Judith Curry abandons science

But I’m glad the GOP chose her as a witness for a climate hearing

Curry pic

Only three things in life are certain:  Death, taxes, and the grim consequences humanity faces if we take no serious action to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

Now that I think of it, though, lots people on this planet don’t pay taxes.  I guess only two things are certain after all.

Then again, who wasn’t certain the anti-science crowd in Congress would get around to inviting Judith Curry as a witness for the prosecution of their case against climate science?  I suspect they’ll be disappointed.  More on that at the end.

My one-time lecture-circuit companion, Dr. Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, has now taken the crown as the most debunked person on the science blogosphere, which is quite a feat considering the competition.  But she invites debunking by her tendency to make scientific-sounding pronouncements without having actually read the relevant literature, and then backing down the minute she is challenged by someone who has or who has actually contributed to that literature.

And then there’s her tendency to libel people, such as this whopper in an interview by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle:

EB:  Yes, you’ve certainly been raked over pretty good by certain sites like Real Climate and Climate Progress.

JC:  Oh yes. Those guys are directly involved in Climategate so that’s not a huge surprise.

Not.  I pointed out to Berger that just because he’s publishing an interview doesn’t mean he is free to print comments that he knows to be false and libelous.  Gavin Schmidt also wrote him.  But all we got in response was a lame note tacked on to Curry’s attempted smear:

(note: Joe Romm, of Climate Progress, was not directly involved in Climategate as his private e-mails were not published. Gavin Schmidt, of RealClimate, points out that he was the victim of a crime and not guilty of anything.)

As an aside, I must say that I think this is not a good sign for journalism, that an obviously false statement is left on a credible newspaper’s website after it was clearly pointed out to be false.

To set the record straight — notwithstanding Curry’s effort to smear me (and Schmidt) and doubly notwithstanding the fact that the people who actually were directly involved in Climategate have all been vindicated by multiple independent investigations — I was not directly involved in Climategate.  And notwithstanding the implication of Berger’s note, I was not indirectly involved — unless writing about it constitutes involvement, in which case both Berger and Curry were involved in Climategate.  Let’s call it non-guilt by non-association with people who weren’t guilty of anything.

I also don’t see how Schmidt was directly involved other than as a crime victim.  He was the person who ‘raked’ her over — or more accurately, let her rake herself over (see Hockey Stick fight at the RC Corral, Schmidt to Curry: “In future I will simply assume you are a conduit for untrue statements rather than their originator”).  As one of my readers put it, she routinely commits “credibility seppuku,” as, for instance, in this comment on CP.

So it’s not a huge surprise that Curry is so widely debunked.  She invites it.  She recently expressed this disappointment about her Sourcewatch profile:

There is a section on criticisms from climate scientists, citing devastating critiques from the likes of William Connolley, Michael Tobis, James Annan, and Thingsbreak(!)

This reflects the true democratization of the blogosphere, which I am all in favor of. Now I’m not really a snob about all this, but I would have preferred the criticisms to be from the likes of Gavin Schmidt and Joe Romm, who have more stature :)

Funny, except that when the entire science blogosphere debunks you, it really isn’t a badge of honor.  Georgian proverb:  When three people say you are drunk, go to sleep.

Annan makes the same point in his post “(S)He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense“, quoting one of her comments:  “The fact that the climate blogging community doesn’t get what I’m talking about makes me pretty worried about the intellectual foundations underpinning the whole argument.”  He replies, “Well yes, Judith, when you find that everyone else is out of step, it is probably appropriate to worry about the intellectual foundations underpinning your whole argument. But somehow I don’t think you meant that.”

To help promote the democratization of the blogosphere, let me excerpt Annan, who runs through some of the main debunkings:

She’s really building up quite a history of throwing up vague or demonstrably wrong claims, then running away when shown to be wrong. Here on the no-feedback climate sensitivity, for example. Gryposaurus took her to task here on aerosols and D&A (based partly on comments from Gavin) and found her response lacking. Here is Eric Steig refuting her absurd claim about the IPCC that “they will tolerate no dissent, and seek to trample and discredit anyone who challenges the IPCC.” Her eventual response (which had to be dragged out of her through repeated challenges that she kept on ducking) was merely to dismiss it as an “anecdote“, even though one single case serves to refutes her claim. Well, I don’t think I got quite such a rapturous response as Eric did, with my attempts to improve the AR4 drafts, but I certainly didn’t get trampled and discredited either – merely made to feel mildly unwelcome, which I find tends to happen when I criticise people outside the IPCC too. But they did change the report in various ways. While I’m not an unalloyed fan of the IPCC process, my experience is not what she describes it as. So make that two anecdotes. Maybe I’m an “insider” too, in her book :-)

If she ever deigns to address the substantive point on probability, maybe she can let me know, but I’m not holding my breath. Her main tactic seems to be throwing up layers upon layers of an increasing shaky edifice as quickly as possible hoping that no-one will notice that the foundations are collapsing as quickly as people can read.

