Another correction to Duffy

The Sydney Morning Herald has printed another letter correcting Michael Duffy’s wrongheaded column. Bob Beale writes

Accusing a scientist of falsifying data is a grave and professionally damaging charge, about the worst one can make. Michael Duffy was careless and wrong to allege that Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “fudged” climate data during his recent public lecture in Sydney (“Truly inconvenient truths about climate change being ignored”, November 8).

Duffy said he was shocked that Dr Pachauri displayed a graph of average global temperatures erroneously showing a sharp climb in the past decade, when in fact there had been a “plateau”.

I have checked the graph in detail and watched the lecture on YouTube. It’s clear that Dr Pachauri was truthful and Duffy made a naive error: he did not, or could not, see from the body of the hall that the graph showed his “plateau” because he was looking at a longer-term trend line – a running average of the yearly figures. That line includes the figures for the past decade, and it does rise sharply.


It is ridiculous to suggest that Dr Pachauri should have focused attention on the past decade when discussing a climate system that operates on a much longer timescale. The graph shows many other plateaus, peaks and troughs. Over the past century, they amount to a rising trend.

Whatever the short-term picture, it is no comfort that 11 of the past 12 years were the warmest on record. Mr Duffy neglected to mention that truth.


  1. #1 cohenite
    December 9, 2008

    Ms Beauty again misses the point;

    “The rule of law is validated by acceptance of testimony from scientific provenance.”

    2 things; scientific expertise may present fact or interpret fact; ie: is it a fact that the Earth is warming; if so who or what is the cause; at law there is a profound difference between facts as presented by scientific expertise and the determination of guilt and liability; a host of mitigating and exculpatory circumstances may be applicable. Dr Hansen would not only be arbitar of both levels of fact but also guilt and liability as well. That is an usurptation of the court.

    The second point is, a legal process is predicated on 2 antithetical sides (which none-the-less may have convergent elements hence in pre-trial process the facility of ‘agreed facts’); I don’t see any evidence of Dr Hansen, or other spokespeople for AGW, contemplating, not only an alternative scientific expert view, but a right for that alternative view to be heard.

  2. #2 cohenite
    December 9, 2008

    JB; your insolation/temperature graph is striking; an excellent correlation between solar and temp until 1976 and then divergence; 1976 of course was when the upwelling business started which Bob and the others are discussing. I put this to you; a +ve PDO began in 1976 with attendant increases in SST and GMST; a natural mechanism is offered for that, the upwelling mitigation; so some natural imput into rising temp is present; if you say the rising CO2 took over from insolation at the 1976 point, and in fact caused the 1976 event, why was it ineffective prior to that, notably in the cool period in the ’40’s?

    Regards the beam; I was being tongue in cheek; the repeating beam is not a reference to the sun but the atmosphere sourced lonwave down radiation which is put forward as the greenhouse mechanism.

  3. #3 luminous beauty
    December 9, 2008

    In the court of public opinion, we are all our own fair arbiters.

    Anyone with an opinion can publicly call for anyone they reasonably suspect of malfeasance to be held legally accountable.

    That and a dollar will get you a donut. It sure doesn’t usurp the rule of law.

  4. #4 James Haughton
    December 9, 2008

    Bob, I ran your graph, but if you measure the El Nino anomaly against a baseline of 1950 to 1979, and the background temperature is steadily rising from colder before 1950 to warmer after 1979, then every anomaly is going to appear bigger and bigger against that past baseline, because the anomaly measurement will include the background temperature rise since the 1950-79 period. By summing the anomalies, I think all you are doing is replicating the background trend. You would need to sum the anomalies measured against, say, a 10 year moving average centred on the anomaly year (long enough to encompass an El Nino and a La Nina at any rate) to show that the anomalies were increasing, as opposed to the background temperature increasing.


