Open Thread # 3

Here’s another open thread for general discussion. Comments not related to specific posts should be posted here. (If there’s enough interest, I’ll have a new open thread every month).

32 responses to “Open Thread # 3

  1. I find it curious that Dr Curry has spent so much time and effort engaging with the “skeptical” blogs, but I find very little engagement from her in venues such as this. There was a recent drive-by post at realclimate that kicked up a stink, and then… nothing. No engagement in the aftermath in that venue.

    It feels a bit one-sided to me. I got the impression originally she was trying to reach out and increase understanding – provide a bridge between the science and those that have lost faith in the scientific process. Yet everything recently from her has been fairly vociferous criticism of scientists, the CRU investigations and the IPCC processes. I see none of the balance I would expect.

  2. Keith Kloor has this interview with Curry:

    I haven’t seen any evidence of plagiarism or fabrication/falsification of data by the CRU scientists. Sloppy record keeping, cherry picking of data, and inadequate statistical methods do not constitute scientific misconduct, but neither do they inspire confidence in the research product. Further, the “bad apple” issue is still out there, but this is something that is impossible to assess objectively. And the behavior of these scientists (sloppy record keeping, dismissal of skeptical critiques, and lack of transparency) has slowed down scientific progress in assessing and improving these very important data sets.

    Although it’s good she confirms that there is no evidence of scientific misconduct such as plagiarism or falsification, she is annoyingly vague in her in insinuations of “cherry picking” and “dismissal of skeptic critiques”.

    Does Curry really think that all of those bogus papers that Chris de Freitas let through at Climate Research were valid and should have been included in the IPCC reports? And which McIntyre post does she have in mind when she talks about cherrypicking?

    And then there’s this complaint about the IPCC:

    tailoring graphics and not adequately describing uncertainties ostensibly to simplify and not to “dilute the message” that IPCC wanted to send

    I can only take that to mean that Curry agrees with McIntyre’s IPCC and the trick “analysis” (the one I discussed back in December).

    • Ian Forrester

      Isn’t she a bit young to have gone “emeritus”?

      I think this quote shows how she has lost touch with scientific reality:

      bias of some of the members including the Chair

      Do you think that if she was having serious health problems and a panel of neurologists, and neurosurgeons presented her with a report based on MRI’s, CAT scans etc she would say “you people are too biased I’m going to get a panel of plumbers, taxi drivers and journalists to give me an unbiased report”?

      Of course she wouldn’t so why on earth does she say these stupid things about climate science. I’m afraid that she is no longer concerned about the honesty and integrity of science and scientists if she really said what Kloor has reported.

  3. I have been following with interest a website concerning the measurement of troposphere temps using a measurement of atmospheric defraction and sun disc measurements. To what extent is this established science. There doesn’t seem to be much else on this subject on the web but reading the website it seems this guy might be onto something but of course I am in no position to judge.

  4. Jim, Wayne Davidson’s an interesting guy, he posts on Real Climate quite frequently. He’s of the opinion that arctic conditions are deteriorating more quickly than the scientific community at large believes. His dataset’s interesting, but I’m not competent to judge whether his results are good or not. But given his track record at Real Climate, I’d say that a polite e-mail to him would lead to a response and an opportunity for correspondence, if you want to give it a shot. He seems very approachable.

  5. Paul Middents

    What dhogaza said re Wayne Davidson. He has a couple of peer reviewed publications on the optical properties of the atmosphere. His current research appears to be very painstaking and recorded stream of consciousness style on his web page. He lives and works in the Arctic and sees dramatic change on a daily basis.

  6. Anyone care to address this nonsense?

    I pointed out that many sources are probably things that you wouldn’t cite with a peer reviewed study, ie weather reports, WorldBank donations, the time of day, etc. Wonder if anyone else has looked a little closer at something that reeks of BS.

    • Go to the Citizen Audit link. Mankind truly is screwed.

