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Beef with Curry

By Joe Romm on April 26, 2010 at 1:40 pm

"Beef with Curry"


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With some heated Stoat on the side

I used to know Dr. Judith Curry pretty well — heck, she even gave me a jacket quote for Hell and High Water!  Now I obviously don’t.

Everyone who follows climate science should read what is easily the most revealing interview I’ve ever seen a scientist give.  Be sure to read all the comments, since they are even more revealing.

Curry 2.0 lumps Gavin Schmidt and Richard Lindzen together as basically two sides of the same coin — Not (see “Re-discredited climate denialists in denial“).  She repeatedly labels the Wegman report — aka the “Independent” critique of Hockey Stick revealed as fatally flawed right-wing anti-science set up — a National Research Council report, which is a blatantly false statement.  The Wegman report is to real NRC report on the Hockey Stick what Lindzen is to Schmidt.

She labels my blog, RealClimate, and all others in blogger Keith Kloor’s blogroll “warmist sites.”  That actually is another untrue statement (he includes the anti-science website PlanetGore, for instance), but she’s annoyed he doesn’t link to the extremist anti-science site WattsUpWithThat!  Seriously.

Curry 2.0 pigeonholes into the “warmist” tribe anybody who articulates the understanding of climate science that we now have ascertained based on direct observations, basic physics, and the peer-reviewed literature.  But if she has a single disagreement with anyone in the anti-science tribe, she keeps it to herself.

I interviewed Curry 1.0 a number of times and quoted her work on the hurricane-warming connection at length for my 2006 book, “Hell and High Water” (click on “Look Inside” for back jacket quote).  Later, I spent a day giving talks with her in various Florida cities.  She reviewed large parts of my book and heard my give a couple of talks and I’ve never once heard her dispute my characterization of the science.  A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — well, 2007, anyway — she wrote a response to Bjorn Lomborg in the Washington Post that would appear to be at completely odds with her current warmist-skeptic spin.

Since I’m a tad too focused on dealing with the climate-bill blow up to do a point by point, I thought I’d reprint — with permission — the excellent dissection of Curry’s comments by former climate modeler William M. Connolley (aka Stoat) titled, simply, “Curry“:

Eventually I decided to tone down the headline; Curry is wrong about a great many things, I think, but let’s be polite. So, all this is prompted by her Q+A for Keith Kloor. I fear I am going to have to read it. All of this segues into the “tribalist” stuff that I’m going to have to write sometime; but not now. Onwards.

So, Curry said the Oxburgh investigation has little credibility in my opinion.… When KK tasks her on this, she backs off a bit: what she means is, it doesn’t cover the areas she is interested in. Well, tough. If she wants her own inquiry, with her own terms of reference, she should set one up. I don’t see any ack from her that we’ve had two inquiries so far that have found nothing worth the effort. The septics have nailed their colours to the mast over this – as far as they are concerned, inquiries finding nothing necessarily implies black helicopters. Hopefully Curry isn’t going to fall off that cliff, but she is teetering.

Some of the stuff she says here shows evidence of failure to think. For example: Criticisms of the Oxburgh report that have been made include: bias of some of the members including the Chair – ah – she means that as an ex-Chair of Shell he is obviously pro-industry? Oh no, funnily enough that wasn’t what she meant (it is a shame that KK isn’t alert enough to push her on that one).

The other whinge she has is shamelessly derived from the septics not examining the papers that are at the heart of the controversies. Well, that too is spiffy. Unfortunately the septics haven’t said what papers they would have liked to have included, and so Curry doesn’t know either. Hopefully they’ll let her know in a while and she can pass the ideas on [Update: I missed a bit: they did let her know, and she has added one of her own. See the updates].

[JR:  For background on Oxburgh report, see "Climatic Research Unit scientists cleared (again)."]

Corruptions to the IPCC process that I have seen discussed include. This seems to be the most deliberately provocative bit. What has she got to justify this? A repeat of the von S claim from 2005 that the IPCC folk writing the AR’s need to be independent of the work. I commented on Von S’s stuff a while ago… but that wasn’t the commentary I wanted. Oh well, I’ll repeat myself: I don’t think it is realistic to find a pile of independent experts to review this stuff. Anyone who knows it is involved.

As for the rest: it is very thin, and noticeably free of actual examples. Again, I think KK should have pushed her on this. However, the septics won’t care, because they get to use “IPCC is currupt says Curry” in their headlines and they don’t care about the details. I care, because Curry is making vague brad-brush allegations and seems to feel no need to substantiate what she is saying.

