that you have to pass to get into the journal. They are all in the pocket of the global warming activists of which we had just a few hints from Climategate files. But Climategate is only the tip of the iceberg compared to what they have done with global temperature records.

    [DC: I am going to stop you right there and omit the rest of the diatribe, which has been deleted for the following reasons.

    Unfounded accusations are not permitted here. Further digressions along these lines will be unceremoniously deleted. And please read the comment policy.

    For other readers, I’d suggest simply ignoring Arno Arrak.]

  24. No, he’s just trying to hawk his own book.

  25. none of that “peer review” they talk about that you have to pass to get into the journal.

    Not surprising they couldn’t find a peer to review Arrak’s work.

    I mean … why would anyone *want* to find one of Arrak’s peers?

  26. “Everything I said is true: ”

    you said there had been no warming and we’re back at previous levels.

    This is wrong.

  27. DC: You selectively deleted part of my entry, calling it a “diatribe” which it is not. It is simply climate science you and your ilk want to suppress. What you left gives a biased and distorted view of what I have to say. You either restore it or delete the entire thing. And I demand an apology for this personal attack.

    [DC: You accused major research organizations of manipulation of the data to produce a result in accordance with a preconceived agenda. I will note in the comment explicitly that the rest was deleted for that reason.

    I make no apology for deleting such comments, or for enforcing moderation policy. I do apologize to other readers for being overly patient with you, but that patience is at an end. You are not welcome to comment here any more. Thanks! ]

  28. Here is a sample of Arno Arrak’s comments at the Economist website:

    “And what proves it impossible is the fact that this warming is cooked. As in falsified. I show how it was done in “What Warming?” available on It is a colossal scientific fraud, far beyond the Climategate scandal. And since three organizations are involved it is also a criminal conspiracy and should be internationally investigated.”

    Enough said.

  29. Pingback: Graph that proves AGW is not real

  30. Tainted Science
    While not necessarily agreeing with Arnak’s science (CO2 and man need not be the only forcing agent) , Climategate is awash with teh practice of alarmist gatekeeping in the established journals and IPCC reports.
    eg Jones to Mann, Jul 8 16:30:16 2004:
    “…Kevin and I will keep them out somehow, even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    What I simply cannot understand, is why sincere alarmists refuse to rebuke these fraudsters.

  31. Punksta — “What I simply cannot understand, is why sincere alarmists refuse to rebuke these fraudsters.”

    Care to tell us how they redefined the peer reviewed literature? Maybe you should set up a Department for Thought Crime somewhere? Perhaps it could join up with the GWPF’s and Cato Institute’s efforts; the ones which seem to single out the frustration of climate scientists above any others… completely.

    While you’re at it, though, have a read of how the real perverting of the peer reviewed literature was actually done… by sceptics.

    What I simply cannot understand, is why sincere sceptics refuse to rebuke these fraudsters.

  32. Oh, sometimes they do. Hat tip to Stoat for Ask Curry

  33. “Climategate is awash with teh practice of alarmist gatekeeping in the established journals and IPCC reports.”

    Yes, and physicist alarmist gatekeeping of established journals keeps out descriptions of perpetual motion machines that, if it weren’t for the corrupt scientific establishment, would yield each of us a zero-cost source of free energy.

    (Punksta apparently believes that scientific journals should publish outright c**p because … he says so).

  34. Oddly enough I just read a blog post where Kevin Trenberth did rebuke Jones for that infamous remark.

  35. Tainted Science

    While the state has a huge and obvious vested interested in CAGW being believed, the same is not true of perpetual motion. So while climate scientists and gatekeepers in state funding streams are inherently suspect – having this conflict of interest – those in physics are not.

    J Bowers:
    They way they corrupt peer-review is by blocking non-alarmist papers, dislodging editors, allowing alarmist papers to be published while nevertheless allowing them to keep their data and code hidden. See their own words on the matter in Climategate.

    As to the link on Climate Research, no alarmist papers were blocked, no editors forced out. I note her list of references includes many Team members whose dishonesty and malpractice was clearly revealed in Climategate – and these frauds are more or less the same people who complained about the alleged poor quality of Soon and Baliunas. Perhaps the crooks are right on this one, but it would be easier to assess if there were some honest scientists who agreed.

    Hank Roberts:
    Yes, Judith Curry would seem to be an honest one. The only one among thousands? Or are there lots more out there, who remain silent for fear of jeopardising their state-funded careers?


    Claire Goodess’s account is interesting insofar as she refers to three other deeply flawed “skeptic” articles that had also been greenlighted by Chris de Freitas. There can be little doubt that the de Freitas tenure at Climate Research represents the most egregious subversion of the peer review system in climate science yet seen. A complete list of the papers submitted to de Freitas, with highlighting of several papers involving Patrick Michaels, will be covered in a future post. In the mean time, here is some background on de Freitas.