      Looks like another audit that needs an audit. Still, they say they only found 7% of WG1 references that weren’t peer reviewed or grey lit. Hmmm, my Spidey senses are tingling….

      “# IPCC chairman’s claim that the report relies solely on peer-reviewed sources is not supported”

      But as we all know, grey literature is allowed.

      [DC: Here are the detailed findings. You’ll have to scroll down to find WG1. The chapters most often attacked (2, 3, 9, 10) are all up around 94-95% peer reviewed references. The remaining 5% appear to be monographs and text books and the like. That’s as far as I feel like going for now. ]


    The Virginia Attorney General is going after the e-mails of Michael Mann while he was at UVA (1999-2005). This is climate McCarthyism. We need to get involved in protesting and stopping this. This will stifle science in any field that could upset the powers that be.

  8. John Mashey

    One of the references in Wegman Report is:

    Valentine, Tom (1987) “Magnetics may hold key to ozone layer problems,” Magnets,
    2(1) 18-26.

    I’m having a hard time finding that … although I do find
    tom valentine national tattler

    and that yields …interesting… hits.

    This is one of the numerous bibliography entries that is never referenced … and although it has to compete with some other winners, it may be the most bogus.

  9. John Mashey

    I’ve often quoted Wegman:
    07/27/06 Testimony, p.6-7:
    “As we said in our report, “In a real sense the paleoclimate results of MBH98/99 are essentially irrelevant to the consensus on climate change. The instrumented temperature record since 1850 clearly
    indicates an increase in temperature.” We certainly agree that modern global warming is real. We have never disputed this point. We think it is time to put the ‘hockey stick’ controversy behind us and move on.”

    From Wegman’s C.V., Feb 2010::

    127. “The Kyoto Accord, The 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report and The Academic Papers
    Underpinning Them,” Joint Statistics Meeting, Seattle, WA, August, 2006

    132. “The Hockey Stick Controversy: Lessons for Statisticians,” Army Conference on Applied
    Statistics, Research Triangle Park, NC, October, 2006

    135. “Reanalysis of the Hockey Stick Paleoclimate Reconstruction,” Public Lecture,
    Distinguished Visiting Professor at the American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt, March,

    141. “20 Questions a Statistician Should Ask about Climate Change,” ASA Workshop on
    Climate Change, NCAR, Boulder, CO, October, 2007

    147. “Paleoclimate Temperature Reconstructions: Implications for Climate Change,” American
    Public Health Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, October, 2008

    178. “Implications of co-author networks on peer review,” with Yasmin H. Said, Walid K.
    Sharabati, John T. Rigsby in Classification and Data Analysis, Macerata, Italy: EUMEdizoni
    Università di Macerata, 245-248, 2007

    179. “Style of author-coauthor social networks,” with Yasmin H. Said, Walid K. Sharabati,
    John T. Rigsby, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, 52, 2177-2184, 2008;
    doi:10.1016/j.csda.2007.07.021, 2007 (title: sic)

    Said mentions getting (good) invitations to speak at The Annapolis Center… and George C. Marshall Institute, but I am not sure they actually went. And as of her Spetember 2006 talks, she claimed to be under contract to write a book.

    And Wegman actually did write a book, of which I hope DC will tell us the details, since I do not have a copy of this rare item.

  10. John Mashey

    Hmm, I thought I posted the wondrous outcome of the Tom Valentine investigation here, and if I did, you can dump this one. Otherwise, as elsewhere:

    The saga continues… inspired by DC, I’ve been examining the Wegman Report in detail. Plodding patience pays off… but the latest is an example of *breathtakingly-bizarre incompetence*.

    Many WR references were sourced through Barton staffer Peter Spencer, according to
    Yasmin Said p.5. I’ve been studying them, and I find BAD, WORSE, and AWFUL.