There is then some ranting about how the CRU inquiries didn’t cover Chapter 2.3 in the IPCC WG1 Third Assessment Report. Can Curry really have missed the NRC (and, less credibly, the Wegman) reports? Why does she want another one? The subtext here appears to be Curry-hates-Mann and wants people to keep having reports until one of them damm well convicts him of something, anything. She also doesn’t know what an “elephant in the room” is – the phrase means, something large and important that people aren’t prepared to talk about. And the MBH reconstruction is most certainly talked about.

What else? Well, a senior leader at one of the big climate modeling institutions told me that climate modelers seem to be spending 80% of their time on the IPCC production runs, and 20% of their time developing better climate models. As it happens, a small stoat I met on the footpath told me the direct opposite, and I believe it. So we’re in stalemate. The only difference is I’m not spamming my scuttlebutt onto a blog. Oh, wait…

And there is a huge rush of journal article submissions just before the IPCC deadlines. Bloody hell, really? Who would have guessed it, eh? It is also a fact that a large fraction of the scientific literature is derivative twaddle, of interest mostly to the people that need to push up their publication count. Everyone knows that too. But it keeps journals in business, and no-one can afford to step off the treadmill, so it keeps going. Never mind, people know to avoid the 80% that is dross, so (for those on the inside) it does no great harm, even if to those on the outside it looks bad. Just like the IPCC deadlines, really.

some topics where I think the confidence levels in the IPCC are too high – this section is at least defensible. I think it is wrong, and I think it is again rather telling that she chooses to skip over the actual content too lightly, but fair enough: there is room for disagreement there. Were she actually to make a substantive arguement, there would be something to talk about. But she hasn’t, so there isn’t, yet.

On speaking out JC: At the beginning, I… was very leery of getting misquoted by the media. WMC: “Ah, but now you have cast fear aside and show not the slightest regret for saying things that are very easy to misquote”. JC: “Gavin Schmidt and Richard Lindzen are saying, well, what you would expect them to say. I and a few others (e.g. Von Storch, Hulme) are trying to provoke reflection…” – ah, look at the casual careless lazy putting of people onto sides. GS is the opposite of RL. Meanwhile, thoughtful people like JC and von S are trying to think (mt picks up on this in the comments; it is an obvious point; again, I would have hoped that KK would have noticed).

Summary: I congratulate KK for getting the interview done, and note his comment #21 (in his comments) that back-and-forth is difficult (but I still think he should have tried). The major feelingI have from all this is that Curry won’t go into detail, and it isn’t clear if she hasn’t really thought it through, or is lazy, or is too busy, or is afraid to commit herself, or what. If she actually cares about all this, and she says she does, then she really needs to write it down, carefully, with examples and documentation. Let me raise one obvious specific: she has attacked the Oxburgh report for looking at the wrong, or not enough, papers. Which important ones does she think were omitted?

But… I hear you say, that was nothing but criticism. Shirley there was *something* good in what she wrote, or her fundamental premise? Who, after all, could disagree with calls for Integrity. Well, this as I said segues into the Tribalism stuff. And while we’re on Hidden Motives and other dark stuff, I do get the feeling that Curry is very Anti-Mann for reasons that she won’t articulate clearly. I think I’ll reserve any praise I might wish to offer Curry for later. At the moment I’m not that way inclined.

Addendum: I’ve just noticed 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 over at Romm’s place. To take the last point first: has she? Where? [Update: Curry's answer to this is comment 31] Also, I’ve just noticed http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/towards_rebuilding_trust.html but not yet done more than skimmed it. I don’t think it answers my desire for more detail. On the first point: if that really *is* the heart of the issue… then why is she spending so much time on the periphery?

[Updates: Curry doesn't quite say "I don't hate Mann" but she does assert (see comment #21, which may or may not be carefully phrased I'm not sure) that she has had little interaction with him.

