Climate

Monckton tries to incite academic hearing against author of devastating science-based evisceration of his disinformation

In the ongoing saga of The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley vs. reality, TVMOB tosses up an air ball in response to Prof. John Abraham’s evisceration of his standard talk.  Maybe the better analogy is one of bad sportsmanship, a basketball thrown directly at the head of Abraham.

twit3.gifTVMOB is, of course, a shameless purveyor of hate speech and anti-science disinformation (see TVMOB hate speech shocker: Lord Monckton repeats and expands on his charge that those who embrace climate science are “Hitler youth” and fascists and links below).  [Please note that the picture on the right is not TVMOB nor do I think he would ever participate in this.]

So it is no surprise his ‘response’ devolves into a nasty threat:

Now you will understand why I have already initiated the process of having Abraham hauled up before whatever academic panel his Bible College can muster, to answer disciplinary charges of wilful academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct unbecoming a member of his profession.

It is of course laughable that TVMOB questions Abraham’s or anyone else’s honesty — or their credentials.

Should you be interested in learning more about TVMOB, go to the Science & Public Policy Institute website where he is Chief Policy Adviser.  In a bio that presumably he himself wrote, he relates his astonishing scientific credentials such as a “Nobel prize pin” because he commented on the IPCC Fourth assessment report.  This has “earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate. His Nobel prize pin, made of gold recovered from a physics experiment, was presented to him by the Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Rochester, New York.”  Also “his limpid analysis of the climate-feedback factor was published on the famous climate blog of Roger Pielke, Sr.” I kid you not.

Here is Abraham’s reply to TVMOB’s ‘response’:

Dear Mr. Monckton,

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my presentation. I encourage people to view both of our arguments and make their own conclusions. I stand by my work and welcome judgment by the public and the scientific community. My intention as a professional scientist is to help provide a public disclosure of your scientific methods. I continue to believe that your work seriously misrepresents the science upon which you rely.  I would like to briefly address some matters which you raised. First, I will address your comments about my credentials. To begin, let me identify some of the subjects which are critical to understanding our world’s climate. Climate processes involve radiation, convection, and conduction heat transfer. In addition, fluid mechanics governs the flow of the atmosphere and the oceans. Chemistry is critical to understanding chemical reactions which take place in both the oceans and the atmosphere. Quantum mechanics deals with the interaction of airborne molecules and photons (radiation). Geology and its related subjects are important for many reasons, including the study of past climate (paleoclimatology). Skills in numerical simulation are essential for the creation and operation of models which allow scientists to predict climate change. There are other subspecialties which are also important; this is only a partial list.

I am a tenured professor at the University of St. Thomas, a private, Catholic university in Minnesota. I have taught courses in heat transfer, fluid mechanics, numerical simulation, and thermodynamics. Topics in my courses include radiation, convection, and conduction, the same physical processes which govern energy flows in the climate. My PhD thesis dealt with combined convection and radiation heat transfer. My thesis is held in the library at the University of Minnesota, it is available to the public.

My published works span many topics including convective heat transfer, radiative heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and numerical simulation. My work on numerical simulation is at the very forefront of computational fluid dynamic (cfd) modeling. I am an expert in non-linear fluid simulations. My background does not span the entire range of topics related to climate change (no one is able to claim this), it does cover many of the essential subtopics.

In addition to academic research, I am an active consultant in industry. I have designed wind turbines, built and tested geothermal cooling systems, studied the potential of biofuels to replace petroleum, and designed and created solar-radiation shields for buildings in desert climates. Taken together, I believe that I have the background required to discuss the issues of energy and the environment.

Next, your written reply to my work focused on a small number of my original points; I will discuss just a few of them here. Throughout this discussion, it must be recognized that you have not addressed the many serious scientific lapses which were present in your presentation.

