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­An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research from Dr. Judith Curry regarding hacked CRU emails

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"­An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research from Dr. Judith Curry regarding hacked CRU emails"

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I have known Dr. Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, for many years.  I have interviewed her a number of times and quoted her work on the hurricane-warming connection at length for my 2006 book, “Hell and High Water:  Global Warming — the Solution and the Politics.”  Later, I spent a day giving talks with her in various Florida cities.  She is a first rate scientist (CV here) and someone I have great respect for.  Her past public statements and articles on climate change can be found here.  As is the case with other guest bloggers on CP, I do not agree with everything she writes here.  But the hacked CRU emails raise important issues, I believe scientists should keep maintaining considerably higher standards than their critics, and I think her views deserve to be read and debated widely.  Comments are greatly desired, as always.

­An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research

Based upon feedback that I’ve received from graduate students at Georgia Tech, I suspect that you are confused, troubled, or worried by what you have been reading about ClimateGate and the contents of the hacked CRU emails. After spending considerable time reading the hacked emails and other posts in the blogosphere, I wrote an essay that calls for greater transparency in climate data and other methods used in climate research. The essay is posted over at climateaudit.org (you can read it at http://camirror.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/curry-on-the-credibility-of-climate-research/).

What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values:  the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking.  Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.

My motivation for communicating on this issue in the blogosphere comes from emails that I received from Georgia Tech graduate students and alums. As a result of my post on climateaudit, I started receiving emails from graduate students from other universities. I post the content of one of the emails here, without reference to the student’s name or institution:

Hi Dr. Curry,

I am a young climate researcher (just received my master’s degree from xxx  University) and have been very troubled by the emails that were released from CRU. I just want to applaud and support your response on climateaudit.org [95% of it :)  ]. Your statement represents exactly how I have felt as I slowly enter this community. The content of some of the emails literally made me stop and wonder if I should continue with my PhD applications for fall 2010, in this science. I was so troubled by how our fellow scientists within the climate community have been dealing with opposing voices (on both sides). I hope we can all learn from this and truly feel that we are going to need voices like yours to fix these problems in the coming months and years.

At the heart of this issue is how climate researchers deal with skeptics.  I have served my time in the “trenches of the climate war” in the context of the debate on hurricanes and global warming.   There is no question that there is a political noise machine in existence that feeds on research and statements from climate change skeptics. In grappling with this issue, I would argue that there are three strategies for dealing with skeptics:

  1. Retreat into the ivory tower
  2. Circle the wagons/point guns outward: ad hominem/appeal to motive attacks; appeal to authority; isolate the enemy through lack of access to data; peer review process
  3. Take the “high ground:” engage the skeptics on our own terms (conferences, blogosphere); make data/methods available/transparent; clarify the uncertainties; openly declare our values

Most scientists retreat into the ivory tower.  The CRU emails reflect elements of the circling of wagons strategy.  For the past 3 years, I have been trying to figure out how to engage skeptics effectively in the context of #3, which I think is a method that can be effective in countering the arguments of skeptics, while at the same time being consistent with our core research values. Some of the things that I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics and more effectively counter misinformation include posting at skeptical blogs, such as climateaudit, and inviting prominent skeptics to give seminars at Georgia Tech.  I have received significant heat from some colleagues for doing this (I’ve been told that I am legitimizing the skeptics and misleading my students), but I think we need to try things like this if we are to develop effective strategies for dealing with skeptics and if we are to teach students to think critically.

If climate science is to uphold core research values and be credible to public, we need to respond to any critique of data or methodology that emerges from analysis by other scientists. Ignoring skeptics coming from outside the field is inappropriate; Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office. I’m not implying that climate researchers need to keep defending against the same arguments over and over again. Scientists claim that they would never get any research done if they had to continuously respond to skeptics.  The counter to that argument is to make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available.  Doing this will minimize the time spent responding to skeptics; try it!  If anyone identifies an actual error in your data or methodology, acknowledge it and fix the problem.  Doing this would keep molehills from growing into mountains that involve congressional hearings, lawyers, etc.

So with this reaffirmation of core climate research values, I encourage you to discuss the ideas and issues raised here with your fellow students and professors.  Your professors may disagree with me; there are likely to be many perspectives on this. I hope that others will share their wisdom and provide ideas and guidance for dealing with these issues. Spend some time perusing the blogosphere (both skeptical and pro AGW blogs) to get a sense of the political issues surrounding our field.  A better understanding of the enormous policy implications of our field should imbue in all of us a greater responsibility for upholding the highest standards of research ethics.  Hone your communications skills; we all need to communicate more effectively.  Publish your data as supplementary material or post on a public website.  And keep your mind open and sharpen your critical thinking skills.  My very best wishes to you in your studies, research, and professional development.  I look forward to engaging with you in a dialogue on this topic.

Judith Curry
Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Georgia Institute of Technology

References:

My past public statements on climate change can be found at my website http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/policy.htm.

My paper on “Mixing politics and science in testing the hypothesis that greenhouse warming is a causing an increase in global hurricane intensity” can be found at

http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/currydoc/Curry_BAMS87.pdf

My presentation on the integrity of climate research can be found at

http://www.pacinst.org/topics/integrity_of_science/AGU_IntegrityofScience_Curry.pdf.

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280 Responses to ­An open letter to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research from Dr. Judith Curry regarding hacked CRU emails

  1. PaulK says:

    Joe,
    Posting this shows a lot of class on your part. Kudos

  2. James says:

    This is very high-minded, emphasizing science’s “epistemic virtues” – good for her. A great way for (all) scientists to maintain credibility with the public would be to take a kind of ‘Hippocratic Oath’ to restate such values. I believe there is some discussion of this in the UK.

    But the history of science shows that sometimes option 2 does actually work quite well. (This is why Spencer Weart thinks this material will be an excellent source for future historians). Consider a series of papers on HIV in *Science* for May 1983 : basically, the discoverer of HIV, Robert Gallo, first solicited a paper from French researchers which supported his findings; then refereed the paper; then actually offered to write an abstract for that paper (which the French researchers declined, to their credit). This is from Steven Epstein’s impeccably researched *Impure Science*, 1996, p. 70.

    Gallo’s actions actually pushed research forward on HIV as the causal agent of AIDS. And despite his rather unsavory methods….he was right. In other words: playing ‘dirty’ can sometimes work. It’s a messy world, science is messy, and scientists are people like the rest of us.

  3. Under normal circumstances, I’d completely agree with Judith’s position. But she’s missed the point about the CRU emails. The CRU folks are under constant bombardment in what amounts to a “denial-of-service” attack on their work. It isn’t “skeptics” doing honest scientific enquiry that they are fending off; it’s a well funded PR campaign aimed at confusing the issue and discrediting scientists. And scientists in general have absolutely no idea how to deal with this. All our training tells us that taking the high ground is the appropriate thing to do. But you can’t fight a PR machine just by being open and honest – it will steamroller you flat. The other options suck too. Which means the scientific community has to come to a better understanding of what game is being played here, and figure out what option number 4 might be.

    I’ve elaborated a little more here: http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/?p=1001

  4. DavidCOG says:

    Hmmm. More non-specific hand-wringing as far as I can see. More allusions to heinous scientific behaviour and no details of what it might be.

    “ivory tower … circling of wagons strategy”. How do you respond to that? What does it mean? They’re scientists, not chat show hosts.

    The official response – https://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/homepagenews/CRUupdate – seems reasonable to me and all sane analysis (bar Monbiot’s panic-stricken reaction) that I’ve read seems content with it.

    Yes, there are a few intemperate words in the *private* stolen emails – but who doesn’t let loose occasionally when talking to friends and colleagues in private?

  5. Ben Lieberman says:

    Richard Harris of NPR did a story on this that while certainly accurate was at the same time remarkably, even strikingly moderate in treating skeptics and deniers very, very gently.

  6. PurpleOzone says:

    I think Dr. Curry is naive about the motivations of many of the ‘skeptics’.

  7. mikep says:

    but I don’t think Robert Gallo then refused to show his data or tried to stop other people publishing. His views triumphed because of normal scientific debate. And one article does not correspond to a several year strategy including influencing international organisations. And what if he had not been right?

  8. Ian Forrester says:

    I’m sure Judith Curry would not be so amiable to the deniers (please JC, don’t refer to them as “sceptics” they are are NOT) if they issued libelous and slanderous comments about her life long work two or three times a day.

    Enough is enough, these dishonest people have to be called to account for their dishonest behaviour.

    Something along the lines of a Public Inquiry or Royal Commission (in Canada) is needed where the proponents on both sides give their evidence and testimony under oath. Perjury is a very serious offense.

    Inviting them to give public talks and lectures only makes them appear even more legitimate to the, mostly, uninformed who will be attending or reporting on these events. For goodness sake, they even have their own conferences which get reported as if they were real scientific conferences.

    And contrary to Judith Curry’s implication, the leaked and stolen information does not change or impinge on any of the science or the scientists’ ethics, only that they are human and push back when they are libeled, slandered and have their scientific accomplishments distorted..

  9. Judith Curry says:

    Ian, during autumn 2005 i and my colleagues did suffer slanderous and libelous comments about our work on the hurricane and global warming topic. So I don’t think naive is an appropriate characterization. I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue (CEI comes immediately to mind). Skeptics that are doing analysis and publishing their research (in journals or the blogosphere) deserve to be called skeptics, even if their analyses and research provides fuel for the deniers. It is the failure of the many in the climate community to draw this distinction between deniers and skeptics that has resulted in this problem. In my classification system, Steve McIntyre is a bona fide skeptic, not a denier. Researchers who explicitly affiliate themselves with advocacy groups can be classified as deniers, but if they put forward a serious argument, we need to look at it.

  10. caerbannog says:

    mikep,

    Below is a short excerpt from one of the papers that climate-scientists wanted to “censor” (link to full paper here: http://climatedebatedaily.com/southern_oscillation.pdf)


    To remove the noise, the absolute values were
    replaced with derivative values based on variations.

    Can you tell us whether or not taking the derivative is an appropriate way to reduce noise? Can you tell us what happens to the long-term trend component of a time-series when you apply the derivative operator?

    (If you suspect that I’ve lifted the above statement out of context, feel free to view it in its full context by using your pdf viewer’s search utility).

  11. Ian Forrester says:

    JC, please name who you consider to be “sceptics” and we will see if you are being honest about that. In my book, all honest scientists can be considered to be “sceptics”. Most AGW denier scientists are either not very good at real science or they are dishonest. Give us your list. And before you give us his name, Lindzen has been shown to be grossly dishonest.

    A denier is a denier whether he is a member of an advocacy group or not. That is a weaselly use of words in an attempt to show that there are a lot less deniers than there actually are.

  12. Arthur Smith says:

    Perhaps Dr Curry can describe a specific instance where a skeptic such as McIntyre has made any substantive contribution to our scientific understanding of climate? Whether deliberate or simply a matter of poor communication skills, commenters on McIntyre’s site seem singularly uninformed about real scientific questions. If he has actually contributed something positive then perhaps all those poorly informed hangers-on can be overlooked, but the evidence of any positive influence so far seems to be extraordinarily lacking.

  13. Andy Gunther says:

    I am a trained scientist, but not a climate scientist who has been in the trenches of this conflict. However, I am surprised that Professor Curry (comment #9) does not differentiate between those who publish their work in the blogosphere and those who publish their work in journals. The nature of the “debate” in journals among colleagues appears quite different to me than the “debate” in the blogosphere. The latter “debate” frequently involves all sorts of untestable claims, outright falsehoods, cherry-picking of data, and a lack of understanding of the scientific method. To address this type of dialog with the same respect and effort as the peer-reviewed literature will set back our research efforts and further confuse the public regarding what scientists have concluded and what they have not.

  14. HankHenry says:

    #12 Arthur Smith

    Reasonable skepticism is a positive influence. If your looking for something substantive, I think we can say that McIntyre’s scrutiny of the so called “hockey stick” has bolstered the idea that there may have been a little ice age and medieval warm period in our past historical period.

  15. All this squabbling about process, data and denialism, but the thermodynamics are still moving forward.

    When are scientists going to speak up about immediate dangers?

    The bridge is out, the car is hurling down the road, and scientists and denialists are arguing about signs and speedometer readings, not the crash that is beginning to unfold.

    Does a firefighter rolling up to a burning house, engage with the bystander in discussions about the height and color of the flames?

    It is like going into an emergency room with a bleeding wound, should the doctor stop and discuss other issues, or stop the bleeding?

    What kind of discussion is going on here? Clearly, deniers have distracted science and delayed rational responses. The pain is inflicted on our children.

    I see purposeful acts that will directly inflict harm on ourselves and our posterity.

    Why isn’t this a criminal act?

  16. Fred from Canuckistan . . . says:

    A quote from your past . . . you presented this in 2006 to the US Congress.

    “In addition to my own personal research experiences in the Arctic, a series of national and international assessments undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),the U.S. National Academies, and the U.S. Climate Change Science have made it very difficult to maintain a credible position of scientific skepticism regarding the influence of humans on global warming. The past year has seen striking resolutions to two controversies involving the data record of climate change that support anthropogenic greenhouse warming: the synthesis report on the surface temperature reconstructions over the past two millennia the (NAS, 2006) and the synthesis and assessment report on temperature trends in the lower atmosphere (CCSP, 2006).
    Further, the draft IPCC 4th Assessment Report presents climate model simulations that are far more sophisticated and accurate than were available in prior assessments, substantially increasing the credibility of such simulations and the associated projections. The cautious conclusions of the large body of scientists contributing to these assessment reports by evaluating a large body of published research are extremely important in providing a balanced overview of the state of knowledge in the scientific research community. Based upon these assessments, our understanding of how the climate system works, while incomplete, is more than sufficiently robust to afford a basis for rational action.”

    That is a lot of faith based on IPCC reports we now know are based on

    [snip]

    Perhaps you should send a new letter to Congress.

    [JR: I'm willing to let more nonsense through on this post than normal, BUT commenters still can't make anti-scientific claims that have no basis in fact or have been long debunked in the scientific literature.]

  17. gmo says:

    If scientists are to be expected to make the genuine effort to accommodate “sceptics” by making sure everything from their work is out there and available and spending time to engage, then I would hope the “sceptics” would thus be expected to make the genuine effort to not have their work, blog posts, or whatever subsequently mischaracterized by “deniers”.

    For example, a “sceptic” who found an error in a temperature dataset that led to an insignificant correction may be expected to counter distortions of that fix to limit or defuse “deniers” from using it to fuel their fires. Perhaps that also would help better delineate “sceptics” and “deniers”.

  18. Len Ornstein says:

    There are a number of questions that should be separately recognized and assessed with respect to the hacked emails:

    1) The most important is: does the behavior of the scientists involved significantly weaken the collective AGW position that warming is real, that it will probably continue with business as usual, and that such warming will probably subject humanity (and ecosystems) to severe risks? The answer to this one should be a resounding, NO.

    2) Has the behavior of a few of these scientist revealed poor judgment about scientific and legal protocol? YES.

    3) Does this episode reveal (again) that the scientific peer review process is imperfect, and can stand improvement? YES.

    Academics and journalists must weigh their responsibilities to the public carefully, so that the weight that they give to discussion of questions like 2 and 3 will not easily be perceived as changing the answer to questions like 1.

    It’s a tall order, but extremely important.

  19. Michael Pelletier says:

    “Enough is enough, these dishonest people have to be called to account for their dishonest behaviour.”

    Let’s start by calling to account the scientist who sought to massage the data to “hide the decline,” the scientist who would destroy data rather than disclose it in compliance with the law, the scientist who applied an array of undisclosed “fudge factors” to data, and the scientist who decided to clip the rightmost end of his graph to deceptively bolster his untenable argument.

    If this is what counts for mere “intemperance,” as the spin doctors are describing it, then I can scarcely imagine what a anthropogenic global warming scientist/activist would have to do to be called “dishonest.”

  20. Judith Curry says:

    I would like to make a few comments in response to the various posts. First, bona fide skeptics ( Lindzen is one) may behave badly, just as pro-AGW scientists may behave badly (viz. the CRU emails). This bad behavior on both sides is largely a result of the politicization of this issue, that scientists have gotten caught in the middle of, with open warfare encouraged by many of the advocacy groups.

    With respect to critiques made in blogs. No, of course we are not looking to the blogs to report major science breakthroughs or critiques. But some of the technical blogs have been very useful at pointing out problems with specific datasets, measurement sites, and statistical analysis methods. For the most part pointing out these problems is not going to result in a publishable peer reviewed article, but scientists should fix their datasets etc as these problems are pointed out.

    gmo, i whole heartedly agree with your sentiments. lets stop being so adversarial and work to make progress, and we might might actually be able to do this if we could keep the politicized noise makers out of it.

  21. Quote of the week: “Einstein started his career at post office”

  22. Ian Forrester says:

    Michael Pelletier, please tell us what aspects of the science of climate change have been shown to be wrong resulting from what has been exposed in the illegally reproduced e-mails.

    Your comments show that you are quite prepared to listen to dishonest people who have taken what is written in these e-mails completely out of context.

    Who is being dishonest now?

  23. dp says:

    Why is this so black and white? What is wrong with AGW advocates admitting they advocate that position, and accepting that some of us out here are not convinced? Being unconvinced does not equate with being a skeptic, and to be marginalized because the science thus far is unconvincing reflects much about the advocates.

    What is arrogant is that while we can all recognize there are those on both sides that cannot be convinced the other side could be right, they do not represent the majority position yet they seem to have the greatest affect on policy and counter-policy.

    Good science should reveal transparently convincing proof. If it does not, and in this case, it does not (“we’re 90% sure…” is not good enough) then those who have reached a conclusion and are ready to apply solutions with 90% assurance need to accept the weakness of their position – particularly when those solutions will cost trillions of dollars.

    You want to silence the other side? Get over it. You can’t. Give them what they require – all the data, all the algorithms, all the code. I don’t accept the nonsense of IP rights to code created with taxpayer money. If we’re to spend trillions as a response to this analysis give us what we need to be convinced it is needed. I think we’ve all had enough of Al Gore’s sermonizing.

  24. Thomas says:

    I find it very sad that the foundations of all scientific thought, something called critical analysis, has turned into a negative in the scientific community. The public is far less ignorant then portrayed. When given honest information they generally do a reasonable job of sorting it out. If you lose the support of the populous the facts aren’t going to matter one bit – they will have already turned their backs on the whole endeavor and will be unreachable as they will have already determined “they’re all just a bunch of liars”.

    There are many comments on many of the blogs which reduce to simply “those deniers aren’t adding anything to the science!”. Sense when is the verification of methods and results not contributing to science? Sense when are corrections to such methods, equations and results not adding to the science? We wouldn’t have string theory and quirk theory if everyone just said “We have Einstein, we don’t need to look any farther…”.

    The elitism regularly on display is disgusting and will never play well in the most important theater of them all – that of public opinion. If one wishes to keep hold of that nothing less than 100% honesty and transparent will ever suffice.

  25. MarkB says:

    There are some logical disconnects in Dr. Curry’s essay that I wanted to highlight, and I hope she will respond:

    Dr. Curry: “The quickest way for HADCRU et al. to put Climateaudit and the rest of this tribe out of business is make all climate data and metadata public and make every effort to improve the datasets based on all feedback that you receive. Do this and they will quickly run out of steam and become irrelevant ”

    There are a few fallacies here. First, the vast majority of climate science data is public domain. Is anyone naive enough to believe that making the small fraction of remaining data public will shut down the denialist sites? Does she not understand that data and methods that are fully open to the public are dismissed or attacked dishonestly by this crowd, when they are at odds with their pre-conceived views? She doesn’t seem to acknowledge that there’s a huge media market for global warming skepticism, and making the remainder of the information easily accessible (much of which climate scientists don’t have control over) won’t affect the popularity of these outlets.

    Dr. Curry: “Particularly on a topic of such great public relevance, scientists need to consider carefully skeptical arguments and either rebut them or learn from them. Trying to suppress them or discredit the skeptical researcher or blogger is not an ethical strategy and one that will backfire in the long run.”

    Actually, skeptical arguments are most certainly considered and addressed in the peer-reviewed literature, so it’s difficult to ascertain what she’s referring to exactly, but one might guess the emails involving the Soon/Baliunas issue, which has been discussed at length at RC. This was an attempt by skeptics to game the peer-reviewed system by submitting poor work to a particular editor they knew would be uncritical of it. It was absolutely right for scientists to expose this. But they didn’t simply by complaining to the journal. They also wrote a 13-author rebuttal to the paper in question, published in EOS. This convinced editors of the journal that there was a breakdown of the peer-reviewed system.

    Skeptical arguments are addressed routinely in such venues, at scientific conferences, and yes, blogs.

    Lastly, I would encourge Dr. Curry to look at ClimateAudit with a much more critical eye and apply the values standards to anyone engaged in climate science discussion or research. Reading through private email exchanges between scientists over 10-15 years inevitably lacks context. While much of this is being added by scientists most familiar with the discussions, a key element missing are the private emails of the skeptics side. We would inevitably have further context added by reading private mails from Soon, Baliunas, McIntyre, etc. regarding the topics discussed. As it stands, we only have one side of the story.

  26. MarkB says:

    Dr. Curry writes:

    “I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue (CEI comes immediately to mind).”

    Steve McIntyre fits this description. Association with the Heartland Institute would certainly qualify.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stephen_McIntyre

    “Skeptics that are doing analysis and publishing their research (in journals or the blogosphere) deserve to be called skeptics, even if their analyses and research provides fuel for the deniers.”

    Simply because one has a blog talking about climate science does not make them an honest skeptic. Examine how McIntyre and his crowd handled the recent Yamal deal for starters.

  27. Peter says:

    A truly outstanding independent scientist can get over ‘peer pressure’, not just get through ‘peer review’. We should strive for ‘critical review’ instead of ‘peer review’. Peer review in climate science, after the CRU emails, sounds a lot like medieval guilds protecting their members. There would be much more honor in exposing one’s work to renowned critics, and withstanding their scrutiny.

    I commend you Dr. Curry for getting over the peer pressure and for speaking up.

  28. CK MacLeod says:

    Michael Pelletier, please tell us what aspects of the science of climate change have been shown to be wrong resulting from what has been exposed in the illegally reproduced e-mails.

    What has been exposed in the illegally! reproduced e-mails, and what is exposed in virtually every discussion between warmists and denialists, is that, whatever the state of the science of climate change, the scientists and their boosters have exposed themselves as unworthy of their self-assigned roles as saviors of the planet. They seem to present the prospect of a world run, to the level of every individual’s everyday existence, by imperious and officious, dishonest and self-dealing bureaucrat priests – a world, in other words, hardly worth living in, at any temperature, at any sea levels, regardless of coastal property values. The impending failure of their politically simple-minded and completely unpersuasive carbon reduction regimes, and the popular perception that they are pushing a massive collectivist con job, is a testament to how maladroit they are.

    It may be that human nature makes what the warmists see as necessary preventive action impossible. If so, they would be better advised to pursue their research with less attention to politics of any kind, in the hope of someday providing credible advice to politicians, engineers, and others coping with whatever the real, rather than theoretical, effects of global warming turn out to be. It’s not the ideal solution. It may not be any solution at all, but it may be about the best we can hope for.

  29. David B. Benson says:

    Well, in “Six Degrees” non-scientist reports what he found in the paleoclimate literature during a year of study at Oxford’s Radcliffe Science Library. In past times the climate has been warmer and the effects were… but here is a review of the book:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece
    Do note the extent to which the “one degree” predictions are now being experienced, hmmm?

  30. ken levenson says:

    I find Curry’s assertion that the cru emails violate scientific values wrongheaded…It would be nice to know what she is referring to exactly given everything we now know of them. Ms Curry could you elaborate on this?

    I also find Ms Curry’s comment drawing a sense of moral equivalence between the “camps”bad behavior surreal.

  31. I applaud Dr. Curry for her efforts. Whatever may be the value of the science developed by the group of scientists featured in the CRUTape Letters, it has been called into question by their emails. They seem to be doing a lot more politics than science.

    Of course, science has always served the politicians, at least in the modern era. The Germans invented the research university in 1806 to build up the power of the state, and it didn’t take long for other nations to follow their example.

    And science has never been the disinterested rational enterprise of the scientists’ narrative. Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions told us decades ago that scientists are human-all-too-human.

    It is naive of some of the commenters above to imagine that climate science can stay above the fray and just shut up skeptics by calling them deniers. Billions in research money are at stake and trillions in taxes and regulations. You think people are just going to submit to such a vast increase in political power without a fight?

    If you want to call me a denier you can get me at chrischantrill at gmail.com

  32. SecularAnimist says:

    By the way, my open letter “to graduate students and young scientists in fields related to climate research” is very short and very simple:

    You belong at the front lines, with the rest of us, demonstrating for the shut down of coal-fired power plants, protesting at ExxonMobil board meetings, etc.

    We’ve done enough research to know what we are facing. We don’t need ever more refined computer models at this point — everywhere we look we can see right in front of our eyes what anthropogenic global warming is doing to the Earth NOW. And it is worse than anything the computer models projected. We are out of time. It’s long past time for action.

    Wasting time engaging with the various frauds, cranks and other industry-funded phony-baloney “skeptics” whose ONLY interest is in obstructing and delaying action is a “luxury” we cannot afford.

    Enabling phony “skepticism” by granting the slightest facade of legitimacy to the deniers is an unconscionable betrayal of the human species. They are liars and dupes. They are, objectively, enemies of humanity.

    To those just starting their careers in climate science, I would simply say that if we don’t take the urgent action needed to deal with this problem, then neither you nor anyone else is going to have a very long career in ANY field, because the sort of human civilization required for such things as “science” and “careers” will not long exist.

  33. Ron says:

    “Scientists claim that they would never get any research done if they had to continuously respond to skeptics.”

    On the other hand they did find plenty of time to manipulate the IPCC publication and peer review processes.

  34. Francois Ouellette says:

    I don’t understand the distinction between skeptic and scientist. Whenever you look at a piece of scientific research, you have to look at it as a skeptic. What, scientists would prefer the entire world to be full of “believers”? Do they want a sect? I much prefer to be a skeptic, it forces you to look for flaws all the time. It’s much more of a challenge, and it’s more fun. It’s also a great way to learn.

    What people have to understand is that, once an issue is “politicized” (meaning it requires specific public policies to respond to it), then both sides are politicized, and the scientists are just like everyone else. Nobody is neutral. There may be such a thing as “neutral” science, but there are no neutral scientists.

    My own opinion is that the scientific institution (academia, peer review, etc.) is not equipped to deal with politicized issues. It is just to easy for one side (the majority, or the politically correct side) to take control of it. We all know how peer review works. It’s already a pain in the a** in normal circumstances.

    The best solution for public bodies who want independent advice would be to setup a scientific committee composed of people completely outside the field, to review and assess the evidence. There are plenty of bright scientists who can grasp the subtleties of a different field in a relatively short time, enough to be able to review the main issues in the litterature. That would be totally different from the IPCC, where authors are including and reviewing their own work, and can too easily dismiss contrarian papers.

    I think that Judith’s position (“let’s all behave nicely from now on”) is too naive. It’s a structural problem that won’t go away with good intentions.

    Disclosure: I’m a skeptic, and thus a bad, bad guy…

  35. MarkB says:

    “I don’t understand the distinction between skeptic and scientist. Whenever you look at a piece of scientific research, you have to look at it as a skeptic. ”

    There isn’t a distinction. All scientists (“believers” or not) consider themselves skeptics. Those with contrary views to the virtual consensus on global warming prefer to call themselves “skeptics”, as to imply the rest aren’t good scientists. Those who “believe” in global warming do so because of the overwhelming evidence for it. We don’t call those who support the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun “believers”.