    Of the ~80 references in the Bibliography, only ~30 are actually referenced in the body. Some are totally irrelevant, a 1.5 page review of Wunsch(2006). That is about Dansgaard-Oscher events, rather irrelevant to Mann’s work, since the last occurrence was thousands of years before. Some of the “reviews of impo0rtant articles have yet *more* seeming cut-and-paste.

    In normal scholarship, when summarizing an article, one normally paraphrases to show that one understands it, or at least, block-quotes a few key pieces. One doesn’t do undergrad-level cut-and-paste. [This isn’t publicly written up yet, but will be, and will at least double the number of pages with problems like this. This will likely show up at Deep Cliamte’s place.]

    But ~50 of the ~80 references aren’t even referenced, and some might be OK, but that is a high fraction. There are many more irrelevant or “grey literature” references …

    At best, this is bad scholarship, consistent with someone else selecting many of their sources for people who have little clue about relevance or importance. Some references only seem to appear there to repeat common anti-science memes. This is why seeming plagiarism is just the most obvious hint that something is wrong and makes one dig deeper.

    But, Wegman, Scott, Said’s report included the following (unreferenced) “reference,” on p.57:

    __Valentine, Tom (1987) “Magnetics may hold key to ozone layer problems,” Magnets, 2(1) 18-26.__

    Without even seeing the article, it is unclear how a 1987 article about ozone layer in an (offbeat, non-scholarly) technology journal could have *anything* to do with the purported investigation of 1998-1999 papers on temperature reconstructions.

    It turns out (H/T Michael Tobis & Anna Haynes) that Tom Valentine has written about topics mentioned below, as well as psychic surgery. He was the editor of “Magnets” 1988-1991, a step up from his earlier writing for the “National Tattler,” but not a scholarly journal. He later ran a talk show that among other things promoted the dreaded “black helicopters.”
    fuel-less engines
    suppresion of inventions, H/T MTp
    his bio, read carefully, H/T AH
    promoted the black helicopters

    While Wegman, Scott, and Said did this pro bono, the salaries of everybody else involved in the House were paid for by US taxpayers … and we got scholarship of this quality, because NAS was “unlikely” to address all of Mr. Barton’s concerns.”

    [DC: Dunno why, but I had to fish this out of the spam filter. ]

  11. Paul Middents

    Forecasting the ash plume:

    Jeff Masters has the best summary I have found. The models, which did quite well, are not climate models.

  12. A Guardian story on the hypocrisy of Sarah Palin concerning privacy and emails.

    Editor James Randerson throws in a right royal doozy in the comments that I’d never seen before.

    “Sarah Palin never thought of herself as an investigator. Yet there she was, hacking uncomfortably into Randy Ruedrich’s computer, looking for evidence that the state Republican Party boss had broken the state ethics law while a member of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission…”


  13. Open letter: Climate change and the integrity of science

    Full text of an open letter from 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences in defence of climate research

    It ends…

    “Much more can be, and has been, said by the world’s scientific societies, national academies, and individuals, but these conclusions should be enough to indicate why scientists are concerned about what future generations will face from business- as-usual practices. We urge our policymakers and the public to move forward immediately to address the causes of climate change, including the unrestrained burning of fossil fuels.

    We also call for an end to McCarthy- like threats of criminal prosecution against our colleagues based on innuendo and guilt by association, the harassment of scientists by politicians seeking distractions to avoid taking action, and the outright lies being spread about them. Society has two choices: we can ignore the science and hide our heads in the sand and hope we are lucky, or we can act in the public interest to reduce the threat of global climate change quickly and substantively. The good news is that smart and effective actions are possible. But delay must not be an option.”

    Let’s see how that’s handled by Watts and co. I suspect it will be more telling than usual.

  14. There is, finally, a published rebuttal to the extraordinary paper by Gerlich and Tsheuschner in IJMP(B). And at the same time, there is a reply by G&T to the rebuttal.