Connolley has a variety of posts at Stoat, including 3 on “Currygate” and “Curry jumps the shark” and an evisceration of a recent paper on Antarctic sea ice (here), which notes:

The main problem with the paper is the uncritical use of invalid data.

Ouch.  Curry offers a typical series of non-substantive replies that Connolley swats (here) like flies that are stuck to flypaper.

Indeed, it appears that Curry’s paper has issues as to its originality, leaving our bunny friend hopping mad here.  See also here.

And that brings to mind another saying, often attributed to Samuel Johnson, “Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.”

UPDATE:  Another post worth reading is Bart Verheggen’s, “Judith Curry goes from building bridges to burning them“:

Excuse me? Is this a respected scientist talking? Someone who is trying to build bridges between scientists and their critics? By calling respected scientists “high priests of the IPCC”?

Her unfounded allegations are insulting for the whole profession. It increases the polarisation and doesn’t add to the building of bridges (perhaps a one-way bridge). And I’m saying this as someone who, on the “pro-AGW” bloggers side, was probably one of the most receptive to her ideas. I am sincere and anti-dogmatic and I take great issue with her painting a whole scientific field, at the edge of which I work myself, as quasi religious dogma.

Judith Curry abandons science

That realization struck me when I read the final lines of “Handling the Heat,” her profile in Georgia Tech’s Alumni magazine (the source of the top photo):

The climate’s natural variability is unpredictable. Greenhouse gas emissions could offset a natural cooling trend or amplify a heating trend. “It could even mean the plausible worst-case scenario is worse than anything we’ve imagined,” Curry says.

“It’s a very complex scientific problem. There’s a lot of uncertainty,” she says. “It’s not that we’re incompetent, there’s just a lot of inherent variability. A lot of that is unknowable.”

The question then naturally arises. What is Judith Curry sure about?

She pauses before giving an answer in three parts.

“Climate always changes,” she says.

“Carbon dioxide, all other things being equal, will contribute to a warmer planet.”

And lastly, “Whether in the coming century greenhouse gas will dominate natural variability remains to be seen.”

Asked what she is certain of, her most definitive answer is uncertainty itself.

I suppose that if you smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, had a nagging cough, went to see your doctor and she determined you had early stage lung cancer, she could truthfully say death is certain and she had no idea whether you will die of natural causes before the lung cancer got you — and send you on your way without recommending a treatment.

I suppose if you weighed 300 pounds, over-ate regularly and didn’t exericise and your doctor determined you had early-stage diabetes, she could again say the same thing and send you on your way.

After her patients started dying from treatable illnesses, she’d lose her license, of course.  She’d no longer be a doctor.  Science doesn’t have a licensing board, but Curry has saved us the trouble.

First off, while Curry might want to ignore ocean acidification, the fact is we are, with certainty, already dominating natural variability in this devastating consequence of greenhouse gas emissions:

Carbon dioxide, all other things being equal or unequal, is poisoning our oceans.  The warming just compounds the devastation see 2009 Nature Geoscience study concludes ocean dead zones “devoid of fish and seafood” are poised to expand and “remain for thousands of years.”

It is true that “Climate always changes,” but the climate science deniers (of whom Curry is not directly a part) use that phrase in order to leave people with the impression that it is changing randomly.  Scientists like Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, make the point “Climate doesn’t change all by itself for no good reason. Something has to force it.”

Now we are forcing atmospheric CO2 concentrations to rise sharply, at a rate that is unprecedented in the past million years (see “Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks“).

There really is little doubt that human-caused greenhouse gases are already dominating natural variability (see Two more independent studies back the Hockey Stick: Recent global warming is unprecedented in magnitude and speed and cause and Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds).

The rate of human-driven warming in the last century has exceeded the rate of the underlying natural trend by more than a factor of 10, possibly much more.  And warming this century on our current path of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions is projected to cause a rate of warming that is another factor of 5 or more greater than that of the last century.  We are punching the climate beast “” and she ain’t happy about it!