    “There are plenty of bright scientists who can grasp the subtleties of a different field in a relatively short time, enough to be able to review the main issues in the litterature. ”

    I disagree. Climate scientists should not be called upon to assess medical research for accuracy any more than non-experts should be called upon to assess climate science. Then again, the contrarian crowd prefers to drag climate scientists for questioning before politicians and witch hunters, those of little expertise and strong agendas.

  36. CK MacLeod says:

    Then again, the contrarian crowd prefers to drag climate scientists for questioning before politicians and witch hunters, those of little expertise and strong agendas.

    Not that those mild-mannered pure scientists would ever presume to get involved with politics or anything! Funny how climate scientists were all just minding their own scientific business when suddenly out of the blue a bunch of skeptics for no reason at all insisted on dragging them into the fray.

  37. JC: “Steve McIntyre is a bona fide skeptic, not a denier”

    Judith’s position isn’t naive. It’s hypocritical. She’s asking the people at the CRU to take the high ground, but failing to apply these standards to the appalling behaviour of people like McIntyre. Steve McIntyre has made no constructive contributions to our understanding of climate change. He has published absolutely nothing in the peer reviewed literature. His one claim to fame is to have once found a minor error in one particular data analysis, which was subsequently shown not to affect the results in any substantial way. Ever since, he’s acted like a broken record banging on for a decade about one specific graph, while completely ignoring the volumes of good peer-review work that have been done since. That’s not constructive; it’s destructive. He persists in harassing respected scientists. Whatever he is doing, it is not science, and hence he does not deserve the term “skeptic”. Oh, and he seems to have acquired a large audience who seem to think that science involves people who have no grasp of basic physics throwing things from the peanut gallery. It’s hardly surprising that the CRU folks hold him in utter contempt.

    Judith – do you really think our best scientists should devote their time and attention to responding to frivolous attacks from the likes of McIntyre? Who’s going to advance the field then?

  38. dhogaza says:

    but I don’t think Robert Gallo then refused to show his data

    Neither has CRU – they’ve only refused to show other people’s data that they have no legal right to show.

    I doubt very much that Robert Gallo would publish data he had no right to publish, either. You do that, and people stop sharing their proprietary data with you.

    or tried to stop other people publishing.

    The whole point of the peer review process is to stop people from publishing crap work.

  39. One of Dr Judith Curry’s statements bears comment:

    “…politicization of this issue, that scientists have gotten caught in the middle of, with open warfare encouraged by many of the advocacy groups.”

    The scientists I have spoken with are pretty much handing over the future to a political solution. Scientists know they cannot save us from our fate. Yet you refuse to step into the political arena – as if you escape to science. (but please, continue your good science work.)

    What science research has the most promise to solve or help mitigate and adapt? … Genetics, psychology, social science perhaps?

    Tuning up the engine of scientific process is great and necessary, but public policy needs our attention the most.

  40. MrPete says:

    I greatly appreciate Dr Curry’s willingness to encourage this discussion.

    The conversation here is a valuable illustration of how far we have to go.

    In science, *nothing* is ever fully “proven”. Everything is subject to uncertainties, great or small.

    And in science, while people may disagree, our scientific disagreements ought to be over methods, data and interpretation, rather than integrity, values, policy etc.

    Yet this discussion demonstrates the extent of our failure to unite around the truly scientific issues.

    Judy, why do you use vocabulary that extends the idea of multiple “camps”? Shouldn’t all who love science be able to unite around ideas such as:

    * properly handled data is good, badly handled data is bad

    * more accurate measurements and analysis with honest ever-decreasing uncertainties is good; undisclosed, unknown uncertainties not so much

    * transparency, replicability, honest falsifiability are good

    etc etc etc?

    These have nothing to do with public policy or politics.

    And the interesting thing is: on these topics, you and Steve McIntyre and the other scientists at CA (“serious commenters” or whatever you want to call it) are in FULL agreement.

    What many in the discussion here do not understand is:
    * Serious “skeptics” like CA are skeptical because of the bad science we see. Our desire is good science. The outcome of good science can be warming, cooling or whatever. We just want to see the truth emerge.

    * The actions and conversations brought to light by the Climategate emails demonstrate bad science. They demonstrate bad faith. And they demonstrate a general lack of concern for any of the above values.

    Shouldn’t it be possible to reach better unity in this?

    Here’s how I look at it:
    * “Alarmists” believe the data clearly shows one result, while the uncertainty is too large in the data supporting another result.

    * “Skeptics” believe the uncertainty in the data is too great to demonstrate the “alarmist” result, while there is some good data supporting a different result.

    Said this way, it all comes down to data and uncertainty levels. Sure, there are proponents and denialists in both camps, who go to extremes in support of their position and denigrate the other. But none of that is science.

    Can’t we all agree that better data and narrow uncertainty levels will help us understand which hypotheses are correct?

    No hissy fits needed, no PR campaigns. No us vs them. Just better science.

    I think we desperately need to go to that playing field.

    I’d suggest that those here who want to lock some out of the playground need to step back and reconsider.

    The “rules” of science don’t predetermine the winner of the game. They only declare the rules. And all who will gladly abide by the rules should be allowed to play.

  41. Judith Curry says:

    Steve, i am asking EVERYONE to take the high ground. The pro AGW scientists (those involved in IPCC etc) currently hold far more positions of authority than the skeptics and are more numerous. While one could argue that this gives the pro AGW scientistis greater scientific authority, it also puts them in positions as “gatekeepers” in terms of review and assessment process. So in terms of the established institutions of science, it is not a level playing field. One can argue that it shouldn’t be given the large amount of scientific evidence from leading scientists that supports AGW. But there does need to be a mechanism for skeptical arguments (not skeptical noise machines) to be heard. I am asking scientists on both sides of this debate to behave better, our bad behaviour is distracting from the policy process

  42. MrPete says:

    Steve Easterbrook,
    It’s clear from your comments that you have only read what others say about Steve McIntyre.

    At the very minimum, you say he’s published absolutely nothing in peer-review. That’s false, so I’ll stop right there.

    Step back and take a closer look. Learn for yourself, Be a skeptic about the statements made by those you agree with. Be a skeptic about your own views.

    We’re not going to get anywhere as long as everyone assumes their side is “right” and the “other guys” are wrong.

    Ever hear of speak carefully and listen forgivingly?

    Let’s keep personalities and even politics/policy out of it. Let’s get back to science.

  43. Pops says:

    Talk about hog-wash:

    “…I’ve tried in my quest to understand skeptics…”

    HE’S the scientist; HE’S supposed to be the skeptic.

  44. Marie Elks says:

    A question for the CRU backers:

    Isn’t a central tenet of scientific inquiry replicability?

    If so, and since there is no hard physical evidence of global warming, the only way to replicate results is to have in one’s possession the code driving the models and the datasets used to create the results.

    That, in a nutshell, is why laypeople–who may not be practicing scientists but who have taken science courses in secondary school and universities–don’t believe your results.

    If you want to convince the layfolk of the doomsday about which you shout, I recommend you employ the techniques we all learned in Chemistry/Biology/Physics 101.

    Otherwise, expect more and more laypeople to reject your claims.

  45. MrPete says:

    dhogaza,
    If your statement were correct (that CRU is simply following their legal obligations, that they have no right to share the data) then CRU wouldn’t be sharing the data with anybody else. And they would have said that internally.

    Yet:
    * CRU has shared the same data with others.

    * CRU didn’t discuss having no right to share the data, they discussed how to avoid FOI.

    Clearly, your assumption is wrong.

  46. There is much more conviction in the reality of AGW in one “let’s share the data, acknowledge the actual errors and move on” Curry than in a thousand “let’s circle the wagons against the bad guys” CRU researchers.

  47. David B. Benson says:

    Marie Elks wrote “… there is no hard physical evidence of global warming …” in comment #40.

    Marie, you must be living in a deep cave. The is a superabundance of evidence of global warming. Compare to the milder parts of Joe Romm’s “Hell and High Water” or the “one degree” predictions from Makr Lynas’s “Six Degrees”, for which the link is to a review.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article1480669.ece

  48. Robin Melville says:

    I have to say I’m as saddened by some of the responses to Dr Curry’s post here as I have been by those over as ClimateAudit. There’s an old saying that “there’s no taste to water”. In this context it’s that one’s own prejudices can seem so normative that anyone who disagrees must be prejudiced.

    Climatology lies at the intersection of science and public policy. Anyone working in this area has got to be smart to the social ecosystem they inhabit. The central dynamic is collision of a complex global environmental movement with a powerful anticapitalist (or, at least anti-industrial) thematic on one hand, and powerful psuedo-darwinian free-market interests on the other. In the post cold-war world this is probably the most significant fault-line in human politics. Not an entirely comfortable place to hang your hat as a scientist starting out.

    A cursory read of the (preferably) more intelligent micro-blogosphere around this subject demonstrates the intervention in discussions like this of these two meme clusters. There are several good examples above. However, a person who wishes to have a fruitful scientific life must be immensely cautious not to allow the seductions of these ideologies to dominate their thinking. This is harder to do than one thinks. Scientists are not divorced from the world in which they live.

    It is sad but true that many, many brilliant scientists and thinkers in the 1930′s came to (actively) subscribe to the pseudo-science of eugenics — whether from the “right” or “left”. The horrors of this “science” carried to extremes in Nazi Germany have made this the “missing” intellectual trend of the the 20th century. But think for a moment. Whether you take this example as a metaphor for allowing wholesale degradation of the natural environment through runaway global warming, or for the annihilation of millions of the poorest Africans by denying access to cheap coal-fired energy on the basis of false science — either way, you better be damn sure you’re right.

    And that’s the nub of Dr Curry’s post. Scientists are fundamentally the best, if flawed, way we humans know of trying to find out what’s true. Scientists should disagree. Einstein’s long road from the Post Office ended up with him on his deathbed still trying to refute quantum mechanics. But scientist who adopt “post-normal” activism are not disagreeing scientifically. They have reduce themselves to ideologial agents. Just because it might seem cool to be named in a newspaper article which begins “scientists say…” doesn’t make it right.

    If the so-called “climategate” situation does turn out to be a scandal the (already somewhat) flaky public perception of scientists will be even more degraded. How then will carefully researched truth be treated by policy-makers in the future?

  49. MarkB says:

    Marie Elks writes:

    “…since there is no hard physical evidence of global warming…”

    and one wonders why this crowd are often called “deniers”. Certainly, even laypersons don’t have to look very hard to find evidence. The critical thinkers among them read beyond the blogosphere. I encourage all “skeptics” who are being directed here from their favorite blogs to apply skeptism uniformly to what they read. For Marie in particular, see the following website run by John Cook, which in recent months has put together a good summary of basic global warming evidence as indicated in the peer-reviewed literature. See the “latest posts” left-hand column.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    Also, contrary to popular talking points put forth on various contrarian blogs, most data and methods are openly available in climate science, more so than most other science disciplines. Contrarians tend to make a big deal out of what’s not open source material and readily accessible.

  50. debreuil says:

    I think the reasonable people here should get together with the reasonable people on the other side and make a third group. This group could then go do some real science.

    While the conclusions may well be accurate, I think the revealed attitudes (and code) call for a open, impartial, and science based reexamination of them. Given the polarization, I think this would be more effective from the grass roots than by appointment. Maybe that starts here.

  51. Harry says:

    “Under normal circumstances, I’d completely agree with Judith’s position. But she’s missed the point about the CRU emails. The CRU folks are under constant bombardment in what amounts to a “denial-of-service” attack on their work.”

    I’m pretty sure the Church did a fair hatchet job on those scientists that insisted the world was round and the earth rotated around the Sun.

    I’m not aware of any climate scientists being ‘burnt at the stake’ lately.

    It’s the Holiday Season now…plenty of folks will be knocking on my door claiming the world is about to end if I don’t convert immediately. They refuse to show me any data and proof. They expect me to accept their conclusions based on ‘FAITH’.

    That’s not called science…it’s called religion.

  52. Steven Sullivan says:

    (/me observes the triumphalism and paranoia being posted by so-called ’skeptics’ and pompous ‘laypeople’ here and on the climateaudit thread Dr. Curry is participating in)

    Dr. Curry and JR, do you still think this reaching out to the haters is such a hot idea?

    [JR: I take it you don't read Climate Progress. I've made my position, which you have not correctly characterized, quite clear many times -- and specifically on the CRU emails in the links at the end of the post. Also, in general, I draw a distinction between how scientists should behave and how the disinformers do behave, and a distinction between the (small number of) disinformers and (the large number of) those who are duped by them and the media who have enabled this.]

    The idea that sharing raw data with the blogosphere is a good way to settle the cultural war against climate science, is naive.

    Steve Easterbrook is right about contextualizing this supposed ‘outrage’. As part of a decades-long political offensive against science that annoys or threatens free-market ideologues, we’re now getting cherry-picked quotes that ‘look bad’ from over a decade’s worth of hacked private emails, themselves just a selection from the CRU total email traffic (and we still don’t know who did THAT selecting). This ongoing offensive is an extraordinary phenomenon; it’s sure ain’t normal scientific disputation. The closest one could come to it would be the trumped-up decades-old, goalpost-shifting, ideologically motivated evolution/creation ‘controversy’ that remains a nuisance buzzing around my field (biology). The historical context for apparent CRU ‘wagon circling’ should be emphasized in EVERY post from climate scientists and EVERY soundbite given to journalists. Even aside from the legal restrictions CRU had against total data disclosure, they had good reason to doubt the integrity of ideologically motivated harassers pretending to be interested in ‘the truth’.

    As Dr. Curry notes elsewhere (and has gotten grief for, from rabid ‘skeptics’) Gavin Schmidt over at RealClimate.org is doing a good job of point-by-point rebuttal/contextualizing of the talking points emanating from the denialsphere over this. That’s where journalists should be sent.

  53. Jordan says:

    The only way to resolve the issue is to discuss it on the tried and tested scientific basis of prediction, observation and falsification.

    There are many very defensive comments about “deniers” and “dishonesty” in the above comments. These fail to move arguments forward. It strikes me as a lack of confidence in the scientific method and I feel confident that these types of argument will utlimately fail.

    With regard to “peer review” (perhaps more correctly called “journal review” for what we seem to be discussing most of the time here). There is in fact nothing in the scientific method which says anything about journals and “journal review”. As the leaked emails clearly show, the literatue can contain “crap” … at least in the opinion of people who happen to disagree with what’s in the literature.

    Without trying to preach to the converted, the literature is a mechanism for the scientific community to channel its efforts. What some people appear to have missed is that there are serious questions about how “journal review” and publication has been operating.

    It is no good insisting that “sceptics should publish” until there is full confidence in the system’s ability to give fair and reasonable access to different theories and bodies of evidence. There are dark murmurs of pressure being put on journals to reject articles which offer alternative views. And there is a tendency to discredit journals who have actively provided an outlet for these views. In fact, M&M has been criticised for publishing in E&E. So what! is my response to that.

    On another scientifically irrelevant point – funding. From what I can tell, there appears to be a lot of pressure on institutions (receiving public funds) to conform to the view that all we should be doing is gathering evidence to confirm the hypothesis of AGW. Those who rock the boat on this issue can find themselves out in the cold and possible even shut down for lack of funding. Wasn’t that seen as one of the risks that Judith took when entertaining Steve MacIntyre?

    In that context, I see no problem with one side of the debat looking elsewhere for funding. This gives an opportunity for arguments (which we would not otherwise have the benefit of) being put before the scientific community and the rigours of basic scientific principles.

    And on publication of data and methids. It is said that the best way to have your ideas tested is to lay them out on front of your worst enemy. Some people claim that all data is publicly available – but that is not supported by those who wished to replicate the analysis. When somebody is interested enough to try to replicate your analysis and they say that they do not have enough information to enable them to complete their task, ask yourself who is most likely to be correct about the adequacy of the information provided.

    I think your #3 is the one closest to the scientific method Judith. But it will not deliver the clear conclusions that have been put before the public so far. At best, it will take some time to do so. It will not be easy, but who ever said that science is supposed to be easy.

    For those who wish to complain about denial, dishonesty and funding. They are adding to the noise that afflicts AGW. And politics never proved anything.

  54. JC: “…it also puts them in positions as “gatekeepers” in terms of review and assessment process”

    This is a perhaps the most crucial question, and it’s a question of epistemology. When a field is so thoroughly dominated by people who accept the dominant theory, what should we believe about that theory, and what responsibility do those scientists have to “outsiders” who don’t accept the theory? Having got to know many of the scientists in this “in-crowd” (but from an outsider’s perspective), I believe they are actually incredibly conservative in accepting the implications of their own research. Careful, credible, constructive research that offer alternative analysis is accepted with open arms; rehashing old memes that have been dealt with years ago is not.

    But your experience seems to be different, especially if you’ve found yourself in the “wrong camp”. But you’re getting awfully close to claiming a conspiracy to prevent good (but paradigm shifting) research from being published. Are there specific examples you could give us?

  55. Dave says:

    Dear Dr Curry:

    I disagree that you should be “dealing with skeptics” – this makes political sense, but no scientific sense. You should be a skeptic – what is the alternative, a gullible scientist? You should be dealing with facts – and the average weather of the last decade falsifies the IPCC models. And no wonder! The CRU models, at least, appear to be garbage.

    I used to think that the planet was probably warming, but AGW people just had my area of scientific expertise garbled. However, I was wrong and the release of the CRU files has made it very clear why I formed a wrong conclusion – pretty much everything we hear about Global Climate Change is made up. If any of it is true, it would be by chance.

  56. David B. Benson says:

    Spencer Weart lays it on the line:
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2009/11/perspective_on_a_climate_scien.html

    (h/t to Stoat).

    Note the very different take from that of Judith Curry and others.

  57. Marie Elks says:

    Guess I made it to the naughty list. Sorry, I keyed out a long explanation for my assertion that there is no hard physical evidence for an increase in temperatures but it was squashed by the mod.

    Hardly a great example of “dialogue.”

    [JR: You tried to post long-debunked disinformation. The Earth's warming in recent decades is "unequivocal" -- your "explanation" was laughable. Since you deny that which is "unequivocal," you are a pure disinformer and not welcome here. There are lots of useful things to have a dialogue about, but that ain't one of 'em.]

  58. MarkB says:

    Jordan writes:

    “In fact, M&M has been criticised for publishing in E&E. So what! is my response to that.”

    When the editor of such a journal has admitted:

    “I’m following my political agenda — a bit, anyway. But isn’t that the right of the editor?”

    it does make any objective observer question the integrity of the journal – one that was set up specifically for those supporting a certain political agenda. It’s really no better than blogospheric content.

    There are many “skeptical” studies that get published in legitimate outlets. Many (if not most) are challenged at some point. The trap that many fall into is defining “skeptical” as being “AGW proponent” vs “AGW skeptic” (Dr. Curry seems to fall into this trap in #41). That’s politics and such a line is drawn by contrarians seeking to define “the debate”. Climate scientists study climate. Greenhouse gases are one part of that.

    The IPCC could be characterized as a skeptical organization. They are skeptical of more rapid sea level rise indicated by several studies. They’ve been skeptical of a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, observations have exceeded the most aggressive predictions. They are quite skeptical of the thermohaline circulation shutdown. They are skeptical of just about everything James Lovelock says. The IPCC is quite conservative. Where there’s substantial uncertainty, they tend to err on the conservative side. The purpose of the IPCC, however, is to accurately represent the balance of evidence presented in the peer-reviewed literature, highlighting uncertainties where they exist. They do a good job of this.

  59. Johannus Fier says:

    @8 Ian Forrester

    “contrary to Judith Curry’s implication, the leaked and stolen information does not change or impinge on any of the science or the scientists’ ethics…”

    Suggest you read HARRY_READ_ME.txt file from the ‘leaked and stolen’ data. If that’s not bad science then what is?

  60. MarkB says:

    Marie (#56),

    One place to improve effective dialogue would be to take some time to examine the summary of peer-reviewed literature in my link in #49, which was in direct response to your assertion “there is no hard physical evidence of global warming”. Then, if you believe all of the evidence presented there is false, address each piece directly and explain. One problem I have with various online discussions with contrarians is how shifty contrarians tend to be, unwilling to argue directly or engage in open honest dialogue. When challenged, they fall back on “the science is corrupt” argument, smear some climate scientists, or dodge the issues by posting a serious of random talking points.

  61. JohnM says:

    Before anyone starts cannonizing Dr. Curry, it should be kept in mind that she was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on February 2, 2006 with the following:

    Dr. Curry, in an interview at her Georgia Tech office, said Dr. Gray has “brain fossilization.” She added: “Nobody except a few groupies wants to hear what he has to say.”

    Dr. Curry needs to look at the mirror for quite some time before she attempts to take the high ground in the AGW debate.

  62. Steven Sullivan says:

    JR, I wrote ‘this’ reaching out to the haters for a reason…I’m referring specifically to this thread, not your site generally. Apologies if it read otherwise. Dr. Curry OTOH seems committed to what I believe is a quixotic and tactically naive rapproachment with people who aren’t worthy of it.

  63. pete best says:

    Gavin Schmidt is speaking to all comers over at RC in endless posts on the subject. Is that an ivory tower? Does James Hansen not talk about the subject when he was censored during the Bush Administration.

    There are already excellent scientists talking to the public on the subject via TV interviews, media statement, books and the web. Lets fet real about this. Scientists are human and ultimate objective anyone can have a look at it aint going to happen. Its transparent for those that need it.

  64. Steven Mosher says:

    Dr. Curry

    Thank you for your comments. The other day I was rereading some of the things I wrote back in 2007 on realclimate where I was calling on Gavin to free the code. I was surprised to find your comment there supporting transparency. I should have thanked you then, so let me do that now. You held this position before climategate and much of this could have been avoided if people would have listened to your advice.
    As a Lukewarmer I do grow tired of some forms of denialism ( mainly the denial of radiative physics) but
    like you think that an open debate in the end will converge on a consensus to those with an open mind.
    So,

    free the data; free the code; open the debate

  65. Harold says:

    I think Dr. Curry has some good ideas. One critical point is that if an acceptable quality research product is to be produced, there has to be a controlled and monitored process to produce it. Standards begin with the overall research proposal. Data integrity becomes a foundation stone for the rest of the research project. How to analyse and interpret the data is decided during the planning stage, not on an ad hoc exploratory data analysis basis. There is much much more that goes into a high quality research system. In my experience, a lot of PhDs want to play at research rather than use a disciplined approach, which results in the low quality of the work.

    As a “skeptic”, I have to say there is no valid model for predicting the earth’s future temperature – the scientists involved are violating some basic statistical principles. As a former technical manager and Physicist, I’d be more likely to have statisticians do the data analysis and make sure the analysis is statistically valid and document the limitations of the analysis. That the scientists involved were the wrong people to plan and execute the research is proven to me by their being seemingly blindsided by what I consider predictable hiccups in the data / data analysis.

  66. Marie Elks says:

    JR–

    I’m not a “dininformer.” I’m a regular person with a regular life watching and listening and coming to conclusions. If my and others’ experience is considered “disinformation,” how do you possibly expect to convince those out of the fold of the truth in your claims?

    Perhaps that attitude is what is causing you folks so many problems in the US. If your claims don’t hold up to ordinary experience, ordinary people won’t believe your claims. I can’t count the number of ordinary people with whom I deal who use global warming as a perjorative, an example of how the establishment attempts to convince people to ignore their own eyes in favor of something they’ve never seen.

    Responding that ordinary people can’t possibly know whether it’s warmer or not is hardly the most convincing tactic in the rhetorical arsenal.

    [JR: You weren't posting about "others' experience." You were making a scientific claim -- no warming -- with no factual basis. I've never met an "ordinary" person -- they are all extraordinary, and the overwhelming majority have seen the climate changing. Many bring up the subject without my ever mentioning it, like on my drive to Denver airport, with the driver pointing out all the trees killed by the bark beetles.

    But no, an individual has little useful "experience" relevant to warming of the past few decades -- since >90% of the warming has gone into the oceans! Do you regularly check the heat content of the ocean? Have you measured the ice loss in the Arctic, Greenland, Antarctica, inland glaciers?

    So you hang around a lot of ill informed people. Congrats. Nothing to be proud of. Hopefully your pals won't stop those who are informed from saving all our children's futures.]

  67. John says:

    Einstein did most of his revolutionary work when he worked at the patent office before his “scientific training”.

    Scientists are called to be skeptics, especially of their own work and understanding of the World. Moreover, they are called to accept the possibility that a mere untrained person (patent officer) make their life’s work irrelevant. Refer to the late Dr. Richard Feynman.

    MarkB (#59) – Not false, just inconclusively shown it’s human-induced. Your last sentence proves unlike Dr. Curry, you’ve never read CA or engaged a skeptic beyond a political skeptic.

    The Climategate letters show that that a transparent peer review process was not completed and they admitted to trying to game the peer-review system. Without transparency of metadata and assumption there is no peer-review.

    Dr. Curry’s advice for transparency will not only bring the climate science community to the standard of other discipline such as Physics, it’ll make the Climate Science discipline more robust.

  68. Steven Sullivan says:

    How about actually reading the explanation offered by those actually familiar with the ‘smoking gun’ HARRY READ ME log, Johannus? It’s right there on RealClimate.org.

    “HARRY_read_me.txt. This is a 4 year-long work log of Ian (Harry) Harris who was working to upgrade the documentation, metadata and databases associated with the legacy CRU TS 2.1 product, which is not the same as the HadCRUT data (see Mitchell and Jones, 2003 for details). The CSU TS 3.0 is available now (via ClimateExplorer for instance), and so presumably the database problems got fixed. Anyone who has ever worked on constructing a database from dozens of individual, sometimes contradictory and inconsistently formatted datasets will share his evident frustration with how tedious that can be.”

    If you’ve never programmed or read code before it is in production, you might be surprised at some of the offhand, irreverent or even profane comments programmers make in various iterations of their code as they try to work through long, difficult projects like the CRU TS upgrade appears to have been. People going nuts over the phrase ‘fudge factor’ need to calm down, as do those fostering hysteria over the word ‘trick’.

  69. MarkB says:

    John writes:

    “MarkB (#59) – Not false, just inconclusively shown it’s human-induced.”

    Actually, my link provides overwhelming evidence for anthropogenic causation as well.

    “Your last sentence proves unlike Dr. Curry, you’ve never read CA or engaged a skeptic beyond a political skeptic.”

    …and this sentence proves you are making a false assumption. CA is politically-based skeptism. I’ve read enough of it to make this conclusion.

  70. Marie Elks says:

    Mark B @post 49:

    I’ll look at the “Copenhagen Report” when I have some time. The blog site to which you linked is nothing more than graphs without data and is useless for analysis. Where did the numbers come from? Who collected them, etc.?

    My first reponse to the “Report” after flipping to the Resources page is that given what we’ve learned from the email files about publishing in journals, and given what I’ve read from their own sources about governments’ attempts to propogandize global warming (see http://emelks.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/communication-as-government-coercion-futerra-and-the-uk/), I’m growing more and more doubtful that the published reports are any more reliable than my temperature-taking in the garden–which JR declared disinformation.

  71. George Darroch says:

    Judith Curry assumes good faith from these people who hate science. There is none. They get shown the data, time and time and time again. They ignore it and try and find minor faults with which they can try and ignore/discredit the big picture.

    Give them nothing.

  72. David B. Benson says:

    Unless I have been totally banned from posting here, it seems I can’t post any links at all. I found a relevant interview with science historian Spencer Weart and an interesting take on the Disinformation Industry at Jeff Master’s Weather Underground. No doubt where either atnds on this affair.