    1) the scientific process is not predicated on two antithetical sides and a search for guilt or innocence, but on a shared search for truth (with lots of bitching and argument en route). Of course, the fact that you have wilfully brainwashed yourself into constructing a “side” and sticking to it at all costs was made rather clear by you at one point:

    cohenite: “I just totally disagree with the AGW model of forcing for the absorption which occurs; and I probably disagree with the AGW mechanism of absorption, including the capacity, whatever that is; and I disagree with the EG theory of positive feedbacks, whatever they are. Got it?”

    I got it. Whatever it is, you’re against it. Today you post on blogs about how AGW is a dangerous conspiracy by scientists. 40 years ago you would probably have been handing out pamphlets warning us that water flouridisation is a dangerous conspiracy by communists. 80 years ago, I expect you would have been writing letters to the paper about how Einstein’s relativity is a dangerous conspiracy by someone, too, and loudly championing Starck and quoting from “100 authors against Einstein”. (Btw, anyone who wants to can check out cohenite’s attempts to claim that Einstein was wrong about black-body radiation on Marohasy, discussed here.)

    But if you’re determined to get this into a court somehow, I suggest you offer your services pro bono to John Coleman who has been loudly proclaiming that he’s going to sue Al Gore for fraud, real soon now, for several years.

    2) Cooling in the 40s was most probably due to aerosol pollution. This has been explained to you numerous times.

    3) What do you mean, longwave down radiation is “sourced” in the atmosphere? I think it’s time for a quote from Chris Crawford’s Greatest Hits: “cohenite, I have difficulty making sense of your writings; you sling around all sorts of impressive technical terminology, but the underlying physical reasoning doesn’t make any sense.”

  5. #5 sod
    December 9, 2008

    using technical terms in a slightly different way, than anybody else does?

    denialists at work….

  6. #6 cohenite
    December 9, 2008

    James; a link to my anti-Einstein utterance please; there isn’t one at your source, this coby person’s blog. BTW, not that it matters, I’m for flouridation and think Einstein is just nifty.

  7. #7 Werner Weber
    December 9, 2008

    May I come back to the beginning of the very lively debate here (I am here the first time), to Pachauri’s IPCC temperature curve with the various gradients. The shortest term gradient of the last 30 years has the biggest slope of almost 0.2 Celsius per decade. It starts around 1975, where a cooling period ended, which seems to have started right after the second world war. In the IPCC 2001 technical report of working group one, dealing with the scientific basis, it is argued that the increase of CO2 really got substantial only since the fifties, but any warming was compensated or even overcompensated by the large SO2 emissions (cloud forming, cooling), caused by burning sulfur-rich coal or oil. Only when de-sulphurization took off, the CO2 warming was effective – just around 1980. So all temperature variations before 1950 are of different origin. Using that view, only the gradient starting around 1975 makes sense.
    Now, as I understand, Michael Duffy has critized Pachauri for not mentioning the plateau in the temperature curve which seems to be a signature of the first decade of the present century. He might also have included that it was not pointed out by Dr. Pachauri that the plateau occurs inspite of the unprecedented increase of the CO2 emissions during the present decade.
    Ignorance or scientific dishonesty or something else? The CO2 increase is mainly caused by the increase of the Chinese coal consumption, in 2008 close to 3 billion metric tons, up from 1 bn in 1998. To a lesser extent, India is also contributing (0.5 bn tons), so are Indonesia (0.2 bn), Vietnam (0.2 bn?) and others. The Chinese coal is very rich in sulfur, so is the Indian coal, therefore. the SO2 emissions have reached a new maximum – probably, as hard data on SO2 are not easy to find.
    This could lead to the following scenario: Whenever China decides to de-sulfurize its coal, the CO2 warming would take off again – and according to IPCC views, unstoppably. Remember, Dr. J. Hansen has put the ‘tipping point’ close to 350 ppm CO2, we are approaching 390 ppm..
    De-sulphurization may happen with the economic stimulus package, the Chinese are setting up now. Putting China in the pillory will not help collaboration. Could it be that Pachauri is just a shrewd politician?
    I wonder how many of those, who have critized Michael Duffy, endorse the above scenario.

  8. #8 luminous beauty
    December 9, 2008


    I’m afraid you’ve grievously mis-characterized cohenite.