  1. You correctly pointed out that in your presentation, you stated that you were “boring” whereas I stated you were “bored”. I apologize for misquoting you. In this regard, the point you were trying to make is that there is no consensus on global warming. You cited three search words and a range of years (2004-2007). Since the purpose of my presentation was to show that audience members have the capacity to investigate claims for themselves, I used a publically available academic search engine (GOOGLE SCHOLAR). I showed that there are many papers that can be found dealing with the dangers of climate change, using your search parameters. I invite readers to reproduce my search results and read the abstracts of those papers and come to their own conclusion. Your assertion that these papers existed, but that they did not provide “evidence for catastrophe” was, in my mind, unconvincing.
  2. You suggested that your temperature graphs referencing your own organization were properly cited. I disagree. It is the obligation of a scientist to show the original source of data, your work did not meet this standard. Citing your own organization is, in my view, improper, particularly since your organization was not involved in obtaining the data.
  3. I showed a number of slides which had no attribution. I note that among the totality of unattributed slides, you agree with me on all but one. You correctly point out that one had the letters “UAH” listed. I can assure you that I understand UAH refers to University of Alabama Huntsville. I continue to believe that a proper citation would include a journal in which this data was published with a volume number and pages.

I would like to disclose some new information that I have unearthed. On your 13th slide (another slide with no attribution), you present a graph showing that the Beaufort Sea Ice is growing. Your slide gives the impression that since ice in the Beaufort Sea is growing, there is no concern about global warming. Despite the lack of a citation, I have been able to learn about its origin. The following citation should be useful in this regard for your records.

H. Melling, D. Riedel, and Ze’ev Gedalof, Trends in Thickness and Extent of Seasonal Pack Ice, Canadian Beaufort Sea, Geophysical Research Letters, 24, 1-5, 2005.

I have written to the lead author and he replied”¦.

“You are correct in your assessment that statements in the paper were nuanced”¦. The change in atmospheric circulation is attributable to”¦ no one really knows but human influence on the atmosphere emissions either of chloro-fluorocarbons or carbon dioxide is the primary candidate. However, with so much multi-year ice gone, it is easy to understand why we have much more open water in September.”

Finally, I would like to point out the reason for the delay between your October, 2009 presentation until my reply, it was caused by my desire to present a thoughtful, thorough reply. You have dealt with a small number of very periphery issues. There remain very severe errors with your presentation that are yet unanswered. If you have corrected the many errors which I have disclosed, please accept my apologies.

Regards,

Dr. John Abraham
Associate Professor
University of St. Thomas
School of Engineering

I would add that the Beaufort Sea is probably home to the most rotten ice  in the Arctic (see Where on Earth is it unusually warm? Greenland and the Arctic Ocean, which is full of rotten ice:  New study supports finding that “the amount of [multi-year] sea ice in the northern hemisphere was the lowest on record in 2009”; see also “Perennial pack ice in the southern Beaufort Sea was not as it appeared in the summer of 2009” by Barber et al.)

Note also that TVMOB writes:

Abraham says that if either Greenland or the West Antartic ice sheet were to melt sea level would indeed rise by around 20 feet, and that, he says, is where Gore got his figure.

Just two problems with that. First, the IPCC also says, on the very page quoted by Abraham, that even if there were a major collapse of the ice the Greenland ice sheet would not entirely disintegrate for millennia, a phrase that was also used in the IPCC’s 2001 report, where it was made plain that surface temperatures at least 2 Celsius degrees higher than today’s would have to persist for several millennia before either the Greenland or the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could melt away.

True, the British Antarctic Survey disagrees with the IPCC and maintains that the WAIS is in imminent danger of collapse, but so far even the IPCC has not bought that alarmist story.