As WAG notes, within a few decades, nobody is going to be talking about hockey sticks, they will be talking about right angles (or hockey skates):

Is it conceivable that in contradiction to virtually all scientific evidence the fast-feedbacks’ climate sensitivity to a CO2 doubling is low, say, 1.5°C AND that the myriad amplifying feedbacks we are seeing today will be partly offset by as-yet unmeasured negative feedbacks for which there is painfully little evidence in the paleoclimate record?  Sure, it’s conceivable.

But you would still need a very, very low emissions path — far beneath business as usual — for there to be any realistic chance that greenhouse-gas-driven warming from 1900 to 2100 would be only, say, 2°C.  Now even 2°C warming in two centuries would dominate ‘natural’ warming.

Here’s a certainty:  If we listen to Curry 2.0 and the tribe she won’t criticize (aka the disinformers), then we are certain to blow past a doubling (550 ppm).  We’ll be headed toward a tripling if not a quadrupling (see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm “¦ the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” “” 1000 ppm).

If Curry wants to cling to a microscopic amount of uncertainty that such CO2 levels would not lead to impacts that come at a scale and pace far beyond that of “natural variability” then indeed she has abandoned science.

In reality, as Curry knows, there is far, far greater chance that the fast feedbacks sensitivity is much higher than 3°C than that is much lower, and that in the unrestricted emissions case, amplifying feedbacks dominate negative feedbacks.

MIT spells things out probabilistically in their analysis from last year (see “M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F“:


As Dr. Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice for the Met Office’s Hadley Centre explains on their website (here):

Contrast that with a world where no action is taken to curb global warming. Then, temperatures are likely to rise by 5.5 °C and could rise as high as 7 °C above pre-industrial values by the end of the century.

The Hadley Center has a huge but useful figure which I will reproduce here:

One can say with certainty that if you actually read the recent scientific literature, you simply wouldn’t make a statement like “Whether in the coming century greenhouse gas will dominate natural variability remains to be seen.”  And you certainly wouldn’t list it as one of the three things you are sure about.

As I wrote in Feburary, I have known Dr. Curry 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 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.   Her past public statements and articles on climate change can be found here.

Just three years ago she wrote a response to Bjorn Lomborg in the Washington Post that is utterly at odds with the view she is now endeavoring to leave people with:

Lomborg gets it right when he calls for an ambitious public investment program in clean-energy technologies. But he mistakenly assumes that existing technologies and strategies can’t make a big dent in carbon emissions at an affordable price.

Lomborg is correct to be concerned about the possibility of bad policy choices. But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.

So I confess I no longer have any idea what she believes.

If you read some of the science bloggers cited above, it’s clear that Curry just doesn’t follow the scientific literature closely.  She hardly ever cites it.  She rarely blogs about it.  She doesn’t talk about the countless studies that give me and many others the certainty she once had that inaction is the worst option.

Curry is focused on trashing the IPCC.  But the IPCC is primarily a literature review, indeed primarily literature from before 2006.  In a AAAS presentation this year, William R. Freudenburg of UC Santa Barbara discussed his research on “the Asymmetry of Scientific Challenge“:

New scientific findings are found to be more than twenty times as likely to indicate that global climate disruption is “worse than previously expected,” rather than “not as bad as previously expected.”

I’d challenge her to review many of the most important such studies here:  “An illustrated guide to the latest climate science.”

Uncertainty gets a seat at the “big table”

That’s the unscientific (a-scientific?) headline Curry uses for her post announcing that she has been invited to testify:

On Nov 17, the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment is holding a hearing on “Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response.”

I have been invited to present testimony for this hearing.  I have been specifically asked by the minority (Republicans) to discuss how we can go about responding to the climate change issue in the face of uncertainty, dissent and disagreement.

Subcommittee on Energy and Environment – Hearing

2325 Rayburn House Office Building (WEBCAST)

November 17    10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, the Response


Panel I

  • Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences
  • Dr. Heidi M. Cullen, CEO and Director of Communications, Climate Central

Panel II

  • Dr. Richard B. Alley, Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Geosciences and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr. Richard A. Feely, Senior Scientist, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA
  • Dr. Benjamin D. Santer, Atmospheric Scientist, Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Panel III

  • Mr. Jim Lopez, Senior Adviser to the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Rear Admiral David W. Titley, Senior Adviser to the Deputy Secretary, United States Navy
  • Dr. Judith A. Curry, Chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

I call it unscientific/ascientific because, notwithstanding the hubris, Curry is not the one who brings “uncertainty” into the discussion of climate science.  Well, let me rephrase that.   Curry is a confusionist who brings uncertainty into any discussion, but it is a canard of Curry-esque proportions to assert that scientists have not clearly explained the nature and extent of these uncertainties. They have bent over backwards to do so.