    This is scraping the bottom of the barrel of arguments against AGW. There is good discussion at the Rabbet Run; I am collecting all the blog links I can find at Duae Quartunciae; Stoat puts in his oar; and there is a new Climate Physics Forums bulletin board with a thread for discussion of the rebuttal and reply.

    I’m plugging here unashamedly. I am the admin of the bulletin board, and also one of the authors of the rebuttal, and I blog at Duae Quartunciae.

    Giving all the relevant links is overload. Click on my name for the bulletin board. Search for the blog posts; there will be more of them coming up, I guess. And here is the journal link:

    The abstracts for the rebuttal and reply can be found online at the pages for IJMP(B), Vol 24, Iss 10, Apr 20, 2010. The rebuttal and reply are:

    Comment On “Falsification Of The Atmospheric Co2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics”, by Joshua B. Halpern, Christopher M. Colose, Chris Ho-Stuart, Joel D. Shore, Arthur P. Smith and Jörg Zimmermann.

    Reply To “Comment On ‘Falsification Of The Atmospheric Co2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics’, by Joshua B. Halpern, Christopher M. Colose, Chris Ho-Stuart, Joel D. Shore, Arthur P. Smith, Jörg Zimmermann”, by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner

    [DC: It is indeed unfortunate that you and your co-authors had to spend time on this, but it is very important to respond to papers that are so obviously flawed. Let me add my congratulations and heartfelt thanks to you and the rest of the writing team. ]

  15. W. J. Holly, Ph.D.

    A colleague recently emailed me a copy of the Lead Letter in Science magazine, May 7, 2010, entitled “Climate Change and the Integrity of Science.” My friend is a scientist, he is a believer in AGW, and he thought the letter was “authoritative.” I, on the other hand, am only a Philosophy instructor. But, I must say that every time I read that letter, I get angrier and more disgusted. With the publication of this letter (a despicable, lowly political hack job), the magazine and all the signers relinquish all claim to scientific integrity.
    There is not one solid thing to hold onto in this letter. This letter is full of the most foul ad hominems, it whines and plays the victim, it makes vague complaints and vague accusations (omitting any particulars, so that any reply would be impossible), begs the question by simply making bold assertion, illegitmately uses appeal to authority and appeal to concensus, whitewashes the climategate affair (calling it McCarthy-like to attack their friends, again without bothering to mention specific charges like stonewalling FOI requests). They even have their own version of Pascal’s wager, though it is a wager about the truth of AWG, not about the existence of God. Can you find it? They even smear some of my heroes like Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein, seeming to suggest that they were in it to build reputations and gain recognition. NO! These were men possessed by the quest for scientific truth and understanding.
    Any person who cannot see that discourse on this level has no place in scientific debate is a person who has no moral integrity. I am going to deconstruct this stupid letter line by line, and maybe you all would like to sign a copy and send a complaint to the so-called Science magazine, to the U.S academy of sciences, and maybe even one to Inhof and the Attorney General of Virginia. So,here is your assignment. If you are smart enough to know that AGW is true, are you smart enough to locate the ad hominems in the Integrity of Science letter, and are you smart enough to say why such fallacious reasoning has no place in scientific discussion? By the way, you don’t need a Ph.D. in Philosophy or a statement by the American Philosophical Association to know that ad hominem is scum-bag argumentation and that it is wrong. Cheers.

    [DC: The wide difference of opinion between you and your scientist colleague is a microcosm of the gulf between scientists and some portions of the general public. It also appears that you have no objection to the initiatives of Senator Inhofe and the Virginia Attorney General.

    You are entitled to your opinion, however ill-informed it may be. However, I must warn you in advance that your initial comment is already overly long, and it certainly would be unacceptable to post a “line-by-line” critique. So please publish it elsewhere, and if you like you can point to it here. Thanks! ]

    • By the way, you don’t need a Ph.D. in Philosophy or a statement by the American Philosophical Association to know that ad hominem is scum-bag argumentation and that it is wrong. Cheers.