  73. Mela says:

    I feel Judith’s being a tad naive here. I see strong relationships between the denialism found in various domains (creationism/ID, AIDS etc) and that which pervades climate science pseudoscepticism (wood for trees etc). Allan McNeill also tried embrace the IDers, even creating a course on ID at Cornell (from a sceptics POV). Spending time on Dembski’s blog to engage them on the issues. No real success. IDers lost in the courts but the beliefs are still widespread and the creo industry does well enough.

    This will roll on and on. Ideologues tend to be pretty determined. Perhaps the reality of global warming will shush them in time, but still naive to underestimate the power of wishful-thinking (it’s the sun! It’s cosmic rays! It’s PDO! It’s volcanoes! It’s an interglacial! It’s geomagnetism! It’s Nabiru! It’s nearly 2012! It’s the spiral arm! etc etc).

  74. MarkB says:

    Marie writes:

    “The blog site to which you linked is nothing more than graphs without data and is useless for analysis. Where did the numbers come from? Who collected them, etc.?”

    More dodging on your part. The links clearly are not “graphs without data”. In particular, see the posts:

    Working out climate sensitivity
    What does past climate change tell us?
    Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming
    Comparing CO2 emissions to CO2 levels
    How do we know CO2 is causing warming?
    Are humans too insignificant to affect global climate?
    How we know global warming is happening, Part 2
    How we know global warming is still happening

    There’s a wealth of scientific evidence out there, and contrary to your assertion:

    “Responding that ordinary people can’t possibly know whether it’s warmer or not is hardly the most convincing tactic in the rhetorical arsenal”

    science is not about rhetoric, although rhetoric is all the anything-but-carbon crowd seems to have.

  75. dhogaza says:

    If your statement were correct (that CRU is simply following their legal obligations, that they have no right to share the data) then CRU wouldn’t be sharing the data with anybody else.

    The proprietary data is supposed to be made available to RECOGNIZED RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS by international agreement. They’re supposed to honor the proprietary nature of the data when they receive it, too.

    McIntyre is only an institution in his own (and perhaps your) mind, though at times I wonder if perhaps his paranoia isn’t grounds for institutionalization.

  76. dhogaza says:

    CRU didn’t discuss having no right to share the data, they discussed how to avoid FOI.

    The FOI rejection and the appeal upholding the rejection both confirmed that CRU was unable to share the data with the *public* (McI, getting the data via FOI, would’ve been able to publish it without restriction) by agreement.

    You need to get out more …

  77. dhogaza says:

    Allan McNeill also tried embrace the IDers, even creating a course on ID at Cornell (from a sceptics POV). Spending time on Dembski’s blog to engage them on the issues. No real success.

    This is a great statement – not only did he not meet with “real success”, he was deluged with exactly the same sort of personal insults, accusations of scientific fraud, etc that we see heaped upon climate scientists by the denialsphere. McNeill eventually gave up. My guess is that JC will, too.

  78. Marie Elks says:

    So it’s been fun.

    JR, you really ought to consider how your movemet is going to convince regular people to align with your goals when your claims are 180 degrees opposed to common experience. I think a lot will come down to that answer.

    Have a good night, all.

    [JR: Got no movement. Got science, though, and it is strangely indifferent to "common experience" whatever that means. In fact, I've met few people who don't know the climate has changed even in their lifetimes."]

  79. Steven Sullivan says:

    “Einstein did most of his revolutionary work when he worked at the patent office before his “scientific training”.”

    Just plain untrue. Einstein was trained in maths and physics at a Polytechnic in Zurich and was exceptionally talented in those areas already; however, upon graduating he eventually took the patent job because he couldn’t find a teaching job that would support his family. During this time he was also working on a PhD thesis with advisors at university. He got his doctorate in 1905. (He;d already published scientific papers by then)

    He is most certainly not an example of a talented ‘layman’ or outsider; he was well-trained in theoretical physics and well-connected to the maths/physics ‘establishment’ in his doctoral years even while he worked as a patent officer.

  80. Thomas says:

    Hmmm,

    I find myself being drawn to comment because I think these issues matter greatly. Usually I just lurk and read and try to learn and understand. To understand where I am coming from I should state that my major was philosophy (tripled the required hours as I found it rather interesting – this was back in the days when they were not so interested and obsessed with processing you through from start to finish as quickly as possible, so such was not so extraordinary…) with minors in poly-sci and business. Almost everyone else in the family majored in things much more mathematically related, including an uncle with a PhD in physics. Thus I have generally been able to find someone to help where I get lost… My professional career for the past 15 years has been IT – networking and such (I was not fond of my programming classes – in fact I really hated them – Fortran! so I will leave the code reviews going on to those better able to follow it, though I can states for such comments as have been found to be in the read me files is greatly disturbing…).

    There are a lot of comments about the peer review process. For anyone to state there are not issues with such is to be less then fully honest. Even in this thread there are comments about “making sure rubbish isn’t published” – though that actually was not the original intent of peer review. The question of rubbish was supposed to be AFTER publishing, where the traditional work of scientists testing and retesting others experiments and theories play out over time. It is supposed to insure relevance to the area the journal covered, ensure it wasn’t simply a rehash of previous work and catch glaring issues and obvious mistakes – though, again, anyone being honest will acknowledge much still makes it through the process as most reviewers are not going to go try to test everything presented in the paper – but then that is not what a review is for. It was assuredly never intended to play the role of gatekeeper (such leads to the reinforcement of paradigms, not the advancement of thought and understanding).

    My wife is an attorney, and a couple years ago we went to a conference (concerning environmental issues – which I now find quite ironic) where “peer review” became the lunch break topic of conversation. The conversation was substantially less then flattering in regards to reliability from the legal practitioners prospective. I will try to get her to post a comment on the issues that were raised when she gets back later today. I think such thoughts might be worth pondering in the current debate.

    It is interesting to note however that “peer review” was rarely seen as being of great importance outside of medicine prior to the mid 1950′s, and has over the past 20 years seemed to have become the only “accepted” method of “serious” academic publication (Einstein would have been in serious trouble had the current dogma been in place…). I saw this myself between my undergraduate studies 20+ years ago and my graduate studies (a far different field then my undergraduate studies – grad school was in education) a couple years back. The change between the two was radical and extreme – and it made finding acceptable citations for alternative views for my masters work almost imposable to find (though I also must say critical thought over the theories presented was less then encouraged…).

    Thus I find the whole thump the table and scream “peer review” to be somewhat disingenuous, at best.

  81. David Greene says:

    “Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office.” J. Curry’s words.
    “Einstein did most of his revolutionary work when he worked at the patent office before his “scientific training”. NOT J. Curry’s words and quite different.

  82. George Darroch says:

    “Einstein did most of his revolutionary work when he worked at the patent office before his “scientific training”. NOT J. Curry’s words and quite different.

    But people reading the NYT article are going to think that Einstein was just a very smart patent officer who stumbled upon knowledge, not a trained physicist working within his field.

    It may be correct, but it is ultimately misleading. The denialists like to propogate the idea that you can ignore the rest of the scientific literature when doing climate work – indeed, that is the basis of their faith. So words like that are like a balm to their willful ignorance.

  83. Jordan says:


    MarkB says: “When the editor of such a journal has admitted: …”

    No Mark – it doesn’t matter what the editor of a journal has said or hasn’t said, or what editorial leanings are in one direction or another. Remember what I said – publication in journals is not part of the underlying scientific process.

    When you emnphasise scientifically irrelevant issues you advertise a lack of confidence in the scientific method. It pains me to have to spell this out, but here it is:

    1. Publish your hypothesis and findings.
    2. Support this by publishing your data and analysis.
    3. Leave the rest to the scrutiny of others (who may not share your views).

    If you cannot do the first two, it isn’t science. So please take a moment to read the leaked emails Mark, and compare to the above. I hope you will then have a better appreciation for the underlying issues, and you might then be in a better position to consider what needs to be done to remedy the situation.

  84. dhogaza says:

    Einstein did most of his revolutionary work when he worked at the patent office before his “scientific training”.

    He already had his diploma in mathematics and physics.

  85. dhogaza says:

    During this time he was also working on a PhD thesis with advisors at university. He got his doctorate in 1905. (He;d already published scientific papers by then)

    Which is not unusual. What was unusual was the *quality* of those papers. :) Somewhat more important than those written by people working towards their PhD who publish before completing and defending their thesis.

    Where did this “Einstein overturned physics and was just a mailman” myth start, I wonder?

  86. dhogaza says:

    Somewhat more important than those TYPICALLY written by people…

    Oops … the shame :(

  87. A question on climate change policy…given the grave dangers possibly ahead, shouldn’t IPR, data confidentiality agreements and the likes be put aside, when they might be of impediment for a quick response to the crisis?

    [JR: We missed the boat on a "quick response" 20 years ago, and then 10 years ago, thanks to the anti-scientific disinformers, conservative idealogues, and those they duped.]

  88. Mack says:

    Dr. Curry, thank you for your post and comments. Any graduate student would do well to have you as a mentor.

  89. AndyOH says:

    /Agree #88 Mack

    Dr. Curry, thank you.

  90. Ian Forrester says:

    Thomas, you obviously don’t understand what was going on with the peer review that was being criticized in the e-mails. A poor paper (and that is being generous) was sent out for peer review. The reviewers wanted it turned down but the editor who is an AGW denier, went against the reviewers and published it anyway.

    Thus the CRU people were in fact trying to keep peer review honest not the opposite which is what you are claiming.

    I am truly amazed at the level of ignorance put out by the denier and their followers. It is not only science that they don’t understand, they appear to be completely lacking in basic comprehension of basic English too.

    Why would any self respecting scientist invite the dishonest deniers to the table? If you and your local community organized a meeting with the local police to upgrade your personal security systems would you invite the local crooks as well as a sign of good faith? Gimme a break.

  91. Marion Delgado says:

    What half the commenters and, apparently, her colleagues said. Since they couldn’t convince her, I obviously can’t.

    It cuts both ways. Rather than pass this on to friends who are still in grad school or young scientists, I’ll instead tell them to stand with their back to the wall lest they, like Dr. Phil Jones, find a few knives stuck in them. More seriously, I won’t advocate they spend their science careers as if they were in the CIA. I’ll use my energy to give them more space to do science. By confronting what’s actually going on.

  92. Sean says:

    Transparency and replicability are the most fundamental pillars of the experimental method pioneered by Bacon, Hooke, Boyle, Newton and others. Any solution to this mess has to involve both of these.

    How about this for a suggestion that (I think) we all could agree on. Dr. Curry and a few of her colleagues, plus Steve McIntyre and a couple others whom Dr. Curry classifies as skeptics, collectively agree on a simple set of standards for replicability and transparency. They then apply them to the major global temperature series (HAD-CRU and GISS, etc.) If, for example, HAD-CRU is found lacking, Dr. Jones agrees to release sufficient data to meet the standards.

    The team of standard setters will not need to agree on whether the series is constructed properly, whether it could have been done better another way etc. They will only need to agree that “yes, HAD-CRU (or GISS) is now transparent and replicable”. Doing that will go a long way toward restoring the credibility of one of the most basic components of climate science.

    For what it’s worth, as someone who is not a scientist but who has a degree in the History of Science, I would suggest the following test:

    Has sufficient data and code been disclosed to enable another scientist with the requisite training to replicate the result in full from the raw observational data which has been specifically identified to be the basis of the series?

  93. Kate says:

    Judith Curry wrote “I reserve the word “deniers” for people that are explicitly associated with advocacy groups that are politicizing this issue…

    I reserve the word “deniers” for people that explicitly reject the history of Jewish extermination in wartime Germany.

    [JR: Try Google. The editors of the Washington Post used the term 5 times in 5 paragraphs. You can use the word they way you want, but you don't control English usage.]

    When I see anyone legitimize the term “denier” in the context of this debate, an alarm bell goes off – “this is not a serious person”.

    [JR: As I've blogged, those who deny basic climate science are quite different from the Holocaust deniers -- but almost certainly more dangerous, since one denies past harms while the other encourages many future harms.

    “Holocaust deniers” are denying an established fact from the past. If the media or politicians or the public took them at all seriously, I suppose it might increase the chances of a future Holocaust. But, in fact, they are very marginalized, and are inevitably attacked and criticized widely whenever they try to spread their disinformation, so they have no significant impact on society. The disinformers and delayers (and professional deniers), however, are very different and far more dangerous. They are trying to persuade people not to take action on a problem that has not yet become catastrophic, but which will certainly do so if we listen to them and delay acting much longer.]

    To do so is to commit an unforgivable devaluation of the historical relevance of the word “denier. It’s a rhetorical tactic unworthy of anyone who wants their scientific credibility to remain above reproach.

    When the word “denier” first crawled out of the political slime, I fully expected those in science and media alike to reject it, vocally and without qualification.

    [snip.]

    [JR: It's not my favorite term, but it is widely used. To deny that is to deny the obvious.]

  94. Gerald says:

    Re #49
    **For Marie in particular, see the following website run by John Cook, which in recent months has put together a good summary of basic global warming evidence as indicated in the peer-reviewed literature.**
    There is no peer reviewed study noted which MEASURES the percentage of the warming caused by CO2 or confirms that most of it is by CO2. It is all theoretical.

  95. Marion Delgado says:

    Oh, and for the record, Energy and Environment is an industry denialist vanity press, not a peer-reviewed science journal. And Steve McIntyre is a

    [snip]

  96. Cecil says:

    As a layperson, it seems to me that if CRU was performing sloppy science as as the emails suggest, that maybe some “legitimate” climate scientists with access to the data that can’t be shared would attempt to duplicate the CRU work with newer data as opposed to building of of the CRU work. Don’t leave it to the deniers to do the “science”. It’s not our job. I know enough to be deeply suspicious of extra-ordinary claims backed by with not so good science.

  97. Marion Delgado says:

    Joe, since I probably couldn’t prove in court that McIntyre both produces and invites slander, I should retract the above comment. He’s not an inept defamer, after all, but a skillful one.

    [JR: Feel free to take on McIntyre, but focus on substantive critiques and include links to Deltoid, Rabett, RealClimate and the like.]

  98. Marion Delgado says:

    Thanks, Joe, and I agree.

  99. Andy says:

    As someone who participates in the peer review process, Dr. Curry’s words strike me as preachy and ungenuine. I don’t think she is naive.

    These were private emails, some from 10 years back; way before email leaks became commonplace. Folks were venting.

    I don’t agree with her.

    Climate science needs to, and has, advanced in leaps and bounds. There isn’t time to discard the junk papers in a “polite” manner. If someone’s research methods are invalid, then those that are familiar enough with that specific line of work need to be brought in to quickly dispense with it. This isn’t “circling the wagons”. It’s the job of a journal editor and Dr. Jones obviously knows his business.

    Dr. Curry seems to assume, or lets her audience assume, that good science maybe getting pushed aside with this. There is no evidence of that here.

  100. Thomas says:

    Ian,

    Interesting – I don’t think I commented on anything concerning any specific peer review – I did, however, comment on the process as a whole. Sorry, just not interested in theological warfare on the issue of peer review (I’ll save that for the philosophical issues which I am far more competent to argue and think actually matter). There are far too many preachers on both sides as far as I am concerned. I have no doubt about climate change – it always has been in flux, it always will be in flux. The question is why, and what, if anything, can we as a species do (realistically – we don’t live in utopia, we live in a very dirty, messy reality) to mitigate the results on our societies. To continually be reflective and open minded about the possible causes is far different then what your response intones. Apparently any critical analysis of any aspect of what passes for education today is out of bounds.

    No wonder there is no honest debate – there apparently can be no middle ground. On one side you either agree (with every single thing ever said or done) or you are somehow a traitor to mankind. On the other you are a gullible moron who’s been taken in by the anointed ones. It’s maddening for anyone trying to have an honest conversation and learn. You must be young, life will teach you over time to be careful of any absolutes.

    If you honestly think this method of attack is going to win any kind of support from the average guy on the street you are going to be in for a very rude awakening. And it will be the average guy on the street who will decide whether any response is successful – might want to study some history and see what happens when a population is forced into things they do not believe in, but I’ll give you a hint – it never turns out well, they tend to derail the whole undertaking…

    I should also note we own a rather decent sized farm, so understanding weather patterns is somewhat important to us – and I dare you to find any old farmer who can’t tell you about crazy weather over the years (my wife’s uncle has been farming for 70 years. Over that period he has seen many “unusual” periods where the weather simply was not anything like what is considered “normal” – some of which lasted for several years, even going more than 50 years past…). I am also far more concerned with the genetic alteration of all our crops (you have to purchase seed every year because they engineer it so the seeds from the previous year’s crop don’t germinate… – that in itself is rather scary!) . That, to me, seems like a vast real time experiment. I just hope it turns out O.K. as there is little we can do about it on our own – and don’t even get me started in what one is allowed to call “organic”.

    I should also note things have gotten better environmentally on many levels sense I was a child – our waterways, while still needing much attention (especially with all the pharmaceuticals showing up) are a far site cleaner than they were just a few short decades ago. It took awhile, but once the public reached a consensus that something needed to be done, action was taken and it generally has worked, or at least it has improved. Notice I say “the public reached a consensus” – without the average persons support we’d still have waterways as polluted as any in the “third world”.

    I do not profess to understand the science on a level that would allow me to debate it or debunk it (as if I had any interest in doing so), though that is much different then accusing me of being to ignorant to follow the conversation. I do, however, have a far, far greater understanding of social movements and politics then many on the fermented dogmatic “we know it all” side. I am also educated enough to follow well reasoned presentations, and know when I’m being dished hyperbole. To say there has been disinformation on both sides is being nice – and my point is the public (you know, the ones who are going to have to actually make this work in their daily lives) are going to end up being disgusted with all of it (as responses such as this are fast making myself) and give it the finger.

    That isn’t exactly going to help the situation, is it?

  101. Andy says:

    This attack on the peer review process is way off base as well. If someone’s statistics or math or assumptions are invalid then none of their conclusions are worth pondering. The authors will be sent their paper back and will be told what mistakes were made and will be asked to fix it. Look at any paper and notice the often year or so between the submission date and the publication date. Much of that time is taken up by a back and forth between reviewers, the editor and the authors in an attempt to correct obvious mistakes or to clarify conclusions. It is a time intensive effort.

    Also, citizen scientists without any formal training, regularly make important contributions in journals through the peer review process. This idea that the process weeds out those deemed “unworthy” is pure and utter…. The work is judged on its merits.

  102. RickA says:

    The burden of proof is on the scientists trying to show that humans have caused the recent warming.

    The Medieval Warming Period (MWP) was warmer than today and CO2 was around 280 ppm, way lower than todays 385 ppm.

    Until somebody explains this fact – the current warming can be explained as completely natural.

    That is what I see as the major problem here – our current warming period has not yet exceeded the natural high water mark.

  103. Andy says:

    The often repeated meme here that there are scientist gatekeepers preventing alternate hypotheses on the cause of global warming from being heard is wrong, wrong, wrong. It wasn’t alternate ideas being trashed by the CRU emailers; it was bad methods, statistics, and assumptions. If a hypothesis (such as the sun is causing global warming) needs bad math or cherry-picked data to make it work, then that idea is rightfully discarded.

  104. Andy says:

    Last of all and then I’ll sit down. This is somewhat tongue in cheek, but this whole affair is partially the fault of the Republican and Conservative parties in the US and England respectively. They are the ones who insisted that the national weather service and meterological bureau start charging people for their raw station data in an ill-advised effort to make the government pay its own way. Also, the defunding of earth science that started under Reagan and Thatcher has had long-legged repurcussions.

  105. Robert in Calgary says:

    A comment for Judith Curry, Dr. Curry, I have just finished going through the first 100 responses to your open letter.

    It appears much of your hopes have gone right over the heads of the target audience here. It’s sad.

    Like you, I will hope for the best but I’m probably wasting my time reiterating some of the fine comments from Thomas in message 99.

    “No wonder there is no honest debate – there apparently can be no middle ground. On one side you either agree (with every single thing ever said or done) or you are somehow a traitor to mankind. On the other you are a gullible moron who’s been taken in by the anointed ones. It’s maddening for anyone trying to have an honest conversation and learn. You must be young, life will teach you over time to be careful of any absolutes.

    If you honestly think this method of attack is going to win any kind of support from the average guy on the street you are going to be in for a very rude awakening. And it will be the average guy on the street who will decide whether any response is successful – might want to study some history and see what happens when a population is forced into things they do not believe in, but I’ll give you a hint – it never turns out well, they tend to derail the whole undertaking…”

    regards,

  106. Craig says:

    I’ve noted that a common response to these emails is to repeat the evidence. What some have pointed out is that this isn’t good enough, because this is less about evidence than about trust. To quote something from Andrew Leonard’s blog on Salon (which is actually a quote from Geoffrey Styles):

    “The basic issue here that many of those responding from the climate change community seem unable or unwilling to grasp is that their real problem is not how particular individuals or groups might exploit this information, but how the information itself could undermine the faith of the public in the integrity of climate science. I use the word faith deliberately, because for most of us it boils down to that. The number of people actually equipped to read the scientific papers in question and ascertain whether the manipulation of charts and data implicated in some of the leaked e-mails is serious or not is vanishingly small, compared to the much larger number of us who must simply take it on faith that the scientists studying the climate and reporting on alarming changes in it are behaving in a fair, transparent, and unself-interested way, to the greatest extent humanly possible. It would be hard for most of us to read the e-mails in question objectively and not have that faith shaken, at least a bit.”

    Now one could fairly observed that the behavior of some skeptics may not be trustworthy. But the skeptics are also not asking the public to make major changes to the way they live, or to dismantle the underpinnings of Western civilization (fossil fuels) and replace these with something else, on the basis of dire predictions of future calamity.

    You folks in the science community continually lament that the public doesn’t understand the science. But understanding the science is more than parroting back the simplified explanations that experts have provided you. Really and truly understanding the evidence on any difficult scientific question can require a decades long commitment. Most of us have to take it on faith. And it takes quite a leap of faith to believe that, for example, not doing anything means we are going to have tropical weather in Chicago, when nothing even remotely like that has ever happened in our personal experience. It sounds like some cheesy movie that might appear on the SyFy channel.

  107. parallel says:

    Interesting thread. It is clear that no-one who responded had their minds changed by the leaked data and emails. That alone should tell you something.

    In religion, there are believers, agnostics and atheists. In climate science there are believers, skeptics and deniers. Scientists are meant to be skeptical and yet that term is used by believers as a slight.

    Anyone who thinks sufficient information has been placed in the public domain for others to reproduce or audit all the climate papers simply has not been paying attention. The state of many of the ground stations is a disgrace, even before the data gets manipulated in unsavory ways. With the money spent on climate research one wonders why a tiny fraction was not used to improve this important, basic resource.

    More would be persuaded that the model projections of temperature rise was true if adequate proof of the CO2 forcing factor(s) used in the models was published somewhere. Meanwhile, I find Dr. Akasofu’s explanation the most plausible until further data becomes available. I would give the link, but it seems replies with links don’t get published. You can Google it.

  108. Dean says:

    A lot of Dr. Curry’s comments strike me as similar to the call for balance in media that misses the issue accuracy. I suppose that to the degree that there is a difference of opinion on who is a genuine skeptic, it may be understandable though.

    To me there are some clear lessons from the CRU email episode:

    1. Climate scientists need to assume that they will be treated like politicians running for office. Examined in greater detail and they will need the thick skin of politicians and patience to boot. But skeptics (and even deniers) are correct that the results of climate research has profound impacts on public policy, so a different standard does apply. This is not like other scientific disciplines. For better or worse, this is the world we live in for anybody who affects public policy.

    2. Studies should expressly indicate always where all data and code is available at, and if the data is not available, they should clearly state that as well and why.

    3. I do think that when climate scientists think that a bad study has squeeked through a review inappropriately, they need to respond less by criticizing the reviewers, and more by responding in the normal way through correspondence. When we tell McIntyre et al to publish their criticisms but deal with other studies in a different way, it has the appearance of a double standard.

    4. I have no misconception that any of the above will quiet the deinalists one decibel. There are individuals who may well change their mind, and that is good. But denialism is – above all – an industry. The industry will live on for some time, until “climate denialism” has the same connotation as “tobacco science”.

    As such, having a thick skin and avoiding behaviors like the one about deleting emails to avoid FOIA release has to be based not on what it will accomplish vis-a-vis denialism, just that it is the right thing to do (or not do).

    And FOIA releases should _never_ be based on who is the requester, only on objective criteria of the data being requested. Any suggstion that an FOIA be denied because the requester is connected with CA to me corrupts the FOIA process and concept. If the data was protected by agreements from being released, then who asks for it in an FOIA doesn’t matter, right?

    And a friendly suggestion to JR. If a poster has such content that a major part of it is being deleted from posting, probably better to just delete the whole thing than to post a part of it.

  109. Marion Delgado says:

    The perennially optimum nature of middle ground is a fallacy – it’s meaningless. It’s a relative position, so it changes as whoever wants to manipulate a decision or argument moves the goalposts. Furthermore, the person using the fallacy usually picks a tendentious compromise and insists anything else is extremism. It also almost invariably leads right into a strawman attack on the undesired “extreme.” It handles discrete situations catastrophically badly. If I say go through the left door and you say go through the right door, the most catastrophic choice is to pick neither and smack into the wall.

  110. Brandon Shollenberger? says:

    A short while ago, Robert in Calgary said, “It appears much of your hopes have gone right over the heads of the target audience here. It’s sad.” I just wanted to say there are plenty of people who read but don’t speak. Judith Curry’s efforts should not be judged solely by the responses she gets in these blogs.

    She is attempting to have open and honest conversations, and she is succeeding. People are hearing her, and people are listening. Don’t let the knee-jerk outbursts of people make you think her efforts are pointless.

    For what it is worth, I appreciate and support what Judith Curry is doing.

  111. MrPete says:

    Another example of communication here that fails to admit the extent of the problem:

    There is no question that there is a political noise machine in existence that feeds on research and statements from climate change skeptics. — Dr Curry

    Why does this statement only refer to one side of the conversation?

    Is it that difficult to admit that the entire discussion has become horribly politicized?

    The climate change believers’ “political noise machine” is as loud and strong as the climate change skeptics’.

  112. Sean says:

    George Darroch says:

    “Judith Curry assumes good faith from these people who hate science. There is none. They get shown the data, time and time and time again. They ignore it and try and find minor faults with which they can try and ignore/discredit the big picture.

    Give them nothing.”

    George,

    Your comment demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the very concept of ‘science’. When a scientist publishes all of his or her data and methods, so that other scientists can replicate an experiment, that’s not a “gift” bestowed on those worthy to receive it. That publication is what makes it science, as distinguished from mere trust in authority.

    This is the motto of the Royal Society (which established the method for what we today call ‘science’):

    “Nullius in verba”, which means “On the words of no one”, or “take nobody’s word for it”.

    So your suggestion that you should “give nothing” to people who “hate science” is nothing more than a suggestion not to do science in the first place.

  113. mike roddy says:

    Judith Curry, #41, I think, like a lot of people, you’ve just been worn down by the deniers, and concluded that you may as well talk to them.

    It is indeed draining, but I disagree with your direction, and I’ve been battling them on Dot Earth and elsewhere for years. Of course they don’t make significant contributions to the scientific process, since it’s along the lines of It’s the sun, It’s actually getting cooler, It’s not the CO2, etc. They seek to “debate” these nonsensical positions, and are never embarrassed when the facts defeat them.

    This is because the target is not the truth, or the minds of scientists. Rather, the goal is to stir doubt in the minds of the public, using language and techniques perfected by the tobacco industry in their equally absurd effort to sow doubts about the smoking/cancer link. They truly do not care of they are right, especially since they’re generally too incurious to even study the scientific literature, starting with IPCC.

