Open Thread #8

I’m working on two or three projects that are taking a little more time than I would like. But in the mean time, here’s a new thread for open discussion of climate science and related matters not discussed in other recent threads.

260 responses to “Open Thread #8

  1. I’ll start the ball rolling.

    I’ve seen some dribs and drabs about the Lisbon meeting on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate. So I went to Nick Stokes’ Moyhu and asked some of the obvious questions. (I also commented that it looked like a “lukewarmer”-“skeptic” dialogue pending further info).

    Nick responded with a list of participants (the first I have seen).

    Update – Deep Climate asked for the list of participants. Here it is, as circulated at the meeting:

    Jerome Ravetz: James Martin Institute, Oxford Univ., UK
    James Risbey: CSIRO, AUS
    Jeroen van der Sluijs: Univ. Utrecht, NL
    Alice Benessia: Univ. Torino, IT
    Tom Boersen: Aalborg University Copenhagen, DK
    Judith Curry: School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Ga Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GE, USA
    Steve Goddard: Science and Public Policy Inst., VA, USA
    Sofia Guedes Vaz: New Univ. of Lisbon, PT
    Bill Hartree: UK Measurement Institute, UK
    Werner Krauss: Center for Mediterranean Studies, Bochum, DE
    Steve McIntyre: Climate Audit, CAN
    Ross McKitrick: Department of Economics – University of Guelph, CAN
    Jean-Paul Malingreau: European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Steve Mosher: Independent consultant, USA
    Ana Lopez: London School of Economics, UK
    Fred Pearce: The Guardian, UK
    Tiago Pedrosa: New Univ. of Lisbon, PT
    Roger Tattersall: Leeds Univ., UK
    Gerald Traufetter: Spiegel, DE
    Louise Romain: The Center for Nonviolent Communication
    Viriato Soromenho Marques: Univ. of Lisbon, PT
    Nick Stokes: CSIRO, AUS
    Peter Webster: School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GE, USA
    Hans Von Storch: Meteorological Institute, Univ. Of Hamburg
    Ângela Guimarães: Pereira European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Silvio Funtowicz: European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Ines Crespo: European Commission – Joint Research Centre
    Paula Curvelo: European Commission – Joint Research Centre

    So we have both McIntyre and McKitrick, plus prominent “lukewarmers” Curry and von Storch. And two journalists: Fred Pearce (the Guardian) and Gerald Traufetter (der Spiegel). So we probably will be hearing more about this in due course.

    Fred Pearce’s record of misguided reporting on “climategate” (to put it charitably) is well known. I don’t know Traufetter’s work, but first impressions are not promising.,1518,662092,00.html

  2. Looks like Traufetter can give Pearce a good run in the race to the bottom:

    The scientists at the Hadley Center simply used the global average value for the hole, ignoring the fact that it has become significantly warmer in the Arctic, says Rahmstorf. But a NASA team from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which does make the kinds of adjustments for the Arctic data that Rahmstorf believes are necessary, arrives at a flat temperature curve for the last five years that is similar to that of their British colleagues.

    This was written towards the end of 2009, so I guess the “last five years” means 2005-2009. But almost any earlier starting point would show the divergence between GISTemp and HadCrut.

  3. Well thank heavens Steve Goddard from the SPPI is going to be there. I was worried the thing would lack credibility.

  4. Actually, I think it’s over already.

    In her wrap up, Judith Curry touts a PowerPoint presentation and a paper by Lisbon organizer Jeroen van der Sluijs.

    She concludes:

    Note: tell me how all this sounds, and whether you object to any of it. Think about this before I tell you that I carefully excised the words “postnormal” in the text (it was used about 4 times in the text i lifted from van der Sluijs’ work) and I also excised the name “Ravetz”. If you don’t see the word “postnormal,” I suspect that there is far less objection to the actual concepts.

    But one word she didn’t excise was “alarmist” – because that slide didn’t make it into Curry’s post. So here it is:

    How does science-policy interface cope with uncertainties
    Two strategies dominate:
    • Overselling certainty to promote political decisions (enforced consensus), or
    • Overemphasising uncertainty to prevent political action

    Both promote decision strategies that are not fit for meeting the challenges posed by the uncertainties and complexities faced.

    Need for a third voice next to alarmists and skeptics: PNS is crucial to cope with uncertainty, scientific dissent & plurality in science for policy. [Emphasis added]

    “Alarmist”s vs “skeptics”. That’s how the “reconciliation” organizers are framing the “climate science debate”.

    I certainly hope that Fred Pearce isn’t taking this tripe seriously. But I fear the worst.

  5. DC,
    “I certainly hope that Fred Pearce isn’t taking this tripe seriously. But I fear the worst.

    Actually, the “skeptics” are alarmist….”addressing AGW will destroy our economy” etc.

    I’m afraid that your fears concerning Pearce are justified–bad enough that he was at the”conference”. Now this, the following post of mine is stuck in moderation at CP (I had not yet read your latest post when I drafted this):

    “Check this out: deltoid/ 2011/ 02/ monckton_myths.php#comments

    Follow the link to Jo Abess. Here is a list of Monckton’s allies (and enemies) from his email that he cc’d Jo Abbess on:

    “To: Hans Schreuder, Rupert Wyndham, John Gahan Cc: Climate Science Google Group, Brice Bosnich, Christopher Booker, James Delingpole, John Christy, Nigel Lawson, Paul Reiter, Richard S. Lindzen, S. Fred Singer, BBC Radio Times Editor, Benny Peiser, Gabriel (Gabe) Rychert, Sally Allix, Angela Kelly, jo abbess, Mark Thompson (BBC), Caroline Thompson (BBC), Anthony Bright-Paul, Tony Nicholls, Andrew Montford, Humphrey Morison, David Bellamy, Sonja A. Boehmer-Christiansen, Charles Wyndham, Colin Bradshaw, Piers Corbyn, Peter Sissons, Philip Stott, David Evans, Fred Pearce, CWS, James Naughtie (BBC), John Humphrys (BBC), John Brignall, Kenneth Haapala, Rodney Leach, Physics Services, Melanie Phillips, Andrew Revkin, The Tablet, Andrew Tyrie (UK Parliament), Masters Secretary Trinity College Cambridge, Anthony Watts (Watts Up With That)“

    Lindzen and Christy seem to be amongst Monckton’s confidants, as are Watts, Piers Corbyn, Singer, Delingpole, and the editor of of Energy & Environment (Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen). Now why would the editor of a journal be on Monckton’s list? One of many strikes against Energy and Environment (a journal sympathetic to second-rate science pushed by “skeptics”). And why are journos Fred Pearce and Andy Revkin on there?

    There are other interesting names there…but I’ll leave those for others to speak to. But Lindzen, Christy, Revkin, Pearce and Boehmer-Christiansen have to come clean on what is going on here.

    Tut tut, what a mess. They are tying themselves in knots trying to obfuscate and detract attention from the unfortunate reality that is AGW/ACC.

  6. I wouldn’t read too much into Revkin’s and Pearce’s presence on Monckton’s email list. And, in general, I think the “skeptic” scientists (e.g. Christy) are mostly embarrassed by him – and well they should be.

    I also know that Revkin was the subject of bitter complaints by Monckton in 2009, so I’m sure there’s no love lost there.

  7. How surreal. Judith Curry is proposing to resolve or “reconcile” the so-called “debate” between the pejoratively designated “alarmists” and the very generously described “skeptics,” such as McIntyre and McKittrick, simply by positioning herself and her ilk in the “middle,” which is where, of course, any reasonable person with no expertise would want to place their trust, wouldn’t they? After all, isn’t this climate stuff just a matter of opinion, like I heard on Faux News? Science by bipartisan compromise–from what little I know this has always been the way our knowledge of the physical world has advanced. English was good enough for Jesus, so it’s good enough for me, so I learnt from those excellent Texas schoolbooks. Sure, ya betcha.

    Next, why not have a debate in the Senate and let them vote on it? Then we can all stop arguing and enjoy our coal-fired power plants for another 50-200 years.

    Since this was supposed to be an effort toward “reconciliation” of two supposedly extreme points of view (actually, one view that is based on science, and the other , based on delusional wishful thinking) would it be inappropriate to ask whether any, um, *climate science* was discussed at this meeting? Or was it just various and sundry opinions of same?

    • Look at the attendance list: there were very few climate scientists at the meeting, so actually discussing climate science may have been problematic for the simple reason that most would not understand much of the discussion anyway. It’s quite telling, for me at least, that there were so few European climate scientists (one: Hans von Storch), and that the two climate scientists from the US were from the same place (Judith Curry and Peter Webster). From what I have seen and read, James Risbey is the most ‘alarmist’ on climate change. I wonder whether his head hurt after being surrounded by so many pseudo-skeptics.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      We did have a (non) vote on it in the Senate a few months back…. The side with 40 votes won 😦

  8. Don’t get too crazy about Revkin being on the list.

    Either Monckton wanted to spray this around and have people see who he was sending to, or else he doesn’t know about BCC.

  9. It’s concerning to see James Naughtie and John Humphrys on that list. Both have possibly sqeptical leanings but, unlike Peter Sissons who is out-and-out sqeptical, still work for theBBC. Maybe he’s just fishing by including them on there.

    I’m assuming that Caroline Thompson is actually Caroline Thomson, the Chief Operating Officer who has responsibility for legal policies including FoI.

    On the subject of the ‘reconciliation’ conference I asked on Curry’s blog if they could see a problem with labelling the two poles of the deabte ‘sceptics’ and ‘alarmists’ – seems not. The idea that using labels, one pejorative and the other self-congratulatory, both originating from one side and both of which apply more accurately to the other side, in a reconciliation conference is indeed surreal.

  10. PolyisTCOandbanned

    People like Moshpit call themselves lukewarmers. Applying it to Curry or Von Storch or Zorita is just confusing things. come up with a new moniker.

  11. I get the impression Monckton thinks his words are so righteous he’d CC James Hansen.

    I know Fred Pearce gets a bad rap, and I disagree entirely with his views on many of the email’s contents, but don’t be too hard on him (I emphasise ‘too’). What you see on the web is not necessarily everything in the printed versions. One of his first Guardian articles on the emails was expanded in print, with clear and unequivocable attacks on deniers which didn’t make it into the web version, as they were inserted amongst the main article. He was actually far harsher on the likes of Michaels than he was on Jones IIRC, which I remember being relieved at when reading it on a train.

    • Just read Fred’s piece on Lisbon in New Scientist (and left him a question there).

      Retracted 100%.

  12. Follow the link to Jo Abess. Here is a list of Monckton’s allies (and enemies) from his email that he cc’d Jo Abbess on

    I like the part where Montford whines about Abbess supposedly violating the Data Protection Act by publishing the list of e-mail addresses. Yet another datapoint confirming that ‘sceptics’ have no sense of irony.

  13. Reconcilliation with whom? Its a complete hodge podge of whines about climate science. Goddarrd is in the same league as UFO people and 9/11 troofers while McKitrick is a real accademic. They swing between Moshers 2-3C sensitivity but its not worth taking action through to people like Tallbloke who has his pet ‘climate change caused by the position of the planets’ schtick.

    Its nothing but a bunch of bloggers demanding attention.

  14. See rabett on the funding of the Lisbon event;
    also, Gavin explains why he didn’t go, expresses “no regrets.”

  15. BCL, thanks for that. The Google translation was quite incomprehensible.

  16. Two key passages from the Traufetter piece:

    Steve McIntyre:
    “Climate scientists must be required to publish information that is contrary to their predictions just as investment bankers are”, said McIntyre in Lisbon. Otherwise, he demanded, they should face sanctions. “The managers of Enron did not go to jail for losing billions, but because they misled investors by withholding information.” With statements such as these, he provoked his opponents at least as effectively as with his numerous requests for the release of the raw data on which their graphs are based.

    Judith Curry:

    While some want to save the world of a heat shock, others claim they want to protect mankind from an eco-dictatorship. Mainstream climatologists, however, do not participate in a battle for the truth, because the latter is clearly on their side. They consider all reservations about their own claims to be pure nonsense and reply that the scientific debate was settled long ago.

    “This is a mistake,” says Judith Curry in Lisbon. The geophysicist from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta was one of the first who got involved in discussions with the sceptics. Since then, she has become a pariah – and battles on her blog against her opponents. “The uncertainties in climate models are researched completely inadequately. The science establishment attempts to conceal this fact from the public,” said Curry.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      “The managers of Enron did not go to jail for losing billions, but because they misled investors by withholding information.”

      Yeah, that’s the ticket. What he conveniently forgets is that there are already sanctions on intentionally misleading your readers about the science: it’s called academic misconduct, or scientific fraud. If done with federal money, the worst case sanction for that can indeed be jail time. And if McIntyre really has a problem with this kind of behaviour, there would be some rewarding auditing targets for him among his friends…

      What he also conveniently forgets is that scientists don’t make a profit on their predictions. They make a career on getting it right — or as right as they can. Any “sanctions” of the kind McIntyre apparently has in mind will simply lead to the only folks capable of making credible predictions, refusing to do so. We will still be facing the same climate change, but blindfolded. Yeah, smart thinking.

  17. Andrew Freedman, of the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, has a “muddled middle” discussion of Kevin Trenberth’s AMS presentation, touching on Lisbon “reconciliation” effort as well. Just like Traufetter, he manages to avoid the real issues very well, as pointed out in comments there.

  18. ““The uncertainties in climate models are researched completely inadequately. The science establishment attempts to conceal this fact from the public,” said Curry.”

    Well, that would be a blatant lie– has she not read AR4? How about Michaels failing to provide error bars on his “key” graph when he misled Congress recently– Judith was in the room, how did she miss that?

    And what is this “establishment ” of which she speaks? More denialists chum. “Reconciliation” my “expletive”!

    God help us all….

  19. lisbon meeting sounds like a complete waste of time. next.

  20. To be fair to Curry, there may have been some subtle changes engendered in the translation from English to German and back again, although the GWPF translation does seem to match the German text (except it has been divided into two sentences, for some reason). But I’ll defer to German speakers on that point.

    Here is Traufetter’s piece in German:,1518,742612,00.html

    Curry’s quote:

    “Die Unsicherheiten in den Klimamodellen sind noch vollkommen unzureichend erforscht, und die etablierte Forschung versucht, diesen Umstand vor der Öffentlichkeit zu verschweigen”, sagt Curry.

    Google translation:

    “The uncertainties in climate models are still being researched completely inadequate, and the established research attempts to conceal that fact from the public,” said Curry.

    GWPF translation:

    “The uncertainties in climate models are researched completely inadequately. The science establishment attempts to conceal this fact from the public,” said Curry.

    • Babel fish:
      “The uncertainties in the climatic models are still perfectly insufficiently investigated, and the established research tries to conceal this circumstance before the public”
      “The uncertainties in climate models are still being researched completely inadequate, and the established research attempts to conceal that fact from the public”

  21. Andreas Fuchs

    As a German I would prefer the google translation.
    Instead of “inadequately” I would prefer “insufficiently”, but that’s only a slight difference.
    But take into account, that not the google-Translation from Traufetters german text ist the critical translation step. I wouldn’t be surprised, if Traufetter’s version of Curry’s statements are not quite adequate.

    • That’s right (which is why I mentioned that initial step). We can’t check Traufetter’s German rendition of what Curry actually said in English, although we can check the second step from German back to English. I guess it will be up to Curry to clarify what she meant exactly.

      The classic example of this sort of problem is the translation of “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. That was supposedly translated into Russian and then back to English as “The vodka is good, but the meat is rotten”. Or so goes the (possibly apocryphal) story.