    Not so much Einstein was wrong, but rather Bizarro World Einstein was right.

  9. #9 cohenite
    December 9, 2008

    Ms Beauty; for once we are in agreement; Bizarro World is a perfectly apt metaphor; of course Jimmy Hansen is the real Superman; the only conundrum is which of Superman’s multifarious girlfriends is Al Gore?

  10. #10 James Haughton
    December 9, 2008

    I see no reason to provide Marohasy with traffic.
    Here is the relevant exchange:

    “Cohenite, I just skimmed through the Robitaille paper, and it’s pretty weird. In the first place, note that it was not published in a peer-reviewed journal; it appears that it was never published anywhere. That’s always a bad sign.

    But what’s REALLY wrong with the paper is that it is disputing an issue that was made obsolete more than 100 years ago! Stewart’s Law and Kirchoff’s Law were both attempts to explain blackbody radiation using classical physics. Classical physics didn’t work — blackbody radiation under classical physics should, theoretically, yield impossible results. The problem was resolved by none of than Albert Einstein who introduced the quantum nature of radiation. He won the Nobel Prize for that work.

    Thus, the Robitaille paper is irrelevant to modern physics.”

    Posted by: Chris Crawford at August 19, 2008 03:07 PM

    “Chris; the paper’s conclusion makes it plain that the application of Stewart’s Law is consistent with the Planck and Boltzman constants, so I don’t understand your point about the quantum nature of radiation; Stewart’s Law is completely relevant to AGW since it deals with the process of absorption and emission and the consequences for temperature which flow from that.

    As to the paper being published; my understanding is that it was, but I will check on that.”

    Posted by: cohenite at August 19, 2008 06:59 PM

    And, after claiming that a non-peer-reviewed paper disproved Einstein’s quantisation of radiation, but promising to “check on that”, he was never heard from again.

    Someone else calling themselves “cohenite” then started posting long rants about cyanobacteria, before disappearing. Some other Cohenite also blabbered for a while about “packets of local thermal equilibrium”, but then went silent after a confrontation with Eli.

    None of these can be the same person currently blithering about ENSO, since he neither uses the same terminology of “Planck Units of Time” and “non quantum units of space” of the original Cohenite, nor came through with his “check on that”, nor admitted that he had been talking a load of bollocks before being called on it by Chris Crawford. The only similarity between these multiple Cohenites is a certain style of arguing best characterised by the term “Chewbacca defence”.

  11. #11 NT
    December 9, 2008

    Bob, you need to be able to answer the questions about quantities of heat and recharge etc. if you want to deduce that ENSO is responsible for the increase in temp over the last century.
    What you have is an interesting correlation. Nothing more. You cannot reasonably claim that ENSO is responsible for the past century increase in temp.

    Cohenite is the Champion of double (and triple!) think. He can simulatenously believe many mutually exclusive things.

  12. #12 cohenite
    December 10, 2008

    From wiki; “The Einstein coefficients are fixed probabilities associated with each atom, and do not depend on the the state of the gas of which the atoms are a part. Therefore, any relationship that we can derive between the coefficients at, say, thermal equilibrium will be valid universally.”

    The paper Mr Crawford was dismissive of is here;

    Robitaille argues that universality is constrained by the nature of the object and its enclosure; he concludes that “Planck’s solution to the blackbody problem remains valid for cavities which are perfectly absorbing…(and)..That blackbody radiation loses universal significance also changes nothing, in fact, relative to the mathematical foundations of quantum theory “. (p6)

    In a related paper published concurrently, Robitaille says;

    “In his derivation of the Planckian relation, Einstein has recourse to his well-known coefficients. Thermal equilibruim and the quantized nature of light (E=hv) are also used. All that is required appears to be (1) transitions within two states, (2) absorption, (3) spontaneous emission, and (4) stimulated emission. However, Einstein also requires that gaseous atoms act as perfect absorbers and emitters or radiation. In practise, of course, isolated atoms can never act in this manner. in all laboratories, isolated groups of atoms act to absorb and emit radiation in narrow bands and this only if they possess a diapole movement. This is well established in gaseous emissions. As such Einstein’s requirement for a perfectly absorbing atom, knows no physical analogue on Earth. In fact, the only perfectly absorbing materials known, exist in the condensed state. Nonetheless, for the sake of theoretical discussion, Einstein’s perfectly absorbing atoms could be permitted.”