Well, here is what the IPCC in ins 2007 Synthesis Report Summary for Policy Makers.  True it starts here:

Contraction of the Greenland ice sheet is projected to continue to contribute to sea level rise after 2100. Current models suggest virtually complete elimination of the Greenland ice sheet and a resulting contribution to sea level rise of about 7m if global average warming were sustained for millennia in excess of 1.9 to 4.6°C relative to pre-industrial values. The corresponding future temperatures in Greenland are comparable to those inferred for the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago, when palaeoclimatic information suggests reductions of polar land ice extent and 4 to 6m of sea level rise. {3.2.3}

Current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and gain mass due to increased snowfall. However, net loss of ice mass could occur if dynamical ice discharge dominates the ice sheet mass balance. {3.2.3}

But then it concedes:

There is better understanding than in the TAR that the risk of additional contributions to sea level rise from both the Greenland and possibly Antarctic ice sheets may be larger than projected by ice sheet models and could occur on century time scales. This is because ice dynamical processes seen in recent observations but not fully included in ice sheet models assessed in the AR4 could increase the rate of ice loss.

Duh.

And, of course, the scientific literature since AR4, which TVMOB knows but other ignores or distorts, has made increasingly clear that the ice sheets are losing mass much, much faster than the IPCC had thought possible:

And given that unexpectedly fast ice melt, it’s no surprise the science now projects much higher and much faster sea level rise than just a few years ago:

For completeness’ sake, he is more on TVMOB:

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35 Responses to Monckton tries to incite academic hearing against author of devastating science-based evisceration of his disinformation

  1. TVMOB is now the Deputy Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party. It’s a nasty, fringe party of the far right. So naturally, its members can’t distinguish between a reputable scientist and a narcissistic sociopath:

    http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/1666-lord-monckton-is-new-deputy-leader

  2. I certainly hope that John Abraham’s college is aware of the fact that Monckton is a puppet of the fossil-fuel industry’s Climate Denial Machine.

  3. ClimateNow says:

    I hope Monckton keeps up his futile and laughable posturing. The more exposure this dispute gets the more the denial machine will diminish in credibility. Abraham for president!

  4. hunter says:

    I have seen TVMOB claim on other occasions that his opponents are about to face various sorts of legal actions, disciplinary committees, police investigations and the like. None of the supposed actions has ever actually occurred. I think he just has a strange urge to try to threaten his opponents. He really is a classic bullshitter.

  5. One hundred years ago the debate was whether heavier-than-air machines could possibly exist. There was serious discussion about it – and for some, that debate is still alive. But we do not ground all airplanes while we continue talking about it.

    Monckton is a perseverating boob who should be regarded as more entertaining than threatening. However, I find deep fault with the US Congress and news media who assign importance to his well polished idiocy.

  6. mike roddy says:

    I hope the media picks up on this in a big way. If the facts are laid out properly, anybody will be able to figure out who is correct.

    Monckton’s ego and mania for publicity could finally bring him down here. He can then join Watts and McIntyre, looking for a place to hide where nobody has heard of him.

  7. Mark Shapiro says:

    Monckton is a liar and a fraud.

    Burners find him entertaining and comforting, but he is a liar and a fraud.

  8. Paul K2 says:

    Gee…. for once, Lucia on The Blackboard has outdone you Dr. Romm; in her post on this issue she took on Lord Monckton’s claim that Dr. Abraham’s appearance resembled an “overcooked prawn” by posting actual pictures of both Monckton and Abraham.

  9. Paul K2 says:

    Oops, that link went to a comment. here is the link to the post on Monckton’s erratic behavior.

  10. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    They will keep pressing until there is an inquiry and then dismiss the results as a whitewash. The inquiry should study the pressure brought to bare and the standard of Monckton’s original article as well.

    Not that the flat earthers will pay any attention, just move on to the next lie.

  11. For more examples of Lord Monckton’s tendency to threaten the livelihoods of uncooperative academics who expose his dishonest methods, see this:

    http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/the-monckton-files-more-threats/

  12. villabolo says:

    Mike Roddy (#6):

    “I hope the media picks up on this in a big way. If the facts are laid out properly, anybody will be able to figure out who is correct.”

    I believe that the only way the media is going to present anything on Lord Monckton is to try an indirect approach.