    • On second thought, there is a pretty big difference between the “science establishment” and “established research”. The first (from the GWPF) makes more sense, but is it a reasonable translation of the German?

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > [science establishment] is it a reasonable translation of the German?

      I think yes (fairly fluent in school German)

  22. DC,

    I know some German. “Verschweigen”, IIRC, means to hide or conceal….no ifs or buts. Curry’s narrative was meant to be pejorative.

  23. “Steve McIntyre:
    “Climate scientists must be required . . . ”

    Our good Mr. McIntyre boldly volunteers to be named science dictator.

    [DC: The rest has been edited – that goes too far and overgeneralizes. I’m sure you can make your point more precisely and circumspectly.]

  24. One wonders whether McIntyre has ever actually worked in a real business. To be sure, the Enron managers deserved to go to jail for fraud, their conduct was egregious. But the kind of misreporting that McIntyre alleges–and gets so worked up about–in regard to climate scientists is commonplace and legal practice when companies report results to shareholders. Poorly performing projects are downplayed, good ones hyped. Last year’s performance metric that the company was so proud of then is replaced by a different metric that makes this year’s results look good. Communication experts advise executives how to frame their presentations and how to change the subject when asked an awkward question. Lawyers provide advice on the boundary between acceptable spin and actionable fraud. Graphics designers and photographers help produce annual reports that show the company to be a Potemkin Village of happy workers and spotless operations.

    In short, “hiding the decline” for corporate executives is not an unfortunate choice of words in a private email but, rather, a big part of their job description.

  25. The “skeptic” vs “alarmist” narrative reminds me of the bias found in a textbook, the comparison being “skeptic” vs “activist”.

    “Science doesn’t know whether we are experiencing a dangerous level of global warming or how bad the greenhouse effect is, if it exists at all. [p. 569]”

    “Activist scientists say that the earth is getting warmer; skeptical ones note that the earth’s atmosphere has been getting cooler.”

    “Skeptic” is a neutral term. All scientists are skeptics.”

    “Activist” of course has negative connotations – implies scientific statements are tainted with political bias. “Alarmist” is similar although mainly suggests that statements made are not supported with a robust argument.

    Some of the statements made by McIntyre and Curry here are disgraceful.

  26. If you guys are interested in some quality entertainment, I recommend the comment section in the “slaying” thread over at climate etc. :

    Among other things, Curry is now basically in full attack mode, calling septics politically motivated, cranks, in denial of physics…

    We also learn that Energy & Environment “doesn’t even merit an impact rating by webofscience.” 🙂

    There is still some fire in this dragon, aye.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Rocco, so what you’re saying is, she accepts basic radiative physics? That’s nice… and, she must be right, because Steve Mosher does so too 😉

  27. Deep,

    While I understand your initial reaction, I don’t think it’s warranted.

    Consider the paraphrasing of vd Sluijs’ (who is definitely not a climate “skeptic” btw) words as follows: There is a need for a third strategy next to overselling certainty and overemphasising uncertainty.

    Of course, the number 3 is just chosen so as to postion one’s own strategy in the middle. In reality there’s a whole spectrum of opinions. But in order for science to regain public credibility as offering the most likely explanation for physical events, it needs to position itself in that middle ground. The scientific consensus is by its nature the middle ground of scientific opinions (see e.g. the bell-shaped curve of respondents in this survey: )

    I.e. we should try to shift the overton window in the public perception back towards reality ( ) and of course neither overselling certainty nor overselling uncertainty are good strategies. There’s nothing to object to in that statement.

    • Bart,
      How does legitimizing the indefensible attacks on climate science and scientists by McIntyre, McKitrick, Watts etc. move the overton window “back towards reality”?

      The implicit position of the organizers (and explicitly of many others who position themselves in the so-called “middle”) is that the IPCC WG1 is itself guilty of “overselling certainty” (or worse). Sorry, that’s a non-starter and a completely absurd characterization of the “climate science debate”.

  28. Andreas Fuchs

    “On second thought, there is a pretty big difference between the “science establishment” and “established research”

    That’s why I recommended the google-translation, “established science” is correct. Notice also the important word “still” in the google-translation.

    But my experiences with SPIEGEL-author Traufetter tells me not to make too deep thougts about his statements. I think, he wrote down something several hours later after hearing Curry speaking. Why don’t you ask Curry herself?

    • Why don’t I ask Curry? Oh, I don’t know, maybe something to do with being unjustly accused of being responsible for “one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen”. Or her continued refusal to condemn false accusations and political attacks on climate scientists. Or the general impenetrability and incoherence of her posts on uncertainty and other climate science topics.

      But I will follow – an excellent distillation of the “best” of Curry.

  29. Here’s a new letter to Congress from the “alarmists” (a.k.a. leading scientists):

    Congress should, we believe, hold hearings to understand climate science and what it says about the likely costs and benefits of action and inaction. It should not hold hearings to attempt to intimidate scientists or to substitute ideological judgments for scientific ones. We urge our elected leaders to work together to focus the nation on what the science is telling us, particularly with respect to impacts now occurring around the country.

    Already, there is far more carbon in the air than at any time in human history, with more being generated every day. Climate change is underway and the severity of the risks we face is compounded by delay.

    We look to you, our representatives, to address the challenge of climate change, and lead the national response. We and our colleagues are prepared to assist you as you work to develop a rational and practical national policy to address this important issue.

    I discovered that via a vitriolic Steve Milloy attack on Michael Mann, reprinted in Canada Free Press:

    In addition to choking off funding for the EPA, Congress needs to stop taxpayer funding of Mann et al.

    Mann et al. try old lie on new Congress

    Middle ground anyone? Bart?

  30. For those who don’t know the background on Fox News commentator and PR disinformation specialist Milloy:

    As late as 2006, Fox claimed to be unaware of Milloy’s well-documented ties to Phillip-Morris and Exxon-Mobil.

  31. @ deep climate

    Ok, thanks to “curryquotes” I do understand now.

    As a German I know more of another “honest broker” and another visitor of the Lisboa-conference, Hans von Storch.

    Fred Pearce writes in an article in the newscientist:

    Few at the meeting doubted that climate change was a real issue that the world had to address, but they said the science had been corrupted. They agreed with von Storch, who told a public meeting after the workshop that “too much climate science is done not out of curiosity but to support a preconceived agenda”.

    • Well that sounds like “middle ground” all right – somewhere between mainstream climate scientists and the likes of Milloy.

    • As much as I disagree with a few points in that Pearce article, it does give me some insight into what was going on there, none of it surprising, if Pearce’s first hand information is correct. So the key to “skeptic” Post-Normal-Science and reconciliation includes:


      …only if all accept what they dubbed “the uncertainty monster”…


      “too much climate science is done not out of curiosity but to support a preconceived agenda”


      Most in Lisbon saw this as a scandalous example of IPCC editors taking sides in an unresolved debate, and of how “scientific findings were judged according to their political utility”.


      Third, most agreed that there was no scientific basis for the world adopting a target to prevent global warming going above 2 °C. It was “arbitrary”, they said, and cooked up by climate scientists with a political agenda.

      Fair Play!

      They agreed with von Storch that peer review was riven with conflicts of interest.

      So a bunch of bloggers camp out for 3 days and the best they could come up with is same talking points that are stated prominently on their blogs? Reconciliation indeed!

  32. DC,

    I think you should do a critique of the Pearce Piece that Abdreas kindly linked us to…I just posted this at NewScientist:


    This piece, (like your gross misrepresentation of Mojib Latif’s speech at the third World Climate Conference in 2009), is riddled with errors. Not to mention clearly being sympathetic towards the “skeptics” and being uncritical of the nefarious actions of the people like Mosher, McIntyre and Curry. These people want the best of both worlds, they attack, slander and defame climate scientists and then at the same time expect to be treated with respect and claim to want to “reconcile”. This is nothing but PR campaign by the “skeptics” Fred, and I’m sad to see that it seems you have bought it hook-line and sinker.

    Some points, there were probably not 28 climate scientists at the conference. Do you consider Goddard a climate scientist? McIntyre is not a statistician by training. You misrepresented Dr. Gavin Schmidt’s position on attending the conference (go to Eli Rabett’s place for clarification)– it seems that you did not solicit his opinion before writing this. The “workshop” was also financed by the Gulbenkian Foundation– do some research on them Fred, they have ties to big oil.

    The scientific literature has shown again and again that the observed warming can not be explained by ENSO or PDO or other internal climate modes, because they simply move heat around in the system. Trenberth et al. (2002, JGR) showed that +0.06 C of the +0.4 C warming (about 15%) observed between 1950 and 1998 was attributable to trends in ENSO.These internal climate modes are internal drivers which can act to mute or enhance the underlying warming trend from higher CO2, they cannot and do not explain the fact that the planet is in a net positive energy imbalance (Murphy et al. 2009). How can the climate scientists you and the “skeptics” are chastising be indifferent to these internal climate modes and oscillations when they have published papers specifically to investigate their role? Please think about this…the “skeptics” love to make unsubstantiated and unsupported claims, because they know they cannot back them up. What does count in this game of “skeptics” is rhetoric, innuendo and opinions, not facts.

    This is yet another astounding example of the media failing us. To say I am disappointed by your partisan and uncritical and error riddled piece would be a gross understatement.

    I would complain to your editors, but previous experience has shown me that NewScientist has no interest in acknowledging or retracting errors on the climate file, especially it seems when those errors are made by you.

    For what it is worth I urge you to please correct the errors pointed out to you here and to revise or retract your piece. Thank you.”

    • In Pearce’s only defense, he didn’t say all 28 were climate scientists. They were “28 climate scientists, bloggers and professional contrarians”.

      The Pearce piece is definitely a hack job by a sloppy journalist.

    • You are right MarkB. I have elaborated at NS.

  33. Deep,

    I agree with you.

    However, the point I was addressing is that vd Sluijs wrote that a third stragety is needed between over- and underselling certainty. And of course it is.

    I think the difference between your and mine reaction to that is that you presumably interpret that as an accusation that the science is overselling certainty.

    I chose to interpret it that the middle strategy is what’s called science. That’s how I honestly think about it, and whether vd Sluijs also meant that or not, I don’t know. But I do know that it’s important to portray science as that middle strategy, which is its rightful place.

    By saying this I don’t imply that this workshop is a good step towards that goal; I don’t know. The collection of particpants don’t seem conducive to that, though in principle I applaud “reconciliation” efforts. That’s a different issue though than I was trying to bring up here.

    • Bart,

      With the utmost respect (I mean that– you are one of the few voices of reason in this battle), if you honestly think that the participants at the Lisbon meeting are operating in good faith, then you are allowing yourself to be played. I am very confident that this was nothing more than a PR campaign and a sham– the list of participants, and the actions of those participants in the recent and distant past support that.

      Regardless, of what they say– it was not about “reconciliation”, nor was it about sincerely addressing any legitimate concerns about “uncertainty”. It was an effort to frame the debate on their terms and to try and formalize their beliefs and to add some sorely lacking legitimacy to said beliefs. Further, the list of participants were clearly not qualified to speak to uncertainty.

      All people out of the loop hear, the sound bite if you will, is that the “skeptics” extended an olive branch and are concerned about the science, but were rebutted by those cadre of main stream scientists who claim the science is settled. They then seduced a gullible journalist to print as much in a prominent science magazine. Goal achieved– yet another myth created and yet another speaking point fabricated to rile the frothing mob of contrarians and denialists.

      Please don’t fall for it.

    • Most of the examples of what is considered “overselling uncertainty” by those putting forth this argument are utterly bogus. We’ve seen Curry do this with the IPCC and climate sensitivity, for example.

      “Need for a third voice next to alarmists and skeptics”

      The use of these terms aside, such a voice already exists within the full body of scientific literature and the IPCC. The Curry crowd tries to frame mainstream climate science as alarmist and corrupt and thus the need for her “post-normal” brand to be the middle ground. It’s a lot of self-serving nonsense that attracts those who aren’t interested in advancing science.

  34. Andrew Weaver is suing Tim Ball over that CFP article. Desmogblog has a pdf of the Notice of Civil Claim, which includes a list of third party websites:

  35. I’ve posted this video a number of times elsewhere, and it’s worth posting here. I reckon Gavin Schmidt sums it up nicely, and it’s clear that he’s thought long and hard on the subject which led him to his decision to not go to Lisbon as it did not intend to address the core issues that he [seems to] believe have given cause for any need for reconciliation.

    Gavin Schmidt talks about the politics of climate change. (video)

    If the attendees at Lisbon had seen that, I believe it would have given them a better idea of what it was they should have been talking about, instead of falling into default “geek mode” which is where their comfort zone probably lies. There may have been good intent, but I just can’t convince myself that it was destined for anything other than failure.

    Better to get Greenpeace, WWF, Heartland, Climate Camp, CEI, Grantham Institute, et al, around the table, as they’re the main players in the science-policy interface when it comes down to it, and represent any ideological or political divide. Otherwise, it’s just a discussion of whether crank or blog science trumps mainstream science as far as I can tell. If only the glorious Mo Mowlam were still alive she could have kicked everyone into shape, and she was of the calibre needed to get things “resolved”.

  36. “Geek mode”? More like wannabe geek mode.

    I’m pretty sure that only Curry, Webster and v Storch could have a chance of understanding even the words of a true blue, gold-plated climate science geek. Let alone the calculations and analysis of the real deal.

    Gavin’s absolutely right. They’re just using ‘the science’ as a proxy for their politics and other baggage.

  37. I broke down and commented at JC’s site (she sure attracts an, um, interesting crowd).

    Warming bet offer to Tallbloke (the hidden third organizer behind the Lisbon conference):

    And quote check with Curry with initial answer:

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Hope you know how to use a proxy

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      …seeing how tallbloke, himself posting/commenting anonymously, doesn’t in the least respect the wish of others (tamino) to do so. Do you really trust curryja to be more attuned to such minor points of ethics?

      (Finding out who tamino is is not hard, and worthwhile for his publishing record. Not so for tallbloke… the guy is a relativity denier for crying out loud.)

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Hmmm, finding out who tallbloke is wasn’t rocket science either after all 😉

  38. DC,

    Stay on them, and Curry too. She is trying to weasel her way out of this email fiasco the same way she tried to weasel her way out of the DerSpiegel quote. B.S. pure and simple.

    Here is what I posted at Tamino’s place:

    “So when was Tallbloke telling the truth First he claimed that he told Pearce about the email. Now it comes to light that Tallbloke gave Pearce the email and Pearce then (allegedly) read the email to McKitrick and McIntyre (and others?).

    This revelation, IMHO, makes tallkbloke a liar, and irresponsible to boot; and second reflects even more poorly on Pearce than before– he (allegedly) read the email and still completely misrepresented what he said and then made a generalization about the science being “settled” applying to mainstream climate scientists. Pearce has a lot to answer for and should be hauled before a press counsel or similar professional association.

    And Lucia (and Curry it seems) thinks this is normal behaviour? Well maybe in the land of denial and conspiracy and nuttiness and a land which is morally bankrupt, but not in the real world.

    How much did this farce cost the organizers?”

  39. DC,

    Something else that is not clear from all the spin and obfuscation and lies. Did Pearce keep the email? Assuming of course he read a hard copy.

    • I don’t think he kept it. He read it out loud to Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.

    • The “reconciliation” conference organizers passed around, discussed, misquoted, and mischaracterized an e-mail from Gavin Schmidt declining their invitation, and it becomes the subject of a Judith Curry blog post that somehow has become symbolic (to JC and her followers) of the entirety of the so-called “debate.” Could there be any better evidence that Gavin’s mistake was to have responded at all–although this also, no doubt, would have been used as evidence against him–and that “reconciliation” has nothing at all to do with the intentions of the organizers of the Lisbon conference? Reading Judith Curry’s blog reminds me of the experience of Rachel North, a survivor of the London underground train bombings in 2005.