Gavin Schmidt makes that clear in his responses to Curry on RealClimate, which I excerpt in “Hockey Stick fight at the RC Corral.”

I actually think it was good she was invited to testify by the Republicans — aka the party that has made attacks on climate science and climate scientists a litmus test for higher office (and, appropriately, that she isn’t on the panel with the folks who will be discussing what the science actually says).

She’s no Monckton or Lindzen or even Crichton.  I’ll make a prediction here.  Curry will prove greatly disappointing to the GOP — and even more confusing!

65 Responses to Judith Curry abandons science

  1. J Bowers says:

    I’m glad to see she’s on the same panel as Rear Admiral David “oceanic dog wags the atmospheric tail” Titley, who seems to have a more legible grasp of the science and the policy ramifications.

  2. Gord says:

    I gotta see this.

    Any idea Joe, if this will be on CSPAN or some other feed?

    Brutal picture by the way.

  3. I don’t understand why she isn’t on the first panel…they are more likely to respond and explain scientific uncertainty and how the IPCC uses the term.

    Like many I have been perplexed by Judith’s reasoning in the last couple of years.

  4. Marion Delgado says:

    It’s a bad deal all around. If we’d been lucky, they’d have maintained suspicion of her for not being a purist science-denialist. Instead, they’re showing a lot of cleverness and leveraging her for as much as they can get from her.

  5. Jeff Huggins says:

    Isn’t Georgia Tech in Georgia? Don’t they have water problems in Atlanta? Isn’t it already hot enough there for much of the year? Don’t they have all the storms they already need? I don’t get it.



  6. Steve Bloom says:

    “as-yet unmeasured negative feedbacks for which there is painfully little evidence in the paleoclimate record”

    It’s news to me that there’s *any* such evidence. What did you have in mind? Also, by now I think it’s entirely clear that the glacial cycles wouldn’t work with a (Charney) sensitivity below 2C, and even that may be pushing it. Real-world (Earth system) sensitivity is of course more like 5C, as is clearly demonstrated by the paleo record.

    Although the Charney sensitivity will remain useful as a benchmark for climate models, I wish it would cease to be cited in public. The assumption that we could use the Charney sensitivity (the fast feedbacks) to project climate over the next century, i.e. that the slow feedbacks that are added to the Charney sensitivity to get the Earth system feedback won’t kick in in less than a century, now seems demonstrably wrong.

  7. Steve Bloom says:

    BTW, I thought that old Georgia saying was more along the lines of “If three people say you’re drunk, it’s time to get behind the wheel.”

    Oh, oops, different Georgia. :) But maybe the more topical one.

  8. Jon says:

    Last to testify so none of the other witnesses will be able to respond to anything she says?

  9. How many ways can you say “an embarrassment to all women”?

    Gail, where are you?

  10. catman306 says:

    Maybe Judith Curry is part of the reason that University Board of Regents have decided to start up an engineering school at the UGA campus in Athens. Would you advise anyone to attend Georgia Tech to study climate science? (UGA already has an excellent meteorology/climatology program.)

  11. David B. Benson says:

    Even a zero dimensional, zero resevoir model of climate demonstrates a transient response of about 2.3 K for 2xCO2. So the equilibrium response must be larger:

  12. Mike Roddy says:

    The University of Georgia is in Athens, a charming college town. Georgia Tech Yellowjackets are found in Atlanta, easily the most degraded and charmless city in the entire South, AKA, “a giant hairball of a city”. Here’s one of my favorite authors (and a personal acquaintance) on the subject- Jim Kunstler, coming at ya:

    Maybe this will explain her, Tenney. Enjoy!

  13. Wit's End says:

    meh, thank you for the mention, Tenney, #9 – (my idol!)

    I am so very deep in inexpressible grief:

  14. J Bowers says:

    @ 12 Mike Roddy. As a visiting Brit, I do recall Buckhead being a lot of fun, though. Well, what I can remember of it, and it was well over a decade ago. “Butthead” rings a bell.

  15. Gail, last month, I saw so many “evergreen” trees in southern Illinois turning red, it was just horrible. Further, I saw many trees with top branches defoliated, cracks running up the trunks, bark peeling off, and what appeared to be some kind of swollen rot right where the trunks came out of the ground — these things were occurring on many species of trees. I am hard put to say what is causing it as southern Illinois is far from any large city, with the exception of St. Louis.