    For example, on the “Hitler Youth” comment as addressed to the Jewish student, has anyone considered contacting the Jewish Defense League concerning the vitriolic slander he made to the Jewish student? By the way, his name is Ben Wessel.

    The JDL may, if they so choose (or perhaps have done so already), make a statement to the Media. On the other hand avoiding the JDL and presenting the video to other Jewish organizations may be a better option. That way the JDL may receive complaints from multiple organizations that they are familiar with.

  13. BillD says:

    After listening and watching Abraham’s whole presentation, I concluded that he was cautious, understated and fair, being very careful to stick to facts and to not talk about motive or personality. A very carefully done piece that showed that just about every citation by the Lord was misleading or uncorrect.

  14. Lou Grinzo says:

    Maybe I’m being too optimistic again, but this mess is starting to feel like Monckton, and by extension, his followers, have gone too far. Abraham is just about their worst nightmare, given his background, tenacity, and calm demeanor. Monckton made the classic mistake of the right wing ideologue: He overplayed his hand, and this time it looks like it could bite him.

    My most recent post on this developing situation: Abraham, Monckton, and the rest of us: Time to rumble

  15. mike roddy says:

    Lou, that’s a great link, and should be followed up, but let’s keep our eye on the ball here. Monckton is a far right buffoon, whose audience is Tea Partiers and hillbillies. Even the Koch brothers are getting a little embarrassed by him.

    More dangerous are guys like Lindzen, Pielke Jr., The Breakthrough Institute, Watts, and McIntyre. Instead of lying all the time, these guys lie about half the time, and they have enough halfassed credentials to dupe reporters, among others.

    Watts (“Weather Station Project”) and McIntyre (“The hockey stick is broken!”) have been discredited by the evidence just as much as Monckton has, but the followup has been weak. As you pointed out, scientists declare victory and move on, but the deniers just pop up again, with jargon-filled stream of consciousness arguments.

    Pielke and BTI say basically nothing, but try to win with rhetoric and comforting generalizations. Lindzen is also considered a joke among his peers, but they don’t say it in public out of professional courtesy. Few know, for example, that Lindzen used to work for the tobacco companies, so he needs to be taken to the woodshed, too.

    My Buffalo Beast 14 Most Heinous Climate Villains piece was reprinted on at least 40 internet magazines, including Alternet. And I agree that we have them on the run. Let’s kick the lying whores while they’re down.

  16. Raoul says:

    Speaking of Monty Python, TVMOB’s Nobel prize pin reminds me of the “Bogus Psychiatrists” skit : “… This is my psychiatric club tie, and as you can see the cufflinks match …”

  17. Barry Bickmore #11

    Thanks for posting that link but the link within to the Telegraph article in this section:

    ‘As I mentioned in my last post, Prof. John Abraham has recently done a devastatingly thorough critique of one of Monckton’s addresses. This has gone viral on the Internet, and two British newspapers, the Guardian and the Telegraph, have published commentaries.’

    now fails. Perhaps darling James has been throwing his toys around again.

    I have picked it up here (other Google hits also lead nowhere):

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2010/06/telegraph-steps-outside-its-alternate.html

  18. re: #11 and #17

    The Telegraph took down the page.

  19. mike roddy says:

    Tenney, that’s amazing. It’s a good thing that we have people like you.

  20. J Bowers says:

    18: Tenney Naumer. “The Telegraph took down the page.”

    Coincidentally after Monckton made a phonecall.

    Delingpole’s blog post stayed up, though. Quel surpris. Wasn’t Delingpole a guest speaker at the Heartland Conference the other week? Oh yes, so he was…. http://www.heartland.org/events/2010Chicago/speakers.html

  21. LOL, thanks for that bit of sweetness in this world of, well, let’s not go there right now.

  22. Here’s a link to a photo of Dr. John No-He-Does-Not-Look-Anything-Like-a-Boiled-Prawn Abraham:

    http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/abrahamJohn.jpg

  23. Michael W says:

    Has anyone even listened to the original talk TVMOB gave, and read his rebuttle? Abraham has absolutly no ground to stand on. I had hoped for a worthy oponent.