  40. Pingback: PNS – Pretty Nonsensical Stuff « The Policy Lass

  41. Andreas Fuchs

    @ deep climate

    Why do you take for granted, that tallbloke was a member of the organisation committee? As a member I would have expected him getting a full copy of Gavins email. I have not yet seen an official verification.
    What about another possibility: Someone of the organisation committee sent Tallbloke a private mail about the “Gavin and the science is settled” thing and tried to prove his opinion with the cited part of the mail. In order to hide this tallbloke was made afterwards to a member of the organisation committee.

    • Actually, I think Judith Curry used that term. “Tallbloke” himself referred to the “invitation committee”, if I recall correctly. I’ve since seen a list of the five organizers (it was in McIntyre’s invitation letter). They are:

      The organising Team

      Ângela Guimarães Pereira – European Commission
      Jerome Ravetz – Oxford Univ.,UK
      Silvio Funtowicz – European Commission
      Jeroen Van Der Sluijs – Univ. Of Utrecht, NL
      James Risbey, CSIRO, AUS

      The two main organizers were Ravetz and Pereira – at least they signed the statement of purpose.

      So the exact role of “tallbloke” is unclear. He did imply that he was not part of the correspondence with invitees and that he received Schmidt’s email “inadvertantly”. So it seems pretty clear that he was not supposed to have that email.

      But I think it’s up to the organizers to clarify “tallbloke’s” role, describe exactly what happened and apologize, especially since “tallbloke” seems somewhat unrepentant and his story keeps changing.

  42. Tallbloke’s role seemed to be one of helping the organizers decide who to invite, presumably because he’s involved in the “blogscience wars”.

    What about another possibility: Someone of the organisation committee sent Tallbloke a private mail about the “Gavin and the science is settled” thing and tried to prove his opinion with the cited part of the mail. In order to hide this tallbloke was made afterwards to a member of the organisation committee.

    I kinda doubt it. My guess is it was simple incompetence, something like one of the organizers replying to an e-mail sent to the organizing committee that had the text of Gavin’s note attached, and in widening discussion (maybe something like “OK, Gavin’s not coming, any ideas as to who to invite instead?”), cc’ing Tallbloke and others who were helping create the invitation list, while forgetting to remove the attached note (or not imagining that Tallbloke would go waving it around in public while drinking beer, therefore seeing no harm).

    No need to invoke malice for this part of the story.

    The follow-on bit – tallbloke revealing the e-mail to McI, Pearce, and Ross McKittrick – was malicious, but I suspect the beginning of the story was innocent. Perhaps the organizing committee didn’t understand they were dealing with such a group of a**holes …

    • I agree with dhogaza – there is no evidence of malicious (or at least highly inappropriate) behaviour on the part of anyone other than “tallbloke”.

      However, the possible gullibility of the organizers must be raised, especially when one realizes that “tallbloke” was involved from the beginning more than a year ago. More on this soon.

    • However, the possible gullibility of the organizers must be raised, especially when one realizes that “tallbloke” was involved from the beginning more than a year ago. More on this soon.

      I think that overall the organizers had to be gullible. Or at horribly naive, regardless of how Tallbloke weaseled his way into the Second Innermost Circle.

      I suspect his degree in History and Philosophy of Science (or something like that) coupled with his claim to be an “engineer capable of understanding the science” (he’s a certified/diploma’d machinist, I’m guessing something akin to an Associate Degree here in the states) helped …

  43. Well, except fred Pearce’s inappropriate attribution of a remark that Gavin Schmidt did not write. It is amazing how many twisty-thinkers at the Curry blog and elsewhere try to parse Gavin’s actual comment into meaning ‘the science is settled’.

    • I took dhogaza to be speaking of the organizers – and I agree with that.

      Neither was Pearce malicious. But his was a thoroughly inaccurate characterization of Schmidt’s letter. Not only is the reference to “settled science” incorrect and a clear buy-in to a contrarian meme (present right in the very statement of purpose, by the way), but “nothing to discuss” is completely at odds with the list of subjects that Gavin proposed as more worthy.

      Moreover, it was also highly unprofessional of Pearce to allow himself to be spun by someone involved in the workshop, without even bothering to check his interpretation with Gavin Schmidt.

      In fact, Pearce missed the real story here and there is ample reason to raise the issue of his gullibility. Here we have someone involved in the organization of a workshop supposedly about reconciliation and trust, revealing the private email response of an invitee to a journalist. It makes you wonder, or should at least, what else went on behind the scenes. As I say, more to come on that score.

    • I was speaking of the organizers, yes.

      Neither was Pearce malicious. But his was a thoroughly inaccurate characterization of Schmidt’s letter. Not only is the reference to “settled science” incorrect and a clear buy-in to a contrarian meme (present right in the very statement of purpose, by the way), but “nothing to discuss” is completely at odds with the list of subjects that Gavin proposed as more worthy.

      I’m not quite seeing how *this* wasn’t malicious, though …

      There was no malicious behavior by Pearce regarding how he learned the contents of the letter, it was handed to him. However the actions you describe that Pearce took *after* reading it … malicious, IMO.

  44. Andreas:
    I don’t know about DC, but tallbloke wrote:
    “Because I was an ad hoc member of the invite committee I got an email asking my advice on who to invite in lieu of Gavin Schmidt and some other prominent people who had declined. The organisers inadvertantly included Gavin’s response on that email, and when I was asked one evening in Lisbon why certain people weren’t there I gave a quick praisee, including a brief reference to Gavin’s response. This made it’s way to Fred, hence the reference in his blog piece reporting on the conference.”

    Now, that contains various assertions that may or may not be true, and “made it’s way to Fred” is an odd way of describing “I gave him a copy to read to Steve and Ross.” I suppose it was possible that he made the comment, Fred asked, and Tallbloke later showed him the email (he wasn’t intended to have).

    There was an official organizing committee of 5 people, but Ravetz and Pereira seem to have been especially active. The organizing commietee:

    1) Selected Tallbloke as a tparticipant:
    “It is being attended by some of the world’s foremost climate scientists, as well as experts in policy formulation and conflict resolution, and some laymen and women with an interest in climate science, including yours truly – me!”

    Apparently, at least some of the organizers were unable themselves to select relevant climate scientists, so they solicited Tallbloke’s opinions. Well, that makes sense. Of course, if there were really was an ad hoc invite committee, I’m curious to know who else was on it.

    Need I comment further on the level of competence, professionalism, and good use of EU funds so displayed? I’m not an EU taxpayer, but if some, I would wonder.

    Finally, amongst the various conversations on this is this is the idea that Gavin had to show up. I think that idea mostly arises among people who are not active/visible researchers with busy schedules and many possible conferences to attend. Anyone sensible has to be careful of their time.

    After a while, one learns to schedule trips carefully and not too many close together, or no research/development work gets done. I had about 10 years where I was out of the country 30-40% of the time. I usually scheduled outside-North America trips 6-12 months in advance, leaving occasional slack time for surprises/emergencies. If I’d accepted all the requests for (sales calls, conferences, lectures, workshops, ad hoc efforts) I’d have been gone (more than :-)) 100%.

    I also used to live in NJ, and I did everything I could to avoid tight-scheduled air trips in January, especially after being once stuck around O’Hare for 3 days on way back from Tucson ( because first the NYC airports shut down, then O’Hare shut down.) I’ve been a 100K-mile guy and while travel can be exciting, and people sometimes take trips because they are to interesting places they haven’t been, serious professionals do not leap for joy at every invitation that comes along.

    Actually, Gavin’s error was to try to give them constructive advice.

    If I got an invitation like this, I’d probably just say “Love to come, sorry, schedule conflict impossible,” which I expect was what most invitees said, even if they were really thinking:

    1) A muddled, misframed invitation.
    2) From people with little obvious relevant expertise, at best.
    3) With less than 4 months’ notice.
    4) That would consume 5-6 days of my life , not just the 3 conference days but at least a day’s travel on each end, either a redeye direct, or a 2-hop flight. Again, from NYC in January, I’d certainly add a day of margin at the front end. People primarily attend conferences to give talks and talk to people (and occasionally because they are in some nice place, which might have something to do with AGU always being December in San Francisco :-).
    People might attend a workshop run by qualified organizers with clear objectives and some idea that other relevant people will attend.

    When it comes to invitations, one would think people should be accorded the right to decide their own time priorities.

  45. Andreas Fuchs

    @ john mashey

    Thanks for your answer. I didn’t intend to make up some conspiracy theories, I was just wondering, why tallbloke didn’t receive the complete e-mail. And as a passionated chess player I’m used to take all variations into account.

    PS: I’m a EU taxpayer and paying for appeasement is our strongest gift to the world ;-). Let’s see it positive: Every scientist should have learned something about sitting at the same table with sceptics.

  46. Now, that contains various assertions that may or may not be true, and “made it’s way to Fred” is an odd way of describing “I gave him a copy to read to Steve and Ross.” I suppose it was possible that he made the comment, Fred asked, and Tallbloke later showed him the email (he wasn’t intended to have).

    Tallbloke has already admitted that the above described sequence was a lie, made to “bring all the heat on myself (tallbloke, fairly accurately paraphrased)”, i.e. to protect Pearce.

    Of course, it’s interesting that he felt the need to protect Pearce while, of course, he continues to argue that there was nothing wrong with what was done.

    Finally, amongst the various conversations on this is this is the idea that Gavin had to show up.

    I’ve made the same observation, over at Curry’s and possibly elsewhere. It’s mindblowing. They feel like he was *obligated* to attend. Without that mindset, his response could not possibly be construed as being an issue. It’s like he needed a note from the doctor to legitimately get out of attendance.

    And while my professional travel schedule has never involved the level of travel you describe, I have traveled and worked overseas for business many, many times, and I’ll second everything you say, including avoiding winter travel through Denver, Chicago and the east coast (though you only mention the east coast) when possible. I’m usually out two or three times a year for between two and three months, for conferences, consulting gigs, etc.

  47. John Mashey, that “tparticipant” link has interesting stuff, including this praisee/precis:

    • As we speak, I’m collecting all the relevant links, posts and comments from the “tallbloke” blog and elsewhere (including WUWT). Yes, it turns out to be an interesting story.

    • Well, well, tallbloke is a very, very talkative guy, you’re going to find a lot over at his blog.

      I ran into this, which might help explain his fixation on trying to nail Gavin to the “science is settled” cross:

      P.G. Sharrow says:
      January 7, 2011 at 6:41 am (Edit)
      All they have to do is admit that the science is not settled. I would settle for that. pg

      The document I’ve been sent (which has the filename ‘reconciliation-rationale’) says:

      “In the politics of climate change, we cannot say that ‘the science is settled’ or ‘the
      debate is over’.”

      Note that Pearce’s piece says that Gavin didn’t attend, saying “the science is settled and there’s nothing to discuss”, and that tallbloke at first insisted he was the source of that interpretation of Gavin’s e-mail.

      Interesting … yes.

      I’m lazy, I’ll wait for you to tidy everything up into one damning package, DC 🙂

    • Well, yes, that’s the opening from Ravetz’s and Pereira’s statement of purpose which is why I mentioned that it bought into that contrarian meme.

    • Oops, everything from here on:

      “The document I’ve been sent…”

      is tallbloke’s response to PG Sharrow.

  48. There’s probably enough for a book by now!

  49. dhogoza:
    Well, I did mention O’Hare… I didn’t mention Denver because I’ve rarely had to transfer through there in the winter, except once or twice on way to Aspen, and I can hardly complain about snow then.

    Holly Stick: yes, a fascinating thread.

  50. What are the chances that Fred Pearce didn’t write “science is settled”; that it was changed after he submitted it?

  51. As dhogaza said, it’s astonishing that they think that Gavin should have felt somehow obligated to attend this meeting of misfits and mediocrities.

    Some of these people actually seem to think that they have something special to say about climate science and policy. I wonder if some of us are feeding their inflated sense of self-importance by engaging them.

    • Some of these people actually seem to think that they have something special to say about climate science and policy. I wonder if some of us are feeding their inflated sense of self-importance by engaging them.

      Well, the Lisbon conference organizers certainly fed Tallblock’s inflated sense of self-importance. On his blog, his breast was swelling over being invited to a “real” climate science conference, blah blah.

      Quite a coup for a certified machinist who later in life got an undergraduate degree in the history and philosophy of science.

      Just the kind of quals you want for someone who’s helping to overturn modern science…

      (not just climate science, but all of it, right down to the “pi=4” level)

    • If it had just been the participants blathering on about this non-event, it wouldn’t matter and one could just ignore it. But since New Scientist covered it, and covered it so badly, a response is required. “I come to expose the contrarians, not engage them”.

    • I agree. It just sometimes feels like the contrarians are playing a rope-a-dope strategy. No matter how many body blows you inflict on them they seem to come out of their corner for each new round unscathed and swinging wildly.

  52. Meanwhile WUWT has a post about the Carbonundrums conference in Norway, with lots of snarky remarks about scientists going there when they wouldn’t go to Lisbon.

    That’s a clever conference name, but one commenter assumed it was from the saying “Illegitimi non carborundum”.

    • So little time, so much to do. Where are these people supposed to fit in, with only four months notice, an experimental social sciences PNS based fledgling conference which wants to exclude PNS policy and risk assessment discussion, as well as the politics, and only discuss the non-PNS based physical science at a conference set up by the philosopher of science who came up with PNS? Decisions, decisions. It must have been a real toughie.

  53. In the sense of knowing enough that failure to act on emissions and climate is clearly folly the science is settled. To want to discuss policy implies it’s settled enough. I’m not at all surprised – or particularly outraged – that people who want uncertainty and disagreement to be percieved as flaws in the foundations of climate science would interpret and paraphrase Gavin’s response that way.

    Arguing uncertainties in MWP temperatures with people who want perceptions of uncertainties about that to be overblown into a widespread view that the whole body of knowledge on climate is in doubt looks like a counterproductive exercise.

    I hope Gavin has the sense to have his say and move on (even if the blogoshpere keeps on about it); surely he has better things to do.

    Have any of the genuine climate scientists involved had anything to say about their experience at the conference? I hadn’t pegged James Risbey for example, as one of the Doubt, Deny, Delay crowd. (I tend to think of them as 3D’ers; similar to ID’ers but less scientifically literate and the disinformation they spread is far more dangerous).

    • Risbey was an organizer and has worked with the others before. It’s hard to tell how much he was involved though.

      The problems should have been apparent to him well before the conference. The whole rationale was a complete non-starter, and Gavin Schmidt’s response should have made that clear.

      As I say, the other three scientists are all harsh IPCC critics and more on the agnostic/”lukewarmer” side, so not representative of the mainstream in that sense. Still I would think von Storch in particular might have had some problems.

  54. So what’s the word on the Wegman thing. GMU still dragging its heels? Will this be resolved before the decade is over?

  55. Here is something to be concerned about ; the CRTC is planning to relax its standards on publishing false news. This website points out how that would especially damage the reporting of environmental news (and I would add science news):

    Hat tip:

  56. PolyisTCOandbanned

    (copy of below was posted at Climate Audit. They are censoring my posts but allowing their hoi polloi to post immediately.)

    Ryan is a punk and a whiner for getting into the peer review stuff.

    He’s also disorganized in his presentation of material and wastes too much time with emotional venting. If his submitted paper was anything like his blog posts (and McI’s usually are) then no wonder it took him so long to get something shaped into publishable form.