Also, (see comment 3) my snark about not proposing papers isn't right: Curry *has* indeed parrotted the skeptics in proposing "Jones 1998 and Osborn and Briffa 2006". I now need to see if these are interesting. That will first involve identifying the papers concerned; scholar proposes several Jones et al. 1998, but no Jones 1998, so I don't know which one she means -W]

[Update: guesses seem to be correct, see comment 24. Curry confirms via email that the papers she means are:

1. Science 10 February 2006:"¨Vol. 311. no. 5762, pp. 841 - 844"¨DOI: 10.1126/science.1120514        Prev | Table of Contents | Next
The Spatial Extent of 20th-Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years
Timothy J. Osborn* and Keith R. Briffa

2. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 30, NO. 15, 1820, doi:10.1029/2003GL017814, 2003
Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia
Michael E. Mann  and Philip D. Jones

3. Jones, P. D., K. R. Briffa, T. P. Barnett, and S. F. B. Tett, High-resolution palaeclimatic records for the last millennium: Interpretation, integration and camparison with General Circulation Model control-run tempera- tures, The Holocene, 8, 455-471, 1998.

I think #2 has been added now, and wasn't one of the two listed earlier, but that is OK.


Since Curry doesn’t blog, and she hardly ever defines her terms, there really isn’t a lot more to go on to figure out what she believes.

I will (try to) do another post on this later this week.

Related Post:


Over 100,000 rally for climate and clean energy action

Energy and Environmental News for April 25th, 2010; BP’s 42,000 gallon a day oil spill now covers over 1,800 square miles; Questions continue over Cape wind farm

41 Responses to Beef with Curry

  1. Andy says:

    I’ve followed all this since Andrew Revkin included some quotes from her in a CRU HACK post last fall on DotEarth.

    Her use of Watt’s Speak has really tipped it for me. In the famous words of the Talking Heads – Dr. Curry has stopped making sense.

    At this point she is too far in to ever back down.

  2. EyeVBaer says:

    Sigh!! Another recruit to the muddle,confuse, and delay crowd. She now joins Roger Pielke Jr. in my list of people to disregard.

  3. Stuart says:

    Well there was nothing good, and don’t call me Shirley.

    /couldn’t resist.

  4. Andy says:

    OT – the oil spill is approaching the Chandeleur Islands, a National Wildlife Refuge. The islands have been beaten down by subsidence and hurricane erosion, but what’s left is rich with bird life. The winds are forecast to turn around Wednesday Night so expect to see pictures of oiled birds on the Thursday evening news.


    Why the Chronicle insists on reporting this on its business page is a mystery to me but look for updates there.

  5. MarkB says:

    Using the term “warmist” indicates to me that one has gone off the deep end, and has bought into the contrarian spin and rhetorical style – hook, line, and sinker.

    What’s most revealing is that when pressed for details of what she thinks is lack of “IPCC credibility”, she can’t reveal anything more than a von Storch claim and further vague insinuations. If she attempted to go into details, she’d inevitably find herself citing McIntyre’s blog rants as “evidence”, and the case would fall apart from there.

    I recommend the Stoat (William Connolley’s) blog to others here. I read it fairly regularly. It’s occasionally quite critical of Joe (as I think he knows) and is critical of any scientists making claims that are not well-supported. Perhaps that will give it credbility among deniers. Conversely, I can’t say Dr. Curry has credibility among us “warmists” (or non-flat-Earthers). I judge credbility based on quality of argument and her arguments have consistently been lacking, at least as of late.

    If Dr. Curry is reading this, she might want to expand her reading material a bit beyond McIntyre’s domain…


    You could say this site does some detailed auditing of the auditor. DeepClimate does similar work on occasion.

    Clever title, btw.

    [JR: Thanks. Yes, one reason I wanted to post this is that fellow "warmist" WC and I have our disagreements. But not about whether the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are acting in good faith.]

  6. David B. Benson says:

    Gone emeritus (TM Stoat), I fear.

  7. John H. says:

    Why do scientists spend so much time ripping each other apart? Perhaps therapy would be a better use of that time.

  8. “Why do scientists spend so much time ripping each other apart?”

    Science, as well as any logically well-founded method of inquiry, is ultimately dialogical in character. Even when we are only arguing with our self, there is an argument whose merits are submitted to the objective evaluation of logic, principles, evidence and facts. This testimony is seldom unambiguous and never easy to obtain. But truth is not determined by everybody “getting along;” it is determined because somebody was RIGHT; and logic, principles, evidence and facts establish that rightness.

    An excellent discussion of this issue — first posted at RealClimate but happily reposted in this blog — can be found here:

  9. mike roddy says:

    It was obvious that Judith Curry had lost it when she started appearing onstage with McIntyre, and praising Anthony (“Weather Stations Project”) Watts. These are the guys whose m.o. is to discredit research scientists in any way they can think of.