    The region is experiencing a bad drought and very high temperatures (mainly in October), but the extent of sick and dying trees seems beyond drought, I dunno. In 2005, the entire region was incredibly lush and green with enormous trees. The change is pretty dramatic.

  16. Mike, not being an Atlantan, I could chortle heartily at Kunstler’s go-off, but I doubt I would react the same way if I were from that city. He poked every sore spot so hard, I could feel the pain myself.

  17. Mark L says:

    Re the whole “political process”, anyone see this from the Onion:,18431/

    Says it all really.

  18. Deborah Stark says:

    EB: Yes, you’ve certainly been raked over pretty good by certain sites like Real Climate and Climate Progress.

    JC: Oh yes. Those guys are directly involved in Climategate so that’s not a huge surprise.


    I consider myself pretty well informed in regard to the insidious machinations of the global warming skeptic contingent but this is the first time I’ve seen this particular whopper. Unbelievable. This absolutely disgusts me.

  19. Deborah Stark says:

    Gail (Wit’s End?)

    I thought of you today when I came across this in the Boston Globe:

    Whales getting sunburned, study finds

    LONDON — Scientists say some whale species off the Mexican coast are showing signs of severe sunburn that may be caused by the damaged ozone layer’s decreased ability to block ultraviolet radiation….. (continued)

    I would be interested in your thoughts on this matter. I personally think this is an ominous indicator.

  20. Adam R. says:

    Curry has created for herself the persona of dotty aunt of climate science. I am sure it is not what she intended, but what was her goal, Grand Dame?

    Now she is irretrievably lost in the wilderness of climate disinformation and obfuscation. There is no going back from here. Look for her to be collecting speaking fees at the Heartland Institute’s next pseudo-conference. Perhaps that’s been her goal, all along.

  21. catman306 says:

    Stratospheric ozone forms a layer that blocks sunburn causing ultraviolet radiation. CFCs break down that ozone layer and that would be the cause of the whale’s sunburn. Tropospheric ozone, ground level ozone, is weakening our trees and green plants and is the subject of the witsend blog.

    Your confusion about the differences between the ozone layer and ground level ozone pollution is commonplace and I attribute it to the Koch brothers propaganda mills. Heard about acid rain lately? It’s still falling, you know.

  22. Jeffrey Davis says:

    Whoa. Atlanta lover here. Two words: Virginia Highlands.

    I grieve for Georgia Tech and have no conception of what Curry thinks she’s doing.

  23. Susan Anderson says:

    I am very grateful for this post, which I assume on careful reading will unlock the conundrum of a scientist with a good reputation fluffing and fudging and catering to the fake skeptic machine as well as accepting their lionization. I have been very curious and am not qualified to judge for myself. This is a great service to the community. Thanks you.

  24. Deborah Stark says:

    Re: catman306 | Post #22

    I am actually not at all confused about the difference between stratospheric and tropospheric ozone.

    I understand that Wit’s End is focused primarily on tropospheric ozone and its impact on vegetation generally and trees in particular.

    Nevertheless I am still interested in what she might have to say regarding UV damage to plant life given the findings of the above-referenced study on the whales.

  25. Dave E says:

    Clearly, if you are “directly involved in climategate” then so is Judith Currey–after all, your only involvement was writing about it and Judith Currey certainly did that. I guess she can’t trust hereself as a result.

  26. Andy says:

    I’ve been reading the Houston Chronicle for 25 years. Eric Berger is severely disappointed that the theory of anthropogenic global warming has stood the test of time. He digs at it any chance he can. If we have a cold day, he’ll write about it. If anyone says anything bad about a climate scientist, he’ll blog about it. He’s silent on the growing evidence and literature indicating global warming is going to seriously disrupt the planet.

    Ignore him. He’s an idealogue and isn’t reasonable.

  27. You needs someone to ask her the right questions when she testifies.

  28. Bryan Seigneur says:

    There must be a way to hold people to their words when they eventually change their minds on this topic. If such a thing will clearly happen, people will change their policy stance *now* in the present to avoid the personal results, similar to how certain markets like insurance are showing reflections of the expected reality.

  29. Roger Wehage says:

    If the global temperature rises 5-7°C, will my corpse rot faster?

  30. David B. Benson says:

    Gone emeritus as the saying is.