    I’ve followed this kit and caboodle for 6 years now, but still find it a pain to look for what point you are making. Think how bad this looks to the intelligent outsider reading your stuff. If you want an example of people who do things right, look at Ed Zorita or that British blogger who’s found some code glitches. They actually break things down and explain them. Not meander and vent and draw crappy graphs without axes and figure captions.

    As usual, there is an issue of McI changing two things at once and ascribing the resultant change to one. (Or glossing over his muddling.) Way better to have done the full factorial and presented it.

    And NONE of this exonerates ES. It’s just that I can’t even make out your point of technical disaccusation. I’m all for improving the science. All for taking down some liberal latte drinkers. But you guys screw it up so bad. You don’t drive any understanding of material. You just have little social internet games.

    Perhaps Jeff “contrail” Id will flex his chest in happiness over the dramah…or the Cold Fusion lovers at your “ally” Anthony Watts will just give you attaboys without trying to understand what the heck is going on. Probably Amac and Hugh will sigh at your disorganized rant.

    (cross-posted at Amac for post preservation)

  57. And NONE of this exonerates ES.

    Probably with discussion over there is that TCO’s banned from one and possibly the other due to past history.

    But, TCO, I’ve read the review-response trail and the sequence of events seems much closer to Steig’s claims than RyanO’s.

    Also, Mosher is making much of the fact that McI et al took Eric’s suggestions (“the authors should …”) as insistence that such be done or he’d recommend the paper not be published. Well, at one point, he *does* insist, and uses the word “insist”. The latter being a point he believes must be addressed if he’s going to recommend the paper for publication, while “should” obviously suggests things that Eric thought might make the paper stronger.

    Mosher is claiming that the meaning assigned to “should” by McI et al is all that should be considered (rather than the way the editor, reviewer, and authors used to the language used in the review process assign meaning).

    That’s clearly ridiculous and is straw-grasping.

    And the claim that it was Eric’s suggestion that iridge infilling be used is quite clearly contradicted by the review comments, in which he specifically says at one point … “as suggested by the authors” … oops.

    Eric’s paper had some problems. O’Donnell’s paper had some problems. Overall, Eric’s praised O’Donnell’s paper for its creativity and good ideas regarding how to better attack the data. While at the same time pointing out what he, at least, feels like are some problems (like reconstructing a trend of 0.8C for the Byrd station while the data shows a 0.25C trend, this is clearly an indication that O’Donnell’s methodology could stand improvement).

    Two imperfect papers, both useful. Extremely sparse data. Steig’s said that his group’s working on new ways to attack that data and improve results, which is pretty much what one expects scientists to do.

    Steig praises O’Donnell’s efforts while making some criticisms. O’Donnell, McI et al respond by trying to ruin his reputation and destroying his credibility.

    And by publicly pointing out that Steig was the reviewer, which is confidential information, and which he explicitly promised not to do.

    And publishing the confidential reviews, which he probably has absolutely no right to do. Though they do, indeed, help to exonerate Steig.

  58. PolyisTCOandbanned

    Deep, well it’s an Open thread, I’m banned from those other two blogs. It’s on climate and not on the Super Bowl. And you let Dhogza comment after you made the comment, that we should discuss elsewhere. And I didn’t curse…much.

    Dhog, “does not exonerate” does not mean “does implicate”. It just means I don’t know! Finding a flaw in Ryan doesn’t say anything good or bad about ES!

    I sorta mostly gave up after just how disorganzied the Ryan vent was. Given I actually have followed this crap for years, I think it shows the deniers in a poor light that they are so muddled in their remarks, that despite my reading, I can’t follow their crap. They really do have a habit of just doing a bunch of blog gossiping and think it is real analysis and description. So I really don’t know all that McI or Mosh or ES have said. I just saw enough crap to know Ryan was being dumb.

    Yeah there was some silly stuff where McI and Ryan were trying to blame issues on their paper with a direction they think ES steered it. I fastened on that quickly as did you and ES, and of course it is sill, those guys are responsible for their published work, not the reviewer. McI has a bad habit of that sillines with previous papers. I think a lot of the issue comes from them being so disorganized in blog writing and then sending in review drafts that are a mash of different variables in a non full factorial manner. They just don’t think clearly in terms of disaggregation in their analyses. I saw it, but there’s only so many hours in the day, did not bother nailing it.

    Other guy: It’s been discussed a lot. Start with the 2005 Huybers comment on McI’s 2005 paper. It’s a very easy read and H even shows the formula so you can see how McI changed two paramaters at once (but did not report a full factorial). No OFAT. No full factorial. Just two equations with three unknowns (two independ variables, and one dependent).

    • Did I get involved? Don’t remember that. Or maybe you mean dhogaza

      Anyway on McI doubling up … yes, this was discussed in passing in a couple of my posts. Mann’s “PCA” algorithm involved short-centering *and* scaling (corresponds to “correlation” matrix). M&M performed “conventional” PCA with covariance matrix i.e. series length centering but also without scaling, a second difference from what Mann did. Huybers compared both centering conventions, but kept Mann’s scaling. This showed that the bias in PC1 from short-centering alone was significantly less than that reported by M&M with their double change. In fact I think *each* of these two differences in Mann’s PCA produces about the same amount of bias. M&M even mention in passing that some bias in PC1 came from the scaling choice (nevertheless a defensible choice for Mann), but never quantified or showed it. Wonder why? They left that to Huybers.

  59. TCO:

    And you let Dhogza comment after you made the comment, that we should discuss elsewhere. And I didn’t curse…much.

    I explained why it’s appropriate to discuss here, given your being banned elsewhere, exactly the same justification you give yourself.

    So don’t go after me, I was actually *supporting* you. Sheesh.

    • C’mon guys play nice. Dhogaza, I don’t think he was going after you, just me (see below).

      Yes, TCO, I suggested it might make more sense to take it where the principals are. But, if you want to do it here or you’re banned at RC or whatever, fine.

  60. Dhog, “does not exonerate” does not mean “does implicate”. It just means I don’t know! Finding a flaw in Ryan doesn’t say anything good or bad about ES!

    I’m talking about the review process, not the two papers.

    To repeat myself, since you clearly didn’t pay attention:

    Eric’s paper had some problems. O’Donnell’s paper had some problems. Overall, Eric’s praised O’Donnell’s paper for its creativity and good ideas regarding how to better attack the data. While at the same time pointing out what he, at least, feels like are some problems (like reconstructing a trend of 0.8C for the Byrd station while the data shows a 0.25C trend, this is clearly an indication that O’Donnell’s methodology could stand improvement).

    Two imperfect papers, both useful. Extremely sparse data.

    Except that RyanO, McI, etc have tried to use the imperfections in Eric’s paper to “prove climate fraud” blah blah.

    That’s probably why they’re going to the mat to try to paint themselves as being incapable of imperfection, unless, of course, Eric forced them to be imperfect so he could later shoot them down.

    Doesn’t fit the sociological model that climate science is One Big Fraud, otherwise.

  61. And I’ll say, TCO, that much of what you write in your above post would support the notion that Steig wrote his 80-page review in order to *help them put their paper in proper shape for publication*, because, as you say, they tend to be totally muddled in their blogscience “literature”.

    Rather than, as they claim, writing his 80-page review subjecting them to much more severe review than real scientists have to deal with.

    Well, maybe real scientists know how to write papers and don’t need so much hand-holding to get there.

    C’mon, you know that Steig’s innocent in this, why can’t you friggin’ admit it?

  62. Sometimes, TCO, you are *so close* to overcoming your political bias, yet, you always fall short.

    Why not come clean like Mosher, who has recently made it clear that he thinks we shouldn’t do anything, because we owe nothing to today’s children, much less future generations, and that they should just deal with whatever economic/ecological reality we leave them with once we’re dead?

    Or if you’re not a total ass like Mosher … come clean as to actually what you want or believe?

    Over the last several years, you’ve come to accept that your cherished denialists are mostly full of it … what keeps you from accepting the science and saying, “I don’t care, I’m still libertarian and let individual freedom and unfettered capitalism solve it, and if this fails, at least our starving grandchildren will be free!”?

    • Wow, did he really say this? Where?

    • yeah, he did … now where was it? If I have some free time later I’ll try to dig it up.

      I’m paraphrasing, not quoting, but the essence is that he rejects the notion that the current generation has ethical obligations towards future ones.

  63. Back to O’D.

    One word: Delingpole.

    TCO, I think here is another case where the scientific issues are really beside the point. It looks to me like Ryan O has made completely baseless and contemptible accusations of duplicity and dishonesty. And now the lies will go around the world. Again.

    The end of Steig’s piece tells it like it is.

  64. Wow, I just checked out Climate etc. Curry in full “honest broker” mode.

  65. If people only focused on the findings rather than engage in childish tantrums like McIntyre, O’Donnell, Delingpole and others do.

    It’s not only warming in West Antarctica, on the east flights were stopped to Casey in Eastern Antarctica earlier this summer because of the ‘heat wave’.

  66. Some comments of note at Lucia’s Blackboard from OD et al co-authors McIntyre and Nic L (who also quotes Jeff ID Condon):

    Feb 7

    Steve McIntyre (Comment#68336) February 7th, 2011 at 8:28 pm
    Rod Blagojevich of Science?
    Wouldn’t it be more precise to say the Rod Blagojevich of Nature?

    NicL (Comment#68366) February 8th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Re Jeff’s response:
    “I believe he submitted the review 100%, if Cuccinelli subpoenaed Steig’s emails, I would bet some big cash that there were copy-pastes from Mann. Admittedly it is just a guess though, there was too much Mannian style hostility and phraseology.”
    to Ryan’s comment:
    “Eric said that Review A was entirely his, and, in retrospect, I have no reason to disbelieve him.”

    I concur with Jeff that some of the Review A points were drafted by Mann (or just possibly one of Steig’s other co-authors responsible for the actual S09 reconstructions, e.g. Rutherford).
    While Steig knows a lot about Antartica, I think he has nearly as much experience as Mann or Rutherford of area temperature reconstructions based on principal component based dimensionality reduction techniques, which is what a number of the principal Review A points related to.
    Possibly Steig produced the first draft of Review A points on that area, with substantial input from his co-authors before finalization.
    Feb 8

    Ryan O (Comment#68579) February 8th, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    As clarity was requested, clarity will be provided. I did not explicitly tell Eric that I would keep the information about him being a reviewer confidential. However, he did request that I do so, and I fully intended to do so. Additionally, I explicitly told him that I would keep the reviews confidential (which are now online), and I meant that to include his identity as a reviewer.

    The reason for the careful phrasing is that someone could claim after having examined the emails that I made no such promise to keep his identity secret. However (from the horse’s mouth), the lack of explicitly agreeing to Eric’s request was simply an oversight. My email left him with the correct impression that I had agreed not to disclose the information he provided.

    Whether his subsequent actions justify my disclosure of the information is, of course, a question that different people are likely to answer differently. I feel I was justified. Phil obviously does not.

    And Phil C answers that:

    Phil Clarke (Comment#68733) February 9th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Well back at the ‘Steig is guilty until proven guilty’ thread, it’s been a gala couple days for irony fans ….
    Irony A statement that, when taken in context, may actually mean the opposite of what is written literally; the use of words expressing something other than their literal intention, notably as a form of humor; The quality or state of an event being both coincidental and contradictory …
    E.g. 1 A rather shrill allegation of ‘duplicity’ is levelled, however to make the allegation, the accuser has to publish material he promised to keep private.
    E.g. 2 A blogger flies in from a conference on ‘reconciliation’ then almost immediately approves this on his blog:-
    There are not enough vulgar words in the English language to properly articulate my disgust at his blatant dishonesty and duplicity.
    E.g. 3. The allegations of duplicity are convincingly rebutted, the accuser offers to withdraw them. Roughly contemperaneously, the original accusatory article sprouts a load of ‘[snip]‘ tags.
    E.g. 4. The accused : Sadly, attacking climate scientists by mis-quoting and mis-representing private correspondences or confidential materials appears now to be the primary modus operandi of climate change deniers. To those that still don’t get this — [] I’d be happy to share with you some of the more, err, ‘colorful’, emails I’ve gotten from O’Donnell and his coauthors.
    E.g. 5. Steig’s email server is invaded and his private and ‘colorful’ mails released. Tom ‘publishing private mail is dishonorable’ Fuller adds a chapter to his book.

    Ok, I made the last one up.


  67. Wow. It seems weird to complain about getting free advice from the best experts in the field so as to help them improve their paper! (In the field in which I work, we seek out and place a high value on peer review, and are extremely grateful to those who are prepared to do it – and our work is more often for private use and only occasionally published for consumption by the general public.)

    My guess is that being raw novices, they think it’s just a game of one upmanship or some sort of competition with no shared goal of adding to knowledge and helping future research.

    I vote we keep the kids out in future, or at least give them a few lessons in professional ethics, code of conduct and courtesy plus some classes on the purpose of scientific research. Scientific research is hard enough without this sort of idiocy.

  68. O’Donnell and many others let their minds be poisoned by Iago McIntyre.

  69. Judith Curry, honest broker, speaks:
    “I agree that his [Steig’s] behaviour is apparently duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO.”

    curryja | February 9, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Nick, i haven’t been following this one too closely, i view it as a blogospheric tempest in a teapot. that kind of blogospheric coverage can definitely make you frosty, I personally succumbed a bit during “heretic.” In terms of who wins for politeness on this one, i don’t think either side can claim many points. I don’t really see any meta issues on this one (O’Donnell got a tough review, AMS journals are known for that, the editor was somewhat lax in making the authors jump through hoops based on comments by a reviewer with a conflict of interest, but the paper got published). I mainly found this one of interest in terms of the vehemence of the dispute over not very much, really. Personalities from the chiefdoms of the two tribes having a clash.

    RobB | February 9, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Fair enough, Judith, but what about the accusation that Steig anonymously insisted on changes to O’Donnell et al that he later used to disparage the paper? That must contravene professional standards (if they exist?) Or is the matter also just part of the tribal hurley burley?

    curryja | February 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I agree that his behaviour is apparently duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO.
    dhogaza | February 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    “I agree that his behaviour is apparently duplicitous, but of no particular import IMO.”

    Without even bothering to hear Eric’s side of the story …


    BTW over at bart’s there’s a fair chunk of the review-response chain reproduced there, and my quick read is that it doesn’t support the claim of duplicity.

    Eric has stated he’ll post a response soon over at RC.

    I gotta love how quickly you jump to conclusions without having even read the review-response chain.

    • Unbelievable.


      Completely believable.

    • Presumably, this is not the same Curry who said “When I make a public statement about what a scientist does or does not know, I make a point of actually reading what that scientist has to say on the subject, rather than what other people say about that scientist on blogs.” That would just be embarrasing.

    • Oh, I forgot that, MartinM … I think I’m going to use it.

      Over there. Over there. We won’t come back ’til it’s over, over there!

    • I believe that series of posts was made before Climate Audit was edited.

      After the edit, that thread essentially died.

    • It’s a pity O’Donnell didn’t correct his spurious claims, rather than just removing the explicit accusations of dishonesty while preserving the implications. For example, his accusations about Steig’s plot of the Byrd temperature series are quite obviously based on a different dataset to the one Steig actually used, as should have been clear to him after even a cursory examination.

  70. It is notable that Steve McPariah never seems to be very far removed from the eyes of this string of ‘blogospheric tempests’.

    As has been noted, the bottom line is that WA is warming.

  71. “I believe that series of posts was made before Climate Audit was edited.”

    Should it be called Climate Edit now?

  72. Climate Edit sounds good to me. O’Donnell now has a post up there with a completely inadequate apology and of course more stupid comments by people who don’t understand it all anyway.