    So, at thermal equilibruim, as in a LTE, Stewart’s Law will apply and the gas atoms will emit as they absorb within the relevant wavelength. The odd thing is, if universality was the case outside of LTE’s the GH would not occur because there would be a constant equilibrium. Try not to be a pompous jerk if you reply James; I genuinely find this interesting but your arrogance is off-putting.

  13. #13 Bob Tisdale
    December 10, 2008

    NT: Thanks for the civility, but as you are aware, I don’t have the capacity or the time to calculate those variables: quantities of heat, recharge rates, etc. And yes, I’ll agree that all I’ve got is an odd correlation and that it doesn’t mean causation.

    But what I do also have is SST data and graphics that illustrate that a sizable portion of the global oceans, the Indian Ocean, responds to the full rise in NINO3.4 SST anomaly during major ENSO events, but responds to only a portion of the subsequent decrease in NINO3.4 SST anomaly during the La Nina. This reinforces the thought that ENSO creates step changes in global temperature. BTW, I haven’t found a SST data set that works in the opposite way, and I’ve looked. Here are the graphics.
    The Indian Ocean response to significant El Ninos:
    And the Indian Ocean response to the subsequent La Ninas:

    And I also have graphs that illustrate the significant upward step changes in numerous SST subsets due to the 1997/98 El Nino.

    I’ll check this thread every couple of days to see is anyone’s come up with an explanation that works. Responding to those throwing rocks is not productive, so I’ll ignore them.


  14. #14 Bob Tisdale
    December 10, 2008

    James Haughton: Thanks for the thoughts. If I read your comment correctly, you’re saying that there are two primary considerations as to why the running total creates that curve: First, normalization, and, second, the base years of the anomaly data. I’ve calculated the anomalies with the base years of 1950-1979, using the raw HADSST NINO3.4 data available here, without normalizing it.

    HADSST NINO3.4 data (the basis for the Trenberth data) with the base years of 1950-1979 that has NOT been normalized will still produce the same effect. So normalization is not a factor.

    You’re also inferring that if I were to change the base years, the effect would then center on the new base years. The effect does NOT work if the anomaly is calculated with the Hadley Centre’s normal base period of 1961-1990. Feel free to try it.

    As opposed to recalculating the NINO3.4 anomalies on your own, I could save you some time. The KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) webpage has a number of time-series data sets available. It also allows the user to change the base years, among other things. Here’s the KNMI time-series webpage:

    And here’s the KNMI HADlSST NINO3.4 link:

    Thanks again for the thoughts.


  15. #15 dhogaza
    December 10, 2008

    In a related paper published concurrently, Robitaille say

    Wake us up when this charlatan earns his Nobel prize in physics. Though he’s undoubtably going to have to submit to the peer reviewed literature first, sorry.

  16. #16 dhogaza
    December 10, 2008

    I’ll check this thread every couple of days to see is anyone’s come up with an explanation that works. Responding to those throwing rocks is not productive, so I’ll ignore them.

    But that’s essentially all you’re doing, throwing rocks at the edifice of mainstream science. You’re claiming victory for a hypothesis rejected by those who specialize in climate science and oceanography, people who DO know how to do the computations, modeling, etc that you openly admit you are unable to do yourself.

  17. #17 Bob Tisdale
    December 10, 2008

    Luminous Beauty: In response to your December 9, 2008 3:26 PM comment, I am aware that the increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gases SHOULD have an impact on SSTs, warming the skin and the mixing layer, and increasing subsurface temperatures as well by locking in more heat. My concern and disbelief results when I look at graphs of time-series data of global SST. Take your pick. For you I plotted global SST anomalies over the terms of three data sets, monthly data, smoothed with 37-month filters. I didn’t want you to think I cherry-picked a data set.