    The CRU emails were not a gift. They were more likely the product of fossil fuel company black ops. The outcome has been the ability to cater to the most fevered paranoid dreams of a certain sector of the American public. In this case, it’s The IPCC cabal, which is determined to usher in World Government. These are the same people who say Show us the birth certificate, Grandma is being sentenced to death by socialized medicine panels, The Government is hiding proof of alien visitors, etc. etc.

    I see no particular reason to get into detailed discussions with them, since reason is not a part of their operating system. We need to humiliate them, ignore them, and move on with those remaining who have the ability to respect reality.

  114. Sean says:

    mike roddy says:

    “I see no particular reason to get into detailed discussions with [deniers], since reason is not a part of their operating system. We need to humiliate them …”

    Mike,

    I got some bad news for you; so far, your plan is kinda backfiring.

  115. Andy says:

    Jeff Masters has a great blog post at the WeatherUnderground regarding the manufactured doubt industry and the CRU emails.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389

  116. Dean says:

    To Craig #105 and the letter he quoted.

    Greenhouse science study is 185 years old. Thousands of scientists are studying the many, many aspects of it today, publishing in dozens of journals. Dozens of scientific academies support the IPCC, its conclusions, and its process, and not a single national science academy criticizes it. The emails that are most damaging quote a few people.

    To suggest that these emails somehow justifiably undermine the broad and deep weight of this field of science suggests either that you are predisposed to distrust it, or that you do not understand the depth and weight of the foundation that AGW stands on.

  117. Hank Roberts says:

    > Transparency and replicability are the most fundamental pillars of the
    > experimental method pioneered by Bacon, Hooke, Boyle, Newton …

    As noted above, you should read:
    http://carbonfixated.com/newtongate-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-renaissance-and-enlightenment-thinking/

    Has anyone seen a list of all of the FOI requests initiated from CA that were sent to CRU? Somewhere there ought to be a list of each FOI request, source, date, response, appeal, and final ruling. I haven’t found it.
    I’ve seen the rules:
    http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/foi-procedural-vexatious.htm

  118. Ian Forrester says:

    Thomas, you bring up one incident described in the e-mails. When I tell you that it is not what you are saying it is you retreat into a philosophical discussion i.e. a strawman.

    You also said:

    Apparently any critical analysis of any aspect of what passes for education today is out of bounds.

    You are a very devious person. We are talking about willful distortion of the science by a handful of dishonest deniers. Unfortunately, the scientific illiterate follow them like sheep because it means that they don’t have do anything to stop the effects of AGW (yes it is being caused by man, your “philosophical” mutterings not withstanding).

    Do you want to be bundled in with these people? You are doing a great job of it if you are not and are looking for honest discussion.

    I hate it when people make a mockery of science and scientists with a whole lot of philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

    Let’s talk and discuss scientific facts.

  119. paulm says:

    wow, this is doing your blog stats wonders Joe.

  120. Sean says:

    Hank Roberts says:

    > Transparency and replicability are the most fundamental pillars of the
    > experimental method pioneered by Bacon, Hooke, Boyle, Newton …

    As noted above, you should read:
    http://carbonfixated.com/ newtongate-the-final-nail-in-the-coffin-of-renaissance-and-enlightenment-thinking/

    Hank,

    Ok I read it. What’s the point you would like to make?

    Sean

  121. Eli Snyder says:

    I think Dr. Curry has a lot of good points.

    I have a lot of empathy for scientists who feel that this CRU hack incident, as well as the various pseudo-scientific claims made by deniers, have no scientific significance and so should be ignored. From a scientific standpoint this position is quite correct.

    Unfortunately, from a political standpoint it’s a straight loser. The sad fact (as demonstrated by recent polls about evolution) is that most people, at least in the US, have very little understanding of science or of the scientific process. These people have been fed a frame in which scientists are an elite cabal of liberal intellectuals bent on controlling their lives and telling them what to do or believe. The rational justifications for the pronouncements of science are lost on them, and all they hear is somebody shouting orders at them.

    This doesn’t work. Science, in general, needs to recognize that it is involved in a PR war which it is gradually losing. This may not have a direct effect on policymakers, who mostly live in an evidence-based reality, but it has a strong effect on the general public and that effect can be manipulated for policy purposes by those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo.

    Rejecting the claims of deniers as irrelevant and unscientific simply plays into the anti-intellectual frame by making scientists look arrogant and elitist.

    I think with respect to this specific issue, a full investigation is needed by several independent, authoritative bodies simply to clear the air. If this is not done, this issue will haunt the discussion for far too long. The tactics of delay are already far too effective.

    With respect to the broader issue of the credibility of science as a whole, I think a concerted and coordinated attempt to educate the public is in order. At least some scientists need to work more directly on messaging, on making the results of science more accessible to the general public and on helping the general public to understand the scientific process better.

    If this issue is allowed to fester, it will continue to get worse, at least until the effects of global warming become too obvious to ignore. By then, it may well be too late.

  122. Dr. Curry,

    If only you had chosen Pielke, Sr. as your poster-child skeptic instead of Steve McIntyre.

    Pielke, Sr. is a skeptic. He is skeptical about how large the role of CO2 emissions is vs. land-use changes and other AGW forcings and not about AGW itself.

    On the other hand, Steve McIntyre is on a personal mission to discredit Dr. Mann and other climate scientists such as Briffa and Kaufmann. SM begins with the notion that scientists are either incompetent or trying to hide something and then he seeks to fulfill his prophecy. The Yamal non-scandal illuminated this attitude quite well.

    It is because of his behavior that he garners no respect from the folks he consistently harasses. You give him far too much standing.

    Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. — Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. [1927 - 2003]

  123. Mark Shapiro says:

    I’m thankful for family and friends, for the support of loving people everywhere, for . . .

    . . . oops, wrong thread.

  124. Here’s an example of Scientists getting into Politics from Utah BYU Earth Scientists Express Concerns Over State Legislature’s Climate Efforts

    By Bud Ward | November 23, 2009
    The Utah capitol: Hearing ‘both sides’ of climate science.

    Eighteen Brigham Young University earth scientists are telling the state’s political leaders that they need to “give considerable weight to an overwhelming scientific consensus, and treat fringe positions with respectful skepticism.”

    The BYU faculty members said they think that giving “too much weight” to a vocal but small minority of scientific viewpoints “puts all of us at risk by promoting poorly informed decisions.” Their prescription for better policy for Utah? “Base decisions regarding the effects of climate change in Utah upon the best scientific evidence available.”

    snip from
    from: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2009/11/byu-earth-scientists-express-concerns/
    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2009/11/byu-earth-scientists-express-concerns/#SIDEBAR2

  125. Eli Snyder says:

    To elaborate a bit on my earlier post:

    Key decision-makers in our society (mostly high-level executives, investors, government and military/intelligence leaders etc.) are mostly rational and have an evidence-based worldview. Many of these people have clearly made the rational calculation that taking action to prevent global warming is not in their business/political interest. Note that this calculation is rational if the well-being of future generations has no value (which tells you a lot about where some of these folks are coming from).

    These decision-makers are not monolithic — they have conflicts of interest among themselves. They attempt to manipulate the public to serve their interests and undermine those of their opponents and, crucially, the public is well aware of this. Thus you get second- and third-order manipulations, in which either side attempts to convince the other that they are the ones being manipulated the most. (Yes, I’m stating the obvious, but I’m getting to a point, just bear with me.)

    How does science fit into this framework? Decision-makers need the results of science to inform their decisions, however, most scientists are not themselves decision-makers. In many cases, global warming being a prime example, the results of science imply a different rational calculation to some decision-makers than they do to the general public (to the general public, the well-being of future generarions has value). Therefore it is in the interests of some decision-makers to isolate the public from science, and science from the public. Thus we get the disinformation campaign waged by Exxon-Mobil and others surrounding global warming.

    Scientists, for the most part (being normal human beings, after all) have a rational interest corresponding to that of the general public, for the most part. Therefore, by employing either of the “retreat to the ivory tower” or “circle the wagons” strategies Dr. Carry discusses, scientists are contributing to their isolation from the public, and thus working against their rational interest.

    Now do you see where I’m going with this? Scientists should therefore work to reunite their interest and perspective with that of the general public, by engaging the public on a level that they can clearly understand. I’m not talking about “dumbing down” science, but rather smartening up both scientists and the public.

    Scientists need to learn that most people have a different standard of evidence and belief than they do, and learn to work with that instead of against it. They need to learn to communicate better on a normal human level. This will often mean explaining things that seem to them obvious or trivial, and countering objections that seem silly or unscientific, but that is crucial if the disinformation campaign is to be countered.

    I think this incident should serve as a wake-up call to scientists with regard to these issues. They cannot afford to ignore the problem of public communication, or they will find themselves increasingly isolated and unable to effect their rational interest in the arena of public policy.

  126. Cecil says:

    Hank: You really want CRU to publish the “denied” FOI? Can you imagine what that publication would do for your cause of settled science. If they had published the data and codes years ago, there wouldn’t be the circling of tribal wagons. It didn’t have to be that way, but here we are.

  127. Steven Mosher says:

    Hank,

    The FOI “generated” by CA can be summarized as follows.

    1. The FOI for the station data that CRU gave to webster. This was the initial FOI sent by steve McIntyre.

    That FOI was rejected on specious ground, namely that there were confidentiality agreements that precluded
    release to non academics.

    After steve noted that we had some academics request the data, I think Ross did one and perhaps a
    couple other people associated with universities.

    Then there was the mass FOI. Basically each of us asking to see the confidentiality agreements.
    CRU responded that the agreements were misplaced, in the end they posted up a couple, none
    of which seemed to preclude the release.

    My FOI was rejected because they couldnt find agreements for the countries I asked for. I also asked
    for copies of their FOI policies. They said they didnt understand my request.

    Nobody I know who got rejected was rejected for being vexatious; you don’t understand what you are talking about. If that were a credible defense they would have availed themselves of it. But since McIntyre requested what they had already provided to webster asking them to send the same files to him couldn’t
    qualify as vexatious and since I and others asked for copies of files they claimed to have lost that too
    could not qualify as vexatious.

    They denied the request becuase as the mails detail the FOI officers met with jones and jones explained to them the kind of people we were at CA. Unfortunately, they seemed to have been swayed by him. Probably is a lawsuit in here. I’ll wait for the right time to look at my legal options.

  128. Thomas says:

    I too wish to thank Judith Curry for this discussion, there have been several comments that are worth thinking over through all the noise. I echo Brandon in the acknowledgment that there are many (at this time substantially more than usual) paying attention to this issue, and the larger issue of the role of science in general.

    Some ending thoughts before I retire for the night:

    Eli Snyder – I think you are on the right track, but keep in mind that for far too many in this world surviving the day, week or year is far more pressing then any thoughts of 50 years down the road. If their entire family starves or their community is wiped out by war the future is of little interest, and man will do what man inevitably does – fight the immediate fight and think about such abstractions concerning the future as the time allows. for many such moments are very rare. Most, even in this country of plenty are already consumed by the day to day duties of raising kids and working. The same holds true for many of the political leaders – there are many immediate issues at play, especially now as the worlds finances melt into disarray, of which the issue of future climate is but one, and they tend to take priority over the less pressing issues any talk of the future presents. To talk about such being “right” or “wrong” is silly, it simply is and has throughout our species history been so.

    Parallel – many may not have had their minds changed – but they are assuredly solidifying their beliefs. Prior to this the thinking may have been fuzzy, but now it is becoming solidified (and politicized). You may be surprised how many are actually open minded and willing to modify their thoughts when talked to rationally rather than preached to hysterically. On other issues it has taken DECADES to sway several I know towards a different way of viewing an issue. Attacking someone is assuredly not going to change anyone’s mind, though it will instantly raise their defenses and push them in a direction that is not going to be helpful.

    Marion Delgado… I’m glad to learn that my being forever open minded and aware of the limitations of that which we profess to know is simply a position that allows myself to be manipulated. Those who have engaged me in serious debate or who have known me for any length of time might think vastly otherwise. The middle ground is simply this: I am aware that I know “x”. I am also aware that I know far less then everything there is to know about “x”. I will therefore keep my mind open and be willing to take in new information that may be relevant to what it is I think I know, and should such information contradict or modify such held views I am rational enough to recognize such and rethink my position. Smacking into the wall is sometimes preferable to the wrong door as sometimes once a door is chosen to the absolute exclusion of any other options there is no way to backtrack and recover from the error. Study history, there are countless examples of the wrong door being chosen an untold misery resulting from such (even in recent history – think Soviet Union, Vietnam, or even perhaps Iraq). Have you ever considered that it is not always the goal post that is moved, but our understanding of where the goal post is?

    To everyone I can say the sleeping masses are awakening, and from everything I’ve heard from talking with them they are less than impressed so far. Whichever “side” one is on, even if it is in the undecided column, the presentation from here is going to matter in swaying them one way or the other.

  129. Steven Mosher says:

    I reserve the word denier for those who refuse to release their code and data. Even though they annoy the hell out of me people who deny radiative physics are merely ignorant. People who deny that CRU has an obligation to release code and data are in denial about things they know to be true, the principles of science. The argument that CRU should protect temperature data from Syria ( yes thats one of the handful of countries alleged to have confidential data) miss one thing: The polices in place explicitly inform CRU employees that the public’s interest can TRUMP confidentiality. In fact, before CRU enters ANY confidentiality agreement they are required to tell the other party that the public interest may trump the agreement.

    The FOI department argued in this case that the public interest did not trump the confidentiality. In my view that is highly questionable. But for those who want to argue that the data should remain secret, then, they should not be shocked when the public chooses to have doubt about data they can’t have access to.

    So choose:

    1. the public interest outweighs the agreements with a handful of countries and release the data.
    2. Those agreements outweigh the public interest and keep the data secret.

    If you choose #2, understand that the public has every right to express a RATIONAL doubt. It’s no longer like doubting radiative physics. And if that doubt delays our ability to fight global warming then you only have yourselves to blame.

  130. Chris Schoneveld says:

    Dr Curry: “First, bona fide skeptics ( Lindzen is one) may behave badly, just as pro-AGW scientists may behave badly (viz. the CRU emails).”

    I am pleased to read that you consider Lindzen a bona fide skeptic, although your comment is somewhat cryptic since it may or may not imply that he has behaved badly. I personally find him a highly scrupulous gentleman.

  131. I wrote the following letter to Dr. Curry. I am reproducing it here so that a) others may feel free to critique my critique, b) perhaps find it beneficial. The Zen of climategate would be to not so concentrate on the finger that they forget to look where it’s pointing to. Unless that “heavenly glory” is appreciated and put right on the public discussion table both at Copenhagen and at all discussion events of ‘carbon credit’ by the rightly-credentialed peoples, this opportunity to resist the real agenda is lost to fait accompli. I can already see it… Thank you. Zahir

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
    Date: Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 2:06 AM
    Subject: Re: An open letter…By Dr. Judith A. Curry
    To: curryja@eas.gatech.edu

    Dear Dr. Curry,

    Hello,

    I read your letter here: …

    Upon reading it, and with my own children studying very high-tech stuff in prominent universities in the US requiring continual sanity-checking to rein in their at times blind pursuits for their respective science without regard to the political container within which all science is situated, I feel that both your goodself, and your students, might find my article to be of some pertinent value. I hope more than zero.

    Letter to a ‘co-conspiracy theorist’: Reflections on Modernity, Climategate, Peer Review, and Science in the Service of Empire

    http://print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2009/11/let-co-conspiracy-theorist-climategate.html

    Best wishes,

    Zahir Ebrahim
    Project Humanbeingsfirst.org
    http://humanbeingsfirst.org
    California, United States

  132. Nathan says:

    Judith

    I am confused by you article here. What specifically was said in the emails that makes you think what you do?
    It sounds like you are just giving your opinion here, based on and incomplete set of correspondence with little or no context. Did you ask the owners of the emails what they meant?

  133. JBK says:

    Judith Curry’s stand is bold, as far as it goes. However, the repetition of her key framing concept — “skeptics versus scientists” or “skeptics versus researchers,” or just plain “skeptics versus us” –is a bit of a giveaway. The lady doth protest too much, I fear. The problem with circling the wagons is not the wagons, it’s the circle. Better to step outside of it entirely.

  134. JimB says:

    I would like to comment on the comments that I’ve read on this site, regarding the CRUgate issue and climate science in general.

    First, I am not a scientist. That being said, I AM a diagnostician, having spent most of my 40yr professional career diagnosing and troubleshooting complex systems.

    Second, I am a citizen of the U.S. I have been following “climate science” for roughly 5yrs now. I do this by reading articles, and yes, blogs. In fact, I came here based on a posted link by Steve M. at Climate Audit.

    Here is a list of things that jump out of the screen as I read your comments here. Note that some of you appear to me to be interested in scientific discovery and open debate. Good for you. For the rest, here is what I, and many others, have trouble with:

    1. Stop saying that the emails were taken out of context. We know that, and we understand that. However, it in no way dismisses ALL of the issues that come forth when reading them. As far as I can tell, releasing ALL of the emails might, in fact, make matters worse.

    2. Stop telling me that I’ve experienced climate change in my lifetime. Of course I have. We all have. I know of noone who questions this. Many of us are simply trying to understand why those changes have taken place, and what causes them.

    3. Stop talking about the incredible spin machine. Step back from what you’re doing, get out of the echo chamber for a bit, and admit that ALL sides of this issue have a vested interest in a specific outcome. ENOUGH. You’re like children arguing over who started a fight.

    4. Just an FYI regarding FOI requests. YOU don’t get to decide who is a valid requestor, and who the law applies to. If someone asks for the information in an official request, give it to them.

    5. Stop saying that the data is all out there, that it’s all been released, when it’s pretty obvious from reading a few other sites that it’s not, and it hasn’t been, especially not with sufficient details as to methodology to understand how one attained a specific result.

    6. I have every right to question the validity of something based on my own knowledge and experience, HOWEVER meager that may be compared to your own. And I have every right, infact a duty, to demand that my politicians do the same.

    7. It is a fact that one dishonest or disingenuous act can destroy a lifetime of credibility. This is not cruel, nor is it unique to your field. It is human nature, and it’s how it should be.

    8. Take a moment and get out of your echo chambers. Try to understand what this entire issue looks like to those of us in the general public. There are billions and billions of dollars involved, and most of us have been around long enough to know that where that kind of money is involved, some amount of corruption is entirely possible. Such is the way with mankind, and has been since the beginning of time.

    9. Stop arguing about whether I am a skeptic or a denier or green or republican or Catholic, and stop saying that if I don’t agree with you?…I must be a shill for industry or big oil, or I am some sort of imbecile because clearly an intelligent person would understand that you are right. Facts are facts, and who is asking a question doesn’t alter that. There are very reasonable questions being asked, and few if any answers being given. As long as that continues?…people will look at you with some degree of skepticism, and you know what? They should. You’ve earned that skepticism. YOU. That you can’t provide a suitable answer doesn’t make ME a bad person for asking the question.

    10. If you don’t like being challenged?…and many people don’t, then get out of science. Everything you do should be challenged, and not just by your friends. If your work can’t stand up to that, become a better scientist. Put the work in to defend your findings. If you can’t…well, that’s sort of the point, right?

    11. We NEED you people. We NEED your research. We NEED you to figure out what’s happening with our climate and why. And we need it done right with open fact-checking and assesments at each and every step along the way.

    JimB

  135. erictaylor says:

    clearly dr curry is 100% wrong in her idea about opening as some sort of cure. Already, curry’s letter is being quoted as proof that climatologists are hoaxers and frauds. For instance from:

    http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/grad-students-bailing-on-climate.html


    Grad Students Bailing on Climate Science?

    It’s going to take a lot more than a few letters like this to restore any kind of integrity to the global warming field. I wouldn’t advise students to enter the profession of climate science, not unless they were totalitarian radicals. Global warming is a scam. It’s an industry that’s bent on impoverishing the world in an attempt to implement one-world governmental control.

    No matter what you say, no matter how you say it, you will be quoted by the AWG skeptics as a liar and con artist.

    The answer to this is politics. While the deniers seem to have a big voice the fact of the matter is that most people are not deniers, they side with scientists and science, and why not, when science has brought so much good to the world.

    What scientists have to do is energize their base. Every 3 or 4 years in Texas, local school boards vote in creationists and they start teaching that jesus on a dinosaur stuff, then immediately after that all the creationists get voted out. And then things are ok for a few years after that. What has to happen is that people that are friends to climatologists have to be excited about the science, and I mean this in a Neil Degrasse Tyson/Carl Sagan way.

    Make minidocumentaries about what the frontiers of climate change, not just the simple stuff, the interesting things, go on the Daily Show and don’t be afraid to get the audience interested in what you are interested in. Teach the wonder that is basic in science. Energize the base.

    Talking about open data sets is worthless, it’s like chasing your tail. What you need is are books, movies, with exciting cutting edge theories.

    don’t even go near the controversy of what the deniers say, it’s a fruitless battle. You’ll both get covered in mud and the pig likes it.

  136. sod says:

    Judith, i seriously disagree.

    What has been noticeably absent so far in the ClimateGate discussion is a public reaffirmation by climate researchers of our basic research values: the rigors of the scientific method (including reproducibility), research integrity and ethics, open minds, and critical thinking. Under no circumstances should we ever sacrifice any of these values; the CRU emails, however, appear to violate them.

    the violation, in this context, was stealing the e-mails. nothing, absolutely nothing written in those e-mails, is even in the same ballpark as the theft and publishing of the mails was. nothing.

    the reaction of sceptics to the stolen mail, was simply disgusting. instead of taking a strong position against stealing mail, they applauded it. instead of cautioning against publishing stolen mails, they quoted, linked and spread the stolen mail, when ever they could.

    this behaviour is clearly outside of what is expected in scientific discourse. it also moves “sceptics” to the fringe of society.

    it is obvious to anyone reading their blogs and posts, that future thiefs will be applaud and called “whistle blower” as well. the sceptic blogiosphere is encouraging those who steal mail.

  137. Harold says:

    I can appreciate the concerns about IP and disclosure agreements. The most simple way of avoiding all these issues to to reject any paper that has underlying IP / disclosure restrictions on data or metadata. This is done in industrial consortia all the time. The amazing thing is all of a sudden, the “highly confidential” information is no longer confidential.

    That the earth is warming isn’t a surprising discovery, it’s a dynamic system so it’s either warming or cooling. I don’t think anyone has a problem with that. The problem creeps in when projections are made off of quasiempirical models for conditions outside the data space – that isn’t a valid approach. In that sense, I’m a skeptic – as long as the projections are outside the data space, I’ll discount them and advise everyone else to discount them.

    The question of whether we want to decrease atmospheric CO2 levels is another issue altogether – I’m not averse to that. Want to increase light reflection by coloring rooftops white? I’m not averse to that either. If you think I have to be convinced to do something by using AR4 and the literature behind it, it’s a losing battle – I have strict standards on statistical analysis.

    As an aside, AR4 claims that climate science cannot use controlled experiments to validate the theories – this clearly isn’t true. To me, this is trying to excuse a lack of rigor.

  138. parallel says:

    Re #33. Well said JimB. That it NEEDS to be said is sad, and why we have the current mess.

  139. Bernard J. says:

    MrPete.

    You talk of “good science”, as if climate science is not good science.

    I have a little challenge for you – find the 200 most-cited peer-reviewed papers that support anthropogenically-mediated climate change, and critically assess whether they are good science, or otherwise. In doing so you should be able to indicate from first principles why each paper is justified (or otherwise) in its methodology, in its analyses, and in its interpretations and conclusions. You should also be able to critically assess the response in the literature to each of these papers – after all, it might just be that the field itself is able to judge the quality of the work.

    If you are concerned that the 200 most-cited papers might not in fact represent the best science, then perhaps you could cast the net to include the 500 most-cited papers, or the 1000 most-cited papers. That way you might be able to improve your confidence that you are actually able to unearth the less-than-”good” science that so concerns you.

    And after you’ve completed this exercise, ask yourself what the significance is of the fact that so many of the papers that you’ve reviewed are not substantially vulnerable to criticism (if to any criticism at all) and ask yourself too what the underlying import of their collective (and solidly based in ‘hard’ science) message is…

    Whether labelled ‘sceptic’ or ‘Denialist’, much of the criticism of the concept of global warming is predicated on the world’s best scientists being either wrong, or being incompetent, or being conspiratorial, or a being combination of any or all three. However, there is no corpus of peer-reviewed publication to support the naysayers who deny the overwhelming evidence for warming. In fact, there is nothing at all that can remotely be considered to have put the physics of AGW in ‘danger’, and contrary to the fevered conspiracy theories of those who believe themselves ‘sceptical’, scientists and journals the world over would love to be the ones who toppled the current consensus with serious science.

    Many “I-am-not-a-scientist/climatologist/physicist/statistician-but-nevertheless…” types believe that their own areas of work provide them with some peculiar insight that leads them to understand that they are on to something that thousands of the world real experts in the field have missed. Two responses: Dunning Kruger, and Rumsfeld’s “you don’t know what you don’t know”. If one is sufficiently intelligent and self-critical, one should understand that Ockham’s parsimonious razor would inform one that these same insights would quickly emerge amongst the competitive fields of any of the modern sciences, climatology included.

    One only has to see how mercilessly and publicly attempts at scientific fraud, hoax and downright muddle-headedness over the last few decades have been dealt with – the days of staid, cravated Victorian denial are long gone. In this the climate change deniers are themselves a century behind the times: rather in the same manner as the ideologically-based anti-evolutionists were, and still are.

    The kafuffle over the CRU data theft is truly a storm in a tea-cup. The data and the coding have already withstood harsh scrutiny, with no evidence of impropriety that isn’t a mendacious twisting of routine testing of procedure or similar. The personal opinions in the emails are matters not related to the quality of the science, and I personally cannot fathom the preoccupation of so many with matters that are private.

    Oh, and to the “transparency” crowd in general – the validity of the science in a scientific paper should stand independent of any voyeurism into the private correspondence or the code-testing or the other irrelevant miscellanea of the humans behind the science. That so many are who are confabulating “transparency” with issues that have nothing to do with the normal requisite processes that allow science to be replicated, is a damning thing indeed…

    Truly, if there are cloaks, smoke and mirrors behind the data that are published, any competent professional working in climatology would have exposed such years before now.

    What’s that I here you say? Steve McIntyre? McIntyre, indeed… McIntyre has had unfettered access to almost all of the raw data, and also to data that he has claimed not to have. If the conspiracy of scientific malfeasance that McIntyre has been attempting to demonstrate remains in the small volume of data that has for one quite explicable reason or another not been available to him, then the Great Global Climate Conspiracy is hiding its secrets under a tiny bushel indeed.

    And one last about McIntyre – where are his peer-reviewed publications exploding the AGW ‘myth’? No, don’t resort to conspiracy theories…

    As many have said before me, there is so much data and code in the public domain already, that has not spawned a single credible rebuttal, that those who doubt anthropogenically-induced climate change should now be doubting the basis of their own positions. Why is it that the volumes of material that is freely available has not given rise to any credible refutation of AGW?

    And seriously, if there is impropriety in the field, it would have been exposed long before now, considering the intense scrutiny under which it has been placed. And I speak as one who has blown the whistle on scientific misbehaviour: I know how such is covered up, and how quickly it emerges when the light of proper scientific oversight is applied. And I can tell you now – the killer clue isn’t hiding in the last few emails of one group of hounded and frustrated scientists in one particular institution. That’s never where the evidence for any significant fraud hides.

    Regarding those shocked, horrified, eyes-agog folk with their FOI fixation – if there are issues in the science that can only be resolved by delving in to obscure records that need to be ‘crow-barred’ from scientists, that should be a red flag that one is not focussing on the real issue. Seriously, if there are any doubts about the quality of the work in a paper, it should be easily revealed by a response to, or a test of, that same paper. And if one doesn’t know exactly how to do this, it is probably a certain indication that one is not sufficiently proficient in the field that one could attempt to do so in the first place, or that one is even competent to comment upon such matters.