  73. It’s a notpology:

    “Steig’s recent outbursts are merely his most recent effort to obfuscate the underlying point of our critique: that whatever was original in Steig et al 2009 was based on faulty mathematics; and that whatever was correct in Steig et al 2009 was already known.”

    From the same post at climate [edit]:

    in his Second Review, had asked the editor to “insist” that we present the “most likely” West Antarctica trends, specifically proposing iridge

    Here’s what Eric wrote:

    My recommendation is that the editor insist that results showing the ‘mostly likely’ West Antarctic trends be shown in place of Figure 3. While the written text does acknowledge that the rate of warming in West Antarctica is probably greater than shown, it is the figures that provide the main visual ‘take home message’ that most readers will come
    away with. I am not suggesting here that kgnd = 5 will necessarily provide the best estimate, as I had thought was implied in the earlier version of the text. Perhaps, as the authors suggest, kgnd should not be used at all, but the results from the ‘iridge’ infilling should be used instead.

    I know what the word “perhaps” means … he’s leaving it up to the authors to decide, and the two sentences I’ve emphasized can be read as his favoring kgnd, while being willing to accept that maybe the *authors* are correct that iridge infilling is better.

    I’m not seeing a whole lot of honesty, here, on RyanO’s part.

  74. “… underlying point of our critique: that whatever was original in Steig et al 2009 was based on faulty mathematics; and that whatever was correct in Steig et al 2009 was already known.”

    And here I thought that the point of science was to increase knowledge and understanding. Thanks to O’Donnell for clearing that up.

  75. It’s all about the “gotcha” now.

  76. Lucia at the Blackboard quotes a message O’Donnell sent her today. I’ve copied it all, including her comments at the beginning and end:

    “lucia (Comment#69195)
    February 11th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    We couldn’t see a copy of those emails, could we?

    This morning I wrote to Ryan asking a question I thought Rabett was addressing to me in his post. (Rabett used the word “Lucia”.) Ryan responded, and I would assume on that basis, added me to a list of people to whom he sent this;


    I am going to take a break from this for awhile. I thank all of you for your kind worse, suggestions, and help. And just in case, while I’m gone, you get stuck in a corner, I will reprint below verbatim what I guaranteed to Eric. Revkin was copied on this as well:

    “I explicitly stated that part of my problem with Eric’s post is that he twice misrepresented the references and selectively used the portion of my response that fit his argument. However, since he was not given our third response, he is unarguably owed both a public correction and an apology with respect to this part of my post. In addition to this, based on the above, I do not feel that my public characterization of “duplicity” with respect to the iRidge criticism is supportable enough for me to stand on the sidelines while it travels around the internet, and this term (along with other uses of “dishonesty”) will be striken. While some of you may disagree, as I was the one who made the original accusation, I feel that I should be allowed to withdraw it. I request that everyone run the correction and apology (both of which I will supply).”

    I have apologized for exactly what I told him I would apologize for.

    I apologized in a stand-alone post exactly as I told him I would do.

    I have requested exactly the edits I told him I would request.


    This is my basis for believing that Ryan and Eric discussed this. I assume they discussed by email, though for all I know they discussed by phone, snail mail or what not.”

  77. I do not feel that my public characterization of “duplicity” with respect to the iRidge criticism is supportable enough for me to stand on the sidelines while it travels around the internet

    Supportable … just not supportable “enough”.


    • O’Donnell has stricken the words “duplicity” and “dishonesty”, but he has neither retracted them nor apologized with respect to the supposed “insistence on iridge” part of the dispute.

      He’s only apologizing for criticizing Steig’s supposed selective use of his third response that in fact Steig never read.

      I don’t think this half-hearted hair-splitting apology, plus simple removal of offensive words, is going to fly. In fact, the supposed rationale for removing the words is not even that they are not “supportable enough” but that they are against blog policy, thus making it appear that nothing whatsoever has been withdrawn by O’Donnell.

  78. Holly:
    and how does that related to:

    It’s hard to see how that does anything to inhibit “duplicity” as per:
    Google: eric steig duplicity

    But then maybe I’m missing something. Somehow, the private and public words do not seem to match.

  79. Back in the real world, the scurrilous accusations against Eric Steig are and will remain common currency in the denialistflufferosphere (where outrage is the nearest the impotent get to experiencing actual human emotion, cf delingpoling and glenbecking), very few will want to be professionally connected to O’D (unfortunate initials but there we are) and McinTyre’s ship sails on.

    Meanwhile Antactica warms, as does the Arctic and AGW continues unperturbed by the best efforts of pseudo blogintellectals and pseudo blogscientists.

  80. Here is the “correction” about the third response not seen by Steig.

    So what does Eric do? Why, he changes the references to the ones I provided (notably, excluding the Christiansen paper) and proceeds to misrepresent them in exactly the same fashion that he tried during the review process! [SM Update Feb 9- Steig stated by email today that he did not see the Response to Reviewer A’s Third Review; the amendment of the incorrect reference in the Third Review to the correct references provided in the Response to the Third Review was apparently a coincidence.]

    So even here he hasn’t changed a word! Just an explanatory note from McIntyre explaining why the previous paragraph is completely wrong.

  81. Oh, I agree, he should have specifically apologized for the claims of duplicity, etc., and have printed a retraction and sent it out to linking websites to be printed in public. I don’t know if the message he sent to Lucia has been posted elsewhere; she seems to think it was sent to several people.

    I don’t know if he is acting on his own judgment or is being influenced by his co-authors, who have rather strong opinions. I see Jeff Id arguing that O10 has replaced S09, while I think O’Donnell just called it an improvement somewhere.

    And McIntyre has squared the circle by bringing it all back to Gavin’s heinous refusal to go to Lisbon (which might explain without excusing why they were so nasty here):

  82. Here’s McI:

    In the week preceding Ryan’s angry post, the Team boycotted the Lisbon reconciliation workshop in order to perpetuate its fatwa against critics

    “A fatwa is an Islamic religious ruling, a scholarly opinion on a matter of Islamic law.”

    So The Team consists of closet muslims? 🙂

  83. Here’s one of McIntyre’s fans:

    “…One of the many virtues of Steve McIntyre has been his unfailing politeness and his refusal to use “snipable” language, that in the end works against one’s best interests…”

  84. Where’s O’Donnell’s apology for breaking his word on not publicly posting the reviews or presumably the identity of the reviewer? That’s by far the most egregious breach here at the root of the mess.

    • I think posting the reviews may be OK. But not revealing the identity of a reviewer.

      By the way (potential idea for a post, I suppose), these games around reviewer’s identity are not new. But they were taken to new depths in this case. For instance, in Revkin’s original NYT piece about O10, Nic Lewis said:

      Papers such as ours that question the status quo, on the other hand, are subject to a stringent peer review process, in our case involving one reviewer who from some of his extensive critical comments (the major ones of which were mostly invalid) clearly had a personal interest in avoiding a paper contradicting S09 being published. [Emphasis added]

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Yes, that is very clear. He recommend that the paper be published over and over again in his review because it was an important methodological refinement. He was really, really trying to block publication. Really, really hard.

    • And recommended O’Donnell to National Geographic. NG must be sheer hell to consult for. But specific to Rattus’ point, some words probably bear repeating here…

      Second Review begins…

      “O’Donnell et al. have substantially improved their manuscript and clarified a series of items that led to some confusion on my part (for example, my impression that they had detrended the satellite data). I appreciate the great amount of work that has gone into this manuscript, and the thorough documentation of the results. I also am convinced that the methods discussed are a substantive contribution to the literature and represent real improvements to the methods used in earlier work. I also think that main findings of the manuscript – that Steig et al.’s overestimate mean Antarctic temperature trends, particularly in winter in the Ross Sea region – are likely to be correct.”

      Third Review ends…

      “In summary, this manuscript needs to be revised again, and sent again to review, before it can be considered acceptable for publication in the Journal of Climate. I emphasize again that I think that it should be published eventually, because it definitey has the potential to be a solid and oft-cited contribution. I thus I hope that the authors are not too put off by the several rounds of review. I do not think the manuscript will require more than minor re-writing to address the above criticisms (though perhaps substantial re-calculating will be needed), and I look forward to seeing a revised version in the near future.”

      O’Donnell claims to have found fault with Steig’s maths, but I think I may know who really can’t do the math.

    • DC, posting the reviews was OK according to John Nielsen-Gammon. However, O’Donnell promised Steig to only publish parts of the review.

  85. And he said that he thought that the finished product would be “oft-cited”, my god, the negativism, how dare he !!!!

  86. Here’s a better apology that was much criticized at CA and is conected to this fooferaw:

    Rabett dissects the 88 page meme:

  87. Some quick Google searches…

    “eric steig” duplicity 1690 results

    “eric steig” weasel 326 results

    What a disgrace. The “bridgebuilders”, “lukewarmers” and “auditors” should be ashamed of themselves.
    I’m sure that many regulars here waste more time than we care to admit reading mostly stupid posts and comments on Climate etc, Climate Audit, WUWT and the Blackboard (mea culpa). May I suggest that we instead take 90 minutes away from this and spend the time watching Saul Griffith’s excellent presentation on what a mess we are in and how incredibly hard it’s going to be to fix it.

    Hat-tip to Judith Curry, ironically enough.

    • I’ve been posting this around different places as a reminder of the bigger political picture, but it seems particularly appropriate to the end of your comment…

      Jan. 31, 2011 – Public belief in climate change weathers storm, poll shows

      Events of past 18 months have little effect on Britons’ opinion, as 83% view climate change as a current or imminent threat
      A large majority of people think that humanity is causing climate change, with 68% agreeing and 24% choosing to blame non-man-made factors,

      Sep. 8, 2010 – Large Majority of Americans Support Government Solutions to Address Global Warming

      Large majorities of the residents of Florida, Maine and Massachusetts believe the Earth has been getting warmer gradually over the last 100 years (81 percent, 78 percent and 84 percent, respectively), and large majorities favor government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions…
      Majority believe warming due to human activity

      Mirroring the national survey, the statewide research conducted in July shows that very large majorities think that if the world has been warming, it has been due primarily or at least partly to “things people do” – 72 percent in Florida, 76 percent in Maine and 80 percent in Massachusetts compared to 75 percent nationally.

      Jan. 5, 2011 – Scientific American –“Bulge” in Atmospheric Pressure Responsible for Cold Winter Amid Global Warming

      But Jon Krosnick, a professor at Stanford University, said the only group affected by cold weather in terms of belief about climate change is the 30 percent of the population who distrust scientists. And then they only consider how the most recent season compares to the previous three years in terms of worldwide temperatures, he said.

      If this winter is unusually cold, he said, you would expect to see a “small drop” in the percentage of people who think global warming is happening.

      “People don’t use their local temperatures as a benchmark,” he said. “They are not dodos.”

      Deniers are on the fringe. I think it’s difficult to keep sight of that.

  88. Does anyone here know of a professional auditor ever using the term “fatwa”?


    I don’t either.

  89. PolyisTCOandbanned

    What a pathetic non-apology. Ryan doesn’t title his apology. Doesn’t apologize for revealing a confidence. Bloviates about a bunch of criticisms in the same post as the nonpology. Then McIntyre quickly buries it with another complaint about the other side. Pathetic. Theses guys have a pattern of this behavior (McI more than Ryan, but I’ve seen Ryan truculent as well).

  90. There are some very good comments about peer review and criticism at Deltoid, including this latest comment by trrll:

    I think someone pointed out that denialists tend to project their faults onto others; so if McIntyre is seeing a “fatwa” (whatever he thinks that means) it’s likely because he himself has declared a “fatwa” against climate scientists.

    • I just read that and I agree. And this constructive criticism is the alleged sin by Steig that keeps on being brought up and echoed around the internet.

      Lucia thinks that O’D is or should be preparing a separate apology to the AMS for outing a reviewer. Judging from O’D’s self-righteous tone I am not holding my breath.

    • And does she think O’Donnell’s notpology to Steig is acceptable? Sorry, I haven’t the time nor the stomach to check out the latest weaseling myself.

    • AFAIAC the data is too unclear and too complex to work out who is in the wrong, and perhaps both are, or whether the cause(s) are genuine misunderstandings, mistakes, or ethical failings, and if the latter whether calculated or crimes of passion. Given the data it is quite possible to believe that both are kind and well-meaning individuals. Nevertheless this hasn’t stopped individuals from both sides using Ryan and Eric as proxies for their own grudges and cheerleading or PR initiatives. The one lesson that may be learned is that blog science doesn’t work — hastily written blog posts and flared tempers on complex issues. Confusion, confusion, confusion.

      Deep, I very much doubt that Lucia considers any apology to be necessary.

      “It seems to me that if a reviewer wants to reveal themselves, that’s ok. That said, revealing themselves and then expecting that information will remain secret is not quite right. […] If you want something confindential you […] say that you will answer on the condition that information will go no further. After getting agreement, answer one way or the other. […] Eric didn’t. He just answered, and then gave a lecture about how it would be inappropriate to share information. Well…. maybe it is. Maybe it’s not.”

      In response to which I quoted dhogaza from realclimate

      “it’s kinda assumed when you’re working in a professional environment, that you understand the proper rules of etiquette and ethics.

      One of the “benefits” of all this c**p that’s flowing forth from the likes of MrPete, McI, RyanO, and Mosher is that future generations of scientists, journal editors, etc etc will probably be operating under 30-page NDAs”

    • Lucia: “That said, revealing themselves and then expecting that information will remain secret is not quite right.”

      I see. Even though Steig explicitly asked that it remain secret, and O’Donnell has acknowledged that it was his intention to do so at the time. All that, on top of the clear instructions from the journal editor that it remain secret. Lucia clearly has very low expectations of her friends.

      Or to put it another way, Lucia is saying Steig was naive to trust O’Donnell. Well, it’s hard to argue with that.

    • If you want something confindential you […] say that you will answer on the condition that information will go no further.

      Right, because if the answer is no, you’re obviously going to want to keep that confidential.

    • DC, from what I remember, Lucia is mostly satisfied with the nonpology – it’s just the li’l breach of confidentiality that is unfinished business, but that’s between O’D and the AMS (according to her). She does not understand the separate issue of what analysis was or wasn’t recommended, and from his comments, neither does O’D. That smear is still going on strong.

      My interpretation (FWIW)? To get a PhD and to have a scientific research career, one enters the scientific grinder. From qualifying exams to thesis defense to grant reviews to manuscript reviews, a scientists has his or her ideas continually challenged, and not always in flattering terms. The goal is to get the best science. One can’t take this personally and one has to develop a thick skin to survive.

      The problem is that O’D took the scientific criticisms personally and responded with personal attacks. Steig spent a huge amount of (unpaid) time making suggestions to turn O’D’s manuscript into an acceptable publication. He even offered lots of encouragement along the way and in the end the manuscript got published. Did O’D expect everyone to behold the glory of his paper?

      Well, that’s not the way it happens in science. There was now a result – open to analysis and criticism, and that’s what Eric did, since it’s only in the context of the rest of the literature that O’D’s findings can be understood. It was tough criticism, but that’s to be expected.

      Eric treated O’D like a scientist. For his efforts, Eric was (IMHO) stabbed in the back and subjected to character assassination at CA, RE and other places. In the end, the original work will be built upon and the Antarctic will still warm. O’Donnell has shown he cannot be trusted, but surrounded by his peers, he will be just dandy – unless he decides to write another manuscript.

  91. I’m beginning to think that ‘notpology’ is not strong enough to describe these shenanigans. It’s too passive. A more negative expression waits in the wings.

    Dispology. Not only is it not an apology, it actively undermines the whole idea of the expected or required apology.