    I’ve got my own theories about what’s going on in Curry’s head to spur this bizarre behavior, but best to just to note the obvious. Dr. Judith Curry is a terrible scientist-and a worse judge of people.

  10. toby says:

    In any fight, there are always people who lose their perspective, their courage and whatever wits they possessed. They end up flying the white flag, pointing out how the foe are “basically good”, “just like us” and “misunderstood”. Ultimately, they subtly shift ground so as to become indistinguishable from the other side.

    I am reminded of a meeting of “peace activists” during the Cold War. An American activist went to the rostrum and demanded that the US abandon nuclear weapons. Next a Soviet activist went to the rostrum and said “I completely agree with the last speaker! America should abandon nuclear weapons!”

    Curry is typical – she started out trying to make peace, she has ended up as a “useful idiot”.

  11. sod says:

    The Judith Curry position doesn t make any sense. finding problems with the IPCC, but endorsing WuWt is a completely bizarre standpoint.

    here is a Judith comment:

    Judith Curry Says:
    April 25th, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Sou, there is a “competing” assessment of our current state of the climate knowledge, called the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change. Which report should the public believe? The reason that the IPCC has had so much credibility is their PROCESS: a large group of international scientists, rules and guidelines to insure a fair assessment, use of peer reviewed literature, a rigorous peer review process, and openness and transparency at all steps of the process. So when these processes are violated, the IPCC risks becoming just another report with no greater legitimacy than the NIPCC in the public’s eyes.

    no greater legitimacy than the NIPCC? she just can t be serious.


    even if the complete IPCC process would have been happening behind close doors, and absolutely nothing of the process would be revealed to the public, it would still be a different league to the NIPCC.

    the problem with judith Curry is, that she is mostly wrong. and not just in the side she picked.

    [JR: Yes, that paragraph alone vitiates her credibility as some sort of an independent voice on climate science. She has joined the WUWT and McIntyre tribe.]

  12. Sou says:

    In a follow up Q&A, Curry explains how after her hurricane paper she became lost, then she discovered religion CA, believed the CA/WUWT lies interpretations of the stolen emails and realised that scientific organisations and scientists (other than herself) were rogues.

  13. Wow! Curry actually endorses the NIPCC? The NIPCC is edited by S. Fred Singer and is a thoroughly debunked pile of lies and misinformation. I discuss the NIPCC and Singer, among many others, here:


    [JR: I wouldn't say "endorses." She just makes another staggeringly absurd parallelism. No serious person could possibly mistake the IPCC for the NIPCC, unless, of course, people like Curry are out their trying to confuse them.]

  14. davey says:

    Further down on in the comments Curry says she disagrees with the NIPCC conclusions. Still, her false equivalency habit (Lindzen and Schmidt, IPCC and NIPCC, etc.) is troubling as it is not the sign of a scientist searching for clarity and truth.

  15. BobN says:

    re: Curry’s comment on the IPCC vs. NIPCC

    It seems to me that a simple reading of Curry’s comments indicates that she neither equates the IPCC with the NIPCC nor enorses the NIPCC report. What she does say is, if the strict IPCC processes are not followed, the IPCC risks losing credibility in the eyes of the public and its reports may viewed by the public as having no more legitimacy than the NIPCC. I don’t think she wants this to happen though, hence her calls for full transparency.

  16. sod says:

    It seems to me that a simple reading of Curry’s comments indicates that she neither equates the IPCC with the NIPCC nor enorses the NIPCC report. What she does say is, if the strict IPCC processes are not followed, the IPCC risks losing credibility in the eyes of the public and its reports may viewed by the public as having no more legitimacy than the NIPCC. I don’t think she wants this to happen though, hence her calls for full transparency.

    we did understand, what she said. the problem is with her logic.

    so if the magazin “NATURE” is not transparent, its article will be viewed like those in tabloid “THE SUN”?

    it wont. because content matters most. even with a completely untransparent process, the articles would still be the same. if the AR4 report had been published by the most obscure and secret entity, it would still be the most important document on the topic of climate change available worldwide.

    on the other hand Singer being the “transparent” author of the NIPCC report is not a boon, but a major handicap.


    you can also apply the Curry logic to basically all other international panel outcomes. the vast majority of them are much more secretive, than the IPCC report. (perhaps the most open and transparent process EVER)

    Judith will conclude, that basically all other international panel results are less reliable, than the NIPCC report. absurd.