  31. Wit's End says:

    “That protective layer has been thinning for years under the influence of ozone-eating chemicals known as CFCs. While the emission of those chemicals has since largely been controlled, the extent to which the ozone is recovering is still under debate.”

    from this version of the story I saw a few days ago:

    It has been a curiosity to me for some time that the Montreal agreement to limit beneficial stratospheric ozone-depleting chemicals is cited as a success and a model for an international protocol to cap carbon emissions – because here and there I find rogue reports that in fact the layer is still thinning, or not recovering as predicted, or that the chemicals replacing the banned refrigerants are just as bad. I really don’t know what to believe – it is possible that like much else, the truth is being disguised by powerful interests.

    A depleted layer of stratospheric ozone is certainly a potential source of increased toxic tropospheric ozone, because the latter is formed by the interactions of fuel emissions and UV radiation. More UV radiation penetrating to earth’s surface would inevitably have serious repercussions. I actually had intended to include the whale study in my last post, then saved it for another day as it was getting too unwieldy.

    More and more emerges, worse and faster than predicted.

  32. Wit's End says:

    Oh…and Judith Curry? Considering what is at stake – Beneath Contempt.

  33. What I don’t understand is what posesses these people to abandon critical thinking?

  34. Richard Brenne says:

    There once was a woman from Atlanta
    Who questioned climate science and data
    She threw quite a tizzy
    About the IPCC
    But nobody knew what the hell she was talking about

  35. Lars Karlsson says:

    Hmmm, maybe this whole thing is just a cunning plan by prof Curry so she can testify in favour of the “IPCC dogma” at the climate hearing…

  36. Sime says:

    Joe, you made me spill my coffee, that is one big scary picture.

    Talking about scary and stupid, although off topic has any one seen this…

    Outside of the US this kind of nonsense is way more scary than that picture!

  37. A face in the clouds says:

    1. “Prof. Curry, when did you receive the stolen emails?”
    2. “Who sent them to you?”
    3. “What did the photographer say just before snapping your photo?”

  38. Gord.

    Yes a brutal picture indeed. It looks like Judith has a mouthfull of Soor Plooms.

  39. Mike says:

    The sad part is that the whole hearing is only two hours. You could spend that long on just the drought issue or changes in the oceans — or why the Senate did nothing.

  40. Mike#22 says:

    There is one way to look at JC’s otherwise incomprehensible behaviour which makes a little sense. Not much. Three conditions:

    a) JC identifies any Climate Scientist as dogmatic and tribal if there is even a hint of being part of a club, the Team, whatever. That is pretty much all of them; it is unavoidable that publishing scientists will have some form of community, some more than others. They might even email each other, and say mean things about FOI attacks.

    b) JC identifies any Climate Scientist who fails at any time to highlight uncertainty as being overconfident and misrepresenting the science. So if there are ways a model doesn’t work properly yet, the lead statement is “the model is uncertain”, flawed, whatever, or JC will point one of her “bridges” at you.

    c) JC identifies any person who fails to treat the denier community (and their perspectives, even) as valuable contributors as bridge burners. So Prof Anthony’s gibbersih should be given the same weight as RC’s Gavin.

    To review, any wiff of clubishness is tainted, any failure to emphasize uncertainty is unscientific, any lack of total openmindedness toward the ASS crowd is wrong. These seem to be her rules, if there are any at all. JC seems highly impatient with everyone else’s failure to get with her program. Contemptuous even.

  41. Raul M. says:

    Science investigating GHGs and possible
    climate change happened after the fact of
    increases in GHG. Science investigating
    feedback forcing to GHGs happened after
    the fact of feedback forcing. Congress
    wants to know how long the good times
    will last for them?
    Geoengineering has greatly progressed
    over the years and somehow we should
    notice there are better ways to geoengineer
    than the populace has been doing?
    Oh, so much change comming in so little
    space of time. Ok, let’s start with saying
    that we are deserving and how we have
    been so good. Then ough. Now what?