  92. Well, actually, adelady, “notpology” is meant to suggest what you say for your coined word “dispology”. We could settle on calling it “b***s****”, perhaps? 🙂

  93. More O’Donnell (sigh). Steve McIntyre’s latest uses some very strange argumentation to claim that Ryan O’Donnell did not violate AMS policy by revealing the identity of Reviewer A.

    Ryan’s post in controversy did not, in fact, speculate on the identity of Reviewer A. Ryan positively identified Reviewer A, who, by that time, had identified himself to Ryan. Ryan’s knowledge of Reviewer A’s identity did not depend on redacted information in the review comments or from information in the review comments, but from Steig voluntarily identifying himself as Reviewer A in then friendly correspondence with Ryan.

    In my opinion, Neilsen-Gammon has failed to show any breach of journal policy. On the contrary, if anything, the controversy has shown very clearly that there is no AMS journal policy prohibiting authors from publishing review comments subject to the redaction requirements discussed above.

    The only reasonable interpretation of journal policy is that if a reviewer has identified himself to an author, whether formally (AMS journal policy does allow for this) or informally outside the journal’s process, that fact should not be revealed publicly without the author’s permission. *How* the author learned of this is hardly relevant.

    For example, the reviewer may have permitted the journal to reveal his name to the authors, but may or may not have signed the reviews. According to McIntyre’s absurd interpretation as long there is no identifying information in the reviews themselves, the author is free to divulge publicly a reviewer’s identity, without the reviewer’s permission.

    This is clearly not the policy’s intent. The point is that redacting reviewer information is necessary precisely because the reviewer has the right to remain anonymous *to the public* and the author a corresponding duty to maintain that anonymity, even if the reviewer has revealed himself to the author. In fact, that would be the normal reason why such information would need to be redacted in the first place (i.e. a signed review).

    I sure hope AMS leadership will set this straight once and for all: revealing the identity of Reviewer A was a breach of policy. No ifs, ands or buts.

  94. O’Donnell does say that he was not aware of the Dec 8 email from Dr. Neilsen-Gammon:

    So maybe he’s a little unhappy now with McIntyre for not telling him about it?

  95. Yes, there seems to a realization that there were quite a few mistakes make and now they need to rationalize them, but this really isn’t about journal policy. See McI’s response to a comment:

    Steve: I asked readers to defer discussion of the Steig-O’Donnell correspondence until the circumstances are reviewed. The issue is whether Steig’s conduct voided whatever understanding that he had with O’Donnell in early December, as O’Donnell believes. But please wait until the issues are reviewed.

    In other words, give him some time and he’ll figure put a way to make Steig look bad enough to justify their own ridiculous, ludicrous, and deluded response of 1) releasing names and reviews and 2) accusing and insinuating several forms of misconduct and abuse of the peer-review system. This is where the argument hinges and this has yet to be addressed in any serious nature by any of the authors making the claims. The More To Come is one of their staples. People aren’t innocent until proven guilty in that world over there. People are guilty until they run out of nonsense to accuse people of…and climategate…and then wait for more stuff… It’s such a pathetic way to debate. Perhaps giving this, it is relevant to stick to the big issues and quit dealing in their minutia. When they make claims worth other people’s attension, then maybe they can be relevant debaters on adult matters.

    • Well, sure, it’s a delaying tactic. Or maybe the “best-defence-is-a-good-offence” gambit. But it’s also a bold move to claim there is no breach of AMS policy whatsoever, because it really challenges AMS leadership to weigh in and be clear on the issue. That may backfire.

      And on the point of O’Donnell’s undertakings to Steig (which McIntyre wants to move aside for now), we should make sure that this statement of Ryan O’Donnell’s at Lucia’s is on the record front and centre (part of my omnibus collection above).

      I did not explicitly tell Eric that I would keep the information about him being a reviewer confidential. However, he did request that I do so, and I fully intended to do so. Additionally, I explicitly told him that I would keep the reviews confidential (which are now online), and I meant that to include his identity as a reviewer.

    • You’re right, this will backfire, but to what end? To a reasonable person, pretty everything they do is a “backfire”. When I say, “it is relevant to stick to the big issues and quit dealing in their minutia”, I don’t mean ignore, I mean draw attention to the larger picture, which is the pattern of behavior over the years. So when we see this AMS stunt, we can point to the past actions and show that this is really nothing new. It is more attempting to undermine science and institutions for personal benefit. Do you know what I mean? Why bother arguing whether or not this is AMS policy? Who cares? I doubt he does. It would take such mental gymnastics to show that this is not the spirit of policy, that arguing it is foolish. This is merely another play. I think this Steig affair, if people weren’t already convinced, adds to the incredibly compelling line of evidence that they don’t care about improving science, or getting any closer to the truth. Perhaps a few do, but really? I think the line we need to remember was said a few days ago on Micheal Tobis’ blog.

      “In the O’Donnell case, he has succeeded in adding to the arsenal of methods. Steig offers an an interpretation consistent with the totality of evidence AS IF O’DONNELL WERE SERIOUS.

      This constitutes an excellent test of whether O’Donnell is interested in science or in McIntyrism. The results of this test are unambiguous to say the least.”

    • I agree that they are not interested in advancing scientific knowledge, but more in supporting a “preconceived agenda” and scoring points I’ve said so many times (including first in at RC to say that at the O’Donnellgate post).

      The point about AMS policy is that this obviously dodgy interpretation will surely weaken their credibility within the scientific community, making it harder for the “honest brokers” and “lukewarmers” to continue to take McIntyre and co’s side. The rest of the argument boils down to “I said-he said” personal recriminations that few have the patience or ability to parse. But a clear statement from AMS on their policy would be a blow to McIntyre’s credibility, at least for some fence sitters surely.

      One of the frustrating aspects of all of this, is that McIntyre has gotten a free ride in the mainstream press. What we’re seeing now is a continuation of a long time pattern of questionable behaviour, but no one in the mainstream press has seen fit to take this on. Some day …

    • If McI has any credibility within the community, then the AMS story is pertinent, and more important then I give it credit. Trying to find loopholes in the policy to pertain to this situation, which, if you notice, is now CoI for ‘conflict of interest’, reminds of the posts trying to hang the plagiarism label on Bradley. No substance and a complete misrepresentation of the concepts in question.

    • Certainly he has fans among the “lukewarmer” and “skeptic” scientists who would no doubt cringe at this nonsense. Or should. But as Eric Steig noted, admiration for McIntyre also shows up in surprising places.

      Here’s a comment from a PhD geologist (now on to a teaching career), who was a post doc with physicist Richard Muller when McIntyre came calling in California.

      A lot of what you write about Steve McIntyre differs from what I remember when I interacted with him in 2003. He deserves more credit than you give him. …

      So to summarize, not a climate skeptic. Believe in global warming. Believe humans the chief cause. Believe that even big-name scientists make mistakes. Believe they more often than not don’t like their mistakes exposed in a very public way, and by people who are not their “peers”. Believe that if every one was a bit more humble, this blog would not have become necessary. Believe it’ okay to be skeptical of climate change scientists AND at the same time believe that global warming is real.

      This commenter says he found McIntyre credible, and that he’s no “climate skeptic” (which appears to be the case). There are a lot of scientists like that – they don’t follow the field closely, but see these so-called “bad statistics” and find them compelling. And they don’t understand what McIntyre is really up to.

      (Muller himself was an early backer who thought McIntyre demonstrated a fatal flaw in the “hockey stick” and doesn’t seem to be up on much else in paleo. He’s now one of the leaders of the Berkley Earth mega-temperature project, but that’s a whole other story.)

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > and that he’s no “climate skeptic” (which appears to be the case).

      True, but beside the point in a disastrous way. McIntyre (and many others who claim the same, Mosher and other lukewarmers, Pielke, …) may not be a climate “skeptic” (i.e, denier), but he most certainly is a climate science “skeptic” (can’t seem to be able to shake off those quotes).

      It’s a dirty power game they’re playing: positioning themselves as “reasonable” while at the same time attacking, not the message, but the only trustworthy messenger, the scientific community. The end effect is the same.

      …but how to point this out to the victims?

    • Scott Mandia writes at his blog:

      Anthony Watts has this post written by Steven Mosher highlighted on his blog:

      “Sources confirm that a federal inspector has questioned Eugene Wahl and Wahl has confirmed that Mann asked him to delete emails. Wahl has also informed the inspector that he did delete emails as the result of this request.”

      Flat-out untrue and Mosher has shown no evidence to support that claim. Mosher, in that same blog post, shows the excerpt from the Penn State investigation that was also featured by Chris Horner. That excerpt reveals that Dr. Mann said he did not delete emails. So, Steven Mosher, which is it? Are you lying or can you not read your own writing?

      (Note: found out by way of Climate Progress)

      I am beginning to think it might be time to start quoting back to Mosher what he has said about Real Climate, Michael Mann, how he’s said that he was instrumental in the whole Climategate affair, etc.. every time he shows up at a pro-science blog. Other than that just freeze him out.

    • To be clear, Mosher’s claim is that Mann explicitly asked Wahl to delete emails and Wahl complied. This is also being used to raise renewed claims that Mann misled the Penn State investigators about his own actions.

      But in fact Wahl has been very clear that Mann simply forwarded Jones’s email without comment of his own, and did not himself ask Wahl to do anything.

      There’s more on the latest smear against Mann and Wahl at RealClimate. It appears that Mosher, McIntyre and Chris Horner are eagerly spinning leaks from the Republicans in Congress.

  96. I feel like I would be trying to get O’Donnell to come back to some form of civilization, which in reality, he probably could. Instead of ranting to a colleague and being talked down from the ledge, and therefore dealing with his issue back-channel, to straighten things out with Steig, he went with the emotional blog post. This did not really work out as he intended, because he was not on solid footing, but quicksand. He is in a difficult position because he has people completely going to the mattresses for what he must know are inappropriate reasons.

  97. I was looking for something else, but stumbled upon this – a draft of part of Judith Curry’s upcoming paper on uncertainty.

    In the detection and attribution of 20th century climate change, Chapter 9 of the AR4 WG1 Report all but dismisses natural internal modes of multidecadal variability in the attribution. Further, the impacts of the low level of understanding of solar variability and its potential indirect effects on the climate are not explored in any meaningful way in terms of its impact on the confidence level expressed in the attribution statement. In the WG II Report, the focus is on attributing possible dangerous impacts to AGW, with little focus in the summary statements on how warming might actually be beneficial to the climates of Canada, Russia and northern China.

    Here’s the concluding passage:

    An important question to ask is what is the true black swan risk of climate variation (warmer or cooler) under no human influence. Without even asking this question, there seems little to base a judgment upon regarding the relative risk of anthropogenic climate change.

    The presence of sharp conflicts with regards to both the science and policy reflects an overly narrow framing of the problem. Until the problem is reframed or multiple frames are considered by the IPCC, these conflicts are not going to resolved, and the scientific debate will continue to ignore crucial pieces of the puzzle and the policy deliberations will likely continue to be stymied.

    Sharp conflicts with regard to the science? Scientific debate ignoring “crucial pieces of the puzzle”? What is she on about?

  98. Gavin's Pussycat



    Click to access ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf

    “A substantial fraction of the reconstructed Northern Hemisphere inter-decadal temperature variability of the seven centuries prior to 1950 is very likely attributable to natural external forcing,…” p. 666

    “Internal variability is present on all time scales. Atmospheric processes that generate internal variability are known to operate on time scales ranging from virtually instantaneous (e.g., condensation of water vapour in clouds) up to years (e.g., troposphere-stratosphere or inter-hemispheric exchange). Other components of the climate system, such as the ocean and the large ice sheets, tend to operate on longer time scales.” p. 667

    “Both detection and attribution require knowledge of the internal climate variability on the time scales considered, usually decades or longer” p. 668

    “Past periods offer the potential to provide information not available from the instrumental record, which is affected by anthropogenic as well as natural external forcings and is too short to fully understand climate variability and major climate system feedbacks on inter-decadal and longer
    time scales.” p. 679

    …and then my time ran out… how much is enough, is a judgment call of course. But this doesn’t look like dismissal to me.

    • Also,

      Variations in the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (see Section 3.6.6 for a more detailed discussion) could account for some of the evolution of global and hemispheric mean temperatures during the instrumental period (Schlesinger and Ramankutty, 1994; Andronova and Schlesinger, 2000; Delworth and Mann, 2000); Knight et al. (2005) estimate that variations in the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation could account for up to 0.2°C peak-to-trough variability in NH mean

    • So post that verbatim at Judy’s and make her defend her claims.


      Tried a while back.


      These are issues at the heart of the scientific debate. I believe that my stance is far more supportable than Schmidts.
      And yes, the IPCC does state this in Ch 3, but this receives virtually no consideration in Ch 9 on detection and attribution.


      Section says:
      Variations in the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (see Section 3.6.6 for a more detailed discussion) could account for some of the evolution of global and hemispheric mean temperatures during the instrumental period (Schlesinger and Ramankutty, 1994; Andronova and Schlesinger, 2000; Delworth and Mann, 2000); Knight et al. (2005) estimate that variations in the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation could account for up to 0.2°C peak-to-trough variability in NH mean…

      and some other stuff


  99. From Bart’s place, H/T to lord_sidcup at Deltoid.


    Another author of O’Donnell et al. (Lewis) enters the political fray in the right-wing rag “The Spectator”.

    Lewis is chumming in a duo with Ridley, the latter is from the Global Policy Warming Foundation (i.e., an astroturf lobby and disinformation group) which has discredited people like Carter, Plimer, and McKitrick (from Climate*****) on its “academic advisory council”. The title or the Lewis/Ridley piece is:

    “The ice storm – Nicholas Lewis and Matt Ridley expose the bias and bluster behind the latest set of shaky global warming data”

    Quite the generalization and quite the team effort by the CA crowd- they now have enough fodder to feed the “skeptics” for a few more months.

    Pathetic that the contrarians and “skeptics” can’t keep politics out of science.”

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      I hate to engage in conspiracy theories, but why do I get the feeling that this was all planned?

    • Matt Ridley is the libertarian author of the “Rational Optimist” a lukewarmers’ tract that extols mankind’s ingenuity in the face of all difficulties, well, except the prospect of a carbon tax, which will cripple civilization, apparently. The physics of climate change is refuted by economic history, he tells us.

      Ridley was also the Chairman of Northern Rock, the British bank that was the first to go bust in the Great Recession. He would have served his shareholders better had he instead been a rational pessimist. The fact that the enterprise that he presided over had to be nationalized doesn’t seem to have dented his libertarian ideals any.

      On the other hand, he has written some great science books, notably “The Red Queen”. Which makes it all the more strange that he now associates himself with people like Ian Plimer and Bob Carter.

    • Rattus,

      Good point. My take is that it may have not been planned (maybe they just wanted to get another paper in press to try and undermine climate science and scientists and to give the “skeptics” something to point to).

      Unfortunately the long peer-review process, with Steig as the “difficult” reviewer, was perfect material for their PR campaign. And this is now very much a PR campaign, and I would not be the least bit surprised in Harris and friends were egging McIntyre et al. on behind the scenes. The “spectator” diatribe suggests that the GWPF probably is possibly working with CA at some level.

      Alas, what these fools do not realize is that in the world of peer-review none of what transpired on the scientists’ or journal’s side was unusual or wrong. What was wrong and highly unusual was the behaviour of O’Donnell et al. The world is upside down in McIntyre land.

      IMHO, O’Donnell and his coauthors should be sanctioned from publishing in AMS and AGU for a period deemed appropriate by the journals.

    • I don’t think there is much explicit co-ordination between paid PR disinformation speecialists (like Morano and Tom Harris) and the contrarian bloggers. I tend to characterize it more as a symbiotic relationship, with a fair amount of fluid opportunism.