    To those legions of doubters who will still, no doubt, doubt what I say, I will repeat my original challenge to MrPete – take the best of the published work in climatology, and show where the flaws lie, given the state-of-the-art contemporary with the publications. And don’t bleat about a lack of funding, because there are many well-heeled vested-interest groups that would happily donate some of their pocket money to the task of scientifically rebutting the consensus, if a scientific rebuttal were actually a credible endeavour, and if such was their genuine concern.

    To me, the very facts that any rebuttal of AGW to date has consisted of PR-based campaigning and pseudoscientific nit-picking says more than anything else that this whole pursuit of AGW climatology is the scientific version of a witch-hunt, applauded from the sidelines by credulous folk, many of whom should know better than to subscribe to the nonsense that innocent women drown and witches do not.

    There is nothing more compelling however, than the expertise of the pub counter, the weekend arm-chair, or the back fence. Perhaps if the funding for science was directed instead to more beer, pizza, hair curlers and fluffy slippers the questions about the universe could be answered before Christmas…

  140. Harold says:


    the violation, in this context, was stealing the e-mails. nothing, absolutely nothing written in those e-mails, is even in the same ballpark as the theft and publishing of the mails was. nothing.

    This presupposes a few things. What is not known is how the files were released and by whom. This could be as simple as CRU building a zip file because they were getting ready to release the information under an FOI request, but putting it where it could be publicly accessed. Somebody saw it and copied it. Who knows? I CAN tell you that the CRU server has been down recently – it was a mess, so I imagine they are busy cleaning up their act.

    In any event, the who and how of what happened is being investigated. As of right now, nobody knows that there was any theft involved.

  141. Harold says:

    BernardJ


    I will repeat my original challenge to MrPete – take the best of the published work in climatology, and show where the flaws lie

    This is easy – projecting outside the data space is not a valid technique because the model has only been validated over the data space. This is basic stuff, but really inconvenient, so it’s being ignored.

    I assume that BernardJ will continue to ignore this flaw as being inconsequential – let’s see.

  142. Todd Underwod says:

    First let me just say I am not really qualified to comment here. But thanks for the chance and thank you for all your comments. I consider myself a skeptic, on this issue and most. My degree is in economics, which reinforced this somewhat.

    I am one of those non-scientists who have been led astray by the “deniers” as some here say. I’m sure many here can refute it, but my skepticism began after reading “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton. I’m sure that will cause a collective groan from many. But I say this, because I believe I am the demographic you need to convince, not to gloat in my ignorance of all the details. And that is why I’m commenting. I have been following this closely, and I find the comments sections more educational the the stories in some cases.

    The above comment referring to eugenics struck home to me. Mr. Crichton wrote on that subject in his afterward comparing his fear that AGW was heading in the same direction. Because he was already a wealthy man, I gave him some credibility on the issue. As a layman, it is hard for me to swallow that only scientists working for evil rich energy companies corrupt the science, when the most famous spokesman for AGW is an ever richer Al Gore. It struck me a way end an argument, not win it. I know a lot of rich and poor people, and money in my experience is never a good indicator of integrity. Regardless of the stereotypes for both.

    And that brings me to the real reason I’m commenting. I want to thank Dr. Curry for her comments. Reading them, and the others here, I can really appreciate that there are good people on both sides, and to some small degree, this scandal has lead me to question AWG a little less. The reason is she does speak for a superior moral, and from my understanding of it, scientific position. Integrity rings home with me.

    I don’t have the time to read every new finding on AGW. But daily for the last 7 years (or longer when you consider other issues) I read or hear stories about the imminent destruction of civilization if we don’t act within days. After a while you shut it out. In the meantime you are told that you must use 1 sheet of toilet paper, give up all meat, or not plan of having kids. If you don’t you are a evil person. Or at least uneducated.

    In the meantime, common weather patterns are part of the proof of AGW. Hurricane Katrina, something that we all knew was gonna happen someday, well before any normal person heard of AGW, is caused by you guessed it, AGW. After awhile you don’t just zone it out, you begin to resent it.

    To the reasonable skeptics, I say keep it up. But to the reasonable believers, like Dr. Curry, I say you true problem isn’t the minority of skeptics, it is the army of idiot believers. Constant fear tactics backfire, and turn people like me into skeptics. You call for openness gets a lot of respect from me though. And when I see a paper from you I will read it with an open mind. I am the guy (and people like me) whose mind can be changed. But things like the CRU data breach, and the pretending that it is no big deal, don’t help. But Dr. Curry’s comments, as well as George Monbiot, give me pause.

    On final thought for the true believers of AWG. It wasn’t that the wolf wasn’t real that killed the little boy, it was that he overblew the danger so many times that when the wolf showed up it was too late. Your true problem isn’t the skeptic scientists, it’s the idiots telling me I hate the planet because I want to use more then one sheet of toilet paper, and AGW is happening because of warm day in late November when I just want to enjoy it. With a steak…

    Thank you for the chance to comment.

    Todd Underwood

  143. JimB says:

    Re #138

    Bernard,
    Am I to understand that volume somehow indicates validity?

    Here are a few things that raise questions in my mind.

    1. Regarding temperature “reconstructions” in the U.S., the temperature in the early 1900s for parts of the U.S. were recently adjusted downward. I forget the exact measurements, but it was roughly the equivalent of saying that up until 2007, the temperature in Scottsdale, Az on Dec 3rd in 1909 was 38deg F. But now the temp on that day in 1909 is suddenly 32deg F. I understand there are a variety of reasons that the temp may have been adjusted, but I also believe that the methods for adjusting those temperatures should be published ALONG WITH THE ADJUSTMENTS themselves. Why wasn’t this done, and why isn’t it done as a matter of course.

    2. When I first started this journey, I was amazed that so much of what had been written was all based on the IPCC report…and I was further amazed at how few scientists actually had input to that report, and was astonished that what the report ultimately said was, and forgivce me for paraphrasing somewhat,: “We can find no other explanation for the warming, therefor it must be C02. And to prove it’s NOT C02, you must prove that it IS something else.”

    Now pardon me and my hair-in-curlers, over-the-fence, beer-drinking friends…but that hardly instills confidence in the findings, where I come from. It’s pretty much like saying “Well…we couldn’t find anyone ELSE who killed J.R., so it must be JimB.”

    I don’t have to prove WHO killed him to prove that statement wrong. I just have to prove that I did not.

    Likewise I need help with understanding all of the criticism, especially right now, of people like Steve McIntyre. He doesn’t need to publish 200 peer-reviewed papers to prove that there is an error somewhere in someone’s process. If he finds an error, so be it.

    I believe the work done by Anthony Watts regarding surface stations and the measurement of temperatures to be of incredible value to anyone doing research in this field, yet I don’t see people thanking him for pointing the problems with a number of stations out. And I don’t see anyone saying “Wow…we really need to take a closer look at this database and figure out what the impact is.”

    Why is that?

    Yes, I’m sorry Bernard, but when it comes right down to it?…you need to appease the hair-curler-beer-drinking crowd…if for no other reason than they are the ones paying for the research, and they are the ones that will bear at least some of the brunt of whatever politicians end up doing based on the research.

    And for those that don’t like that?…you probably need to find another field.

    JimB

  144. Bill Hunter says:

    Judy Curry is right on the mark! This is ultimately a political issue and when public opinion is dropping like a rock; its time to look at what you have been doing wrong.

    Today more people believe in haunted houses than believe in anthropogenic global warming.

    And that was before the CRU emails.

    FOI requests only apply to publicly-funded work. If the data is available a clerk can reply to where the data can be found. If the data is not available; make it available. Claims of denial of service attacks have no merit whatsoever. . . .its nothing more than an overhead cost that all public agencies bear and if overhead is too high its probably due to the agency’s lack of a workable information policy.

    In other words, hire somebody who knows what they are doing.

    CRU is a mess and it is at a minimum an administration failure. One only need consider the raw data that was lost and the shoddy and sloppily documented work that keeps emerging. Even if you can forgive the deception “hide the decline” one cannot forgive the administrative mess that CRU has become under Dr. Jones leadership.

    Sometimes one has to take a close look at ones own operations and ensure you have the right leadership.

    One poster suggested the fire department shouldn’t waste time with the public. Last I checked is we had a democracy and the fire department does in fact pay attention to that.

    Now in fact any movement is going to have people who fail to understand reality and see the public as a mere nuisance; but its a certain recipe for failure if those who are in a leadership position see it that way.

    Just go ask the Soviets.

  145. shannon says:

    This article has sparked a raging fire. There is more good information in the reply field than the original article. Keep it up guys.

  146. Peter Joseph says:

    All, Please stop using the term “climateGate”! That just reinforces the Nixon crook frame. It really is more of the Swift Boat situation: An ambush. Y ou have been SwiftClimated.

  147. parallel says:

    Peter Joseph, (#44)
    When are believers going to stop calling others either skeptics or deniers?

  148. john says:

    Dr. Curry has written an eloquent essay on how scientific debates should proceed. It is, however, flawed. Let’s look at this quote, which in many ways is at the heart of her criticism of some of the climate scientists involved in the recent e-mail brouhaha.

    “…we need to respond to any critique of data or methodology that emerges from analysis by other scientists. Ignoring skeptics coming from outside the field is inappropriate; Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office.”

    First, we don’t need to respond to ANY critique; we should only respond to credible critiques which are actually based on the data or methodology.

    Second, Einstein may have worked at the Post Office (I thought it was the patent office, actually) but he was a physicist. By which I mean weathermen, engineers and medical doctors should be accorded less weight than actual climatologists in matters of climatology. Beyond that, Einstein was not introducing political biases, nor was he on the payroll of anti-Newtonians. His inquiries/theories demanded attention precisely because they adhered to data (however novel his perspective) and came from a credible source with no ulterior motives.

    But I have a more fundamental problem with Dr. Curry’s essay. It ignores context.

    Specifically, there exists a well-funded cohort of contrarians – as opposed to skeptics – who seek not to uncover truth, but to obscure it. They employ the tactics of Sophists and Madmen for the express purpose of distorting science, not clarifying or improving it.

    If the media were playing their traditional role of attempting to discern and report on the truth and accuracy of both the skeptics and the mainstream climate scientists, this might not matter so much. But they are not; rather they seek to fan the flames of controversy by giving equal weight to a few cranks, political extremists, contrarians and self promoting Sophists like Lomborg, S&N, the Superfreaks etc.

    Even this would be tolerable, if the consequences were not so dire. For example, I believe the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and giving credence to any and all critiques espoused by challengers is exactly the right response to creationists. The worst that could happen is that the US would be (is) held to a mediaeval standard of knowledge driven by a set of teleological high priests.
    But global warming is far more serious in consequence – we literally risk overshooting the point at which we can respond to prevent widespread famine, untold human misery, and destruction of species unrivalled since the Permian die-off.

    Given the perfidy of the press, the mendacity of the “skeptics” and the consequences of their delaying tactics, I believe that the actions of the scientists – which was, after all, not about distorting the science, so much as it was about articulating it in a way that prevented it from being misused and discouraging publishing papers in a journal which had a political bias – was not only justifiable, it was laudable.

  149. Leif says:

    Good grief !
    Fact: The Arctic Polar ice cap, which has been relatively stable long enough to evolve Polar Bears, Eskimos, Ring Seals, etc., is becoming unstable. May in fact be gone in 10 to 20 years.
    Fact: The large majority of the world’s Glaciers have shown a persistent decline for the past 100+ years as well. Glaciers are the water storage systems for 10′s of billions of people thru out the world.
    Fact: The Antarctic Ice sheets and land glaciers are likewise starting to show persistent and an alarming accelerating deterioration in recent time:
    Given these three facts alone, anyone can conclude that SOMETHING has changed in the earth’s climatic stibility.
    Now, because we are people and possess a bit of gray mater that has enabled us to become the dominate species, we like to find solutions to problems that might effect our survival.
    In past times we would have resorted to any number of solutions that may or may not have proven successful. Burned witches, sacrificed virgins, prayed and any number of other approaches. One solution that has evolved and has appeared to withstand the test of time is science. Pursuit of scientific endeavor has given humanity a number of positive gifts as well as a number of negative ones. Nuclear weapons come to mind.
    Obviously, the dogged pursuit of science does appear to have certain downsides, however the positive has proven time and again to be worth the continued efforts. If not we would have abandoned it long ago and resorted to killing virgins or something. So where does that leave us. We can address the disappearing ice, water, climate stability problem with science and all its short comings or revert to an number of other possible tried, but poorer track record, solutions. Burning witches or virgins, (WHY is it that woman always get the honor?), etc. OR we can just ignore the whole problem and see what the hell happens.
    The best of science, internationally, is telling us that within the best of it’s present understanding, the most obvious culprit is the increase of green house gasses in the atmosphere. The opposition is convinced that any number of other buggy men are the real cause as they cannot disregard the original three facts. The opposition offer no other explanations for the dilemma that have withstood the test of time and rigors of science.
    So what to do. With a modest investment, (~cup of fancy coffee a week), at the present we can continue to make major progress against additional green house gas emissions, should they in fact be the cause, which will have the additional benefit to society by producing sustainable jobs and improved economic balance of payments while allowing us to improve our understanding of the big picture without further digging. We can start to burn a few witches and perhaps throw in a few men for good measure. We can pray. We can ignore the whole mess while are rivers run dry. We can nit pick the facts and make believe that we we are important without offering meaningful alternatives. All the while digging franticly in case we are wrong. My choice? I will go without the coffee. Again, good grief !

  150. Jim Taylor says:

    #141 Todd-

    Hear hear! I could have written exactly the same comment. You may not get many return comments, but maybe someone on the AGW side will read you and just take what you say to heart. I’m unmoved by hockey sticks, I’m unmoved by “act now before it’s too late!” arguments — in my 45 years I’ve seen way too many, and every one of them has had as their prime motivation to spur me into an action OF SOMEONE ELSE’S choosing. I stopped playing years ago.

    So maybe this time it’s different, and it turns out I’m an idiot. Regardless, I’m an idiot who votes, there are millions of others like me, and current AGW messaging is way counter-productive. I’ll help anyone who treats me with respect, and happily cut off my nose to spite my face if it’ll help me win some dominance game against a bunch of self-righteous jerks.

  151. Leonard Weinstein says:

    I think there is a critical misunderstanding by the AGW supporters about most skeptics. It is true there are some individual and company supported positions that can be called unreasonable or political on BOTH sides of the issue. It is also true the funding has been far more available on the AGW supporters side. However, the vast majority of scientists on both sides are almost certainly giving their honest positions. Many of the so called skeptics are in fact supporters of the basic AGW position. They just do not agree that it seems as bad as the extreme cases claimed in the literature. Many neither deny or accept AGW because they do not consider that the data and analysis are adequate to come to a conclusion. Most of these skeptics only want the accurate results so that they can in fact know what is right. Any that outright deny AGW are in fact not good scientists, as the data and analysis are not conclusive. The correct position of a skeptic (i.e., scientist) is to seek the facts and try to get to the truth, not prove a particular position. By rejecting the efforts of skeptics to get better results (by not allowing them to get basic uncorrected data or missing data and looking for believable results) by overly politicized institutions, it appears to the skeptics that there is an attempt to hide something, which tends to make them feel there are no compelling real results supporting AGW, and this is the reason many have become more negative. I think that almost all of the efforts to get raw data and methods arouse from efforts to validate important results. The fact is that some claims that there was something wrong with the results has been in fact verified, at least for the tree ring data and many temperature histories. The recent release of e-mails and code seem to clearly show the skeptics are, at least for those cases, correct.

    I came into the subject initially assuming the AGW position was valid. I am a well qualified scientist to evaluate the subject. I read a large amount of technical papers and the main summary reports on AGW and concluded there seemed to be a big mistake being made, even based on the data shown at that time. From then on I followed all blogs on both sides and now am clearly very skeptical that GW is AGW. I think the vast majority of skeptical scientists are in a similar boat. They have nothing to gain for being skeptical. Some AGW supporters have claimed that skeptics are doing it to become famous, but that could only happen if they were right. Some claim they are trying to stop the carbon tax and international agreements. This is true to the extent that until the science can be shown to be valid and lack of action dangerous, those efforts would be much more damaging than helpful.

  152. Hmpf says:

    >… and happily cut off my nose to spite my face if it’ll help me win some dominance game against a bunch of self-righteous jerks.

    Wow. Just, wow.

    We really are just a bunch of primates, aren’t we? Dominance games matter more than anything else. Apparently.

    Okay. How do we work with this?

  153. dhogaza says:

    That FOI was rejected on specious ground, namely that there were confidentiality agreements that precluded
    release to non academics.

    So specious it was upheld on appeal.

  154. dhogaza says:

    The polices in place explicitly inform CRU employees that the public’s interest can TRUMP confidentiality.

    “can”, not “does”. The appeal upheld the determination of “does not in this case” made by the officer who wrote the original rejection.

    UK FOI law is weaker than US law, I’ll give you and McI the slim benefit of the doubt that you might not be aware of this.

  155. dhogaza says:

    1. the public interest outweighs the agreements with a handful of countries and release the data.

    2. Those agreements outweigh the public interest and keep the data secret.

    And here Mosher misleadingly implies that since roughly 2% of the raw data is proprietary, the entire set of raw data has been kept secret.

    “secret” in this case apparently meaning “that 98% is freely available on the internet and has been for quite a long time”.

  156. Marion Delgado says:

    Thomas, if you are genuinely asserting the accuracy of the “fallacy of the middle ground,” you have a lot more work to do than you apparently imagine. And I’m not the main person disagreeing with you, it’s an entire body of study of logic, rhetoric, inference and argument.

    And again, most climate deniers are market fundies, I have no idea whether you are. If I assert that nothing short of vintage Maoism and Stalinism will do, and someone else says Trotskyism is the obvious middle ground, and they’re distressed that people insist on the two extremes, does that make them right? I mean, did I move the goalposts or are you simply blind to how your view of the goalposts has shifted?

  157. dhogaza says:

    4. Just an FYI regarding FOI requests. YOU don’t get to decide who is a valid requestor, and who the law applies to. If someone asks for the information in an official request, give it to them.

    The Freedom of Information acts in the US and UK don’t say “if someone asks for information you must give it to them”. You’re essentially saying that the agency should ignore their *legal requirement* to determine whether or not the information should be released as a result of the request.

    Sorry, the agencies aren’t going to break the law as you state they should do. They’re always going to weigh the request against the law. The US FOIA is stronger than the UK law, so one would expect fewer requests to be denied, however under both laws some requests are always going to be rejected. It’s not only perfectly legal to do so, but it is a legal requirement that requests that don’t meet the legal test be denied.

  158. dhogaza says:

    This could be as simple as CRU building a zip file because they were getting ready to release the information under an FOI request, but putting it where it could be publicly accessed. Somebody saw it and copied it.

    And then cracked the Real Climate server, which is also a crime …

  159. dhogaza says:

    I’m sure many here can refute it, but my skepticism began after reading “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton. I’m sure that will cause a collective groan from many.

    Of course. It’s a work of science fiction from a retired MD who didn’t understand climate science.

    I’ll also groan if you tell me you’ve become skeptical of evolution due to a visit to the recently opened Creation Museum.

  160. Hank Hancock says:

    I am a research scientist (perinatology) who is published in several prominent journals. I am impressed with Dr. Curry’s call for open and informed debate. A matter that has concerned me for some time is the comments “the science is settled” and “there is no debate.” It is these types of comments that fosters a push back by those who have at least a cursory understanding of the precepts of scientific inquiry. When is new science ever settled and how did the debate end?

    Science seeks knowledge in its purest quest. Its core methodology is inquiry and observation. To understand what science seeks one needs to have a grasp on what constitutes knowledge.

    A hypothesis is built around beliefs (inquiry) that seek justification. Only when the hypothesis is proven by empirical evidence and repeatable methods of experimentation (observation) does it gain the status of knowledge (or fact). The philosopher Richard Kirkham offered perhaps the most concise definition of knowledge. It is where the “justification for the belief must be infallible.” If any doubt (skepticism) exists or the belief is built on pseudo-evidence, questionable methodologies, circular reasoning, or coincidence, the knowledge cannot be sustained and cannot be held as fact.

    A practical application of the above is there remains no further debate that the planets revolve around the sun. The empirical evidence and absence of skepticism of these understandings allow us to maintaining said understanding as knowledge and all agree there is no further debate. But the key here is the absence of skepticism, not some notion the debate is over on the basis of some scorecard having been tallied.

    Skepticism is a healthy and required discipline of science. A good scientist does not prejudice the alternate hypothesis. The alternate hypothesis is necessary to show the hypothesis to be robust. Herein is my concern over the apparent exclusion of skeptical papers and debate in the climate sciences as seemingly evidenced by some of the e-mails. Skeptical review of what we present as understanding needs to occur as it can only strengthen and elevate our understanding to the status of knowledge. Without it, we form a mere belief system that can not claim to stand on knowledge – a chief complaint of skeptical scientists who appear to have been excluded from that process.

    I fully support Dr. Curry’s position in her open letter.

  161. dhogaza says:

    1. Regarding temperature “reconstructions” in the U.S., the temperature in the early 1900s for parts of the U.S. were recently adjusted downward. I forget the exact measurements, but it was roughly the equivalent of saying that up until 2007, the temperature in Scottsdale, Az on Dec 3rd in 1909 was 38deg F. But now the temp on that day in 1909 is suddenly 32deg F. I understand there are a variety of reasons that the temp may have been adjusted, but I also believe that the methods for adjusting those temperatures should be published ALONG WITH THE ADJUSTMENTS themselves. Why wasn’t this done, and why isn’t it done as a matter of course.

    Bernard J asked for refutations of published work, which implies you need to cite the work you’re claiming to refute, not just put forward an anecdote that might or might not be true.

    So, please, point me to the 6F downward adjustments you’re claiming were recently made.

  162. dhogaza says:

    I am a research scientist (perinatology) who is published in several prominent journals. I am impressed with Dr. Curry’s call for open and informed debate. A matter that has concerned me for some time is the comments “the science is settled” and “there is no debate.” It is these types of comments that fosters a push back by those who have at least a cursory understanding of the precepts of scientific inquiry. When is new science ever settled and how did the debate end?

    Some things in science *are* settled, and this is true in climate science, too. For instance the basic physics of CO2′s absorption of long-wave infrared radiation is surely settled science, in other words the fact that it is a GHG is settled science. There are, of course, many things within climate science which aren’t settled, and climate scientists don’t claim otherwise – the very fact that sensitivity to CO2 doubling is given as a range roughly between 2.5C-4.0C *screams* “unsettled science”.

    Are you sure there’s no settled science in your field? Wouldn’t you say the existence of the fetus is “settled science”? Wouldn’t you say that the fact that the human fetus is nurtured by its mother’s placenta is “settled science”?

    Wouldn’t you say it’s fruitful for researchers to be able to differentiate between what the real questions in a field are, so as to be able to focus on unanswered questions? Why should climate scientists work any differently?

  163. dhogaza says:

    I came into the subject initially assuming the AGW position was valid. I am a well qualified scientist to evaluate the subject. I read a large amount of technical papers and the main summary reports on AGW and concluded there seemed to be a big mistake being made, even based on the data shown at that time.

    Oh gosh, pray tell, what’s that “big mistake”? This is your chance to satisfy Bernard J’s request. You’ve read a large amount of technical papers, with big mistakes, so:

    1. Cite the papers

    2. Show us the “big mistakes” and justify your conclusion

    From then on I followed all blogs on both sides and now am clearly very skeptical that GW is AGW. I think the vast majority of skeptical scientists are in a similar boat. They have nothing to gain for being skeptical. Some AGW supporters have claimed that skeptics are doing it to become famous, but that could only happen if they were right.

    The fact that you’ve not become famous despite having discovered “big mistakes” has me wondering, that’s for sure …

  164. Ian Forrester says:

    Hank Hancock said:

    The philosopher Richard Kirkham offered perhaps the most concise definition of knowledge. It is where the “justification for the belief must be infallible.” If any doubt (skepticism) exists or the belief is built on pseudo-evidence, questionable methodologies, circular reasoning, or coincidence, the knowledge cannot be sustained and cannot be held as fact.

    So I take it that you do not fly, you do not enter high rise office towers, you do not cross bridges and many others. None of these has “100% infallibility ” built into them.

    You really don’t understand how science and engineering work, do you? If everyone lived and believed what you believe we would still be living in caves and we wouldn’t even be using fire since there is no 100% guarantee that you won’t get burned.

    You are exactly what the denoers are looking for, some one who is prepared to delay, delay, delay until we are 100% sure.

    Get a life.

  165. Michael H Corbett (Micky C) says:

    I’m putting my name up here as I normally post from time to time as Micky C but after reading Dr Curry’s piece I wanted to comment without ambiguity.

    I am a trained physicist (PhD) and currently work in the field of plasma physics (ion thrusters). My PhD work was in the field of thin film ferroelectrics where our group (in Queens Belfast) managed to overhall a ‘consensus’ opinion on multi-layer capacitors by repeating the experiment ourselves. Thes paper (by H, Tabata et al App Phys Letts, 1994) was widely cited (note to Bernard J) but the data was incorrect. Tabata reported enhanced dielectric constant by reducing individual layer thicknesses of BTO (Barium Titanate) and STO (Strontium Titanate) but this was actually a false reading. He did not show the measured losses which would have immediately shown that the reported constant was due to transient conduction related effects rather than intrinsic polarisation in the material. We did this instead. The field then adapted.

    With regard to the main piece:
    I’m sorry Dr Curry but there are no ‘skeptics’. And if so then every scientist is a skeptic. Scientific method can be neatly summarised as ‘you are only as good as your last experiment’. You publish your data, methods and assumptions in a manner that anyone layperson or scientist alike can take and repeat themselves, either using the same methods or an independent method that is logically and physically consistent. They can shout at you all they want but all you say is ‘here’s the data and full method; go repeat it’. There is no hubris about it. Just plain openness and honesty. Now even though it was difficult for him, Steve McIntyre did just that for the Hockey Stick and found it was wanting. (As an aside the whole use of uncalibrated and uncharacterised ‘proxies’ extrapolated out of the fitting space is laughable and I would not have let these papers MBH98 and the recent PNAS Mann 2008 be published without a detailed section on assumptions and limitations)

    In climate science I have seen a severe lack of experimental evidence for the processes involved in AGW, principally radiative forcing (a term that Jim Hansen introduced in the 80s as a means of relating increase in CO2 to overall increase in temperature). Hansen extrapolated radiative physics for CO2 alone and combined this with a model of the atmosphere. But then even with this all climate models assume that the atmosphere uses a radiative-convective coupled process. So to Steven Mosher, it is not enough to say that if we understand radiative physics we understand forcing. This is a meme that has been circulating for a while. Coupling phenomena have to be characterised as coupling produces effects that are different from the variation of individual components.
    What should have happened after forcing was introduced is that a large scale laboratory experiment should have been performed to better bound the uncertainty of Hansen’s original estimate. This hasn’t happened yet. So there is as yet no empirical evidence apart from basic radiative physics for forcing and the couping that is assumed involved even though it a well used assumption that coupling takes place in the atmosphere. To spell this out more clearly: that there is an interaction between water vapour processes and CO2 (and O3) that alters the net outcome from purely radiative IR absorption and emission of CO2

    As for the peer review process, just because it is published does not mean that it is correct. There is a very famous stellar model in the field of Astrophysics called the Kurutz model. It is used to determine the temperature of stars by their spectra. Now this model is probably the best one at homogenising the difference between observation resolution of the sun and other stars i.e. you make a model of the sun and then apply it to other stars and it doesn’t fit and vice versa. However one of the most cited papers is by a guy who proposed a model and it was so bad at describing the sun that it is used as an example of what not to do. (I can’t remember the name of the author but I’m sure some astrophysicists will know it). It is widely cited but just wrong.
    What is supposed to happen after peer review is that someone else tries to repeat what you do independently. After a number of people have done this and found other ways of trying to falsify it, the theory starts to get some traction. What has become evident from the CRU emails, is that the groups trying to independently repeat the findings of others where not in fact independent; not just in the work but also in the review. It was a club of researchers who had too much interaction and vested interest. Their objectivity was clouded. Also they were trying to keep other papers that contradicted their ideas from being published. They were not even allowing bad papers to fall on their face by repetition as is the norm. So the questions you ask should be:

    How well has the promoted theory of global warming been independently assessed and by whom?
    How much of the key processes have been experimental repeated and shown to agree with postulated and by whom?