  42. grypo says:

    I am still unsure what Judith’s argument is in regards to the modelling uncertainty of aerosols and IPCC and this “circular reasoning” argument, which isn’t really at all circular. One thing that seems to be obvious to me is that she is not an expert in the process and really should be deferring to those who know more on how to communicate this particular uncertainty. She links her “uncertainty” issue to a “feedback” process that has to do with a small “cadre” of scientists who “trample” dissenters, and this is all obvious to her because of Climate Gate emails and other scenarios of which she is not willing to discuss publicly. I’ve pressed her on the whole feedback thing, looking for proof (like everyone else) and wondering why she is overlooking the obvious reason that climate science gets so much funding and attention, ya know, because it is imperative and the science is robust enough to cause the demand for answers from policy makers all over the globe. My latest issue with her is now her ideas on scientist’s interaction with the public and policy makers. I am very confused on her stance, as she seems to like the way the AGU advises policy, but not the APS or the Royal Society, even though they all advise the same generic policy, mitigate and adapt, in their climate change statements. It seems to come down the tone used in these statements, to her, as to whether they are educating, advising, advocating specifics, or being ideological. These are not speculative ideas and easy to distinguish from one another, but the prevailing notion on that blog is that any scientific advise is considered ideological (except for the AGU for whatever reason). This, to me, a lay person, is rather scary, as the interplay between science and the public is too important to disentangle and any attempt stifle it should be met with resistance, IMHO, as James Hansen and Carl Sagan have said in the past.

    I don’t mean to be intolerant to Judith’s ideas, but she finds herself in a position of political sway because of her position in the science community (and everyone from either side side loves the “turncoat”). If she becomes the mouthpiece for the skeptical side of the science for a major party in the US (even though she’s not really a skeptic), I’d like her to engage with the people she is criticizing and restate exactly what her ideas are without all this ambiguity and vagueness that has marked her thus far.

  43. Perhaps JC is a Trojan horse creeping into the denialsphere? It would be a quite rational explanation of her behaviour. Imagine when she lets the cat out of her bag and explains the implications of intelligent uncertainty risk management. That the Republicans invited her, not Monckton is quite some progress.

  44. Ian Forrester says:

    A face in the clouds asked:

    3. “What did the photographer say just before snapping your photo?”

    maybe, “Wow, lady, look what global warming has done to your complexion.”

  45. Bill W says:

    As Florifulgurator noted at 8:47, the Republicans calling Curry as a witness is a big step up from the last hearings, when they called Monckton. At least Curry has scientific credentials they can point to. Sad for the rest of us, though, because for many people, her credentials will make her more believable.

  46. Dennis says:

    Mike @40 raises an excellent point. Two hours is nowhere near enough to understand these issues. The scientists on the panel need to emphasize that point ad nauseum. For example, when asked a question, in addition to supplying a brief answer, they should always direct the members and their staff to read particular scientific reports and studies that are relevent to the question. They should have comprehensive bibliographies available. They should mention the names of other climate scientists who have done actual research in the field and recommend that they be invited to testify to that specific scientific detail. An excellent photo prop for this would be to point to piles of published, peer-reviewed scientific papers.

  47. Andy @27,

    To be fair, Eric Berger has been anything but silent in recent times about the growing evidence & literature on anthropogenic global warming and commensurate climate change.

    We just wish he’d do it louder & faster.

  48. Wit's End says:

    Is it appropriate to make Judith Curry’s appearance a topic for discussion?

  49. I am not sure it matters much what happens at congressional hearings. Representatives may be hearing, but I am not convinced they are listening.

    Isn’t the whole business something of a charade? Is there any evidence of a congress person’s opinion actually being swayed by congressional testimony in recent decades?

    [JR: Michael, personally, I have always liked hearings, since it is one of the few times one gets to speak directly members of Congress, particularly if you are on the first or second panel, when members are still around. But it’s really more about creating a public record and a venue for the public and the media to hear from experts about climate science.]

  50. MarkB says:

    Anyone else find this bit funny?

    JC: Now I’m not really a snob about all this, but I would have preferred the criticisms to be from the likes of Gavin Schmidt and Joe Romm, who have more stature


    EB: Yes, you’ve certainly been raked over pretty good by certain sites like Real Climate and Climate Progress.

    JC: Oh yes. Those guys are directly involved in Climategate so that’s not a huge surprise.


    Well I guess Curry’s found a winning formula.

    1. Receive criticism.

    2. Dismiss such criticism and insist that valid criticism is from only those with “stature”, including Romm and Schmidt.

    3. Dismiss criticism from Romm and Schmidt.

    4. Dismiss their criticism as being tainted with “ClimateGate”.

    5. Repeat step 1.

    As far as the political stuff goes, I’m surprised Republicans didn’t seek someone like Richard Lindzen, who is more credentialed and has a stronger contrarian bent. Maybe Curry is chosen because she seems more convincing among a lay audience, used to be respectable, is mostly free of fossil fuel interests (although the Sourcewatch stuff is a surprising finding), and is more likely to be seen as convincing Democrats. They also might get her to go on about “IPCC dogma” or what not.