      Like ML, I also don’t see much direct connection between CA and GWPF. As a UK resident, Nic lewis would naturally have common cause with GWPF. It does demonstrate, once again, the real agenda of the O’Donnell four. Which is *not* to help add to scientific understanding and knowledge, but rather to attack climate science and scientists.

    • “IMHO, O’Donnell and his coauthors should be sanctioned from publishing in AMS and AGU for a period deemed appropriate by the journals.”

      There’s always E&E. Submit close enough to a COP conference and they won’t even have to go through peer review at all.

    • Which is *not* to help add to scientific understanding and knowledge, but rather to attack climate science and scientists.

      Right, I don’t think the episode was planned in terms of the actual path it took – they apparently were surprised that Steig would be a reviewer, and equally surprised that a reviewer might criticize a paper after publication.

      But the episode was certainly planned in the sense that the goal was to attack, smear, and take down Steig in their everlasting effort to attack, smear and take down “The Team”, by which they mean anyone who does research that supports AGW theory.

      JeffID said as much over at BartV’s place, saying that one goal was to knock down Steig ’09 before it became iconic ala the hockeystick.

    • They have said things like they wondered who on “the Team” was the reviewer, but it’s not clear to me whether they expected that beforehand. Maybe they thought it would be Mann. I don’t read them much as a regular thing, but I have the impression that Mann is the one they attack most often.

    • Maybe they thought it would be Mann.

      Apparently, from stuff they’ve said elsewhere, they were sure that Mann was writing some of it.

      Look, with McIntyre, the operative word is “paranoia”.

      Just like when he discovered that the Team had blocked access to ClimateAudit from an airport in the UK …

    • Actually it was Sudbury, Canada.

      From my RC comment on O’Donnelgate:

      If you want to understand how these folks so badly misunderstood your [Steig’s] review, and how they come to be convinced of your “duplicity”, consider their mindset.

      When I arrived in Sudbury Airport on Friday night, I logged onto the airport internet terminal (conveniently free) and tried to access Climate Audit. Access was blocked. I was –

      Banned in Sudbury.

      To verify that Climate Audit was specifically blocked, as opposed to blogs, I visited realclimate, which loaded without event.

      It turned out that someone had downloaded parental control software onto the local network. …

      [Edited to remove redundancy]

      Anyway, the very first comment was:

      Ryan O
      Posted Jun 7, 2009 at 8:51 PM
      1984 was such a good book. Good thing it was fiction.

      Here are some more details on this incident, during which McIntyre refused to let go of the idea that CA may have been deliberately blocked, even though it soon became clear that even relatively innocuous words could trigger the parental software block. Read on …

      A couple of the early comments are good for a laugh:
      – “Maybe you were blocked because you’re upsetting some people who have vested interests in AGW?”
      – “This is Canada we are talking about. Free speech and “human rights commissions” don’t necessarily mix.”

      Here is where I first weigh in, 110 comments in, showing that there was no blacklist, just a word trigger, with the captured pop-up message (which read “Data transmission was interrupted due to an inappropriate word or phrase”).

      Steven mosher dropped by to accuse me of manufacturing the pop-up message. Was he serious? Who knows, who cares.

      Anyway, McIntyre was still speculating about a blacklist:“It could be something in the software, but it;s also possible that some individual caused it to be blacklisted. I don’t know. I merely noted that I was blocked.”

      So I came back and showed an exact phrase that triggered the software on the Banned post itself – “for adults”.

      But McIntyre was not convinced:

      I don’t think that there was anything contentious on the GISS thread as at Friday 11 pm. So we still don’t know why CA was blocked in Sudbury.

      Right after this, there was an answer from the software company confirming unequivocally that ClimateAudit was not on any blacklist.

      That still wasn’t good enough:

      I don’t know why I was blocked and didn’t speculate on it. It could be something in the software, but it’s also possible that some individual caused it to be blacklisted.

      Some more back and forth, but Steve still sought an explanation (even though I had showed him that relatively innocuous words could trigger the software):

      I don’t think that there was anything contentious on the GISS thread as at Friday 11 pm. So we still don’t know why CA was blocked in Sudbury.

      There was more ill-informed speculation about blocking from CA admin John A.

      Terra Gibbs of the Greater Sudbury Airport explained how the parental control software came to be installed on the airport network, leading to “inadvertant” blocking of certain websites. More irrelevant discussion ensued including McIntyre inquiring immediately after as to “how the block was created”.

      Poor Terra had to deal with this nonsense from McIntyre:

      Terra, I’m glad to learn that the airport itself didn’t block the site, but could you clarify things further.

      I’m still puzzled as to the mechanics of the block even on the basis that the software installation was unauthorized.

      The software company Softforyou says that was not on their blocked list and yet access was blogged [he means “blocked”] – which would seem to contradict the statement of the software company. Can you shed any light on this?

      The last word goes to Mike Lorrey:

      I am still curious as to the person Steve talked to at Sudbury who noticed he was at Real Climate and commented how it was such a great site. Firebugs tend to watch the fires they start.

      Sigh – you can’t make this stuff up.

    • I guess that turned out quite long. I hadn’t quite realized how far out McIntyre had gotten until going back and reviewing the whole thread. I might write it up as a proper post sometimes, along with a few other examples of McIntyre’s boners about being blocked or not finding archives.

    • Wow, I never followed the whole thing, Sudburygate!

      If you do decide to write something up regarding McI’s paranoia, the NASA wget incident’s another great one.


      Steven mosher dropped by to accuse me of manufacturing the pop-up message.

      You know … I miss the old Mosher, at least he was sincerely dishonest. I really can’t stand the current concern-troll incarnation.

    • It’s also an interesting example of how McIntyre operates. Notice he is careful not to speculate as to who might have blocked him or why, although he refuses to let go of the idea that CA was blocked. That doesn’t prevent lots of folks immediately filling in the blanks, with no discouragement from McIntyre of course.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      DC, there’s a near-duplication of text in your long Sudbury comment.

      I really, really hope you write this up as a post. It just sooo summarizes McIntyre et al.

      Dhogaza, WRONG COUNTRY, you lying &%#@$. Somebody should audit all of your blog comments over the last 13 years 🙂

    • I think the post is a great idea!

  100. A new post about peer review, including thoughts by O’Donnell, who doesn’t think he acted unethically at all, at all.

  101. Matt Ridley is the libertarian author of the “Rational Optimist” a lukewarmers’ tract that extols mankind’s ingenuity in the face of all difficulties, well, except the prospect of a carbon tax, which will cripple civilization, apparently.

    That is beautiful work Andy!

  102. All,

    With the release of “The Spectator” diatribe, all of the authors in the O’Donnell et al. paper (O’Donnell, McIntyre, Lewis and Condon) have now engaged in unprofessional, unethical and inappropriate behaviour and actions.

    What a stand up crowd. Not.

    Talking of unethical behaviour. What is the status of the alleged Wegman investigation? This is now getting truly ridiculous.

    • Adding more insults to injuries, here’s the always [not] ethical McI getting on his high horse about society’s “right to professionalism” at John Nielsen-Gammon’s blog on the need for proper mentoring of outsiders going through the peer-review process:

      “Richard Horton observed in the Muir Russell report:

      ‘the importance of statistics has grown substantially. Whereas twenty years ago The Lancet had no separate statistical peer review process, every paper we now publish has been carefully scrutinised by an independent statistical advisor.’

      Unfortunately this is not the case in statistically-based climate science articles, where scientists with at best “amateur” knowledge of statistics attempt to pilot the airplane.

      Society has a right to professionalism.”

      Isn’t it just amazing how deaf McI is to irony? What a “professional.”

    • Taylor B,
      It is interesting to see you and Majoram linking to my posts on the flawed analyis produced by Wegman et al as counterpoints to McIintyre’s call for statistical “professionalism” in climate science – ironic indeed. I wonder if John N-G has read any of those.

    • Layers and layers of irony: the J N-G post at which McI left his comment was motivated by the kerfuffle regarding O’D’s and McI’s umbrage over their supposed “mistreatment” during peer-review. As a result of their apparent paranoia that a “Team peer-review” conspiracy was afoot (or perhaps because of their determination to embarrass Steig and concurrently “prove” the existence of such a conspiracy), O’D, McI, et al. completely misconstrued “Reviewer A’s” (Steig’s) comments on their first submission to JoC, assuming that he had “insisted” that they use iridge instead of ttls, when all Steig asked was that they use the “most likely” method, justify their choice of parameters, and include their most likely choice in a prominent figure within their paper. After their paper was *successfully published,* O’D broke Steig’s confidence and hurled insults at Steig via McI’s blog for Steig’s alleged “duplicity.” Then, it emerged that O’D’s coauthors McI and Jeff Id had already inquired of J N-G whether it was against AMS’ journal policy to publish the names of reviewers, and received a definitive “no” response. Nevertheless, McI not only hadn’t informed his esteemed coauthor, O’D, that McI had been explicitly told that revealing the name of the reviewer was unethical, but McI provided O’D a dedicated space on his blog to do just that, and justified it based on a twisted parsing of J N-G’s response and JoC’s written policy, which didn’t explicitly state that it is not ok to commit matricide or any number of other obvious offenses. After committing these serial offenses, McI appears on J N-G’s (!) blog to lecture the climate science establishment and lay readers on the importance of “professionalism” and statistical expertise in climate science (what an ethicist, and what chutzpah). How could he be so blind, if that’s the proper description?

      I hate to speculate, but I can’t help wondering (as have others) what sort of psychological makeup and/or agenda could possibly motivate a person to behave as McI does. Especially since it has been reported that McI does not share the libertarian philosophy of the Heartland Institute and doesn’t support Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against Michael Mann (perhaps out of McI’s fear that Wegman’s “analysis” of his code would be subjected to legal scrutiny). McI also reportedly believes that AGW is real and that mitigation is necessary. So, what motivates him?
      It’s possible that he just carries his response to perceived slights and failings of others too far, but there seems to be something more involved. I’m no psychologist, but I’ve had my share of experience with persons who seem to have a need to manipulate others for attention and recognition. They can be charismatic, brilliant, and charming to some, but they aren’t to be relied upon.

    • “Especially since it has been reported that McI does not share the libertarian philosophy of the Heartland Institute”
      Apparently so – his political philosophy appears middle-of-the-road (for Canada).

      “… and doesn’t support Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against Michael Mann (perhaps out of McI’s fear that Wegman’s “analysis” of his code would be subjected to legal scrutiny). ”

      Also true, but apparently based on a critique of “overzealousness”. In fact, this attitude led to palpable feeling of letdown among the assembled at the last Heartland conference. McIntyre has said that he considers “issues” with Mann “at most” academic misconduct. On the other hand, he keeps comparing climate science to Enron, so he is not totally consistent on this.

      “McI also reportedly believes that AGW is real …
      Yes, but only in the limited “lukewarmer” sense. He has referred approvingly to the Lindzen hypothesis of negative feedback/low climate sensitivity.

      ” … and that mitigation is necessary.”
      I don’t think so. He is on the record as being unsure whether AGW is a small problem or a big problem. What he has said is that politicians are justified in taking advice from the scientific organizations like the IPCC. So again, not totally consistent.

    • Inconsistency has been a common trait among persons I’ve encountered who attempt to manipulate others–although it must be admitted that inconsistency is a very common human trait. For example, here’s an example of McIntyre’s position in a public debate on the subject of Climategate (h/t to J Bowers):

      “He noted that if he was running a government, he would be taking action on climate change.”

      (Not a direct quote of McIntyre’s comments, you’ll notice, just the Guardian’s paraphrase.)

    • If you jump to 61:55 in the audio of the Guardian debate, you’ll find why McIntyre is reported to believe that governments should act. Audio of the full 98 minute debate is below the first photo.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Yeah I agree with Dan L — and add my own speculation, that McI is one of those folks that are very bad at admitting they were wrong, and insist on going on painting themselves further and further into progressively more indefensible corners.

      Curry seems to be another one like that. Strange, that she functioned as a scientist for so long.

    • Yes, I agree with Dan L and GP that it isn’t worth thinking too deeply over McI’s behavior–I’ll only note that his drive-by of J. N-G’s website, when viewed in the narrow context of the subject of J. N-G’s post and McI’s previous correspondence with J N-G regarding AMS’ peer-review policy, and considered within the broader history of McI’s unprofessional past, strikes me as outside the norm, to put it mildly.

      GP’s observation of McI’s inability to admit mistakes and Dan L’s observation of a similarity in McI’s behavior to that of members of a certain family of fish, are not at all inconsistent with a pattern or type that I’ve encountered in a few instances before. It also includes a tendency to overstate one’s own achievements, a need for admiration, and a willingness to take advantage of others to achieve one’s own ends. I’ll leave the name of that pattern out of this discussion, but note that it can be found in the DSM.

  103. Honestly, the commenters at Climate Audit all seem to think they are each individually the star of some third rate spy thriller. One called O’Donnell a “whistleblower” yesterday, and in today’s post McIntyre has picked up on another idiotic comment and is blithering on about the “witness protection program”. I forget, is Steig in the witness protection program because O’Donnell blew the whistle on the fatwa? Who’s the villain again?

  104. Sigh – you can’t make this stuff up.

    [Rescued from spam filter belatedly]

    Re : Mike Lorrey et al. [snip].

    There is a whole group of them, and if you are a glutton for punishment and want to abuse yourself, then I strongly suggest you go and see how they operate by visiting them in their native habitat here. Consult Lawrence Britt and his 14 points first, though, it will give you the perspective you need to stomach this stuff without getting sick.

    This is what the rational world is up against.

  105. The Economist ( subscription) reports on two new plays in London, one of which seems to have been inspired by, well, take a wild guess:

    “The Heretic” ….. opened on February 10th, starring Juliet Stevenson (pictured) as a professor doubtful about climate change, which puts her on the wrong side of received opinion in her department, earning the enmity of her ethically flexible boss and colleagues. A script full of digs at green complacency has delighted climate-change sceptics, who often complain that their case is denied a proper hearing.

    Richard Bean, who wrote the play, has a record of controversy: his drama about racism, “England People Very Nice”, was denounced by some for reinforcing stereotypes rather than challenging them. Now he has courted another fierce argument. He says “The Heretic” is “meant to show how government and the mainstream media have adopted an unproven hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming, as if it were undisputed.” The backlash was predictably swift: Fred Pearce, an environmental campaigner and author, damned the play as a “boorish and confected conspiracy tale”.

    But before you start to think from that final remark that Fred Pearce has finally come to his senses, it’s worth reading his entire comment, since he objects to the play because it does not do justice to the “better”,” more exciting” and “more real” story:

    Last month I shared a conference table with Judy Curry, a US climate scientist. She was labelled a “heretic” in Scientific American for criticising colleagues over the East Anglian row and trying to find common ground with sceptics. Her story is better than Diane’s – a riveting drama of big egos, corrupted institutions, divided loyalties, conflicted motives, personal anguish, and, yes, real debate about science and saving the planet. I can see Juliet Stevenson playing Judy. It would be more exciting and more real – but also more ambiguous – than this nicely written but ultimately boorish and confected conspiracy tale.

    • Yes, indeed, Fred has been busy since Lisbon, including the Norway Carbonundrum conference and this review. And Lisbon has been clearly on his mind. In fact, consider the above comment a partial preview for Post Normal Meltdown in Lisbon Part 2, coming soon.

  106. So all of wordpress is screwing up poster handles.

    How friggin’ unprofessional (tamino’s has the same problem)

  107. I hate to speculate, but I can’t help wondering (as have others) what sort of psychological makeup and/or agenda could possibly motivate a person to behave as McI does.