    [JR: Indeed. The process by which she got her Ph.D. (or any of us get ours) is incredibly non-transparent!]

  17. Yes, I chose the wrong words here. Sorry. She should be spending her time showing why Singer and the NIPCC are dishonest instead of mentioning them in parallel with the IPCC and legitimate scientists. She is not advancing the science with her “stake the middle ground” position.

  18. Dr. Curry strikes back.

    [JR: How can someone who uses the word "warmist" accuse anyone else of being tribal? Her comment is staggeringly disingenuous: "So I guess all my discussion about tribalism and the harm it can do didn’t sink in. My whole point is that we need to have a respectful and reasoned dialogue with a broad range of people." When you call the climate scientific community "warmist" you are injecting harmful tribalism where it does not exist. Not how quickly she degenerates in to straight on ad hominem attacks under the guise of "respectful and reasoned dialogue."]

  19. Deep Climate says:

    IIRC, Curry still self-identfies as a “warmist” (at one point in the comments). Nevertheless, I would say she is coming ever closer to a “lukewarmer” (i.e. non-mainstream) position.

    The litmus test is climate sensitivity. The mainstream roughly pegs climate sensitivity very likely in the range 2-4.5C, with the best estimate around 3. “Lukewarners” would put the lower bound more around 1C or lower (lower implies overall negative feedback). Curry seems to come in around 1-1.5C for the lower bound. She doesn’t say if she thinks the upper bound is also too narrow. But logically, if uncertainties are underestimated that would imply possibly higher upper bound too.

  20. Dr. Curry’s tribal meme has apparently morphed into a warmist as obstructionist vs. lukewarmer as helpful participant meme.

    The warmists were trying to stop me from publishing this, and were slagging off on the enemy (e.g. McIntyre). The lukewarmers were helpful and participatory.

    Judith Curry Says: April 27th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

  21. Hank Roberts says:

    Just to try to be fair here, for those who didn’t page down on the thread linked, there’s also:

    Judith Curry Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    “… I don’t belong to any tribe. I have been extremely critical of the NIPCC, it is basically a joke as an assessment of climate change. I can’t imagine that Steve McIntyre or any of the technical lukewarmer bloggists take the NIPCC any more seriously than I do….”

    Reminds me of what she wrote at CA years back after looking at “CO2Science” and deciding they were a bogus site, quite bluntly.

    [JR: She invented the whole tribe thing to pigeonhole people, including me and most climate scientists. NOW she tries to wash her hands of it. Seriously!]

  22. I can understand having Pielke, Sr., Christy, Spencer, and Lindzen at the table but NOT McIntyre or worse, Watts. McI and Watts operate their blogs with the notion that climate scientists are liars and cheats at worst or misguided group-thinking incompetents at best.

    Dr. Curry is setting science back and hurting her reputation by including those two.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    My Global Warming Blog

  23. Hank Roberts says:

    JR, no argument about the pigeonhole thing.

    But do credit this, “she has a single disagreement with anyone in the anti-science tribe….” — it’s the one right in that thread:

    –> “the NIPCC, it is basically a joke”

    Good, clear, pithy, quotable observation she made, worth encouraging.

    [JR: Hurray! A moment of clarity that wholly undercuts her earlier statement that the NIPCC could possibly ever be mistaken by anybody for the IPCC. So criticizing her ambiguities has value after all. I hope everyone continues to do it!]

  24. Eli Rabett says:

    Eli is not a warmist, he is hot.

  25. sod says:

    –> “the NIPCC, it is basically a joke”

    Good, clear, pithy, quotable observation she made, worth encouraging.

    i don t think that this is a good thing.

    here is my example:


    if Judith Curry isn t getting more transparent in her positions and her interviews, then she will become like Sarah Palin.

    (insert random and vague remarks about lack of transparency in what Judith Curry says)

    oh, and Sarah Paling is a joke!


    i think she is simply using very typical denialist tactics.

  26. Curry didn’t say that she regards the NIPCC report as being as credible as the IPCC; she said that *the public* *may* at some point give it as much legitimacy (if IPCC standards continue to slip downhill).

    That is something entirely different an endorsement of agreement with the NIPCC (though she would have been wise to make this a bit more explicit to avoid ambiguity).