    Bart has a nice post on Curry’s increasingly extreme rhetoric…

  51. spiritkas says:

    Indeed @44

    I think it is a chance to pick up some extra money, notoriety and then to backlash on them later…but the thing is for a scientist trying to get in on the money train and to throw a wrench in the cog at some critical moment in a congressional hearing. It probably wont derail them as the denialists are falacious to begin with. And when do you step off the denial money train? Honestly I think a big portion of that 3% of climate related scientists not on board with the overall picture of things are just short of cash. And who can blame them, it isn’t as though university professors get paid all that much. And if it does become a neo-McCarthy world out there, being on the payroles of the denialists might be the only thing that’ll keep you on board and off the blacklists. Who knew blacklist could mean coal and oil.



  52. Anna Haynes says:

    The other person I’m aware of who’s done a 180 is Jesse Jenkins, who wrote Attention Nordhaus and Shellenberger: Time to Call A Cease-Fire! – and shortly thereafter joined the Breakthrough Institute.
    The article doesn’t seem to be online anymore though.

    Who else?

  53. Anna Haynes says:

    Oops, it looks like it’s just a different link – the Jenkins “Cease-fire” piece is here
    (fyi, I’d asked about it, & he explained (as i recall) that the piece sparked communication with S&N, and he came around)

  54. Susan Anderson says:

    Pretty funny – a look next to the link to Berger provided a breakdown of “you can trust us to do the job for you” which cross reffed Wikipedia on “The Big Lie”.

    I agree with Gail, men would not be dissed on their appearance in this way, and that line of talk is adolescent. Women do not need to be icons of sexiness, particularly here (speaking as another woman with a chin/jowl worse than that). OTOH, She looks a bit uncompromising and authoritative which might have been the intention.

    However, I wouldn’t bet on the reconversion. I hope she respects facts but she seems well stuck in and unwilling to admit she fudges or that her newfound fans/sources are providing already-been-chewed remanufactured informnation.

  55. If you want to say that Judith Curry is as mad as a hatter and can’t do the science, I have no problem with that. But if you want to talk about appearances, are you not opening the door to comments about male pattern baldness and other such things? Give it a rest, guys, or at least try to be less juvenile.

  56. Anna Haynes says:

    +1 Susan & Tenney & Gail, re appearances.

  57. sailrick says:

    You have a typo – at utterly odds I think you meant utterly at odds.

  58. pete best says:

    Its just endless disinformation and delaying tactics that get the political media excited for science needs to be interpreted not as an objective discipline but in political bias.

  59. My comment was aimed at Judith’s expression and not her being photogenic or not. There is a nuanced difference, and the comment was made in the spirit of humour. But then I do come from the home of Monty Python so I guess the cultural difference is more real than I figured.

  60. Raul M. says:

    Come on, don’t take the 5th. Be honest and
    tell us the science.

  61. J. Bob says:

    The headline says “Judith Curry abandons science
    But I’m glad the GOP chose her as a witness for a climate hearing”

    Now that the electorate increased the GOP influence, it will be interesting.

  62. Aaron Lewis says:

    Mark Twain was poking fun at her kind of statistics in 1883. Too bad we do not have such astute reporters today.

  63. Derecho64 says:

    The lineup for the House hearing tomorrow has been announced:

    Panel I : Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, Dr. Heidi M. Cullen, Dr. Gerald A. Meehl, Dr. Richard Lindzen

    Panel II: Dr. Benjamin D. Santer, Dr. Richard B. Alley, Dr. Richard A. Feely, Dr. Patrick J. Michaels

    Panel III: Rear Admiral David W. Titley, Mr. James Lopez, Mr. William Geer, Dr. Judith Curry

    Lindzen got himself on board.

  64. Susan Anderson says:

    I’m still puzzled. I would love to be hopeful, but why would anyone be so byzantine. Something missing in this picture and unfortunately the formula in Mike22 at #41 seems about right:

    “To review, any wiff of clubishness is tainted, any failure to emphasize uncertainty is unscientific, any lack of total openmindedness toward the ASS crowd is wrong. These seem to be her rules, if there are any at all. JC seems highly impatient with everyone else’s failure to get with her program. Contemptuous even.”

    So would someone explain how she could get real in less than a few years? (That’s my take on someone who gets stuck in with that crowd, how long it takes to come up for fresh air and realize one’s been sold a lemon.)