    It appears that both of the answers to these questions is Not Very Well At All And Essentially By The Same People. Consider that people still have small niggling doubts and questions about Relativity but for the most part the theory it considered settled (until of course we do the next experiment). AGW is not even in the same league as this.

    [JR: Actually, warming is unequivocal, so it's in the same league as relativity. You folks -- and by that I mean people who claim to have looked at the science broadly and found it seriously wanting -- try to conflate many different scientific points into one broad brush called AGW.]

  166. Hank Hancock says:

    dhogaza wrote: “Some things in science *are* settled, and this is true in climate science, too… Are you sure there’s no settled science in your field? Wouldn’t you say the existence of the fetus is “settled science”? Wouldn’t you say that the fact that the human fetus is nurtured by its mother’s placenta is “settled science”?”.

    I’m not sure how you arrived at the notion that I said there is no unsettled science. My illustration of planets revolving around the sun should have made it evident my point was far from what you thought I said. As such I believe you miss my point of the value of skepticism in science. Yes, there remains no skepticism, and hence no ongoing debate of the understanding that we begin life as a fetus. But at some point in the past, the inquiry was made and challenged by skepticism. That we no longer debate it is the result of skepticism towards that understanding having been satisfied by empirical evidence and open reasoning (read debate here).

    But you use an academic argument that an understanding of some small pieces of a very large puzzle, contain in themselves the entire picture. Therefore one must assume that absent the puzzle being completed and the picture fully known, one should accept your interpretation as to what the puzzle would look like. In light of that argument, can you prove that if we had the rest of the pieces, the picture would be exactly as you describe it? Wouldn’t skepticism demand that you prove the picture is fully contained in the few small pieces and the rest of the pieces are truly not needed?

    Such a position would also argue that there is no point to my looking beyond the knowledge that we all begin life as a fetus, ignoring the fact that sometimes the mother doesn’t always nourish the fetus in direct contradiction to what should occur. IUGR – Inter Uterine Growth Restriction – can be presented by a myriad of causes, many of those causes are still under debate thankfully. I may not always agree with some of my peers on some of the causes of IUGR but I respect that whether they are right or wrong, knowledge is gained and their inquiry is just as valuable as mine to the process. Why should it be any different in the climate sciences?

  167. Thomas says:

    Marion,

    You need to read more carefully. Nothing I said even began to approach “the fallacy of the middle ground” – such relates to artificial compromise. There is nothing about compromise in what I said, let alone an artificial one. There was, however, an “in a nut shell” version of what is required to remain critical. You are playing in my field now, and the first thing you ought to learn is there are many ways to use a phrase or a word, not just one. Just because one talks about “the middle” does not instantly equate to the fallacy trap.

    Again, stating “most deniers…” is a vast claim of which you have absolutely no proof or justification. The vast majority are simply people living their lives and trying, as I, to make sense of complicated systems in a world anyone my age has learned to realize is quite often less than honest – especially when large sums of currency are involved. For many the first test of any view point is based on their perceptions of such things as honesty, trust and respect – a vast number of people will be lost not because of the “facts” but because of how such is presented to them. There are studies about that dynamic along with numerous philosophical texts – you might want to read up.

    So I’ll add a little to my “background info” given above, it may help you understand “where I’m coming from”.

    My first job out of college was working for the judicial branch of government in the Juvenile Probation department. If you think government is somehow more honest then the private sector you are either naive or simply haven’t studied very much about it. I can, however, attest that there were no grand conspiracies (Heck, we could barely keep track of the ones we knew about, let alone worry about “others”) – unless you want to count the time when the court basically said we aren’t changing anything but how we count after a referendum passed that they: A) didn’t like and B) could never have afforded to actually put into place at any rate. For me it was, however, the final straw (as in my opinion they had just given the public the middle finger…) and I was gone shortly after that and have been greatly enjoying working in the trenches of IT ever sense.

    As to if I am a “market fundie” (as you put it) – No. We (my wife & I) have in fact counseled a few friends who asked for our thoughts on investing in “shale oil wells” that they A) might or might not be a good “investment” and B) they needed to consider their basic belief system in such decisions and ask themselves if such is something they want to support regardless of potential payoff. I try very hard to never tell another how they “ought to live” – it is their life and they must be at peace with it, not I. I do, however, try to teach them ways to use reason to help them sort through their decision making process.

    We are (again, my wife & I) in the process of going through the wind tests on the farm for the construction of a few dozen towers over the next couple of years – so in fact I have much more to gain from all this (that nothing is too expensive to solve the carbon problem) then to lose. Such does not get in the way of my remaining ever critical of all things, including the rationality of the whole windmill thing. There are long term issues such as – what’s going to happen to all these towers 30~40 years down the road when they are obsolete? What are the affects of the mining necessary to obtain the required materials to build the things? What are the environmental effects of laying all the lines & new transport wires to move the generated electricity onto the existing grid? And those are the easy questions – there are many more subtle ones and many we don’t even know we should be asking yet that only time will make us aware of.

    Part of what those whom you decry as “market fundie deniers” (as it appears there is a universal feeling amongst the “true believer” set that anyone whom dares question is somehow in the pocket of some big bad company – I save the term scientist for those whom understand the limits of any “understanding” or “proof”) are trying to point out is that rushing headlong prior to proper understanding leads to such things as the corn-ethanol boondoggle. The corn farmers love it (and though we grow wheat rather than corn we don’t mind either – it’s certainly raised the price of our crops…). Some of us wonder who came up with the bright idea to turn our food resources (when there are so many already starving) into a fuel source – and that’s before you even get into the debate about if there is even any net gain as the fuel inputs to farm and transport the stuff offset a lot, if not all, of the energy gained.

    Whatever political\social action is to come in regards to ANY cause will be carried out in the daily practices of the average person trying to live their life. Kind of like when I was a kid and tossing the dirty oil from an oil change in the alley was seen as a good way to do weed control – it wasn’t the politicians that made it better, it was the normal every day person’s slow realization that such was not actually “good weed control”, but rather really bad for the long term environment of where they lived. They didn’t get there by being constantly accused of being the devil incarnate and hatters of life.

  168. Hank Hancock says:

    Ian Forester wrote: “So I take it that you do not fly, you do not enter high rise office towers, you do not cross bridges and many others. None of these has “100% infallibility ” built into them.

    You really don’t understand how science and engineering work, do you? If everyone lived and believed what you believe we would still be living in caves and we wouldn’t even be using fire since there is no 100% guarantee that you won’t get burned.

    You are exactly what the denoers are looking for, some one who is prepared to delay, delay, delay until we are 100% sure.

    Get a life.”

    Ian, your immediate ad-hom attack and straining at statistical gnats does little to convince me that any underlying assertion to your post needs to be seriously considered nor can it be rationally debated. You say the “science is settled” and “there is no debate.” Fine. That is how you see it. I doubt there is anything I or anyone else could say to convince you otherwise.

  169. dhogaza says:

    But you use an academic argument that an understanding of some small pieces of a very large puzzle, contain in themselves the entire picture.

    On what basis do you argue that this is an accurate description of climate science? I would argue the opposite, that very large pieces of the puzzle are understood, and that those that aren’t, are quite tightly constrained by the physics the understood parts represent.

    This is why, for instance, science speaks quite confidently of the climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 lying within the range 2.5C-4C, with the most likely value being 3C (but any value within that range is cause for concern).

    Denialists who aren’t outright lying (i.e. denying that CO2 absorbs long-wave infrared, or “is saturated”, etc) are hanging their hats on unknown, unmeasurable, undetectable solar or cosmic ray effects which, if true, would also require an explanation as to why CO2 doesn’t behave the way physicists tell us it does.

  170. dhogaza says:

    Therefore one must assume that absent the puzzle being completed and the picture fully known, one should accept your interpretation as to what the puzzle would look like. In light of that argument, can you prove that if we had the rest of the pieces, the picture would be exactly as you describe it? Wouldn’t skepticism demand that you prove the picture is fully contained in the few small pieces and the rest of the pieces are truly not needed?

    1. When the rest of the pieces become known, eventually, the picture won’t be exactly as I describe it. In fact, I would expect most of the uncertainty to disappear. There’s no *guarantee* that, for instance, sensitivity to CO2 will lie within the currently accepted range, but a whole lot of physics is going to have to change if that turns out to be true, along with a whole lot of current understanding as to how the climate has responded to varying forcings in the past.

    Closer to home for you, it is possible that HIV denialists will eventually prove that HIV does not cause AIDS. If they do, a lot of our understanding of a lot of medical science other than just AIDS and its causes will be affected. Would you advise HIV+ people to ignore the current state of knowledge on the hope that such a stunning discovery will be made, that something unknown will turn out to be the cause of AIDS, and HIV’s role disproven?

    Likewise, do you really want to bet that the skyfairy people claiming that unknown causes with no proposed physical mechanism that is supported by known physics is causing observed warming coupled with this discovery overturning those pieces of the puzzle which are already known and quantified?

    Just how much do you want to bet on what would be a revolution in science of staggering magnitude?

  171. JimB says:

    dhogaza,
    My point regarding FOI requests is that YOU don’t get to decide. The law determines what information is available, but you don’t get to say that you’ll grant Harvard access to the data, but not yale.

    The temp adjustments can be found on WUWT, in a post from Jan 25th, 2009 regarding Hansen and GISS. I’d post the link, but that doesn’t get through to the board. I was mistaken in the amount of adjustments, it’s much less than 6F, but if you look at the blinker, you’ll note that temps previous to 1970 were adjusted down, while temps post 1970 were adjusted up.

    And the whole issue about having to more or less “put up with” requests from what unqualified sources?…Please.
    Post your findings along with your data and methods. It matters not who’s asking. Why would you need to entertain every request separately?
    POST ALL OF IT…provide transparency. Then the issue goes away.

    JimB

    JimB

  172. bi -- IJI says:

    POST ALL OF IT…provide transparency. Then the issue goes away.

    What nonsense. Now, I like freedom of information and I hope all relevant data can become available.

    But will this stop people from claiming that global warming is a plot perpetrated by Barack Hussein “Death Panels” Obama the secret Marxist-Muslim? What kind of “transparency” is going to convince conspiracy theorists that James Hansen isn’t actually a closet Stalinist?

    No amount of transparency will be enough for people who insist on believing nonsense.

    bi

  173. bi -- IJI says:

    The law determines what information is available,

    Does the law say that it’s OK to snoop around on an entire climate science department’s e-mails, because the information should supposedly be available via FIA? Does the law say that it’s OK to then crack into realclimate.org via a Turkish machine in order to upload the data?

    It seems you’re trying to apply the law selectively.

    bi

  174. Anonymous says:

    Pete Best (#62) said: Gavin is speaking to all comers over at RC in endless posts on the subject.

    Actually, Pete, he isn’t. I and others have posted the question, in one form or another, “does, in your opinino, anything in the email or other documents indicate untoward behavior or poor science on the part of those involved with respect to their behavior, the data or processes?”. None, to my knowledge, have made it through moderation.

  175. s graves says:

    Sorry…keyed the foregoing prematurely…before entering my name.

  176. dhogaza says:

    My point regarding FOI requests is that YOU don’t get to decide. The law determines what information is available, but you don’t get to say that you’ll grant Harvard access to the data, but not yale.

    Actually, if by YOU, you mean the agency being FOIA’d, you’re wrong. The agency makes the determination. The determination is made on an individual request basis.

    If the person filing doesn’t like it, in the US they can file suit in federal court.

    In the UK, I’m not sure if that’s true, you can appeal internally (as McI did) but I’m not sure you can go to court if your appeal is rejected (as was done with McI’s FOI request to CRU). Different countries, different laws.

    Maybe someone versed in the UK FOIA can chime in, I’m a Yank.

  177. dhogaza says:

    Actually, Pete, he isn’t. I and others have posted the question, in one form or another, “does, in your opinino, anything in the email or other documents indicate untoward behavior or poor science on the part of those involved with respect to their behavior, the data or processes?”. None, to my knowledge, have made it through moderation.

    He was asked specifically, for instance, if Jones’ “delete the e-mails” post was unethical or illegal. I know this because several such posts made it through. Likewise many posts not asking, but *asserting*, “poor science” etc have gone through. From Gavin’s answers to these various posts, the answer to your question should be obvious.

    Anyone who thinks Anonymous’s mischaracterization of the conversation over at Real Climate is accurate is invited to wade through the 2000+ posts in two threads and to judge for themselves.

  178. JimB says:

    bi:
    Wow. You folks sure do like to swap points/problems in and out on the fly :)
    I said nothing about plots, or conspiracies. The problem I was referring to was the problem raised before about having to limit the number of FOI requests becase you simply could not entertain each and every one, presumably some of which would come from beer-drinking, hair-curlered back fence debaters (sorry…but I’m still chuckling at that).
    If all of the data and methods are posted along with the findings, then there would be little or no need to file a FOI at all.

    Now for the second jump:
    “Does the law say that it’s OK to snoop around on an entire climate science department’s e-mails, because the information should supposedly be available via FIA? Does the law say that it’s OK to then crack into realclimate.org via a Turkish machine in order to upload the data?”

    Where the heck did THAT one come from? Nowhere did I say that what happened was legal, or that I condoned it. We weren’t even discussing that issue at all, at least I wasn’t. The discussion was around how the FOI process worked, and I was making the point that if data is “FOI-able”, meaning it meets the criteria, then I don’t believe the holder of that data gets to decide based on some personal rating scheme who gets access and who doesn’t.

    JimB

  179. dhogaza says:

    The temp adjustments can be found on WUWT, in a post from Jan 25th, 2009 regarding Hansen and GISS.

    I see. Since GISSTemp software and all data used to create the GISSTemp product are freely available online, why do you say:

    I understand there are a variety of reasons that the temp may have been adjusted, but I also believe that the methods for adjusting those temperatures should be published ALONG WITH THE ADJUSTMENTS themselves. Why wasn’t this done, and why isn’t it done as a matter of course.

    People who say “publishing this stuff won’t shut them up” are right.

  180. dhogaza says:

    The discussion was around how the FOI process worked, and I was making the point that if data is “FOI-able”, meaning it meets the criteria, then I don’t believe the holder of that data gets to decide based on some personal rating scheme who gets access and who doesn’t.

    Which, of course, is a strawman argument, since the UEA’s FOI compliance officer (my title, I don’t know exactly how the Brits label such a person), not Jones, made the determination, which was upheld on appeal.

  181. dhogaza says:

    S Graves:

    Actually, Pete, he isn’t. I and others have posted the question, in one form or another, “does, in your opinino, anything in the email or other documents indicate untoward behavior or poor science on the part of those involved with respect to their behavior, the data or processes?”. None, to my knowledge, have made it through moderation.

    From Real Climate:

    S Graves:

    Gavin: You have done an admirable job addressing many of the issues raised by the documents. Is there anything in the emails or other documents that indicates untoward behavior or poor science on the part of those involved with respect to their behavior, the data or processes…or only a few unfortunate instances of poor wording…from your point of view?

  182. “The counter to that argument is to make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available”. These are noble sentiments. Alas, you neglected to link to your web page where you do this; would you be kind enough to supply this link?

  183. Ian Forrester says:

    Hank Hancock, you are the one who is straining at statistical gnats. You say that you will not support or believe anything until it has been proved “100% infallibility”. The connection between increasing CO2 emission and concentration to temperature increase has been shown to be greater than 90% (in fact the scientists in the IPCC report believed it was in the region of 95% certainty). You are willing to risk the lifestyle and standard of living of future generations because of the difference between 95 and 100%.

    Let me ask you this, you have a revolver with a very large chamber, it can hold 20 bullets. Nineteen are loaded, leaving one empty and the chamber rotated. Do you feel lucky and will put the gun to your head and pull the trigger when there is 95% chance that a loaded chamber will be under the hammer? Or to put it another way, there is 5% chance that you will be safe. I am prepared to bet that you won’t take the chance (and neither will most sane people) yet you are saying that we should disregard AGW when put at the same level of risk.

    By the way, I don’t see any “ad hom attack” in my previous post. Pointing out to people the truth is not considered to be an “ad hom attack”.

    You are exactly what the deniers are striving for, some one who is willing to put everything on hold until we are more certain i.e increase our certainty of disaster from 95 to 99.999% certainty. Thus allowing more and more profits to flow to the very companies who are causing AGW.

  184. Judith Curry says:

    Some interesting points about the framing of this in terms of skeptics, deniers, etc. These same kinds of points are being made at WUWT (from a very different perspective). In the public discourse on climate change, the words “skeptic”, “denier”, “team” have come to have different meanings than used in other contexts. Apart from the holocaust denier issue (a whole thread on this has opened up at WUWT), the use of “skeptic” in public discourse on the topic is unfortunately at odds with with the proper scientific use of the term skepticism. I think some reframing is in order, not exactly sure what the right frame is, but reserving skepticism for bona fide scientific skepticism (we are all scientific skeptics) is important. Trying to think of a better word to denote people that are not going to change their mind on this topic (from either side of the scientific and/or political spectrum). Thoughts?

  185. Gerald says:

    Has anyone (Jones or others) been able to produce a copy of the confidentiality agreements with any of the countries countries??

  186. Mike#22 says:

    CRU to release all data:

    “The University will make all the data accessible as soon as they are released from a range of non-publication agreements. Publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre.”

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2009/nov/homepagenews/CRUupdate

  187. dhogaza says:

    “The University will make all the data accessible as soon as they are released from a range of non-publication agreements. Publication will be carried out in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre.”

    Wow, this is great news, just as it was when CRU said it was working on getting the agreements amended so they could make the data available back when it notified McI that his FOI request had been denied!

  188. Mike#22 says:

    “Wow, this is great news”, kidding, right?

    I’d call it “Game Cancelled”.

  189. David B. Benson says:

    Judith Curry — 182 — inflexible

    With regard to the laws of thermodynamics and the radiative physics of global warming (so-called greenhouse) gases I am inflexible.

    Fourth try, this time without quotation marks, brackets or parenthses.

  190. dhogaza says:

    I’d call it “Game Cancelled”.

    The point, which apparently you missed, is that it’s not news. They’ve been working on this for quite some time now. The denialist claims that CRU is “trying to hide data” is baloney. 98% has been available online for years, and they’re working on making the other 2% available. Whether or not they succeed is entirely dependent on whether or not the various met services involved agree to allow their raw data to be placed in the public domain.

  191. Gerald says:

    RE #184:
    ** Ian Forrester says:
    November 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Hank Hancock, you are the one who is straining at statistical gnats. You say that you will not support or believe anything until it has been proved “100% infallibility”. The connection between increasing CO2 emission and concentration to temperature increase has been shown to be greater than 90% (in fact the scientists in the IPCC report believed it was in the region of 95% certainty). You are willing to risk the lifestyle and standard of living of future generations because of the difference between 95 and 100%.**

    I do not see where it has been scientifically concluded. The IPCC used words (highly probable or whatever). These are taken to mean 90 percent. There is no measurement and the statistical correlation is not high.

  192. DeNihilist says:

    DeNihilism #8 –

    “The position that Humanity stands outside of nature is obscene. Our actions are as natural as any other species”

  193. Thomas says:

    Ian,

    Sorry I missed your response from time stamp 12:50 (Currently marked as response #119) – there has been much posted here & links to go explore – and we’ve been entertaining our daughters friend over the holiday (an exchange student from Japan…), so I’m trying to keep up! This one slipped past. I’ll try once more to explain (and read my other responses – if you think I am the enemy you all have far bigger problems then I thought…). I also note that I stated I was a philosophy major – not something being hidden, but as such my responses may be a bit lengthy as I try for clarity of thought, even in the blogosphere.

    Again – you seemed to miss it. I made no comment what so ever about *any* peer review. Even if there was nothing in all the content swirling around the web concerning the process my comments on peer review would have been made. There are far too many of us outside the ivory tower who spent enough time there, and are aware enough, to know that using the “it has to be in peer review to matter” mantra isn’t going to “prove” anything. To use such as a defense only opens a whole different can of worms – one that is even less helpful to the debate. These “outsiders” are also the ones whose opinions most matter as they are the ones who vote, and in this country that actually still matters – especially to those who play in the political realm of life. Follow yet?

    I *did* make a comment about issue with the peer review process as a whole in the hopes of pointing out why such tactics are not going to fly outside the ivory towers, and that to scream at everyone asking questions (such as myself) that peer review is everything is simply NOT going to be impressive. In fact it makes me wonder if you’ve ever taken anytime at all to learn about the process you are thumping is the only thing that matters concerning what people should pay attention to. Even Wikipedia acknowledges there are issues with the process and points out some criticisms that perhaps you ought to take the time to explore. I know, you have no time for such – you are far too busy with the science. If only it was simply the science that matters here…

    That is NOT a “straw man”, and I did not change the subject. I am pointing out such is not going to fly in the realm of public opinion, and that it is public opinion which will matter greatly in any change on any issue. My comment was directed at an issue with the current educational paradigm (and as I recently spent time working on my Masters in Education I have some idea what the current educational paradigms are…).

    I also see no where that I said anything that could be construed as “man has nothing to do with it” – I am sure we do, the question is how much? And even more important what can we *realistically* do. I’ve spent the last 20+ years out there in the real every day world; I’ve learned to appreciate what happens between the original academic work on an idea, the political passage of legislation on such – and the actual application in “normal peoples” everyday life. It’s the last part that decides what actually works and what ends up being a flop.

    I care little who I get “bundled” with. I am far beyond that period of life and my sphere of influence has been built by decades of being honest, level headed, consistent and a willingness to listen to all sides presented. Anyone who wishes to “bundle” has problems ingrained to the point that there is nothing I say that could ever correct the paranoia anyway. And sorry, but from where I and many others in the populous sit it would appear that there has been “willful distortion” on both sides. I am not a “devious person”, just a person who has been around long enough and seen enough in my travels to have developed a much thicker skin and a tad bit of tolerance.

    And keep in mind which studies all the hard sciences were nurtured and developed from before you rant about “philosophical mumbo jumbo” – we used to call the whole of it “natural philosophy”, it is why there is a “P” in PhD.

  194. David B. Benson says:

    Gerald — 191 — The statistical correlation is damned good, which it has to be has experiments first conducted in 1859 CE showed. Go to bartonpaullevenson dot com and find his page on Correlation. I’d post the link, but something is broken for me here on CP, so I can’t right now.

    Even better is to read The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer Weart, linkable from the AIP site. All of the essentials were worked out by around 1970 CE or so…

  195. David B. Benson says:

    Taking out the parenthesis seems to be the magical incantation to posing here just now…

  196. sod says:

    Judith, this is simple. (why did you not look this up? why, among all people, have the WUWT crowd have a discussion about this?)

    a denialist is a person, who is in denial of facts. see Denialism on wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denialism

    typically you would want to specify some context. but when talking about climate, it is a term used to describe people who argue against the greenhouse effect of CO2, humans being responsible for the increase in CO2, the 20th century temperature increase,or humans being responsible for a temperature increase.

    over 90% of the people posting on WUWT are denialists, following a textbook definition of the term.

    “skeptic” is a term, which a group of people (on the climate topic) uses to describe themselves. they do so, because they are “sceptic” of the theory of AGW.

    in my whole life, i have never met a group of people, who are less sceptic, than these self-proclaimed “skeptics”.

    a real “skeptic”, for example, would NEVER publish stolen material as gospel truth, before he has seriously checked it. not one of those “sceptic” sites has passed the most basic test of scepticism.

  197. dhogaza says:

    “The position that Humanity stands outside of nature is obscene. Our actions are as natural as any other species”

    Take it up with the dictionary people. Denialists don’t get to redefine science … or the English language.

  198. David B. Benson says:

    12 a : having a physical or real existence as contrasted with one that is spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious b : of, relating to, or operating in the physical as opposed to the spiritual world

    from merriam-webster.com/dictionary/NATURAL

  199. sod says:

    This presupposes a few things. What is not known is how the files were released and by whom. This could be as simple as CRU building a zip file because they were getting ready to release the information under an FOI request, but putting it where it could be publicly accessed. Somebody saw it and copied it. Who knows? I CAN tell you that the CRU server has been down recently – it was a mess, so I imagine they are busy cleaning up their act.

    In any event, the who and how of what happened is being investigated. As of right now, nobody knows that there was any theft involved.

    another typical example, of non-scepticism.

    you are not allowed to take stuff from other people. even when it is not protected. you are also not allowed to publish other people’s mails. realclimate has stated, that their server was hacked.

    the position, that all of this was legal, is completely absurd. the person would need the consent of all those who wrote the e-mails. and the realclimate hack must be a lie.

    the “whistle blower” claim is also pretty weak. we are talking about a “whistle blower” with a very non-standard approach. (hacking a server to publish rather irrelevant STOLEN mail is weird)

    any skeptic would assume a crime, and would be extremely sceptical” of those other theories. calling yourself a skeptic does not make you one..

  200. Gerald says:

    RE: #195 David
    **The statistical correlation is damned good, which it has to be has experiments first conducted in 1859 CE showed. **
    Are we talking about the same thing? Is the statistical correlation between temperatures and CO2 say between 1900 and 2009 high? what are the numbers?

    [JR: Uhh, you are aware that CO2 is not the only forcing, just the most important? Seriously, if this is what passes for reasoned argument from you folks, we can all buy waterfront property in Baton Rouge. Try reading the basic science before spouting such nonsensical "gotchas." Seriously, half the deniers/delayers/duped think climate scientists are corrupt and the other half just think they are too stupid to do the simplest analysis. I assume you ignore everything your doctor tells you because that "science" is even more dubious than AGW.]

  201. DeNihilist says:

    dhogaza,

    Sorry, but all is within nature, nothing can stand outside of it. Only our egos make us think that we are special. If our actions cause the globe to warm to such a degree that we exterminate ourselves and others, then I posit that this is nature. Nature will not care. Nature will just continue on as it has since the big bang. We are not special, just unique. Just as all other species have been or are now. There is no definition that I know of that states that humans are not of nature.

    Warming is happening. Can Humans stop it? Perhaps. Will nature adapt? Of course. Will Humans survive? To nature, this really doesn’t matter.

  202. David B. Benson says:

    Gerald — 200 — SOmehow my ability to comment here at CP has been crippled this least wo days, so I cannot link or otherwise decorate. John Tyndall in 1859 CE demonstatrated in his laboratory that CO2 and water vapor are global warming (so-called greenhouse) gases; fact. Arrrhenius first worked out, in 1896 CE, the amount (to obtain an over-estimate later corrected). If you go to Barton’s site and read his Correlations page you’ll see exactly what he did and I shan’t have to repeat it. But yes the correlation between ln CO2 and global temperature from 1880 CE to some recent date is very good.

    Even better, you could read in IPCC AR4 WG1 report just what the quite conservative concensus view on this was in 2006-7 when the report was written.