    Here’s the HADSST version:

    Here’s the ERSST.v3 version:

    And here’s ERSST.v2 version:

    I haven’t physically added trends to the graphs because the disparity is so great. Note that the rate of rise in the early 20th century warming period far exceeds that of the last 30 years or so. But the anthropogenic greenhouse gases impact on SST, according to some, should be much more dominant in the last 30 years. I don’t see it. The El Nino around 1940 was significant but not as large as the 1997/98 El Nino, so that shouldn’t be throwing off the trend of the early warming period.

  18. #18 dhogaza
    December 10, 2008

    My concern and disbelief results when I look at graphs of time-series data of global SST. Take your pick.

    You know, there are people out there who study this thing for their living.

    Why don’t you go read up on what they have to say, or pester them for answers, rather than sit here endlessly posting your belief that you’ve found something that proves half of science to be bullshit?

  19. #19 Bernard J.
    December 10, 2008

    Bob Tisdale.

    To echo dhogaza at #118, there is probably a reason for your disbelief: and that is, that there is nothing credible to believe – in your ‘theory’.

    The hoary old chestnut, that correlation does not automatically imply causation, is worth repeating. Where is your explanatory mechanism for the movement of heat that results in the observed global warming? Where is your supplementary evidence, based in physics, that justifies your hypothetical mechanism?

    Where is your comparison of different possible mechanisms of warming, based in statistical analysis? “When I look at graphs of time-series data” is not a procedure that you will find in the ‘materials and methods’ of any analytical paper.

    I know from my own bitter experience that greenhorns can sometimes reinvent a scientific wheel before they realise that they have done so, but it is rare indeed that they truly invent a better wheel.

    You are not of that rare breed.

  20. #20 Chris O'Neill
    December 10, 2008

    Bob Tisdale:

    But the anthropogenic greenhouse gases impact on SST, according to some, should be much more dominant in the last 30 years.

    According to who?

  21. #21 Bernard J.
    December 10, 2008

    One of my friend’s has just pointed out to me that the link I gave at #49 is not the one that I’d intended to reference.

    The graphic that I thought Marohasy could have more appropriately used in the context of her ‘point’ was the third panel in the third graph on this page, and not the sunspot one I linked to above.

    That’ll teach me to check which link location I’ve copied and pasted.

  22. #22 Ian Forrester
    December 10, 2008

    I wonder if Cohenite has his “diapole movement” before or after breakfast. Is “diapole movement” a synonym for “verbal diarrhea”?

    Cohenite, your use of big words, especially when you neither know what they mean nor are able to correctly spell them, just makes you look like a complete imbecile. However, anyone who has wasted their time actually reading the tripe you write already knows this.

    Who are you trying to impress with your supposed “knowledge” about physics? You are convincing nobody here.

  23. #23 Dano
    December 10, 2008

    Bernard, that new linky has an excellent forcings chart, much better than the one I used above. Thank you.



  24. #24 James Haughton
    December 10, 2008

    Cohenite, if I can’t be an arrogant jerk when dissing a pseudonymous proponent of pseudoscience on the internet, when can I be? huh?

    My tone was meant to convey the general frustration experienced by myself and others with your style of argument.

    You usually pop up to proclaim, in overly long, running on sentences and a mishmash of buzzwords, that a list of poorly-referenced (Chicago style: (Zhang 2004) is meant to be accompanied by a bibliography) and badly-linked (if you can’t hack the html, use scientific papers is in agreement with whatever your point de jour is. When someone checks out your references (as I did at 27, 35 and 60) they invariably turn out not to support your position at all, or to be pseudoscience (e.g. Robitaille, Beck, Jawarowski(sp?), Gerlich and friend, MacIntyre).

    When confronted you obfuscate the point (e.g. 61) or make a temporary backdown before returning with a new spray of references or a different talking point, never admitting you were wrong the first time. But why should we take your subsequent utterances seriously? If you had any kind of strong case, you would have put it first. If you were actually interested in discussion or rational argument, you would answer the arguments put to you instead of running away from them.