      By golly, Holly, you’ve just proven yourself to be wrong!

      All together, now, in honor of the upcoming World Cup competition …

      OWN GOAL!

  16. Formerly secret military base under Greenland icecap (abandoned early because of unexpectedly rapid movement of the ice).

    Hat tip to Metafilter:

    First ice core drilled to bedrock in Greenland; first atomic reactor used under the ice; first discovery that the icecap was far more active than imagined. Lots of firsts here
    “During the reactor’s operational life, a total of 47,078 gallons of radioactive liquid waste was discharged into the icecap.”

    Oh, good move. At least they know how much.

    [DC: Yikes! ]

  17. > 47,078 gallons of radioactive liquid waste
    > was discharged into the icecap

    Come to think of it, that would be an excellent tracer to look for, downhill and downstream of the site — noting that much of Greenland is below sea level inside a ring of mountains, so it wouldn’t necessarily reach the ocean, but might turn up in other drill cores if there’s liquid moving under the ice cap.

  18. Vermont State Climatologist: Why Is That Link Still There?

    The VSC is prominently linking a Fraser Institute document that is filled with errors and misleading/missing information. Although alerted to this over 6 months ago, the link is still there! Detailed story linked above.

  19. Rick Baartman

    An interesting paper about record-setting days.
    Demonstrates that there is an excess of record hots, and a deficiency of record colds. It’s not a lot, but it’s unequivocal.

  20. The VSC page has been updated — they promised an update this week, and it was done on schedule.
    Check it out, good work deserves encouragement.
    And if you find problems, you know what to do.

  21. I created this website for information about Illinois congressional candidates’ positions on climate and energy policies. I am new to blogger, so it is still a work in progress.

  22. DC, have you noticed the recent fiddling with the trend lines over at the UAH satellite:

    It looks like they are updating the dynamic graph and replacing the AMSU-A data with the Aqua data. In the process it looks like that 20 year record highs-trace has vanished. You know, the one that was quite spectacularly below this year’s trace much of the time.

    -25 month-smoothing instead of 13-month smoothing

    -new versions that took off the top of record monthly anomalies

    -the disappearance of the 20 year record high trend line

    Do I see a pattern here?

    [DC: Hmmm … I do know that the AQUA satellite is the one actually used by UAH. I’m not sure why the 20-year trend line has disappeared. However, it is worth noting this is not an “official” UAH page (that’s run by John Christy). This page is under the control of Roy Spencer.

    One good thing about AQUA – there is no spurious warming as far as I can see. 2002 and 2007 don’t show up though.

    I’m not sure your second point fits with the others. The annual cycle was a real problem and had to be fixed. And RSS did not show record anomalies in those months either. In fact, respective long term trends in UAH and RSS are closer than ever right now (UAH has “caught up” a lot in recent years). However, one could question the timing of the change, since the problem was known for a long time before.

    N.B. Anyone wanting to check this out – remember to use channel 5. ]

  23. Thanks, DC.

    However, it is worth noting this is not an “official” UAH page (that’s run by John Christy). This page is under the control of Roy Spencer.

    I didn’t know this! Very interesting info.

    However, one could question the timing of the change, since the problem was known for a long time before.

    That’s exactly what I question, not that it’s so important. The news that Spencer is behind most of it makes sense. I always thought he was the more pseudo-skeptic of the two. I actually don’t have much of a problem with Christy.

  24. Holly Stick

    Did you hear As It Happens tonight, June 22? In the first half hour they talked to Kevin Timoney, an Alberta scientist that the Alberta government had to apologize to. (it can be heard on Past Shows or as a Podcast)

    From CBC Edmonton website (it’s not on the Calgary one that I can see)

  25. Prof. David Greenwood’s comment at Climatesight is a must read for its conciseness and lucidity. What I’d call a model for explaining the subject to the layman.