  203. sod says:

    Are we talking about the same thing? Is the statistical correlation between temperatures and CO2 say between 1900 and 2009 high? what are the numbers?

    very high.

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Correlation.html

    but why don t you check this for yourself? all the data is public. and you know how to plot a trendline, do you?

  204. Anonymous says:

    sod says:
    November 28, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I do not believe the hackers have a leg to stand on. In UK accessing file you have not been given permission to access falls within this law:

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1990/UKpga_19900018_en_1.htm

    1 Unauthorised access to computer material(1)
    A person is guilty of an offence if—
    (a) he causes a computer to perform any function with intent to secure access to any program or data held in any computer;
    (b) the access he intends to secure is unauthorised; and
    (c) he knows at the time when he causes the computer to perform the function that that is the case.
    (2) The intent a person has to have to commit an offence under this section need not be directed at-
    (a) any particular program or data;
    (b) a program or data of any particular kind; or
    (c) a program or data held in any particular computer.
    (3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both.
    Jurisdiction

    4 Territorial scope of offences under this Act
    1) Except as provided below in this section, it is immaterial for the purposes of any offence under section 1 or 3 above-
    (a) whether any act or other event proof of which is required for conviction of the offence occurred in the home country concerned; or
    (b) whether the accused was in the home country concerned at the time of any such act or event.
    (2) Subject to subsection (3) below, in the case of such an offence at least one significant link with domestic jurisdiction must exist in the circumstances of the case for the offence to be committed.
    (3) There is no need for any such link to exist for the commission of an offence under section 1 above to be established in proof of an allegation to that effect in proceedings for an offence under section 2 above.
    (4) Subject to section 8 below, where-
    (a) any such link does in fact exist in the case of an offence under section 1 above; and
    (b) commission of that offence is alleged in proceedings for an offence under section 2 above;
    section 2 above shall apply as if anything the accused intended to do or facilitate in any place outside the home country concerned which would be an offence to which section 2 applies if it took place in the home country concerned were the offence in question.
    (5) This section is without prejudice to any jurisdiction exercisable by a court in Scotland apart from this section.
    17
    Interpretation
    (1) The following provisions of this section apply for the interpretation of this Act.
    (2) A person secures access to any program or data held in a computer if by causing a computer to perform any function he—
    (a) alters or erases the program or data;
    (b) copies or moves it to any storage medium other than that in which it is held or to a different location in the storage medium in which it is held;
    (c) uses it; or
    (d) has it output from the computer in which it is held (whether by having it displayed or in any other manner);
    and references to access to a program or data (and to an intent to secure such access) shall be read accordingly.
    (5) Access of any kind by any person to any program or data held in a computer is unauthorised if-
    (a) he is not himself entitled to control access of the kind in question to the program or data; and
    (b) he does not have consent to access by him of the kind in question to the program or data from any person who is so entitled

    It does not have to be locked away behind a security screen. If you were not explicitly given access then you are guilty

  205. David B. Benson says:

    Somehow a high proportion of the comments so far appear to be just drive-bys. Paid?

    sod — 203 — Thanks for providing the link. How come you can post links and I cannot?

    Well, a prior post of mine with parentheses went through but this one did not. Second try now.

  206. David B. Benson says:

    Seemly random.

  207. Mike#22 says:

    dhogaza, “The point, which apparently you missed, is that it’s not news.” Thanks, I did miss that.

    Looks like the disinformers have to find a new game.

  208. Gerald says:

    Re #201 [JR: Uhh, you are aware that CO2 is not the only forcing, just the most important?
    Re 203 David.
    Re 204 Sod.
    I am quite aware of all the theoretical forcings and I have read the referenced IPCC report.
    I do not believe that is how they got the 90 to 95 percent.
    Your correlation coefficient is just that. It is not causation. You can also turn it the other way and say temperature causes the amount of CO2 to change.
    My point is that there is no study that measures the amount of temperature change caused by greenhouse gases or the amount of change caused by other events. All are correlations.
    We are only beginning to gain some understanding of the causes. There are positive and negative forcings and we are also scratching the surface there.

  209. Bernard J. says:

    Michael H Corbett (Micky C).

    Your example of your group publishing a refutation of Tabata et al demonstrates my point – where a mistake in a scientific field is made, it is corrected and the science moves on. And the climatology behind anthropogenic global warming is relatively much less obscure than is the field of thin film ferroelectrics, so papers detailing the science of climatology will be far more frequently and closely scrutinised.

    Similarly, no-one has ever claimed that peer review is infallible. However, as you yourself point out, work is repeated, and thus failures both of experimentation and of peer-review are quickly identified. As an example, MarkB at #25 noted the refutation of the appalling Soon and Baliunas paper.

    You go on later to ask:

    How well has the promoted theory of global warming been independently assessed and by whom? How much of the key processes have been experimental repeated and shown to agree with postulated and by whom?

    and answer yourself with:

    It appears that both of the answers to these questions is Not Very Well At All And Essentially By The Same People.

    It appears that for a physicist you are extraordinarily unaware of the number of workers, and of the degree of independent verification, in the field of climatology. Perhaps you need to spend much more time than you apparently have to date on reading and assimilating the corpus of the literature in the field.

    I go back to my exhortation to review the 200 (or 500, or 1000) most-cited papers in AGW climatology and assess their robustness. And as my point in my previous post seems to have been lost, let me rephrase my questions… Of the papers that are well-regarded by the scientists in the field, how many are vulnerable to critical deconstruction? Of such, why are they thus vulnerable? Of the papers that have been critically deconstructed and found to be flawed, how many are actually embraced by the scientists in the field. And as an interesting supplementary question, what proportion of papers found to be flawed do in fact promote AGW, and what proportion promote the ‘sceptical’ side? I’ll give you a clue – one of the latter is referred to in this thread…

    After completing such an exercise it might then be instructive to consider how many workers there are in the field, and how many journals there are that publish their material, and how much unacknowledged competition there is between the various groups, and between the various journals, for any novel understanding that would raise the profile of said group and publishing journal.

    Seriously… there are too many independent egos in science, and especially in fields such as climatology, for a conspiracy of silence to remain unchallenged for even a week. If someone had a credible refutation it’d be out there faster than a hacked folder of emails and data from a CRU server.

    Now even though it was difficult for him, Steve McIntyre did just that for the Hockey Stick and found it was wanting.

    Steve McIntyre found a minor quibble in the original ‘hockey stick’, and it does not warrant calling the reconstruction “wanting”. Given the replication by independent processes, your description of being “found wanting” is tendentious.

    So far the only things that have been found wanting are any serious challenge to the science underpinning AGW, and a demonstrable indication that those denying it do so without mendacious distortion of fact or of truth.

    Harold at #152 – you are confabulating the restrictions on the use of techniques such as regressions with entirely different techniques. Predictive models work in different fashions to techniques such as regression: if they didn’t then operating them only within prior “data spaces” would preclude much predictive work in medicine, meteorology, aeronautics, physics, biology, chemistry, geology, psychology, et cetera.

    And JimB – from Watt’s own assessment of “good” or “best” stations, “there is no indication… that poor station position has imparted a bias in the U.S. temperature trends”. The argument that Watts is providing a service that climatologists haven’t already engaged in themselves is somewhat overblown, to phrase it nicely.

  210. Andy says:

    Re: 128 (Mosher) I used to get a lot of FOIA requests to respond to. They came from legal “as is”. No one interprets them for you. You do the best you can to provide what you think the requestor wanted. Often they asked for basically the entire library of congress. When I recieved a FOIA request written like Mr. Mosher’s blog post I’d tear my freaking hair out. I couldn’t make sense of it. I seriously sympathize with the CRU folks.

    Also, I think Dr. Curry’s experience with skeptics maybe different than some of the other scientists who study climate. She interacts with folks like Dr. Gray and Dr. Landsea. Dr. Gray doesn’t believe in global warming, but he regularly contributed good articles in peer reviewed journals that provided background information for climate scientists such as historic hurricane numbers. Dr. Landsea thinks global warming is caused by man’s carbon emissions, but doesn’t think it will increase hurricane numbers and is skeptical that the recent uptick in hurricane numbers is related to AGW. He regularly contributes to peer reviewed journals.

    Global warming and its effects on hurricanes is a hotly disputed subject in the literature. This is in sharp contrast to other AGW subjects such as global warming and its correlation to carbon emissions or historic temperature profiles.

  211. Dishman says:

    Don’t worry, be happy.

    Please bear with me a moment.

    Let’s suppose the worst case on the validity of existing science: That most or all the existing science is sufficiently tainted as to no longer stand. That all the science needs to be constructed de novo.

    How is this a bad thing for a grad student or young scientst?

    It doesn’t make the field any less urgent. What it does do is greatly increase the amount of work that needs to be done.

    Here’s your chance to do it right.

  212. Thomas says:

    David,

    This article was linked from a few other places. Thus there are likely many here (such as myself) whom have not previously visited these pages. To be honest the sites affiliation will itself lead to many who would refuse to come here (much of the public feels as negatively about the Action Fund as do who feel negatively about the CEI – personally I’m no fan of either). I do note I chose to post here because there appeared to be a response to the message more than a questioning of motive. Thus this thread has appeared more relevant to the issue she brings up then simply another argument that breaks down upon partisan lines (in general – there are obviously posts that tread that line – enough in fact to make my wife role her eyes so she’s unlikely to post anything as I was hoping she might…).

    As I have been trying to point out in my posts (and I RARELY ever post anywhere – I generally have better things to do then get involved in internet slug fests) there is currently a rather major PR problem. To trivialize it will mean you lose. Sorry if that sounds harsh, and I know most educated people like to think that “science will prevail”, but the public is disturbed – and not simply about this issue. It’s just that this issue plays into other concerns, and science does not always win, at least not in the short term. And you’d be amazed at the ways people derail things when they don’t like them (in my world it’s the constant attempts to convince me to lighten up on the security to make their lives easier – no matter how many times we go through the how comes.)

    Thanks to Dr. Judith Curry you very likely have an audience here that generally doesn’t get involved at all (other than perhaps marking a box on a ballot and skimming the news from day to day) and who have also likely never spent much time searching for anything in this area before. They are VERY likely to notice how they are treated – or others who have posted something are treated, then any actual science. The regulars here can welcome them and engage them in discussion, or attack everything they are trying to add and then wonder what happened when they are turned upon and the whole scientific endeavor begins to be questioned (in a non-productive way). It’s doubtful I would ever see much to comment upon in the more scientific debates, though where they wonder into the areas of philosophy, public perception or politics I may have some thought I think is worth mentioning. Though I, like most, have much better things to do then deal with personal attacks and questions about my motives (and the speed at which that happened – on a thread like this IS disturbing) from a bunch of people whom I neither know, am ever likely to know or even necessarily care much about. I have a real life – and one that is generally already beyond full to put up with much of it. I am trying to keep an open mind – but personal attacks are going to interfere with that, as they do with anyone.

    To be quite honest I have more concerns about the “solution” then the stated problem – I have far more experience seeing how these things play out in the lived world outside the ivory towers to think it’s all going to go smooth (on any level).

  213. dhogaza says:

    It does not have to be locked away behind a security screen. If you were not explicitly given access then you are guilty

    Yeah. This reminds me of the time someone entered my garage (door open) and stole a book from my (unlocked) car.

    Burglary II, Theft III (it was a paperback, after all). The fact that the door was open and the car unlocked didn’t matter, it was still burglary, and of course stealing is stealing, so it was still theft.

    21 days jail, three years probation, sorry dude.

  214. dhogaza says:

    Let’s suppose the worst case on the validity of existing science: That most or all the existing science is sufficiently tainted as to no longer stand. That all the science needs to be constructed de novo

    The problem, of course, is that any student with the science chops to get an appropriate PhD will recognize that this is a false premise, and that what’s really happening is that honest scientists delivering a message that certain members of society don’t like are being subjected to a witch hunt, harassement, and attacks meant to ruin their careers.

  215. dhogaza says:

    Your correlation coefficient is just that. It is not causation. You can also turn it the other way and say temperature causes the amount of CO2 to change.

    No, you can’t, because we can measure the fact that CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans rather than being outgassed, we measure how much fossil fuel we burn each year, etc etc etc.

    Correlation isn’t what causes us to understand that we’re increasing CO2. Observations tell us this.

    My point is that there is no study that measures the amount of temperature change caused by greenhouse gases or the amount of change caused by other events. All are correlations.

    Actually, your point apparently is that you don’t know WTF you’re talking about. AGW is a prediction based on physics settled back in the 1950s, only the amount is in doubt. CO2′s absorption of long-wave infrared radiation is a laboratory fact.

    You can spew unscientific, unphysical, ignorant falsehoods to your heart’s content, but it’s not going to change the body of observations, physics, etc which led to the prediction of AGW long before those involved in the supposedly-scandalous e-mails had grown up, became degreed, and on the scene.

  216. dhogaza says:

    We are only beginning to gain some understanding of the causes. There are positive and negative forcings and we are also scratching the surface there.

    And, while we’re at it, please list the negative *forcings* associated with increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  217. Nick Condell says:

    “..that honest scientists delivering a message that certain members of society don’t like are being subjected to a witch hunt, harassement, and attacks meant to ruin their careers.” dhogaza

    Perhaps they were unfairly held up by us all as saviours of the planet and not left to be scientists, ‘I am doing it to save future generations, my kids, polar bears etc’ may not help them do good science.

    The history of science has a lot to add to this argument. If the data manipulation is proven, there should be an era of navel gazing in all sciences, (and the media) where the true nature of the scientific method is contemplated (Kuhn etc.) and the lessons applied to future debate.

    The history of science is not studied to a deep theoretical level just so one can more accurately describe events, influences, impacts etc. it is surely a toolkit useful for explaining how ideas are formulated and shaped by humans (Chalmers “What is this thing called ’science’?”).

    It is interesting, I suppose I am only trying to point out that we all think we act as uninterested, uninfluenced, altruistic actors in this drama, using a pure uninfluenced scientific method. Study of past science shows this is not how science behaves. It’s position as a hermetically sealed endeavour free from outside influences has been eroded through analysis of the history of science.

  218. MarkB says:

    I agree completely that “skeptic” isn’t an appropriate term for the anything-but-human-activities-causes-climate-change crowd. They tend to express traits contrary to good scientific skeptism. “Skeptic” is also redundant, since all scientists consider themselves skeptics.

    “Denier” is an appropriate term, although I’ve never agreed with the Holocaust Denial comparison. This is made occasionally but it’s more often used by “skeptics” to demonize those using the term “denier”. The Holocaust is furthest from my mind when I think of that term. General science denial like evolution denial, or denial of tobacco effects on health are more appropriate.

    “Contrarian” seems appropriate. It merely says that one is taking a contrary view to established science, and doesn’t suggest motive for it (although such motive is often clear).

    “Alarmist” (a term contrarians often use to describe those supporting established science) is a very appropriate term to describe those claiming that gradually reducing emissions will result in massive economic destruction, since it’s not based at all on objective economic analysis.

    Lastly, if I was a grad student considering a career in climate science, I would be worried about having political hacks plastering my personal emails about the internet, filling in ambuity with sinister interpretations, and making sweeping generalizations about my motives and those of the entire field. I’m surprised Dr. Curry has not received concern of this variety. Climate scientists are mostly very brave individuals working in this environment. See Spencer Weart’s excellent commentary on this incident.

  219. frankbi says:

    Nick Condell:

    Perhaps they were unfairly held up by us all as saviours of the planet and not left to be scientists,

    So you’re ignoring the very real evidence of harassment, stonewalling, general illogic, and criminal activity by the global warming inactivists…

    …in favour of a ton of “perhaps”, “may”, “if” which are nothing but insinuations that the scientists are committing some unspecified fraud?

    I second dhogaza:

    what’s really happening is that honest scientists delivering a message that certain members of society don’t like are being subjected to a witch hunt, harassement, and attacks meant to ruin their careers.

    bi

  220. Nick Condell says:

    frankbi, I take your point and do not deny any misbehaviour on either side … both could be interpreting what is acceptable ‘science’ based on their beliefs etc, … I just think that being an uninfluenced actor on either side is not possible, but if good science depends on this ideal and scientists fall short, we all lose!

    Consider that here, with these admittedly stolen e-mails we have the opportunity to look at and learn from how science actually operates, how it is influenced by beliefs etc. Surely that might be important in one of the biggest and most consequential arguments in the whole history of science.

    The general public may be more than a little suprised to learn that a scientist (often paid by their taxes) might feel he/she can manipulate data willingly if they are on the ‘right’ side (either one). Dangerous stuff.

  221. HarkusMcDee says:

    I agree with much of what Dr. Curry has written and it definitely is a breath of fresh air after reading the tactics employed (#2 Circle the Wagons) in the leaked climategate emails, but there is one thing about her article, above, that bothers me and I feel should be pointed out.

    Dr. Curry keeps framing the debate as “scientists vs skeptics”. You can be a scientist and skeptic (skeptic are not a different kind of life form), and many of the AGW skeptics are scientists.

    But I guess after years in the trenches, fighting for a cause she believes in, Dr. Curry sees the battle this way.

  222. Dishman says:

    dhogaza,

    It has become a high-stakes field. If the politicians (and the power they wield) weren’t involved, it wouldn’t be so, but they are. That carries both an upside and a downside. The upside is that one can achieve a high profile (and wide recognition). The downside is the risk of essentially being hauled down by a pack of wolves.

    I understand that’s scary. “Interesting times” are scary.

    The good news is that other fields have already mostly sorted out how to deal with the risks. There’s a lot of guidance available on how to not be vulnerable.

    Consider Aviation for a moment. Any serious mistake with transport aircraft is going to be “Breaking News”. Let that curdle your stomach a moment. The FAA and industry (largely collaboratively) have put in place a system to minimize that. The record speaks for itself.

    It can be done for climate research as well.

    That level of commitment to quality (not results) and attention to detail is what is required to survive in a high-stakes field.

  223. sod says:

    oh and Judith, i have a couple of questions.

    have you taken a look at the flood of posts and completely insane responses on WUWT?

    haven t you seen enough of this tobacco lobby tactics, of sowing baseless doubts?

    have you wondered, how many cutting edge PhD thesis will not be discussed in and surrounding Copenhagen because people are distracted by stolen e-mails, taken out of context?

    isn t it time to take a strong stance against this abuse, by people with clearly false opinions?

    ps: could you explain to anthony watts (and us, btw) what the meaning of “error>5°C” is? (it is the basis of the surface stations project, and not one person understands its meaning)

  224. Judith Curry says:

    Sod, I have have tried to read all the posts here, at dotearth, climateaudit, and WUWT. I’m not sure what the broader impacts of my little essay will be, but it is certainly and interesting sociological experiment to see how the different groups react. In the context of “framing”, it is becoming clear that people with different predisposition interpret the same words very differently. Perhaps some interesting fodder for scientists and psychologists and science historians.

    We have to differentiate the political doubt sowers from genuine scientific skepticism, otherwise our field will lose credibility. The fact that we are alleged in the emails not to be giving adequate consideration to genuine scientific skepticism will undoubtedly be a factor in copenhagen.

    So what should our strategy be? try harder to squash the self declared group of skeptics? Or just let it play out as background noise? I think we have to do the latter, and to the advocacy groups that try to amplify this noise, we should try to squash their influence rather than blaming the skeptical scientists. Yes a few skeptical scientists explicitly affiliate themselves with advocacy groups (e.g. Singer, Michaels) and these can be separated out from the others. The mainstream climate community needs to figure out a better strategy for dealing with the self declared skeptical scientists than the one reflected in the CRU emails, this is bad for science and very bad for the public credibility of science.

  225. kdk33 says:

    How does one differentiate ‘doubt sowers’ from ‘genuine scientific skeptics’ (or would that be denier)? Do the species bear differentiating marks, or is it a mind read?

    I get the sense that if you doubt the science but don’t resist the policy, then you are a skeptic. If you doubt the science and resist the policy, then you are a denier. Thus the policy debate pitts scientists agains deniers, or maybe I’m wrong.

    [JR: No. Those who repeat falsehoods that have been long-debunked in the scientific literature are the anti-scientific disinformers. The "resist the policy" meme is a red herring.]

  226. kdk33 says:

    The scientific (peer reviewed) literature being infallible – given recent revelations.

    in⋅fal⋅li⋅ble  –adjective

    1. absolutely trustworthy or sure: an infallible rule.
    2. unfailing in effectiveness or operation; certain: an infallible remedy.
    3. not fallible; exempt from liability to error, as persons, their judgment, or pronouncements: an infallible principle.
    4. Roman Catholic Church. immune from fallacy or liability to error in expounding matters of faith or morals by virtue of the promise made by Christ to the Church.

    [JR: Nice try with that reductio ad absurdum. Since your criterion for belief and action is infallibility, I assume you never drive a car, fly in a plane or ever ever ever listen to your doctors, since they and the evidence they base their decisions on are clearly fallible.

    The fact is that the peer-reviewed scientific literature is self-correcting. So yes, disinformers occasionally get their nonsense through the review -- and real climate scientists sometimes make small mistakes that are largely tangential to their conclusions, but that disinfomers pounce on as proof the whole theory is flawed.

    I'm skeptical you've read the literally hundreds of studies that form the basis of AGW. I'm skeptical you've read the extensive debunkings of the crap pushed out by the disinformers. Guess that makes me a skeptic, too!]

  227. Gerald says:

    RE #216
    ** Your correlation coefficient is just that. It is not causation. You can also turn it the other way and say temperature causes the amount of CO2 to change.

    No, you can’t, because we can measure the fact that CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans rather than being outgassed, we measure how much fossil fuel we burn each year, etc etc etc.**

    The absorption of CO2 by the oceans depends on the water temperature.

    **Actually, your point apparently is that you don’t know WTF you’re talking about. AGW is a prediction based on physics settled back in the 1950s, only the amount is in doubt. CO2’s absorption of long-wave infrared radiation is a laboratory fact.**

    You say only the amount is in doubt. Correct. It is very much in doubt, That is the point I was making but you were not reading. We do not know if it is one percent or 90 percent. You just noted again that AGW is a “prediction”. As I said earlier when you can measure the contribution I will take note. All the physics in the world does not replace measurement. And of course water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas.

  228. dhogaza says:

    The absorption of CO2 by the oceans depends on the water temperature.

    And the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    You say only the amount is in doubt. Correct. It is very much in doubt, That is the point I was making but you were not reading. We do not know if it is one percent or 90 percent.

    The direct contribution by CO2 alone is known to a much higher percentage than “one percent or 90 percent”.

    You just noted again that AGW is a “prediction”.

    Supported by observation. Without observation you can’t have correlation …

    Please, your lack of knowledge isn’t useful.

  229. Harold says:

    BernardJ:


    Harold at #152 – you are confabulating the restrictions on the use of techniques such as regressions with entirely different techniques. Predictive models work in different fashions to techniques such as regression: if they didn’t then operating them only within prior “data spaces” would preclude much predictive work in medicine, meteorology, aeronautics, physics, biology, chemistry, geology, psychology, et cetera.

    Not true. I’m referring to regression or PCA or any of several techniques. The use for prediction depends on the type of model it is and how it has been validated. Point one, the models in question haven’t been validated in the usual sense of the term. Point two, these models are essentially empirical. The limitation is due to the model type, not the analysis method. Empirical models can only be used over the data space.

  230. MarkB says:

    Since contrarians have been directed to this page, and “data isn’t available” is a popular misperception among them, I’ll refer them to this post by RC:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/wheres-the-data/

    Data and methods are available in most cases. It’s just that certain folks don’t know where to look and are uninclined to do so. The above summary page should help in all but the most extreme cases of denialism.

    For the record (re: #224), both McIntyre and Watts are associated with the Heartland Institute, an advocacy group. One wonders where the genuine scientific skeptics are. Certainly, when we see mostly dubious arguments and rhetoric coming from self-declared “skeptics”, it ultimately hurts the chances of real skeptics gaining credibility within the scientific community. Instead of attending PR events hosted by the Heartland Institute, who’s purpose is not to find truth but to advocate for a certain pre-conceived position and influence the public, skeptics would be advised to work within the scientific community, attending real scientific conferences. But that’s not where the fame is. Folks should seek to enhance science, rather than tear it down.

  231. Many posts here seem emotional instead of rational.
    It’s not fair that the emails were stolen.
    It’s not fair that someone hurt me (said something libelous).
    It’s fair to expect me to be honest when others are not called to task for their dishonesty.

    If this is science, it’s psychology, not climatology.

    I suggest reading “Emotions Revealed” by Paul Ekman.
    http://www.paulekman.com/publications/recentbooks/

  232. john says:

    To Micky C #168 –

    You say:

    “Coupling phenomena have to be characterised as coupling produces effects that are different from the variation of individual components.
    What should have happened after forcing was introduced is that a large scale laboratory experiment should have been performed to better bound the uncertainty of Hansen’s original estimate.”

    The experiment is being run; the testing crucible is planet Earth, the results are that the coupling effects — or something else — suggest that the GHG forcings are worse in experiment than in theory.

    How long would you continue this experiment?
    What are the consequences of pursuing it to something approaching 100% certainty?

    Your analysis is weak, your insights of little value because you don’t understand context — you suffer from an intellectual myopia that is stunning in its extent, and dangerous in its application.

  233. David B. Benson says:

    Gerald — 208 & 227 — Your knowledge of climatology is very sadly lacking. Try The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer Weart and Ray Pierrehumbert’s Climate book, both available on-line. Alos check what Arrhenius published already in 1896 CE.

    I’d say you are over a century out of touch!

  234. Gerald says:

    Re 186
    ** Gerald says:
    November 28, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Has anyone (Jones or others) been able to produce a copy of the confidentiality agreements with any of the countries??**

    Nobody has produced an answer. I came up with a short and long list—-
    Bahrain.

  235. Leonard Weinstein says:

    Judith Curry,

    See #152.

  236. Thomas says:

    Hmpf (#153),

    Read my last post under the Michael Mann updates thread (it should be the second, hopefully it will have made it through moderation and have been posted by now). If you don’t understand the why’s of such you don’t understand some of the most fundamental precepts underlying the USA’s society. If you ever want an idea to gain traction in this society you have to come to terms with this most fundamental of all ideas that our society is built upon.

    Adjust your message in recognition of this reality if you want to get anywhere meaningful.

  237. David B. Benson says:

    Leonard Weinstein — 152 & 235 — I’ll state that you appear to be an ignorant liar.

    Exactly what, pray tell, is in error in the two books mentioned in comment #233?

    I shan’t hold my breath.

  238. Harold says:


    Your analysis is weak, your insights of little value because you don’t understand context — you suffer from an intellectual myopia that is stunning in its extent, and dangerous in its application

    Yes, follow his suggestions, and climate science would look nothing like it does today – it would look like
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    physics.

  239. MarkB says:

    Re: #152:

    “Some AGW supporters have claimed that skeptics are doing it to become famous, but that could only happen if they were right. ”

    Clear fallacy. Many individuals throughout history have achieved relative fame precisely with controversial but fatally flawed positions and provocative rhetoric. With global warming, it helps that there’s a large portion of the population that wants to deny the science on climate change and there are various preachers ready to step up to the plate to meet the demand and give the congregation the sermon they want to hear.

    I invite all to peruse Jim Prall’s excellent list of most-cited authors on climate science.

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/

    Note that the few qualified contrarians tend to stand out. Lindzen, Spencer, Bob Carter – we all know who they are in part because eager media outlets parrot them regularly. They spend roughly as much time covering them as they do consensus science, feeling the need to divide the issue between “pro-AGW” and “skeptic AGW” rather than simply covering climate science and letting it do the talking on its own. They are already famous despite having little rational basis for their “skepticism”.

    Aside from a few well-known consensus scientists, most of the thousands of them blend in with the crowd, conducting research quietly with limited fanfare.