    As Chris pointed out, your misuse and abuse of technical terminology not only makes you difficult to understand but leads to the suspicion that you don’t understand what you’re saying either. It’s a style of argument I’ve come to associate with Tim Curtin, and senility in general. A suspicion that is somewhat confirmed by your apparent inability to understand CO2 displacement, even when it’s explained in extremely simple analogies, (ie Tim at 38).

    You could stand to learn something from Bob Tisdale, who is at least clear, grammatical, and presents his argument without obfuscation.

    PS If anyone want an example of a real arrogant jerk (and high-tesla crank magnet), I suggest checking out How I was expelled from the University of New South Wales (an example of the suppression of science) by Stephen Crothers. I mention him because he is the editor of the alleged journal in which Robitaille circulated his paper.

  25. #25 Bernard J.
    December 10, 2008


    What I like about various combined-forcings graphs, such as the one that is linked to my link above, is that they clearly illustrate both the impact of the natural forcings, and of the superimposed and identifiably anthropogenic GHG forcing. They explain the science neatly, and much more honestly than is done by deceptive efforts such as dizzy Jen’s, and leave little room for discredited denialisms such as “it’s just da sun wot dun it” – unless of course they resort to the failure-of-computer-models meme.

    To be absolutely clear though it’s nice to be able to point to both the solar forcing and the combined forcings, and I am still poking around to find a graphic that depicts all of these on the one chart. This way it would be harder for Denialists to claim that they had inadvertently missed a part of the explanation.

    Why Marohasy sees fit to dissemble in telling the whole story, and yet still pretend that she is practising valid science, is beyond me.

    Yes, we all know that she is singing from the corporate songbook, but why on earth claim that it’s written in the language of science?!

    Ah – of course…

  26. #26 Eli Rabett
    December 10, 2008

    Bag, the bit about Einstein coefficients is only true in the impact limit. Be a good fellow and figure out what that means.

  27. #27 cohenite
    December 11, 2008

    Yes eli, very exciting; however I’m deexcited with the whole thing, especially since I’ve been trying to figure out whether Tim’s cars are Edsels or Prius’s; here is a useful guide; I wonder which one jimmy Hansen drives?,28804,1658545_1657686,00.html

    I rather imagine you’d be in the 1st one.

  28. #28 Bernard J.
    December 11, 2008


    If opposing counsel tightened the thumbscrews in court, would you break down in a display of petulant irrelevance such as the one that you displayed at #127?

    Gawd mate, trying to pin you down on any of a whole trail of points that you’ve been called on is worse than trying to catch smoke in a net.

    You really haven’t got the hang of this sciency thingy yet, have you?

  29. #29 cohenite
    December 11, 2008

    BJ; eli will get the relevance of exciting/deexcited and I thought the cars were amusing; I keep forgetting the soh standards here are different; and mate, you may have the sciency thingy down pat, but you know bugger-all about the petulance of opposing counsels.

  30. #30 Chris O'Neill
    December 11, 2008

    you know bugger-all about the petulance of opposing counsels

    At least we know that’s all we’ll get out of cohenite.

  31. #31 cohenite
    December 11, 2008

    Chris; why don’t you take out your considerable reservoir of spleen on your good friend Lomborg.

    And a merry xmas to all!

  32. #32 Bernard J.
    December 11, 2008


    I will simply repeat my comment above: trying to pin you down on any of the whole trail of points that you’ve been called on is worse than trying to catch smoke in a net. Or a bit like trying to drop the little silver balls simultaneously into the holes of those kids’ wiggly toy-thingies.

    Oh, and “you know bugger-all about the petulance of opposing counsels” is somewhat of a confabulation of two disparate aspects of my previous post. To be expected I suppose.

    Thanks for the festive wishes though. And merry present-fest in return – and yes, I mean that sincerely!

  33. #33 Chris O'Neill
    December 12, 2008


    Chris; why don’t you take out your considerable reservoir of spleen

    Boo hoo hoo to you too Mr hypocrite.