    Let’s be careful to not push her to the other side by equating her with them.

    I wrote a reaction to Judith Curry at my blog: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/judith-curry-on-climate-science-introspection-or-circling-the-wagons/

    I’m probably more sympathetic to what she’s saying (e.g. about tribalism) than many here, though I too have some beef with things she sais (she seems to take over contrarian style accusations a bit too easily, and fails to condemn reprehesible behavior on their part).

    [JR: Because she never defines her terms, one never knows what she means. Because she never defines her terms, she can pretend she isn't launching a series of personal attacks on climate scientists like Mann, when she obviously is, and then she can take offense when anybody uses her tribal terminology to describe her.

    Their ain't "sides." There is science, which is what I try to articulate here. I have no idea what Curry believes because she never says -- indeed she attacks me for even suggesting she should explain her view of what the science says. But in her tribal terminology, one can determine what "tribe" she is in not on the basis of what she believes -- but on the basis of who she constantly attacks and who she constantly defends and endorses. That is what my earlier comment meant and I will spell it out in more detail in a post. One doesn't have to push her anywhere. She leaped to where she is all by herself.]

  27. sod says:

    Curry didn’t say that she regards the NIPCC report as being as credible as the IPCC; she said that *the public* *may* at some point give it as much legitimacy (if IPCC standards continue to slip downhill).

    That is something entirely different an endorsement of agreement with the NIPCC (though she would have been wise to make this a bit more explicit to avoid ambiguity).

    Bart, i disagree.

    the comparison is wrong, as i pointed out multiple times now. (even if both had the same “transparency of process”, the CONTENT would still be completely different)

    the comparison is an insult. and unless we think that she doesn t understand what she says, it is meant to be one.
    and we could give her a pass (as many people did in the past)m if this was the first of that sort. but it is not.

    Judith claims middle ground, while attacking the IPCC side for minor problems in a very serious way. while the major problems of the denialist and “sceptic” side get an awful lot of positive support from her, and at best might get mentioned in a half-sentence.

    judith is nowhere near as “neutral” as she claims to be. she shouldn t be allowed to pretend that she is.

  28. Sod,

    I agree with you about the NIPCC. It’s absolute garbage. Lest people be confused about my views on the NIPCC report, I wrote them down here: http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/the-nipcc-report/

    I take issue as well with the absence of critiqing the ‘skeptics’ on Curry’s part, and what seem like overblown (anhd vague) accusations towards the IPCC. However, your characterization of her is way too strong imo.

  29. Sou says:

    Sod, Curry’s latest post illustrates your point very well – and Joe’s.

    Although stating twice that one mustn’t take things personally, she then contradicts herself. Curry won’t support Prof Jones because when her friend Peter Webster encouraged CA readers to seek info from Prof Jones, Jones sent him (Webster) a very terse email. Curry doesn’t say this, but I deduce that instead of asking Phil Jones what the problem was, she decided that Jones was in the wrong and brought the FoI DOS attack himself – and deserved it.

    I haven’t seen Curry acknowledge that Prof Jones had been putting up with deniers from all around the world seeking (and mostly getting AFAIK) detailed info from him for decades. It is not at all surprising that he would be appalled at a scientist from another university encouraging readers of CA to plague him with yet more time-wasting requests. (Even if I was recommending someone for a juicy assignment I wouldn’t give out their name without checking with them first. Let alone invite willy nilly anonymous blog readers to harass a colleague, knowing the bloggers would be misusing the data. Curry has no such qualms.)

    WRT Curry’s constant denier-style assertions, in the same post she says (my emphasis):

    Don’t worry about misinformation in the blogosphere and mainstream media, the formal assessment process will sort it all out. The formal assessment process is important in the presence of all this noise, which is why I am particularly concerned about the process corruptions of the IPCC and its lack of policy neutrality.

    Just another unspecified allegation among the many that she’s been throwing around the last couple of days.

  30. Sou says:

    This is worth adding as well, for further insight or speculation:

    “With regards to Jones. The behavior of Jones and Mann created the McIntyre “monster.” “

    From the same post. Again, let’s blame the victims.

  31. Deech56 says:

    RE Eli Rabett says:

    Eli is not a warmist, he is hot.

    Would that make him a hot cross bun?

  32. Peter Webster says:

    Mr. Romm,

    I think that you “doth protest too much”!