    I’ve been very tolerant of your false accusations. However, enough is enough and once again your repeated unsubstantiated accusations have become a distraction. Therefore, you are no longer welcome here. Thanks! ]

  36. During some idle googling I discovered West & Scafetta in their 2010 book “Disrupted Networks: From Physics to Climate Change” have recycled slabs of text without attribution. The book seems unimportant so presumably no one will care, but West & Scafetta surely need to read Duke’s tutorial on plagiarism.

    For example this slab of text in the 2010 book

    In early papers on generalized systems theory it was argued that the increasing complexity of an evolving system can reach a threshold where the system is so complicated that it is impossible to follow the dynamics of the individual elements, see for example, Weaver [181]. Beyond this threshold new properties often emerge and the new organization undergoes a completely different type of dynamics. The details of the interactions among the individual elements are substantially less important, at this point, than is the structure (the geometrical pattern) of the new aggregate [33]. This is selfaggregating behavior; increasing the number of elements beyond this point, or alternatively increasing the number of relations among the existing elements, often leads to complete disorganization and the stochastic approach again becomes a viable description of the network behavior. If randomness (noise) is now considered as something simple, as it is intuitively, one has to seek a measure of complexity that increases initially as the number of variables increases, reaches a maximum where new properties may emerge, and eventually decreases in magnitude in the limit of the network having an infinite number of elements, where thermodynamics properly describes the network

    Can also be found, almost verbatim, in the 2003 book
    “Physics of fractal operators” By Bruce J. West, Mauro Bologna, Paolo Grigolini and also in the paper
    “From knowledge, knowability and the search for objective randomness to a new vision of complexity”
    P Allegrini, M Giuntoli, P Grigolini, BJ West – Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, 2004.

    Neither source is apparently cited in the 2010 book.

    Another example, these two slabs of text

    in the seminal work of Pareto in economics, the works of Zipf [195] on natural languages, the study of Auerbach on the size of cities, the investigation of Lotka on the number of scientific publications and in the research of Willis on bio-diversity, all verifying that complex systems are often inverse power law and by implication scale-free. What is new in the present discussion is the beginning of a mathematical language that may provide a way to discuss these things unambiguously. In particular, Barab´asi and Albert hypothesized two mechanisms leading to the inverse power law in the network context. One of the mechanisms abandons the notion of independence between successive connections within a network

    The scale-free nature of complex networks affords a single conceptual picture spanning scales from those in the WWW to those within a biological cell. As more nodes are added to the network the number of links made to existing nodes depends on how many connections already exist. In this way the oldest nodes, those that have had the most time to establish links, grow preferentially. Thus, some elements in the network have substantially more connections than do the average, many more than predicted by any bellshaped curve, either that of Poisson or Gauss. These are the nodes out in the tail of the distribution.

    also appear pretty much verbatim in West’s 2006 book
    “Where medicine went wrong: rediscovering the path to complexity”
    which at least in the book’s bibliography but not cited where the text appears (not that would be sufficient).

    A more thorough search may well discover more instances.

    [DC:There does seem to be recycling of previous joint work involving one of the co-authors (West). Here is the antecedent passage for the first block quoted (from
    Physics of fractal operators).

    The newer passage diverges only slightly but does add citations not found in the original. It’s not clear to me that this sort of recycling rises to plagiarism, although it does fall short of expected scholarship rigour. The amount of recycling and the exact provenance of the original (i.e. which co-author drafted the original passage) might play into such a determination. ]

  37. “What I simply cannot understand, is why sincere sceptics refuse to rebuke these fraudsters.”

    Well, see, punksta isn’t a skeptic nor sincere, so he gets TWO ways out!

  38. “Oddly enough I just read a blog post where Kevin Trenberth did rebuke Jones for that infamous remark.”

    Punksta’s not talking about Jones’s comment about keeping the paper out of AR4, and Trenberth’s comment isn’t a “rebuke” at all, as all he says is that Jones made it before having attended the lead author meeting and before he was aware of the IPCC process.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      …and what’s more, I strongly suspect Trenberth is simply wrong: Jones’ statement was just a quip not meant to be taken literally. Even I know that you cannot just omit papers from an IPCC report without good reason, and that not even a lead author has that power. Just shows how dangerous making jokes in email is…

    • The quote from Climatesight that Trenberth responded to was exactly the same one that Punksta brought up:

      “Another quote, this time from a stolen email he was not even a recipient of, was written by Phil Jones, the director of CRU. I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report, wrote Jones, referring to several studies that were not regarded very highly by the climate science community, one of which was later retracted. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-reviewed literature is!

      Dr. Trenberth offers an insight for this comment that was previously unknown to me. The IPCC’s 2007 report “was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment,” he says. “The comment was naive and sent before he understood the process and before any lead author meetings were held…As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments, I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.” Indeed, both studies were discussed in the 2007 report, offering proof that the private emails of scientists do not always correspond to their ultimate actions.”

      If someone accused me of being naive, I’d consider that a rebuke, albeit a mild one.

  39. While the state has a huge and obvious vested interested in CAGW being believed…

    Which is?

    [DC: Unfortunately (or not) the discussion of the state-sponsored conspiracy to foist “CAGW” is now at an end.]