    For instance does Mockton have to hold Abrahams hand and tell him how to do a proper scholar search? 826,000 hits? That should have been his first clue.

  24. J Bowers says:

    @ 23 Michael W. “For instance does Mockton have to hold Abrahams hand and tell him how to do a proper scholar search? 826,000 hits? That should have been his first clue.”

    Maybe you should ask Ronald McDonald to give it a go if fast service is what you’re after. Or maybe Abraham just did it properly.

  25. Michael W says:

    J Bowers,

    The question: “is evidence of catastrophe supported in scientific literature?”

    Abraham could have gone straight to the peer reviewed literature to answer this question, instead he pulls an informercial tactic.

  26. knoxkp says:

    Abraham’s disection of Monkton’s fabrications and anti-science idiocy was thorough and devestating. I can see why lord monkton is unhappy. I don’t understand where he gets the nerve to show his face in public after that, and that probably is what this is all about. He has been humiliated and is lashing out in a belicose and bullying fashion. Sadly for him he is armed with a pop-gun.

    It’s the kind of thing that when you’re watching makes your popcorn taste that much better. Maybe lord monkton could study that phenomena – he might have more luck.

  27. Michael W says:

    Furthermore, its a very important question. After all what is the appropriate response to GW? How bad will it be? Are behavioral and lifestyle changes going to be enough?

    Monckton tries to answer these honestly, Abrahams doesnt even try – his goal is very clear.

  28. Doug Bostrom says:

    Abraham has done a number of guest posts at Skeptical Science, where Monckton made a brief appearance to hurl threats.

    Speaking of venomous language, here’s a summary of rhetorical trimmings employed by Monckton in his reply to Abraham:


    propaganda artifices

    hilariously mendacious

    he looks like an overcooked prawn

    artful puerilities

    fourteenth-rate zoologist

    man on the Clapham omnibus

    climate-extremist Comrades

    cobble together his ramblings

    deliberately dishonest personal attack

    an ingenious fiction

    hide the truth

    make this nonsense look plausible

    wriggled and waffled

    flagrant and deliberate misrepresentation

    mere Bible-College lecturer

    spectacular exaggerations

    mawkish sci-fi comedy horror movie

    artfully distorts or carefully omits

    shoddy little piece of lavishly-funded venom

    serious, serial, material errors, exaggerations, or downright lies

    gross professional misconduct

    academic dishonesty and deliberate lying

  29. robhon says:

    Michael W… Dr Abraham is not trying to answer those questions. That’s not the point of what he was doing. He’s a professor. He’s applying exactly what one would expect of a professor reviewing someone’s work. He’s checking to make sure they got their facts straight. Monckton not only got virtually ALL of his fact utterly backward, he goes overboard defending his backward assumptions. Monckton is decidedly unscientific and fully deserving of the failing grade that Professor Abraham gave him.

  30. Michael W says:

    robhon, I just showed you how Monckton took the scientific approach with the scholar search and Abraham took the “decidedly unscientific” aproach. Care to elaborate?

  31. robhon says:

    Michael W… Um, no. I don’t think you showed anything at all. You stated that Dr Abraham doesn’t know how to do a scholar search. That’s mere making an unfounded statement. If you have detailed information that shows how and why Dr Abraham did this improperly then present it.

  32. Doug Bostrom says:

    Perhaps Monckton can establish his qualifications by touting his googling skilz, next time he interrupts his jam-packed schedule of hired juggling performances to be trotted in front of Congress to recite science fiction into the record?

  33. robhon says:

    I love the commenter who called it “4thgradergate.”

  34. Peter Wood says:

    Abraham points out a lot of wrong statements in TVMOB’s standard talk. Did anyone count how many he made?