    Perhaps acknowledging that there is uncertainty in science diverts a policy person from where he/she wants to be and is diverting. Perhaps I could suggest you visit the Royal Society conference “Handling Uncertainty in Science in March. Competent scientists have no trouble in acknowledging uncertainty and it would seem to me that policy should take into account uncertainty. Scientists (and I would say policy people as well) who express an opinion with certainty (irrespective of the opinion) are probably of the less
    er brand.

    Perhaps it is a nuisance and diverting to hear that there are those who would ask that uncertainty in the science be acknowledged. But your tone of you posting and the language you use is close to tantrum and rant.

    It doesn’t do anyone any good!


    [JR: Ah, the straw man attack. Notice that you never provide any specifics in your claim whereas my post is focused on the facts. It is a canard that the IPCC or the literature or this blog doesn't emphasize uncertainty over and over and over again. Heck the IPCC emphasized uncertainty so much they left out one of the biggest risks we face -- ice sheet dynamic disintegration. You and Judith ought to read the stuff you criticize first. It is you who seemed to have gone into a "tantrum" when Jones was a tad curt with you. I mean this admission from Judith is just staggering:

    >>With regards to Jones. The behavior of Jones and Mann created the McIntyre “monster.” McIntyre was trying to work with those guys (also Caspar Ammann), but they blew him off. So he (with McKittrick) wrote the 2003 paper. The treatment that McIntyre and McKittrick received esp by Mann after publication of that paper is what created the “monster.” Phil Jones has a very low threshold for deciding who not to give the data to. After Peter Webster mentioned on climateaudit that he had received the data from Phil Jones, Peter received a rude email from Jones (unfortunately we no longer have a copy; its not in the CRU emails apparently Jones didn’t cc himself) saying that he wouldn’t be giving any more data to Peter and that he never would have given him the data if he knew Peter posted over at climateaudit. So when I saw the CRU emails, I didn’t feel any particular obligation to defend Phil Jones. So Phil Jones’ behavior has arguably contributed to creating the Curry “monster” as well.< <

    # Incredible. I'll set aside the "blaming the victim" here. What we've got from Judith is an admission she was set off in large part by an allegedly "rude email" which you didn't happen to keep but are happy to use as evidence. Sounds like the same lack of transparency and "process" issues you slam Jones and the IPCC for.]

  33. marcus says:

    Hi all, is it just me or…

    Is anyone else suprised that the self-titled ‘Curry monster’, a reputable scientist, published in the field of AGW effects, and a survivor of the hurricane wars, doesn’t understand the provenance of(and differences between), Wegman and North.

    Thats shockingly ill-informed, imho… if ur gonna try and change the adversarial nature of the AGW debate(a laudable but deeply ambitous aim), you would surely think a well referenced, clearly even-handed approach was a given.

    Going ‘over the top’ on the blogosphere, without having mastered the detail of your argument, is absolutely suicidal.

    If you read Kloors thread all the way through, its interesting how quiet the contrarians go, when it becomes clear that the ‘Curry monster’ hasn’t done the background. But she is very brave, credit where credit is due.

    I think WC is right, if she cant reply to issues on the fly, without parroting contrarian myths, then she should write more stuff down.

    Thanks for listening, Mark

    PS where can i find all the data and e-mails that she has sent, in regard to her previous papers. I dont have any use for them, and i probably wouldn’t understand them all, but i think it would demonstrate her good faith in this matter. Has anybody else tried this request? Maybe i could just cut and paste a copy of one that someone else has prepared, to save me some time? …

    Hot cross bun. Nice…

  34. Hank Roberts says:


    “… it is one thing to generate policy-relevant knowledge to bolster your side in the political arena, it is quite another to have the ambition to change the very nature of knowledge production about both the natural and social worlds. Analysts need to take neoliberal theorists like Hayek at their word when they state that the Market is the superior information processor par excellence…. everyone can buy the type of science they like, dispensing with whatever the academic disciplines say is mainstream or discredited science….

    … they learned that debating the science turned out to be easier, cheaper and more politically effective than directly debating the policies themselves. We might rephrase it that they came round to accept that scientific debate was engagement in politics by other means. The key tenets were to promote otherwise isolated scientific spokespersons (from gold plated universities, if possible) who would take the industry side in the debate, manufacture uncertainty about the existing scientific literature, launder information through seemingly neutral third party fronts, and wherever possible recast the debate by moving it away from aspects of the science which it would seem otherwise impossible to challenge….”