    Let us not over-think this. After all, maintaining his position as the deniers’ chief hockey stick exorcist keeps him in demand as a speaker, collaborator, etc. Yes, he is coy and sly about it, but IMO he is nothing but a remora, feeding himself by fastening onto the careers of larger men.

    • Someone, I forget who, has recently called McIntyre “Iago” which sums it up faily well, I think.

    • It’s Neven who came up with that tag…

    • Just the usual narcissist. You can tell quite quickly because everything quickly becomes reduced to a matter of him versus the someone else. He has to triumph, they have to be evil to have even considered defying him. It’s all about him. The latest ‘scandal’ epitomises this behaviour. They had their paper published, but he has to continually complain about the fact that anyone dared to question him, and when he disasgreed on a point, they did not immediately do what he said and conceed that he was right.

  108. Hypothesis: McIntyre makes the reasonable statements cited above so that he can position himself as a neutral arbiter, an honest auditor, while he continuously defames climate scientists and climate science.

    Evidence: his actions.

  109. Try this taxonomy, ofw which PSY3 seems most relevant, but I suspect:
    FIN3, IDE2, PSY4, PSY6, maybe TEC6 might be possible, although not necessarily in that order.

    • I think all are relevant, and it’s a useful taxonomy. You might need to add a line or two under PSY for this category.

    • Bill O'Slatter

      I would agree with John’s description of McIntyre. There’s a danger in ascribing borderline personality disorders to McIntyre. The crackpot behaviour is just strategy generally aimed at some political process.

    • Taylor B:
      Thanks, sooner or later I may update that table and although narcissism might overlap with a few of the others, it probably does deserve a a category, say PSYb. Note that this taxonomy was designed as a bottom-up”atomic”, i.e., in which various different combinations form broader categories or “molecules.” From a temporal view, there may even be “iso0mers” in which people seem to have identical combinations, but arrived there in differing orders. The taxonomy was created in reaction to over-simplifications like “everybody must be paid by oil companies” ad of course this was part of the discussion in section 2 of CCC.

    • The commenter colinski has some interesting things to say about rightwing thinking here:

  110. I have recently said on Bart’s blog that I think everyone who is running a climate blog should have a disclaimer at the top of his blog that links to a page where his or her exact position on AGW is stated.

    If for instance McIntyre would do this, clearly stating he believes AGW is real and a potential threat that needs to be mitigated as much as possible, it would be so easy to direct people to it, or link to it in commenter thread’s of articles that purport that McIntyre has slain the AGW dragon.

    Imagine Watts clearly stating his views on AGW. Right now all we can read over at his blog is this: “News and commentary on puzzling things in life, nature, science, weather, climate change, technology, and recent news by Anthony Watts.”

    Ah, if only I had the time and skills I would start a website, or some such, where people can answer a couple of questions regarding AGW, after which a disclaimer is automatically generated with all the html finished for embedding on blog front pages…

    Maybe next year. 🙂

    PS yes, the whole OD10 riot led me to calling McIntyre Iago. This was mostly based on O’Donnell’s behaviour up to that point. I felt like he was sincere, and was quite pleasantly surprised that there seemed to be some sort of a bridge being built between The Team and The Tribe of Paranoid Pygmees. Somehow I felt as if Iago McIntyre had poisoned O’Donnell’s mind, O’Donnell being Othello and Desdemona at the same time.

    However, I’m not so sure anymore if O’Donnell’s gentlemanly behaviour was nothing more than a pose.

    • Ah, but Neven, in the case of such a disclaimer Watts would have to take a position. You know, acknowledge some level of certainty in the face of the uncertainty. That contradicts everything his website stands for: casting doubt, whether with lies, distortions or downright idiocy.

    • However, I’m not so sure anymore if O’Donnell’s gentlemanly behaviour was nothing more than a pose.

      JeffID is certainly guilty of having posed as a reasonable poser of questions over at RealClimate in the past, while simultaneously saying some of the vilest things about the scientists there elsewhere.

      I don’t remember for sure if RyanO was as nasty elsewhere as JeffId when he was questioning Steig (politely) at RealClimate, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    • I know. That’s the point. 🙂

  111. For more on the Oxburgh and Russell reports pertaining to my allegations against Phil Jones, see my letter of 1 December 2010, at

    [DC: Transferred to Open Thread]

    • I’m going to highlight GP’s comment at SheWonk:

      Gavin’s Pussycat:

      I know a little more about this — though not nearly as much as some. Enough to say that this is as much nonsense as the rest.

      1. It is not the job of authors to police their co-authors. All Jones could do, when the accusation came up, was to ask Wang, hey, what’s your side of this story. Joint authorship and paranoia don’t go together — you don’t co-author with people you don’t trust. If there is any real suspicion it should be looked into independently, as Albany did with Wang. Co-authors are the last people you want involved then.

      2. Those that understand the science will tell you that the issue is completely irrelevant to the conclusion of the paper: the effect of station moves/changes is random, as often up as down. It becomes part of the noise, and is mostly averaged out when using 42/42 stations. All it requires for the conclusion on UHI to be valid, is that the identification of stations as either rural or urban is mostly reliable.

      3. Character evidence: as Gavin Schmidt reports on RC, Keenan is a classical schoolyard bully:

      As an aside, Keenan has made a cottage industry of accusing people of fraud whenever someone writes a paper of which he disapproves. He has attempted to get the FBI to investigate Mike Mann, pursued a vendetta against a Queen’s University Belfast researcher, and has harassed a French graduate student with fraud accusations based on completely legitimate choices in data handling. More recently Keenan, who contacted Wigley after having seen the email mentioned in the Pearce story, came to realise that Wigley was not in agreement with his unjustified allegations of ‘fraud’. In response, Keenan replied (in an email dated Jan 10, 2010) that:

      .. this has encouraged me to check a few of your publications: some are so incompetent that they seem to be criminally negligent.

      Sincerely, Doug

      scroll to Part 5.

      Do you need more?

  112. Cross-posted from Deltoid:

    Apropos of Sir John Beddington’s exhortations to climate scientists to stop being so tolerant of misrepresentation, Gavin Schmidt has gone on the offensive.

    Judith Curry decides to wade straight into the mire with a post on Hiding the Decline (yes, that decline) and promptly shoots herself in the foot by flinging accusations of dishonesty at Mann, Briffa, Jones “et al” (the “et al” implying, presumably, other members of the RC crew).

    Gavin Schmidt calls Curry on this, saying:

    to ascribe a difference of opinion to dishonesty is to remove yourself from any sensible discussion on the topic. Perhaps if I was to find a graph in one of your papers which I thought didn’t show some aspect of the data I was interested in, and then accuse you of dishonesty? Would you react well to that? This is exactly the same. How can you claim to be building bridges, when you are so busy burning them?

    Go Gavin. Perhaps one of the few occasions it’s worth swallowing your distaste and dipping a foot into the Curry denier chum tank…

  113. The difference in levels of professional integrity between Gavin Schmidt and Judith Curry has now reached orders of magnitude. After this, I wonder if he should bother with her.

  114. Regarding the stolen CRU e-mails, Jeff Id says “There are reasons that the few blogs which received climategate links were chosen.” Is Jeff Id someone that Scotland Yard should be interviewing about how those e-mails were disseminated?

    • Well certainly he would have the proximate IP address of whoever posted the original link. Of course, it may well have been “cloaked” via a proxy server, but even that would be useful information. But I tend to think that whoever disseminated this was not directly tied to the blogs.

    • Jeff Id claims to know “reasons.” I’m curious whether he’s just making this up, or if he actually knows those reasons, and whether he’s someone who is in a position to actually know. My guess is that its the former, but I’ve asked him on the wretched Judith Curry blog. Boy, is it hard to stomach that stuff; she’s as low as WUWT.

    • Reason could be that the source hacker wanted the emails to be used and abused to maximum disadvantage of the the scientists (who’s work was being used as the reason for policie under discussion at Copenhagen COP).

      To be generous to Jeff ID, he may have just recognised that the hacker gave the emails to sources that would help to get them to the groups who would make use of it in the exploitative PR way.

    • jakerman, I appreciate your comments, but this isn’t about being generous or antagonistic toward Jeff Id. I just want to know the answer to a simple question: is he in a position to know the reasons, or is he speculating? If the former, then I think the Norfolk Constabulary should be interested; if the latter, then I have no interest in what he thinks the reasons are.

    • Useful idiots. That’s why they were chosen.

    • Either way norfolk police might want to be informed about this…let no stone be left unturned.

    • Jeff Id’s response is sufficiently vague and generalized to suggest that he doesn’t “know” what the source’s reasons are. The historians of all things “climategate” related at JC’s blog inform us that Jeff Id already spoke to the constables. Another resident indicates that he ignored the constables’ RFI, and hasn’t heard any further from them.

  115. So Curry’s digging herself in deeper and deeper.

    She’s at least at the Michael Behe level at this point … or beyond.


  116. That Curry thread is a real cesspool of blinding ignorance. It’s astounding that she was able to even have a career in science seeing how intellectually incurious she is. Of course her recent actions have essentially killed that career, at least as it relates to peer-reviewed science. It’s also amazing how everybody is so upset over the alleged *manipulation* of the graphs by Briffa and Mann and yet they say nothing about the blatant fabrications of an Easterbrook or a Monckton. And iron-sun charlatans like Tallbloke and Oliver K. Manuel are treated as scientific dignitaries.
    Someone should send Curry a T-Shirt with “Integrity” on a garbage pail, because that is what she is making of it.

    • Rattus Norvegicus

      Yep, except that she is at the top of the ladder: a tenured department head, so she is free to express her opinion. This is the whole point of tenure and I have no problem with it. She might experience more questioning peer review of her stuff now, but it really doesn’t matter for her career anymore.

    • But while professors have tenure, they do not necessarily have it as department chair or equivalent…

  117. This is the whole point of tenure and I have no problem with it. She might experience more questioning peer review of her stuff now, but it really doesn’t matter for her career anymore.

    Tenure is one reason I’ve called her “the Michael Behe of climate science”. Behe’s department’s website has a disclaimer saying that Behe’s creationist claims are rejected by his colleagues at the U, etc etc, but Behe still teaches and apparently spends his time doing “research” into creationism and writes popular books.

    His scientific reputation is ruined, but his career’s not. He worked hard to get tenure, and now is exploiting the freedom that comes with it.

    As is Curry. She obviously doesn’t care about her scientific reputation – they’re all ignorant frauds, after all (as are all evolutionary biologists, if you believe Behe) – but her professional position is secure.

    As is her consultancy business.

  118. Here’s an interesting new UK website for checking on whether the media is simply parroting press releases:

    Hat tip:

    Blog post about it:

  119. “That Curry thread is a real cesspool of blinding ignorance.”
    Oh, I read through it and thought “geesh, the smugness!” and of course, the ego of her supporters! Ack!

  120. Rattus Norvegicus

    John Mashey,

    Over at Judith’s place she has summoned Tufte. You might have something to add to the discussion, but you should reply on the Part V thread.

    • She may have invoked Tufte, but in the words of the immortal bard:

      I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
      Why, so can I, or so can any man;
      But will they come when you do call for them?
      Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command
      The devil
      And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil—
      By telling the truth. Tell truth and shame the devil.
      Henry The Fourth, Part I Act 3, scene 1, 52–58”

  121. The thugs are coming. In rare moment of openness A Watts reveals his true face:

    Update: James Taylor’s post on Forbes supports our position. A number of alarmists have been organized to team up on the comment section to defend the undefensible. Please add your voice of support to shout them down in the comments section.

    No pretense that this is a debate about science.

    You can find James Taylor’s Op-Ed piece here: Global Warming Alarmists Flip-Flop On Snowfall. If you disagree with him, be respectful and explain your reasons. Ignore the goons.

  122. Holly Stick

    McIntyre explaining the aim of Climate Audit as part of a discussion on climate story telling:

    “…Judy, I think that this is an excellent and important issue. I’ve more or less aimed Climate Audit (particularly pre-Climategate) at readers who are professionals or who have PhDs in other fields – your 2s and 3s – who are starving for relevant expositions of how doubled CO2 leads to 3 deg C and problems. Climate scientists often direct such inquiries to IPCC AR4, but IPCC AR4 does not provide the sort of exposition that meets the needs of this audience…”

    • Does anyone need more than one hand to count the number of times McIntyre has discussed climate sensitivity on climateaudit?

    • I think McIntyre has discussed it a fair amount. Whether he has actually anything relevant to say on the subject is another question. Speaking of which, at that same post, Curry again puts forth her hierarchy of “epistemic levels”:

      1. Research scientist publishing papers on relevant topics
      2. Individual with a graduate degree in a technical subject that has investigated the relevant topics in detail.
      3. Individual spending a substantial amount of time reading popular books on the subject and hanging out in the climate blogosphere
      4. Individual who gets their climate information from the mainstream media or talk radio

      A relevant question would be where would bloggers like McIntyre and Watts fall on this scale. I would say that Watts is clearly a 3 at best, while McIntyre is arguably a 2, although without a graduate degree (bachelor’s only).

      I would say I’m in similar territory – perhaps we’re both 2.5 on this scale.

      Back to S (climate sensitivity) – I recommend James Annan on this subject. He has very interesting papers and blog posts on constraining
      S at *both* ends.

    • Ian Forrester

      McIntyre nonsense:

      I’ve more or less aimed Climate Audit (particularly pre-Climategate) at readers who are professionals or who have PhDs in other fields – your 2s and 3s – who are starving for relevant expositions of how doubled CO2 leads to 3 deg C and problems

      I have a PhD in an other field and the last place I will go looking for scientific information is Climate ****** or wattsup*******.

      These are just jokes.

      [DC: Edit – Perhaps its time to come up with milder sarcastic versions for the more genteel blogs like mine. ]

  123. @Deep Climate:
    I would say I’m in similar territory – perhaps we’re both 2.5 on this scale.

    That puts me at about a 2.98. I think I’ll order a T-shirt:

    I’m a 2.98 on the Curry Scale!, with cherubim and maybe some lightning bolts.

    Only the deep insiders will get it. We’ll need a secret handshake, of course.

  124. An interesting article on nuclear “safety codes” used in forensic analysis of nuclear power plant accidents seems to resonate with the “controversy” and “debate” over the oft-derided climate models at sites like WUWT, CA and Judith Curry’s:

    “The codes got better and better” after the accident at Three Mile Island revealed the poor state of reactor assessment, said Michael W. Golay, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    These portraits of the Japanese disaster tend to be proprietary and confidential, and in some cases secret. One reason the assessments are enormously sensitive for industry and government is the relative lack of precedent: The atomic age has seen the construction of nearly 600 civilian power plants, but according to the World Nuclear Association, only three have undergone serious accidents in which their fuel cores melted down.

    Now, as a result of the crisis in Japan, the atomic simulations suggest that the number of serious accidents has suddenly doubled, with three of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi complex in some stage of meltdown. Even so, the public authorities have sought to avoid grim technical details that might trigger alarm or even panic.

    “They don’t want to go there,” said Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert who, from 1993 to 1999, was a policy adviser to the secretary of energy. “The spin is all about reassurance.”

    One could draw a number of parallels and distinctions with the climate models, such as improvement of the codes for forensic and predictive analyses; the need to “spin” the conclusions where sensitive industry or political/national interests are at stake; proprietary vs. public release of code and data; and use of sophisticated codes to model the unprecedented consequences of human activities. In the instances of the reactor accidents, it appears that these codes provide the clearest picture of what’s going on in the reactor core, when the operators are working blind. Will we see a sustained effort by McIntyre, Watts, Curry, and industry shills to discredit the value of these codes, for the same reasons they attack the climate models and their conclusions?