  240. Paul_K says:

    To john #233,
    You say: “The experiment is being run; the testing crucible is planet Earth, the results are that the coupling effects — or something else — suggest that the GHG forcings are worse in experiment than in theory.”

    I would like to see the evidence for this. As far as I can see, comparisons of outgoing flux change from ERBE vs surface temperature over time appears to be showing a much lower climate sensitivity than estimated in AR4. Additionally, we seem to have had an unpredicted 10-year period of flat or cooling lower tropospheric temperatures, flat ocean heat content and no volcanic activity or measured increase in aerosols to explain the phenomenon. Arctic ice has recovered from its 2007 low, and global ice is pretty close to the 30 year average. What is your evidence for “It’s worse than we thought!”
    I reference this post in particular, because I find it somewhat amusing that a lot of AGW supporters in this thread accuse the “deniers” of resisting science, but see no irony in pushing back against Dr Curry’s call for transparency in data and methodology. I am a skeptic or rather a “Lukewarmer” because I have seen no evidence which would support any other position. If such evidence exists, then show us.
    But don’t ask us to accept on faith a hypothesis which still looks like it is failing simple tests against empirical measures. I am quite willing to change my position – but not by being told “trust us”, and especially not by receiving the sort of insults which have been dished out by some of the posters in this thread.

  241. Ian Forrester says:

    Paul_K, here are two links to show you that things are worse than the IPCC forecasts:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/copenhagen/

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Physical-realities-of-global-warming.html

    There are many others if you would just take the time to look for them (assuming that you really want to know).

  242. Judith Curry’s comment that “Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office” is the kind of statement that makes serious researchers very nervous. This statement is completely inaccurate and misleading and, if it is any indication of the accuracy of some of her other research, I am worried.

    Einstein is one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of science, and I do not think it is too much to ask a Ph.D. in science to know a little about the man. It is well known that, after getting his degree in math and physics from Zurich Polytechnic, he worked at the Swiss Patent Office, where he evaluated patents for electromagnetic devices, an activity that Dr. Curry blithely confuses with selling stamps and sorting envelopes, but which, in reality, required considerable expertise. In 1901, electromagnetism was an exciting young field, the x-ray having been discovered only 6 years earlier and the electron 4 years earlier. Einstein’s job at the patent office not only paid the bills while he performed much of his early work, but it served to keep some of the essential questions of electromagnetism in his field of vision.

    It’s not a reassuring reflection on “climate science” that Dr. Curry considers it appropriate to encourage students not to “ignore” investigators in other fields; how much better served would science be if Dr. Curry’s was comfortable encouraging students to open their minds to learning from others.

  243. dhogaza says:

    Einstein’s job at the patent office not only paid the bills while he performed much of his early work, but it served to keep some of the essential questions of electromagnetism in his field of vision.

    I’ll only offer one slight contradiction to your overall excellent post, which AFAIK is entirely accurate.

    How about …

    >Einstein’s job at the patent office not only paid the bills while he performed much of his early work (me: while working on his doctorate) …

    Judith Curry is far, far, wrong on her mythical treatment of Einstein’s story … and McIntyre’s.

  244. sod says:

    ouch. Revkin is using Judith as chief witness.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/28/science/earth/28hack.html?_r=2&hpw

    “This whole concept of, ‘We’re the experts, trust us,’ has clearly gone by the wayside with these e-mails,” said Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology.

    is this really what you wanted, Judith?

  245. Thomas says:

    Sod (#245)

    Did you read the whole article? It seemed reasonably balanced to me, mostly in support of the underlying science. The press certainly can’t ignore this whole thing – the population isn’t going to allow them too (I’ve tried to state nicely that anyone who thinks this is just going away has spent far too long away from what is happening on the streets and the current mood of the public at large, or is too young to have watched this kind of process play out before…). They have to be careful too lest they themselves become a target of the wrath – it (it = “the press is bias and doesn’t tell us the whole story on anything” attitude) is already an undercurrent out there in the wild (and not just in this country from what I have read).

  246. Dave says:

    Steven Sullivan, and many others:

    “The idea that sharing raw data with the blogosphere is a good way to settle the cultural war against climate science, is naive. ”

    The idea’s not naive at all. No-one says it is easy. What you’re missing is that you don’t have a choice. Either you share your data, or what you are doing is not science, it’s speculative fiction.

    The problem with this whole stich is that, as an interested amateur, I can see that CRU haven’t been doing science. I think their conclusions are quite likely to be correct, but I can’t check. The totality of their work equates to a great big zero, and that’s a scandal, as well as a shame, when it could easily be otherwise.

  247. Michael Pelletier says:

    David B. Benson says: (November 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm)

    Somehow a high proportion of the comments so far appear to be just drive-bys. Paid?

    If any of my additional posts in response to Ian Forrester’s assertion that Jones’ “delete the AR4 e-mails” has some benign context that we’re all missing had actually made it through to the comments (unmoderated post formerly at number 87 being the first), then I wouldn’t appear to be a drive-by.

    I’ll be interested to see if this post meets the approval of the moderator, to help allay this irrational paranoid notion that some shady and mysterious organization is paying people to post.

  248. Bernard J. says:

    Dave.

    As an “interested amateur“, how is it exactly that you “can see that CRU haven’t been doing science”?

    As an “interested amateur“, how is it exactly that you could “check” their work, when even experienced climatologists would require patience to sort out the quirks of coding referred numerous times above?

    As an “interested amateur”, how is it exactly that you believe that it is more appropriate to ‘audit’ or to duplicate a group’s results, rather than to obtain the raw data and perform your own independent analysis of it?

    This is one of the things that irks me – the denialists are free with accusations of non-independence between various climatology groups, and yet they show no inclination to independently gather and process their own data, or to at least use the freely-available data from other groups to replicate published results.

    I see less serious intention for “openess”, when valid openess processes already exist and are routinely utilised by scientists in their day-to-day work, and I see rather more intent to press a ‘denial of service’ type attack upon research that has stubbornly refused to yield any true indication of malfeasance even after the scrutiny of the global gaggle of those who seem to offer only pseudoscience.

  249. Ian Forrester says:

    Michael Pelletier said:

    If any of my additional posts in response to Ian Forrester’s assertion that Jones’ “delete the AR4 e-mails” has some benign context that we’re all missing had actually made it through to the comments (unmoderated post formerly at number 87 being the first), then I wouldn’t appear to be a drive-by.

    Well Mr. pelletier, just where did I make that comment?

    You seem to have a problem with understanding what is being written in these blog comments. Is this on purpose or just exposing something missing in your educational background?

    Please go back and read the post where you claim I made that comment and you will see I asked a question, a question that is continually avoided here and on every blog where it has been asked.

    If you cannot or will not answer that question then you are a denier.

  250. Dave says:

    Bernard J>

    I think you don’t understand what it means to ‘do science’. Your ‘why should theys’ are answered with ‘because that’s what it means to do science’.

    To ‘do science’ is to say ‘here is my theory, and here is why I think it’s true: challenge me if you disagree’ – basically to write a recipe that someone can follow and be bound to reach the same conclusions as you.

    If, as an interested amateur, I can’t even hypothetically follow the work, it means it wasn’t science.

    In this case, there is no ‘recipe’. Just a finished dish.

    The principle is that, taking an interest in something, I could replicate the work. I may not actually do so, or I may be incapable of putting in the work necessary, but the opportunity to do so has to be there. It should be a lot easier to follow than to originate the work.

    To give an example, Newton’s calculus is something that took a genius to think up, but an amateur can sit down with a copy of Principia Mathematica and follow his steps. It may take a long time to work through, but the opportunity is there. Ultimately, even if I can’t follow it, someone else can.

    In this case, the work done by the CRU is not open to be challenged or verified, so it’s esoteric knowledge open only to the illuminati. Basically, the ‘science’ here is alchemy.

    As you say:

    “they show no inclination to independently gather and process their own data, or to at least use the freely-available data from other groups to replicate published results”

    On the contrary, that’s exactly why this isn’t science. Without the data and data processing directions being provided, there is no opportunity to replicate. If the only way to check the conclusions drawn is to start from scratch, those conclusions have no validity. The worth of the work is nonexistent if it must be done again to actually prove what it is intended to prove.

  251. Ian Forrester says:

    Dave said:

    On the contrary, that’s exactly why this isn’t science. Without the data and data processing directions being provided, there is no opportunity to replicate.

    So you don’t have the natural ability to go on a world trip, set up numerous temperature measuring stations, visit them all on a monthly, weekly or hourly basis for 30 to 40 years and report back on your findings? There is nothing obscure or obtuse about taking temperatures (while you are out in the field reading your thermometers you can visually look for changes that warming temperatures are bringing). Lots and lots of time and money but very simple. Why don’t you and your buddies pool your money and set up an independent temperature monitoring system? Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you know already that it will give the same results as are already being produced, would it?

    And just to show that your comment:

    basically to write a recipe that someone can follow and be bound to reach the same conclusions as you.

    If, as an interested amateur, I can’t even hypothetically follow the work, it means it wasn’t science.

    is just a bunch of nonsense, I challenge you or any “interested amateur” to read the short paper by Watson and Crick on the structure of DNA and “follow the work”. Heck, even experts (Linus Pauling being one) in the field couldn’t follow it till it was shown to be true and the errors of the other scientists were pointed out.

    Why are so many people completely ignorant of science and how it works but believe that they know everything about it. It is time medical scientists came up with a vaccine for Dunning Kruger syndrome, it sure would make honest scientists’ work much easier and less stressful.

  252. dhogaza says:

    On the contrary, that’s exactly why this isn’t science. Without the data and data processing directions being provided, there is no opportunity to replicate.

    CRU merely processes data gathered from different met agencies around the world.

    About 95% of that data is publicly available at GHCN. Who has told you otherwise, and why do you believe them?

    Insisting the code be available for replication is a bogus requirement. Much better would be to have an *independent* team write a totally independent analysis of the data.

    Fortunately, this has been done by several teams. One team works at NASA GISS, and their alternative algorithm working on that 95% shared raw data comes up with temperature reconstructions statistically equivalent to that of CRU. HadCRUT is a bit cooler, because the different algorithm used by NASA GISS extrapolates station data through the arctic, while HadCRUT might be said to be a bit more conservative.

    As far as the other 5% or so of data that’s proprietary, if someone wants to fully replicate the raw data set used by CRU, they can do what CRU did: gather that data from the national met services who have kept it proprietary (but release it freely to valid research institutions as long as those institutions promise not to give it away). Nothing was stopping McI et al from doing that. But, of course, that also doesn’t build much of a case for “science fraud!” does it? “I can get the data myself but I don’t want to bother” is a weak argument, while “CRU is hiding data and guilty of fraud!” is a much more powerful one.

    If the only way to check the conclusions drawn is to start from scratch, those conclusions have no validity.

    This is actually how science typically works, so I guess science lacks validity in your mind. This is why different teams of scientists do their own (say) tree ring chronologies and temperature proxy reconstructions rather scream “I want your program! I want your program!”.

    The worth of the work is nonexistent if it must be done again to actually prove what it is intended to prove.

    Which, again, is just how science typically works … people demonstrated problems with the cold fusion claims of the 1980s by doing exactly that, for instance, doing the work over again but using their equipment, instruments, and laboratory procedures to carefully try to replicate the original experiments done in Utah.

  253. TomT says:

    Re #150: Leif wrote: “Fact: The large majority of the world’s Glaciers have shown a persistent decline for the past 100+ years as well. Glaciers are the water storage systems for 10’s of billions of people thru out the world.”

    Are there 10′s of billions of people in the world?

  254. Gerald says:

    Re # 254
    **About 95% of that data is publicly available at GHCN. Who has told you otherwise, and why do you believe them?**
    95 percent is not all data. You are looking at a narrow part of research. Tree ring data is not available at GHCN. The point is not only whether the data is available, but exactly what data was used.

    [JR: The last cries of the unconvincible.]

  255. Ian Forrester says:

    Ooh dear Dave you haven’t a clue do you? If you want a simplified version of what you are claiming it is that you are saying that the climate scientists (thousands of them with 10′s of thousands of papers on the subject) are all wrong. You, however, will support the fraudsters who have at most 2 or 3 papers (which have either been published in dodgy journals or have been proven to be wrong).

    And you accuse honest people who trust and understand the science of being “believers”. You truly live in a fantasy world.

  256. Thomas says:

    Hmm,

    I got snipped…

    So I’ll leave that thought alone other than to say Dave, I agree with your last couple of posts.

    And an FYI for everyone:

    For those who haven’t ventured over to Gaven’s site (well, maybe not really “his” site, but where he posts & what he helps run – realclimate.org), they are posting a page with links to quite a lot of the data and information. I do find that very helpful (sorry, just don’t have time to run all over the web trying to find articles or read through thousands of threads where stuff is occasional pointed to in order to find them all on my own, let alone try to sort all the shaft from the wheat in it all – this should have been done a long time ago. Now at least I know which papers this side considers informative instead of trying to figure out who’s is who’s – which seems like a minefield all its own to be honest. Just my own humble opinion).

  257. Carey says:

    Dr. Curry, earlier in the comment you were asked “describe a specific instance where a skeptic such as McIntyre has made any substantive contribution to our scientific understanding of climate?”

    You avoided that question. Care to respond after a second prodding?

  258. dhogaza says:

    Tree ring data is not available at GHCN.

    No, but the particular data that McIntyre spent years screaming about was available from the Russians who control it, as Briffa told him when he asked Briffa to send it to him. “You have to get it from the Russians”.

    The Russians who gave it to him at least five years ago (it is now known he had it by 2004 at the latest).

    Now what was he whining about, exactly?

  259. dhogaza says:

    I do find that very helpful (sorry, just don’t have time to run all over the web trying to find articles or read through thousands of threads where stuff is occasional pointed to in order to find them all on my own, let alone try to sort all the shaft from the wheat in it all – this should have been done a long time ago.

    Yes, it should’ve been done a long time ago, though it’s uncertain why anyone would think that the head modeler at NASA GISS would be the person expected to do so.

    Here’s a curiousity – with all the screaming about data access made over the years by people like McI and Watts, why didn’t they or one of their screaming admirers sit down and spend a day or so in google collecting URLs of publicly available datasets?

    Could it be that screaming “the data is hidden!” is more politically expedient than putting together a site of URLs to data that would show that the screaming that “scientists are hiding the data!” was bull?

    These people could, if they wanted, make positive contributions. Why do they not do so?

  260. Thomas says:

    Oh,

    One final thought before I go off and be productive for the day – it might help explain part of why “peer reviewed Journal” isn’t helpful. The journals cost $$’s. Even with my on-line access from my masters work often the only thing that is available is the abstract. You run into the same issue quite often even when you venture over to a Universities library these days. To actually get the whole article you are offered the option to buy it. That is a bit of a road block for a lot of the public and they are instead going to absorb the information they can find freely on the web.

    In other words, it is an economic thing getting in the way as well (and I’m not curious enough to cough up $$’s every time I want to read about an issue…).

  261. Leif says:

    TomT #254 I apologize for the typo. Try 10s of millions. Or even a whole hell of a lot of people if you prefer.
    I would point out that other life forms have a right to that water as well. Fish, fowl, wildlife, etc., which in my value system are vital to, and deserve a seat at the table, the subsistence of said millions of people. You might even throw in farms as a vital cog.

  262. Chris Winter says:

    Dr. Curry’s plea for both sides in the climate “debate” to keep to the high ground is noble. However, all the experience I have acquired in following this topic for several years tells me it will be unavailing. The reason is that those she calls “deniers” (and that I call Denialists) are working on behalf of a political agenda that brooks no compromise — that in fact precludes honest discussion.

    That they should persist in refusing to believe that the globe is getting warmer, or more commonly these days accepting that fact but maintaining that human activities are not responsible, is in my opinion indefensible on both scientific and political grounds. If they have anything substantive to back up either of those positions, they should present it. If it holds up to scrutiny, whoever presents it will be a hero — and most likely will become extremely wealthy. Yet what I see from the so-called skeptics is torrents of political posturing interrupted at intervals by laughably flawed scientific papers. I wish it were otherwise; but I have no expectation of it being otherwise.

  263. David B. Benson says:

    Paul_K (241) — Just what in “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html
    is not sufficiently convincing?

  264. Jobst Heitzig says:

    Joe, why can’t non-American citizens buy your book’s climate-friendly Kindle edition? Amazon says it’s because of “copyright restrictions”…

    [JR: I didn't even know it was available on Kindle, so I don't know the answer to your question.]

  265. Mike#22 says:

    Dr. Curry’s letter to young scientists does seem to address most of the points brought up here, as long as one keeps in mind why the letter was written.

    Consider the chilling effect on students’ hopes, when Senator Inhofe speaks.

    Hopefully, these students will not have to deal with what Hansen and the rest have.

  266. Dr Curry,

    Thanks for sharing your insights both here and at CA.

    You write:
    “Doing this will minimize the time spent responding to skeptics”
    I don’t think that’s true. Most of the requests for data and transparency are not more than a thinly veiled attempt at discrediting the science and scientists (with perhaps a few exceptions here and there). It may be needed to be as transparent and open as we can be, but it won’t stop the flooding of “sceptical” requests for even more openess.

    Strategy nr 3 sounds laudable, but in practice it’s not much different from the other two: Engage sceptics on our own terms is what we do when we say “submit a paper and I’ll take you seriously” or “come to AGU/EGU and present your work”. The blogosphere is dominated by “sceptics” and scientists are underrepresented, so it hardly counts as “our own terms”. It’s needed for public outreach reasons, yes, but that’s somethings else than engaging “sceptics”.

  267. Bernard J. says:

    Dave said:

    Bernard J

    I think you don’t understand what it means to ‘do science’.

    Erm, I’ve worked as a scientist for 25 years. This includes work for governments and for universities, and a Masters and a PhD.

    I think that I have some idea what it means to do science. Perhaps as an “interested amateur”, you could explain in greater detail what it is exactly that I don’t understand.

    If, as an interested amateur, I can’t even hypothetically follow the work, it means it wasn’t science.

    No, it simply means that as an “interested amateur” you don’t have enough background to follow the work. If science was so simple that every “interested amateur” could follow it, every interested amateur would be practising it.

    Similarly, using your logic, every “interested amateur” with a penchant for law or dentistry or musicology or quantum mechanics should be able to practise their interests just as the professionals do.

    Excuse me if I don’t buy that.

    I said:

    … they show no inclination to independently gather and process their own data, or to at least use the freely-available data from other groups to replicate published results

    and you claimed:

    On the contrary, that’s exactly why this isn’t science. Without the data and data processing directions being provided, there is no opportunity to replicate.

    You are confused about several things here.

    ‘Duplication’ is taking the data and the analytical techniques (including code) from an original worker and processing it identically. Little is gained from duplication because the duplicator is vulnerable to making exactly the same mistakes as the original worker, and all the more so for not having the intimate knowledge that comes with collecting data and formulating the codes, equations and algorithms to analyse it. There are countless steps in a duplication exercise where biases and errors in experimental design, collection, processing and interpretation may be blithely copied by the duplicator.

    Duplication is really not much more useful than a cursory results-checking exercise, with the caveats alluded to in the previous paragraph.

    ‘Replication’, on the other hand, involves an original worker’s, or group’s, experimentation being independently repeated using the standardised and minimum essential protocols given in a scientific paper. Where replication is a process based on an original database, it is only the raw data data that should be required, and this is commonly – and trivially – seen in climatology.

    I have replicated other groups’ experiments in my time, and I did it without any need (or indeed without any desire) to see their raw data, their spreadsheets and coding, and their front-end statistics. Sometimes I’ve even replicated others’ work without even knowing that it existed.

    It is this sort of experimental repetition that provides a truly valid corroboration of prior work. Without the potential for bias and inherent, undiscovered shortcomings, similar final results provide a much firmer basis for acceptance of a conclusion. Conversely, if the replication shows a difference, this provides a basis for discovering the source(s) of divergence and for determining which protocol is the more reliable.

    As an “interested amateur”, it seems that you have a great deal still to learn, because in routine science replication does not rely solely, or indeed even largely, on parasitising others’ original data.

    If the only way to check the conclusions drawn is to start from scratch, those conclusions have no validity. The worth of the work is nonexistent if it must be done again to actually prove what it is intended to prove.

    I see late into typing this piece that others have already pointed out to you that you have no idea about what you speak, but I will add my voice – you have no idea of how science operates. I would suggest that “interested amateur” is less accurate than “play-acting lay person with no solid background, and no clue at all”.

    Face it Dave – there are HUGE amounts of data out there, so much that some of your denialist colleagues are not able to sort “the wheat from the chaff” even though they’ve had years to do so, and yet not a one of them has found anything of consequence in all of this. Scrambling for a few percent here or there, that is just as easily replicated from first principles by any competent professional, and claiming that the evidence for the conspiracy is hidden in these last kernels, is just the gibbering nonsense of fevered paranoids who actually wouldn’t know a scientific fact if it kicked them in the arse.

  268. frost says:

    “Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office.”

    Should be Patent Office.

  269. Chris Winter says:

    @Bernard J (#268)

    That was very well explained. I’ll confirm your observation that very few of those critical of the reality of global warming are interested in really looking for (or at) the data scientists have been compiling for decades — or, often, even looking up a few news reports (e.g. the articles the New York Times has done on bark beetle infestations in the Rocky Mountains.)

    Most of them, in my experience, want to foment disputes. If data are provided to them, they ignore this information on some pretext and continue to reject the conclusions derived from it. This is frustrating on a case-by-case basis and in the aggregate adds up to a tremendous waste of time if, as Dr. Curry suggested, we try to “engage the skeptics on our own terms.” They will, in the main, refuse to undertake that sort of constructive engagement.

  270. Thomas says:

    Bernard,

    That was well written, thanks for those thoughts. Please don’t put everyone with questions into the “deniers” camp . Being critical and having questions does not equate to “denier”. I say this because you obviously read my “chaff from the wheat” remark (thanks for not killing me over a typo there!) and seem to have used it to lump me in there. Keep in mind most of us (in the USA) actually like science – thus the success of things like The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Channel and such as examples. To suddenly be getting told we are somehow too stupid to follow the science is just bad PR. I have actually been pondering for a few years why, when at the moment we are substantially better educated as a whole then at anytime in our past, we are constantly accusing each other of being ignorant and stupid… In other words I think the failure is in how to deal with the public far more than in any of the science, if you follow.
    I was also trying to point out that the average person, surfing the web once they have become interested, is going to have one heck of a hard time trying to figure any of this out – working for the courts taught me far more than I ever wished to know about dealing with politically charged atmospheres and the types of things that result. After I started looking around and realized this was much more than simply “science” the need to be able to tell who’s side something is coming out of becomes more apparent – but does little to make such easier. I have hit a couple places that seem to have some pretty decent stuff & pretty valid methods and not had such an easy time finding things that clearly address them. I honestly don’t think that’s the public’s fault – they aren’t the ones pushing for change here. It doesn’t mean they are “right” – just pointing out a public perception issue. Now that I understand how politically charged the whole thing is I also understand how much more careful I need to be in my thinking upon it. Not everyone has the background to understand that.

    And if, after it all is said and done, I decide I don’t agree that is not a problem – it’s part of the American way. I don’t have to agree… Understand our history to understand why fighting that reality is fruitless.

  271. Harold says:


    Ian Forrester says:
    November 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Ooh dear Dave you haven’t a clue do you? If you want a simplified version of what you are claiming it is that you are saying that the climate scientists (thousands of them with 10’s of thousands of papers on the subject) are all wrong. You, however, will support the fraudsters who have at most 2 or 3 papers (which have either been published in dodgy journals or have been proven to be wrong).

    And you accuse honest people who trust and understand the science of being “believers”. You truly live in a fantasy world.

    There is no trust involved in science, there is proof and disproof. Folks, these “scientists” aren’t even using validated models in any real sense of the word. AR4 even says they CAN’T do experimental validation. This isn’t true.

    All the AR4 climate research I’ve looked at is what I consider to be “sloppy” science due to methodology, documentation, and interpretation issues. I wouldn’t use the results for anything.

  272. Harold says:


    Duplication is really not much more useful than a cursory results-checking exercise, with the caveats alluded to in the previous paragraph.

    I don’t see why there is any objection to this type of results checking exercise.

    The whole package, however is much more useful – frequently residual plots aren’t published, but these are crucial to the analysis. Different filter methods introduce different sensitivities to underlying features of the data set – hugely important for graphical presentations.

    I think the “scientists” position being taken on data / code distribution is absurd. More fundamentally, since the models haven’t been experimentally validated and none are “physics” models, they cannot validly be used for extrapolating beyond the data space.

  273. Harold says:

    I think there are two different things being mashed together in this “climate science” discussion. One is the political aspects, the other is the science.

    I get the sense that a certain portion of the “trust the climate science” crowd are mainly interested in reducing CO2 levels, not the science part. Personally, if these people were just say “lets reduce atmospheric CO2 levels, we think it would be a good thing to do”, I wouldn’t object.

    Then there are the scientists and pseudo-scientists that are basically telling me that I should accept accept their results. Their logic seems to be that I should accept their results because they meet their research standards. Unfortunately they don’t meet my research standards, which I have practiced for almost 25 years.

    I don’t have to change my standards, and I’m not going to simply because people are going to call me names if I don’t.

  274. Bernard J. says:

    Thomas.

    If you are genuinely not a denialist I apologise for my brusk manner.

    However it is important to understand that folk looking at science ‘from the outside’ often see things through a distorting and/or crazed window. In any critique of scientific practice it is important to determine what is actually the truth, and not what a vested interest’s or a story-seller’s spin.

    In this I strongly support John Mashy’s regular recommendation to people: to attend conferences, seminars and such wherever possible, to meet with local university/industry/government researchers, to read the scholarly literature, to engage with working scientists on credible online fora, and to generally to chase down whatever real science or scientific product is available in one’s area.

    Wanna understand science? Run with scientists. If you run with hacks, shills and turkeys, you’ll just be hacked, spilled and shitted on.

  275. Bernard J. says:

    I said:

    Duplication is really not much more useful than a cursory results-checking exercise, with the caveats alluded to in the previous paragraph.

    and Harold says:

    I don’t see why there is any objection to this type of results checking exercise.

    Harold, you answered your own question with your first three words.

  276. Dave Wallace says:

    First let me compliment you on your honesty and openness!
    One of the problems that I think the climate community has is that there are a large number of people with scientific, engineering or mathematics backgrounds that have not been convinced. As well as writing for the general public and specialized climate journals material needs to be produced to convince the scientifically trained. For example I am very skeptical as to if and how temperature records can be corrected for the heat island effect of cities which I noticed long before I had heard of global warming. At least in the summer time with air conditioning one gets a situation with positive feedback, the more air conditioners run the hotter the local environment gets and thus the air conditioners run even more.

  277. Harold says:

    BernardJ


    Wanna understand science? Run with scientists. If you run with hacks, shills and turkeys, you’ll just be hacked, spilled and shitted on.

    If you really want to understand how science is supposed to work, stick with physicists.

  278. “Then there are the scientists and pseudo-scientists that are basically telling me that I should accept accept their results. Their logic seems to be that I should accept their results because they meet their research standards. Unfortunately they don’t meet my research standards, which I have practiced for almost 25 years.

    I don’t have to change my standards, and I’m not going to simply because people are going to call me names if I don’t.”

    Thanks, Harold, for this comment. Separating the wheat from the chaff.

  279. Hank Roberts says:

    So, this
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/11/27/%C2%AD-climategate-judith-curry-open-letter-to-graduate-students-young-scientists-climate-research-hacked-cru-emails/#comment-215672
    was rather an abrupt challenge, but have there been any FOIA requests at Georgia? Any need for such open files?