    The Rise of the Dedicated Natural Science Think Tank

  35. Hank Roberts says:

    And — Dr. Curry, what John Mashey said.
    Please, read that history he’s collected and urged you to read.

  36. substanti8 says:

    Joe Romm wrote, “Heck the IPCC emphasized uncertainty so much they left out one of the biggest risks we face – ice sheet dynamic disintegration.”

    Exactly.  I have been harping on that issue ever since I went to a public meeting about a year ago to see a presentation by one of the IPCC lead authors.  During the Q&A, I asked about positive feedback from arctic methane.  He admitted that it was not part of the various scenarios he had shown, and he seemed dismissive about the idea.  I was stunned.  I even approached him personally while everyone was leaving, just to make sure I understood him correctly.

    I know it’s only an anecdote, but it made a big impression on me.

    With regard to Judith Curry, I think this old Doonesbury cartoon applies.

    “You’re right, Situational Scienceman!  I’ll never trust science again!
    It’s just too controversial!”

  37. substanti8 says:

    I guess my last comment mixed apples and oranges.  That’s what I get for writing fast.  Sorry.

  38. sod says:

    i was simply shocked, when i read this Curry post:

    Judith Curry Says:
    April 28th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Keith, thanks for raising this point. The people slagging off on McIntyre, Watts et al. have probably spent no time over at their blogs or made an effort to get to know them personally and understand what makes them tick. Or to talk to the scientific skeptics like Christy, Michaels. Or talk to the libertarian think tanks, like CATO and CEI. Well, i’ve made that effort, and therefore I think I know alot more about the what the “deniers” are really like than the people accusing me of naivete, who have drawn premature conclusions because somebody found some sort of obscure link to an oil company. Well, if any medical researcher who got funds or otherwise engaged with pharmaceuticals was demonized like those linked even in some obscure way with an oil company, well medical research would come to a screeching halt.


    so we haven t taken a look at CA or WuWt? oh really?

    and there are serious problems with the IPCC, but CATO and CEI look fine?

    and pharma faking medical research is a myth?

    brave new world!

  39. Peter Webster says:

    Mr. Romm,

    Thank you very much for your irrational response. What has Phil Jones got to do with all of this? I guess you are attempting a dismissal by association. I really expected better from you.

    Peter Webster

    [JR: Huh? You came here and posted a complete non sequitor -- "Perhaps acknowledging that there is uncertainty in science diverts a policy person from where he/she wants to be and is diverting." -- which had nothing to do with my post and frankly nothing to do with me, as I pointed out, since I take great pains to acknowledge uncertainty, as Judith knows since she read "Hell and High Water." And you threw in a bunch of personal attacks. I merely pointed out that you and Judith seem to have no trouble relating personal anecdotes about other people but the minute someone gives a personal anecdote about one of you, you go ballistic.

    You and Judith have made this about Jones and Mann, not about their actual science, which has been vindicated in multiple fora and reproduced by other scientists independently. So my response was perfectly rational. It is your personal attacks on them and other climate scientists that lack logic.]

  40. Steven Sullivan says:

    Peter Webster writes:
    “Perhaps acknowledging that there is uncertainty in science diverts a policy person from where he/she wants to be and is diverting.”

    Is anyone actually NOT acknowledging — or is anyone actually *denying* — that ‘there is uncertainty in science’? Seriously? If so I haven’t seen it, not here or on similar blogs, not in the scientific literature, not in the IPCC reports, not on any thread Judith Curry’s been on.

    In my field (biology) uncertainty is acknowledged routinely in peer-reviewed publications by the use of qualifying words like ‘may’ and could’ when extrapolating from results, and by the use of, e.g., p values in statistical analyses. Are climate science papers typically different in this respect? The papers I’ve read weren’t. Even the AR4s strongest statement about global warming, IIRC, was hedged with the phrase ‘very likely’. That’s not quite *certainty*. So I’m wondering what Peter Webster is on about here; it would appear he led off with a particularly flimsy straw man argument.

    Disagreement about the *levels* and *sources* of uncertainty is another matter — and if that’s what Webster is on about, he should have said so.

  41. Sou says:

    If Peter Webster knows Joe Romm as well as he implies: (viz: “I would have expected better from you.”), I’d have thought he would at least be courteous enough to address him as Dr Romm, not Mr Romm. After all, they are both Fellows of the American Association for Advancement of Science.